Friday, May 27, 2011

Lessons in Solitude: The Scone That Fell, the cafe Prophetess.


[9:55 a.m.]

I am tucked away in an outdoor corner of the Wildflour Cafe, goat cheese/sundried tomato scone in front of me, coffee to the right, eavesdropping on the business meeting of two elderly folks seated at the table next to me. For the moment, things are peaceful. I am fed, caffeinated. The post-storm weather this morning is perfect.

The scenario just before this was slightly less calm. I walked into the bakery, met by the hurried, tell-me-what-you-want air that I so often felt as a barista when a customer seemed indecisive. I finally got my scone and sat down in the only empty chair - one with a table covered in supplies. The worker brought me my food, cleared the table and hurried back to her other customers. A few minutes later, a space cleared outdoors, so I quickly gathered my things to begin the migration before some other table vulture stole it. In typical Erin Dalton style, I attempted to grab all my things - scone, coffee, plate, camera, bag, Ollie the travel owl - and move them at once. (When is this EVER a good idea?)

I pushed the door open, took one step outside and flop! My scone slid off of my plate and flopped on the ground. [Perhaps "flop" is a terrible description of the scone. It's certainly not a half dead fish. "Swish." "Splat." "Thunk."] "Thunk." Now that's a better word.

So, "thunk," my scone hit the ground. The elderly couple (er, business people) sitting outside made a small, sweet ordeal about the event, with the woman running inside and requesting (Politely, mind you. This is Charleston.) another scone. The whole point of telling this story lies in her explanation of why we needed another scone:

"Hi, hello. We are going to need another scone for this young lady. You see, she was trying to do too many things at once and her scone fell off of the plate."

I immediately felt compelled to ask this woman how long she had been prophesying - could she be my sacred, spiritual mentor? Would she impart her wisdom on a more regular basis for me? Of course, I spoke none of these things aloud. This woman so well knew (or didn't know, really) what plagues my life above most other things: doing too much all at once. Trying to fill in every possible gap, feeling the rush of time and age, wanting to do it all before the possibility of no longer being able to.

If nothing else during these few days of solitude, I believe I am learning that the world still spins, lungs continue to breathe, life goes on living without my flailing attempts to do ten things at one time. And really, I understand that most things can't really be worked on in excellence, deep-seated thought, patience, diligence - if they are all being worked on in a fleeting manner - with the pressure of time and age growing larger than sitting peacefully and taking one thing at a time.

Madeleine L'Engle so beautifully stated (see quote below) that I do not have to do anything to earn God's love. He loves me exactly the same, whether I am busying myself with multiple projects or sitting quietly on the beach.

The question to myself is this: Do I still love myself whether I am busy or sitting quietly? And, if my professed identity is in Christ and Christ alone, is not this concept one in the same?

Christ loves me - is my identity - therefore, shouldn't I still love me?

I believe that just being - in taking joy that I am loved beyond measure - fruitfulness will follow.

I don't have to try so hard to find things to do, projects to busy my hands and lose sleep over at night.

I am content to know these things will come in their own time and birthed as they should be birthed if I will only seek rest and being with Christ.

This, today, is resurrection life. And I suppose it can start with making sure my scone doesn't fall off of my plate.

"We are loved because we are his children, because we are. The more we feel that we ought to be loved because it is our due or that we deserve it, the less we will truly feel the need of God's love..."

-- Madeleine L'Engle, "Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art" (pg. 72)


  1. This spoke volumes to me. Thank you for sharing.


  2. Like :) And this Erin Dalton is the same way. My husband even calls me "One Trip" (as in "get it all in one trip," not as in trip-and-fall-on-your-face, although doing the first one has, at times, led to the second).

  3. yep. that's exactly how i am. and we have the same name. we are the same thing.