“Love is perhaps what’s left of us when we are no longer all the things we’d primped and planned.”― Heather Lanier, Raising a Rare Girl: A Memoir
“Hope is not about proving anything. It’s about choosing to believe this one thing, that love is bigger than any grim, bleak shit anyone can throw at us.”― Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith
Love, hope, joy are actions, verbs, daily decisions.
A triple threat of power and strength.
Scatter kindness, faith and laughter, unstoppable.
The hem of heaven touching earth through you.
Rejoice and be glad in this day and your place in it.
“So be joyful. Use your sense of humor. And laugh with the God who smiles when seeing you, rejoices over your very existence, and takes delight in you, all the days of your life.”― James Martin, Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life
“I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief… For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.” – Wendell Berry
“Bless the poets, the workers for justice, the dancers of ceremony, the singers of heartache, the visionaries, all makers and carriers of fresh meaning—We will all make it through, despite politics and wars, despite failures and misunderstandings. There is only love.”― Joy Harjo, Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings: Poems
Underneath the busy, the noise, the fast, fresh meaning awaits harvest, celebration.
Beyond the past, the future, the momentary struggle, the now awaits attention, rest.
Above, below, all around, the peace of the wild things opens space and creates place to discover, uncover, rediscover love, that always remains whether we see it or not, steep.
Rest in the grace of the world.
“I need a song that will keep sky open in my mind. If I think behind me, I might break. If I think forward, I lose now.”― Joy Harjo, Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings: Poems
“The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react.” – George Bernard Shaw
“Hope was always out ahead of fact, possibility obscured the outlines of reality.”― Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
May hope, faith, peace be yours each day.
Pulling you forward, if but only a few steps.
Lifting to see broader and deeper than circumstances and temporal.
To discover the whole amongst the parts.
To sit with the small, finding beauty and ease in the ordinary.
May this day be extraordinary and may you have the gift of sight to see it.
Thread of hope, faith moving mountains.
“Faith can reclaim deserts as well as move mountains.”― Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
“to follow God does not often mean traveling with certainty about where God will lead us. Rather, following God propels us to be present to the place where we are, for this is the very place where God shows up.”― Jan L. Richardson, Through the Advent Door: Entering a Contemplative Christmas
Hope, joy, bliss, peace and light to you today.
Be a gardener of hope, tilling, weeding, feeding.
Hope of substance, muscle, bone, breath, hollering.
May we know hope, be hope and held by hope, each day.
BLESSING OF HOPE
“So may we know
that is not just
but for this day—
in this moment
that opens to us:
hope not made
but of substance,
hope made of sinew
hope that has breath
and a beating heart,
hope that will not
and be polite,
hope that knows
how to holler
when it is called for,
hope that knows
how to sing
when there seems
hope that raises us
from the dead—
but this day,
“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird, that cannot fly.” Langston Hughes
“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” – Maya Angelou
The triple threat. Hope, prayers and action. Hope to see possibilities beyond circumstances and struggle, to find joy in each day amidst it all and to carry on. Prayers to quiet, invite discernment and resolve to prompt meaningful action. Accepting and changing what needs to be changed in self first and offering the same neighbor and the world.
“If you don’t die of thirst, there are blessings in the desert. You can be pulled into limitlessness, which we all yearn for, or you can do the beauty of minutiae, the scrimshaw of tiny and precise. The sky is your ocean, and the crystal silence will uplift you like great gospel music, or Neil Young.” – Anne Lamott
“We do not need to wait for the Holy Spirit to come: he came on the day of Pentecost. He has never left the church.”— John R.W. Stott
“We must allow the Word of God to confront us, to disturb our security, to undermine our complacency and to overthrow our patterns of thought and behavior.”— John R.W. Stott
I’ve shared many blessing from Kate Bowler because they are honest, raw, real and remind us of our imperfection and beauty at the same time. We are not a multiple-choice question with one answer. We are all-of-the-above and more. An essay filled with contradiction, complexity, light, and deep capacity for joy, often hidden beneath the surface of fickle feelings.
