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Monday, September 12, 2016

A Potpourri of Thoughts including Pain and Poverty

I don't like to write just for the sake of writing.  And I've been grateful I have not experienced a lot of writer's block.

But there are days when one just has to start writing, and get the juices flowing.  One of my "spiritual mentors", is Henri Nouwen and he talked of this very thing:

"Writing is not just jotting down ideas.  Often we say: 'I don't know what to write.  I have no thoughts worth writing down.'  But much good writing emerges from the process of writing itself.  As we simply sit down in front of a sheet of paper (or computer!) and start to express in words what is on our minds or in our hearts, new ideas emerge, ideas that can surprise us and lead us to inner places we hardly knew were there.  One of the most satisfying aspects of writing is that it can open in us deep wells of hidden treasures that are beautiful for us as well as for others to see."  - Henri Nouwen

In fact, if you are interested in daily inspiration from Henri Nouwen, I'd encourage you to do so!
  Henri Nouwen Daily Meditation

This summer I have had an unwelcome teacher.  The teacher's name is PAIN, and we have not been on friendly terms.   But it has drawn me to a deeper life of prayer, of questioning, of seeking God for strength, and looking for wisdom as I daily help others... in pain.

I've come to the conclusion that while i wholeheartedly dislike my weaknesses, and desire to be strong... and I know I have written about this before... it is in the acceptance of our infirmities, our aging, of accepting what we cannot change, that we come to serenity.

I think this will be the cry to my generation... we are aging, and a lot of us are not doing it well.  I am at the tail end of the Baby Boomers, who have been blessed in many ways.  But we are also an entitled bunch, and have bought and taught the "God of Entitlement Theology" to our children.  

Health and Wealth have high value in our culture.  And even though I fight that in my spirit, I know I practice it, it is part what I know, it is how I have lived.

And I hear the young prophets like Shane Claibourne calling our names, calling us to embrace poverty of spirit, to speak up for justice, to live differently.  We need to turn from building empires and bank accounts to caring for others.

And as I see these words spilling out on the screen I say yes... that is true.  But it is so much easier to write it than to put it into practice.

Sometimes I think embracing my weakness, my fragility causes me to ask these hard questions.  To say, how do I live in a broken world, and how do I truly care for and encourage others whose lives are spinning out of control?  Perhaps that is a little over dramatic, but I do believe so many of us struggle with the achievement of perfection, of the happy life, of feeling wonderful, or having it all.

And if I am a truly a follower of Jesus... and I say I am... is that what life is truly about?  I think of Ghandi who lived in poverty to help others.  And Mother Teresa.  I'm a far cry from that kind of devotion.

When Jesus says to deny ourselves and follow Him... what did he mean?  Somehow I think my poverty of spirit includes weakness and total dependency on the God who created us. We are not in control.  We are not entitled.

With that I can be exceedingly grateful.  This weekend, I just soaked it in.  We spent some time lake-side, and I said to my hubby... I just want to drink it all in.  It was so beautiful.  He quipped that I would be more than sick if I drank the lake... and we had a good laugh.

But to drink in beauty.  It is an antidote to pain.  There is beauty everywhere.  It is free and abundant.  There is beauty in creation, and we live in paradise.  There is beauty in people around me, I see it in a smile, or in a child's laugh.  It brings hope... not in a perfect life, but in the provision of a Creator who cares deeply, knows deeply and loves deeply.  I can rest in that.


1 comment:

Colleen Nestor said...

Thanks for recommending Henri Nouwen. I'm enjoying the daily meditations. Sorry to hear about your struggle with pain. I'm beginning to see my daily aches and pains as a norm as most of my friends over the age of 50 struggle with the aging body. Hope you find some antidotes for this problem. The more stretching, gentle exercise, and periods of rest that I build into the day seems to help me. The meditations also gives me a focus outside of my body consciousness.