It is a serious thing/ just to be alive/ on this fresh morning/ in this broken world.Mary Oliver
“The most common one-liner in the Bible is ‘do not be afraid.’ Someone counted it once and it occurs 365 times.” (Richard Rohr)
“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” Thomas Merton
Wishing all who celebrate a blessed Laetare Sunday!
Here’s a thought to put Monday into perspective 🙂
Something precious is lost if we rush headlong into the details of life without pausing for a moment to pay homage to the mystery of life and another day.
Isn’t this the truth?
The mark of a wild heart is living out the paradox of love in our lives. It’s the ability to be tough and tender, excited and scared, brave and afraid–all at the same moment. It’s showing up in our vulnerability and our courage, being both fierce and kind.
It strikes me that a wild heart–or developing one, to be more precise–is essential for the spiritual life. What do you think?
“The most irresistible beauty is the radiant glow from a kind and gentle heart.” Richelle E. Goodrich
It seems to me, that these are also the most vulnerable kind of hearts, the hearts that get broken so easily…but with lots of faith, love, and time, they somehow get put back together again, and are even kinder and gentler than before. Have you known people like that? I have, lots of them. They are the people I love the most, for their generosity, their warmth, their innate ability to love without counting the cost. They are the healers of our world.
I discovered the most lovely prayer, by the Trappist monk Thomas Merton, that perfectly fits my state of mind (and heart and soul) these days:
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
Nor do I really know myself. And the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you, does in fact please you.
And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore I will trust you always, though I may seem to be lost, and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
This simple yet enormously profound prayer captures all of my fears, my doubts and uncertainties, and encourages me to prayerfully hand them over to the God who loves me beyond measure, trusting fully that he will never leave me, so I do not need to suffer the sometimes overwhelming, anxiety that I often feel.
January was horrid. A migraine almost every day. A major fibromyalgia relapse. Seasonal Affective Disorder. The constant pain, day after day, exhausts me and leaves me frustrated and depressed, and also keeps me stuck in the house. The only time I left the house was to go to the dentist to deal with a difficult molar–which now needs a root canal. And my birth mother rejected my attempts to repair our estrangement, which makes me feel as though I’m ten years old and my mommy doesn’t love me anymore.
Mostly, I fret that I am drifting aimlessly, just going through the motions of living. Wasting my life. Annie Dillard says that “how we spend our days is how we live our lives” and I shudder at the idea that my life boils to one big headache.
Still, as Merton writes, the desire to please God is sufficient. That, and the knowledge that God is with me, even in the migraines and root canals and hurtful rejections of life.
And Merton is right. For now, at least, understanding that God is holding me is enough, has to be enough.
At Christmas, time deepens. The Celtic imagination knows that time is eternity in disguise. They embraced the day as a sacred space. Christmas reminds us to glory in the simplicity and wonder of one day; it unveils the extraordinary that our hurried lives conceal and neglect.