Archive for the ‘Waiting’ Category

Just Past the Curse

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

When you can invest yourself deeply and unremittingly in the life that surrounds you instead of declaring yourself out of the game once and for all, because what’s happened to you is too bad, too deep, too ugly for anyone to expect you to move on from, that’s that good, rich place. That’s the place where the things that looked for all intents and purposes like curses start to stand up and shimmer and dance, and you realize with a gasp that they may have been blessings all along. Or maybe not. Maybe they were curses, in fact, but the force of your belief and your hope and your desperate love for life as it is actually unfolding, has brought a blessing from a curse, like water from a stone, like life from a tomb, like the actual story of God over and over.

I would never try to tell you that every bad thing is really a good thing, just waiting to be gazed at with pretty new eyes, just waiting to be shined up and — ta da! — discovered as fantastic. But what I know is that for me, and for my friend Jon, and for a lot of the people I love, we’re discovering that lots of times, not every time, maybe, but more often than not, there is something just past the heartbreak, just past the curse, just past the despair, and that thing is beautiful. You don’t want it to be beautiful, at first. You want to stay in the pain and the blackness because it feels familiar, and because you’re not done feeling victimized and smashed up. But one day you’ll wake up surprised and humbled, staring at something you thought for sure was a curse and has revealed itself to be a blessing — a beautiful, delicate blessing.

— Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines, p. 178-179

This Is It

Friday, May 10th, 2013

But this is what I’m finding, in glimpses and flashes: this is it. This is it, in the best possible way. That thing I’m waiting for, that adventure, that movie-score-worthy experience unfolding gracefully. This is it. Normal, daily life ticking by on our streets and sidewalks, in our houses and apartments, in our beds and at our dinner tables, in our dreams and prayers and fights and secrets — this pedestrian life is the most precious thing any of us will ever experience.

I believe that this way of living, this focus on the present, the daily, the tangible, this intense concentration not on the news headlines but on the flowers growing in your own garden, the children growing in your own home, this way of living has the potential to open up the heavens, to yield a glittering handful of diamonds where a second ago there was coal. This way of living and noticing and building and crafting can crack through the movie sets and soundtracks that keep us waiting for our own life stories to begin, and set us free to observe the lives we have been creating all along without even realizing it.

I don’t want to wait anymore. I choose to believe that there is nothing more sacred or profound than this day. I choose to believe that there may be a thousand big moments embedded in this day, waiting to be discovered like tiny shards of gold. The big moments are the daily, tiny moments of courage and forgiveness and hope that we grab on to and extend to one another. That’s the daily, tiny moments of courage and forgiveness and hope that we grab on to and extend to one another. That’s the drama of life, swirling all around us, and generally I don’t even see it, because I’m too busy waiting to become whatever it is I think I am about to become. The big moments are in every hour, every conversation, every meal, every meeting.

— Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines, p. 16-17

Rich Complexity

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

If Jesus were a magic prayer machine, he’d have healed this woman’s daughter instantly, and we would not have discovered her feisty, creative spirit. Likewise, Jesus’ ambiguity with us creates the space not only for him to emerge but us as well. If the miracle comes too quickly, there is no room for discovery, for relationship. With both this woman and us, Jesus is engaged in a divine romance, wooing us to himself.

The waiting that is the essence of faith provides the context for relationship. Faith and relationship are interwoven in dance. Everyone talks about how prayer is relationship, but often what people mean is having warm fuzzies with God. Nothing wrong with warm fuzzies, but relationships are far richer and more complex.

— Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life, p. 190-191

Spirals and Layers

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

I’ve seen and experienced over and over that grief and loss are ALWAYS

Doorways to Transformation.

My experiences with both have showed me that we can more actively work with time as we process grief and loss, instead of just waiting for time to pass. We really can consciously practice integrating loss and grief and living with them more fully and beautifully.

I know now that this healing happens in spirals and layers and NOT in steps like a ladder.

We cycle back around and start over, get stuck in the middle, and sometimes get to what feels like the end quickly.

We can weave all these experiences together into an eventual elegant tapestry. I’ve been speaking with lots of people about the subjects of loss and grief, and it’s clear that in every case, whatever has been lost — job, savings, home, health, money, life — has tremendous gifts and opportunities to offer

IF

We do our transformational work.

