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A Place for Sanctuary. Daily Dose. (Feb 1 – 4)

Tuesday — I love the story about the town of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, where there is a church named Lagniappe. It is an old Creole word that means “something extra.”
Pastor Jean Larroux explains, “Down here if you go into a seafood shop and order a pound of shrimp and they put in an extra handful, that’s the lagniappe. It’s something you can’t pay for. Something for nothing. Something for free.”
In an area devastated by Hurricane Katrina, Jean began this church, in his words, with people “primed for grace.”
Accustomed to teaching church people how to celebrate, Jean was surprised to find himself in a community of people who already knew. Even in the middle of their hardship.

I’ve had conversations this past week with so many, about transitions, about times and places where the script changes, where we are not sure what is next, or how to navigate it, or how to grieve what we are (sure we) about to lose.

Lagniappe…
The bounty from compassion is not predicated on life as we expect it.
The replenishment from grace doesn’t start when our fear is gone.
Or when our beliefs are unadulterated.
Or when our circumstances make it feasible.
Most likely, if we wait for all that, we miss rebirth, comfort, healing, being fed to fullness… and the miracle, every time.
So, I have an idea… This week, be on the lookout for a hand that needs to be held.
And here’s the deal: Without even knowing it, we are lagniappe. We are the hands and feet of grace.
This week, what does it look like to make space? To root ourselves in love and hospitality?

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. (Thank you Clarissa Pinkola Estes)

Quote for your week…
The heart is always the place to go. Go home into your heart, where there is warmth, appreciation, gratitude and contentment. –Ayya Khema

Wednesday — Lagniappe is an old Creole word that means “something extra”. And without even knowing it, we are lagniappe. We are the hands and feet of grace. Creating places (spaces, encounters, connections, moments) where kindness, compassion and gentleheartedness take root. The antithesis of our powerful survival urge to fight (or flee, hunt or conquer).
So, we begin here: Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ reminder, “Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely.”
This eludes us because of scotoma; selective blindness. In other words, we see only what we want to see. Or we judge, or prejudge, or assume.

This morning I watched a three minute movie; Don’t Judge. I still feel the tears. And the gratitude in my heart. And the inspiration to be more open and curious. To judge less and to listen more. To be more patient. More careful. More kind.

This morning, my Daily Dose is the invitation to watch a very short movie. It’ll do your heart good.
Don’t Judge

(The film was made by Elvis Naçi (born April 7, 1977 in Tirana ), an Albanian Theologian and Imam. And it won an Academy Award.)

Quote for your week…
The heart is always the place to go. Go home into your heart, where there is warmth, appreciation, gratitude and contentment. –Ayya Khema

Thursday — This week we’ve been talking about (and embracing) the ingredients of Jesus’ miracle feeding the thousands…
Sit down…
Break bread…
Give thanks…
Feed one another…
That’s worth repeating: Sit down. Break bread. Give thanks. Feed one another.
So, I’m wondering… could this miracle happen, even today?
We’ve got to live believing the answer is yes.
The miracle is the gift of presence with one another. 

I’m grateful for this story from one or our Sabbath Moment community…
My patient was seated on the side of their hospital bed. The curtains covering a large window were closed. His breakfast tray was untouched and pushed to the side of his bed. He was alone.
“Can I help you,” I asked.
Without a word, he shook his head no.
“Do you need assistance from your nurse?”
Again, he nodded no. With his hands he motioned for me to sit in the chair next to his bed.
So, we sat in silence for a while. The pressure I felt to start a conversation diminished.
There are times when a conversation seems appropriate. This didn’t feel like one of those times.
After a while, he pushed a card toward me that was on his breakfast tray.
I accepted his invitation to read it.
“Dear Dad, I’m sorry I can’t visit you due to the current restrictions at the hospital. I’m so sorry I can’t be there to hold your hand. I’m taking good care of Roscoe (his dog) and there’s no reason to worry about the garden. I water it twice a day. Your nurse tells me you are a perfect patient and that if all goes well, you should be released in a few days. Hugs and kisses.”
Signed, his daughter.
I thanked him for trusting me with his card. As I stood to leave, he reached over and took a carnation from a vase and offered it to me. I took it and smiled. No words followed, just two men, who shared a sacred space where words weren’t necessary.
Here’s the deal: The invitation to enter sacred spaces come to all of us.
Our only response is to recognize them.
Sometimes the gift of presence is all that is necessary.
(This story is from a page in my journal. I worked as a therapist for 25 years before moving into diagnostic imaging. I retired three years ago. This journal entry was pre-Covid.)
So many people are experience great loss and grief. Hopefully we will get through this season of challenges.
Dale Myers (Golden Isles of Georgia)
Thank you Dale…

Today Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, so I think that means winter continues. But I’m never sure…
It helps today that we can remember and celebrate St. Brigid. In ancient Irish mythology, Brigid was a fire goddess. Nowadays, her canonization is celebrated with a perpetual flame at her shrine in Kildare.
Prayer to St Brigid
You were a woman of peace.
You brought harmony where
there was conflict.
You brought light to the darkness.
You brought hope to the downcast.
May the mantle of your peace cover
those who are troubled and anxious,
and may peace be firmly rooted
in our hearts and in our world.
Inspire us to act justly and
to reverence all God has made.
Brigid, you were a voice for
the wounded and the weary.
Strengthen what is weak within us.
Calm us into a quietness
that heals and listens.
May we grow each day into greater
wholeness in mind, body, and spirit.
Amen.

Friday — This week, the power and necessity of presence. No one of us is on this journey alone. And there are hands to be held.
And so, I always return to the story that reminds me, and reinforces for me, the voice of grace. The power of presence.
My grandmother–Southern Baptist born and bred–didn’t cotton to folks in her church who played the judgmental-eternal-damnation-card just to feel good about themselves, or for the sake of proving a point.  She understood that in her church’s “theology,” there were many kinds of people “on the outside.”  (Truth be told, in her church, “most” people were “on the outside.”)  But my grandmother lived by an overriding imperative: “Anybody is welcome at my dinner table, no questions asked, no matter what.”
In the latter years of her life, in the back yard of her home in northern Florida, my grandmother had a porch swing.  She liked to sit, and swing, and hum old church hymns.  I can still see her there, wearing a white scarf over her head, a concession to chemotherapy’s unrelenting march.  When I visited her, as a young adult, she would always ask me to sit with her on the swing, for a spell.  She would pat my leg and call me “darlin’.”
As long as my grandmother lived–and in spite of her pain–there was always a place for me on the swing.  If I were asked to explain Grace, I would paint the picture of my grandmother’s swing.  There, I never had to deliberate or explain or worry regardless of the weight I carried.  The swing–my grandmother’s presence–existed without conditions.
And I am here today, because of that swing.

I’m not blaming Punxsutawney Phil, but more than 100 million people are under winter weather alerts across at least 25 states stretching from the Mexican border to New England as a massive winter storm pummels much of the US. Please be safe and stay connected.

Today, I was humming “American Pie”. On February 3, 1959, American rock and roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and “The Big Bopper” J. P. Richardson were killed in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, together with pilot Roger Peterson. In Don McLean’s story, written for the death of Holly and Valens, you hear the sadness in his voice. “So bye-bye, Miss American Pie…”

Here’s our Prayer Blessing…
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how gray the day may appear.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.
I wish you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.

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