skip to Main Content

Daily Dose (Nov 28 – Dec 1)

This week is about the permission to live from the core of our authentic self, and at home in our own skin. The permission to reconnect with our heart. And how the choices we make from that core, spill light to the world around us.
And we’re okay with wanting to live authentic. But what about balancing life’s insecurities, or the power of doubt, or the fear of letting people down?
It’s easy to forget the amazing healing power of the sentence, “I don’t know. And it’s okay.”
Richard Rohr reminds us, “Don’t push the river.” Which is another way of saying, don’t get ahead of your soul.
The goal isn’t to get somewhere (or arrive).
The goal isn’t about forcing something to happen.
The goal is to be in harmony with the gifts that are already given.
The goal is to fall into your life. To fall into this life. Yes.

When I was a young clergyman, and people came to me with real questions or concerns (pain, trauma, fear, loss, insecurity), I assumed my job was to help find answers. Sooner, rather than later, with the correct “Christian” language. And in my heart, I assumed that life outside the box was the adversary (or the problem to solve). At that time in my life, I didn’t really believe (or embrace) that grace or worth or originality or fruitfulness was alive and well inside, even in the ambiguity.
There’s a good for the heart story about the young girl who returned home from school in tears.
Her Mother worried, asked, “Sweetheart, what happened?”
“It was awful,” the girl told her Mother. “My best friend’s cat died. And she was very, very sad.”
“But why are you still crying?” her Mother asked.
“Because I don’t think I’m a good best friend. Because I didn’t know the right words to say, to try to help her.”
“Well what did you do?” the mother asked.
“I just held her hand, and cried with her all day.”
Yes.
I have an idea. Let’s make attention (presence) our new authentic-self currency.
Gratefully, it’s a currency every one of us carry (whether we know it—see it—or not).
And a blessed reminder that no one of us is on the journey alone.

Now when people reach out, or come to me, I may or may not know any answers, but I can tell you that your heart and life is precious, and I can hold your hand.
Or, in David Brooks’ words (in his new book, How To Know A Person), “How to see the world through Jesus’ eyes—eyes that lavish love… on every living person”.

Wednesday —

This week is about the permission to live from the core of our authentic self, and at home in our own skin. The permission to reconnect with our heart. And how the choices we make from that core, spill light to the world around us.
True, we live in a world bombarded by messages that who we are now, is Not enough.
At a Catholic church where I was lecturing, a woman asked me, “What are you going to talk about?”
“Chocolate and God and the dance of life,” I told her.
“But you’re not Catholic,” she pointed out.
“I quite often feel obligatory guilt,” I said, “does that count?”
She scrunched her eyebrows. And continued, “I mean how can you talk about these things if you are not part of the Church?”
I almost told her that I would convert if she bought enough copies of my latest books (from Loyola, a Jesuit publisher and Franciscan Media), but the irony may have been lost. So instead, I said, “Okay, I’ll make you a deal. Listen to me first. You can try to convert me later, while we’re talking and getting to know one another, and eating chocolate together.”

Here’s the deal: When we feed the inner life (that part of ourselves that yearns to be connected with something larger than our own ego), there is new freedom to inquire, doubt, question, challenge, connect, forgive, mend, risk, receive, revel, celebrate, restore and live completely unafraid. And even better, to eat chocolate with people who are wonderfully different.
Pause for contemplation can lead us to reflection and fidelity. And… I don’t need to pretend to be somebody I am not.
And I don’t want to pretend that this is easy. (For all our whining about wearing the ill-fitted suit of public opinion, the perks aren’t too bad, or we wouldn’t play along.)

As I write this, a headline pops up one my screen: Merriam-Webster’s 2023 Word of the Year, announced just after midnight, is “authentic”. “We see in 2023 a kind of crisis of authenticity,” Merriam-Webster lexicographer Peter Sokolowski told AP. “What we realize is that when we question authenticity, we value it even more.”

Three US presidents, five first ladies, and other leaders were in Atlanta today to bid a final farewell to former first lady Rosalynn Carter. President Jimmy Carter, who is 99 and receiving hospice care at home, was in a wheelchair, in the front row. What an honor to watch much of it today on TV. It did my heart good.
Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood performing, “Imagine.”
And this from grandson Jason Carter, “She poured out her love. Opened up her heart to people (in need), not with pity, but as partners. She knew what comes back when you give your love away.” Authenticity, alive and well.

Today was Giving Tuesday, a day of generosity dedicated to volunteering, donating, and doing good for others. And from the bottom of my heart, thank you for making Sabbath Moment possible.

Let’s give Rosalynn Carter the last word, “There are only four kinds of people in the world: those that have been caregivers, those that are caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers.”

