“It is the hour to rend thy chains, the blossom time of souls.” – Katharine Lee Bates
Easter proves that light shall always overcome darkness. When we think it’s over and nothing remains but mediocrity and despair, Easter breaks through the clouds and shows its brilliance and strength.
“The world today doesn’t make sense, so why should I paint pictures that do?” – Pablo Picasso
Often we may not see or feel it, but, the light remains, especially behind the thin clouds, sustaining and pulling us through.
This year, life has felt like a Picasso painting , abstract and out of order. And yet, glimpses of light keep breaking through the cracks and soften the heart.
Redemption, rest, realignment, hope, faith, light and, of course, love. Easter has come.
“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aid, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn.” – Henry David Thoreau
Perhaps our biggest preventable regret will be realizing all that we had but missed. Not what we didn’t pursue, not far of lands that we didn’t travel to, but who and what was right in front of us that we didn’t fully see or appreciate.
A good friend of mine has a tattoo on her arm “open your eyes.” It’s a wonderful daily reminder to not look too far ahead and to learn from what has been so we are not fully sighted yet blind to the very present blessings in our life right in this very moment. The sunrise, the sunset, a drop of rain, a laugh, an embrace, the fragrance of a bud. Look around, open your eyes, all of your senses and take it in.
While in San Antonio for a conference last week, I passed a statute called “Homeless Jesus” in front of St. Mary’s Church in downtown. It stopped me in my tracks. How many times have I passed a real person on a bench and just kept going, touched slightly perhaps but not moved to stop?
When we don’t put the label of “other” on others, we find the source of compassion deep within that we’ve silenced in a hurried world. We appease ourselves with “it’s the church’s or the government’s job” to take care of them. We are the church, we are the government. And while a program will attend to the basic needs, human connection and dignity go to the heart of a human being who somehow ended up on a bench.
Whether on a bench or in the coffee shop, many people are struggling to merely get through the day. Don’t race by those who cross your path without noticing and being kind. If you do, you may miss Jesus.
“Easter is meant to be a symbol of hope, renewal, and new life.” – Janine di Giovanni
We are called to carry to the joy of Easter Sunday into Monday, Tuesday and each day to come thereafter. More than a day, it is a way to live, to be transformed. A chance to begin again, to accept grace that is given freely and generously.
Do not succumb to despair. Allow yourself to change and be changed.
Kids and dogs breathe in and breathe out joy naturally, without hesitation. Wide-eyed and unassuming, they accept and release abundance to all who are open and willing to take it in. Loving without condition, they give depth and dimension to an often obtuse world.
Happy Easter Monday, and Tuesday and Wednesday…
“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us. “ – Saint Augustine
“Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.” Helen Keller
Darkness hovers, to overwhelm and crush. But light remains, breaks through and triumphs. Three days – from 30 silver coins, despair and denial to hope and deep, everlasting love. Easter returns again and again, never to be defeated.
Be drawn and pulled into the Light. Love always wins. The gravity of it all.
“We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining – they just shine.” – Dwight L. Moody
“Mindfulness, the awareness of the sacredness of the details of life, makes haste and trumpery impossible. It makes every act a sacred act.” – Joan Chittister
“The more often we see the things around us – even the beautiful and wonderful things – the more they become invisible to us. That is why we often take for granted the beauty of this world: the flowers, the trees, the birds, the clouds – even those we love. Because we see things so often, we see them less and less.” – Joseph B. Wirthlin
Emerge yourself in the details of this day.
Not looking back or forward.
Being present in each moment, letting wonder enter to do its work.
Free from worry and consternation.
Oh, the days, years, we fritter away missing what’s present in front of us.
Words said and unsaid.
Be grateful for today.
Seize it with your presence and participation.
The details. Sacred indeed.
“Prayer is the means by which we transform our lives by adding that divine dimension to it.” – Marianne Dorman, Living Lent
If we allow, if we dare to be open enough to make prayer an ongoing conversation rather than an occasional obligatory monologue, we find a peace and calming quiet that transcends the noise. It is in our struggles that we are being changed, made new. If we are willing to release our own expectations and to be held in the merciful grace that only God can offer, a divine and lasting transformation begins. Never easy, but we will never be the same again.
“God is offering an invitation. A call to waiting. A call to the mysteries of the cocoon. I discovered in the spiritual life, the long way around is the saving way. It isn’t the quick and easy religion we’re accustomed to. It’s deep and difficult – a way that leads into the vortex of the soul where we touch God’s transformative powers. But we have to be patient. We have to let go and tap into our creative stillness. Most of all, we have to trust that our scarred hearts really do have wings.” – Sue Monk Kidd, When the Heart Waits
Accept the invitation.
“A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.” – Mahatma Gandhi
May the hope, love, mercy, forgiveness, redemption and resurrection of Easter permeate your soul and free your spirit today and every day. Partake in the awe and wonder freely given. Each day offers a new beginning, a fresh start, a second, third and fourth chance.
“The True Self is not our creation, but God’s. It is the self we are in our depths. It is our capacity for divinity and transcendence.” – Sue Monk Kidd
Say YES! to that still, soft, persistent voice calling you to your True Self. Let your light shine brightly, breaking the darkness.
Grace, joy and light – Happy Easter.
“I have become sure that if all I know about God is that my God is the fullness of life and the consummation of hope, the light on the way and the light at the end, then I will live my life in the consciousness of God and goodness everywhere, obscure at times, perhaps, but never wholly lacking.” – Joan Chittister
If left to our own understanding, many days, some people and the crosses that we each bear don’t make any sense. This Holy Week that starts with palms and celebration moves rapidly to betrayal, desertion, denial and unimaginable suffering. Three days later, despair transforms through resurrection. Light overcomes dark. Always.
And through all of our trials, should we dare to have the faith to believe, we discover and capture a peace that passes all understanding.
This week is ultimately about love, without condition in its highest form, showing us the way through the valleys and the mountains. On the cusp of Easter, go deeper, stay longer and find that peace.
“The smallest gesture can mean so much to those who may need a little lift in their lives.” – Gordon B. Hinckley
On our daily walk or run when we are about four houses away from home, Lily turns to Molly with that look in her eye and grabs onto Molly’s collar and leads almost carries her home. Molly gets a bit irritated but goes along with it.
That’s what friends and family do. They come along our side and pick us up by the collar to carry us home. And that’s what we also need to do at times for ourselves. Get out of the funk, pick ourselves up and move on with new eyes and a grateful heart.
Sometimes it’s the accumulation of the daily grind and others are life changing events like divorce or cancer. Life is a mix of transitions, endings, beginnings and through it all growth and transformation if we are open and allow it.
When we get stuck too long in why me, we need to be grabbed by the collar and moved to what’s next carried gently and confidently by faith, family and friends. And, when we are moved out of our own rut, we can be a blessing to others and do some lifting as well. We are not on this journey alone and it’s not about me but rather we. Grab someone by the collar today.