On my morning walks, I sure do miss talking with the sheep. I’m grateful for the place they gave me. To pause. To be still or talk, either. To listen. To laugh and cry. And yes, to try out a new homily. But mostly, the permission to be here. Now.
And when I struggled with heaviness in my spirit, I could let them know. They listened, chewed, and nodded. That did my heart good.
Here’s the deal: Heaviness (in our world and in our spirit) does take a toll. And it doesn’t help that we assume the heaviness is our identity, which means we are somehow, not enough. And we live from scarcity, not sufficiency.
It is easy to forget the gift of enough. So, it’s Sankofa time. Sankofa (in the Akan language of Ghana), associated with the proverb, “Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi,” which translates “It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten.”
I’m smiling because some of my memories with Zach, are Sankofa moments for me.
“This tastes like heaven,” my son Zach says, eating from a small bag of popcorn, picking out one kernel at a time. We’re at the base of Diamond Head, spending part of the afternoon in a farmer’s market on the east side of Oahu, Hawaii. These local markets are a smorgasbord for the senses. Kiosks of exotic flowers. Crimson, vermilion and port-wine red, yellows of sunshine and sulfur, Baltimore Oriole orange, and thundercloud blue. The air is suffused with the scent of coffee. And garlic. My arm is freckled with powdered sugar, a confetti from fresh beignets, just lifted from the griddle. I take a bite of a beignet and a sip of Kona coffee.
I close my eyes.
My son is right.
This does taste like heaven.
Scott Russell Sanders observed that, “For the enlightened few, the world is always lit.” Which is another way of saying that the requirement for enlightenment is pretty straightforward: let yourself live like a kid. In other words: Remember the kid that still lives inside.
My beignets with Zach happened over 15 years ago, but still floats around in my memory, and settles whenever I need a reminder about embracing the moment.
I like 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.”
And here’s the gift: Embracing that child’s world puts us smack dab in the present moment. The sacrament of the present.
So. This Sabbath Moment is 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, 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.
I can give you chapter and verse about all the reasons I don’t embrace that child, and don’t live in the moment.
Or reasons I carry guilt because I should know better. I can… until an inner voice tells me to “knock it off.”
Better to pick up Eugene O’Kelly’s book, Chasing Daylight. It is a book about the last three months of his life. O’Kelly reinforces what we all know to be true. This moment, I have a choice. I can receive the gift of life and embrace it, and immerse myself in it. Or, continue to live in oblivion, asleep, distracted, and waiting. And in the process, we bury the very things that might set us free. Such as stopping, stillness, listening, hearing, tasting, touching, seeing, smelling and embracing. And yes, honoring the child deep down.
And here’s the deal: When I see only scarcity, I miss the fact that every single one of us has been gifted with abundance. With creativity, heart, love, passion, wonder, gentleness, helpfulness, caring, kindness, tenderness, restoration and a shoulder to lean on (for crying or for dancing, depending on the mood at the time). This is the paradigm of Sufficiency.
It’s paradigm shift time. I will give myself wholeheartedly to this day, to the heart of the child inside. Without making it a test or beauty pageant.
And sure enough… I can see, “Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.” (Thank you Ashley Smith)
I write Sabbath Moment 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 and spill light. And I write Sabbath Moment, because you all help walk me home. And for that I am profoundly grateful. No one of us is on this journey alone. Never forget that.
In July (21-23), I’ll be in So. Cal. leading a retreat at Mary and Joseph Retreat Center. Join me if you can. And please pass the word.
In August (25-27), I’ll be in Cleveland, OH for a men’s retreat. The information is below.
Summer is on the way. Savor your days my friends.
Quote for our week…
Here must be always remaining in every life, some place for the singing of angels, some place for that which in itself is breathlessly beautiful. Howard Thurman
Today’s Photo Credit: “Hi Terry, This photo from my first day of summer vacation—I’m a counselor at a school for teen parents. My patio is truly a sacred space for me—the city of Albuquerque stretches before me, yet all is tranquil. The divine is palpable. Thank you for your daily reminders that God is in the little things. Fantastic! (And, Terry, if you’ve never been to Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta, it’s worth the trip. Watching the balloons ascend into the early morning sky is a spiritual experience.) Have a blessed summer. Sincerely,” Melissa Cordes… Thank you Melissa… Thank you to all, keep sending your photos… send to terryhershey.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)
Letters that do my heart good…
–Thank you Terry, The quote in your writing “The profane is not the antithesis of the sacred, but the bearer of it.” Really touched me. I have been working with the concept of darkness and light recently. And through some meditation and some guidance saw that the light came out of the darkness. Not the other way around. That is powerful. I don’t have a completely, but I am learning the concept. it is what it is. Darkness is not evil. Even the darkness in our lives is not evil. Darkness is darkness that’s all. So your statement the profane is not the end, the thesis of the sacred, but the bearer of it really touched me and allowed that to go deeper and to live in the present. Selah. Thanks for your work and sharing it with us that we can go deeper as well. Thank you for helping us walk home with dignity and grace. Keep sharing the light and the darkness.
–Thank you Terry, for Sabbath Moment. I look forward to reading them. They remind me of what is important. Edna
–Hey Terry, So grateful for a Monday morning. It’s cool here in the Piedmont NC. Wish you could come to a place near us this year. We would love to have you. I spent Saturday morning Transplanting daylilies and irises from my home to my son’s home near Charlotte, NC. Yes, Moms did all the digging up, loading, and transporting but my Josh did the trenching, covering, and mulching them into their new home. “Man, I hope they live, he said.” “They will, I replied.” He snapped this little picture of a bloom the next morning and was all smiles. Linda
–Dear Terry, How exciting that you are coming to Parma (Cleveland) in August for a men’s retreat at the Jesuit Retreat Center. Lucky men! Is there any chance that your many women followers can meet with you? I would love to meet you and thank you personally for the spiritual direction you have given me over the years. The Daily Mass from Toronto and Your Daily Dose meditation are my first activities before I begin my day. At 86 my day is not as hectic as it used to be but it always has an early start and your wise, gentle words and stories remind me of God’s eternal love for us that is always present. Thank you for being you and sharing your wisdom with us. God Bless you. Christine (Close to Cleveland)
POEMS AND PRAYERS
Lord, the air smells good today,
straight from the mysteries
within the inner courts of God.
A grace like new clothes thrown
across the garden, free medicine for everybody.
The trees in their prayer, the birds in praise,
the first blue violets kneeling.
Whatever came from Being is caught up in
forgetting the way back.
Rumi– Lord, the Air Smells Good Today (13th Century)
Why, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with any one I love, or sleep in the bed at night with any one I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon,
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so quiet and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;
These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.
To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.
To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim—the rocks—the motion of the waves—the ships with men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?
Walt Whitman (1819 – 1892)