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

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Gather Up the Crumbs - I - The Reason We Live So Dimly...

"...everything in your life is a stepping-stone to holiness if only you recognize that you do have within you the grace to be present in each moment." ~ Macrina Wiederkehr


My Soul Sister reminded me that it is the "stuff" of my life that God uses to grow transform me....

Francesca seems to have a smile with
all she writes and sings. 
This Is The Stuff by Francesca Battistelli I couldn't help but smile as I listened to this again this morning.  What a great song. Thank you, Sister!

Macrina hits fairly hard as she begins this third chapter:
"We stand in the midst of nourishment and we starve...In the light of such possibility, what happens? Why do we drag our hearts? Look up our souls? Why do we limp? Why do we straddle the issues? Why do we live so feebly, so dimly? Why aren't we saints?" (Macrina Wiederkehr, A Tree Full of Angels, p 26)
Makes me gasp, but I wonder
if I live like this far to often?
My head immediately responded, "Because I have not seen these possibilities. I am a Child of my World where it is acceptable, even normal to limp along. I am not sure what a Child of God is supposed to look like! I don't know if I've ever seen a Child of God!.................well.....I might have come across a few Child(s) of God but they were not all Christian.....  Now, that is putting myself in a hard spot first thing this Tuesday morning!

Macrina suggests that a common cause that we live so dimly and with divided hearts is that we have never really learned how to be present with quality to God, to self, to others, to experiences and events, to all created things.

No leftovers...
"We have never learned to gather up the crumbs of whatever appears in our path at every moment.We meet all of these lovely gifts only half there. Presence is what we are all starving for. Real presence! We are too busy to be present, too blind to see the nourishment and salvation in the crumbs of life, the experiences of each moment. Yet the secret of daily life is this: THERE ARE NO LEFTOVERS!" (Ibid)
Macrina continues, saying, "There is nothing - no thing, no person, no experience, no thought, no joy or pain - that cannot be harvested and used for nourishment on our journey to God."

This reminds me a lot of Joyce Rupp's thoughts on Disguised Blessings from The Cup of Life.  I never was able to completely brace those thoughts.

"Some of our greatest blessings have been difficult situations, uncomfortable ones we wanted to throw out of our lives as quickly as possible. Sometimes our greatest pain holds a gift for us that is hidden for a long, long time. The blessing is disguised amid the turmoil, confusion, heartache, and struggle. Sometimes we are unable to accept the blessing because we are still too hurt, too angry, too grieved, too overwhelmed, to receive it. It is only much later..." ~ Joyce Rupp, The Cup of Life

Macrina, like Joyce, believes that everything in my life is a stepping-stone to holiness if only I recognize that I have within me the grace to be present to each moment.
"Your presence is an energy that you can choose to give or not give. Every experience, every thought, every word, every person in your life (Sandi) is a part of a larger picture of your growth. That's why I call them crumbs. They are not the whole loaf, but they can be nourishing if you give them your real presence. Let everything energize you (Sandi). Let everything bless you (Sandi). Even your limping can bless you." (Wiederkehr, p 27) 
Remember when I shared a thought of Eugene Peterson's from "Eat This Book"? In this book he talks about watching his dog gnaw and enjoy a bone.  Chewing on it, licking it, holding it between his paws...and he began to wonder what it would be like to read scripture like his dog chewed on and enjoyed a bone.

Here is a great link to listen to Peterson explain the difference between "reading" and "studying".  It was a gift for me to find it since he articulates so well what I have been trying to say to others about Bible "study."  I'm not a big fan of Bible "study"....   (I would love to visit/stay Laity Lodge!)

Anyhow, I have never "read" a book as slowly as I am reading A Tree Full of Angels. Since I am journaling about this book and the thoughts and questions that arise as I takes a long time!  And you know what? That is not how I am normally geared.  It is nothing for me to say, "I've read two books this week." But, if you asked me about those books four weeks later... I would be pressed to tell you what I "read."

This morning, I realized I am doing more than "reading or studying" this book....I am eating this book.  I am chewing on phrases, insights, stories...

This past weekend I participated in leading a Lead Like Jesus One Day Encounter, based on Ken Blanchard's book, Lead Like Jesus. Blanchard talks about there being four domains of leading like Jesus, The Heart, The Head, The Hands, and The Habits. (4-Hers...does this sound familiar?)

Withing The Habits he talks about different spiritual disciplines. There are MANY disciplines AND I am not expected to embrace/do/excel at all the disciplines.  What I want to do is to discover the disciplines that work for me and use them to help me grow deeper in my relationship with myself and with God. Journaling is a spiritual discipline that works for me. And, journaling online helps me to stay faithful, there is an invisible accountability group around me that asks, "Sandi, have you done what feeds your soul?" "Sandi, have you taken time to be present to God?"  If I didn't have to work, I would love to publish a blog
on Spiritual Disciplines and maybe one focused only on journaling... maybe someday...

Michael is a gifted worship leader.
Until then...Lord, Draw Me Near, and I'll Run After You... Michael W Smith

Again....Anyhow, this is going to be a much slower read than I had even anticipated, and that is okay.  God won't ask me how many books I read.  He may ask what I learned from my books, how they helped me seek his face, ....

Many Blessings ~ Sandi

1 comment:

  1. This may be the slowest book I have digested also. I usually inhale my food (literally- food and figuratively - books), and I am enjoying each nourishing bite. Now...if I would do that with the literal food.