Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Priorities

Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

It’s not easy to establish priorities in life. Most of life is spent needing to do everything at once. And that’s impossible. At least it is impossible to do them all at the same level of artistry all the time. There are simply some things worth doing that at some times are worth doing poorly. Sometimes the soufflé doesn’t come out as raised as we would like it, but it is food on the table and that is all that matters for now.

The ability to deal with failure, with doing some things well enough without having to do them compulsively, is a great gift.

— Joan Chittister, Between the Dark and the Daylight, p. 58

Photo: Burg Rheinfels, Germany, April 2003

The Spirit of Delight

Saturday, December 8th, 2018

We breathe in the spirit that delights in our being — the fragrance of it. And it works on us. Then we exhale (for that breath has to go somewhere) — to breathe into the world this same spirit of delight, confident that this is God’s only agenda.

— Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart, p. 151

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, December 8, 2018

Holding Space

Thursday, December 6th, 2018

As therapists and caregivers explain, to “hold space” for someone is to simply sit with them in their pain, without judgment or solutions, and remain present and attentive no matter the outcome. The Psalms are, in a sense, God’s way of holding space for us. They invite us to rejoice, wrestle, cry, complain, offer thanks, and shout obscenities before our Maker without self-consciousness and without fear. Life is full of the sort of joys and sorrows that don’t resolve neatly in a major key. God knows that. The Bible knows that. Why don’t we?

— Rachel Held Evans, Inspired, p. 110-111

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, December 4, 2018

Out of Our Own Way

Friday, November 30th, 2018

Love allows us to get out of our own way. It allows us to transcend this fear and these calcified ways of reacting. Love allows us to receive freely. Love raises us above the worries and cares and creates the responsiveness that brings contact and joy.

Today, go out there and love. Get out of your own way. Love everyone you meet, and let the love that wants to come to you from God through others reach you.

— Chuck Spezzano, If It Hurts, It Isn’t Love, p. 381

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, November 30, 2018

Gifts of Failure

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

No, life is not about winning. It is about trying, about participating, about striving, about becoming the best we can be, not the best by someone else’s measure. That’s what failure does for us. It teaches us about ourselves: our energy level, our endurance level, what we’re naturally good at and what we’re not, what we like and what we don’t, what it means to do something just for the fun of it. Failure doesn’t mean that we cannot compete; it doesn’t mean not to give everything we have to doing what we do. It does mean that just because we play we don’t have to win. The playing is the thing.

Most of all, it gives us the permission to go through life without public certification. Failure enables us to take risks as we grow until we find where we really fit, where we can not only succeed, but also enjoy the challenges of life as well.

No, winning is not everything. But we will never really know that until we lose a few and discover that the world does not end when we lose. Now it is just a matter of trying again somewhere else, perhaps. Now we’re free to be unnoticed. We’re free to do what we like best, what is needed most, what will bring us to the most we can be: the most happy, the most competent, the most satisfied with who we are and what we do. That means, of course, that we have to make choices about what we want to do and why we want to do it.

— Joan Chittister, Between the Dark and the Daylight, p. 57-58

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, October 29, 2018

The Path of Wisdom

Saturday, November 24th, 2018

The aim of wisdom literature is to uncover something true about the nature of reality in a way that makes the reader or listener wiser. In the Bible, wisdom is rarely presented as a single decision, belief, or rule, but rather as a “way” or “path” that the sojourner must continually discern amid the twists and turns of life.

I had a college professor who assigned the book of Proverbs to his Psychology 101 class, instructing us to circle in our Bibles every appearance of the word way or path. The point, he said, is that wisdom isn’t about sticking to a set of rules or hitting some imaginary bull’s-eye representing “God’s will.” Wisdom is a way of life, a journey of humility and faithfulness we take together, one step at a time.

— Rachel Held Evans, Inspired, p. 96-97

Photo: Burg Lahneck, Germany, August 22, 2004

Better Lives

Thursday, November 22nd, 2018

Practicing gratitude calls us to better lives, and a better world.

And begin before you are ready. Even when a million reasons to not feel grateful stand in your way. That is when gratitude is at its best. It took me one hundred days to understand this. My husband observed, “You know, gratitude saved your life in the midst of all the chaos.” He was right. Gratitude became both my refuge and my rallying cry. It made a huge difference. Trust me.

— Diana Butler Bass, Gratitude, p. 193

Photo: Assateague Island, October 24, 2016

Saying Yes to Life

Saturday, November 17th, 2018

Saying yes to life is enlivening and invigorating.

Saying yes to life frees up our energy to be present with whatever is happening.

Saying yes to life is the gateway to unimagined adventures and possibilities – as readily available to us in our living room as on a trek across India. It’s a matter of how we relate to our unfolding experiences.

— Sharon Salzberg, Real Love, p. 280

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, January 25, 2016.

The Defiance of Gratitude

Friday, November 2nd, 2018

Gratitude is defiance of sorts, the defiance of kindness in the face of anger, of connection in the face of division, and of hope in the face of fear. Gratefulness does not acquiesce to evil — it resists evil. That resistance is not that of force or direct confrontation. Gratitude undoes evil by tunneling under its foundations of anger, resentment, and greed. Thus, gratitude strengthens our character and moral resolve, giving each of us the possibility of living peaceably and justly. It untwists knotted hearts, waking us to a new sense of who we are as individuals and in community. Being thankful is the very essence of what it means to be alive, and to know that life abundantly.

— Diana Butler Bass, Gratitude, p. 185-186

And I couldn’t stand doing just one photo. Both photos: South Riding, Virginia, November 2, 2018

Beautiful and Unique

Saturday, October 27th, 2018

I have been taught by the angels since I was a child to see the unique beauty within each person, all the physical beauty that is there, as well as the beauty and love that is in their heart. Looking at a person I am always shown wonderful personality attributes, gentleness and kindness (even in people who have told me they have done terrible things). I have never ever met a person who is not beautiful and unique. But I know that so many of you struggle to believe this, just as you struggle to believe that you are pure love.

Remember, no one is perfect — I’m not, you’re not, and no one in the world is. We are all humans with our frailties, so stop setting yourself an impossible standard to live up to. We are all unique, we are all different, so stop comparing yourself unfavorably to others — it makes life tougher than it needs to be and is a big barrier to self-love.

— Lorna Byrne, Love from Heaven, p. 199

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, October 13, 2018