There has been a lull here in my sonnet series/newsletter. Last month was busy… at work especially, with stressful situations such as evaluations and preparing students for a major exam. Also it was a bit stressful at home, you know, with raising up four kids and keeping them on track and geeeeez… just raising kids is stressful.
Interestingly, as busy as it was, I was also busy trying to not go crazy – it was a different, good kind of busy-ness, though. It was at the beginning of March that I felt I was going to mentally snap. The feeling came on strongly one Wednesday morning as I was waking up to go to work… or rather… NOT waking up so well in order to get to work. The feeling is a bit indescribable, right now, but I definitively decided that day that I would go ahead and take Friday off for a mental health day. I’ve done this in the past, on a regular basis. But it has been a few years now in the past.
For my mental health day, I went to the GateCity HOP prayer room for half the day. It was a most helpful two or so hours of pouring out to God all of my thoughts (aka prayer), and him pouring out his thoughts into me (Bible reading, listening to messages in music, impressions in my mind). I decided, then, that I really need to make time for these kind of mental health, prayer days again, on a more consistent and frequent basis.
In spite of my mental overload, I was also busy adding another aspect to my writing “plate”. I began the launch of the Mind Stayed series (feel free to subscribe to the series.) The name of the series comes from Isaiah 26:3, which also pertains to mental health, which reads, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”. This verse has been a promise from God to me for awhile, and it has really helped me out in times when I’ve felt alone and overwhelmed. It’s helped me to put my focus on Christ, which in turn, has resulted in him giving me peace and setting me at ease and building my faith in little, subtle or big, obvious ways. Anyhow, so, because I like metaphors so much, the goal of the Mind Stayed series is to share metaphors that point to Christ, and help readers’ focus on Christ and the Bible.
On top of all of that and still in the vein of mental health, I recently, not too long after I joined Project FeederWatch, read an article in The Goodnewspaper about the positive impacts of birds on mental health. The article relayed information about a study from scientists at King’s College London. (Which, by the way, did not appear to be sponsored by an ornithology department or a birdseed company or other such enterprise trying to get the experts to release a study in favor of a product). Anyhow, apparently, “…seeing or hearing birds is associated with an improvement” in mental health for at least 8 hours. Armed with this information and possibility, I began to think about writing a new sonnet on birds and mental health, which is below.
(This sonnet, by the way, I am very proud of for staying pretty much in iambic pentameter… I wrote it shortly after reviewing some of Spenser’s sonnets, and the rhythm was just in me. I fairly noticed, too, that nearly each line in a Spenserian was a complete thought and also that each started with some kind of pronoun or article or preposition, and so that is what I did in this sonnet.)
The songs of birds are sure in morning's wake. A teacher rarely has the time to hear. It's not until school's out and she's on break that she can sit on porch without time's fear. With coffee cup she settles down in chair. Her mind is full of thoughts out of control. The fluttering of sparrows' wings comes near The tweets and cheeps of birds start to console; they reach into her heart and make her whole, and in this moment as she's lifted up she's able to plan steps to reach a goal. Mind clear, she sees the fullness of her cup. The teacher finds some peace in birds' presence. She vows and plans to make more time for this.
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