— SARK, Glad No Matter What: Transforming Loss and Change Into Gift and Opportunity, p. 19-20

God’s Orchestration

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

“Thy will be done, God,” we pray, “but in the meanwhile, let me try this.” It is difficult to allow the timing of God, the moving of other gears into play. We forget that God is orchestrating a much larger whole, and we tend to think of and want God’s will for us to be an instantaneous release from all that troubles us. We want our spiritual life to be a product, not a process. We want to be finished, solved, soothed — and sometimes it is our discomfort that is drawing us toward God.

— Julia Cameron, Faith and Will, p. 60-61

Growth Can’t Be Hurried.

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

I have no confidence in forcing the moral or spiritual garden. A hothouse development must necessarily be a sickly one, rendering the plant unfit for the normal life of the open air. Wait. We must not hurry things.

— George MacDonald, Wisdom To Live By, p.120

God’s Agenda

Monday, September 6th, 2010

It is one of the ironies of the spiritual life that so much can be seen in retrospect as having been designed in our own best interest. When something finally does come to pass, it is often all we can do to manage it. “Why, if this had happened any sooner, I wouldn’t have been ready,” we catch ourselves thinking. “I needed every instant of preparation for this that I have had.” Many times we ask God for help with securing a certain agenda, then rage because God does not cooperate, only to have God’s agenda revealed later as far better.

It is in seeking to cooperate with God’s agenda for our life that we come to some sense of peace. Is it too much to think that God has an agenda for each of us? I don’t think so. Again, a look at the natural world tells us of the exquisite particularity of God’s care. The daffodil is given just what it needs to grow and we are asked only to cooperate. We must be willing to be either the daffodil or the violet, according to God’s will for us. We so often do not see the lineaments of our own character being formed. We have an idea of ourselves that may be counter to what God’s idea for our self is. I am in the midst of discovering this for myself right now.

— Julia Cameron, Faith and Will, p. 23-24

Asking to be Surprised

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

I have a good friend who says to me that we tend to think we can second-guess God. We say, “God’s will will be A, B, or C — only to have the answer be God’s will is H, heliotrope, which never occurred to me.”

When we believe in God and put our faith in God, we are asking to be surprised. God is all-powerful and works on our life from all corners. We may think “Now is the time to focus on my career,” only to find that God has decided “Now is the time for me to find a fulfilling personal relationship.” We may decide “Now is the time for me to find a personal relationship,” only to discover that God has decided to stabilize our career. God’s version of what is good for us is far more far-seeing than our own. We can seek to cooperate with God, but we do well not to argue too hard with God’s sense of timing.

Few things create more misery than a fight with God about the seasons of our life. When we hold out, stubbornly insisting on a certain blessing that we feel God is withholding, we miss the many blessings that God is in the process of bestowing. When we are saying, “I want this now,” we miss that that may be coming to us instead. We may be asking God for a romantic relationship in a period when God is focused on building up our grid of nonromantic friendships. We may be yearning for a special someone to make us feel more special while God is working on giving us that feeling for ourselves, independent of our romantic status. We may be asking God, demanding of God, that we be given someone to make us feel less lonely when God is in the process of teaching us how to be comfortable on our own.

— Julia Cameron, Faith and Will, p. 21-22

Becoming Larger

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Very often when we are in a panic about faith, it is because God is making us larger. We do not see how we are going to be able to make ends meet, and we doubt that God is going to do that for us or through us. We are afraid we are being made smaller, and yet for some of us the temptation to rush back to what once was a right size and is no longer is a very real temptation. “I’ll just cut my losses,” we decide, and then we set about trying to wedge ourselves back into a former definition of our self that no longer holds true. What happens? It doesn’t work very well. We cannot go back, but we do not see how we can go forward either. And the answer is that we cannot go forward of our own steam, left to our own devices. In order to go forward and become larger, we are going to need the grace of God.

— Julia Cameron, Faith and Will, p. 16-17

Waiting

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

If you want to be impressed, note how often God’s people seem to be waiting….

I came to the parable Jesus told about the ten maidens waiting for the bridegroom…. I’d always thought that the point of the story was that we should be prepared. But in my reading after the retreat, it seemed to be just as much about waiting. Waiting through the dark night. The idea is that waiting precedes celebration. If you don’t show up prepared to wait, you may miss the transcendent when it happens.

Most stunning to me was the picture I began to get of God waiting. The parable of the prodigal son would be more aptly named the parable of the waiting father. It tells us much more about God than anything else — a God who watches and waits with a full heart for us to make our homecoming.

— Sue Monk Kidd, When the Heart Waits, p. 28-29