Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Red Letter Day

Red letter days, by definition, are very important days. Beyond broad definitions, though, my red letter days are days of Sabbath rest, where I get to be a hermit, but within communal surroundings. I am refreshed by visiting places of my past.

Red letter days, as you are concerned, are any day of significant conception that happens periodically—for rejuvenation. They happen often enough that we look forward to them and ponder them in reflection with warmth of heart afterwards.

One Such Red Letter Day

A short rail trip on a high-speed train got me far enough away from home to be on holiday—even for a day. Within 30 minutes I found myself walking through the outskirts of another city—an old hometown. The sense of déjà vu and freedom was palpable, as I praised God vocally and from within my being, walking briskly another 30 minutes to my destination.

Carrying very little but some reading and writing material I felt free and unencumbered. My chief aim was to get far from familiarity and just ‘be’. Being in nature helps. Being close to water, near trees and a breeze, with a coffee shop close by, is my idea of heaven on earth.

One skinny cappuccino and an orange and poppy seed muffin and a casual read of the newspaper may sound basic enough, but it’s luxury of historic convenience to me. Many times several years ago I would do just this thing, at this place, and to come back and relive those times was bliss.

I find that my red letter day experiences centre on coffee and food.

There’s a small traffic bridge close by where fishermen go for their daily catch; it’s quiet and serene and vision of the calm waters before me are therapy for my soul. Suddenly another vision captures my vague attention; without thought I’m scribbling away in my little notepad, and after several pages I draw spiritual breath, satisfied that I’ve taken down what God brought me under this bridge to give me.

With the sense of engaging relief, I ponder a meal—pizza, vegetarian. Sandwiched between ordering and pick up is 10 quiet minutes in a park setting under a tree observing birds. One seagull and one crow captivate my imagination; these birds have talked to me.

What better after a meal than to enjoy a sweet siesta under trees in a popular park with shoes off? A 15 minute nap is enjoyed, and the alertness thereafter evermore.

Time, now, for ice cream—3-scoop Sundae (flavours of chocolate and hot fudge) watching the activity on the water. Then time to walk for the train home—good exercise.

How Does Yours Go?

Whatever activities we choose to partake in on our red letter days might be beside the point; the desired material is a feeling of space and freedom and, perhaps like me, a sense of déjà vu. Whether it’s time alone or time with others is individual choice. Whatever brings us a feeling of engagement with ourselves helps us to feel refreshed.

Somehow we know, deep within or very consciously, what our particular red letter day consists of. Better still to employ the imagination upon planning. We’re the boss!

Red letter days are cool, stimulating and sufficient, seasoned with charm, and resplendently peaceful. In them we redeem bliss. That’s the only rule—they must be enjoyable. Wise are we to intersperse them within our busy lives. To be available for others we need to be available within ourselves—connected to the heart of God.

© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

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