I like to ponder. That’s how the idea for “Thoughts From the Porch” came about. I have a daily routine in which pondering plays a big role. I have my coffee on the porch most mornings. I even sat out there during the famous Texas ice storm of 2021. It was warmer out there than it was my house with no power. It may be the first time I’ve left my insulated overalls on all day since I moved back to Texas…
I enjoy the quiet time, the birds singing, watching the dawn break over my neighbor’s roof, and pondering.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines ponder as:
1: to weigh in the mind: APPRAISE
// pondered their chance of success
2: to think about: to reflect on
// pondered the events of the day
To think or consider especially quietly, soberly, and deeply”
Sometimes I ponder the squirrels running about our front yard, nervously watching for our cat as they hide their nuts for the coming winter. Other times I ponder how much I wish I had my pellet rifle for the one that keeps finding new ways into my attic…
Pondering and meditation are similar, but different – to me at least. Religion and recovery stress the value of meditation, but quite frankly, I suck at it. Meditation seems like too much work. Pondering flows more naturally. One of my favorite verses is found in the Gospel of Luke. He has recounted the birth of Jesus and says in 2:19, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered about them in her heart” (emphasis mine).
I get it. Hold what I treasure close. Pondering is a natural consequence. It just is…
Sometimes I ponder the important things in life – my wife, my family, my faith. Other times it’s often the inane. Both are beautiful. Both are necessary.
I am thankful for my friends who allow me to ponder and write about those things here. I don’t always stop to tell you how much I appreciate you all. It’s not that I have anything terribly important to say. It’s that you allow me to share what is – “quietly, soberly, and deeply” – even when it may only make sense to me. You provide me the space to toss into the world my thoughts and do so without judgement. Sometimes I just need to see things in black and white, but mostly I need to hear myself say them. Thank you for that opportunity.
– Rev. William J. Barber II, The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement (2016)
Once again I let a holiday go by without stopping to honor our Indigenous Peoples. I was delighted to find this meditation from Fr. Rohr and the above quote. I encourage you all to read the full story at https://cac.org/sacred-circles-2021-10-13/.
I couldn’t help but think of one of my favorite Harry Chapin songs “Circle”