Love Summary for the Year

Only love can move effectively across boundaries and across cultures. Love is a very real energy, a spiritual life force that is much more powerful than ideas or mere thoughts. Love is endlessly alive, always flowing toward the lower place, and thus life-giving for all, exactly like water. In fact, there is no form of life that does not need water. No wonder water is such a universal spiritual symbol.

When you die, you are precisely the capacity you have developed to give and to receive love. Your recognition of this is your own “final judgment” of yourself, which means you become responsible for what you now see—not shamed or even rewarded, but just deeply responsible. Not surprisingly, this seems to be the universal testimony of people who have gone through near-death experiences—and returned to tell about them.

If you have not received or will not give this gift of love to others, your soul remains tied to a small, empty world which is probably what we mean by hell. God can only give love to those who want it.

If you still need to grow in love and increase your capacity to trust Love, God makes room for immense growth surrounding the death experience itself, which is probably what we mean by purgatory. Time is a mental construct of humans. Why would growth be limited to this part of our lives? God and the soul live in an eternal now.

If you are already at home in love, you will easily and quickly go to the home of love, which is surely what we mean by heaven. There the growth never stops and the wonder never ceases. If life is always change and growth, eternal life must be infinite possibility and growth!

So by all means, every day, and in every way, we must choose to live in love—it is mostly a decision—and even be eager to learn the ever deeper ways of love—which is the unearned grace that follows from the decision!

 I can only end with Pope Francis’ plea and question from “The Joy of the Gospel”: “So what are we waiting for?”

 

Reflection on Kindness

Thich Minh Thien’s Reflection on Kindness

Someone gave me a book as a gift entitled, “The Book of Joy” co-authored by his Holiness, the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. One statement in the book attributed to the Archbishop has stayed with me. The statement was, “We grow in kindness when our kindness is tested”. Kindness has been defined and described in different ways over time. The Webster definition states, the quality or state of being kind”. In our Buddhist practices, the term “Metta” or “Loving Kindness” underpins how we relate to each other and the world. It is key in Christian practice as we are admonished to “love thy neighbor as you love yourself”. It the Jewish community, acts of charity and loving kindness are central to the Torah way of life. The Quran has over 200 verses about compassionate living and stresses that righteousness is not in precise observance of rituals but in acts of compassion and kindness. So, no spiritual practice or religion can claim a monopoly on the teaching that embrace kindness. Even in a non-denominational environment life our great Republic; Abraham Lincoln’s vision of working for the healing of a nation, with “malice towards none, with charity for all” led our country out of a war that pitted brother against brother.

 Amid a vitriolic environment or situation, or when we are besieged by fear, anger or a sense of self-righteousness, it is possible to become more gracious, kind and gentle as the words of Archbishop Tutu suggests? Can we let our engagement with our neighbors, family friends and acquaintances with whom we disagree, shape us into kinder people. When we are angry or feeling self-righteous or when uncharitable and dehumanizing speech is where we initially go, relying on our mindful practices and Metta can let us look at what is our part in this situation. Simply being reactionary or responding in snarky rhetorical punches might feel good in the moment, but does nothing to bring us closer to a kinder, gentler place.  Choosing kindness may open possibilities that insults will surely close. Even if we are met with resistance to our kindness, we can choose to respond with loving kindness and compassion, recognizing that we all are suffering. Being kind, gracious and gentle does not mean we avoid rocking the boat about issues we feel strongly about. We are all connected and called to stand against cruelty and stand up for the oppressed. That is how we rock the boat. Kindness, graciousness and gentleness are a means with which we should struggle for justice. In an address to university graduates, Paul Sanders said, “…what I regret most in life are failures of kindness; those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I respond…sensibly. Reservedly. Mildly.”

That represents moments where we are not mindful of our interconnectedness, where we view a situation from a selfish and/or short-sighted position. We realize that suffering exists and that we individually cannot end the pain, fear, loneliness, anger, etc. that affects so many. But we can respond with kind words, a smile, a recognition of the suffering we see before us, especially when it brings to a mindful place, our own feeling of being uncomfortable. In each situation, we get the opportunity to test our kindness and we grow.

