Turning to God in Suffering

April 27th, 2016

In general, we do not turn to God in suffering because we suddenly become irrational. Rather, God is able to reach us because our defenses are lowered. The barriers that we erected to keep out God — whether from pride or fear or lack of interest — are set aside, whether intentionally or unintentionally. We are not less rational. We are more open.

— James Martin, S.J., The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, p. 78

Guilt Hides Fear.

April 25th, 2016

Guilt is a place where we have made a monument to a mistake and left the path of life to worship at this monument. It has us withdraw and then withholds us from the people we love. We may feel we have made a mistake in relation to our partner and now feel guilty about it, but guilt not only reinforces the mistake, it starves our partner of the very love and nurturing they need. Forgiving ourselves cuts through the guilt and allows us to give the love and nurturing. Guilt keeps us stuck like the great superglue of life; the primary reason for our guilt is so we don’t have to move forward and face the next step. Our willingness to allow the next step to emerge cuts through fear in much the same way that forgiveness cuts through guilt.

— Chuck Spezzano, If It Hurts, It Isn’t Love, p. 54

Public Library as Refuge

April 22nd, 2016

Places like the public library where Jennifer, Kaitlin, , and Cole found refuge are crucial to the day-to-day survival strategies of the $2-a-day poor. They offer a warm place to sit, a clean and safe bathroom, and a way to get online to complete a job application. They provide free educational programs for kids. Perhaps most important, they can help struggling families feel they are part of society instead of cast aside by it. Sometimes these institutions serve those in need begrudgingly — a library might prefer that it not be a rest stop and warming station for the city’s homeless people. But other times they attend to destitute patrons with tremendous love and warmth. Kaitlin’s friend the librarian gave her more than a job; she gave her a way to contribute, a place to belong.

— Kathryn J. Edin & H. Luke Shaefer, $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, p. 101

From Our Heads to Our Hearts Through Our Hands

April 21st, 2016

I’ve come to believe that creativity is the mechanism that allows learning to seep into our being and become practice.

— Brené Brown, Rising Strong

Control

April 20th, 2016

Control is a form of fear. When you are tempted to control the relationship, it’s because you’re afraid that you are unloveable and that you might lose someone’s love. Unfortunately, the more you try to control a relationship, the less loving it feels. If only one of you is authorized to take the lead, make the decisions, and drive the car, so to speak, you run into problems. Too much control makes the other person passive or passive-aggressive. The more you control someone, the less attractive and interesting the person is to you. Controlling the relationship makes it less exciting and less fun. Control stunts growth. It kills the aliveness. The relationship is a dead fish.

— Robert Holden, Loveability, p. 152

True Belief

April 19th, 2016

To believe in God is not to affirm His existence. To believe in God means to trust God, to rely on God to be there for you when you are afflicted by despair, to light your path when you are uncertain as to what to do.

— Harold S. Kushner, Nine Essential Things I’ve Learned About Life, p. 116.

Grace

April 18th, 2016

But if the world is watching, we might as well tell the truth. And the truth is, the church doesn’t offer a cure. It doesn’t offer a quick fix. The church offers death and resurrection. The church offers the messy, inconvenient, gut-wrenching, never-ending work of healing and reconciliation. The church offers grace.

— Rachel Held Evans, Searching for Sunday, p. 209

Which God?

April 6th, 2016

Instead of automatically blaming the person who does not believe in a God, we should ask first if his notion of God is a god that ought to be believed in.

— George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons, Second Series, quoted in Discovering the Character of God, p. 19

Acceptance

March 30th, 2016

Acceptance has everything to do with simplicity, with sitting in the ordinary place, with bearing witness to the plain facts of our lives, with not just starting at the essential, but ending up there. Acceptance speaks in the gentlest voice. It commands only that we acknowledge what’s true.

— Cheryl Strayed, Brave Enough, p. 127

Letting Go of Expectations

March 8th, 2016

It takes a person of great maturity not to move away when someone expects something of them. Letting go of our expectations opens us to receiving. Once the urgency is gone, our partner or the people around us are much more willing to move in to fill the gap by responding and giving to us.

— Chuck Spezzano, If It Hurts, It Isn’t Love, p. 48