If you get trapped in thoughts of scarcity and that no one understands, God does to be sure. Abundant, overflowing love with no condition or contracts. We get tangled up in our own stuff, missing those who are in need right in front of us. If you are feeling alone, reach out, move out of your own head, help another. We are on this journey together not to win but to walk with each other. Wait up, loop back around, and pick up another to carry on together.
“Bless us when we’re scared about having to face the hard things alone. A blessing for you. God, what if. What if I walk out on this ledge and feel only the taste of my fear? What if I discover that what I carry cannot be shouldered? What if I live too long without that feeling? That I can set this, this, this down. God, fill me with a love that staves off all the darkness. Comfort me when I can’t think another reasonable thought. And if I can’t, I mean, I just can’t feel your nearness, hear you telling me that I am loved, send your armies of do gooders, tuck my name inside their hearts. Give me people who love to hold more than this day can manage. And if you can’t send more than one because more than one would be nice, just send the nearest person to take things out of my hands and into theirs until I know again today that I should never be expected to walk this road alone.” – Kate Bowler
Joy, peace, love to you this day, and each day. Cast light.
“We live in the world when we love it.” – Rabindranath Tagore
“Do not say, ‘It is morning,’ and dismiss it with a name of yesterday. See it for the first time as a newborn child that has no name.” – Rabindranath Tagore
To what and who will you give your time and attention to this day?
The past, the future, the present?
A mix of it all with no particular focus perhaps, no destination.
Each day, a fresh canvas ready to be painted.
A blank page to be written.
Pursue and be pursued.
Lightening up with play, laughter and joy.
The day the Lord has made, rejoice and be glad in it. – Psalm 118:24
A poem, a song, a sunrise to prompt delight, to invite adventure.
Live in the world by loving this day with your time and attention.
A new day.
“The burden of the self is lightened with I laugh at myself.” – Rabindranath Tagore
“There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something better tomorrow.” – Orison Swett Marden
“Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul.” – Dorothy Day
What we fill our minds with, what receive, what permeates our being binds or releases.
Empty to filled, again and again.
To be made new right where you are now.
Nourished and held.
Feed your soul.
Kate Bowler’s podcast Everything Happens kicked off season 8 this week. The introduction and the blessing at the end are poignant, honest and worth sharing as we enter year three of “pandemic” living.
Seek things to feed your soul, shift your mindset and prompt your unfolding, growth and understanding. Go easy on yourself and others. Hope, not shallow optimism. Kindness and light.
“Oh my gosh. Year three. We are going to need some fortifications, some fresh supplies in this time of endless attrition. We are going to need hope, but not shallow optimism. We are going to need courage to live here inside our actual bodies and limitations and relationships, and we are going to need to tell each other the truth. Life is a chronic condition. And if you already know that, first of all, I’m so sorry, that kind of understanding comes at a cost and it doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong. It just means that you’re human, again, today. This is a podcast for all of us who understand that we are more limited than we may have realized. Those of us who are trapped by fragile bodies, commitments, dependance, geography and money and circumstances. For many in the midst of this pandemic, life has shrunk to the size of the room we’re in. Everything is no longer possible. We have to learn how to build a beautiful life inside new limitations. We have to learn how to find hope and courage and beauty by setting aside the promises of self-help gurus and Instagram influencers and making peace with our beautiful, terrible finitude. Because there is no cure for being human, but we are all good medicine.” – Kate Bowler
Blessing for Trying and Stopping
“Here’s a blessing for the courage to try and the wisdom to know when to stop. Blessed are you, faced with the impossible. You do not take your eyes away from what threatens to swallow you whole. You who stare down reality, though your heart quickens. You for whom action comes swiftly as you chart the next step or bulldoze a new path yourself. You know how to turn hope into action and bless you for it. And blessed are you who when you’ve come to the end of what is possible find the courage to live there too, accepting the things that are unchangeable and finding that beauty and meaning and love lives there too. You know what it means to have a life held together by so many loves and so much to lose. Blessed are we who are learning how to hope and how to let go, when to act and when to stop. Balancing the impossibility of so much love and so much to fear together.” – Kate Bowler
“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
“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)