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 …”

Desert Day 20: When The Well Runs Dry …

Jesus answered her, “Everyone who drinks this water will become thirsty again. But those who drink the water that I will give them will never become thirsty again. In fact, the water I will give them will become in them a spring that gushes up to eternal life.
— John 4: 13-14

And the well runs dry. It’s one of the most common experiences in the spiritual life. A practice that we have cherished, a habit that has deepened us and drawn us closer to God, a discipline that we perhaps have engaged in for years no longer seems to work. Gradually over time or overnight with no warning, its familiar contours turn foreign, dull, perhaps even painful.

These times call us to some of our deepest discernment. They dare us to ask, Am I being called to go deeper in this practice, to persist, to keep digging toward the wellspring that surely must be here somewhere? Am I being invited to wait and to listen? Or is God leading me toward a different practice than the one I have known? Continue reading “Desert Day 20: When The Well Runs Dry …”

Desert Day 15: Stop Worrying …

So I tell you to stop worrying about what you will eat, drink, or wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds. They don’t plant, harvest, or gather the harvest into barns. Yet, your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? Can any of you add a single hour to your life by worrying? 
— Matthew 6:25-27

Jesus does not respond to our worry-filled way of living by saying that we should not be so busy with worldly affairs. He does not try to pull us away from the many events, activities, and people that make up our lives. He does not tell us that what we do is unimportant, valueless, or useless. Nor does he suggest that we should withdraw from our involvements and live quiet, restful lives removed from the struggles of the world. Continue reading “Desert Day 15: Stop Worrying …”

Desert Day 14: The Labyrinth, A Metaphor For Our Journey …

The most important starting point in any definition of the classical labyrinth is a description of its physical construction. It is a single circuitous pathway, leading uninterrupted to a central position.
— Jim Buchanan from Labyrinths for the Spirit

There is one way in and one way out. There is a beginning and an end. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He is not only in the center, but the whole labyrinth is in him. We are not alone. Although at times it seems like I am journeying away from the center, I am actually well on the way towards it.  In fact, it is very true that as far as direction goes, I am often walking away from the center – away from the very place I am trying to get to – wondering how I will ever get there by doing that!  But experience has taught me – on the labyrinth and in life – that as long as I keep going, one step at a time, I can trust I will get there eventually.  It isn’t only about finding God in the center; it is about recognizing that the whole labyrinth – our whole journey – is held by God, in love.  Continue reading “Desert Day 14: The Labyrinth, A Metaphor For Our Journey …”

Desert Day 05: Why God Makes Us Wait …

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven …
— Ecclesiastes 3:1

 

The entire life of a good Christian is an exercise in holy desire. You do not see what you long for, but the very act of desiring prepares you, so that when God comes you may see and be utterly satisfied. Suppose you are going to fill some holder or container, and you know you will be given a large amount. Continue reading “Desert Day 05: Why God Makes Us Wait …”

Advent Day 10: Healing Peace …

Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.
— John 14:27

It is the Glad Season.
Thunder ebbs to silence and lightning sleeps quietly in the corner.
Flood waters recede into memory.
Snow becomes a yielding cushion to aid us
As we make our way to higher ground. Continue reading “Advent Day 10: Healing Peace …”

When The Going Gets Tough May I Choose Love Over Fear …

When the going gets tough may I resist my first impulse to wade in, fix, explain, resolve, and restore. May I sit down instead.

When the going gets tough may I be quiet. May I steep for a while in stillness.

When the going gets tough may I have faith that things are unfolding as they are meant to. May I remember that my life is what it is, not what I ask for. May I find the strength to bear it, the grace to accept it, the faith to embrace it. Continue reading “When The Going Gets Tough May I Choose Love Over Fear …”

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 …”