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Daily Dose (Oct 18 – 21)

Tuesday — “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)
This week, we’re talking about that inner light. And about the ways it “goes out,” and about the extraordinary gift of “rekindling.”
A reminder that no one of us is on this journey alone.

Which leads me back to Mother Teresa’s story in yesterday’s Sabbath Moment. (“I forgot completely about my first visit, and then after two years he sent word, ‘Tell Mother, my friend, the light she lit in my life is still burning.’” Mother Teresa)
And why this story reignites something inside of me.
Because even in (and especially in our vulnerability) we are reminded that very simple gestures can make a profound difference.
Simple gestures…
…to light a lamp
…to make space
…to give hope
…to listen
…to embrace
…to create sanctuary
…to empower
…to rekindle 

In the Holocaust Museum there is a story about an exchange in a concentration camp on the Day of Liberation (1945). The prisoners still alive in concentration camps were being set free. A young American Lieutenant, extraordinarily moved by the bleak and foreboding nature of the setting, asked one prisoner to show him the camp. As they approached a building, the lieutenant opened a door for the young woman, and she collapsed in tears.  Certain he had offended, he did his best to comfort her. After some time, she told him, “I am weeping because it is the first time in years that someone has done anything kind for me. Thank you.”
Yes, with one simple gesture of kindness, a lamp is lit.
Let me repeat… one simple, ordinary gesture.

I don’t tell the story of the Holocaust Museum as some kind of motivational tool. As if there is an obligation to “be kind.” I tell it as an affirmation and a reminder—mostly to myself—that within each of us there is a light.
And that this light—of hope or dignity or delight or passion or justice or beauty or wonder or grace—still shines, regardless of the dirt that covers it.
Yes, there are times we forget. 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 the story, both—the giver and the receiver—are liberated.

Wednesday — Remember as children, we sang—right index finger raised—“This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.”
“You are the light of the world,” Jesus reminded us. And yet, we read it as a command rather than an affirmation.

Here’s the deal. Jesus never said, “Create the light. Contrive the light. Design the light. Engineer the light. He never even said, ‘Be good at light shining.’”
He said simply, “Let.” Meaning “allow.”
Meaning, get out of the way. The light is already there.
Inside of us.

We arrived with it—with the light (dignity, compassion, empathy and connection, knowing the light is alive in those around us). And, each soul and each light is unique and imprinted by God, and we are invited to break out of our minimum-security prison of conformity or fear or smallness in order to experience our soul’s true power and story.
Let us remember…
Yes, it is hard not to want to make this a test or assignment to pass. (I can imagine in church saying, “You can shine your light, but first you must go to light shining classes.”)
Sue Monk Kidd writes the story about her daughter, coming home from school in early December, telling her mother she got one of the great parts in the Nativity Play.
“What part did you get?”
“I’m the Star of Bethlehem!” the daughter says proudly.
“Well, what will you do?” Sue asks.
“I just stand there and shine.”
The little girl gets it.
At some point, from Star of Bethlehem to adulthood, we obstruct that light—with restrictor plates, with armor, with fear, with perfectionism, with prejudice.

“Sufficiency isn’t two steps up from poverty or one step short of abundance. It isn’t a measure of barely enough or more than enough. Sufficiency isn’t an amount at all. It is an experience, a context we generate, a declaration, a knowing that there is enough, and that we are enough.” (Thank you Lynne Twist)

Thursday —

“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)
There’s our response to the question, “What do you do?”
Answer, “I’m a rekindler.”
A reminder that no one of us is on this journey alone.
And from Jewish tradition, we learn this “job title”; Tikkun olam. Literally, repairer of the world.

I do love the phrase, “working to heal”. It would be a great book title. An even better life mission.
“What do you do?”
“I work to heal.”
The word olam also means hidden. We need to repair the world (rekindle the light) so that its Creator is no longer hidden within, but shines through each thing in magnificent, harmonious beauty.
As a gardener this makes perfect sense. It’s all about the dirt. Nutritious or nutritive soil creates and generates life. Toxic soil does not. Fertility is stifled, because the nutrients have been leached.
Tikkun, to repair the soil of the world with nutrients: kindness,
a balm of generosity,
a capacity to accommodate fragility,
and a softness of spirit. 

What Eve Ensler called, “The daily subtle simple gathering of kindness.”
Working to heal (Tikkun olam) isn’t only for the spiritually or intellectually inclined. Or for those who have their act together. Gladly, we broken people are healers too.
I appreciate David Whyte’s invitation, “The only choice we have as we mature is how we inhabit our vulnerability, how we become large and more courageous and more compassionate through our intimacy with disappearance, our choice is to inhabit vulnerability as generous citizens of loss, robustly and fully, or conversely, as misers and complainers, reluctant and fearful, always at the gates of existence, but nerve bravely and completely attempting to enter, never wanting to risk ourselves, never walking fully through the door.”

So, yes, even in our vulnerability, working to heal (to rekindle) is in our DNA.
As children of our creator, we are healers.
In kindness, we affirm dignity.
In empathy, we see value and build connections.
With compassion and justice, we right wrongs and create sanctuaries.

Friday —

So, what does it mean to honor and befriend life’s fragility and woundedness?
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.”
I have an idea. Let’s make attention (presence and rekindling) our new currency.
Gratefully, it’s a currency every one of us carry (whether we know it or not).
A blessed reminder that no one of us is on the journey alone.

“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)

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

Prayer for our week…
The Blessing of Peace
Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you.
Ancient Celtic Prayer

Photo… “As always, thank you for your gift of gentle wisdom, allowing your own vulnerability to offer guidance. I look forward to your words, the images, and the music. Such an inspiring package!
Below are images from the Big Island of Hawaii. This one, Pololu Lookout. Lovingly,” Nancy Hooper

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