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Posts from the ‘Hope’ Category

Be Glad In It

“Be glad of life because it gives you the chance to love, to work, to play, and to look up at the stars.” – Henry Van Dyke

“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” – Psalms 118:24

A new day. A new year. After a few years of making plans to only have them thwarted by an ongoing pandemic, resolutions are hollow and a set up for disappointment. And yet, and yet. Hope keeps calling. Joy demands attention. Light keeps breaking through. Resolutions with commitment and work pull us forward. This will not go on forever. Nothing does and there are no do-overs as hard as we try to change the past. Our response is more important than the circumstances. That’s where our power lies.

In the unmaking and unraveling, we can reclaim, reshape, repurpose the materials and tools we have been given to create something new from what’s already available and in reach. Abundance over scarcity creates options and avenues to follow.

Put your focus, effort and attention on that which you can influence and stop wasting time trying to fix others and waiting for the perfect circumstances that never arrive. Be bold and fierce, present and engaged in this day.

We know all too well that we can’t predict the future. But we can enter this day, give it our best, whatever that is for you right now. Hope. Light. Joy. Today and on the road ahead. Be glad in this day.

“Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty.” – Doris Day

Under Heaven

“All the trees are losing their leaves, and not one of them is worried.” – Donald Miller

“All the trees are losing their leaves, and not one of them is worried.” – Donald Miller

“Time really is a circle; I can see that now. We are trapped between a past we can’t return to and a future that is uncertain. And it takes guts to live here, in the hard space between anticipation and realization.”— No Cure for Being Human: (And Other Truths I Need to Hear) – Kate Bowler

Joy is not an occurrence but a state of mind, a decision, a thread woven through circumstances, a foundation.
Hope is not futile but a necessity, a staple, the main ingredient to surviving difficult days and seasons, a promise that is kept with time and perseverance of daring to continue on without turning back. Grit.
Grace is not understandable but a daily gift from God, an unreasonable, unexplainable, unconditional love.
Peace is a worthy pursuit, attainable and begins within. Start with self, home and then move into the world with your example, map, model. Show the way.
The world is not flat. Go to its edges to broaden your view, deepen your understanding. You will not fall off.
A place, space and season for everything under heaven.
Joy. Hope. Grace. Peace. To You. To All.

“Yes, there’s a right time and way for everything, even though, unfortunately, we miss it for the most part.” – Ecclesiastes 8:6 (MSG)

The Path of Hope

The Instinct of Hope
by John Clare

“Is there another world for this frail dust
To warm with life and be itself again?
Something about me daily speaks there must,
And why should instinct nourish hopes in vain?
’Tis nature’s prophesy that such will be,
And everything seems struggling to explain
The close sealed volume of its mystery.
Time wandering onward keeps its usual pace
As seeming anxious of eternity,
To meet that calm and find a resting place.
E’en the small violet feels a future power
And waits each year renewing blooms to bring,
And surely man is no inferior flower
To die unworthy of a second spring?”

May you carry, cast and walk the path of hope, joy and possibility each day.

Glimpses

“The sun will not rise or set without my notice, and thanks.” – Winslow Homer

“We look at life from the back side of the tapestry. And most of the time, what we see is loose threads, tangled knots and the like. But occasionally, God’s light shines through the tapestry, and we get a glimpse of the larger design with God weaving together the darks and lights of existence.” – John Piper

In the dailyness of living, glimpses of light enter to remind us that beyond our efforts, circumstances and struggles, grace is ever present. In the unknown and mystery, there is an unfolding, becoming and assembling. Beauty in the order and in the mess. A gift to be opened, not figured out.

Beyond the doing, the hustling, the calculations, the planning, the striving, the wrestling, we are held by grace, buoyed, carried. Take the next step, keep going and allow grace in. Pay attention, listen for the whisper, be held.

“There is a design behind the world that we are living in, which is veiled to most of us most of the time, but every once in a while, you catch a glimpse of it.” – Mark Frost

Hope, Sweet Hope

“‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all” – Emily Dickinson

Hope carries, sustains, pushes, pulls, perches, flies, anchors, propels, promises.
It invites and feeds optimism, trust, light, perspective, perseverance and gratitude.
Rooted, instinctual, a resting place.
Never underestimate the power.
Hope, sweet hope.

The Instinct of Hope
by John Clare

“Is there another world for this frail dust
To warm with life and be itself again?
Something about me daily speaks there must,
And why should instinct nourish hopes in vain?
’Tis nature’s prophesy that such will be,
And everything seems struggling to explain
The close sealed volume of its mystery.
Time wandering onward keeps its usual pace
As seeming anxious of eternity,
To meet that calm and find a resting place.
E’en the small violet feels a future power
And waits each year renewing blooms to bring,
And surely man is no inferior flower
To die unworthy of a second spring?”

Steadfast

“The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“We shake with joy, we shake with grief. What a time they have, these two housed as they are in the same body.” – Mary Oliver, Endure

Listen to your thoughts and words, where they lead you. Consternation and complaint are pit of quicksand. Hope and light are the path to contentment, peace and joy amidst the struggles. Stop holding your head under water, claiming others are drowning you. Make the daily decision to rest in gratitude, see the good yourself and others, release worry that only steals our days and never affects the outcome or eases pain that comes and goes with loss and change.

Steadfast, continue the journey anchored in hope, looking for light and ready to shake with joy.

