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Daily Dose (Nov 7 – 10)

Tuesday —

This week we take to heart Mother Teresa’s reminder, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”
Well, if we do belong to one other, then “they”—the “least of these” and those without voices—are indeed, our children.
Ours to care for.
Ours to listen to.
Ours to see.
Yes. And it begins here… the permission to see.

A grandmother takes her granddaughter to the park.
On the swing set, two children already happily swinging. A boy and a girl. The girl, gregarious, says to the grandmother, “Hi lady. What are we? Can you guess?”
The woman looked at the two children, and recognized from skin tone and features, they appeared Asian. So, she said, “Well, I don’t know. But I think you’re from Thailand? Are you Thai?” “No,” the little said shaking her head.
“Are you Vietnamese?” “No,” and another shake of the head. The woman tried two more countries, each receiving a No and shake of the head.
The little girl, now a little impatient, says, “No lady, what are we?”
“I guess I just don’t know. What are you?”
“We’re brother and sister,” the little girl said with a very big smile.
Yes. Although, sometimes our inability to “see” or the labels we carry, get in the way.
I do know that when our narrative begins with grace and sufficiency, it births compassion, inclusion and connectedness.
And here’s the deal; God’s grace is always bigger than (and never confined by) any dogma we use to comprehend it.
Here’s another thing I believe: I’m grateful for Bruce, who often saves my emotional bacon. When I’m disheartened, I crank up Springsteen’s This Little Light of Mine. And I’m one the lookout for the light in my brothers and sisters around me.

I received this email today, “Did I miss the post about the World Series? Surely you noted the Texas Rangers won it all. Know that all of the great state of Texas continues to talk about and celebrate the win. I must have missed the shout out. Love Sabbath Moment. Thanks for writing as you do.” Smiling big… and yes indeed, a shoutout of congrats to the Texas Rangers.

Wednesday —

Well, if we do belong to one other, then “they”—the “least of these” and those without voices—are indeed, our children.
Ours to care for.
Ours to listen to.
You see, it’s not just the child’s life we’re trying to save, but the very freedom—embracing the gift—to be a child (caring for the child within).
We can say that this week’s Sabbath Moments are dedicated to the child within us: because like it or not, our childhood stays with us forever, regardless of our age.  And I hope that we do, at times, continue to behave childlike. (Jesus seemed to think it was a good thing–something about entering the Kingdom of Heaven and all that.)
Childlike behavior may even help one stay pure at heart, and to live life simply. And simplicity is always a wonderful thing. It just may be that we’re not childlike enough.
Carl Jung called it the “Divine Child” and Emmet Fox called it the “Wonder Child.” Some psychotherapists call it the “True Self” and Charles Whitfield called it the “Child Within,” and someone later coined the phrase, “the Inner Child.” Whatever name you use, it refers to that part of each of us which is ultimately alive. It is where our feelings come to life.
When we experience joy, wonder, sadness, anger, fear, or affection, that child within us is coming to life. Not in order to be measured or to impress, but to embrace and to be embraced.
Is it possible that we don’t trust our own sufficiency, or goodness?

Rachel Carson’s reminder, “A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full of wonder and excitement.  It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood.”
Today let us look through the eyes of the child within.

And I write this from Manasota Key, Florida, where I get to spend a week with my friend Ed Kilbourne, a week of toes in the sand, and if I’m lucky, a dance with the Manatees.

Thursday —

Our world is a better place when we live from the affirmation, “Aren’t they all our children?”
Let me ask you this?
What does it mean to embrace the gifts of the children among us?

You see, it’s not just the child’s life we’re trying to carry or save, but the very freedom—embracing and reaffirming the gift—to be a child (caring for the child within).
So. What does it mean to embrace the gifts of the child within you?
Can you tell me the last time you were invited—given the permission—to be vulnerable, curious, lighthearted, inquisitive, spontaneous, intuitive and playful?  To be filled with wonderment and laughter and delight?
And if I invited you today, would you say yes?

