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Daily Dose (July 2 – 5)


This week we’ll be telling stories about the invitation and permission to be one of God’s desperadoes. I believe in stories of love and kindness, that nourish and replenish our weary soul. Stories inviting us to see, and to engage, instead of resign. To care. To spill light. Even in small ways… to spill compassion, forgiveness, second changes, understanding. And yes, sacks of groceries.
And the good news? This is something we are wired to do—because spilling the light is in our DNA.

But we don’t always see it or embrace it, do we?
One of my favorite movies is the documentary, From Mao to Mozart. It is about Isaac Stern’s visit to China after the Cultural Revolution. With openness to western influence, Stern was invited to teach music. In China, he comes face to face with the clash between technical skill and artistic interpretation.
The soul of the documentary is the time Stern spends with young Chinese students, coaching, coaxing, teaching and encouraging. The level of their skill is exceptional, and… well, astonishing. A consummate teacher, Stern’s task seems to be to inspire them to stop being merely technical masters, and to put their heart and emotion into their playing. In other words, to let (allow to) what is in their heart, spill.
Oddly, we all get it.
We know that the power of life is wrapped in small gestures of compassion, and in the gifts that spill from the heart.
In the documentary, Stern tells his students that the violin bow is like a paintbrush. “It is free to give you many colors,” he tells them, because music is never just black and white. He invites them to see that they will have “some colors even painters don’t have.”
So. Our invitation? To see the power—the God’s desperadoes power, the spilling light power—resides inside of each of us. Right now.
If I don’t see it (acknowledge it or embrace it)…
…I can’t access it.
…I can’t let it spill.
…I can’t give it away.

This little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine. Every day. Every day. I’m gonna let my little light shine.
Actually Bruce Springsteen sings This Little Light of Mine a wee bit better than me.
This week. I’ll carry this song with me.


I believe in stories of love and kindness, that nourish and replenish our weary soul. Stories about the invitation and permission to be one of God’s desperadoes.
And the good news? This is something we are wired to do. Why? Because spilling the light is in our DNA… “this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.”
To savor the reminder that the light—the Imago Dei—burns inside every single one of us.

“Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention,” L.R. Knost reminds us. “So, go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.”
So. Here’s our question for today: What does it mean to embrace the gift(s) of the light that is within each of us?
I do know this: when life gets crazy, I don’t see the light. I see (focus on) darkness and brokenness. And when I “shut down” in that way, I forget (and discount) that we are on this journey with one another.
Yes. And Amen. Because here’s the deal: Sometimes we need to be carried.
And sometimes, we need to carry.
Either way, this week remember that the smallest of words can make the biggest difference. You can be the voice for those who don’t have one.
“Sometimes our light goes out, but is blown again into instant flame by an encounter with another human being,” Dr. Albert Schweitzer wrote, “Each of us owes the deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this inner light.”
I write this as an affirmation and a reminder (okay, mostly to myself) that within each of us there is a light. And that this light—of hope, dignity, delight, passion, justice, beauty, grace—still shines, regardless of the dirt (or craziness) that covers it. Yes, there are times we forget (and throw our hands into the air).
However, there are also times when a simple act of kindness, or gift of compassion, rekindles the light in our own spirit. This gift we give to another, becomes a gift we gratefully receive. In this story, both—the giver and the receiver—are liberated.

And for our friends to the north, Happy Canada Day (a wee bit late, July 1). And for those here in the United States, readying for a 4th celebration that invites holy shadows… Yes, for firework lovers, I hope you will enjoy a good pageant and celebration. However, I confess to preferring the show, just without the sound. I’m kindred spirit to all the dogs I’ve had in my life, who couldn’t wait for the quiet. I resonated with this recommendation, “Calmly pet and talk to them throughout.”


I believe in stories of love and kindness, that nourish and replenish our weary soul. Stories about the invitation and permission to be one of God’s desperadoes.
I easily forget I can make a difference in the small world where I live and breathe. Spilling light, and receiving the gifts of light spilled in my life and world.
Which brings me to the gift, and bearing, of friendship.
Every week in Sabbath Moment, we affirm that no one of us is on this journey alone. Ram Dass’ affirmation, “We’re all just walking each other home.”

