I spent the weekend leading a retreat at the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale, Arizona. A sanctuary in the desert. The retreat theme: Spiritual Hydration and the Gift of Enough. This is the kind of subject that entices you with optimism only to give way to a nagging sense that we should have done more, sooner, and with an improved skill set. Oh My…
So, we gathered here to tell our stories. Knowing that there are times when we all need a safe harbor to be nourished and replenished.
One of my invitations to the group: We are invited to live (choose, give, receive) From enough instead of For enough. From love, instead of For love.
Easy? Heavens no. But the alternative is to attach my identity or value or worth or capacity for well-being and to make a difference, on “what do they think?” or “how well did I perform?” and other self-conscious mantras. Which is another way of saying that we miss the point when we are keeping score.
Something happens when we tear up the scorecards and live from love… we find ourself knee deep in delight (gladly in something that wasn’t even on your list).
We live in a world where it is easy to be dehydrated (empty or at wits end). And it doesn’t really help that in my diagnosis of any dehydration, I often ask the wrong questions, “What’s wrong with you?” “Can’t you try harder?” And “Is this the best you can do?”
So. It’s paradigm shift time… Gabrielle Roth reminds us; in many shamanic societies, if you came to a shaman or medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions.
When did you stop dancing?
When did you stop singing?
When did you stop being enchanted by stories?
When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?
Meaning that at some point I inculcated myself with the notion that it wasn’t enough… to just dance, to sing, to be enchanted, to sit still.
Speaking of singing and dancing… many years ago, I danced in a barber shop. On a May day, I drive by the Mud Creek Baptist Church. In contrast to the name, the building is new red brick. Down the road sits a tired and weathered sandwich-board-sign: Carol Helms Barber Shop. Beyond the sign, a double-wide. In front, a simple wood sign and a red, white and blue barber pole. It could be 1965. I am standing here, in front of Carol Helm’s Barber Shop, on an early Thursday morning, just outside of Hendersonville, North Carolina.
Carol has invited me to stop by, and listen to the music.
Every Thursday morning is music jam. Has been every Thursday morning for 12 years. There are maybe a half dozen cars in the lot when I arrive, coffee in hand, before eight a.m. From the parking lot, I hear Jim Reeves, or at least someone who sounds a bit like him. The air here, humid and dense, holds the music.
The rule at Carol’s is simple: If you have an instrument and a love of music, you’re welcome to drop in. I see banjo, guitar, bass, mandolin and fiddle.
Carol is standing behind the barber chair, scissors and comb in hand, working at a customer’s hair. I’m not sure that cutting would be the correct verb. From what I can tell, the choice here is short, shorter or Marine. Carol is affable. With wavy silver hair, he welcomes me with a handshake and a warm smile. “Glad you’ll could visit,” he says.
“Glad to be here,” I try to match the Carolina lilt.
He looks at my hair and says, “It looks like you’ll haven’t been in a barber shop in some time. You want me to work on that?”
I look at the customer sitting in the chair and tell Carol, “Maybe next time, if that’s alright by you.”
The space inside Carol’s is about 12 feet by 25 feet, and the musicians–a dozen or so on this Thursday–are squeezed into one end, chairs pulled together, but they don’t seem to mind. They take turns, going around the circle. “Let’s do some Hank Williams, key of G,” and off they go. When a new person arrives, he (or she, there are two women in the group) pulls up a chair and joins in.
The group ranges in age from late 30s to mid or late 80s. During a break I ask what they love about these Thursdays. “This is not a time for politics or differences or whatever’s weighing you down. If you love music, you’re welcome here.” The younger woman adds, “Our idea for a bumper sticker, is ‘make guitars, not bombs.'”
By the wall, just listening, sit two local good ‘ole boys, John Deere hats riding high on their foreheads. And I bet if I asked them, they might tell me that listening to music down at Carol Helms’ every Thursday makes for a pretty full life. I figure that would be right.
I do know that there is something going on at Carol’s we all could use on a regular basis.
