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Patience Again

“Our real blessings often appear to us in the shape of pains, losses and disappointments; but let us have patience and we soon shall see them in their proper figures.” – Joseph Addison

This week, I have been arm-wrestling with patience. I strained my ankle last week and I’ m off on my training schedule. Not too far, but off plan just the same. Pretty minor in the overall scheme of things, but after three months of training, I’m frustrated with a side of self-pity and crabby.

It’s easy to be positive when the world is going our way. The real test is in pain and disappointment. And if we take our eyes off of ourselves long enough, we can receive the gifts that trials offer including a deeper level of empathy for others.

We’ll see how long it will take my pep talks to transform my attitude, but I’m going to keep trying until it clicks. And it’s really about how we go through our trials that show our real character.

Patience is called for once again. If it could only move a bit quicker and on my schedule. Still working on it, obviously.

Prune

“Everything has seasons, and we have to be able to recognize when something’s time has passed and be able to move into the next season. Everything that is alive requires pruning as well, which is a great metaphor for endings.” – Henry Cloud

I was about to throw out the dried up flower basket yesterday. It had its season. Instead, I removed the dead flowers and leaves to see if it would come back. Sure enough, new buds suddenly appeared overnight. Its season wasn’t quite over yet.

We delay making changes thinking that they must be big and drastic. Often times, it merely takes a bit of pruning to clear enough space for new beginnings to unfold. And there are times when a season really has passed and pruning won’t be enough.

Either way, we need only cut away the dried foliage of assumption, judgment, expectation, indecision and fear and watch love, joy, hope, delight and purpose bloom.

Prune.

“The gracious, eternal God permits the spirit to green and bloom and to bring forth the most marvelous fruit, surpassing anything a tongue can express and a heart conceive.” – Johannes Tauler

“The gracious, eternal God permits the spirit to green and bloom and to bring forth the most marvelous fruit, surpassing anything a tongue can express and a heart conceive.” – Johannes Tauler

Listen

“Listen! Clam up your mouth and be silent like an oyster shell, for that tongue of yours is the enemy of the soul, my friend. When the lips are silent, the heart has a hundred tongues.” – Rumi

Another early morning training run started at 5:45 am. One mile with the girls; nine miles by myself; the last three plus miles with friends at Como Lake. Another long run over, check it off the list, one step closer to the Twin Cities Marathon in October.

The last mile, a woman joined us that my friends had met last week. She was behind them and as my running friends do so well, they welcomed and invited her to be a part of the group – inclusivity and hospitality in action.

As Terry and I went to get coffee, Angie came in to share our new friend’s “story” that she shared with Lynn and Angie. We all have one. But when we are blessed to ask and hear others “stories,” our minor discomforts and irritations are rapidly put into perspective, put in their place.

Our new friend shared that her son was shot and killed. She started running to help herself heal. I thought about this all day long. Tonight, Angie sent an email with a link to the full story online.

The detailed story – two years ago, her son,  a 19 year old young man who was studying to become a computer engineer innocently met a man to buy a cell phone.  In the “transaction,”  he was shot and killed by the slug. This young man had held two jobs to help support his family as he excitedly started college to make something of his life. His family was from Burma and came to the United States to leave a refugee camp, only to find their dream become a nightmare. Devastating.

Each day, we know in depth and detail what we are going through- our irritations, frustrations, challenges. But we are called to move outside of ourselves and apply that same depth to others, to the world. We must be open to others, to listen, to be present, to be a gift. We know not what others are going through. Find out.

Cast your eyes, ears and light to others and search for the depth and width that life takes each one of us through at varying levels. We are not alone. Let others know that loud and clear by quietly listening.

It’s not all about us. It’s really about how we help each other muster the strength to make our way through the most difficult as well as celebratory moments of our lives. We need to ignite our limitless capacity for compassion, empathy and companionship. Be there and listen. You are needed in this world so much more than you know.

Listen, be present, welcome the world in with your heart.

Fun, well done

“Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun.” – Randy Pausch

One day seems too short to celebrate a birthday. So birthday week continues with a few visual guides to sum up three valuable insights on living well from wise sage and birthday girl Molly, accompanied by her lovely assistants/best friends, Elly and Lily.

  1. Quietly being with friends is more than enough;
    ellymollylilymolly
  2. There’s nothing better than a soft kiss on the forehead;
    mollyelly2lilymolly2
  3. And most importantly remember to grab your friends by the collar, shake them up and have some fun.
    play

Be aware, awake and in tune to your beauty-filled, delight-filled and swiftly moving life each and every day. Have fun, cast light.