 

 

Boarding the Train

by Don Durand

 

            It has been my observation that passengers boarding the MAX train, looking for a seat, will usually seek out like for like. Older folks sit with older, younger with younger, Hispanics with Hispanics, white with white, black with black, Asian with Asian. I don’t judge this to be overt racism or ageism, just an unconscious comfort zone decision {to be argued another time}.

            So, I was surprised and pleased recently when a black teen took the seat next to me. He draped his skateboard over a leg as he sat down. I nodded and said “hello”. He answered and settled back for the ride. Even this much conversation was unusual, I thought, crossing both age and racial boundaries.

            I tentatively started a conversation, of no consequences really. I tired the Blazers first. That got us started.

            I tried to use younger vocabulary than I am used to. He helped me be cool. (Hopeless). I admitted I didn’t get “rap” music. He certainly didn’t get opera! And so, we rambled on, getting closer to giving up and ending the conversation.

            Then, from somewhere outside myself, I said to him, “do you mind if I ask a somewhat personal question?”

            He visibly tightened and mumbled, “What do you want to know?”

            I don’t know where this came from but I said, “Have you ever experienced prejudice because of... (He flinched)... “because of skateboarding?” Oh, my!

            His eyes lit up, his face gleamed. He became animated. The unspoken thought: “They always ask about race and nothing happens. Nobody even asks about skateboards.”

            We exchanged skateboard stories the rest of the trip. He told about adults yelling at him, MAX officers threatening him with tickets and fines and people poking at him with canes.

            I told him of a time I was almost knocked down by a boarder who very athletically stopped just in time. I had not seen or heard him, but I am hard of hearing and weak of seeing. He swore at me. I explained and apologized. Then he said he was sorry, too. I wished I was young again and athletic to get a board. The almost accident turned into a god moment.

            So was this lively, funny, rewarding conversation for this old white guy and young black dude. His stop was next. We shook hands. He waved from the platform and skated off. The train moved on. All in all, it wasn’t about race or age. Or was it?

A Welcome

A Welcome

 

To this hearth which is a heart, welcome.

Welcome to our hearts.

Welcome to our breath

Seeking to be a story.

 

 

May those without a place today find welcome here.

May those without tongue

Be brought to utterance.

May the story which hovers above our heard

Find hospitality.

Maya the song which crosses between living and dead

Be part of what we sing.

 

Welcome to the fabulous Names of things.

 

Paul Matthews

 

A Welcome

To this hearth which is a heart, welcome.

Welcome to our hearts.

Welcome to our breath

seeking to be a story.

May those without a place today

find welcome here.

May those without a tongue

be brought to utterance.

May the story which hovers above our heads

find hospitality.

May the song which crosses

between living an dead

be part of what we sing.

Welcome to the fabulous Names of things

Paul Matthews

RESTORING HOPE

By Sr. M Steinkamp and edited by Jim Galluzzo

 

            Hope is a very fragile virtue, terribly battered in our troubled world.  Hope is like a beautiful orchid, needing badly to be cherished, not knocked down.

            In our world besieged by terrorism, wars, snipers, family murders, and a failing economy, we need a large dose of hope.  We need to look with the eyes of Jesus.

            There are many ways to bring hope back, to help all people know that the Divine is still alive and with them.  St. Paul tells us to think what is good and true and beautiful.

            There is still more good than evil in our world.  The problem is that the evil hits the news. There are as many ways of restoring hope as there are people in the world.

            One of my favorite ways is to look for what is good and true and beautiful.  At the school where I work, our Media Specialist, Amy, a beautiful young lady, has a small framed wedding picture on her desk.  The love between her and Steven is real.  Their smiles are genuine.

            In the library where I work if things are going badly, I take time to look at that picture.  It restores my hope.  It’s like Kahlil Gibran says. “In the dew of little things the soul finds refreshment.”

            All around us are signs of hope, from Amy’s picture to the little blonde girl about three whom I watched at the noon mass. She was playing with a fuzzy stuffed donkey and watching the priest hold up the gifts at the Offertory.  As he did so, she very reverently held up her stuffed animal.  It was so natural, so spontaneous, so hope-filled.  Prayer of any kind restores hope.

