Keep up with my posts by e-mail

12/22/20

It Is What It Is

 


A plethora of current issues have prompted the lament of “wanting things to return to normal”. What is normal? What if things do not change? How can expanding one’s perception serve to bring personal peace? And can that peace be contagious?

Life is a series of infinite possibilities balanced by calculated risks. Life is more both/and rather than either/or. Regardless of the reasonings or explanations or arguing one might assign, the facts are… it is what it is. With God’s grace, my response is, “So what? Now what?”

Not, so what? as in arguing against, but, so what? as in how to access attitude and resources to handle effectively and kindly. All conditions were met for whatever happened to happen. Handle each event with grace.  

The word IS, is a perfect-present tense verb, meaning it never changes. Just as now is always this second, so too grace is an ever-present presence. There is an infinite amount of unseen grace floating in the invisible atmosphere to be tapped into by anyone. Grace was there yesterday, even though I may have ignored it and did my own thing. Grace is just as amply there for each tomorrow whether I recognize and utilize or go lightly on. 

Grace always is. 

 A contranym (pronounced konteinm), is a noun that has two opposite meanings. Such as yield meaning to surrender, concede, resign – or yield meaning to harvest, increase, produce. 

No matter the situation - pandemic, trying relationships, burned toast – through the plasticity of grace, let us yield to the circumstances while simultaneously harvesting peace that passes all understanding. 
Through grace, you have an opportunity to be a viable part of Infinite possibilities. 

Slow growth is sustainable. When it dawns on you that you are calm amid chaos, and you do not understand this strange conundrum, realize you have touched the hem of Christ’s garment.

12/8/20

What a Time to be Alive

What a Time to be Alive!?
Look around at all that is going on - pandemic, political unrest, social issues, environmental concerns, storms, depletion, weather changes, an uncertain future - worldwide - cosmic-sized transition. In unrest, we all receive some sort of guidance as to what to do, or not do, or how to do. With this input, we are faced with choices. 

As much as we may not want to admit it, the world situation today is the end-product of our collective choices. As difficult as it may be to see and to understand, all conditions were met for it – whichever it you may be focusing on - to happen or it would not have happened. That statement matches the laws of cause and effect, attraction, gravity, and physics from relativity (macro) to quantum (micro). 

Why do I suggest it a great time to be alive? This is fertile ground to develop empathy, show love, and to help heal a hurting world. Not only are we all in this together now, but we have been in it together from the beginning of time. Whether from history, Holy Scriptures, fables, or fairy tales, it has always been we, us, they, them, and our, knowing and not knowing. 

Only now, we know that we do not know. 

It is a great time to live in the mystery of faith. To survive – nay to thrive – by embracing learning and growing. My daughter shared that in reading a book on the Holocaust, she found deep compassion for those suffering such atrocities and separation, and great admiration of their faith and courage, while finding resolve and strength to face current situations. Makes you think doesn’t it.

 “When we cannot change a situation, we are challenged to change our self.” Viktor Frank

It is a great time to go deep and find peace regardless of upheaval. To embrace challenge irrespective of seeming insurmountable odds. Witness your pain and extend caring brings relief and lightens the load. In being together, please do so with cooperation, and with the absence of reward or punishment. It is a great time to choose not to be offended. When someone offends you, connect with them. When you offend someone, connect with them. 

Bottom line, you are responsible for reconnecting from either side of the offense. Seek to understand and clarify. If needed, agree to disagree while remaining connected. Always esteem your self and others.

Fr. Richard Rohr of the Center for Action and Meditation recently did a series on Order, Disorder and Reorder. I share my understanding of his three-week series. 

Order: Everyone is born into a family or community that becomes a container of culture, values, tradition, custom, family loyalties, authority, boundaries, and morality. While not perfect, these avenues gave security, predictability, impulse control, and ego structure need before going out into the chaos of real life. The healthier the nurturing stage, the more one grows up naturally and receive freedom to be accepting of others. 

