Life is Grace

Seeking the Blessings in the Chaos

Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are hidden moments and life itself is grace.

Fredrick Buechner

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May 24, 2014

This year I’m participating in Zion Buffalo Lutheran Church’s Advent-Photo-a-Day Challenge. The goal is to “help us think through the season and every day ponder how Christmas changes the world to this day.” Today’s word is ILLUMINATE.

“A light shone in the darkness and the darkness could not overcome it.” John 1:5

How has the light of Christ illuminated your life?

What is an autumn spirituality? An acceptance of both light and dark as natural parts of life. A letting go as the trees let go of their leaves. A recognition of deaths, both large and small. And the promise of life to come.

James Martin, S.J.

Here in Minnesota autumn has reached its nadir after a rainy, chilly October. The Halloween trick-or-treaters have come and gone, the leaves are mostly on the ground, few plants in our garden have survived the killing cold at night. Yet late autumn, like all of the seasons, has a beauty all its own. It’s the beginning of the cozy time, when I snuggle up in sweaters and my aunt’s quilts, and gather close to my family, and take some deep breaths and time to cherish my faith. Especially today, on the Feast of All Saints.

How about you? Is late autumn special to you or your family, and why?

Keep your face to the sun and you cannot see the shadow. That’s what the sunflowers do.

Helen Keller

I don’t think there’s anything on this planet that trumpets life more than the sunflower. For me that’s because of the reason for its name. Not because it looks like the sun but because it follows the sun. During the course of the day, the head tracks the journey of the sun across the sky. A satellite dish for sunshine. Wherever light is, no matter how weak, these flowers will find it. And that’s such an admirable thing. And such a lesson in life.

Helen Mirren

despite knowing
they won’t be here for long
they still choose to live
their brightest lives

-sunflowers

Rupi Kaur

We currently have a big bunch of sunflowers in residence on our coffee table, and they are exquisitely glorious. Like sunshine, poured into a glass vase, smack dab in the middle of our living room. September sunflowers. Really, sometimes all one can do is whisper a quick “thank you” to God.

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I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers the fear.

Nelson Mandela

Allied troops prepare to storm the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, 74 years ago today.

My dad, who was one of those troops so many years ago, once told me that only fools are never afraid. Being afraid doesn’t make you a coward, he told me. Brave people learn to go ahead despite being terrified.

This applies to all of us, he made clear at the time, and now I can see what he meant…me dealing with trauma therapy, my friends and family who have faced cancer, my friend who was suddenly widowed when her husband died of influenza several years ago…countless painful and scary situations, that so many of us from somewhere, deep down inside, find the wherewithal to face and overcome. I think that we are, all of us, braver than we realize.

Courage is not simply having the strength to go on; it is going on when you don’t have the strength.

Theodore Roosevelt

There is in us an instinct for newness, for renewal, for a liberation of creative power. We seek to awaken in ourselves a force which really changes our lives from within. And yet the same instinct tells us that this change is a recovery of that which is deepest, most original, most personal in ourselves. To be born again is not to become somebody else, but to become ourselves.

Thomas Merton

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It’s Memorial Day here in the United States today, and the weekend wouldn’t seem complete if I didn’t post some kind of tribute to my dad, Sgt. Leonard Henry Resch. He fought from Omaha (“Bloody Omaha”) Beach in Normandy to Leipzig in Germany, seeing action in the Battle of the Bulge, liberating a concentration camp and oh, yes, helping liberate a continent along the way.

He never made a big deal about any of it, but he has always been my hero, he always will be, and darn it, I just wish I had told him more often while he was still here.

.

(PS English friends—he was stationed in Selsey before D-Day, if any of you know it? A small village on the southern coast.)

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