Imprints on a Day – December 13, 2015

On the Reading Table

Faith Unraveled by Rachel Held Evans

The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo

 

Ambient Noise

Sam Smith – In the Lonely Hour

 

Contemplation

Honey of My Failures

Last night, as I was sleeping,

I dreamt – marvelous error! –

That I had a beehive

here inside my heart.

And the golden bees

Were making white combs

and sweet honey

From my old failures.

Antonio Machado

My first name means “honeybee” in Greek, so anything that references bees or honey gets my attention.  And my thought/prayer/musing this morning upon reading this poem is:  May it be so.  God, let it be so. 

No matter how we express it…

          rising from the ashes

          joy comes in the morning

          this, too, shall pass

          hang tough

          why, why, why???

…we must believe something better, something of value, something that makes the sometimes extraordinary pain of life bearable, is coming.  May it be so.  God, let it be so.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Imprints on a Day – November 14, 2015

On the Reading Table

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

 

Ambient Noise

MSNBC

 

Contemplation

As I prayed this morning, all I could come up with was, “Oh God, our world. Our world.” I am so grateful for all of the goodness and beauty that we see in our world, even in the days and weeks that it seems like hate and ugliness are so strong.

I stand with love. I will continue to stand with love…for Paris, for the girl who uses a blanket because she has no coat, for the trafficked person with very little hope, for the family and friends who have lost a young man too soon, for all of us. My heart is heavy, but I stand with love.

Through a Glass Darkly

“For now we see through a glass, darkly…”

1 Corinthians 13:12

 

A year ago, I bought a new SUV.  After a few months, I noticed a plaguing problem:  No matter how much I cleaned the windshield, it seemed to be covered by a persistent, dull film.  While a little annoying, it wasn’t too much of an issue other than when the bright sun or oncoming headlights caught it directly.  And then it was a huge problem, with the combined haze and light creating a great glare that momentarily blinded me.

I repeatedly tried to clean the windshield.  I drove the vehicle through the heavy-duty carwash.  I used the gas station soapy wash and foam/squeegee tool, meticulously dragging it in very neat rows across the dirty surface.  I used my wipers and windshield fluid constantly.  I had marginal success with each, but the view through the glass always remained hazy and frustrating.

Last month, I took a long road trip in pursuit of a time of retreat and reflection.  Having been in a time of deep questioning, as I left my driveway, I breathed a fervent prayer seeking clarity during my week away.

A few hours into the trip, I noticed a small spot on my windshield, just exactly at eye level, and it appeared to be on the inside.  I touched my finger to my tongue and reached to the glass to wipe it away.  And when I did, I removed more than the small blot that had caught my notice.  Everywhere I had touched with my finger was suddenly crystal clear.  I licked my finger again and tried the same scrubbing motion a few inches away.  Same result…perfectly clear and a marked difference between the two areas I’d just touched and the rest of the windshield.

The haze had been on the inside of the windshield the entire time.  All my efforts to clean externally had been for naught.  I had never even considered that the murkiness that was preventing my ability to see clearly might be an interior issue!  No matter how much effort I’d put toward solving what I believed to be an exterior issue, it was useless.  Because my problem had been on the inside all along.

I burst into laughter!  I had asked for clarity, and I had received it.  The lesson was so apparent and so important.  How often do I think a problem or difficulty has only an external cause or an external solution?  How often do I find that the answer lies within, not without?  Is it not so true that rather than blaming outside circumstances or other people, rather than attempting to clean anyone else’s outside, the place I must start and the one I must always examine is myself?  Haven’t I experienced time and again that it is a change in my internal perspective, not a change in outward circumstance, that brings resolution or peace or answers?

And how sobering to consider the countless times that light has been given to me, but my internal cloudiness caused me to be blinded rather than made to see.

My windshield is clean now.  And I’m committed to remembering that real wisdom always knows to clean the inside first.