Friday, April 27, 2012

The gift of ourselves...

"Our greatest fulfillment lies in giving ourselves to others."
Henri Nouwen, "Life of the Beloved"

Once, when I was in high school, I stayed with some friends while my folks were out of town. The young family had a baby, and once when I woke in the middle of the night, I was greeted by the mom, cradling the baby and rocking her tenderly. I still remember thinking to myself, wow...that sure seems like hard work, having to get up so crazy early for a kid! Years later, when I was the one up in the night, cradling an infant, it didn't seem crazy at all. You do what you do because you love your child more than you love yourself...and sleep. Our giving ourselves to our children is just one example of the times in our lives when we give lovingly to others. Our aging parents may need our care; we may have friends who need us as they go through hard times. Or, if you're like me, you are blessed to have a career where you get to help others. We are all called to give of ourselves to each other! Today and this weekend, let's think about others who have given to us and ask God to show us how to lovingly give to others...the gift of ourselves! Love, heidi

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Give life!

"Jesus says to us, 'Either you give life to others in your relationships with them, or you drain them of it.'"
Brennan Manning, "Reflections for Ragamuffins"

I don't think we consciously mean to drain life out of others in our dealings with them. I think it's just hard to step out of ourselves and into their shoes, to see things how they see them. And, sometimes, we need to feel better about ourselves and do that at the expense of others. How are we supposed to give life to others in our relationships anyway? I think it is by validating others, appreciating them, being grateful and acknowledging them. And it can't be false, either. That is just as damaging as ignoring others, I think. I had a priest give me excellent advice one time in confession when I was struggling with a difficult work situation. He said that when anyone I work with does something I appreciate, to write a note or somehow go out of my way to thank them for the good they did. Not long later, I had the reason and opportunity to do just that and the whole situation changed for the better. We each need to be validated and appreciated along our journey on this planet. Today, let's be aware of how we can show that to others! Love, heidi

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Learn the lesson!

"Beloved: Clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for God opposes the proud but bestows favor on the humble."
1 Peter 5:5

The older I get, the less I know. I could embroider this on a pillow, if I knew how to embroider! I thought I knew everything when I was a teenager (like they all do) but, it seems with age, I am moving in the opposite direction...I know less and less. So, you'd think humility would come naturally, wouldn't you? Not necessarily. In my dealings with people over my many years of work, I find I get so impatient with people and there are some people who really grind my gears. And this is when I need to pull out this scripture from Peter. Looking back, the times of difficulty have eased considerably once I realize that I am part of the problem. It is then I need to step back, reassess, and ask God what I am to learn in this situation. And then God winks at me. Chances are good that it is a humility lesson. Will I learn it this time? Love, heidi

Monday, April 23, 2012

Many blessings a day!

"My second suggestion for claiming your blessedness is the cultivation of presence.  By presence I mean attentiveness to the blessings that come to you day after day, year after year."
Henri Nouwen, "Life of the Beloved"

I read this yesterday, sitting out in the glorious sunshine.  I was indeed very blessed and knew it! But, this passage invited me to look back over the last few days and notice other blessings I'd received.  Henri Nouwen says that we may miss blessings if we are not present and aware that we are being blessed.  It is sometimes easier to notice them in retrospect than right there at the time.  But I thought of simple gestures that touched me at the time and, to me, they were indeed blessings.  A wink.  A hug.  A knee-slapping laugh.  A shared idea. These simple interactions with others had blessed me.  I had been blessed indeed.  Today, let's be aware of all the blessed encounters we have with others.  Let's be open to receiving blessings from others and, as Henri Nouwen also says, those who are open and receive blessings are sure and swift to bless others in return!  Love to you on your Monday!  heidi