These days are not easy.
Not easy to be
Easier to be confused or worried or angry or sad.
All of which are ok–don’t get me wrong.
Righteous anger, after all
led that Jesus guy to overturn the tables.
Speaking truth to power
and standing with those on the margins
also led to the cross.
Those days were not easy either,
to be peaceful, joyful, grateful.
We humans have a way of making life complicated.
And yet the sun will rise this morning, I am sure.
Babies will laugh and puppies will snuggle.
Mothers and fathers will struggle to feed their kids
and keep them safe in this world.
And I will do my best to stay engaged,
facing what’s what,
but also looking to what can be.
I open myself to God, who is Love.
In the words of Carrie Newcomer (Help in Hard Times, a great song by the way):
“And I believe in something better, and that love’s the final word,
and that there’s still something whole and sacred in this world.”
So my prayer this morning
before the sunrise
is that I may love
into these days and trust
that this is enough.
We need people with hearts wide open,
ready to take in the bad with the good.
We need brave and noble souls
who are able to discern where possibility lies,
who are willing to name the truth for what it is,
and who do the hard thing
with as much compassion as is possible.
The time is here and now.
We cannot wait
for the world to look the way we want it to,
we cannot wait for our vision to win out,
our party to be in power,
our narrative to dominate.
We simply face what is head on,
arms wide open,
living into what we know can be.
We have to face reality
we do the little
and big things
we can do to transform it.
To bring about a world …
Where justice and peace kiss
Where families are free to stay together
Where love prevails
Where honesty is honored
Where diversity flourishes
Where we believe ….
The future is possible.
Our task is to show up
with our hearts – and minds –
On vacation I am a morning person
especially if there is water to been seen
or tall green trees, or even better,
I awake early
no alarm clock save the birds
ready to discover what this day has in store.
Ready for red red local strawberries
Ready for adventure
Ready to be surprised by goodness
and all that the eye can see.
When I was a novice, we participated each week in an intercommunity program with novices from other religious communities–men’s and women’s communities across the entire spectrum. We gathered each week to learn about the various aspects of religious life. When it came time to learn about the vows, the presenter shared unique perspectives present in the Constitutions of each community. That is when I realized that the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace “recognize the value of leisure as contributing to restorating and wholeness.”
Now, of course, this is both common sense and good self care. But we put it in our Constitutions! Not only that, we placed it in the section on the vow of poverty and in the context of work.
In solidarity with our sisters and brothers
we engage in human labor
as a means of service and sustencance.
We recognize the value of leisure
as contributing to restoration and wholeness.
In these ways we come to share
in the creative power of God.
(CSJP Constitution No. 54)
For Apostolic religious women, leisure is not the aim or the goal or the norm, but it is critical, so critical that it enables us to live our vow of poverty and be about the mission of peace with joy, and from a place of wholeness. I write these words a few days into my annual summer vacation, this year a solo adventure to a spot that’s been on my bucket list for years … Prince Edward Island.
Yesterday when I was driving around a part of the Island where one of our CSJP Sisters was born, this view caught my eye and so I pulled over to take this picture:
The perfect juxtaposition of the value of human labor, leisure, and the creative power of God.
Work is the norm, but sometimes we just need to stop and soak in the beauty to remind us that in the end it’s not up to us, but to the creative power of God. And besides, we all need to stop and take some time to just soak in the sheer beauty and wonder of the world God has created, including us!
Things can seem to be spinning out of control these days
From the news cycle to the general frenetic pace of life
(and from meeting upon meeting in my own life)
To the growing inequality, systemic racism, uncivil discourse and general status quo which seems to inch farther away from the benefit of ordinary folks, especially those on the margins who Jesus loved so much.
How do we/I stay centered in the midst of it all?
To do lists, crisis management and holding the powers that be (and each other) accountable, to be sure.
But also kindness?
And looking with eyes of hope for signs of joy?
And slowing down
Yes, slowing down.
Slowing down to keep up.
Morning sunshine beckons:
Sit here a while on the back steps.
Birds singing their hopeful song-
Spring is (maybe) here.?!
In other parts of the world near and far the hope seems farther away. Bombs dropping, visits to the oncologist or a family member in detention. Life.
The birdsong fades as police sirens sing in the distance.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Peace. Hope. Mercy. Love.
Pain and promise, mixed in this thing called life.
And the sun continues to shine.
The birds sing louder.
And I hope.
Once again it’s Easter Sunday. Christians throughout the earth are celebrating … Christ is Risen.
Easter is not just one day, however, to be celebrated and forgotten.
The Church in her wisdom gives us 50 days for the Easter season. Maybe that’s because it’s not easy to wrap our heads (and hearts) around the Easter message.
The promise of Easter.
New life springs forth.
Death and sin do not have the last word.
Love is stronger.
Peace is possible.
The promise (and challenge) of Easter –
Live as Easter People.
Forgive. Love. Make peace. Spread Hope.
It’s Holy Saturday, a fitting time and space for prayer these days, when we often seem to find ourselves in the Holy Saturday moments of our lives. There’s so much suffering in the world, yet even more there is so much love in the world (f we can just remember that!), and here we are called to live into the promise, in between the already but not yet.
This morning I found myself praying with Mary, friend of Jesus. She had stayed with her dear one to the end, through the suffering that she was powerless to stop, even standing at the foot of the cross in witness to love and life. She was there as his body was laid in the tomb, and the stone rolled across its entrance. The others departed then, but as Mathew’s Gospel tells us, she stayed there, unable to leave just yet. Another friend kept her company as they sat together with their memories and grief and uncertainty.
“But Mary Magdalene and the other Mary remained sitting there, facing the tomb”
We too keep her company. We face the tomb. We love, we remember, and we live into the promise of Easter Sunday, even in our Holy Saturday moments.
And so I share with you this video prayer reflection, the fruit of my contemplation this Holy Saturday, as we await the Resurrection. Peace.
I awoke this morning to brilliant orange sunlight breaking through the opening in my curtains right into my eyes.
Good morning sun, I thought. I know there is a book titled Good Night Moon … is there a morning equivalent?
Each and every day, to varying degrees depending on the weather and other sciency factors, the sun rises for everyone, everywhere.
Think about that. This same sun woke your ancestors. This same sun has shed light on good and bad alike since time began. This same sun shines on us and reminds us, to paraphrase L.L. Montgomery’s Anne Shirley, that this very day is a new fresh day without any mistakes.
We tend to focus too much on the mistakes, but the sun invites us just to shine, at least for a moment, before the clouds cast shadows and diffuse the light.
I am praying these days with a little book of meditations on the sayings of John XXIII. I happened upon this saying this morning, entirely appropriate for this train of thought (and heart).
“See everything, overlook a great deal, correct a little.”
The sun, like our loving God, sees it all. We see where the light shines and presume much in the shadows, at least I do. But today my prayer is that I focus on the good, give people the benefit of the doubt, and help shine the light where I can.
There is so much in the world we do not control. Most of it actually, from whether the sun shines or the rain falls to the political and economic forces that impact our lives to pretty much everything in between.
But my friends we can choose …
We can choose how we choose to act in this crazy mixed up world.
We can choose to smile at a stranger, hug a loved one, or hold that unkind thought without speaking it into the world.
We can choose to add our creative energy to the mix, choose to do what we do best, choose to learn something we don’t know.
We can choose to share and to laugh. We can choose to ask the impertinent questions about unjust structures. We can choose to show up where and when it matters.
Each day, a fresh opportunity to choose to live and to love, no matter how messy it all seems.
What is better than that?