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Daily Dose (Jan 29 – Feb 1)

Tuesday —

This week: We know there is power in the gift of enough.
Let’s be honest, in today’s din, with much to fret about, that’s not easy to do.
Let us begin here… We carry this capacity to honor the sacrament of the present into every encounter and relationship. This means that we honor the dignity that is reflected by God’s goodness and grace. Every encounter, every relationship, is a place to include, invite mercy, encourage, receive, heal, reconcile, repair, say thank you, pray, celebrate, refuel, and restore.
We all need a time and a place that allows us—gives us permission—to pause and to embrace the gift—to befriend our own heart.
There’s another way to say this. When we are present (here now, the gift of enough in this present moment), we can pay attention to what really matters.

Many legends and few facts survive about Saint Brigid (c. 450 -523), an Irish woman who founded a community at Kildare primarily for women. She grew up marked by her high spirits and tender heart, and as a child, she heard St. Patrick preach, which she never forgot. She could not bear to see anyone hungry or cold; Brigid was in the habit of giving freely of her father’s (Dubthach) possessions and food to the poor and needy. Her father became so frustrated he decided to sell her to the King and bundled her into his chariot. He left her at the castle gate while he consulted with the King, and Brigid was approached by a beggar asking for alms. She gave him her father’s sword.
Brigid’s father and the king were amazed, and the king said he could not buy her from her father: “She is too good for me–I could never win her obedience.” When Dubthach protested, Brigid replied, “Christ dwells in every creature.”
Before we go down any road of comparison (after all, she is a saint)… as near as I can tell, the qualities for sainthood in Brigid’s case include gutsy and spirited wholeheartedness, unselfishness (no hunger for the spotlight), willingness to share the loot, simplicity of spirit, and no appetite to be captive to public opinion. In other words, she was fully present, and brought this wholehearted gift of enough to this present moment… and when that light spills to the world around us, it can make all the difference.
We can choose, act, risk, fail, forgive.
We can redeem, offer hope, bear witness, be the light of the world.

And our weather hit almost 60 today, and I worked in my garden for an hour. And, I was in heaven. The gift of enough.
We’ll soon be making my Power of Pause audio book available to all. Please enjoy the first few chapters here.

Wednesday —

In my sermon this past Sunday, I told a story we find in John’s Gospel.

“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So, she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!’…
Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
They asked her, ‘Woman, why are you crying?’
‘They have taken my Lord away,’ she said, ‘and I don’t know where they have put him.’
At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
He asked her, ‘Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?’
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.’”

And Jesus said, “There’s no need for so many tears.”  …No.
And Jesus said, “We can figure this out.”  …No.
And Jesus said, “What is your problem?”  …No.
And Jesus said, “You can handle this.”  …No.

“And Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means ‘Teacher’).”

“Mary.” One word. I see you.
I see in you and honor in your tears, the gift of enough.
And I confess that I cannot preach this story without my own tears.
The power of hearing my own name, and knowing that I am seen. And loved. And that grace wins. Even in the uncertain and the challenging and the noise.
In my mind, I’m sitting on my Grandmother’s porch swing….

Mary… One word. And we know, there is power in the gift of enough.
So. Here’s my prayer: I hope there is a place where you hear your name spoken… where you are seen, and honored, and gifted with grace.

Thursday —

When we are present (to be here now, the gift of enough in this present moment), we are invited to pay attention to the things that really matter.
Because the sacrament of the present moment anchors us. Centers us. Calms us.

So. Let us remember the gift here… We carry this capacity to honor the sacrament of the present into every encounter and relationship. This means that we honor the dignity that is reflected by God’s goodness and grace. Every encounter, every relationship, is a place to include, invite mercy, encourage, receive, heal, reconcile, repair, say thank you, pray, celebrate, refuel, and restore.
We all need a time and a place that allows us—gives us permission—to pause and to embrace the gift—to befriend our own heart.

I’ve been known to poke fun at list makers. Or, maybe, I’m just envious. But this, I am learning; lists can be very helpful… So. Here’s our list for this week.
One. It doesn’t hurt to pause. Let yourself be still. Breathe. (Many of us have longed for relief from a relentless pace.) Let the pause be a sanctuary for calm and reassurance.
Two. Who are your people? Reach out to them. Encourage, listen, laugh and celebrate. It lightens the load.
Three. Savor beauty. In moments and snippets. Let beauty make you smile. With beauty there is joy, and joy is always a balm for whatever ails us. When life is precarious, the world is astonishingly and exquisitely beautiful.
Four. Find ways to be grateful. Etty Hillesum’s reminder, “As life becomes harder and more threatening, it also becomes richer, because the fewer expectations we have, the more the good things of life become unexpected gifts that we accept with gratitude.”
Five. Any crisis reminds us of the truly vulnerable. To be human is to care for one another with empathy and kindness.
This is not a time to castigate. This is not a time to eschew responsibility. In fact, I do take responsibility, to make choices that will fuel hope, consolation, calm and tranquility.
I smile big when I see any of these measures called radical. Okay, ‘tis true.
So, let’s add to that shall we? Say… Radical empathy. Radical self-care. Radical compassion. Radical refocus. Radical presence.

