This week: The invitation to be here now.
As young clergy, just out of seminary, it was the impulse, attraction and aspiration to provide the “answers” people needed. That would make the difference, I told myself. And I realize now that I missed the point. A hug (or a listening ear, or a cup of coffee) mattered more than my explanation or sermon.
Let’s take this ‘good for the heart’ story with us this week. About a young girl who returned home from school in tears.
Her Mother worried, asked, “Sweetheart, what happened?”
“It was awful,” the girl told her Mother. “My best friend’s cat died. And she was very, very sad.”
“But why are you still crying?” her Mother asked.
“Because I don’t think I’m a good best friend. Because I didn’t know the right words to say, to try to help her.”
“Well, what did you do?” the mother asked.
“I just held her hand, and cried with her all day.”
Yes. And Amen.
Okay, I have an idea. Let’s make attention (presence), the permission to be here now, our new authentic-self currency.
Gratefully, it’s a currency every one of us carry (whether we know it—see it—or not).
And a blessed reminder that no one of us is on the journey alone.
When we require (even demand) a certain script, we see only that script. We assume that the script will take us where we need to go. Bottom line, we miss the beautiful complexity of this moment. We miss the gifts of liberation that live in the sacrament of the present moment.
I’m enjoying Rabbi Sharon Brous’ writing about resilience being alive and well, in “Train Yourself to Always Show Up” (from her book The Amen Effect).
Bottom line, we are not helpless or victims, and small tender gestures really do allow us to find our way to and with one another, as we walk one another home.
On CBS Sunday Morning, I watched a clip called “Real ‘rock stars’ at the World of Concrete” which included a brick laying contest. As a brick mason’s son, and the way I was raised, it did my heart good. I could feel the trowel in my hand.
An important and hurried and stressed businessman visits a Zen master, seeking guidance. (It seems that these days, to look important, you have to appear hurried and stressed.) The Zen master sits down, invites the businessman to sit, and pours the visitor a cup of tea. But even after the tea fills the cup, the Zen master continues to pour, allowing the tea to spill, now running over the entire table.
The businessman is taken aback, “Stop! Please stop pouring the tea! Can’t you see the cup is full, and obviously can’t hold any more.”
The Zen master replies simply, “Yes. So, it is with you. And you will not be able to receive any guidance, unless you make some empty space first.”
I can relate to the businessman.
There is something alluring about filling empty space. And something very unnerving about being asked to empty (or let go of) whatever I’ve stockpiled to fill that space.
But I do know this. When there is no empty space, I pay the price.
I am full. Stuffed. Numb. Literally: numb. And when my senses are numbed by the noise of overload and worry, I am impoverished. Think kryptonite for sanity.
This week the invitation to be here now. When we let go of overload (or closure or “certainty”), we make space for the gifts to choose, see, embrace, presence, curiosity, wonder, awe, learning, change, seeing, pausing, creativity and resilience.
Not bad for Ash Wednesday; the invitation to let go, to empty, in order to make space for the gifts of grace.
And not a bad message for Valentine’s Day, making space for the gifts of love.
I’m grateful for this from Maria Shriver, “My friends, there are so many forms of love, starting with the love you show and bestow on yourself. There is agape love, there is anam cara love, there is the love of a friend, the love of a lover, or the reverential love that another can bestow on you simply because of who you are…
That’s the thing about love: you can feel its effects even when you witness another bestowing it on someone else. Love is powerful like that. So this week, begin by loving yourself—all the parts of yourself. Focus on loving those who love you, those who show up in your life in ways big and small all the time. Even love those who tried to love you along the way, and for whatever reasons, it didn’t work out. Show love to others—those you know, and those you may simply know from afar.
Watching love in real time warms the heart, softens the eyes, and calms the nervous system. Love is not just what individuals need to thrive; it’s also what our country needs to heal… So in this week that celebrates love, try to find the love that shines through the cracks of your own heart. Hold space for someone who might be struggling. Love yourself—your body, your shadow, your beautiful brain, all of you—and all of others. Know that so many amongst us are heartbroken. They are down on the mat of life, unsure how to get up, and unsure if anyone cares whether they do or not. You have the opportunity to share your love and marvel at it in someone else. You can stop and acknowledge all that you have been through in your life, and you can love where you are on the journey. This week, I hope you can make room for the unexpected, and when it arrives, show it some love.” (Thank you, Maria Shriver)
And for our friends in Louisiana, savor Mardi Gras for us.