I know. We live in a world that moves on.
Or “grows up.”
I “googled” childlike. The first two pages referred me to articles or sites about “childishness.” Go figure. We still haven’t moved past that?
I remember when I was young, I was encouraged (maybe persuaded?) to grow up.
To be an adult.
To give up my childlike ways.
But since when did childlike become a jeopardy or a hazard?
Did you know that there is a simple test in order to determine when one is unable to trust someone else (or our self for that matter)? Without trust, we feel the need to place restrictions. We prescribe a lot of “don’t do that” kind of rules. (Like, “don’t be soooo childlike.”)
I suppose that we are fearful about keeping control. Or, losing it. I’m not sure which. I do know that in the business of the church, we have excelled at this. The rules part. And, sadly, the fear part.
So we pause and remember that the kingdom of heaven begins with Jesus’ affirmation, “unless you become like a child.” A paradigm shift in values from powerful, privileged and controlling to fragile, vulnerable and receptive. Yes, smack dab in the intersection of God’s grace and our response to embrace (receive and be embraced by) the transformative endowment.

Friday —

One of the gifts vacation affords us is toes in the sand while enjoying Pelican Happy Hour on the Gulf of Mexico, and savoring the sky panorama changes before sunset. Loook!
Oh yes, while mulling around the gratifications from a new favorite book.
This week I read, “One of my heroes is a woman named Etty Hillesum, a young Jewish woman who lived in Amsterdam in the 1930s and ’40s. Her early diaries reveal her to be immature and self-centered. But as the Nazi occupation lasted and the horrors of the Holocaust mounted, she became more generous, kind, warm and ultimately heroic toward those who were being sent off to the death camps. She volunteered to work at a labor camp called Westerbork, where Dutch Jews were held before being transferred to the death camps in the east. There she cared for the ill, tended to those confined to the punishment barracks and became known in the camp for her sparkling compassion, her selfless love. Her biographer wrote that ‘it was her practice of paying deep attention which transformed her.’ It was her ability to really observe others — their anxieties, their cares and their attachments — that enabled her to enter into their lives and serve them.
It did not save her. In 1943, she herself was sent to Auschwitz and was murdered. But she left a legacy: what it looks like to shine and grow and be a beacon of humanity, even in the worst imaginable circumstances.”
(Thank you David Brooks, How to Stay Sane in Brutalizing Times)

Yes, and amen. The permission to shine a light and be a beacon of humanity. Simply by being present, and paying attention in very small ways.
Taking to heart Mother Teresa’s reminder, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”

“Be a kind voice in this broken hearted world give grace and be ready to receive it. Listen so well than the person you’re with can rest in your attention for a moment.  Be a light. Be a light. Be a light.” Nanea Hoffman

Prayer for our week…
When the world feels hopeless and heartless,
take a moment to look around.
There are beautiful humans everywhere,
often hiding in plain sight in cabs,
on buses, in cafes, on trains, in libraries,
on park benches, in laundromats, on subways.
They may not be rich or well-educated.
They may be broken and hurting themselves.
They may not have much to offer
in terms of worldly goods.
But they are the comforters, encouragers, sharers,
teachers, servers, healers, mentors, connecters,
helpers, and counselors who keep
the random hurting humans,
the weary and the lost,
the invisible sufferers who walk among us every day,
going just long enough
to find their hope and strength again.
It doesn’t take a degree or wealth
or a grand gesture to make a
difference in this world.
It just takes a human who cares.
L.R. Knost 

Photo… “Hi Terry, One of my rituals after leaving Fall Camp at Shrine Mont (VA) is a visit to the local orchard. This year there were bins full of apples at the back of the retail store and the orchard trees leaves had their fall colors. I look forward to seeing you next year on the mountain.” Susan Boze… Thank you Susan… And I’m so grateful for your photos, please send them to [email protected]

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