Bread Elevator: A Touchstone

Bread Elevator: A Touchstone

Condon. Photo by Tim Graves

The grain elevator, both metaphorically and literally representing humanity’s need for bread, reigns over the rural skyline. The town of Condon is an oasis in the desert turned vast wheat field. Whether you travel through the arid land from the east, the west, south, or the north, when you approach town the bread elevator is visible. Its presence in town is evidence that our species needs food (and water) for survival.

Recently, I have begun to use it as a touchstone in a new spiritual practice. As metaphorical altar, the grain elevator reminds me that humanity will whither in the field without the divine One. And, so, each time I glimpse Condon’s giant bread box, I pause to consciously feel God’s presence, to say a micro-prayer of recognition to God.

Jesus replied, “It’s written, People won’t live only by bread, but by every word spoken by God.”

Matthew 4:4 (CEB)

Zen Ice Trays

Any drink is improved with ice. I put ice in my drinks in the hot summer, the warm spring, cool fall, and even the cold winter months. At least a couple of times a day the ice trays in my fridge need refilling.

Turning the tap on to a fast, steady stream does a poor job of filling the trays, it not only wastes water as it splatters, but I get wet. There is no fast way to fill the trays.

A fast stream of water doesn’t fill the ice tray efficiently. Photo by Tim Graves.

Instead of whining and complaining about my lack of an icemaker, I’ve turned this time into a spiritual practice. I pause as I approach the sink, turning the faucet on to a near-drip.

I breathe in and I breathe out.

The water we rely on to live, fills each compartment of the ice tray one drop at a time. I focus on the yellow-green ice tray, the water, and the task at hand. If my mind wanders to other thoughts, I redirect it to the source of life, water. If my emotions shift to impatience,

I breathe in and I  breathe out.

Spiritual practices do not have to include incense, candles, or chanting. They have their place but small, daily practices are what help me to be centered. Filling the ice trays helps me to be present in the moment.  I strive in my faith journey to focus on being, rather than doing. My particular challenge is to define myself by who I am rather than what I do. It’s challenging in our noisy culture; I don’t always succeed.

But, I breathe in and I breathe out for a few minutes everyday as I pause to fill the ice trays.