            And prayer in action is one of our best hope-builders:  going out to others, bringing someone a few cookies, a smile, a kind word, all these can bring back trust and hope.

            In the apartment complex where I live, there are three boys, really young men, who are very kind and helpful.  The building has 23 nuns, mostly older and semi-retired.  The young fellows are very helpful.  They will carry stuff,  move furniture, change snow tires, anything we can’t quite manage.

            I see their spirit as a great sign of hope in our troubled world.  As Job says: A tree has hope, when it is cut down it sprouts green again.

            When I was in my 30’s and teaching a class of 35 sixth graders that were considered hellions by their previous teacher, I liked them.  They were a creative bunch. I channeled their energy.  The principal couldn’t understand me because I hung in with that class and never gave up on them.

            One day when she was angry with me, she ended by saying: “ Sister, your worst fault is that you are a hopeless optimist.” I walked out of her office pleased.  I treasured those words.  I believe everyone needs to be a hopeless optimist.

            One of our tasks is to bring back that sense of hope.  I believe each one of us is called in our own environment to be an agent of hope.  We don’t need to go to Iraq or Ireland or Vietnam or Syria.  How do we bring hope to our elections?

            Hope is a bird that keeps singing in your heart.  And as long as you listen, it will keep right on singing.  Hope is an orchid needing to be nurtured and watered with love and peace.  Hope is a little child trusting that today’s adults will have the courage to stop violence, hatred and wars.

            Hope is a gentle rain that washes away dryness of despair and renews the desire in each person to build a better world, to care for one another, to honor the hope that blossoms in the love between husband and wife, child and parent, teacher and student, friends and companion. Hope is what happens when people trust and join hands.

 

Stillness and Peace: (A meditation) By: Judi Julien (10-13-15)

Stillness and Peace:

(A meditation)

By: Judi Julien (10-13-15)

 

 

In the stillness is the dawning

The dawning of new life

The dawning of spaciousness

The dawning of Being

            - of new freshness.

 

In the Stillness is the Breath:

The freshness of the inhalation,

The release of the exhalation,

            - feel the coolness of the inhalation

            - feel the release of the exhalation going ever deeper within,

 

 Depth, grace, presence, be-ing, becoming.

 As I breathe deeply I become one:

            With myself

            With another

            With nature

            With all humanity

            With the Creator, God,  Life-giver in all.

 

As I become more and more still inside and out

I become womb for life.. for nurturing.. for healing..  for Joy..

            for peace-bringing.. for expansiveness.. for loving kindness… for embracing all…

And so I continue to breathe deeper.. and deeper…  and deeper…

I become…… deeper and deeper… 

And deep within my being I know:

“All is …..

            All is well- All manner of thing is well….

            I am alive…

            I am filled with gratitude…

            I am blessed….

            I am Still and at Peace.

                                                                                 

What moves me in nature?

 

                                                                                    Marianne LaBarr

What moves me in nature?

There is something vast about the ocean that draws me.  It has been over the years a

place to take my questions, discernmenents, joys and turmoils. Walking long and hard along the beach has a way of diffusing the confusions in me and taking me within to a calmer, simpler place of clarity.

The vastness has room to encompass all my worries, angst and fear.  The rhythm of ebb and flow become a gentle echo of my breath. Within and out-- over and over, mesmerizing and dropping me deep down into my groundedness.

There is an expansiveness within me with the ocean. It calls me and opens space in my heart and my chest.  I feel spaciousness and able to breathe.

Each journey to the ocean awakens in me the start of John Masefield's poem

         I must go down to the sea again,

         to the lonely sea and the sky,

         And all I ask is a tall ship an a star to steer her by....

The mountains are a different feel. The smell of camp fires, the echoes of laughter, good friends, good food, good wine. I feel snug and cozy in the mountains. Even hiking on the trails I feel encircled and protected.

There is a warm sense in me about the the trees, the moss, the earth, the scent of the forest, the roots and rocks and ups and downs of the trail. This feels more like the rhythm of life. Obstacles, challenges and outlooks with clearings of sun light and water rushing. Beauty cascading inside and out. I love the woods and the forest. There is more of an intimacy for me in this terrain. I can feel myself tuck inside and listening more deeply to myself.

