Archive | August, 2014

Where do we go from here?

14 Aug

This is a question that has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Life always seemed to be twisting and turning in directions I had not imagined. In High School a Jimmy Buffett song, Cowboy in the Jungle, became a theme song for me. The refrain is:

With no plans for the future
He still seems in control
From a bronco ride to a ten foot tide
He just had to learn to roll.

Roll with the punches
Play all of his hunches
Made the best of whatever came his way
What he lacked in ambition
He made up with intuition
Plowing straight ahead come what may.

In this morning’s reading from The Rule of Benedict, Joan Chittister writes concerning Priests becoming part of the monastic community. The Priests needed to know that they were becoming part of a family and their ordination would not get them special privileges. Yet, Chittister’s commentary is also about getting on with our lives.

“Benedict knew what most of us learn sooner or later; it is hard to let go of the past, and yet, until we do, there is no hope whatsoever that we can ever gain form the future”

She also quotes the Tao Te Ching,

“The Master leads
by emptying people’s minds
and filling their cores,
by weakening their ambition
and toughening their resolve.
He helps people lose everything
they know, everything they desire,
and creates confusion
in those who think that they know.”

I am living a life I never imagined. It is a challenge to let go of the past and the expectations that were a part of that past life. Yet, if I do not let go of those expectations, I will never see what is in front of me. I think it is an opportunity, one more time, to cling closely to the Divine and find the peace and joy and gifts waiting in the present moment.

I experience wonderful blessings everyday; perhaps it is not the way I thought it would be, but I find myself grateful and hopeful.

I pray for you this day, as you reflect on the path you are on, that you see the beauty of God in this moment. Maybe it is not what you expected, or wanted; but it is beauty all the same and we cannot experience the richness of it until we let go of the past.

Peace

Advertisements

Baggage

8 Aug

Hello from Charleston, NC. I am here to perform a wedding for a friend’s daughter and it is HOT. I have packed ‘heavy’, so I have my laptop and my devotional book, and book I have been meaning to read.

It is interesting that today’s reading from Joan Chittister’s commentary on the Rule of Benedict lands on possessions. The monks were never to own anything privately and even gifts given to the could not be accepted without the Abbot’s or Prioress’s permission. In this time of bulging closets this seems like crazy talk. However, Benedict is endeavoring to create an environment that give life to our spirit, not our bodies, or pride.

How much lighter our lives would be without all the heavy baggage we carry around. Having said this, let me say how much I have enjoyed shopping in Charleston. I think it is a matter of attitude. Perhaps it is as simple as separating our needs from our wants. Everything I have acquired so far on this trip I could have done without, but I have enjoyed finding a great sale and an item I will use well. AND, have been so very grateful for the of buying a treat for myself. Maybe my baggage is heavier, but I try to keep my heart light.

So, the place where all of this intersects for me is in also reading, The Return of The Prodigal Son:A Story of Homecoming by Henri Nouwen, which was written four years before his death in 1996. Just reading the prologue about Nouwen leaving the life of a Harvard professor to go and carry for a community of mentally challenged adults has been helpful for me. But the book really focuses on the painting of the Prodigal Son by Rembrandt. It is a painting which captured Nouwen’s heart and mind.

The opening chapter of the book describes the early life of Rembrandt which was weighted down by arrogance and indulgences. Yet, throughout his life he experienced the deaths of his children and wife and finally was bankrupt. Nouwen describes Rembrandt’s paintings which document the changes in his life. The bright light of success and decadence which illuminated his outer world transitions to an inner light of humility and wisdom.

I feel as though I have been rambling during this blog. Maybe it is the effect of a freer schedule. Yet, what I want to say, what I think I always say, it to spend your heart, your mind, your time, your money on that which is life giving, that which is of God. Know that the baggage that you carry can be no weight at all if you give it to the Divine with a joyful heart.

I find there is not end to counting my blessings. I pray you find blessings in your life today.

Peace

Blessed to be a blessing

5 Aug

This phrase goes through my head quite often. It occurs several times in the Scriptures, beginning in Genesis.

My journey has not turned out the way I thought it would, but in each day I can find blessings upon blessings that I receive from the Divine. I know that the challenge is that even as I accept and acknowledge all the wonderful gifts in my life I am given an opportunity to be a blessings from God for others.

Have you considered that lately? The blessings; joy, health, strength, talents, everything is a gift to you so that you can share it with others. I tell the story of when I received my first car (a yellow ford pinto) my senior year in High School. My mother was very clear with me that it was not for my personal, private use, but was a gift so I could help others. My mother meant that it was for me to drive my sister around or help her with errands she needed to do, but I heard it in a broader sense and have been picking up hitch hikers ever since.

Blessed to be a blessing . . . I think each of you have a wonderful, gifted life. First, you woke up this morning, so that’s a good start, then you could get out of bed, found clothes and food and hopefully good work to do. . . what blessings!!

A few days ago I read one of my favorite sections from the rule of Benedict. It says that everyone should have some work to do. If they are strong and able then they can work in the fields, and if they are old and infirmed then they can be given a task that can be done within their limitations. Also, if they have talents or special skills then they should be given the implements to practice their talents. In a Benedictine world people get what they need to work for the community. Blessed to be a blessings.

I travel tomorrow: a new adventure awaits. I will be gone almost a week and am praying my parents will weather my absence with no problems.

I hope this day brings new, deeper understanding of all that God has gifted you. If you don’t feel very gifted, try some prayer, or just listen to someone with all your heart and attention. That will be blessings enough for one day. Peace