The Tree That Survived The Winter …

The tree awakened earlier than usual one morning and stretched her arms toward the horizon as if to invite the early rays of dawn into her world. She shivered with delight, wiggling her roots in the muddy earth, which had only recently yielded its frozen hardness.

She sensed something was different. Her roots seemed to be extending further and more firmly into the soil. Her arms seemed to embrace more of the world, not with the timid gestures of a sapling afraid of tangling with the wind, but with the freedom of knowing that the wind could not topple her. Continue reading “The Tree That Survived The Winter …”

A Prayer for All Women on Mother’s Day …

I want you to know I’m praying for you if you are like Tamar, struggling with infertility, or a miscarriage.

I want you to know that I’m praying for you if you are like Rachel, counting the women among your family and friends who year by year and month by month get pregnant, while you wait.

I want you to know I’m praying for you if you are like Naomi, and have known the bitter sting of a child’s death.

I want you to know I am praying for you if you are like Joseph and Benjamin, and your Mom has died.

I want you to know that I am praying for you if your relationship with your Mom was marked by trauma, abuse, or abandonment, or she just couldn’t parent you the way you needed.

Continue reading “A Prayer for All Women on Mother’s Day …”

Desert Day 18: The Opposite of Addiction Is Connection …

To be lonely is to feel unwanted and unloved, and therefore unloveable. Loneliness is a taste of death. No wonder some people who are desperately lonely lose themselves in mental illness or violence to forget the inner pain.
― Jean Vanier from Becoming Human

Continue reading “Desert Day 18: The Opposite of Addiction Is Connection …”

Blessing For The Brokenhearted …

God breaks the heart again and again and again until it stays open.
Hazrat Inayat Khan

 

When love beckons to you follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden. Continue reading “Blessing For The Brokenhearted …”

We Are All Wounded People …

In a futile attempt to erase our past, we deprive the community of our healing gift. If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others.
— Brennan Manning from Abba’s Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging

 

Wounding and healing are not opposites. They’re part of the same thing. It is our wounds that enable us to be compassionate with the wounds of others. It is our limitations that make us kind to the limitations of other people. It is our loneliness that helps us to find other people or to even know they’re alone with an illness. I think I have served people perfectly with parts of myself I used to be ashamed of.
Rachel Naomi Remen

 

My opinion is not that we minister best out of our needs and wounds, but that we minister best when we have recognised our own needs and have attended to our own wounds. Our needs and wounds can only be a source of our ministry when they have been acknowledged and given appropriate attention. When we would minister to others out of our own needs and wounds, we would do harm to them. It is very important for us that we recognise how our needs and wounds can be a great source of our suffering and call us to an even fuller surrender to God’s first love, the love that can fulfil all our needs and heal all our wounds. As long as our needs are raw needs and our wounds are open wounds, we will inflict wounds on others and create needs in others without realising it.
— Henri Nouwen from Love, Henri

 

Continue reading “We Are All Wounded People …”

In Difficult Times …

Consoling God,
be a source of serenity for me
when struggles and difficulties
threaten to overwhelm me.

God of hope,
assure me of your unconditional love
when I doubt myself
or question the worth of my life. Continue reading “In Difficult Times …”

Courageous Prayer …

My belief is that when you’re telling the truth, you’re close to God. If you say to God, “I am exhausted and depressed beyond words, and I don’t like You at all right now, and I recoil from most people who believe in You,” that might be the most honest thing you’ve ever said. If you told me you had said to God, “It is all hopeless, and I don’t have a clue if You exist, but I could use a hand,” it would almost bring tears to my eyes, tears of pride in you, for the courage it takes to get real-really real. It would make me want to sit next to you at the dinner table.

Continue reading “Courageous Prayer …”

Depression and The Spiritual Journey …

This experience called “depression” is isolating to a greater extent than I imagined could be survivable, but I realize that this incredibly isolating experience ultimately reconnected me with the human community in a deeper, wider, and richer way.
— Parker J. Palmer from Darkness Before Dawn: Redefining the Journey Through Depression

The Mystery of Depression

Learn to embrace mystery

Twice, in my forties, I spent endless months in the snake pit of the soul. Hour by hour, day by day, I wrestled with the desire to die, sometimes so feeble in my resistance that I “practiced” ways of doing myself in. I could feel nothing except the burden of my own life and the exhaustion, the apparent futility, of trying to sustain it. I understand why some depressed people kill themselves: They need the rest. But I do not understand why others are able to find new life in the midst of a living death, though I am one of them. I can tell you what I did to survive, and eventually to thrive— but I cannot tell you why I was able to do those things before it was too late. Continue reading “Depression and The Spiritual Journey …”

If We Are Willing To Sit Quietly And Wait For A While …

The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them.
— Thomas Merton from No Man Is an Island

Without new ground rules, we will revert to the norms implicit in any culture that tell us how we are supposed to talk to each other. In our culture, these include politeness, a ban on inquiring into things that are “none of your business,” and a willingness to give the other the benefit of the doubt. In academic settings, these conventional rules are overlaid with another set that encourage competition: we should question each other’s claims, think oppositionally about what we are hearing, and be ready with a quick response. Continue reading “If We Are Willing To Sit Quietly And Wait For A While …”