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

Monday, April 11, 2011

Week IV - Day 4 - The Unmendable Cup

A Doubter's Dictionary
The unexpected surprises of writing this Lenten journal just keep coming my way.  This morning, I have received two gifts, one a quote by Frederick Buechner from "Whistling in the Dark."

“Whenever you find tears in your eyes, especially unexpected tears, it is well to pay the closest attention. They are not only telling the secret of who you are, but more often than not of the mystery of where you have come from and are summoning you to where you should go next.”
The second, I am still not sure about.  It comes from a group called Lifehouse. Wikipedia says they are an alternative band from the west coast but other than that, I don't know anything about them, except...I find the words to the songs I have listened to be haunting.

Joyce begins today's lesson saying, "Sometimes there are parts of our lives that are unmendable. Like the old Humpty Dumpty rhyme, we cannot always put the pieces of our life back together again, at least not in the same way that they were before. " (Joyce Rupp, The Cup of Life, p 99)

I did not want to continue reading.  I am an idealist who wants to believe "I" can fix whatever is broken if I only work hard enough or do the right thing. Yet, the situations that Joyce lists...
Brokenness that cannot be restored.
closed institutions, lost jobs, shattered relationships, loved ones who have died, dreams never brought to birth, and permanent bodily changes from disease, aging, or accidents
  are all situations that cannot be restored.

Still, Joyce says, Although we may not be able to put the old pieces of a situation, event, or experience back together again, we can still mend our spirits. (Ibid)

The Serenity Prayer expresses the vital truth that we need wisdom to know when something is unmendable and when we can "know" this, we can begin to heal.  Old hurts, heartaches, memories, destructive behavior and any other deep wound doe not have to break us apart forever.

I have journaled several times in the past few weeks of finding a new inner strength.  It is not for the fainthearted to step forward toward wholeness...because some times those steps mean leaving someone or something behind or to take action to put pieces back together again...accepting my responsibility within the brokenness. But then there are other times when our woundedness comes from situations that CANNOT be mended. Joyce says,
"...there comes a time when we have to cease our attempts to put those pieces of our life together. The healing of our spirit will come when we let go of the past, stop trying to have things be as they used to be, get on with our lives, and tend to what is before us." (Rupp, p 100)
The Twelve Step Program has a step of making an "inventory" of your life.  Joyce uses that same idea today, suggesting that today can be a day to take an inventory of my life to see if there are any fragments that cannot be mended and, if so, to give them my good-bye.

Looking at this image I thought how saying good-bye is a little like the Yes/No.  Saying good-bye allows me to say hello to something new.

Breathing in: Let the past be...
Breathing out: ...let the past be.

Ponder the cup as it lays on its side before you.
Is there anything in your life that seems unable to "rise-up."
Think about the possibility of it not being mendable.
Are you at peace with letting go of it?
Ask God for what you need in order to be healed.
Pick up the cup and hold it, upright, in your hands.
Ask God to give you wisdom and courage to let go of any old pain and difficulties that keep you in bondage.
Behold, I am doing a new thing!

Scripture: Isaiah 43:14-21
Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

Pieces of my life that I cannot "fix" and need to leave behind me are...

Write a dialogue with a part of your "broken" past.

Dear God, please grant me wisdom to know...

Dear God, so many situations have filled my heart as I have written, read, and listened to the various videos, thoughts, insights that  have come my way this morning.  Expectations that have not been fulfilled within relationships.  Expectations of myself.  Expectations of institutions and organizations.


I found this funny little bird that actually holds a lot of truth, that I do not want to consider.

God, yesterday was a grand example of "my" expectations of myself, being unrealistic.  I constantly compare myself to women my own age and think, "If they can do this, then I SHOULD be able to do this!"  I really get discouraged with myself when women who are ten years older than I manage to do things that are difficult for me physically.  My spirit is willing....but this broken body of mine has limitations that I find difficult to accept.

Lord, yesterday I preached on the miracle of Lazarus' resurrection.  I preached that the miracle we ask for, does not always appear as we hope, yet...within all circumstances resurrection can occur and you can be glorified.

Help me to walk the talk.  Help me to accept that which I cannot change and to live fully within the gift of this day....not looking back....not looking forward....just being present in the moments I have now.

Help me to let go of expectations I have had of myself lately and to relax within the gifts of relationships...that my worrying about my next steps have made difficult.

Lord, help me to forgive myself...

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. ~ The Serenity Prayer

Today: Joyce asks that,  I will let go of one of the pieces of my past that cannot be mended.

The Wednesday Lunch Bunch has spent time reflecting on "Wisdom" within Joyce's book being referred to as "she".  I have explained that Wisdom/ seen by many as the "female" side of God.  This morning, I thought others might have wondered about the "SHE" pronoun.

Lady Wisdom calls out to us...

In the Book of Proverbs, Wisdom is a woman.  “The Lord created me at the beginning of his work,” she says (Proverbs 8:22).  She was there when he made the heaven, the sea, the earth.  It was as if he needed a woman’s imagination to help him make them, a woman’s eye to tell him if he’d made them right, a woman’s spirit to measure their beauty by.  “I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always,” she says (Proverbs 8:30), as if it was her joy in what he was creating that made creation bearable, and that’s why he created her first.

Wisdom is a matter not only of the mind but of the intuition and heart, like a woman’s wisdom.  It is born out of suffering as a woman bears a child.  It shows a way through the darkness the way a woman stands at the window holding a lamp.  “Her ways are ways of pleasantness,” says Solomon, then adding, just in case there should be any lingering question as to her gender, “and all her paths are peace” (Proverbs 3:17).

Prayers and blessings that your day holds a moment when you sense the presence of God, that you have a moment of Divine focus, and that you know peace within this journey.

Many Blessings ~ Sandi

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