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Daily Dose (April 4 – 7)

Tuesday —

“When your life is filled with the desire to see the holiness in everyday life, something magical happens: Ordinary life becomes extraordinary, and the very process of life begins to nourish your soul.” Rabbi Harold S. Kushner

There is nothing ordinary about the gift of the ordinary. And that desire to see begins with the invitation to pay attention—to rediscover wonder, which takes root in the soil of the simple sentence, “I never noticed that before.”
“I have a favorite sound. To be precise, it’s not a singular sound but a multitude. Have you ever stood in the presence of a tree and listened to the wind pass through its leaves? The roots and body stand defiant and unmoved. But listen. The branches stretch out their tongues and whisper shhhhh.” Cole Arthur Riley (This Here Flesh)

“No writing on the solitary, meditative dimensions of life can say anything that has not already been said better by the wind in the pine trees.” Thomas Merton

So. This week… what does your heart good?
What allowed or invited you to pause and be present?
What made you smile real big, and savor the “ordinary” with wonder?
Where did you find those places that replenish and nourish and sustain you? 

Wednesday —

I remember doing a garden consultation on Vashon, talking with another island gardener. We stood by a stand of lavender, breathing in the perfume. The woman stopped talking, her body language enlivened by the community of bees who were apparently in the middle of their lavender harvest. She did a little dance of sorts, downright giddy.
“Just this,” she says glowing, finally pointing to the bees and the lavender, “makes me soooo happy.”
And I smiled big, because I understood exactly what she was talking about. “When your life is filled with the desire to see the holiness in everyday life, something magical happens: Ordinary life becomes extraordinary, and the very process of life begins to nourish your soul.” (Rabbi Harold S. Kushner)
And this I know; the gifts of wonder and awe grow from the soil of gratitude.
Little dances help.
And downright giddiness enriches the soul.
And both are ways of saying, “Thank you. Thank you for this gift of holiness in everyday life. I am grateful.”

Or, Jeanne Lohmann’s invitation…
“To Say Nothing But Thank You”
All day I try to say nothing but thank you,
breathe the syllables in and out with every step I
take through the rooms of my house and outside into
a profusion of shaggy-headed dandelions in the garden
where the tulips’ black stamens shake in their crimson cups.
I am saying thank you, yes, to this burgeoning spring
and to the cold wind of its changes. Gratitude comes easy
after a hot shower, when my loosened muscles work,
when eyes and mind begin to clear and even unruly
hair combs into place.
Dialogue with the invisible can go on every minute,
and with surprising gaiety I am saying thank you as I
remember who I am, a woman learning to praise
something as small as dandelion petals floating on the
steaming surface of this bowl of vegetable soup,
my happy, savoring tongue.
© Jeanne Lohmann

Thursday —

The ordinary is the hiding place for the holy. What theologian Walter Brueggemann called “the scandal of particularity.”
“When your life is filled with the desire to see the holiness in everyday life, something magical happens: Ordinary life becomes extraordinary, and the very process of life begins to nourish your soul.” Rabbi Harold S. Kushner
“It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary.” (Thank you Paulo Coehlo.)

This truth goes straight to the heart today, Maundy Thursday, the day we celebrate Jesus washing his disciples’ feet before their Passover Meal and the Last Supper.
Because this is the freedom and the power of the incarnation: the enfleshment of God—the sacred—in the very, very ordinary: the immediacy of the present moment. Put simply… the Holy (the sacrament of the present moment) always has skin on it. Yes. The invitation here is to see, to hear, to taste, to touch.
And the bottom line? This changes the way we live and relate. When the foot washing and the Last Supper is confined only to doctrine or creed (the right answer on a test), we miss the real power of incarnation.
So, before we put life in that box (to resolve or move on), let us live it—bring our whole heart to feel it, see it, know it, and taste it in all its messy, quirky, complicated, problematical and confusing richness and fullness. Why? Because God (or whatever name you choose for the holy) is here.
In this moment.
In this conversation.
In this embrace.
In this uncertainty.
In this untidiness.