Disorder: Nothing stays fixed. Life is about constant disruptions. Earthly illusions of “happily ever after” show themselves. Humanity tends to do things their own way, whether in being true to self or in rebellion. Hurt people hurt people. 

Reorder: Acceptance. One cannot effectively deal with what has happened or is happening if one does not accept the situation for what it is. Acceptance allows freedom to consider probabilities from another point of view. There may be more than one way to skin a catfish. Acceptance takes the facts as they are – not as I think they should be. Acceptance releases creativity that is life-giving and sustainable. Whole people heal people. Acceptance is wholeness amid brokenness. 

In my own life I find that knowledge is not the problem. Action is. Spirit is. Compassion is. May the following confession strike accord that resonates in our being and inspires us to graciously respond. Together let us come to a moral conclusion for the good of the whole. 

"Gracious God, our sins are too heavy to carry, too real to hide, and too deep to undo. Forgive what our lips tremble to name, what our hearts can no longer bear, and what has become for us a consuming fire of judgment. Set us free from a past that we cannot change, open to us a future in which we can be changed and grant us grace to grow more and more in your likeness and image. Aman." Quoted by Brian McLaren, Finding Our Way Again, Chapter 11, Communal Practices

11/27/20

Random Acts of Faith

There is universal encouragement to perform Random Acts of Kindness. Do something nice for someone that is unexpected and unplanned. Make their day. Or at least add a little joy. 

I suggest we also incorporate random acts of faith. As in trusting that your child does respect you. Believing that your life choices were based on good reasoning. Imagining that ‘we the people’ are getting it (kindness, love, appreciation of differences). 

Civil Rights leader, John Lewis, said the question he was asked the most is, “How did you do it? How were you peaceful and kind in the face of so much violence?” 

John Lewis’s reply? “Faith. Faith has power. It often does not become meaningful until it is tested by a challenge that we may not survive. It is then that we experience how transformative our capacity to believe truly is.” 

Do you want a transformed life? Practice random acts of faith. When stripped down to the core, life becomes simple. Things that did matter, matter less and things that do matter, matter more.

When looking for corrective measures, it benefits us to look first at self. 

There was friction between me and a co-worker. She said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to do that.” 

My response was a perfunctory, “Okay”. 

As I walked away, I noticed my critical  thoughts – “if she had only listened, she doesn’t care”. I was placing blame, not letting my okay really be okay. I was not holding her in high regard. 

I turned back to her and said, “You know what. I’m going to believe you. I believe you didn't mean any harm.”

I chose to believe she truly was sorry for her actions and that she did not intend the error.

In a small way I experienced the power of transformative faith. It enabled room for both of us to grow. It allowed me to respond kindly. Overtime I developed a Trifecta of Faith that proves itself over and over. 

Desire + Belief + Awareness = Faith.

Faith is looking forward to something that has not happened yet. And yes, you do have faith. (Have you ever bought a lottery ticket?) Holy Scripture says everyone has been given a ‘measure of faith’. A measure. How much is a measure? Enough. 

Everybody has enough faith to listen to their wisdom heart. You have heard it. It is the guidance that directs you to do the right thing. The gentle voice that does not yell, does not condemn, and does not lead astray. 

Desire + Belief + Awareness = Faith. 

Search your wisdom heart to see who you truly desire to be. Lock into belief that as God planted that desire within you, you can be it. Become aware of hints that the faith seed is growing. Recognize that all encounters are a two-way street. What will you receive from another and what will you leave behind? We mirror each other. Somewhere inside us is their pain. Equally true, somewhere inside us is their joy and their competency. Love yourself and touch everyone with random faith

“Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.” E. B. White 

DON’T COPE. OVERCOME. We can never be certain of absolutes. Perception is what we think we see. To us that perception becomes a reality, only it may not be real. Often it is more assumption than viewpoint. Find your true north. In driving, you set your GPS for where you want to go, then follow the directions as they become available. So too by faith. Live by compass, more than a roadmap.