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Daily Dose (Jan 2 – 5)

Tuesday —

Welcome to the New Year. I hope you’ve found a moment or two for gratitude and renewal.
This week, the affirmation that, we are healers. Grounded in Ram Dass’ affirmation, “We’re all just walking each other home.”
It is from Jewish tradition that we learn our “job title”; Tikkun olam. Literally, repair of the world—creating places of safety, sanctuary and resotartion. The word olam also means hidden. We need to repair the world so that its Creator is no longer hidden within, but shines through each thing in magnificent, harmonious beauty.

So. It helps to pause. And take notice. To be nourished by moments of grace, gestures of kindness, contributions of open-heartedness, acts of kindness, and olive branches.

Two stories come to mind. Let us carry them with us into our New Year.
I am reminded of a comment overheard after 9-11, in St. Paul’s (where first responders ate and slept on cots and in pews). A firefighter said, “When I come in that door, I’m covered with blood sometimes, and they hug me. They love me, they take care of me, they treat me as a real human being. And then they feed me, and they massage me, and they give me adjustments. These are my people. This is my place. This is where I come to be with God.”

And you know, I’m a huge Mr. Roger’s fan. He lived Tikkun olam. Find the clip of his acceptance speech for a Lifetime achievement Emmy award. This is what he said, to an audience that lives in a cynical and skeptical world, “So many people have helped me to come here to this night. Some of you are here, some are far away and some are even in Heaven. All of us have special ones who loved us into being. Would you just take, along with me, 10 seconds to think of the people who have helped you become who you are, those who cared about you and wanted what was best for you in life.”
In this new year, who are your people?
Who reminds you that today is a good day to work to heal?
A good day to be vulnerable to being transformed. To right a wrong. To forgive (beginning with myself). To embrace. To offer a hand, or a kind word. Or both.

I am grateful that we are on this journey together.

Wednesday —

“We’re all just walking each other home.” Thank you, Ram Dass.
This is so indispensable to remember (yes, to recognize and affirm and uphold) in the world in which we live.
And this week, a poem came my way. And it did just that, and it did my heart good. Enjoy it. And pass it on.
Here’s the deal: One kind gesture matters. And each one, “Tikkun olam”. Literally, repairer of the world—creating places of safety, sanctuary and restoration. My friends, it doesn’t take much to spill light.

Small Kindnesses
I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead—you first,” “I like your hat.”
Danusha Laméris
Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection

And this, from a David Wilcox song, “It’s your kindness that I love best. It’s your kindness that clears my sky.”

Before I sign out, I must take a brief moment, to mention that yesterday there were two college football games that caught my attention. Well, that caused my heartbeat to go up a wee bit. And, the outcome? It will be University of Michigan versus University of Washington in the National championship game next Monday. Here we go. And for non-football people, thank you for your prayers.

Thursday —

We are healers.
Grounded in Ram Dass’ affirmation, “We’re all just walking each other home.”
Often when I talk about making space for kindness—for healing and for connection—the reaction is, “I wish, but don’t you see the crazy world we live in?”
Well, yes, I do.
And yes, it takes a toll.
But here is what I’ve learned: When we see only the “bigger world,” we tend to focus only (and see only) the muddled and topsy-turvy and crazy and chaotic and hopeless, first and foremost.
Seeing and engaging with the world right in front of me, doesn’t deny pain or cruelty or injustice. What it does do, is to remind me that there is a world (right in front of me) where I can bring my whole self. Where I can choose. And give, and try, and care. Yes, regardless of the outcome.
And when I stop… in order to see the world right in front of me, I realize that it doesn’t matter what I expect from life, but what life expects from me.
And there, I know, and see, that no act of kindness, however small, is ever, ever wasted.

But let us step back, and begin here: kindness (and peace and gentleness) to one’s self. We forget that, don’t we? The power of self-embracing, self-kindness, self-healing.
When your immune system (not just physical, but emotional and spiritual) is down, you are susceptible. And predisposed to scotoma (selective blindness, seeing only the “bigger world”, the symptoms that derail you).
This I know: when we are susceptible, we are vulnerable… to giving up, to losing hope, to not believing, to presuming that fear is the final word, to seeing only what is unforgivable.
We have forgotten our internal immunity, which protects us against gracelessness. Or distrust. Or fear.

The good news? Out of the soil of even catastrophe and hatred, hope can grow. And not just hope. But a voice of hope for those who have no voice.
Because, no act of kindness, however small, is ever, ever wasted.
So. Here’s the deal: Healers do not foreclose on their heart.
Our invitation. “Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” Thank you, Kurt Vonnegut.

