Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Do It with Love.

Saturday, May 8th, 2021

Whatever you do, do it with love. If you can’t feel love in your heart, then go for kindness, respect, patience — or stay silent. As difficult as it is to comprehend — and I grant you, it is difficult if not impossible to believe — absolutely everything in our lives is a stage set up for love.

— Caroline Myss, Intimate Conversations with the Divine, p. 262

Plant Seeds

Monday, April 12th, 2021

It is impossible to know, in the moment, how a small act of goodness will reverberate through time. The notion is empowering and it is frightening — because it means that we’re all capable of changing the world, and responsible for finding those opportunities to protect, feed, grow, and guide love. We can all plant seeds, though only some of us may be so lucky as to sit in their shade. Since we can’t start twenty years ago, the best time to start is today.

— Bishop Michael Curry, Love Is the Way, p. 139

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, April 2, 2021

Gifts of Each Season

Saturday, March 27th, 2021

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

Get Back Up.

Wednesday, March 24th, 2021

Get back up. Dust yourself off. Remember that you’re playing the long game, and trust that over time, the good days will outnumber the bad. Do what you can to make this day more livable than yesterday.

KEEP MOVING.

— Maggie Smith, Keep Moving, p. 51

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, March 19, 2021

Love and Suffering

Wednesday, March 17th, 2021

In the practical order of life, if we have never loved deeply or suffered deeply, we are unable to understand spiritual things at any depth. Any healthy and “true” religion is teaching you how to deal with suffering and how to deal with love. And if you allow this process with sincerity, you will soon recognize that it is actually love and suffering that are dealing with you. Like nothing else can! Even God has to use love and suffering to teach you all the lessons that really matter. They are his primary tools for human transformation.

— Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ, p. 207

Photo: Dunluce Castle, Ireland, July 2001

Life As It Is

Monday, March 15th, 2021

Trust that everything will be okay, but that doesn’t mean that everything will be restored. Start making yourself at home in your life as it is. Look around and look ahead.

KEEP MOVING.

— Maggie Smith, Keep Moving, p. 37

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, March 13, 2021

The Grace of Trust

Sunday, March 14th, 2021

We need the grace of Trust more than we realize. We want everything to happen now — right now — in our lives. And we want to recognize the sound of every footstep we hear. We have to stop wanting, wanting, wanting life to be what it will never, ever be — familiar, controllable, and wrapped around our personal needs. That impossible craving is what leads to attacks of stress, panic, and inner madness. Instead we must contact the grace of Trust. We must learn to rest easy in the mobius of prayer and trust, guidance and action. Rather than imagining greatness or humiliation, power or powerlessness. Your imagination is an engine of creation, a vessel through which your inside coordinates the outside of your life. Imagining greatness for yourself is rooted in the fear of humiliation. The end product is an ego full of hubris. Driven by fear, you will end up in the fog of panic and uncertainty. The discipline — and it is a discipline — is to apply the grace of Trust. Trust brings detachment. You do not have to interfere with heaven’s work. If you knew what was best for you, you would not need heaven’s help. Just Trust.

— Caroline Myss, Intimate Conversations with the Divine, p. 120

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, March 14, 2020

The Big Thing

Sunday, March 14th, 2021

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

An Ongoing Plan

Thursday, March 11th, 2021

The spiritual plan for your life is an ongoing plan. It doesn’t start and stop, like jobs you begin and quit. Our blind spot — and it is a big one — is our insistence that God become a business partner. That divine guidance present as something practical, efficient, and financially useful. Guidance works from within us as well as around us, to be sure. Heaven does express itself through events such as locked and open doors. But these external events are not ends in and of themselves; they are here to serve our internal spiritual life. Heaven does not solve our problems for us; it inspires us with resolutions, ways to initiate action in the world, for the purpose of furthering our soul’s journey. The Divine cannot make choices for us, but it can — and does — set up blockades for our own protection. Every movement in your life has purpose. It does not matter that we do not see the purpose in the moment or the plan or the timing of when and how the next step will unfold. Well, it matters to us, of course, in practical ways, but if you could let go of the practical and trust the miraculous, the hidden ways of the Divine at work behind the scenes in your life, you would realize that nothing is ever as it seems.

— Caroline Myss, Intimate Conversations with the Divine, p. 119

Photo: Bluebell Trail, Bull Run Regional Park, Virginia, April 17, 2014

Casting Out Fear

Thursday, March 4th, 2021

I lived this story for years. I preached it. I fully bought into this narrative of an angry God needing to be placated. I understand the reason it works and the crushing effect it has on us when we embrace it, and I know how disorienting it is to be compelled to cling to a loving Creator while simultaneously being taught to be terrified of what that Creator wants to do to you if you don’t cling correctly. It hasn’t happened in an instant, and I can’t quite say how I got here, but I am simply living in a different story now. I still have God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit — but I don’t have fear anymore the way I used to. That isn’t to say that I don’t have “the fear of the Lord” that the Bible speaks of, that awe and wonder that recognizes my smallness and God’s indescribable scale and beauty. In fact, my view of God is as expansive and reverent and breathtaking as it’s ever been. It just isn’t defined by the rigid Christian narrative of my childhood that says I am an enemy of God at birth.

If God is God, then God is intimately aware of the path you’re on. God sees your striving, your desire to know, your efforts to love better, and so even when these things take you from tradition or orthodoxy or surety, there can be peace there and trust that God is present. Looking at the long, meandering road you’ve been on, how can you possibly define some precise pass-fail in all of that? If you feel the table of your hospitality expanding, if you feel the container you had for God being shattered, if you yourself are being drawn to something deeper than the religion of your past, that is the pull of God. It is the extravagant, barrier-breaking, tradition-transcending heart of Jesus that is demanding to be yielded to. To the gatekeepers and the finger pointers, this surrender to God will look like rebellion. They will demand guilt for the conclusions you’ve come to and repentance from the path you’re on. you will need to be steadfast and rest in the love that casts out all fear. They will snicker and condemn and dismiss. They will name this heresy. They will call this a mutiny. To you, it is a progression.

— John Pavlovitz, A Bigger Table, p. 166-167

Photo: Sunrise, South Riding, Virginia, March 16, 2015