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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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.

 

Powerful Beyond Measure

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.

Marianne Williamson

“…powerful beyond measure…”

Do we even begin to understand that power? Or perhaps most crucially, do we accept that power? I have come to the both sad and freeing realization recently that I have run from, hidden from, and feared my personal power. God, how I have feared that power. And that has had a profound impact upon my life.

Why do we flee so from being the powerful, luminous beings we are meant to be? A multitude of reasons, of course, and there is no single one that holds true for each of us. Our collective flight is borne of individual experience, however universal many of those experiences may be. And often, we find ourselves in cultures or systems that not only do not support discovery and expression of self and personal empowerment, they actively work against it.

Still, for however I may have known that dynamic in my life, I find myself confronted with the uncomfortable reality that my power has been more threatening to me than it has been to anyone else. Threatening to my need to fit in, be accepted, be loved, get along, not create difficulties in relationships that already balance on the most sensitive of fulcrums.

Every year seems to bring a fuller understanding, experience, and function within my personal power, within my Light. Great changes in my life have occurred as a result, and I’ve every expectation that more change is yet to come. Some changes have been or may be destabilizing, but all outcomes lead to life and growth, and I have peace in that knowledge.

Embracing this power, my natural tendency is to feel softly impatient to see what my life might look like three months or a year or three years from now. I’m always so anxious to get on with the journey. But also in embracing this power, I am challenging and reminding myself to live in this moment, this now, this today. This day and where I am in it is enough for this day.