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Daily Dose (Sept 12 – 15)

Tuesday —

This week we are asking, where does hope live? And, when the world feels upside down–when our spirit feels fractured or frightened or empty–where do we go?
As we honor the memory of 9/11, and the lives lost, and the families who grieve, what does it mean to be a spiller of hope?
Even in darkness, can we hear the invitation to be spillers of hope and light? (Yesterday’s Sabbath Moment said “yes we can”—as Mike and Jim, the parish property managers at St. Paul’s, found a way to ring the bells to honor the rescue workers.)

And Fr. Mychal Judge said, unequivocally, yes, I choose to be a spiller of light.
When the towers were hit, FDNY Chaplain Father Mychal Judge chose to suit up, and go where we was needed, into the upheaval. To save a life, it cost him his life.
Knowing his sacrifice, it is worth reading these excerpts from his Last Homily, delivered at a Mass for Firefighters on Sept. 10, 2001. “You do what God has called you to do. You get on that rig, you go out and do the job. No matter how big the call, no matter how small, you have no idea of what God is calling you to do, but God needs you. He needs me. He needs all of us. God needs us to keep supporting each other, to be kind to each other, to love each other… We love this job, we all do. What a blessing it is! It’s a difficult, difficult job, but God calls you to do it, and indeed, He gives you a love for it so that a difficult job will be well done… Turn to God each day–put your faith, your trust, your hope and your life in His hands. He’ll take care of you, and you’ll have a good life. And this firehouse will be a great blessing to this neighborhood and to this city. Amen.”
Okay… and if we don’t know what God has “called us” to do, we know for certain that we are called to: We 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.
Amanda Gorman’s reminder, “For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

Because here’s the deal: “The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these qualities have little to do with success as we have defined it.” (Thank you, David W. Orr)

I’m grateful for our photo, from Ina Strickland, who is visiting Auschwitz and other WWII camps. Places of terrifying losses. And from places of such loss and darkness, we take to heart Viktor E. Frankl’s confirmation, “The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.”

9/11 Update: 22 years ago, four planes hijacked by terrorists crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania — killing nearly 3,000 people in a matter of hours. Many people will this week to honor the victims of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and reflect on the permanent emotional toll the tragedy inflicted on the nation. A total of 2,753 people were reported missing in lower Manhattan after the attacks on the World Trade Center. To this day, 40% of the victims, or about 1,100 people thought to have died in the disaster, remain unidentified. New York City officials last week identified two new victims through DNA testing, and the work is ongoing to identify others as their loved ones continue to grieve. (Axios)

Wednesday —

Where do we find hope when our world feels upside down?
And yes, too often it is not easy to see the light. We see the darkness, but not the cracks, the places that the light gets in.
“This little light of mine…”

Hear the good news: even in darkness, we can hear the invitation to be spillers of light and hope. And we soon realize (and embrace) that it is not just light spilling, but the permission to allow ourselves to receive the gift of light spilled. The wonderful gift of grace, and healing, and restoration.
And healing begins there, because we know that we are on this journey together.
Yes. That’s it… our connection is the healing balm, as we walk each other home (Ram Dass). 

This week, I’ve been re-reading this account every day: In St. Paul’s Chapel, one reporter overheard a firefighter (a 9/11 rescue worker) say, “When I come in that door, I’m covered with blood sometimes, and they hug me. They love me, they take care of me, they treat me as a real human being. And then they feed me, and they massage me, and they give me adjustments. These are my people. This is my place. This is where I come to be with God.”

So. This is where we begin: It’s the little gifts. Gentle words. Small acts of kindness and compassion. Being seen. Healing touch. Space to unburden, space to replenish.
And I’m grateful for Henri Nouwen’s reframe, “When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.” (Out of Solitude: Three Meditations on the Christian Life)

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” Thank you Albert Schweitzer.

Thursday —

Our strength and resilience do not come from a show of force or bravado, but in the freedom to be tough enough to be soft.  We are prophets–of steadfastness, justice, compassion and mercy–when we do not hide our woundedness.  When we find the wherewithal to stand in the middle of it all, even without words.  And we let the healing begin there.

In my mind this week, I’ve been serenaded by Paul Simon’s voice singing American Dream…
“Many’s the time I’ve been mistaken, and many times confused
Yes and I’ve often felt forsaken, and certainly misused
Ah but I’m alright, I’m alright, I’m just weary thru my bones
Still you don’t expect to be bright and bon-vivant
So far away from home, so far away from home…
And I don’t know a soul who’s not been battered
I don’t have a friend who feels at ease
I don’t know a dream that’s not been shattered or driven to its knees
But it’s alright, it’s alright, for we live so well, so long
Still, when I think of the road we’re traveling on
I wonder what’s gone wrong, I can’t help it I wonder what’s gone wrong…
But we come on a ship they called Mayflower
We come on a ship that sailed the moon
We come in the ages’ most uncertain hours and sing an American tune
And it’s alright, oh it’s alright, it’s alright, you can be forever blessed
Still tomorrow’s gonna be another working day and I’m trying to get some rest
That’s all I’m trying, to get some rest”

So. The invitation to embrace our woundedness. To be tough enough to be soft. From there, we can receive the replenishment and renewal that grace offers. And we can let go of our need to be someone we are not. From there, our light spills.

