Lying on the ground, I reached with one arm down deep into the window well to pull out trash and dead leaves that had accumulated over winter. Laughing to myself, I realized that this is my version of spring cleaning. Still lying there on the ground, hanging over the edge, I looked around. There was much to be observed. I felt like a spectator at an awakening. Various bugs, worms and other crawling and moving life forms wandered around down there. The earth was heaved up in between the gravel rocks that line the bottom of this particular window well. Things were coming alive in the depths of this space.
Another day, I was lying on the table receiving a massage, treatment for aging and stiffening muscles (the by-product of cleaning window wells, my laughing and observant spouse suggested). I looked down through the halo attachment that supported my head. I peered at the fuzzy edges of fabric surrounding my face. I checked out the floor beneath. In the dimness, the colors of the soft rug were muted. I heard few sounds—just the dripping of the water in the fountain, a breeze blowing the bushes against the building. The smells of lemon, eucalyptus, and wintergreen were delightful. Here I was, observing again. Things were coming alive in the depths of this space.
I want to have a depth perspective on life. I try to be still from time to time and look around. I ponder the sounds of the world around me. In such an atmosphere, the differences that divide me from other human beings seem to disappear into the background and the values that join me to others seem more obvious.
There is such a desire among folks these days to have purity in their lives. This desire makes sense to me in that we all wish for times when things are not chaotic or challenging, but simple, the same, straightforward and pure. Our dilemma is that there is no such thing as purity in the human condition. There is only incarnation, the living into and out of our own selves.
A depth perspective encourages us to examine everything around us and in us. A depth perspective calls us to accept that we are not the Power of the Universe. We are parts of the universe. We are some of the various forms of creation, moving and crawling, laughing and crying in the window wells of daily life. The earth heaves below us, and we are shaken and fearful. Yet we keep on building, moving, wandering, thinking and feeling.
We are some of the various forms of creation, moving and crawling, laughing and crying in the window wells of daily life.
We and our values are never pure, never without intention and motivation. Yet our living is to be celebrated and shared in community. See the depth perspective: Things we do not usually see are coming alive in the spaces of our lives.
Rockingham County native Elaine H. McGann is an ordained Brethren minister and a licensed clinical psychologist. She lives near Hinton.