This Sabbath Moment is dedicated to the child within us: because like it or not, our childhood stays with us forever, regardless of our age.
Mr. Rogers used to remind us everybody was a child once. I can tell you that I loved Mr. Rogers for that reminder.
The reminder means that the child inside is still alive and well, even when we forget. Or when life gets heavy. (It is so easy to forget when our identity is measured by the compulsion to “become somebody”. Because we lose sight of the grace and graciousness at our core.)
This story helps me remember…
In the desert of New Mexico, in a beautiful home with huge doors open to the outside, Native American musician Ronald Roybal talks with a gathered group of pastors. As he talks, he plays hauntingly beautiful music. He tells them about how missionaries came to his people and how his people received the story of Jesus, absorbing the story into their understanding. He tells the group that Native Americans believe that God gives every creature a dance. The eagle has an eagle dance, the bear a bear dance, the scorpion a scorpion dance, and so forth. However, over the years, we human beings had forgotten our dance. So, we dance the dance of other animals, because we do not know our own. Jesus, however, knew our “human” dance and came to teach us the dance again.
I cannot tell you your song. But I can tell you this: you have one. And your song embraces the child that is alive and well inside of you.
Count on it.
It is the song that allows us to feel seen.
It is the song that tells us we are whole, when we feel broken.
It is the song that gives us the power to dance, even when we feel shattered.
There are times when we lose our song. Or it gets buried. Or we get numbed. Or, we say emphatically, “This is not the day for it.”
And it’s never easy to admit, I’m guessing because we don’t want to appear weak.
So. In being seen, we invite self-compassion. In that soil, mercy, hope, redemption and healing blossom. The child inside is embraced.
And when the world feels broken, I take heart in Gandhi’s wisdom, “As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world as in being able to remake ourselves.” Transformation is real with the re-discovery of who I am. Transformation because that child in me is seen. And I want to affirm this gift that everyone was a child once.
This Sabbath Moment is dedicated to the child within us: because like it or not, our childhood stays with us forever, regardless of our age. But can be easy to lose track can’t it?
So, today I’m grateful for this poem, a reminder straight to the heart, from Macrina Wiederkehr.
Is There A Lost Child In You?
What pains me most
is my inability
to reach back into my years
and touch the child I was.
deep within my soul
There are days
my adult ways
turn tasteless in my mouth
and the child of long ago
pressing on my soul.
On days like that
I long to touch that child again
and let her take me by the hand
and lead me down
a path that has a heart
and show me all the things
I’ve stopped seeing
because I’ve grown
And thanks to SM friend Nancy for sending it my way.
I do love the TV series The West Wing.
In an episode of The West Wing, CJ Craig (White House chief of staff) is wired, tense and distracted. Danny (her love interest) shows up, middle of the workday, at her White House office, “to take her for a walk.” She consents (but not without a fight, you know, so much “to do”). On the walk, she fidgets and asks, “So, what was so important, taking this walk.”
He says, “Just to see.”
“Well,” she tells him, “this is not the day for it.”
Some days I’m with CJ. Sure, I want to live this moment mindful of the sacred, but this is not the day for it.
So, tell me… is there a special day for it?
To exacerbate our situation, our western mindset makes living in the present a staged event. You know, staged to be “spiritual.” As if this is something we must orchestrate. Or arrange. And we sit stewing in the juices of our self-consciousness. Am I present? What am I doing right or wrong? All the while, missing the point. Lord have mercy.
And now we’re back to remembering the child that still lives inside. The child that sees the sacred in the ordinary.
The child that relishes the gift of the present.
It’s paradigm shift time. I will give myself wholeheartedly to this day. Without making it a test or beauty pageant.
Before we wish for another life, let us feel this life.
Before we give in to “if only”, let us hear this moment.
Before we trade in this life, for the life we should have, let us taste this life.
You know I’m a book lover. And I smiled big at this story today: A book found in a storage unit was recently returned to a Western Washington library 81 years after its March 30, 1942, due date. Okay, that’s one really good book.
Quote for our day… “Grown-ups never understand anything for themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.” Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
It is easy to forget the gift of enough. So, it’s Sankofa time. Sankofa (in the Akan language of Ghana), associated with the proverb, “It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten.”
This affirmation from The Velveteen Rabbit, “Weeks passed, and the little Rabbit grew very old and shabby, but the Boy loved him just as much. He loved him so hard that he loved all his whiskers off, and the pink lining to his ears turned grey, and his brown spots faded. He even began to lose his shape, and he scarcely looked like a rabbit any more, except to the Boy. To him he was always beautiful, and that was all that the little Rabbit cared about. He didn’t mind how he looked to other people, because the nursery magic had made him Real, and when you are Real shabbiness doesn’t matter.” (Margery Williams)
And this today from Center for Action and Contemplation. “Jesuit priest Greg Boyle founded Homeboy Industries, a gang intervention, rehabilitation, and reentry program. He shares stories of the men and women he works with who demonstrate that each of us is sacred, no matter what we’ve been through…”
Joel, a man who did considerable time in prison, told me, “When my toes hit the floor in the morning, I’m on the lookout.”
“On the lookout for what?” I asked him.
“For God,” he said. “God is always leaving me hints. He’s dropping me anonymous tips all the time.” This is the God of love trying to break through. This God will not be outdone in extravagant tenderness. Leaving hints as “deep as the nether world or high as the sky,” as the prophet Isaiah reminds us (7:11). We get to choose: the god who judges and is embarrassed (by us), or the One who notices and delights in us.
(Gregory Boyle, The Whole Language: The Power of Extravagant Tenderness)
I do know this… when I focus on what is missing, I do not see my capacity for enoughness, inside. The ordinary moments of every day (even those that confuse us, unnerve us, or break our hearts) are hiding places of the holy. Where the sacred is alive and well. Where hope grows. Anxiety and vulnerability are real, yes. But the answer is not to chase vulnerability away. It’s the opposite. My vulnerability is the signal that I am human, with the capacity to be stretched, to give my heart, to be broken, to cry with those who break, to spill good. And I don’t ever want to lose that.
Prayer for our week…
Let This Be Our Prayer For The World…
Let the rain come and wash away
the ancient grudges, the bitter hatreds
held and nurtured over generations.
Let the rain wash away the memory
of the hurt, the neglect.
Then let the sun come out and
fill the sky with rainbows.
Let the warmth of the sun heal us
wherever we are broken.
Let it burn away the fog so that
we can see each other clearly.
So that we can see beyond labels,
beyond accents, gender or skin color.
Let the warmth and brightness
of the sun melt our selfishness.
So that we can share the joys and
feel the sorrows of our neighbors.
And let the light of the sun
be so strong that we will see all
people as our neighbors.
Let the earth, nourished by rain,
bring forth flowers
to surround us with beauty.
And let the mountains teach our hearts
to reach upward to heaven.
Rabbi Harold Kushner
Photo… “Dear Terry, Our Oregon Coast home is surrounded with ‘forgiving’ beauty–bushes and plants that provide awe and wonder in spite of my wife and I not being gardeners. The bleeding hearts are one of my favorites–so delicate yet tenacious as they return every year. Thank you for bringing meaning to my mornings and for the reminders to stop, open my eyes and heart to the beauty embracing me. Peace and grace,” Elizabeth Jones (Seal Rock, OR)