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Daily Dose (July 9 – 12)


Life happens. And some of the sandcastles we build, dissolve and flatten.
This week, let us embrace stories about the gift of connection, and the healing power in rebuilding.
Let us not use our energy to worry. Let us use it to draw on that reservoir of connection and rebuilding. To believe. To create, trust, love, heal and grow.

Boyle Heights is one of the poorest parts of Los Angeles. Families can’t afford to pay for music lessons, so Suzanne Gindin started the Boyle Heights Community Youth Orchestra—the only after school orchestral music program that’s free and accessible to kids in that part of town.
Because those who joined together to create the program, believed that children deserve opportunities to learn music and express themselves, regardless of socioeconomic status. A belief grounded in the affirmation that when you teach children the beauty of music, music will teach them the beauty of life. (Thank you Maestro Joseph Abreu, Founder of El Sistema)
But big waves still flatten sandcastles. While they were rehearsing for a production of the Lion King, a young 14-year-old was shot outside their practice venue, only a few days before they were due to perform. And yet, a choice was made, even with the real pain and loss, and Suzanne was able to bring the children outside to perform —a major event of healing for them, and for the entire community.
And the rest of the story? This story didn’t make any of the headlines. It didn’t lead the news. And I know this story because Sabbath Moment friend Connie Collins shared it with me. And I want to share it with you.
So, yes, like the children at the beach, we find solace in the sanctuary of connection.

In their vulnerability they chose sufficiency. Grace is alive in rebuilding. To mend broken places. And just like the story about the children on the beach, this isn’t about tidy. Or explanations to make it go away.
It is the freedom (yes, permission) to embrace the life they find in the moment, even in the mess. The students in the orchestra didn’t know Leonard Cohen, but they lived his song, Anthem.
There’s a crack in everything.
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.
I do not know about your sandcastles, but I do wish for you sanctuary and rebuilding this week.

On my driving commute this morning to SeaTac Airport, it is still pre-dawn. And the eastern sky has begun its parade, scrolling soft watercolor tapestries, the sky now tinted a warm copper. The Cascade mountains are etched against the sky; as backdrops—more like anchors—of exquisite beauty. To the north stands Mt. Baker, and to the south, Mr. Rainier. And this I know; to be guided and escorted by such awe and wonder is a good way to begin the day.


Life happens. And some of the sandcastles we build, dissolve and flatten.
This week, we are embracing stories about the gift of connection, and the healing power in rebuilding.

Speaking of stories about bringing people together, this came from Sabbath Moment friend Charles Ochello.
They came in bateaux, canoes, crawfish skiffs and dual-engine fishing craft, launching off the sides of roads, where highways dipped into several feet of murky water. Dubbed by some as a “Cajun Navy,” the citizen-sailors braved nasty water and nastier currents and have become a symbol of the Great Flood of 2016.
Many will remember the photos from that flood. Many were heartrending.
The waters of the Amite, Comite and Tickfaw rivers rising to devastating costs. But along back roads and highways hundreds of boat-towing pickups streamed toward high water. This massive citizen flotilla works pulled folks by the hundreds—along with sacks of possessions and frightened pets—from once-dry homes now surrounded by growing lakes.
To say that Louisiana boasts a deep reserve of experienced boaters avid anglers, hunters and professional guides scattered across the state would be an understatement. Jared Serigne, a 32-year-old St. Bernard Parish resident said he and a cousin didn’t hesitate before hooking up their boat and driving to Baton Rouge on Saturday.
Rescued with her two children and their cats and dogs, Nichole Witholder, wrote, “I don’t know their names. Regular men, going out of their way, using their own time and resources to help us get all dogs, cats, and children safely in a boat in the pouring rain.”
And why did the “Cajun Navy” hook up their boats and go?
“We went through it in Katrina and Isaac,” said Graylin Shultheis Jr., a 30-year-old fireman and bowfishing guide who spent the weekend running rescue missions in Tangipahoa and Ascension parishes. “You’ve got to try to repay the favor when someone else is in need.”
“And besides,” said one, “Some of them were just really scared people.”
(Parts of the story of the Cajun Navy from theadvocate)

This we know: Life happens. And sandcastles dissolve and flatten.
And there’s a part of me that needs to make sense of it all.
The good news? The Cajun Navy didn’t buy the label. Like the children on the beach with their flattened sandcastle, they were not undone by scarcity (by depletion or by sadness). They went about their day as if sufficiency was their reality. And from that place of sufficiency and connection, they began to slowly build—even in, and especially in, their awkwardness and vulnerability—a new sandcastle.


