I’m not certain of the exact day that it happened, but sometime a few years ago I stopped trying to find God with a knowing that God was already here. It was an important shift in my prayer life and active work. It was then that I could accept the gifts I had been given and use them creatively in the work I had been called to do. An understanding that while I won’t see my work come to perfection I am working alongside others, here and now, as well as throughout time to move things forward.
I do not believe that God wants us to live a boring life, full of dread, always searching for the next thing to make us happy. God is already showing up and it’s up to us to pay attention. We can choose to miss it. We can make the decision to miss out on the very things we’ve been called to do and all the ways we are called to joy. But just as easily we can make the decision to wake up and pay attention.
Inspired by the sisters at Mt. Tabor, who take the flame from their place of worship into their daily living and work spaces, I’ve been bringing a bloom from my daily walk and time in reflection into the kitchen with me each morning. A reminder that my obligations to the human community whether preparing meals, teaching my children, loving my husband, helping a friend, working to improve food access, farming, or advocating are real opportunities to turn my inner life into an outward expression of creativity and newness.
The flowers in my work space remind me to be grateful while I work, accepting the distractions, open to the every day tasks that fill up my day. When I feel that hunger, opportunity for the marginalized, a voice for women and the other ways I’m called to help is overwhelming challenging I wake up to the call to silence in the woods, one single bloom, and the work that can fit into this day I’ve been given.
This is a portrait of Michelle Howell, a hardworking farmwife, mother of five, author, and advocate. On the left side of the bust you can read text from the poem “Anyway” that was on a wall of Mother Teresa’s home for children in Calcutta, India. “If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.” “The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.”
Leslie Nichols, Artist