 

Under Construction

“The very contradictions in my life are in some ways signs of God's mercy to me.” – Thomas Merton

“The very contradictions in my life are in some ways signs of God’s mercy to me.” – Thomas Merton

“Every human being is under construction from conception to death.” – Billy Graham

The joke (a bit of truth) in Minnesota is that there are two seasons – winter and road construction. All four seasons are beautiful. We’re just keeping it a secret. Although there are days when we contend with, nay survive, 30 below wind chill. It builds character and it’s all a part of the journey.

When we accept rather than lament the detours, potholes, bumps and delays on our journey, we can stop asking“why” and move deep into living well (not perfect) through the valleys and mountains, remaining steadfast as our purpose unfolds.

God either changes our situation or he changes us to get through to the other side – not around it but rather right through the flipping thick middle of it. The reason will be revealed later as we look in the rear view mirror. In the meantime, we must trust it and ride it out.

We are all under construction, a work in progress.  Succeeding, failing, tripping, up, down, winning, losing, tired, invigorated, falling behind, inspired, inspiring, laughing, crying and ultimately getting back up again and again, moving ever so clunky to our  destination.

We need only to overcome our assumptions and move beyond the whys, whens, hows, the past, regret, worry or what if. When we accept that our path often times won’t be what we planned, but it’s meant to be, we can get back to living, learning, getting through, helping others and getting back on the road.

Under construction and on my way.

Arise

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” – Marcus Aurelius

Morning welcomes and invites us to begin anew, leaving yesterday to rest and tomorrow to rise in its own time. Completely present and alive, ready to be fully awake to each moment’s beauty.

“To live in this world, you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.” – Mary Oliver

“To live in this world, you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.” – Mary Oliver

The sun rises and so must I. To greet the day welcoming the work to be done in us and around us, for promises to be fulfilled. We are called to rise fully to shine our light that is but ours alone. To absorb, reflect and cast light. Anything less is not meant to be, so do not hesitate, hide or ponder any longer. Breathe, think, enjoy and love. Ah, the promise of morning and for the fortitude to carry it through to sunset.

Be Kind

“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” – Scott Adams

Never underestimate the impact of small acts of kindness, simple gestures. A hug or high five to celebrate a win. A gentleman lifting his hat and politely saying hello as we pass by on a morning run. A smile and laugh to slow and create meaning in the middle of an intense day. Again and again, it proves to be true – we have the power to make a big impact with small acts.

It’s easy to get caught up in the drama of the moment, join in the chatter of the complainer, succumbing to shadow of pessimism. It’s logical, almost natural.

At the end of today, a young staff person walked into my office to thank me for always responding with kindness and patience to her requests. She appreciated it even more when a customer snapped at her. I was taken back that she took the time to stop by in person. There are moments when I am feeling the exact opposite, when I let the naysayers win. What a wonderful gift at the end of a 10 hour Monday.

May we never ever ever be too busy to be kind each day, early and often. Our words, actions and thoughts have an impact inside and out. We need to decide what kind of an impact we want to make – light or shadow. Be illogical – be kind, cast light.

In This Place

“When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought ‘surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.'” – Genesis 28:16

How often we are asleep as we walk through our days, missing the goodness, blessings and gifts. Wake up, you’re in the middle of your day, your life and God is surely in this place. Aware, grateful and awestruck – three really good places to be in. Cast light and let light be cast on you.

Becoming You

“Be yourself. Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish.” – John Jakes

“The soul can split the sky in two and let the face of God shine through.” – Edna St. Vincent Millay

“The soul can split the sky in two and let the face of God shine through.” – Edna St. Vincent Millay

A wish, a meditation, a prayer that we all, each and every one of us, responds to the still small voice whispering in our heart to become what we have been created to be. Like none other before or none after. You.

To do what we are here to do. To make a difference by our presence. To say “yes” to the journey from potential to fruition, with exuberance, without delay. You are called. Heed the call. Shine your light. Finish your story, every sentence, paragraph, chapter.

Encouragement

“The best portion of a good man’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.” – William Wordsworth

Criticism and cynicism is a wide and well-traveled road. A jam-packed highway in fact. Encouragement and gratitude may be the road less traveled, but it sure makes the journey sweeter. A simple acknowledgment, a compliment, a smile, a “hello”, a kind word can change a moment, a day, a life. It’s that powerful.

Too often we buy into scarcity. There’s more than enough encouragement, recognition and edification to go around that never depletes the well, but rather replenishes it. We are steeped in abundance, the well will not run dry.

Recklessly and with great abandon, turn yourself inside out and embrace those in your world with kindness and encouragement. Win hearts, feed souls, lift spirits, cast light.

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