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The light we can spill

Another week when so many in our world feel alarmed or exhausted, scrambling in their minds to make sense of it all.
And I know this; when I’m tired, I prefer my head in the sand.
After all, “What can I do that would make a difference?”

I have a few chairs on my back deck. Join me. It’s story time.
Here’s the deal: I believe in stories of love and kindness, that nourish and replenish our weary soul.
My friend–a pastor in Seattle–told me the story about a remarkable young woman in his church. She lived with a big and giving heart. Unmarried and in her late 30s, she decided she could be the home and family for children who did not have a home. So, she adopted five special needs children from around the world. The oldest was 11. In addition to loving and caring for her children, she enjoyed her job and her work.
Sadly, her father took ill, so, she took time off work to care for him, as well as the children. (The caveat is that when adopting children from overseas, you cannot be eligible for welfare.) With money not coming in, this required fortitude and resilience.
It was holiday season, and there was now little money, not just for presents, but also for food.
One day, there was a knock at the door. The children answered. Standing outside were two men wearing red bandannas—as “masks”—on their face. At first the children were uneasy, but saw that the two men had set on the doorstep, five large sacks of groceries. And even they knew that people who rob you, usually don’t bring groceries.
“Mom,” they said. “There are men at the door with masks on.”
“Who are you,” one child asked.
One man answered, “We’re God’s desperadoes.”
Their mother came to the door, and when she arrived, she sees the five sacks of groceries. And at the curb, a very small convertible, with the top down, with the two men still wearing their red bandannas and doing the “queen’s wave,” shouting, “Hi-yo. Silver, away!”
On each one of the sacks of groceries was written in calligraphy, “God’s desperadoes have been here.” The children had never seen that many groceries, so brought the sacks into the living room and with mom looking on, unpacked every one of them with each item bringing a smile.
Can I tell you the rest of the story? To this day, no one knows who those two men are. The children didn’t know. The mother didn’t know. The pastor didn’t know. But the mom began telling the story at church. And those who heard it, began to tell the story to their friends.
And when people heard the story, in their heart they realized, “I too, can be one of God’s desperadoes.”
And here’s what I love. In their church there were now growing numbers of stories about someone who needed help with something, and God’s desperadoes taking care of it.

Yes, I suppose it can be that simple.
Easy? Probably not.
But we sure do make it complicated. The best way to kill a desperado endeavor is to send around a “sign-up sheet.” “Who wants to be one of God’s desperadoes? First you have to go to desperado training, and then be certified, and maybe even serve on the desperado committee.”
We’re so focused on the wrong measurement or motivation or reward, we trample on the spontaneity and the unabashed joy.
When despair takes hold, I forget the gifts I can bring, the light I can share or spill.
I forget I can make a difference in the small world where I live and breathe.
When we see the light we carry, we change the way we measure what really matters. I love David Orr’s reminder, “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.”
Now, we know the power of being kindred light spillers. Let us be these places for one another.

But what if, I still wonder if I can ever be one of God’s desperadoes?
Gratefully, moments of epiphany also invite a paradigm shift; from big world to small world. We forget that change happens (ferments and grows) in the small world, not the big world. You see, the big world feels (too often) overwhelming and outside of our ability to change or affect change. Plus, you know, “we don’t have the skill set”. No wonder it is so easy to give up when we see only big world issues and are undone by big world distress. “It’s not my problem, after all.” And the big world takes us away from this moment… and the people who are right in front of us. “There is always light,” Amanda Gorman reminded us. “If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”
When we know that the light is here, now, we embrace the permission to be present. Where we are grounded, we pause. We say thank you. We will see beauty in places we didn’t expect, and we are gifted with surprises of grace. We will see craziness and pain, yes, but now we have the permission to engage, instead of resign. To care. To spill light. Even in small ways… to spill compassion, forgiveness, second changes, understanding. And yes, sacks of groceries.
And remember; this call to spill light is not merely something we “should” do, as if an obligatory check mark on a resume. This is something we are wired to do—because spilling the light is in our DNA.
Perhaps the rest of the story is this; when we begin to tell these stories, the people who hear them realize, “I too am one of God’s desperadoes.”

The garden in late June is magical. Each new bloom and color a gift. And each year, this gift literally melts me. I never tire of it. Iris. Poppy. Rose. Lupine. Daisy. Each year I say, “I don’t want to miss this. Grace and beauty mainlined straight to the heart.” And each year the garden does what a garden does, it simply blooms. A powerful reminder that the greatest gift is not just what we possess, but who we are.


Today’s Photo Credit: “Terry, Sunflower, in the middle of a wheat field in Hungary. A touch of God.” Judit Pungorne… Thank you Judit… And thank you to all, I love your photos… please keep sending them… send to 

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Letters that do my heart good…
–Terry, Thank you for the words that confirm the way I feel. I am aware of the crazy times. I do not have my head in the sand. And yet, I am able to choose to find the gratitude in each day. I choose to not invite certain topics to my table. Nutritious food of life…gratitude is the main course for me. Because it really does feed my Hope. Sabbath Moment is food for my soul. Thank you for sharing your gift of storytelling. Sincerely grateful, Kim
–Just a thank you. I’m sure I had my head in the sand when someone explained (or I read about?) the significance of Juneteenth. I frequently learn new things about myself when I read Sabbath Moment and Sabbath Moment Daily and I definitely learn more about the world we live in. In Idaho, I joined in the demonstrations during the civil rights movement and the peace marches and the struggle for gender equality. I’m arriving late to an understanding of the movements; I’m grateful that I’m still teachable. Peace, J
–Terry, Thank you for the invitation to pay attention to our surroundings, to all the marvels that nature has for us if we just pay attention. My morning walks often feel like I am doing a Where’s Waldo puzzle. I scan for the deer that may be just behind the next bush. I delight in the songs of the birds at dawn and the bunny pausing beneath a tree. Every morning walk is an opportunity for me to see our neighborhood with fresh eyes and to be filled with gratitude. The white tailed deer are giving birth now and we were delighted to find this little one resting in the shade of our house. We smiled real big. Thank you for your stories and prayers and reminders to pause and to see the world with wonder. God bless you. Paulette
–Hi, Terry. This may not be the Sabbath Moment you intended to write, but it’s what I needed to read — and I suspect many others feel the same way this morning. Thank you.  Don


Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
St. Francis of Assisi

Slowly, slowly wisdom gathers:
Golden dust in the afternoon,
Somewhere between the sun and me,
Sometimes so near that I can see,
Yet never settling, late or soon.
Would that it did, and a rug of gold
Spread west of me a mile or more:
Not large, but so that I might lie
Face up, between the earth and sky,
And know what none has known before.
Then I would tell as best I could
The secrets of that shining place:
The web of the world, how thick, how thin,
How firm, with all things folded in;
How ancient, and how full of grace.
Mark Van Doren

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