It is quiet behind our house this time of year. Not many people are using the pathway that stretches from one town to another. It is cold outside and it pierces my flesh, leaving me shivering as Ip stand and wait. In the silence, I can hear my teeth chatter.
So, what compels me to stand out in the cold and wet of winter?
Nothing. And everything.
I walk the icy pathway. Barren trees lift their branches high into the blue sky above. This is a cotton-candy-blue-sky morning. I almost could forget I have Parkinson’s disease.
The birch tree, with its white bark, stands tall beside me. It almost glows as the sun radiates its light on trunk and limbs. And I see utmost beauty. I stand speechless. It is a beautiful, frosty, winter-morning sight.
Taking a small respite from writing during the holidays, I have learned many lessons this past month from the silence of the keyboard. The rattling of its keys has been minimal. Social conversations via internet sites have not occurred. The telephone has been in the hands of another, and one-on-one phone conversations via satellites and modern technology have been almost nil.
Through the silence, through the barrenness of winter — this dark season of life — God has spoken. A mere whisper perhaps, but He has been there.
One who lately seemed so terribly far away still walks beside me in my struggles with this illness and life itself. In reality, Parkinson’s is much of my life.
But in silence He is teaching me that the faster I walk, the less I see, the less I hear. The faster I live, the more I am lifeless.
I miss the surprises.
I miss the beauty.
I miss the Creator.
I stand on the path. A man on a bike stops to ask what I am taking pictures of. I tell him salmon in the creek. A woman stops, repeating the same question. I tell her downy woodpeckers. They both look — one up into blue and one down into murky waters. They smile politely and continue on their way. They can’t see. They are hurried in their experiencing of life and in their hurry, they miss it.
I listen to the sounds of birds that are wintering over and have found sustenance at my bird feeders. Filled with black sunflowers, thistle seeds, and suet, they sing with thanksgiving before they dive down for another bite.
This — all of this — is a wonderful gift God has given. Regrettably, I too have often walked dark winter’s path without looking up into barren branches. To my regret, I have missed the surprises that are hidden for those who have learned to be still. For those who have learned who God is. For those who are still and not consumed by worry over things they cannot control.
I stand in the cold, warmed by knowing He is gently leading me back — back to a fullness in Him. A fullness that once discovered, once experienced no other can fill, no illness can take.
I stand there, taking in a deep breath of icy air surrounding my face. As my lungs fill with a cleansing cold, I see it and it sees me. There, in the high limbs, a hawk is perched, watching, observing, following me where I move.
I lift the camera and point in his direction and shoot. He is annoyed and removes his talons from tightly held limbs and takes off into flight. As I stand in stillness, I watch with held breath. I want to remember this moment forever. I want to remember this lesson He teaches me. How His wings protect and shelter us underneath. I want to remember in stillness there is greater sight.
I want to remember to live. Unhurried. Full of life. Full of thankfulness. Full of gratitude. I want to be a grace extender. I want to live in stillness, knowing deep in my being just who God is in my life: Hope-maker. Fear-taker. Peace-giver. Illness-comforter. Grace-coverer. Stillness-trainer. Life-sustainer. Soul-redeemer. Silence-creator.
Day after day after day.
Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.