It’s not only moving that creates new starting points. Sometimes all it takes is a subtle shift in perspective, an opening of the mind, an intentional pause and reset, or a new route to start to see new options and new possibilities.Kristin Armstrong
For most of my life I have struggled to find God, to know God, to love God. I have tried hard to follow the guidelines of the spiritual life—pray always, work for others, read the Scriptures—and to avoid the many temptations to dissipate myself. I have failed many times but always tried again, even when I was close to despair.
Now I wonder whether I have sufficiently realized that during all this time God has been trying to find me, to know me, and to love me. The question is not “How am I to find God?” but “How am I to let myself be found by him?” The question is not “How am I to know God?” but “How am I to let myself be known by God?” And, finally, the question is not “How am I to love God?” but “How am I to let myself be loved by God?” God is looking into the distance for me, trying to find me, and longing to bring me home.
― Henri J.M. Nouwen from The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming
I love the fact that the word “humus”–the decayed vegetable matter that feeds the roots of plants–comes from the same word root that gives rise to the word “humility.” It is a blessed etymology. It helps me understand that the humiliating events of life, the events that leave “mud on my face” or that “make my name mud,” may create the fertile soil in which something new can grow.
Continue reading “The Fertile Soil In Which Something New Can Grow (Easter Meditation) …”
— Palmer J. Parker from Let Your Life Speak
Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.
Joy is what makes life worth living, but for many joy seems hard to find. They complain that their lives are sorrowful and depressing. What then brings the joy we so much desire? Are some people just lucky, while others have run out of luck? Strange as it may sound, we can choose joy. Two people can be part of the same event, but one may choose to live it quite differently from the other. One may choose to trust that what happened, painful as it may be, holds a promise. The other may choose despair and be destroyed by it. Continue reading “Advent Day 15: Choose Joy …”
The longer I wake on this Earth, the louder the quiet things speak to me. The more I experience and survive, the more I find truth in the commonalities we all share. The more pain softens me, the deeper my joy and the greater the lessons of those things that live in great stillness.
— Mark Nepo from The Book of Awakening
You Are Not Alone
One of the most difficult things about hard times is that we often feel that we are going through them alone. But we are not alone. In fact, your life itself is only possible because of the thousands of generations before you, survivors who have carried the lamp of humanity through difficult times from one generation to another. Even Jesus had hard times, and Buddha did as well. At times they were hounded, threatened, physically attacked, and despised. Yet their gifts outshone all their difficulties. And now, as you read these words, feel yourself as part of the stream of humanity walking together, finding ways to carry the lamp of wisdom and courage and compassion through difficult times. Continue reading “You Are Not Alone …”
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
— 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Forgiveness is simply the religious word for letting go. To forgive reality is to let go of the negative story line, the painful story line that you’ve created for it. If that story line has become your identity, if you are choosing to live in a victim state, an abused consciousness, it gives you a false kind of power and makes you feel morally superior to others. But let me tell you, it will also destroy you. It will make you smaller and smaller as you get older. You will find that you have fewer and fewer people you can trust, fewer and fewer people, if any, that you can love. Life itself becomes a threat. Your comfort zone becomes tinier and tinier. Continue reading “Desert Day 33: Forgiveness Is Letting Go …”
I want to live like that:
To gather the losses of my life,
the crashes …
bitter medicine in fragile bottles …
Then spin them into soft tender thread,
weave that thread into love,
to give away again.
— Rita Bresnahan Continue reading “I Want To Live Like That …”
… so that one day you realized that what you wanted had already happened long ago and in the dwelling place in which you lived before you began, and that every step along the way, you had carried the heart and the mind and the promise, that first set you off and then drew you on – and that you were more marvelous in your simple wish to find a way than the gilded roofs of any destination you could reach. Continue reading “Finding Your Way …”
Anger, blame, conflict, and resentment arise from our fear.
When we are afraid, our body tightens,
our heart is constricted, our mind is possessed.
We cannot live wisely.
Forgiveness releases us from the power of fear.
It allows us to see with kindly eyes and rest in a wise heart.
Live in joy, in love,
Even among those who hate.
Live in joy, in health,
Even among the afflicted.
Live in joy, in peace,
Even among the troubled.
Look within, be still.
Free from fear and attachment,
Know the sweet joy of the way.
It is not enough to know that love and forgiveness are possible. We have to find ways to bring them to life. The truth is we are not yet free; we have merely achieved the freedom to be free.
We who lived in the concentration camps can remember those who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread…. They may have been few in number but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from us but the last of human freedoms… the freedom to choose our spirit in any circumstance.
–Viktor E. Frankl
Forgiveness and compassion are not sentimental or weak.
They demand courage and integrity.
Yet they alone can bring about the peace we long for.
True love is not for the faint-hearted.
Quotes from “The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness, and Peace” by Jack Kornfield