Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Detours

Friday, October 19th, 2018

But be warned. In Scripture, and in life, the road to deliverance nearly always takes a detour. Rarely do the people of God reach any kind of promised land without a journey or two through the wilderness.

— Rachel Held Evans, Inspired, p. 48

Photo: Rhein River, Germany, April 4, 1997

Narrow Our Focus

Saturday, September 8th, 2018

Jesus, in Matthew’s gospel, says, “How narrow is the gate that leads to life.” Mistakenly, I think, we’ve come to believe that this is about restriction. The way is narrow. But it really wants us to see that narrowness is the way.

St. Hedwig writes, “All is narrow for me, I feel so vast.” It’s about funneling ourselves into a central place. Our choice is not to focus on the narrow, but to narrow our focus. The gate that leads to life is not about restriction at all. It is about an entry into the expansive. There is a vastness in knowing you’re a son/daughter worth having. We see our plentitude in God’s own expansive view of us, and we marinate in this.

— Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart, p. 31-32

Photo: Notre Dame, Paris, April 2001

Settling

Saturday, September 1st, 2018

Human beings are settlers, but not in the pioneer sense. It is our human occupational hazard to settle for little. We settle for purity and piety when we are being invited to an exquisite holiness. We settle for the fear-driven when love longs to be our engine. We settle for a puny, vindictive God when we are being nudged always closer to this wildly inclusive, larger-than-any-life God. We allow our sense of God to atrophy. We settle for the illusion of separation when we are endlessly asked to enter into kinship with all.

— Gregory Boyle, Barking to the Choir, p. 2-3

Photo: Sky Meadows State Park, Virginia, July 3, 2017

Deciding to Love Life

Thursday, August 30th, 2018

You have to make a conscious decision to love life. It won’t happen on its own and no one else can do it for you. One way to help you become conscious of your own love of life is to do as this young man did, and remember the times you felt it in your own life.

Like him, many people have gotten into the habit of not loving life. I don’t think it happens deliberately, but it seems to be a habit that comes easily. It’s a habit, though, that has a seriously destructive effect on our lives, and erodes so much of our potential for happiness. We need to break this habit by starting to see the little joys that are in our lives. I meet mothers who see their lives as one chore after another, and forget to see all the moments when they really love being a mother. When we allow ourselves to love life we get energized mentally and physically, and start to see more purpose in our lives. We become happier and healthier people, more able to cope with whatever life throws at us. We become more compassionate and loving, less judgmental.

— Lorna Byrne, Love from Heaven, p. 115

Photo: Meadowlark Gardens, Virginia, April 3, 2012

Gratitude as Practice

Saturday, August 18th, 2018

Practice takes time. A well-known rule of practice says that to become an expert at something, you need to devote ten thousand hours to doing it. Gratitude is not a practice that can be counted in hours. Instead, it invites us to engage the longer arc of time. In order for it to become a habit, it asks that we attend to seeing time more fully: engaging the past more graciously, living more appreciatively now, and building thanks into the foundation of our future. Attending to our lives with hindsight, wide sight, and foresight moves gratefulness from emotion to ethic. Thus, gratitude may feel good — and those good feelings do good things for us — but as an ethical disposition, gratitude is a strong basis for creating a good life. The habit of gratefulness helps us thrive. It not only takes time, but it can change the way we experience the times of our lives.

— Diana Butler Bass, Gratitude, p. 70

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, August 15, 2013

The Unboxable Largeness of Life

Monday, August 13th, 2018

The course of a champion requires continual growth. For the person who’s growing, each day is different. Each hour presents new challenges that have to be met with new strategies. If we’re stuck in a rut, we don’t need new strategies; we can live by the same old rules and never change a thing. To joy this is intolerable. Joy requires freshness, newness, stimulation. Joy thrives on the unboxable largeness of life in all its bewildering variety. Depression feeds on sameness, but joy craves a steady diet of fresh, dangerous, wiggling, live game.

— Mike Mason, Champagne for the Soul, p. 82

[Photo: From Dunluce Castle, Northern Ireland, July 2001]

Love of Life

Friday, August 10th, 2018

When you approach work or any task with love of life, the task becomes so much easier, you gain more confidence, and start to see the positives in the work you are doing. You realize how much you enjoy your colleagues, or how nice so many of the customers are, or you simply appreciate going home with a paycheck. When you approach work with this love of life you have more mental and physical energy and are able to do a better job. You are open to see and seize opportunities to learn new things or take on a new job. It helps to move you forward in life. People who really love life are frequently not in the most important jobs. They may not need as much as others need in terms of stimulation, or reward, but they often, though, live much more satisfying and happier work lives than those who seek higher status.

— Lorna Byrne, Love from Heaven, p. 112

Photo: Rota, Spain, December 18, 2005

Singing in the Midst of Evil

Sunday, August 5th, 2018

Singing in the midst of evil is what it means to be disciples. Like Mary Magdalene, the reason we can stand and weep and listen for Jesus is because we, like Mary, are bearers of resurrection, we are made new. On the third day, Jesus rose again, and we do not need to be afraid. To sing to God amidst sorrow is to defiantly proclaim, like Mary Magdalene did to the apostles, and like my friend Don did at Dylan Klebold’s funeral, that death is not the final word. To defiantly say, once again, that a light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot, will not, shall not overcome it. And so, evil be damned, because even as we go to the grave, still we make our song alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia.

— Nadia Bolz-Weber, Pastrix, p. 201

[Photo: Great Falls, Virginia, June 14, 2013]

Fulfilling Your Purpose

Monday, July 16th, 2018

Fulfilling your purpose, with meaning, is what gives you that powerful spark of energy unique to only you. The result is an electrifying current of clarity rising from the deepest part of yourself. By tapping into that source, you will no longer feel like the salmon swimming upstream. Instead, people will finally see the highest, truest version of you and stand in awe, wondering how you achieved your dreams.

— Oprah Winfrey, The Wisdom of Sundays, p. 175

[Photo: Above Gundersweiler, Germany, July 1998]

Living Our Purpose

Thursday, July 12th, 2018

Living our purpose is one of the keys to finding happiness. Many of us wonder what our purpose is, but our purpose is not really something we do, it is something we are. The more we unfold ourselves, the more we develop ourselves, the more we hear the call to what we truly want to do, the more we find our happiness. Doing what we truly want to do, with integrity, brings us happiness and fulfillment.

— Chuck Spezzano, If It Hurts, It Isn’t Love, p. 320

[Photo: Hug Point, Oregon, November 10, 2015]