A Leap Day


As I type these words, it is 9:45 in the morning. I have done little so far: Ate my oatmeal; read the hard copy of the news and several digital ones; vacuumed the downstairs; read about a woman at a Samaritan well; and that’s about all. But I feel as if more is required because this is a free day.

Usually I do not suffer guilt because guilt is, in my mind, a waste of energy. I think it more important to go along carefully and guard against impulses that will lead to feeling guilt. Those, I learned long ago in my wasteful years, will lead to guilt and regret and even shame. Now, it is important to apologize when the impulse to say or do something takes charge, but I am writing about the guilt that does not harm another, but the one that eats at your inner core, the gnawing one that will not cause a major reaction, but more like an inconvenience of movement.

Thanks to Pope Gregory XIII this is a free day. If the reader is curious as to how or why this is, I recommend a simple Google search. While I do not disregard the mathematical importance of this day, I would rather utilize the hour value of it. What a gift, even though it was not planned as such. Yet, here it is thirty minutes later from when I began this musing, on a free day.

The day is a clear, bright one during late winter on Lake Norman. Yet, the raw wind shakes the bare limbs of the dogwoods in the back yard. Even the high grass is moved by it. I am envious of the birds for being outside, yet even the chickadees and other small birds struggle to land on the feeders.  So, it is too raw of a late winter day to be outside, even in the sunlight which tempts me as I watch it through the library window warm the pine straw mulch of the back garden.

The shop is a possibility and there are wood projects that I could complete or begin. Like many facets of house ownership, there is always something that could or needs/wants to be done. But as much as I enjoy being in my woodshop, I can’t bring myself to go outside and enter its sanctuary like space. It will wait, just as the gardening will.

Can something be a gift if it is not accepted? Do I need to fill this day doing absolute things that have a concrete result such as would happen in the wood shop?  I don’t think so; no matter how I use this day, it remains a gift not packaged for me, but one I have. A gift I was aware of because of the news, but now it is here, so what to do with it?

The gift has moved on, and it is an hour ago that I began this ramble about this Leapt Day, and I still have no idea what I will do with it. So, I will stall a bit by reading, checking on a dear friend who is recovering from heart surgery, scanning some on-line articles, and watching the late morning sun light the lake and pine trees. In fact, I may spend much time watching it clear the tall pines near the lake as it rises and warms the lyda roses planted next to the white fence. By then it will be time for lunch, then a nap, then an afternoon adventure of some type.

This free day to do with as I wish is like His grace: It is simply a gift, but it can only be a gift if I accept it. Like the sun rising over the lake and pine trees, the grace is there, but it becomes most real when I stop to see it and bask in it, accepting it for its beauty, warmth, and light. Then the joy begins.

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