Spread the Care

Fight the urge to withdraw, to fold in on yourself, as if your pain is contagious and might infect someone else. We are here to take care of one another; the care is what’s catching, spreading person to person to person. So take — and give — care.

KEEP MOVING.

— Maggie Smith, Keep Moving, p. 71

Photo: Bluebell Trail, Bull Run Regional Park, Virginia, April 8, 2021

Gifts of Each Season

Each season has its gifts. What did my life’s hardest season give to me? Most of all, belief in my own ability not only to come back after a long winter but to grow stronger, more alive. Belief that change makes everything possible. Belief in my own spring. In the meantime, thanks to the bare trees, I can see more sky. It’s a beauty emergency — all that blue through the branches.

— Maggie Smith, Keep Moving, p. 55

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, March 27, 2021

The Big Thing

I would insist that the foundation of Jesus’s social program is what I will call non-idolatry, or the withdrawing of your enthrallment from all kingdoms except the Kingdom of God. This is a much better agenda than feeling you have to attack things directly, or defeat other nation-states, the banking system, the military-industrial complex, or even the religious system. Nonattachment (freedom from full or final loyalties to man-made domination systems) is the best way I know of protecting people from religious zealotry or any kind of antagonistic thinking or behavior. There is nothing to be against, but just keep concentrating on the Big Thing you are for! (Think Francis of Assissi and Mother Teresa.) Paul’s notion of sin comes amazingly close to our present understanding of addiction. And he thus wanted to free us from our enthrallments with what he considered “mere rubbish” (Philippians 3:8), which is not worthy of our loyalty. “If only I can have Christ and be given a place in him!” Can you hear Paul’s corporate understanding in phrases like that?

The addict, or sinner, does not actually enjoy the world as much as he or she is enslaved to it, in Paul’s understanding. Jesus had come to offer us a true alternative social order here and not just a “way to heaven” later.

— Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ, p. 197-198

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, March 13, 2021

Pockets of Relief

You are not betraying your grief by feeling joy. You are not being graded, and you do not receive extra credit for being miserable 100% of the time. Find pockets of relief, even happiness, when and where you can.

KEEP MOVING.

— Maggie Smith, Keep Moving, p. 38

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, December 2, 2020

Fire and Growth

I wish I could go back and tell the fearful young person I was what I know now about fire and growth. What would I say to her? Even if you do not feel brave, practice bravery. There will be times in your life when you feel as if life is burning down around you, but know that renewal is in its wake. Trust in what will open, what will grow, after something else has burned away, even when the landscape is charred black. And trust that one of the things guaranteed to grow — time after time, fire after fire — is you. Possibilities, like seeds, are being released into the air.

— Maggie Smith, Keep Moving, p. 94-95

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, March 6, 2015