The mountains are a mix for me of solitude and companionship. When we hike it is often single file on narrow paths with my eyes watching what's below. But the cabins are such a treat of friendship and time to share-- a leisure away from routines. The best of both!

What Is new?  The image comes to me that the ocean is standing with my arms outstretched. The movement is toward freeing up, letting go and getting clear.

The mountains feel far more like the child's pose in yoga. I am curled up into my center and then releasing into laughter.

 

Immigration September 2015

Much is said about immigration these days.

Lets reflect on the following poem as we discuss this topic.

The New Colossus

Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!"

 cries she with silent lips.

Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Aging by Sue Sather

I like that thought.

A new career.

Pick and choose from the past,

stir in at least a cup of laughter, a pinch of salt.

Carefully choose some spice, several varieties.

Sift slowly and admire the mixture.

Now taste. What is missing?

It’s kind of dry at this point.

So dry it can all drift away with a soft breeze.

 

Okay, what liquids to add?

Scotch, Bourbon – yuck!

Fine wine – maybe.

Clear, cool water –

Aha, that’s it.

Clearwater from the junction of many streams.

Stir gently and watch the mixture metamorphose

from sandy solids to a colorful blend

as rivulets of water flow down tiny hills of a life well lived.

 

Don’t overdo it. Leave some space for

something surprising and new to come along.

Like love, budding spring love creeping forth out of an aging elm tree,

freshly pruned, lush new beginnings spreading restful shade

as limbs stretch toward the light.

Whoever thought there could be so much life yet to burst forth in joyful song.

Whoever invented the idea of enjoying laughter while entering the operating room as a patient?

Aha – that sap contributes to more rapid healing, I think.

 

What does the mixture look like now with bubbles of grin sneaking out?

There may be a dance or two lurking in there under the saffron and lemon juice.

 

What a career!

And to think, my mother, who cussed like a feckin’ sailor, was my role model after all,

flirting with my new husband as she settled into her 90’s.

And my grandmother, before her,

asking me to pluck a few whiskers before being presented

as one of the former Beauty Queens from the 1904 St. Louis World’s fair.

 

Astonishing to me at the time, yet a revelation that

 It’s not over till it’s over, and not even then.

These ingredients live on when we are generous and share

with our children’s children’s children…

Knowing it is more about spice and flavor than woebegone whiskers.

 

This restful dark night has been a time of fermentation,

allowing the mixture to fully steep in the secret knowing there is more to come.

While this is no sponge cake, stippled with vanilla and sugar,

there is something powerful brewing afoot.

Time’s awaiting, time’s knocking,

Time…

It’s time.

How Do I Want to Be Remembered - Jan Kruger

 

This past weekend I was at Jim's Art Show and after the Mass, we saw a slide show about one of Jim's close friends who had recently died.  Her name was Alexandra and her three grown sons were there at the Mass from California. 

It was an emotional and loving tribute to their mother.  There were lots of pictures of her and her sons at birthdays and Christmas.  Almost every mother watching that slide show was thinking, "what would my kids say about me?  What pictures would they show? "

Sometimes it seems to me that my children remember me most as the silent, workaholic doormat, mother of the past. I mean over 30 years ago! That is so frustrating to me that they do not see me as faith filled, joy filled, happy, and loving.  Recently my daughter asked me if any of her “band of misfits joining us for Thanksgiving would bother, offend or disturb" me in anyway.  It is like she does not know me at all.  I love and accept almost everyone.  If there are certain of her friends that I don't care for it would only be because they have dumped her so many times and caused her pain.  

And they don't seem to remember that I so fiercely loved them, sang Christian songs, read to them, prayed with them, took them to church, spoke voices of the Pooh animals, played match box cars, carpooled to ballet, soccer, basketball and went to every recital and sports game, picnics half way to Pullman and all the times we went out to dinner just one on one.  

