December 5th, 2013
There is meaning in focus, concentration, attention. I now notice almost every single bird that flies by, as well as every single butterfly. I pay attention to most plain old butterflies, not just the ones in tiaras or argyle socks. Butterflies and birds are like one perfect teaspoon of creation.
– Anne Lamott, Stitches, p. 87
December 3rd, 2013
My young preacher friend Anni pointed out to me that God could do anything God wanted, heal and create through weather or visions or the ever popular tongues of fire, but instead chooses us to be the way, to help, to share, to draw close. To me, that is a terrible idea. No offense. Look at us. Look at the dry bones of the ruined people in Ezekiel. This prophet, who probably looked like a complete nut, had a vision of these bones coming back to life, becoming people again. His compassion and witness were the breeze that stirred them, the spirit, which is an infusion of energy, which is life. He roused them and got them back to their feet. Again, if there is a God, He or She does not need Ezekiel, or the people of this small burnt town, but instead chooses people. What a crazy system.
– Anne Lamott, Stitches, p. 61
December 1st, 2013
I think thankfulness is like a flower. It needs care and cherishing if it is to live and grow. Perhaps thankfulness, even more than some other qualities that seem to come naturally to us, is in need of cherishing, because of the withering winds of life.
– Amy Carmichael, Thou Givest, They Gather, p. 69
November 6th, 2013
Forgiveness is the great spiritual weapon against the Evil One. As long as we remain victims of anger and resentment, the power of darkness can continue to divide us and tempt us with endless power games. But when we forgive those who threaten our lives, they lose their power over us…. Forgiveness enables us to take the first step of the dance.
– Henri J. M. Nouwen, The Only Necessary Thing, p. 152
November 6th, 2013
The interesting thing is that when you can forgive people for not being God then you can celebrate that they are a reflection of God. You can say, “Since you are not God, I love you because you have such beautiful gifts of God’s love.” You don’t have everything of God, but what you have to offer is worth celebrating. By celebrate, I mean to lift up, affirm, confirm, to rejoice in another person’s gifts. You can say you are a reflection of that unlimited love.
– Henri J. M. Nouwen, The Only Necessary Thing, p. 150-151
October 1st, 2013
God does not require a pure heart before embracing us. Even if we return only because following our desires has failed to bring happiness, God will take us back. Even if we return because being a Christian brings us more peace than being a pagan, God will receive us. Even if we return because our sins did not offer as much satisfaction as we had hoped, God will take us back. Even if we return because we could not make it on our own, God will receive us. God’s love does not require any explanations about why we are returning. God is glad to see us home and wants to give us all we desire, just for being home.
– Henri J. M. Nouwen, The Only Necessary Thing, p. 73
September 27th, 2013
Prayer, then, is listening to that voice — to the One who calls you the Beloved. It is to constantly go back to the truth of who we are and claim it for ourselves. I’m not what I do. I’m not what people say about me. I’m not what I have. Although there is nothing wrong with success, there is nothing wrong with popularity, there is nothing wrong with being powerful, finally my spiritual identity is not rooted in the world, the things the world gives me. My life is rooted in my spiritual identity. Whatever we do, we have to go back regularly to that place of core identity.
– Henri J. M. Nouwen, The Only Necessary Thing, p. 67
September 17th, 2013
Focus on improvement of any kind, regardless of whether it is directly related to the initial cause of your pain, will lessen the intensity of the hurt and, eventually, make it extinct.
– Steven Stosny, Living & Loving After Betrayal, p. 65
September 13th, 2013
It may seem patently unfair that the injured party in an intimate betrayal has to take responsibility for her personal healing. That’s because healing has nothing to do with fairness; it has to do with power. Where blame renders us powerless, responsibility empowers us.
– Steven Stosny, Living and Loving After Betrayal, p. 41
September 9th, 2013
We are being motivated by fear or love in every encounter we experience. This may seem like an oversimplification, but I have found that it’s the best way for me to judge my actions or reactions to others on my path. If I am able to observe people living however they choose, without it unduly upsetting me, then I am practicing acceptance, which is an act of love. If I am agitated by their actions, I am experiencing fear, and I want them to change.
– Karen Casey, Let Go Now, p. 227