Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transparent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Week III - Day 4 - The Cup of Mercy

Having a conversation with God.
The dialogue with God which begins with the confession one's own failures is not depressing; it is liberating. At last, perhaps even for the first time, we have been honest with ourselves about what we are; and we have been honest with the one Person before whom there is no deception. ~ Emilie Griffin

Yesterday, one of the Wednesday Lunch Bunch commented that it is depressing to think to deeply about herself.  Later, she chuckled as we talked about our "shadow", saying, "I don't bother my shadow and it doesn't bother me."  I wanted to say, "Amen, Sister!" because I have had similar thoughts. There have been days that I continue to write about my flaws in response to Joyce's writing.  Today, Joyce continue to write about her own failings:
"I have discovered that no matter how hard I try, I continue to fail every now and then. I still make mistakes, poor decisions, hasty judgments, and badly chosen comments...The blessing of failure is that it leads me to greater truth if I do not let myself drown in discouragement, regrets, or self-disparagement." (Joyce Rupp, The Cup of Life, p77-78)
I could have written that statement.  In fact, if I looked back through this journal, I think I would find a similar confession. However, I have not acknowledged that my failures lead me to greater truth if...

Moses knew God.
This morning I thought of Moses and the stories of his conversations with God on the mountain.  Exodus gives us an appreciation that not only did God know Moses but Moses "knew" God.  From the scripture accounts we learn Moses had a relationship with God.  Later, in Joshua 1:5 God says, "As I was with Moses, I will be with you [Joshua]; I will never leave you or forsake you."

Last evening I shared with one of the Wednesday Lunch Bunch (WLB) that was what I am seeking.  I want to "know" God but, in order to do this, I need to do some deep soul searching and spend time thinking about shadows and cleansing....the things that can, if I allow them to, depress me!
"The blessing of failure is that it leads me to greater truth if I do not let myself drown in discouragement, regrets, or self-disparagement."
Peter took his eyes off of Jesus...
This may go on a post-it-note and attached to my computer monitor as a daily reminder. Because...when I focus on my "self", I do have a sense of drowning.  When I keep my focus on Jesus, my failures do become blessings that lead me to greater truth...and to the relationship I seek.

Joyce writes: "It is out of our human lives that God reaches us. We expect that these lives would be less wounded, less bumbling, less muddled.  We hope that our lives would have a quality of 'pureness' to them,but God reaches us in the way that God has always reached human beings - through our ordinary, flawed lives." (Ibid)

Then, Joyce brings up the "biggie." The WLB even talked about this yesterday that it could be one of those "stains" that is difficult to remove:
Seeking forgiveness of God and of others.
Offering forgiveness to ourselves.
"No matter what the reason for our failures, we need to eventually move to the place where we forgive ourselves for how we have failed. We also need to ask forgiveness of God and of others if we have harmed them." (Ibid)

I have written before about Rami Shapiro's book, Recovery, the Twelves Steps as Spiritual Practice. "Making Amends" is part of any Twelve Step program.  Over and again in scripture we read about forgiveness.  Joyce says, "...and then we turn with trust to the One who readily and endlessly extends the cup of mercy to us..."

   Breathing in: Held in your mercy...
   Breathing out: ...held in your love. a sign of my
letting go of this failure.

Remember one of the failures of your life.
Write a word for this failure on a small piece of paper.
Place this paper in your cup, symbolic of your self.
Hold the cup in your hands.
Notice any emotions you have as you hold the failure.
Speak to God about your thoughts and emotions.
Ask to receive God's understanding and mercy.
Listen quietly to God's response.
Then take out the piece of paper and tear it to shreds as a sign of your letting go of this failure.
In your love, remember me...

Scripture: Psalm 25
Be mindful of your mercy...
and of your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old (Ps 25:6) Remember Me - Psalm 25

One failure I still need to forgive myself for is...
What do you think and feel about your failures? Have you changed because of them? If so, how?
God of mercy...

God of is healing to write what I perceive as "my failure" on paper and then offering it to you to hold...and then tearing it to shreds. It reminds me of the time I wrote something in sand, prayed...and then wiped it away...gone.

Forgive me for being so hard on myself.  I am gaining a greater understanding by either ignoring those things about myself that discourage me...or by beating myself up with my faults and my failures....I am in essence saying that I do not trust your mercy, your graciousness, or your forgiveness.

I have changed because of my failures!  I have learned from my failures! Praise God!

God of mercy, continue teaching me.  Help me to feel safe, to trust both you and myself, enough to face those things...those failures...that keep me from being honest with myself and with you.  You already know these things about me, and yet you continue to love me.  Joyce reminds me that you reach out to us, to me, out of my ordinary life. Help me to keep my focus on you as I continue this Lenten Journey of The Cup of Life. Help me to let go of my "self" so that I might be present with you.

A wise Zen teaching says, "...To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things.To be enlightened by all things is to remove the barriers between oneself and others." —Zen Master Dogen [1200-1253] "Remove the barriers between oneself and others..."
God embracing me...

Wellspring of Mercy, you welcome me home.
You understand my human failings.
You embrace me in my incompleteness.
You help me move on from failures and defeat.
How good and gracious is your kindness to me.

Today, Joyce asks that I greet myself mercifully at least once today!

I can do this...with God's help!  AMEN!

Many Blessings ~ Sandi

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