Life happens. And some of the sandcastles we build, dissolve and flatten.
This week, we are embracing stories about the gift of connection, and the healing power in rebuilding.
In April 2015, a car packed with explosives detonated in the busy Mansour district of Baghdad, killing at least 10 people and injuring 27. After this incident, something very unusual happened. Karim Wasif went to the bombsite, took out his cello, sat down on a chair amid ash and rubble in a black suit, his long hair combed back, and started to play.
Why go to the site of a car bomb to play your cello?
Wasfi, the renowned conductor of the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra, said simply, “The other side chose to turn every element, every aspect of life into a battle and into a war zone. I chose to turn every corner of Iraq into a spot for civility, beauty and compassion. I wanted to show what beauty can be in the ugly face of car bombs, and to respect the souls of the fallen ones.”
We do know that when he played, soldiers cried. People kissed. They clapped, they felt alive, they felt human, and they felt appreciated and respected. This does not surprise me. When I watched, I cried too.
Because it touched something deep inside of me.
I’m drawn to stories of everyday heroes, ambassadors for our collective soul. These stories are indispensable for wellbeing and an antidote to despair.
The bombs that go off around us take different forms… violence, natural disaster, loss of faith, cruelty, personal and emotional breakdown, fragile health. It all seems out of the blue. But it all adds up to wreckage. In our spirit. In our hearts. In our relationships. And when heaviness shifts the narrative, we feel at the mercy of, as if our power of choice is gone.
The good news? Jesus invites all who are weary and heavy laden.
But here’s how it plays out for me. When I’m weary, I don’t feed my soul. Lethargy gives way to bleakness (loss of hope) and the desire to quit. I sense myself shutting down. Like living with a restrictor plate on my heart. (I still wrestle with shame from my childhood about ‘fessing up to the dark and broken parts in my spirit. Which only exacerbates the spiral.)
So. Why play our cello?  It’s straightforward really. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that.” (Dr. King)
Something in Wasfi chose light. And wholeheartedness. To show compassion, love and redemption. I don’t know where that capacity comes from, but here’s the deal: I know that it is alive and well in every single one of us. The light of hope, perseverance and connection. The light of civility, beauty and compassion. Yes, the light of connection and rebuilding.
When I am reminded of this truth my heart expands. And the good news? A full heart always spills. Instead of fighting weariness by shutting down, or instead of launching another bomb, I will play my cello.
Sabbath Moment is my way of playing “my cello”.

And for our friends in southeast Texas, where intense heat is leaving so many without power and air conditioning in the wake of storm Beryl’s deadly and destructive landfall. Please be on the watch for those that need assistance and support.


Life happens. And our sandcastles can dissolve and flatten.
And there’s a part of us that needs to make sense of it all. Gratefully, the children on the beach with their flattened sandcastle were not undone by scarcity (by depletion or by sadness). They went about their day as if sufficiency was their reality. And from that place of sufficiency and connection, they began to build—even in, and especially in, their awkwardness and vulnerability, and uncertainty—a new sandcastle.

We’ve lost the empowerment that comes from knowing that what is at our core (compassion, generosity, kind-heartedness, our capacity for connection and our fortitude to rebuild) is greater than whatever change confronts or challenges us.
In other words, we forget our best selves.
We have forgotten that we are made for this, one soul helping another.
Although, even then, we wonder, “Is it worth making the effort?”
As the old man walks the beach at dawn, he notices a young man picking up starfish and flinging them into the sea. Catching up to the youth, he asks a simple question, “Why are you doing this?”
The boy answers that the stranded starfish would die if left until the morning sun.
“But the beach goes on for miles, and there are millions of starfish. How can your efforts make any difference?”
The young man looked at the starfish in his hand and threw it to safety—into the ocean past the breaking waves. “It makes a difference to this one,” he said.
I don’t know what your emotional wellbeing thermostat reads. I do know that when I’m tired or worn down, I’m susceptible to disheartenment and discombobulation (compounded by a dose of guilt that I should know better than to give in to melancholy). Well, this week, I want to give the inner bully a time out.
Here’s what I know: We can make choices (about connection and rebuilding) that matter, that make a difference. To this day. To this encounter. To this conversation.

One of my heroes here is Mother Teresa (now, Saint Teresa). She spent her life dedicated to serving the poorest of the poor. When Pope Francis officially bestowed that title of sainthood, he recognized holiness in a woman who felt so abandoned by God that she was unable to pray and was convinced, despite her ever-present smile, that she was experiencing the tortures of hell. And yet. She went about her days as if sufficiency was her reality, yes, even in the midst of “flattened sandcastles.” Mother Teresa not only shared the material poverty of the poor but the spiritual poverty of those who feel unloved, unwanted, uncared for.
Today, St. Teresa of Calcutta reminds us that the people who do make it (the people who endure and carry on), are those with a hand to hold and the appetite to rebuild.

Prayer for our week…
A Familiar Stranger
I saw a stranger today.
I put food for him
in the eating-place
And drink
in the drinking-place
And music
in the listening-place.
In the Holy name
of the Trinity
He blessed myself
and my family.
And the lark said in her warble
Often, often, often
Goes Christ
in the stranger’s guise.
O, oft and oft and oft,
Goes Christ
in the stranger’s guise.
Celtic Rune of Hospitality

Photo… “Terry, I was sitting in my garden reading Sabbath Moment and enjoying the beauty of our last epiphyllum bloom of the season. (It is a night bloomer and the blossom only lasts 1-2 days, so if we don’t take the time to pause and look in the mornings.) We will miss its beauty….Thanks for sharing your stories and messages.” Kathy Frost (San Diego)… Thank you Kathy… And I’m so grateful for your photos, please send them to [email protected]

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