My friend Celia Whitler is a songwriter and a storyteller, and like me, travels around doing her best to spill the light. She once told me about leading a women’s retreat on Mother’s Day. Apparently, it troubled a few women, who made their dismay all too clear. “Oh my, Celia, you are missing being with your family and on Mother’s Day.”
Celia told me, “After about the tenth comment, I was like okay, enough already.
So, I said to them, ‘This is bothering you a whole lot more than me. When my boys get in the car tomorrow, we’ll play, and really every day is Mother’s Day for me.’ One woman looked at me like I had lost my mind. And for a second, I believed the lie. I believed that my life as a mother should look like all these other woman’s lives. But that’s wrong; my life should not look like theirs, it should look like mine. So, I will celebrate all that it is, and all that it’s not, and God will make up the difference!”
I like this story. Because it is about the permission to care, to be here now. To be front and center in this moment (regardless of what it brings).
Yes. When we let go of overload (or closure or “certainty” or life in a box), we allow grace to embrace this self, in this moment. My Oh My.
True, we all carry that fusion (or muddle). Meaning that there is stuff we carry that brings delight. And there are a few things that bring regret. Maybe that’s the weight: an expectation that I am to be somebody other than who I am today. Isn’t that something, how this weight hooks us. And we assume that our value is conditional; all about some need to satisfy (measure up or pass muster).
Can it be true that I am loved, or am somebody, only because I keep the rules, or play the role, or worry about what others think?
If that is the case, then this weight means that I am no longer free:
To risk, or try.
To live unbridled.
To live soft hearted.
To show mercy.
In the morning, off very early for So. Cal. Will be in Anaheim this weekend for the Religious Education Congress. My topic Saturday morning 10am, The gift of enough. The presentation will be live streamed. You can find it here.
Oh, and today, first blooms on Tete-a-Tete (buttercup yellow dwarf daffodil). I’m smiling real big.
I’m writing this from Anaheim, CA.
And today’s Daily Dose will be a brief one.
It is simply this: I’m grateful to be here.
With an early morning flight, I woke in the middle of the night to a surprise snowstorm. And the conditions for driving were blizzard like. Not good.
So, hopped in the car, and drove 30 mph, all 85 miles to the airport.
My car is a Prius. And Prius and blizzard driving typically don’t go in the same sentence. Wise? There is a part of me that says “probably not”, but it was the only way to get where I needed to go.
And the roads had not yet been plowed, so I drove in the snow like my Father taught me so many years ago in Southern Michigan. With focus, and very careful attentiveness. Drive like it matters.
And I’m smiling because it sounds to me like our weekly theme, the invitation to be here now.
The invitation to be present. Even in times turned upside down, or times not what we had in mind.
The good news for my commute this morning, on the eastern side of the Puget Sound, the snow turned to rain, so no trouble arriving safely.
And I was reminded that we matter to one another. And how grateful I am for each of you being a part of Sabbath Moment. Let us continue to walk one another home (thank you Ram Dass).
Here at the Religious Education Congress, my topic Saturday morning 10am, The gift of enough. The presentation will be live streamed. You can find it here.
Prayer for our week…
The Fast Life
Fast from judging others;
Feast on Christ dwelling in them.
Fast from fear of illness;
Feast on the healing power of God.
Fast from words that pollute;
Feast on speech that purifies.
Fast from discontent;
Feast on gratitude.
Fast from anger;
Feast on patience.
Fast from pessimism;
Feast on hope.
Fast from negatives;
Feast on encouragement.
Fast from bitterness;
Feast on forgiveness.
Fast from self-concern;
Feast on compassion.
Fast from suspicion;
Feast on truth.
Fast from gossip;
Feast on purposeful silence.
Fast from problems that overwhelm;
Feast on prayer that sustains.
Fast from anxiety;
Feast on faith.
Photo… “Hi Terry, As I was looking at events at Villa Maria del Mar, I saw the event where you will be speaking. I live just blocks away on 14th Avenue in Santa Cruz. I signed up for your Sabbath Moment and look forward to each email with your insight; and the poems, the photos, the prayers you include. Thought I’d share with you this photo I took of one of my neighbor’s side gate. I see it every time I walk out my front door but never stopped to see how beautiful it is – this ordinary side gate.” Ro (Rossana) Cipres… Thank you Ro… And I’m so grateful for your photos, please send them to email@example.com