I would want my children to remember that I love Jesus most of all.  My parents started the tradition of church every Sunday, generously giving of their time and money. I always loved church but it was not until 1977 that I met a woman in the Charismatic Renewal that my real relationship with Jesus began.  And I have grown spiritually so much in the last years, with Stephen Ministry Training and then Spiritual Direction training, reading Richard Rohr's emails every day, hanging out with Jim Galluzzo, and my Spiritual Writing Classes. 

I would want them to remember that I am a love-giver.  I love people and I am interested in people and forming close one on one relationships. 

I would want them to remember that I am strong and a survivor.  I have overcome a lot of criticism, pain and obstacles in my journey.  

I would want them to remember that I am artistic and sensitive.  I have loved my art career so much. The creative process is so much of who I am.  And although I have not made a lot of money with my art, it helped feed us when I was a single mom.  It was definitely there when I needed it.  And many people will say that I have blessed them with my art.  I hear so many stories of people who still have my work hanging in their house, sometimes from 25, or 30 years ago.  

As a young person, I was so sensitive personally.  Because I had lived with so much criticism both as a child and in my first marriage, it was like I could not bear to hear any more.  Although those things can occasionally still hurt me, I am much more sensitive to the problems of others and feel that their criticism says more about them than about me.  And I do not feel any anger or resentment for my parents or ex husband.  They are part of my journey and who I have become today.  

 

Visions of movement as seen through the eyes of an old fireplace Susan E. Sather

I’ve been in one of my grumpy phases for over a week…  Almost Guinness Book of Records grumpy. Damn Parkinson’s!

What’s the point? What am I supposed to be learning now? I learned to be very still when I was ill twenty years ago. I learned to meditate, went on a retreat at Spirit Rock where I reached a point that I thought I could not listen to one more celestial voice. Too much silence, too many Dharma talks. Then the silence grew into me. I often cherish silence now. Unless I really need to get something accomplished – like yesterday, I cranked up the Rock ‘n Roll and put a coat of primer on the old, stripped fireplace. It wasn’t worth stripping, too old too funky, too many odd combinations of wood went into its making. Yet it’s here, in my space, waiting for me to see the inner beauty in an old primer-white fireplace. Is this a metaphor for my aging primer-white self. I am not trying to perfect the fireplace, leaving some rough places, like the wrinkles that I reserve. No Botox or plastic surgery, just a daily slathering of primer to soothe the surface.

So movement—crank up the music and apply the next coat, warm brown. Will this do it? Maybe two coats.

This old fireplace will never withstand full sanding, polishing to a fine sheen like an old oak table. Like me, I have too many parts to age into a singled minded being. I want to keep the teacher, the mother the daughter, the researcher, the writer, the sister, the multifaceted essence. I will never be a dowager queen sitting calmly on her throne, alas… or not. Neither will I be the shiny oak spindle staircase.

I move too much, maybe not the movement I see in a smooth waltz, more a medley of styles.

So is this disease teaching me to value movement as I let go some of my control – I don’t move like I did at 18, or 25, or 50. But I still move, walk to the park and back, sometimes stumble revealing an un-sanded corner, or one of the inevitable scars that life deposits to remind us of our humanness. Is this fireplace helping, guiding me to move through grumpy into an imperfect acceptance, to move with what is rather than some vision of the perfect?

Mystical Experiences James Galluzzo

Week Five - Mystical Experiences

Mystical experiences are defined as ordinary events that are seen through the eyes of a mystic; they are ordinary events that are made holy through intention and connection.

Mystical Experience quotes

You are in God and God is in you.                Teresa of Avila

The great mystics of every tradition invite us to know better, to draw from the resources of our own tradition and see in a way that honors debate, reason, and order while also moving beyond them.                                                    Richard Rohr

Do not plunder the Mystery with concepts.        Zen Masters

The most beautiful things we can experience is the mysterious. It is a source of all true art and all science. He to whom this “emotion” is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder, or stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead.                            Albert Einstein

During one’s spiritual journey a person will experience mystical experiences because he or she has made the time and space to be quiet, to notice, to listen to the holy in his or her life.

 

Mystical Experiences                        by James Galluzzo

It took me years to realize it was okay for me to open my eyes and see things as holy and good. Having grown up in a religious tradition that focuses on sin and unworthiness, it was hard to let myself see with the eyes of a mystic. Internally, I believe that I always saw the world with a third eye, but I never felt it was safe or acceptable to bring those insights into the world.

