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A Place For Sanctuary. Sabbath Moment Daily Dose. (Aug 10 – 13)

Tuesday — This week we’re talking about Mohini, a regal white tiger who spent her final days pacing a twelve-by-twelve foot square, when she had a new and expansive environment.
So where to begin? Maybe, all it takes is one step over the imaginary line of the “cage” in the corner.
You see, in “captivity”, we forget…
The gift of Gratitude; the power of embracing the sacred in the present.
The gift of Curiosity; exploration and creativity and wonder and awe.
The gift of Connection; finding and reinforcement from those close to us.
No one of us is on this journey alone.
To know that our cages–even the ones of iron and steel–are self-imposed, is a start.
To recognize our capacity.
And to live from strength and not limitation.

Remember the 1991 movie, Regarding Henry? Harrison Ford plays a genuine-SOB-lawyer, who is shot in a random accident. After, he is not the same, mentally, physically, or spiritually. During his rehabilitation, he has a friendship with Bradley, his physical therapist. “I thought I could go back to my life, but I don’t like who I was Bradley… I don’t fit in.”
Bradley says to Henry, “I got bad knees. Football, wrecked ’em both playing college football. Man, that was my life. What else was there. No jack shit… safety hit me… game over, my life was over… ask me if I mind having bad knees. No way. I had to find a life. Don’t listen to nobody trying to tell you who you are.”

Okay. Here’s the catch-22: if we’re not to “listen to nobody tell us who we are,” then how do we occupy our proper space and live well in our own skin?
Where do we summon that unclouded mirror?
Where do we find that place of positive inflation?
When do we know that we are enough?

Anavah is the Hebrew word translated Humility. I was raised in a religious tradition that taught me humility is synonymous with self-effacement. We went overboard making sure we were never guilty of the sin of pride, ensuring that the mirror to our self was always cloudy. In his book Everyday Holiness, Alan Morinis, sheds light and the insight is helpful. Anavah (Humility) means to occupy or take up our proper space, neither too much, nor too little.
Humility–another way of saying, “Being at home in our own skin.”
With no need to jump through hoops to impress.
With no fear of the winds of public opinion (or the less than pleasant voices in our own head).

I’ll give Frederick Buechner the last word today… “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 key moments, and life itself is grace.”

Wednesday — Mohini, a regal white tiger, spent her final days pacing a twelve-by-twelve foot square, when she had a new and expansive environment.
So where to begin? Maybe, all it takes is one step over the imaginary line of the “cage” in the corner.
You see, in “captivity”, we forget…
The gift of Gratitude; the power of embracing the sacred in the present.
The gift of Curiosity; exploration and creativity and wonder and awe.
The gift of Connection; finding and reinforcement from those close to us.
No one of us is on this journey alone.
To know that our cages–even the ones of iron and steel–are self-imposed, is a start. To recognize our capacity. And to live from strength and not limitation.

So. Here’s what I’m learning. Embracing (and fueled by) gratitude, curiosity and connection (let’s call it our “new and expansive environment”), I live fully invested in this life, not some other.
And, I’m now invested in the wellbeing of the world I live in, and the well-being of the people around me.

I want to live there, meaning, in that present now.
So, I’ll begin with this: I will savor this day.
This moment. In its fullness.
I will not take it lightly. For this moment, it is enough.
And my capacity to give and to contribute is predicated on me “being here”.
A friend sent this article from The Charlotte Observer. “Doris Gibson of Huntersville can’t see well enough to drive a car, but she can plant tomatoes. She can’t see well enough to read the newspaper without a magnifier. But she can tend angel’s trumpets. Though half her sight is gone to macular degeneration, Gibson is still an enthusiastic gardener of flowers and vegetables. It’s hobby and therapy. Hobby because it keeps her busy, focused on what’s happening, even if that means looking at the beauty of a scarlet hibiscus or a lily through a lighted magnifier. Therapy because it shows she can do something really well, like growing good tomatoes and angels’ trumpets. Her gardening keeps her looking forward to the next day. She is 85.”
For this moment, it is enough.

