No natural feelings are high or low, holy or unholy, in themselves. They are all holy when God’s hand is on the rein. They all go bad when they set up on their own and make themselves into false gods.
C. S. Lewis – The Great Divorce, chapter II
Sometimes – little surprises – are – surprising.
There were a couple of pieces of paper serving as bookmarks in different places in Spiritual Notes to Myself Essential Wisdom for the 21st Century by Hugh Prather.
One ‘bookmark’ was torn from a September 24, 1999 e-mail message about my “Sammon Family in Gwinnett County, Georgia” and I could read only the first part of the message:
“The Elizabeth Sammon I am searching marrie”
“I need HELP to sort this all out, are you my a”
This was between pages 74 and 75 and the following paragraph on page 74 caught my attention:
Turning to our peaceful mind is an unremarkable process. The shift is not accompanied by strong emotion. It’s nice when I experience God’s peace and presence consciously. But if on many occasions I receive it only unconsciously, I don’t want to waste an instant’s thought on that fact. Let me simply continue my spiritual journey and be assured that the light of heaven still shines in me and all about me.
Quotations from those pages:
The reason it isn’t helpful to go around talking about our healings, visions, and other spiritual fireworks is that such conversations tend to be separating and unloving. The little mind gets involved, we start feeling special, and the other person thinks he wasn’t invited to God’s party.
The saints of God dare to be ordinary.
Such a nice surprise between the pages of an inspirational book on this day: Friday, October 22, 2010.
Don’t give “feedback.” Give truth. The fact is that most people really are asking if they are wonderful, and my truth-filled answer is YES! Each of God’s children is cherished and beloved. Even though I know in my heart and prayers that truth doesn’t play favorites, I am dealing with one person at a time.
When I’ve lost all interest in controlling outcomes, I finally will be free to love everyone my mind rests upon.
The discipline of the heart . . . makes us aware that praying is not only listening to but also listening with. The discipline of the heart makes us stand in the presence of God with all we have and are: our fears and anxieties, our guilt and shame, our sexual fantasies, our greed and anger, our joys, successes, aspirations and hopes, our reflections, dreams and mental wandering, and most of all our people, family, friends and enemies, in short, all that makes us who we are. With all this we have to listen to God’s voice and allow God to speak to us in every corner of our being. This is very hard since we are so fearful and insecure that we keep hiding ourselves from God.
We tend to present to God only those parts of ourselves with which we feel relatively comfortable and which we think will evoke a positive response. Thus our prayer becomes very selective and narrow. And not just our prayer but also our self-knowledge, because by behaving as strangers before God we become strangers to ourselves. – Henri J. M. Nouwen – “Spiritual Direction”
None of us escape grief; we were not given an immunity shot for Grief.
Depression. Fear. Physical pain. Mental suffering. Inner darkness. Trapped and hemmed in by grief. Isolation. Inner darkness.
All part and parcel of our humanity.
Job who loved God did not escape this malady – nor do we.
Why is life given to a man whose way is hidden, whom God has hedged in? – Job 3:23
God, in unimaginable love, has taken on our humanity and there IS light. Even when we are enclosed in darkness, there is a way out.
It’s possible I am pushing through solid rock
in flintlike layers, as the ore lies, alone;
I am such a long way in I see no way through,
and no space: everything is close to my face,
and everything close to my face is stone.
I don’t have much knowledge yet in grief–
so this massive darkness makes me small.
You be the master: make yourself fierce, break in: then your great transforming
will happen to me, and my great grief cry will happen to you.
Rainer Maria Rilke
Deborah Smith Douglas writes that “If we can learn to within that mystery [of grief], our own suffering can carry within it what Tolkien called ‘a joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief.’ ”
A Prayer for Discernment
I do not know what to ask you.
You alone know my real needs,
and you love me more
than I even know how to love.
Enable me to discern my true needs
which are hidden from me.
I ask for neither cross nor consolation;
I wait in patience for you.
My heart is open to you.
For your great mercy’s sake,
come to me and help me.
Put your mark on me and heal me,
cast me down and raise me up.
Silently I adore your holy will
and your inscrutable ways.
I offer myself in sacrifice to you
and put all my trust in you.
I desire only to do your will.
Teach me how to pray
and pray in me, yourself.
– Vasily Drosdov Philaret (ca 1780-1867)
There is no script (although God’s Word does give instruction – and it would do me well to spend more time in His Word).
We are all different and I haven’t the foggiest idea of any other person’s innermost self (and what may be really going on in his/her life) and wouldn’t presume to tell anyone what they should be doing or how they should be acting or what their purpose is in life.
God knows I certainly don’t know – really know – another.
I am not that wise.
However, I DO wish to live a life of Worth . . . so I keep plodding along!
No More Leaving
Become like this:
Next time you meet Him in the forest
Or on a crowded city street
There won’t be anymore
God will climb into
You will simply just take
From: ‘The Gift’
Translated by Daniel Ladinsky