Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Joy in the Present Moment

Wednesday, May 29th, 2019

If I’m trying to be happy today in the same way I was happy yesterday, I’ll fail. The manna of joy falls in limitless supply, but each day’s rations must be gathered afresh. Joy inhabits only the present moment; if I can’t embrace it now, it’s gone.

What keeps me from seizing joy in the moment? Sorrow, obviously; yet joy too, either remembered or anticipated, can alienate me from present reality. Great things have happened and will happen, but they cannot compare with what God does right now, that His power and glory may continually spring forth fresh.

— Mike Mason, Champagne for the Soul, p. 141

Be Beautiful, Be Yourself

Friday, April 26th, 2019

If you can accept your body, then you have a chance to see your body as your home. You can rest in your body, settle in, relax, and feel joy and ease. If you don’t accept your body and your mind, you can’t be at home with yourself. You have to accept yourself as you are. This is a very important practice. As you practice building a home in yourself, you become more and more beautiful.

— Thich Nhat Hanh, How to Love, p. 23

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, April 8, 2019

Writing Your Life

Monday, April 22nd, 2019

And everything that has happened to you belongs to you. If people wanted you to write more warmly about them, they should have behaved better.

— Anne Lamott, Almost Everything, p. 92

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, March 20, 2019

God’s Joy

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

You want to be there when the poetry happens. Isaiah has God say: “Be glad forever and rejoice in what I create . . . for I create my people to be a delight.” God thinking we’d enjoy ourselves. Delighting is what occupies God, and God’s hope is that we join in. That God’s joy may be in us and this joy may be complete. We just happen to be God’s joy. That takes some getting used to.

— Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart, p. 158

Photo: Oregon Coast, August 6, 2014

Into the Arms of God

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

Bonhoeffer notices Jesus giving these teachings about how to live a life of love. He says, if you approach them as mechanical, legalistic things, you’ll stumble. The key is not to turn the teachings of Jesus into a new law. The key, he says, is to throw yourself into the arms of God. Throw yourself into the hands of Jesus. And then, you might actually learn to love an enemy. Then you might pray for those who curse you. Then you know what it means to be blessed. The poor. The poor in spirit. That’s what makes them compassionate. That’s what makes them hunger for God’s justice. That’s how Peter walks on water. To throw yourself into the arms of Jesus . . . and hold on.

— Michael Curry, The Power of Love, p. 25-26

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, March 16, 2019

Joy Training

Monday, March 11th, 2019

Some of us periodically need to repeat the joy training, rehabilitate the part of us that naturally dims or gets injured by busyness, or just by too much bad news to bear. Adults rarely have the imagination or energy of children, but we do have one another, and nature, and old black-and-white movies, and the ultimate secret weapon, books. Books! To fling myself into a book, to be carried away to another world while being at my most grounded, on my butt or in my bed or favorite chair, is literally how I have survived being here at all. Someone else is doing the living for me, and all I have to do is let their stories, humor, knowledge, and images — some of which I’ll never forget — flow through me, even as I forget to turn off the car when I arrive at my destination.

— Anne Lamott, Almost Everything, p. 64-65

Photo: Swans over South Riding, Virginia, December 31, 2015

Unbounded Enthusiasm

Saturday, March 2nd, 2019

If anything, loss is not meant to ruin us or our sleep for the rest of our lives. It simply prepares us to lose better the next time, to go into life over and over again, knowing full well that this phase, too, will end so that we can take our own unbounded enthusiasm into the next part of coming to wholeness. Whatever that may be.

— Joan Chittister, Between the Dark and the Daylight, p. 105

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, February 10, 2017

Fed by Life

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019

How can we know all this, yet somehow experience joy? Because that’s how we’re designed — for awareness and curiosity. We are hardwired with curiosity inside us, because life knew that this would keep us going even in bad sailing. We see the newborn energy of the universe most flagrantly in the sea and in the entire Jell-O-y wiggle of a baby. The universe expresses itself most showily as children, and it moves through children of all ages — your nephew, baby Jesus, and Ruth Gordon in Harold and Maude, shimmying at eighty in a cocktail dress. Life feeds anyone who is open to taste its food, wonder, and glee — its immediacy. We see this toward the end of many people’s lives, when everything in their wasted bodies fights to stay alive, for a few more kisses or bites of ice cream, one more hour with you. Life is still flowing through them: life is them.

— Anne Lamott, Almost Everything, p. 63

Photo: My nieces at the Chinese Garden, Portland, Oregon, February 1, 2019

Rejoice Always

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019

If you’re unhappy now, don’t fret or feel guilty about it. Guilt and worry only perpetuate misery. Instead, be happy. Change your mind about the outrageous impracticality of this advice. If the Bible says “Rejoice always,” there must be something to it.

But you object: “I can’t be happy, because I’m sick,” or “I can’t be happy because my husband left me,” or “I can’t be happy, because I’m sad.” Don’t you understand? Happiness is the very weapon you need to surmount all these conditions. Happiness doesn’t come to those who sit around waiting until life gets better. Happiness comes to those who grab hold of its proffered hand in order to rise up and conquer their struggles.

— Mike Mason, Champagne for the Soul, p. 130

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, February 22, 2015

Also About Life

Monday, January 21st, 2019

What happened on the cross has been the subject of wonder and debate for centuries, with Christians of good faith employing different metaphors and language to articulate its significance, but any view that reduces Jesus to a sort of deus ex machina, necessary only for a single moment of rescue, strips the incarnation of all its power and tells a far simpler story than the one the Bible actually gives us. Jesus didn’t just “come to die.” Jesus came to live — to teach, to heal, to tell stories, to protest, to turn over tables, to touch people who weren’t supposed to be touched and eat with people who weren’t supposed to be eaten with, to break bread, to pour wine, to wash feet, to face temptation, to tick off the authorities, to fulfill Scripture, to forgive, to announce the start of a brand-new kingdom, to show us what that kingdom is like, to show us what God is like, to love his enemies to the point of death at their hands, and to beat death by rising from the grave.

Jesus did not simply die to save us from our sins; Jesus lived to save us from our sins. His life and teachings show us the way to liberation.

— Rachel Held Evans, Inspired, p. 154-155

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, January 14, 2019