Thursday — So, this week too much time wrestling with and around technology impediments. Let’s just say that it’s not been fun. A lot of readers have not been receiving their Sabbath Moment. And nothing says sanctuary like fighting with companies that block your email.
So. Deep breath Terry. Remember the power of pause.
Yes. I can easily lose sight of where my well-being is anchored. And it’s not from battle distraction or diversion (regardless of the battle).
In that pause… let me see past the constrictions (real and imagined) that keep me feeling cornered confined stuck. Or cornered. (This is fitting, as this week we’ve been talking about kinds of captivity.)
In the pause, I can remember…
The gift of Gratitude; the power of embracing the sacred in the present.
The gift of Curiosity; exploration and creativity and wonder and awe.
The gift of Connection; finding and reinforcement from those close to us.
No one of us is on this journey alone. 

Here’s what I know to be true. All three gifts are the soil and fuel (food) for joy. And gladness.
So. Let us recognize our capacity to live from strength and not limitation. The permission and invitation to live fully invested into this life, and not some other. Even, and especially as our world is in pain and requires our wholehearted presence.

Two word gifts, to help me pause today. And invest.
“For the past eighty years I have started each day in the same manner. It is not a mechanical routine but something essential to my daily life. I go to the piano, and I play two preludes and fugues of Bach. I cannot think of doing otherwise. It is a sort of benediction on the house. But that is not its only meaning for me. It is a rediscovery of the world of which I have the joy of being a part. It fills me with awareness of the wonder of life, with the feeling of the incredible marvel of being a human being.” Pablo Casals (at age 93) 

And this, from Mary Oliver’s lovely poem, “The Summer Day”…
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

We’ll have record heat again in this neck of the woods. And we’re not the only ones. Take the heat advisories seriously my friends. Stay cool and safe. And check in on those in your community who may need assistance. 

Friday — This morning, I spent some extra time talking with the geese. That did my heart good. They gather in fairly large communities these days, so the congregation is decent size.I’ve been churning internally this week with issues, technology stuff out of my control, and Sabbath Moment delivery conundrums. The kind of stuff that takes a toll, and not fun to handle. You see, I always think I’m bigger than life’s heaviness. Mercy.

So, today I remembered this and was grateful for Daniel Berrigan’s observation, “Dorothy (Day), I think, came on a quite simple, paradoxical insight, something like this: in the Gospel, peace is a verb. You make the peace. You do not inherit it, or hoard it, or borrow it, or sit on it. You make it.” Oh my yes.

Peace as a verb. (Before I get any feedback from teachers that peace is, in fact, a noun, let’s please set that aside.)

Let’s start here: Peace is not something that it is possible to “own” or “hoard”. The gift of peace is about the freedom to be at home in our own skin. To let grace, take root. And here’s the good part: we can let the freedom of that peace spill in a world that desperately needs rest and sanctuary. We give it away… This is the story of Mohini, the tiger who felt confined to “live in” a 12 x 12 space. And in my heart, I now want to give, share, spill, bestow that peace.

Peace, grounding the gifts of…
Gratitude; the power of embracing the sacred in the present.
Curiosity; exploration and creativity and wonder and awe.
Connection; finding and reinforcement from those close to us.
No one of us is on this journey alone.

And here’s the wonderful influence; this peace invites us to embody a new kind of
vocation. The way we reframe our day. And our daily. Parker Palmer’s reminder, “Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am… Discovering vocation does not mean scrambling toward some prize just beyond my reach but accepting the treasure of true self I already posses.” And this, from Frederick Buechner; “Vocation is the place where your deepest gladness and the world’s greatest hunger meet.” 

And I remember a conversation at one of my conferences. I spoke with a 90-year-old woman. “I love my life, my ministry,” she told me. “What is it you do that gives you such joy?” I asked her (thinking, “isn’t it enough at 90 to operate the TV remote?”) “Oh,” she told me, “I go visit people in the old folks home.”  For this moment, it is enough.  Gratitude, curiosity and connection. Yes. Keep spilling the light my friends.

PRAYER AND BLESSING

I will not die an unlived life.
I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance;
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.
Dawna Markova

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