Thursday —

When we reconnect with our hearts again, we care for the values that matter most.
And we don’t apologize for being ourselves.
And we readily care for one another.
Have you read Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory? I recommend it. Greene portrays a whiskey priest, who has come to see the light because his own life had become so dark (just like Carlton Pearson). To give up our “respectable” image may feel like (or actually be) a fall from grace. But in the end, we embrace this day, now from an authentic self.
Yes, the very self that has been there all along. Now, no longer needing to give in to the bombardment of messages that who we are, is somehow, not enough.

Here’s the good news: The choices we make are now fueled by the permission to live from that authentic self core. Yes, now reconnected with our heart.
I like the freedom that comes with feeding the inner life (that part of ourselves that yearns to be connected with something larger than our own ego). There is new freedom to inquire, doubt, question, challenge, connect, forgive, mend, risk, receive, revel, celebrate, restore and live completely unafraid.
Richard Rohr writes, “Like Jesus, (Saint) Francis taught his disciples while walking from place to place and finding ways to serve, to observe, and to love in the world that was right in front of them.”
In other words, at home in our own skin, we make a difference, making choices that can spill light to the world around us.

I do know this: When I am at home in my own skin, I embrace my calling and all that comes with it. I love writing Sabbath Moment. And I love the community that is made up by its readers. And I am unbelievably grateful. I want us to create a space where we can be glad to be alive. With the invitation to savor the sacrament of the present moment.
Knowing that with one another we play a role—even with people who differ from us. When we don’t shun, but embrace one another, as brother and sister, and see their light—the light that may be hidden or buried—and our world is a better place.
“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” (Thank you Albert Schweitzer)

As I am writing this, the words to a hymn from my childhood came to mind…
Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
Feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
Chords that were broken will vibrate once more.
(Rescue the Perishing—Hymn by Fanny J. Crosby)

I hope the full moon lovers got a good view the past couple of nights. My Oh My.
And here, the Christmas tree is up. And Christmas music is out, and in the air. Advent around the corner.

Friday —

I hope we can hear, and embrace, the permission to live from the core of our authentic self, to be at home in our own skin. The permission to reconnect with our heart. And to see how the choices we make from that core, spill light to the world around us.
This week I’ve been replaying many stories from my own history, that weaned me on the mantra, “We’ve never done it that way before.”
And I know this from experience: You can sense that time in your life when you move from your heart (filled with authenticity, passion, joy, zeal), to a kind of performance, or doing your best not to ruffle feathers.
When I was thirteen, I participated in a national preaching contest. (Yes, it’s a long and interesting story. Someday I’ll write about it.)
The contest was held in San Diego. I was a small-town Michigan boy, thrilled to be in exotic California (my first time on an airplane, and my first time to be smitten by a blond-haired preacher’s daughter). I preached well (as I recall).
Unfortunately, I lost the contest.
Because of flawed theology? No.
Because my presentation was incoherent? No.
I was disqualified because I wore a blue shirt. The judge said (in a sonorous voice) that “a preacher of God’s Word must wear a white shirt.”
Translation: The rules are simple young man, “Learn the rules (expectations) of the game. And never disappoint the judge (God).”
And because I took those to heart, I wasn’t able to embrace (appreciate) the authentic Terry, even in losing a contest.

Now, I do smile remembering the preaching contest.
Although if I am honest, I confess that it is easy to still carry a little bit of that judge inside of me. Because there is a fine line between safe (certain) and stuck—which becomes paralysis.
When I focus only on “the shirt that will not disappoint”, it is bound to make me the Terry meant to impress or perform. And when I see only procedure and creed, over journey and faith and heart—seeing only the “right notes” or the “right answer” or the “right stuff” or “when real life begins”—I miss having my world shaken in a good way.
I miss opportunity, learning, change, transformation and grace.
I miss being connected to my heart, to this Terry.
And I miss the gift of the sacred in all authentic moments—blue shirt moments—every time.

This morning I watched an interview with David Brooks about his column “Being humane in inhumane times.” He said, moving forward we need to honor “audacity of the heart. What people need in hard and brutal times is recognition. I see you. I will respect you. You’re a human being with a soul. Lead with curiosity and respect and trust.” This does my heart good…

Prayer for our week…
Lord, Let Me Give..
I do not know how long I’ll live
But while I live, Lord, let me give
Some comfort to someone in need..
By smile or nod, kind word or deed..
And let me do what ever I can
To ease things for my fellow man..
I want naught but to do my part
To “lift” a tired or weary heart..
To change folks’ frowns to smiles again..
Then I will not have lived in vain
And I’ll not care how long I’ll live
If I can give… and give… and give…
–unknown

Photo… “Autumn in Glendale, Ohio. I continue to enjoy your writings. Blessings on your ministry,” Faith Lang… Thank you Faith… And I’m so grateful for your photos, please send them to tdh@terryhershey.com


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Back To Top