In other words, we all begin here: making a difference is grounded in connection.
And this I know: I want to commit to friendships.
And yes, I write this out of selfishness. As a reminder to myself that friendship is non-negotiable. In truth, I can still be enamored by self-sufficiency, reputation, accomplishments (and yes, stuff). But deep down, I know that life can be lived without all of these things. But I can’t be fully human or fully alive without friends. And I can’t be fully human and fully alive without connection with fellow journeyers.
I find it interesting that Jesus kept pointing this out to his disciples. He cautioned them from rejoicing in their resumes. And he invited them to be his friends. He didn’t tell them what to believe. He invited them into a relationship.
Yes. We are connected.
And this is certain. Friendship is not acquired, it is made. It is a river that runs through our days. With choices weathered, rounded, seasoned, and fashioned in that river that runs through time and experience. Friendship is a process of movement. Creating and co-creating. Molding and being molded. And friendship can only stay alive, if it intentional.
I could argue the case I suppose. I could quote St. Francis of de Sales, who spoke of friendship as “necessitudo”—necessary. Or quote Cicero, who stated “friendship is the sun of life… the best gift which the immortal gods have given us with the exception of wisdom.” Or, I could use modern studies which show that “people with good friends usually have less stress and may even live longer.” The Seattle Times reported that in a study of men and women over sixty-five, “those with more friends had a lower risk of health problems and recovered faster when they did develop them.”
Or, I could choose to commit… to live in a world where we are walking one another home. It’s really as simple as that. Yes, we do put ourselves on the line. We are intentional. We say, “this is important to me.” There is one caveat. Friendship requires something on my part because friendship is a declaration, and no friendship happens by default.
Now, back to our weekly theme; it means that I can choose to connect. Meaning to engage, instead of resign. To ask. Share. Play. Invite. Be present. To care. To give. To receive. Be a sounding board. Write a note. To spill light. Even in small ways… to spill compassion, forgiveness, second changes, understanding. And yes, sacks of groceries.

And a happy Fourth of July to all.


I believe in stories of love and kindness, that nourish and replenish our weary soul. Stories about the invitation and permission to be one of God’s desperadoes.
We can make a difference in the small world where we live and breathe.
And yet, it’s not always easy to imagine. As one reader asked me, “How can we be God’s desperadoes in such a polarized world?”

Let’s begin here: Do you know the word Ubuntu? A Nguni Bantu term meaning “humanity” often translated as “I am because we are,” and also “humanity towards others”, but is often used in a philosophical sense “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity.” As chairman of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Desmond Tutu used descriptive words to speak about Ubuntu intimately binding it within Christian principles of goodness.
Ubuntu is a recognition (and affirmation) that we are all bound together in ways that can be invisible to the eye; that there is a oneness to humanity; that we achieve ourselves by sharing ourselves with others, and caring for those around us.
A state in which one’s “humanity is caught up and inextricably bound up” in others. Of Ubuntu, he says, “I am human because I belong, I participate, I share.”

So. Whatever the discord of polarization, we are still on this journey together.
I’m smiling, remembering a gift in the mail that made me smile big; from Mary, a Sabbath Moment reader. I Am You: a book about Ubuntu. Yes, we share humanity, compassion and oneness. Even in, and especially in, our brokenness.

Let us keep sharing stories about God’s desperadoes. Stories of love and kindness, to spill compassion, forgiveness, second chances, understanding. (And yes, sacks of groceries.)
A story I recently read, about a woman traveling alone–by train–who arrived in a new city. There was time until her next train connection, so she struck up a conversation with another traveler, a woman making a stopover in the midst of a very long journey. The traveler was tired, and the woman unthinkingly handed her a sandwich that she’d been saving for later. It began as a conversation, and become a friendship that lasted for twenty years.
After the woman died, her son happened upon a packet of his mother’s correspondence. One thing particularly struck him. “There were so many letters from this woman she had met in the train station. And they all ended with the same words: ‘I’ll never forget that you fed me.’”
I’m so grateful for all of you, my Sabbath Moment brothers and sisters, God’s desperadoes. Keep spilling your light.

Prayer for our week…
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to gaze at bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.
Naomi Shihab Nye, “Kindness”

Photo… “The flowers in my garden speak to me all the time. I started this pretty little rose from a slip that my horticulture instructor gave me a couple of years ago. I never knew that it was possible to grow roses that way! I start every morning by ‘soul gardening’ outdoors with your inspiring words. Thank you Terry! (BTW I have known you since I attended your women’s retreat in LaVerne, CA many years ago, where I purchased ‘Soul Gardening’. I feel so fortunate that you presented a number of retreats at my parish church, Holy Name of Mary in San Dimas. I read you every morning from my new home in Monterey, CA.”
Patricia Reilly… Thank you Patricia… And I’m so grateful for your photos, please send them to [email protected]

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