Something stirred from deep within. I felt it knocking, begging to be acknowledged and released. I could not put a name to it, but something felt awakened after a long period of dormancy. In truth, this gnawing sensation had been building for more than a year, but on the levee that day, I grappled with this powerful presence at work in me. I had no words for the hunger that was asking me for more. All I could do was attempt to be still and acknowledge its existence. Continue reading “Desert Day 41: Be Still, My Restless Soul …”
But there is this too. Respite. Rest. Letting the desert be the desert, without feeling compelled to bulldoze our way through it.
I think of a long stretch when I found myself in a soul struggle that had caught me entirely by surprise. Consumed by the wrestling and working and searching, I felt exhausted. After a time, my spiritual director, Maru, gave me this phrase: holy absence.
There are times, she said, sometimes seasons, for removing ourselves from the struggle. Time for sabbath. Time for rest. Continue reading “Desert Day 34: Holy Absence …”
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 …”
They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
One nation shall not raise the sword against
nor shall they train for war again.
— Isaiah 2:4
While external clutter is rather easily cured with a big waste basket and a donation bag, internal clutter is a more difficult matter. During the holidays, relatives can sometimes seem hard-wired to cause us hardship, co-workers can more readily get on our nerves, and our stress levels can elevate completely out of control. Unlike cleaning our closets, we can’t collect our stress and donate it to someone else. Our stress is our own, and we have to deal with it. We live in a stress-filled world and can only do what we can to manage stress. We want to be constructive with our stress, “beating our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks.” We want to quit “training for war” and use the energy of our stress for peace. Continue reading “Advent Day 14: Comfort and Joy …”
Most of the things we need to be most fully alive never come in busyness. They grow in rest.
— Mark Buchanan from The Holy Wild
Sometimes I have loved the peacefulness of an ordinary Sunday. It is like standing in a newly planted garden after a warm rain. You can feel the silent and invisible life. Continue reading “A Day of Rest …”
First, silence makes us pilgrims. Secondly, silence guards the fire within. Thirdly, silence teaches us to speak.
― Henri J.M. Nouwen from The Way of the Heart
In our quest for God, we think too much, reflect too much, talk too much. Even when we look at this dance that we call creation, we are the whole time thinking, talking (to ourselves and others) reflecting, analyzing, philosophizing. Words. Noise.
Be silent and contemplate the Dance. Just look: a star, a flower, a fading leaf, a bird, a stone… any fragment of the Dance will do. Look. Listen. Smell. Touch. Taste. And, hopefully, it won’t be long before you see Him—the Dancer Himself!
— Anthony de Mello SJ from The Song of the Bird
Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose, there are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.
— Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
And I can feel it, how when a new week starts to run after me, the goodness and mercy of God isn’t just following after me placidly. The goodness and mercy of God pursues after me passionately. It’s what I keep thinking, picking up lost legos, errant books — like how my mama used to dash off the front porch and run down the lane after me, waving about whatever book I forgot for school — and who else is behind a forgetful, rat-race world but the chasing God? Continue reading “God Is So Bent On Blessing, He Chases …”
- I commit to finding moments each day for silence and solitude, to make space for another voice to be heard, and to resist a culture of noise and constant stimulation.
- I commit to radical acts of hospitality by welcoming the stranger both without and within. I recognize that when I make space inside my heart for the unclaimed parts of myself, I cultivate compassion and the ability to accept those places in others.
- I commit to cultivating community by finding kindred spirits along the path, soul friends with whom I can share my deepest longings, and mentors who can offer guidance and wisdom for the journey.
- I commit to cultivating awareness of my kinship with creation and a healthy asceticism by discerning my use of energy and things, letting go of what does not help nature to flourish.
- I commit to bringing myself fully present to the work I do, whether paid or unpaid, holding a heart of gratitude for the ability to express my gifts in the world in meaningful ways.
- I commit to rhythms of rest and renewal through the regular practice of Sabbath and resist a culture of busyness that measures my worth by what I do.
- I commit to a lifetime of ongoing conversion and transformation, recognizing that I am always on a journey with both gifts and limitations.
Whatever is foreseen in joy
Must be lived out from day to day.
Vision held open in the dark
By our ten thousand days of work. Continue reading “Savoring The Sabbath …”