    Once I began my spiritual journey, I realized that it was really the only way to see if I was going to view the world from my authentic self. To be me meant that I would see the world as holy, people as good and the sacred in all people and all things. Once I embraced the mystical way of seeing it changed the way I thought, the way I related and the way I chose to live in the world.

It is seeing with the third eye. Not just looking at things or understanding things, but being with whatever I saw:  connecting to all things, being at one with all things, experiencing all things, dancing with life, living fully, being a light to the world and seeing the light in all people and the light of the universe.

Every ordinary event, every encounter, every person I meet are opportunities of seeing life, light, grace and connection.

It is living life in and through the ordinary and seeing that Everything is holy.

Sacred Place

A Sacred Place by James Galluzzo

"I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."  -- Marjorie Rawlings

"Inventories from children’s hiding places and from religious holy places bear remarkable similarity."  -- Lynda Sexson

"There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer and the morning more fragrant than ever again."  -- Elizabeth Lawrence

Spirituality and sacred places are tied together because on one’s spiritual journey one often creates an altar or space for prayer and quiet sitting. People also often have places that hold a special reverence for them or have holy sites that have moved them.

I decided to go to the Oregon Coast.  I chose to take time away. Arriving at the beach, I park on the opposite side of the ocean. It is always strange to me, yet I am here. Then I walk down a steep path. In a brief moment, the lush green, the damp moist air and a canopy of trees take me into a secret place where I am sure elves, fairies and leprechauns live. I can hardly move because everywhere I step a new picture of beauty emerges. I could be lost in the woods forever. About half way through the mile walk, I come across a large, inviting tree. It is as if it is calling my name. It is an old growth tree covered in moss. I touch its soft clothing and try to put my arms around it. I can’t reach around its girth. But as I ease around the tree, I discover the inside is hollow. I step back and look at the dark hole. I inch my way closer and feel the coolness and softness and safeness of the space. I realize the space is big enough to enter. I move in and sit down in a huge chair of green softness. I feel held, like in a womb. I never want to leave. I have found the arms to hold me that I have been looking at for many years.

I go there often, when I am feeling alone.

Retirement

Retirement

 

I have had the longest continuous time off this past year.  I call it my fallow time. I have gone quiet, inward, not busy, deeper…about my self.  I like what Lily Tomlin said when she joked about emerging women.  She said, “I always wanted to be somebody, but I now realize I should have been more specific.” 

 

I don’t know how I will next apply myself and if as a lawyer, it has been a year since I stopped working formally as one.  I am reflecting on the specifics that underwrote my legal career.  Those skills continue in my daily life – think analytically, anticipate outcomes, spot issues but don’t create chimeric problems, change conversations, ask a lot of questions, find solutions for me and for anyone else asking.  I love learning.

 

So I don’t say I have retired.  Echoing Joan Chittister, the word puts too much emphasis on the work part of life. 

 

I am also reflecting, more importantly I think, on what comes intuitively and naturally to me now, especially now when I am not distracted by daily work or children.  We’ve all had our times off, the length of mine puzzles me.  When will it end?  What should I do next?  Why am I not bored?

 

It is clear to me that I cherish this time.  And I guard it.  Just like we all do in those more singular moments of personal, intimate time, those spaces we create just for ourselves such as a nap, a pregnant mother with her fetus, a vacation, a kiss, a confidence. 

 

I don’t want to default into a romanticized life, you know who I am talking about, the beautiful people who stay in nice places, those who enjoy being alone with their thoughts, selfies appreciating the small things, feeling safe and self-sufficiently centered.  No. 

 

I think what I am doing is respecting what is growing in me.  And when I understand or the time feels right, I will share.  Tara Sophia Mohr, the scholar and inspirational speaker on living bigger, describes this kind of protected space as keeping out a lot of unfiltered energy, external energy, coming back to you, waiting until enough discernment happens so you are ready to be more visible. 

 

I want to speak brightly about my emergence like the comedic actress Amy Poehler who said, “I’ve always dreamed of growing up to be Amy Poehler.”   

