Gray Days

I came that you may have life and have it abundantly. ~ John 10:10

I woke up early Wednesday morning and pushed the window shade up. A gloomy, chilly day with snow falling heavily on the barren trees sank in on me. There was no hint of sunlight, so I shut the shade and returned to bed. An hour later, I woke up again and looked outside. It was still a gray day.

After a long silent prayer, I walked by myself through town. Angel, my walking partner, decided to stay home in the warmth of her doggy bed. I looked up towards the mountains hidden behind a stagnant wall of storm clouds. I knew the peaks were there, so I do not know why it bothered me that I could not see them.

Boyle Park was empty of loving parents and joyful children cascading down blue slides and swinging up to the heavens. I was alone and walked slowly to the east end of the park where I stopped in front of the barbed wire fence which separates the cultivated grounds from the beaver pond. I looked up again at the dark gray clouds smothering the mountains.

I stood still. Quiet. Then a crescendo of whistles, caws, and trills filled the open space, a chorus of unchoreographed caroling and robust song. My eyes scanned the leafless trees and brush, but I did not see a single bird. Rich flute-like songs with rising and falling notes saturated the gray morning. “Where are they?” I asked myself as my heart soared with the cheery song. This must be “abundant life.”

Spring is on the way. The promise of Easter, new beginnings, and resurrection is around the corner; or maybe it is already here if we listen and watch. Father Richard Rohr writes that ancient people “lived in an inherently enchanted universe where everything belonged, including themselves—and they knew that simply by listening, observing, and living!”

Can we see within the gray days? Can we see the light in the darkness? Can we hear angels on high singing news of great joy for all the people (see Luke 2:10)? Do we know we belong to the soul of creation “simply by watching the sky, birds, trees, and seasons, night and day”? Do we walk on sacred ground and breathe in the heavenly banquet?

James Herriot writes in All Creatures Great and Small, “I realized quite suddenly, that spring had come. I leaned my back against a tree and was aware, all at once, of the sunshine, warm on my closed eyelids, the clamor of the larks, the muted sea-sound of the wind in the high branches. The grass was lifeless and winter-yellowed, there was the feeling of change; almost of liberation.”

I started walking again, and “suddenly” I noticed birds on the ground, in the trees, and flying across the gray skies. Flocks of robins hopped and skipped across the snow-covered earth while feasting on manna. The red-breasted harbingers of spring roosted in the elm trees and sang, “cheer-up, cheerily, cheer-up, cheerily.” Life abundant?

“The abundance of our lives is not determined by how long we live, but how well we live. Christ makes abundant life possible if we choose to live it now,” says the Reverend Barbara Brown Taylor.

When we slow down the soul of nature touches us, and we touch her. “Soul knows soul through love which is God,” reflects Rohr. “Before the resonance of love, we are largely inattentive to the meaning, value, and power of ordinary things to save us and help us live in union with the source of all being.”

Boyle Park is full of life on gray days and sunny days. We just learn to look through different lenses to see the same thing. God’s spirit of life, abundance, and unity is all around us and within us. May we accept the invitation to feast at the heavenly banquet with the robins, the trees, and the winds.

May we surrender to “the image of the unseen God, for in him were created all things in heaven and on earth” (Colossians 1:15-16). May we see the abundance of Christ on cloudy days.

Blessings and peace,


Posted in Meditations.