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ENLIGHTENED PERSPECTIVE

I’ve learned….
That being kind is more important than being right.
I’ve learned….
That you should never say no to a gift from a child.
I’ve learned ….
That I can always pray for someone when I don’t have the strength to help him/her in some other way.
I’ve learned….
That no matter how serious your life requires you to be, everyone needs a friend to act goofy with.
I’ve learned….
That sometimes all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand.

– source unknown

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keepsake

there are some nights
when the sky turns
the color of friendship
and fades into the crisp
darkness of gratitude

we ate with friends
drank and talked as well
and then walked away
dropping bits of hope
like breadcrumbs

along the sidewalks
and silent porches
finding our way home
to our porch light
our beacon of belonging

summer will come
and winter will follow
and footprints will fade
but not this indelible
wisp of memory

– Milton Brasher-Cunningham at Don’t Eat Alone

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TIRED OF SPEAKING SWEETLY
—Hafiz

Love wants to reach out and manhandle us,
Break all our teacup talk of God.

If you had the courage and
Could give the Beloved His choice, some nights,
He would just drag you around the room
By your hair,
Ripping from your grip all those toys in the world
That bring you no joy.

Love sometimes gets tired of speaking sweetly
And wants to rip to shreds
All your erroneous notions of truth

That make you fight within yourself, dear one,
And with others,

Causing the world to weep
On too many fine days.

God wants to manhandle us,
Lock us inside of a tiny room with Himself
And practice His dropkick.

The Beloved sometimes wants
To do us a great favor:

Hold us upside down
And shake all the nonsense out.

But when we hear
He is in such a “playful drunken mood”
Most everyone I know
Quickly packs their bags and hightails it
Out of town.

(translated by Daniel Ladinsky)

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The Real Richness

This day is quickly passing. Do something rich and fulfilling with it.

This opportunity you have, has no limit. Dare to dream your biggest dreams, right now, for now is when you can live them.

Don’t concern yourself with appearing impressive, or with appearing any other way. Give yourself fully to being authentic, for that is where the real richness is.

Fall fervently in love with all that is now, and all its value will be yours too. Stand in awe of the possibilities, and be carried along with the very best of them.

Fully enjoy the breathtaking wealth of living that this very day is now bringing to you. All the goodness you could ever think to hope for, is ready for you to create.

The real richness of life is in you today. Let it lift you ever higher.

— Ralph Marston

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“We are cups
constantly & quietly being filled.
The trick is,
knowing how to tip ourselves over
& let the beautiful stuff out.”
– Ray Bradbury

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May I become at all times, both now and forever

A protector for those without protection

A guide for those who have lost their way

A ship for those with oceans to cross

A bridge for those with rivers to cross

A sanctuary for those in danger

A lamp for those without light

A place of refuge for those who lack shelter

And a servant to all in need.

– – Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama

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“The secret of beginning a life of deep awareness and sensitivity lies in our willingness to pay attention. Our growth as conscious, awake human beings is marked not so much by grand gestures and visible renunciations as by extending loving attention to the minutest particulars of our lives. Every relationship, every thought, every gesture is blessed with meaning through the wholehearted attention we bring to it. In the complexities of our minds and lives we easily forget the power of attention, yet without attention we live only on the surface of existence. It is just simple attention that allows us truly to listen to the song of a bird, to see deeply the glory of an autumn leaf, to touch the heart of another and be touched. We need to be fully present in order to love a single thing wholeheartedly. We need to be fully awake in this moment if we are to receive and respond to the learning inherent in it.”

– Christina Feldman and Jack Kornfield, Stories of the Spirit, Stories of the Heart

I FOUND THE DOOR UNBARRED

I found the door unbarred
I found my way within
There was a basin there
Placed welcoming, yet dry
An unlit candle stood tall
The light within was dim
Warmed by illumined saints
Precious woods shone and
Ancient stones gleamed coolly
I paced down the aisle
As carvings spoke to me
Of legend, ritual, faith
I knelt there for a moment
And next to me knelt God
Who accepted my foolish words
Alone in that spare place
And as God often does
I found that my small requests
Were blessed and all came true
The large ones… …it could be
God is leaving them for me

– I Found the Door Unbarred posted at Signs, Dreams and Visions

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“A garden is so much like a church. So much care and feeding. Such competitiveness among the plants — some of them literally choke each other to death if you don’t get out there and put a stop to it. The big gorgeous ones get lots of attention, but then one comes along that looks almost dead all season and suddenly, almost overnight, blooms splendidly forth. Never write anybody off completely. You just don’t know.”

– Barbara Cawthorne Crafton in Let Us Bless the Lord, Year One

HOSPITALITY

Hospitality involves welcoming, creating space, listening, paying attention, providing. Meals slow things down. Some of us don’t like that. We like to get things done. But meals force you to be people-oriented instead of task oriented. Sharing a meal is not the only way of building relationships, but it is number one on the list.

It’s possible to remain at a distance from someone in public gatherings – even in a Bible study. Meals bring you close. You see people in situ, in life, as they are. You connect and communicate. Novelist Barbara Kingsolver describes dinnertime as “the cornerstone of our family’s mental health.” “If I had to quantify it,” she says, “I’d say 75 percent of my crucial parenting effort has taken place during or surrounding the time our family convenes for our evening meal.”1

Generous hospitality leads to reconciliation. It expresses forgiveness. Unresolved conflict can’t be ignored when we gather round the meal table: you can’t eat in silence without realizing there’s an issue to address. Paul uses hospitality as a metaphor for reconciliation when he says to the Corinthians: “Make room for us in your hearts. We have wronged no-one.” (2 Corinthians 7:2) Hospitality can be a kind of sacrament of forgiveness.

Marzipan cake. That’s how my friend Chris knew his mother-in-law was reconciled to him. Now every cake she bakes for him is a reaffirmation of her acceptance. It makes the cake doubly sweet. That’s how food so often works. We enjoy food not just because of the taste, but because of the companionship and welcome it expresses. Indeed sometimes we enjoy food despite the taste because of the love in which it’s packaged. “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it.” (Proverbs 15:17)

Many people love the idea of community. But when we eat together we encounter not some theoretical community, but real people with all their problems and quirks. The meal table is an opportunity to give up our proud ideals by which we judge others and accept in their place the real community created by the cross of Christ with all its brokenness. It’s easy to love people in some abstract sense and preach the virtues of love. But we’re called to love the real individuals sat round the table.

– From A Meal With Jesus by Tim Chester