When we live FOR love, we feel the need to put every moment (or encounter or conversation) through its paces, evaluating it, judging it for significance and worth. We want to know if it measures up, and then, and only then will we embrace it, and make it a part of our lives. It is not surprising that it is easy to live lives and relationships based upon comparison, and in the end, shame or regret.
Here’s the point: As long as success is measured by keeping score, we lose track of most everything that makes us human and therefore, glad to be alive:
– small gestures of kindness
– acts of inclusion or community to someone left out, or someone on the fringes
– extending a hand of healing or acceptance to someone who hurts
– reveling in the gifts of the senses and being present
– resting in a moment of gratitude
– sharing laughter, a smile, camaraderie, dancing or joy
– dancing in a barber shop.. somewhere in the Carolinas…
It’s so good to spend time in the AZ desert (you know, that place where people get to wear their winter coats when it is 65 degrees. Makes me smile, just sayin’).
Every time I visit the CASA, the mountains settle me. Something about the clear demarcation of the caramel colored crests against a gemstone blue sky. When you look closely, the three dimensional texture comes alive with creases and furrows, all created by shadows. Back home in the Pacific Northwest tomorrow.
And for our friends and family in Kentucky, our hearts and prayers go out to you in your loss and pain.
My wish and prayer is for spiritual hydration to all on this third Sunday of Advent—Gaudete Sunday… which is better translated as lighting the candle of joy, or making a joyful noise.
Quote for your week – How lovely to think that no one need wait a moment, we can start now, start slowly changing the world! How lovely that everyone, great and small, can make their contribution toward introducing justice straightaway… And you can always, always give something, even if it is only kindness! Anne Frank
SABBATH MOMENT BULLETIN BOARD
Today’s Photo Credit: “Terry, this photo popped up in my phone from this past summer up on Mount desert island, Maine in Acadia National Park, where I am lucky enough to have a house that my parents left my sister and I… Sitting on the dock, watching the sunset, with so many colors and variations each day, is one of the many places I sit in awe,” Barbara Shulman… Thank you Barbara… Keep sending your photos… send to email@example.com
Yes, your gift makes a difference… Donation = Love…
Help make Sabbath Moment possible. I write SM because I want to live with a soft heart; to create a place for sanctuary, empathy, inclusion, compassion and kindness… a space where we are refueled to make a difference. SM remains free.
(NEW address by check: PO Box 65336, Port Ludlow, WA 98365)
–I hope you celebrated your birthday, your life, you with some of your favourite things — a slow morning coffee, reading walking resting, and of course, wine, candles & cake! Wishing you a sweet year, Terry, filled with the goodness of heart & spirit that you so generously give. Happy Birthday! Shauna
–A loss we share. Today is the 30th anniversary of my Dad’s death. As a WWII Vet, he had awakened through the night to ask if it was December 7 yet, the 50th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. He so wanted to live for that date. He had later gone in to Omaha Beach… thank God a few days after the offensive on that beach.May our Dads always be remembered.
With thanksgiving for the wonderful Dads we had, patti
–Dear Terry, Thank you so very much for bringing beautiful thoughts to my world each day. I look forward to your message … some mornings more than others, because some days I’m searching for some wisdom to guide me through something or other! I always find it in your Sabbath Moment. Today is my Mom’s birthday. And although she passed many years ago I still feel the heart tug. So I send a virtual hug as you remember your Dad. Blessings to you this holiday season. Our world needs the gifts you bring. Eileen
POEMS AND PRAYERS
It is a place for being, not doing.
For the most part you just watch.
You feel the sun on your skin.
You do the things God intended.
Let us go forth from here, blessed and renewed
in the Spirit of Shalom
in the Spirit of Integrity
in the Spirit of Illumination
in the Spirit of Transformation
with hopes lifted heavenward
with hearts loving the earth
in the name of our creating, liberating, nurturing God.
My wish for you
Is that you continue
To be who and how you are
To astonish a mean world
With your acts of kindness
To allow humor to lighten the burden
Of your tender heart
In a society dark with cruelty
To let the people hear the grandeur
Of God in the peals of your laughter
To let your eloquence
Elevate the people to heights
They had only imagined