Friday —

From the time I was a young pastor, and throughout the years, when I needed a boost to my spirit, or when I needed a reminder about what sustains and nourishes me, and of what really matters, I turned to my friends, Frog and Toad.

This story is called “The Letter”.
Toad was sitting on his front porch. Frog came along and said, “What is the matter, Toad?
You are looking sad.”
“Yes,” said Toad. “This is my sad time of day. It is the time when I wait for the mail to come. It always makes me very unhappy.”
“Why is that?” asked Frog.
“Because I never get any mail,” said Toad.
“Not ever?” asked Frog.
“No, never,” said Toad. “No one has ever sent me a letter. Every day my mailbox is empty. That is why waiting for the mail is a sad time for me.”
Frog and Toad sat on the porch, feeling sad together.
Then Frog said, “I have to go home now, Toad. There is something that I must do.”
Frog hurried home. He found a pencil and a piece of paper. He wrote on the paper. He put the paper in an envelope. On the envelope he wrote “A LETTER FOR TOAD.”
Frog ran out of his house. He saw a snail that he knew.
“Snail,” said Frog, “please take this letter to Toad’s house and put it in his mailbox.”
“Sure,” said the snail. “Right away.”
Then Frog ran back to Toad’s house.
Toad was in bed, taking a nap.
“Toad,” said Frog, “I think you should get up and wait for the mail some more.”
“No,” said Toad, “I am tired of waiting for the mail.”
Frog looked out of the window at Toad’s mailbox. The snail was not there yet.
“Toad,” said Frog, “you never know when someone may send you a letter.”
“No, no,” said Toad. “I do not think anyone will ever send me a letter.”
Frog looked out of the window. The snail was not there yet.
“But, Toad,” said Frog, “someone may send you a letter today.”
“Don’t be silly,” said Toad. “No one has ever sent me a letter before, and no one will send me a letter today.”
Frog looked out of the window. The snail was still not there.
“Frog, why do you keep looking out of the window?” asked Toad.
“Because now I am waiting for the mail,” said Frog.
“But there will not be any,” said Toad.
“Oh, yes there will,” said Frog, “because I have sent you a letter.”
“You have?” said Toad.
“What did you write in the letter?”
Frog said, “I wrote ‘Dear Toad, I am glad that you are my best friend. Your best friend, Frog.’”
“Oh,” said Toad, “that makes a very good letter.”
Then Frog and Toad went out onto the front porch to wait for the mail. They sat there, feeling happy together.
Frog and Toad waited a long time. Four days later the snail got to Toad’s house and gave him the letter from Frog.
Toad was very pleased to have it.
(Thank you Arnold Lobel, Frog and Toad Are Friends)

One of my birthday gifts this year, the book Noticing by Kobi Yamada. And I loved this, “Everyone shines and needs to be seen. Everyone wants to know that they matter, that there is a place for them, that they are needed. Sure, some may hide their brilliance, but the light is in there, always flickering, and it is a beautiful thing when we can reflect it back to them.”
(In a review about the book I read: Noticing is designed for five-to-eight-year-old readers, but of course the reminder to fill our lives with attentive wonder has no age limits. Can I get an Amen?)

Let us remember my friends, we are healers.
Healers grounded by the affirmation, “We’re all just walking each other home.” (Ram Dass)

Prayer for our week…
New Year’s Prayer
As the dawn breaks on a new year, let us give thanks for all we hold dear: our health, our family and our friends.
Let us release our grudges, our anger and our pains, for these are nothing but binding chains.
Let us live each day in the most loving ways, the God-conscious way.
Let us serve all who are in need, regardless of race, color or creed.
Let us keep God of our own understanding in our hearts and to chant God’s name each day.
Let us lead the world from darkness to light, from falsehood to truth and from wrong to right.
Let us remember that we are all one, embracing all, discriminating against none.
May your year be filled with peace, prosperity and love.
May God’s blessings shower upon you and bestow upon each of you a bright, healthy and peaceful new year.
Rev. Marcy Sheremetta

Photo… “Hello Terry, Sending photos of sunset and sunrise from my end of the world–the Philippines. This beachfront is my own sanctuary when the soul yearns for peace. May 2024 allow us the awareness of the need to replenish and quench our thirst.
All the best to you! Looking forward to 365 days of inspiring prescriptions. I am a fan on FaceBook. Sincerely,” Dulce Posa

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