The Gift, Mary Oliver, Felicity

“Be still, my soul, and steadfast
Earth and heaven both are still watching
Though time is draining from the clock
And your walk, that was confident and quick,
has become slow.
So, be slow if you must, but let
the heart still play its true part.
Love still as once you loved, deeply
and without patience. Let God and the world
Know you are grateful.
That the gift has been given.”

Palpable Hope

“No doubt about it: this is the day of the going down into the tomb—our own as well as Jesus’. It is now the time for us to die to false hope. But it is also time for us to die to faithless despair.- Joan Chittister

This week in posts, I am focusing on Holy Week, the road to the cross. I realize that this will not sit well with many and that is alright. This journey is uncomfortable. It is heavier. It is deep. I am wandering through it and searching for its meaning in my own life.

It makes us stop our flurry of activities. It holds up a mirror to show us how we define our life, our being and how we can redefine our life, to be changed and transformed.

It is not about religion. It is about relationship. It is expansive, filled with mystery, unknowing, joy and light. It pulls us out of our own story to see how it fits into the story of humanity.

In struggles and victories, you are not alone, you are worthy and enough. Lighten your load and open up to seeing the hand of God in this moment and all moments. Life changing, hope-filled, luminous.

“Hope, you see is a slippery thing, often confused with certainty, seldom understood as the spiritual discipline that makes us certain of only one thing: in the end, whatever happens will be resolved only by the doing of the will of God, however much we attempt to wrench it to our own ends.

There is the hope that we can begin, finally, to see the world as God sees it and so trust that God is indeed everywhere and in everything at all times—in abstruse as well as the luminous, whether we ourselves can see the hand of God in this moment or not.” — The Liturgical Year by Joan Chittister

Not More of the Same

“Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.” – Henri Nouwen

“Forgiveness is the economy of the heart… forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, the waste of spirits.” – Hannah More

The past year, the past few weeks and yesterday in particular, being positive, hopeful and optimistic feels like a futile pursuit. If we believe that all of humanity is what’s represented on the news and Facebook, it does seem hopeless. The world is disappointing because it’s made up of flawed, broken and imperfect humans. Humans are fundamentally good. Our circumstances, other people and our own thoughts inflict pain that’s carried forward from one generation to the next, continuing the cycle of hatred, self-loathing and scarcity.

We are put here to bear fruit, to be salt and light, to walk peacefully with others not on them. Real, meaningful answers come through difficult conversations, hard work and resilience in the face of obstacles and complexities. If we focus on the destination and accept that the solution doesn’t fit on a bumper sticker, we can get to the hard work that requires authenticity, strength and resilience to stick to it and keep going. Cynicism, hatred, judgment drain our capacity and energy to do the necessary, difficult work grounded in love.

Stop the rhetoric, stop the “they” accusations, stop pouring gasoline on open fires. Start with yourself first before casting stones. Self-awareness leads to empathy, kindness, conversation, forgiveness, compassion, honesty, generosity, accountability, grace, mercy, optimism, hope, understanding and love. Hatred never has and never will be the answer to anything.

The pain in this world is very real. Healing is optional. Choose to be an outlier, a rebel. Dare to be optimistic, hopeful and be light. Enter the world with enthusiasm and resolve to be part of the solution, not the problem. We don’t need more of the same of either side. We need different and more of it. Sow seeds today, cast light.

“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love.” – Francis of Assisi

The Light of Spirit

“Solitude sharpens awareness of small pleasures otherwise lost.” – Kevin Patterson

“Once we’re awake, the struggle is often whether we live in the world of things while glimpsing the light of Spirit or in the light of Spirit while moving through the world of things. It is a practice just to be aware of which is driving us.” – Mark Nepo, Finding Inner Courage

In Minnesota, we take winter seriously. After we accept its inevitable return with a few complaints on the temperature adjustment and icy roads, we proceed to make the most of it by going out into it. I started snowshoeing this year and back at cross country skiing as well. Out in nature, in movement, breathing crisp fresh air. At the local golf course, they groom the trails as well as make snow for a small hill for snowboarding, skiing and sledding. They keep making snow all season to keep the hill in good shape.

When we accept that the only way to the other side of winter or other challenges is straight through it, we can embrace a lightness of Spirit, an ease in being. Each season offers unique gifts. There’s a quietude and solace in winter, preparation time, reflection.

Choose to move through the world awake, aware and grateful. The Spirit is all around and within each one of us ready to be held and to hold.

“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” – Saint Francis de Sales

Always Earned

This afternoon, I received the Marine Corp Marathon shirt and medal for finishing. This year was different, which is an understatement to describe 2020. I registered in March, trained all spring and summer and it was canceled in August.

I trained for months, so I decided to keep going through fall and run it in the Twin Cities in October. I ran it a week early to beat a possible October snow. Sure enough, it snowed the week after I ran it. I was grateful to run in 30 degree sunny weather rather than snow. I’ve taken the past week and a half off to rest up from over six months of training five days a week. I’m getting restless and thinking about the next goal line, the next long run.

I’m not one for medals, but this one is a special one to be sure. It marks an earned effort over months to run 26.2 miles and finish, even if I was not able to run it in Washington DC with the Marines.

This year has been marked by a tremendous amount of uncertainty and angst. And also along side of it, plenty of blessings and self-awareness, even joy if we chose to succumb.

No matter what happens after the election or where this pandemic will lead next, we are bigger, stronger and deeper than our circumstances. Keep rising while also allowing yourself to indulge in generous self-care.

No one knows what will happen next, but we do know the strength and resilience of the human spirit when set free.

Meaningful progress and outcomes – always earned. Hope and grace – always given.

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