When I get out of the way of my own thinking, I am at peace.
When I get out of the way of my doing, I am enough.
When I get out of the way of my being, I become all I am;
the Divine expression of God’s amazing grace.
ML Gallagher

Oh yes… yesterday was International Chocolate Day, which we support as an invitation to savor and enjoy chocolate. And, I think the celebration continues into today. Just saying’.

We’ll give Jenim Dibie the last word,
“We colour the world,
Not with the darkness of our pasts,
But with the rainbow of our hope.”

Friday —

Where do we find hope when our world feels upside down?
Too often, it is not easy to see the light. And even then, we assume it to be a failure on our part. It is no wonder we see only the darkness, but not the cracks, those life-giving places where the light gets in. And then spills to a world that needs it.

This week, music has been a healing balm for my spirit. And I am grateful. It allows me Pause and Sanctuary and Hope (and often good tears and a big smile). Today, I’ve been listening to David Wilcox’s, Show The Way.
“You say you see no hope
You say you see no reason we should dream
That the world would ever change
You say the love is foolish to believe
…From the moment that the whole thing begins
It is love who mixed the mortar
And it’s love who stacked these stones
And it’s love who made the stage here
Although it looks like we’re alone
In this scene, set in shadows,
Like the night is here to stay
There is evil cast around us
But it’s love that wrote the play
For in this darkness love can show the way
Now the stage is set
You can feel your own heart beating in your chest
This life’s not over yet
So we get up on our feet and do our best
We play against the fear
We play against the reasons not to try
We’re playing for the tears
Burning in the happy angel’s eyes
…it’s love that wrote the play”

And this from David Orr to take into our weekend. “The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane. And these qualities have little to do with success as we have defined it.”

And today, to our Jewish friends we say “l’shanah tovah u’metukah,” meaning “to a good and sweet new year.” Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of the world and marks the beginning of the Days of Awe, a 10-day period of introspection and repentance that culminates in the Yom Kippur holiday, also known as the Day of Atonement. 

Prayer for our week…
Blessed are we,
when love makes us brave.
Be it our friends or teachers,
Our mentors or partners.
Our siblings or parents or grands.
From the littles who remind us to get in the game,
even if there really is something more pressing to do in that moment.
To the parents who remind us how quickly it all goes,
whose wild, ungrounded belief in us gives us courage
To try something new.
To make a big leap.
To take a chance on love.
To risk, to fail, and to try, try, try again.
This is the kind of love that sticks.
So bless all of us, in our great big web of love.
Kate Bowler
(Inspired by a conversation with Jenna Bush Hager)

Photo… “Hi Terry, I’m traveling again… emotional day in Auschwitz but beauty still surprises me… a rainbow and wild flowers… And photos of Birkenau which was known as Auschwitz II. I’m doing a tour with emphasis on WWII. It’s late now but can’t sleep thinking about the camps and the shoes left behind…” Ina Strickland… Thank you Ina… And I’m so grateful for your photos, please send them to [email protected]

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  1. Just discovering your blog. Thank you. During a time of deep despair, I discovered The Book of Joy, Douglas Abraham’s interviews with The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu – also a documentary on Netflix, and The Book of Hope, Douglas Abrams interviews – pre , during, and post Covid, with Jane Goodall ; these lovely and inspiring dialogues INSPIRED ME TO BE with KINDNESS , and to reflect KINDNESS toward all I encounter. Actually kindness is my natural inclination, but it had been lost along along the journey into trying to figure out WHAT is Happening on this gorgeous Earth?!? I am a graduate of Naropa extension Masters program : University of Creation Spiritually in Oakland, Ca , founded by Matthew Fox and Governor Jerry Brown Jr. The learnings from all the those years ago are bubbling to the surface, and I am grateful. What I feel in angst about mostly, during these post COVID days, is humans’s reluctance to gather and engage in interesting dialogue – to TRULY LISTEN and to SHARE.; to Be HUMANE and VULNERABLE together, and possibly learn from and inspire each other toward some tiny action that may morph into each connecting with their best Self , reaching out to Other, and moving gently toward Humanity BEING HUMANE toward All. I have practiced as an Experiential Leadership Coach and Teacher; I am devastated; pre Covid clients are happy on Zoom – I don’t do Zoom experiential – Oxymoron! Residential treatment centers and charter.schools either did not survive Covid, or do not have resources (transportation) to engage in experiential education. So, I’m reinventing, and I’m hopeful that soon humans will again long for In Real Time gathering that nurtured humanity and offered up Nature’s most powerful and enlightening lessons. Than you for inspiring. I have shared a post or two of yours on my EQuus Insight FB page, as well as my personal page
    . I will be visiting Naropa/CSU friends in Washington next month – they have done some amazing work via involvement in reservation Catholic Churches to remediate the generational trauma caused by the church’s reinstatement of abusive priests into these vulnerable communities. They have been granted audience with the Pope as well as honors for the work they have done. Looking for a little retreat-ish getaway with these dear friends , and thought you may offer such, or can recommend a place where three old crazy wonderful friends can Be Thanks again for sharing your insights and wisdom.

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