I’m grateful for Cole Arthur Riley this week. Let’s give her the last word… “To be a human who resembles the divine is to become responsible for the beautiful, for its observance, its protection, and its creation. It is a challenge to believe that this right is ours.
Wonder, then, is a force of liberation. It makes sense of what our souls inherently know we were meant for. Every mundane glimpse is salve on a wound, instructions for how to set the bone right again. If you really want to get free, find God on the subway. Find God in the soap bubble.
Me? I meet God in the taste of my gamma’s chicken. I hear God in the raspy leather of Nina Simone’s voice. I see the face of God in the bony teenage bagging my groceries. And why shouldn’t I? My faith is held together by wonder—by every defiant commitment to presence and paying attention. I cannot tell you with precision what makes the sun set, but I can tell you how those colors, blurred together, calm my heart and change my breath. I will die knowing I live a faith that changed my breathing. A faith that made me believe I could see air.” (This Here Flesh)

Friday –

Today, I wish to live fully alive and present—to see the holiness in ordinary everyday life.
And our heart says, “Yes”. Disremembering how easy it can be to gum up the works (obstruct our ability to see, hear, taste and touch) when we make being attentive (living in the present) an assignment (or project).
We forget that we are wired (in our DNA) to be present—to be here now.
An affirmation heartened and supported by this simple affirmation, “Today, I am grateful for…”
And I love Marigold Wellington’s reaction, “I live to enjoy life by the littlest things, feeling the grass between my toes, breathing fresh air, watching the wind sway the trees, enjoying the company of loved ones, a deep conversation, getting lost in a good book, going for a walk in nature, watching my kids grow up. Just the feeling itself of being alive, the absolutely amazing fact that we are here right now, breathing, thinking, doing.”

And, in the “I’m grateful for” category, I’ll add music. For me, music is a healing salve and a doorway to the present moment. In the quirky movie, Joe Versus the Volcano, Tom Hanks character tells a Mariachi band, “Play us a song what would drive us insane, that would make our hearts swell and burst.” It reminded me of Kerouac’s little bar in Mexico (from On the Road). He says that was the only time he ever got to hear music played loud enough.

Kids get it. I remember a conversation I had with my son Zach when he was 9 1/2 years old.
“You know Dad,” Zach is talking with his mouth full of cereal, “I think my life has been pretty full.”
“Really?” I say to my son.
“Yeah. I mean, think about it. I have actually held a Serval Cat. In my lap. I have touched a real NASCAR race-car. I have been on an Aircraft Carrier. I have ridden in a real Ferrari. I have touched the actual Spruce Goose. And I have been within one foot of a Crossbill, and he didn’t even move. Not bad.”
No, son, not bad. Even better that you see it that way.

Thank you, Rabbi Harold S. Kushner. “When your life is filled with the desire to see the holiness in everyday life, something magical happens: Ordinary life becomes extraordinary, and the very process of life begins to nourish your soul.” 

A blessed Easter to you all…
Prayer for Easter weekend…
Draw us forth, God of all creation.
Draw us forward and away from limited certainty
into the immense world of your love.
Give us the capacity to even for a moment
taste the richness of the feast you give us.
Give us the peace to live with uncertainty,
with questions,
with doubts.
Help us to experience the resurrection anew
with open wonder and an increasing ability
to see you in the people of Easter.
(Author Unknown)
Prayer for our week…
May the Lord Bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you.
May God give you grace not to sell yourselves short,
Grace to risk something big for something good,
Grace to remember that the world is now too dangerous for anything but truth, and too small for anything but love.
May God take your minds and think through them.
May God take your lips and speak through them.
May God take your hands and work through them.
May God take your hearts and set them on fire.
Based on a quote from William Sloane Coffin

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