 

Sheree Tuppan

November 2013 Memoir Class

 

Vulnerable

Vulnerable

 

I am seeking vulnerability.  I am on a quest about myself apart from where I have been as a working mom.  I am turned inward to understand and that has taught me to separate out and disregard external factors like career, success, my sons’ college report cards.  With my focus on my self, I want the kind of vulnerable that means wide open, ready, unguarded, truth and courage.  Strengths.  Positives.

 

To get there, I am being quiet first.  Resting.  A wise and older friend helped me realize I am in a fallow time, the agricultural term for soil at rest.  Before seed.  Not producing.  It is a radical concept in today’s world that equates importance with busyness.  I am not creating nor doing.  I am just trying to be.

 

Important to me now is that I notice, with a different vision, when my lifelong stereotypes break down as I let go of traditional concepts such as work = the job, the need to be prepared or be in control, the role of mom as a fixer for my adult children.  These layers are softening.  I am trusting that who I am and how I feel will strengthen.

 

Sheree Tuppan

March 2013 Memoir Class

 

Reflection on Death Betty Lee Rathbun Spiritual Director April 2013

Reflection on Death

Betty Lee Rathbun Spiritual Director

 

April 2013

 

            When I was maybe eight years old my grtandmother died. I had never experienced death before.

            I just remember finding myself in a little room where I saw my grandmother lying in a box. My father was there, viewing his dad.

            I was having a surreal experience. My grandfather, whom I loved, was now lying lifeless in a box. I did not know what to do with my emotions – I started to cry uncontrollably – my dad looked at me with disdain and told me to quit drying. That confused me all the more – I ran out of the room, down the hall to, _

‘I don't  know where”.

            After that I seemed to he haunted by anything having to do with death. When we would drive by the funeral home, I would look out the window on the other side of the car and I would see the funeral home reflected in that window. I was scared of funerals, grave yards; anything that had to do with death.

            This went on throughout my life,. Then when I was in my forties , we had a nun come to our church to do a seminar on “Healing of the Memories”. She had us do an exercise where we closed our eyes and pictured a room of people. Then we were to pick out someone who had hurt us very badly. I choose my dad. Then she said, “Forgive that person.” I did forgive my dad!

            I walked out of that seminar completely free of my fear of death and it has continued to this day.

Thank you, God, for healing me!

Delight

Delight

From: Judi”s Journal: 

The word delight makes me smile.
It sparkles and bubbles within me.
It bubbles up and bounces around tickling me inside.

God delights in God’s creation – God delights in all of us?  I can easily see that God delights in other people…  but in myself?  That challenges me.    Even so, oh my,  what a wonder that is to ponder.  How healing, how freeing, what Joy bursts forth from within.  Just to consider that possibility…  I smile deeply and wonderingly. God delights in all his/her creation.   OK, so – I get it that God delights in the beautiful world created – like a work of art – the heavens – cosmos – earth- creatures – the flowers, trees etc. etc…  That beauty we can see and feel – but in each of us personally?

So if God delights in each person created…..  Can I?    Do I / Can I see with delight each person I meet?  Can I see God’s delight in them?  Even if they are impatient, unkind, selfish, angry etc. etc.  ?  Can I see deeply into them with delight when they attack or confront?  When we are different or in opposition?  When they are troubled and treat others with contempt or hurt others?  

And each of us?  Can we see that God “delights in our very selves?”  That’s harder but there is also a glimmer of hope and invitation to consider the possibility.  Can we sit with this?  Ponder the possibility that God delights in us?  IN me, myself who is so human – who wants to be so loving but trips over her own feet?  Making mistake after mistake?  Can I begin to feel the light of God within me? Can others feel it in themselves? Yearning to bring that light to the world?  To leap out and bless others and to kindle that light in all we meet?   

Oh I want so to bring light to this world to each person.  To bring compassion and love to all I encounter – to bring delight and reflect the beauty in each person.  To help them come to see their own beauty and share how much God delights in them.  Can others delight in themselves?  I hope…. 

So I pray ….  Thank You,  Thank you Thank you  Creator God,  Help me too to delight!