Friday —

This past week on Vashon Island, I met Oscar The Bird King. Oscar is the king of the trolls, one of the final installments in Danish artist Thomas Dambo’s “Way of the Bird King” exhibition. Towering over a grove of trees in Point Robinson Park, Oscar is both whimsical and stunning to behold. A true treat to visit.
But here’s what made me smile real big. “Ever since I was a little boy, I’ve loved trash,” Dambo said during a presentation in September at the Vashon Center for the Arts.
You see, Thomas Dambo, acclaimed as the world’s leading recycle artist, specializes in crafting large-scale Troll sculptures from recycled materials. With over 100 magical creations scattered across the globe, Dambo’s work fosters environmental stewardship and encourages people to explore and protect natural spaces.

So yes, with scrapes of recycled material, yes, from “trash”… art is created to do the heart good. Created to bring the community together.
And I say, Amen. The gift of enough indeed.
Free and ubiquitous, trash became an early creative building block for Dambo. From broken bottles to books, bicycles and bags, Dambo found new life for old discarded things. And that passion flowered as an artistic mission to create sculptures out of trash and recycled materials, expressing his dream of “saving the world from drowning in trash.”

Twenty-feet tall, Oscar’s beard is a twisting thicket of madrone branches, and his crown features birdhouses, as do stakes driven into the ground surrounding his court. And then there are Oscar’s eyes — no matter where you stand, the troll seems to be watching you, stern yet thoughtful. (I’ll go with thoughtful and curious…) The Bird King, in Dambo’s storytelling, is a character admonishing humans to be good stewards of their environment. Oscar’s finger points downward toward the earth and viewers, challenging them to personally embrace their role in the environment. Yes, to care about our world. (Thank you to the Vashon Beachcomber.)

And here’s the deal: art does connect us. And standing among the trees, talking with Oscar… I’m reminded of a great book, Eating the Sun, and loved this; “Trees are also seemingly able to distinguish their own roots from those of other species, and even those of their relatives. They share food and help to nourish their competitors when they are sick or struggling (in winter an aspen will likely not do as well as a conifer, so the conifer lends a hand), and all this apparently for no other reason than that living becomes much easier when you’re helping others, rather than simply ensuring your own survival.” We were made for this, one soul helping another.

Hope you enjoyed the Full Moon in January. It has many names including the Wolf Moon. This name is thought to have a Celtic and Old English origin, also brought to North America. Other Celtic names include Stay Home Moon and Quiet Moon.
And we have made it to February, but this isn’t any ol’ February: It’s stuffed with 29 days on account of 2024 being a leap year. So, onward my friends… walking one another home…

Prayer for our week…
I am a prayer
I am a prayer of rain in the desert when the flowering ones need a drink
I am a prayer
I am a prayer of sun when there is no end to night
I am a prayer
I am a prayer of ocean when there is no more blue
I am a prayer
I am a prayer of clouds when few make rain songs
I am a prayer
I am a prayer of roads that lead everywhere but home
I am a prayer
I am a prayer of white birds who cannot fly through a storm of fear
I am a prayer
I am a prayer of fire who arrived to care for humans, then was misused to destroy
I am a prayer
I am a prayer of wind, whose breathing carries seeds, pollen, and songs to feed the generations
I am a prayer
I am a prayer of moon who wears the night as a shawl to hide that which should never be spoken
I am a prayer
I am a prayer of grief, when life gambled with death and gave up families for guns
I am a prayer
I am a prayer of smoke, wandering the broken houses, the littered ground looking for a white flag of reason
I am a prayer
I am a prayer of mountains, those tall humble ones who agreed to lift our eyes to see
I am a prayer
I am a prayer of forever making a path of beauty through the rubble of eternity
I am a prayer
I am a prayer of poetry speaking the soundlessness of the dead who return to speak in prayer
I am a prayer with children on my back roaming the earth house of destruction and creation
I am a prayer without end
Joy Harjo
(Former United States poet laureate)

Photo… Winter seems to go on and on… some people like it, and are wired for it. Some, eager for spring. This morning, the primrose outside my front door. It made me smile real big. The gift of enough indeed… Port Ludlow, WA… And I’m so grateful for your photos, please send them to tdh@terryhershey.com


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