Monday, May 21, 2018

Pray without ceasing!

"Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

We learned this past weekend at our silent retreat, "Praying with the Psalms," that the Psalms are a great way to "Pray without ceasing," as St. Paul writes to the Thessalonians. Sister Mary Beverly told us that unceasing prayer is being aware of God's presence throughout all that we do and that was surely evident to me last week. I celebrated enough life changes last week to make my head spin, and through it all, I felt like I was praying my own little psalms. "Please help me find an apartment!" "Wow, these kids are amazing!" "Thank you for all these fabulous co-workers!" And, finally, as I settled into silence at the retreat, my long exhaling prayer of just "Ahhhh..." Prayer, to me, is an on-going conversation with God. Sometimes, I can imagine poor God wondering if I will ever stop talking so God can get a word in. In the silence of a retreat, I finally let God have a say. And what does God say when I am finally listening? God just says, "I love you. You are special to me. We're in this together." And that is definitely worth turning off the phone to hear! Love, heidi

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Clarity and resolution...

"But grace can be the experience of a second wind, when even though what you want is clarity and resolution, what you get is stamina and poignancy and the strength to hang on."
Anne Lamott, "Help, Thanks, Wow"

I think I am at the age where all I want these days is clarity and resolution. I mean, change is harder when you're 62 and 4 months. When I was in my twenties I loved the adventure of not knowing where I would land (who am I kidding, it freaked me out then, too. Never mind.) Now, I want the clarity of a safe landing. Interestingly, what I am getting instead is "stamina, poignancy and the strength to hang on." It's lovely, too, and I will deeply appreciate looking back on it in a few months when, God-willing, I'm nestled into clarity.  I am on vacation this week, Friends. It's been a wonderful time, full of laughs, food, and so much love I can hardly believe it. It may take me a month to recover. Blessings to you all and see you next week...Love, heidi

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Endings and beginnings

"So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God. But they went forth and preached everywhere..."
Mark 16:19-20

Today is technically the Feast of the Ascension, so the readings were geared toward that this day. Pray-As-You-Go had a wonderful little prayer this morning about endings and beginnings, which really landed on my heart. Especially this time of year, our lives are full of endings and beginnings, aren't they? Anyone working in the schools feels the cycle of beginnings and endings vividly. PAYG invited us to sit with what may be ending in our lives and what we may be called to begin as a result.  As we let go of one thing, something new emerges for us. The blessings of the past remain within us and we take them into the new beginning. So, today, our May Thursday, let's carve out some time to reflect on what may be ending in our lives and what new beginning we may be called to embrace.  Our comings and goings, our endings and beginnings are all so richly blessed by God! And God gives us the Holy Spirit to tackle them all...Love, heidi

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Don't wait til Sunday!

"The God who made the world and all that is in it, the Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in sanctuaries made by human hands, nor is he served by human hands because he needs anything."
Acts 17:24

We little human beings build churches and try to confine God to them. "You stay there, and we will come to you! We'll get all dressed up and spend an hour with you and that should take care of that, right?" And God sighs deeply and shrugs. God doesn't want our fancy churches and one hour a week. God wants to be part of everything we do in between our weekly God Hours. We want to meet God on our terms, when we're ready and spiffed up for church, but that isn't what God wants at all. It isn't until we invite God to the messier parts of our lives that we can really get to experience God in the type of relationship God wants to share with us. God wants to clean the garage with us (probably to ask, "Why do you need all this stuff?") God wants to sit in the teacher lunchroom with us or around our dinner table each evening. God wants to be in on our book club conversations and with us in 5:00 traffic on a Tuesday. God wants to enter into our lives in the most mundane, insane, and arcane events we participate in.  God wants the Real Us, not the scrubbed-up us. Today, as we go about our May Wednesday, let's be aware and invite God into whatever we are doing this day. Let's invite God into our conversations and silences, our meals and recreation. If we wait until Sunday to catch up with God, we are the ones missing out. Love, heidi

Monday, May 7, 2018

"A lack of forgiveness is like..."

"A lack of forgiveness is like leprosy of the insides, and left untreated, it can take out tissue, equilibrium, soul, sense of self. I have sometimes considered writing a book called, 'All The People I Still Hate: A Christian Perspective...'"
Anne Lamott, "Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace"

Thanks to daughter, Sam, I have encountered Anne Lamott, a Christian writer of great wit and wisdom. The thing is I could never read her books in a quiet public place because I laugh out loud too frequently. The second sentence above had me howling. For some crazy reason, we think we abandon our own humanness when we take up our walk with Jesus. We think that suddenly, we will be in lockstep with God and be perfect little Christians, living, loving and doing it all just right. It's disappointing when we realize we are still so human, isn't it? People still bug us, we are still impatient and critical. We judge harshly and quickly, even though we should know better. If we look at how Jesus treated all those he encountered in the Gospels, we find that the only people he gets even a bit ornery with are the self-righteous people who think they are better behaved than everyone else. The people who know and acknowledge their weaknesses are comforted by Jesus. Ms. Lamott points out that forgiveness is one of the hardest things we ever do. It's hard and yet, so necessary. Our forgiving others heals us and frees us, whether the relationship with the other is restored or not. Let's think about that on a beautiful May Monday.  Love, heidi

Friday, May 4, 2018

The Way It Is...

The Way It Is
By William Stafford
There is a thread you follow. 
It goes among things that change.
But it doesn't change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can't get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt or die;
and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop times unfolding.
You don't ever let go of the thread.

I offer you this beautiful poem as a weekend meditation for your lovely spring weekend! It was a reflection for my Immortal Diamond class and, in itself, is great for mining deep within and asking ourselves, can we trace the thread we have followed throughout our lives? Where is the thread taking us next? Love, heidi