APRIL 17, WEDNESDAY
.........It's Wednesday of "holy" week - as though every week isn't "holy". I am becoming increasingly aware of everyday, everywhere holiness. In some ways, I find myself more in tune with new life showing up again in nature than with the Jesus story - though at a deeper level I think they are the same story.
Still, I am invited to consider what it is that the life of Jesus reveals for me. Is it the possibility of seeing what's good and most real in others? Yes! The possibility of living as authentically as possible from a place of deep inner knowing and conviction? Yes, that too! A vision of reality that leaves no one excluded? Refuses violence? Wants all those who are hungry to be fed and nourished? Willing to be drawn to simple acts of caring?
One of my favorite such acts happens in Luke's gospel story about Simon's dinner party crashed by the woman "with the bad reputation". I'm often drawn, as I am now, to the moment when it's recorded "and looking at the woman, Jesus says to Simon" - - doesn't one usually look at the person being spoken to? Is it possible that as Jesus continues to look at the woman, thus inviting Simon to also do so, he is both "teaching" Simon "what really matters even as he himself is learning that more deeply?
And what may they each be learning as they both look at and actually see the woman? That all the failures, mistakes, messing up, missing the mark, all shrink and pale in comparison to simple, powerful love shown through gestures of welcome, service and hospitality, the courage to follow one's heart even when that requires the breaking of long held conventions? Lots to ponder!
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Monday, April 15
FROM MORNING REFLECTION
......The yard is filled now with light and shadow - - I love these moments in the morning when first light comes ------ it's one of those times/experiences that feels to me like mother nature is working her magic. Something about this combination of light and shadow that speaks so well of life. Looking out at it this way reveals a simple beauty. It''s another one of those ordinary events, moments, times, that are extraordinarily revealing.
Immediately, I see in my minds' eye those folks from Ecuador and other places of violence, entire families, walking in an effort to find places of welcome and safe havens. There is no way, even as I struggle to be present to such suffering, desperation and courage, to make sense of the imbalance between this present life of mine and theirs. It makes no sense! I am reminded of Jean Vanier's thought in his book, Be Not Afraid that the reason there is so much poverty in this world is that the wealthy have not learned to share. My income may be minimal, yet I know myself to be among the wealthy - - just to experience the luxury of sitting here by the window in a comfortable chair beholding the beauty as spring tries to happen, daffodils and hyacinths bloom, the grass sparkles from the melting and late falling snow is weath indeed. How to both enjoy and appreciate all of this while also experiencing deep pain at the apparent inequity of it all. In this moment to simply care, does not seem enough! And, I dare say it is not enough!
March 20, 2019
Sometimes during these strange, sometimes bewildering times, I look for examples of leadership, courage,and conviction combined with compassion, vulnerability, wisdom and a spirit of inclusivity. Much to ask, of course, yet worth seeking.
In the aftermath of the terrible violence in New Zealand I find in their Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, a refreshing example of leadership demonstrating some of the above qualities and characteristics. Prior to this event I was not aware of her at all. Now, just to recall the image of her appearing with our Muslim brothers and sisters in the wake of such loss brings a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes. Seeing her dressed in traditional Muslim garb as she grieves is a symbolic gesture more powerful than a million words. And, yet her words are also powerful, directed toward victims, "They are New Zealand, they are us." May I add: they are humankind, they are us?
Thank you, Jacinda Ardern,at the young age of 38, for your example, much needed in our world today.
April 29, Monday
(The quote that stimulated the following reflection comes from Roseanne Cash during an interview with her and husband, Tom, during which they were asked about their process of creating music and song lyrics.)
”You ask me about my drinking but you don’t ask about my THIRST”. I don’t think I’ll soon, if ever, forget those words. They stick to me like glue in the core of my being and make me recall the book, Addiction and Grace by Gerald May. He writes about our tendencies to cover over our deep longings, thinking we ought not have them. Rather than pay attention, we may take a drink, eat a piece of pie, take an aspirin, or get busy so as not to feel those hungers, yearnings, thirsts that are actually invitations to pay greater attention, listen and be present. In a culture that too often suggests such experiences are negative and to be avoided we miss the very opportunities to know our own deep desires, those desires that want to call us more fully into life. The good thing, at least in my experience, is that these deeper thirsts are not easily, if ever, extinguished.
So what might it take for us to recall when, for example, someone shares an eating poblem, instead of suggesting the latest diet, we ask instead “what are you really hungry for?“ Rather than responding to symptoms, in the face of so many addictive behaviors, what if we looked deeper to those desires that are being covered over by food, alcohol, sugar, busyness, nonstop talking, even the endless recitation of prayers.
I recall reading somewhere that even a practice as potentially good and fruitful as “centering prayer” may be used to avoid rather than to open and receive. The truth of that was immediately clear to me. As the too oft repeated saying goes, “been there, done that!”
What a dreary, oh, so rainy day – – rain coming down hard , wind blowing , in a kind of howling voice, looks like a good scene outside this window for background to a scary mystery. Good that the mystery I’m more in touch with in this moment, though awesome and larger than life, is not scary but profoundly inviting. Grateful!