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, May 9, 2011

The Introduction of a Tree Full of Angels - II

Scottish Historian
1795 - 1881
"Wonder is the basis of worship." ~ Thomas Carlyle

I have referred to her as a Sister of Spirit, sometimes I wonder if she is a Soul Sister. This morning I was greeted by several videos from Youtube and many short reflections on this book.  The last video she acknowledged is "not my style" yet she thought it so fitting with this book.  I logged on, and she was right, but then I discovered the same song by Reba McEntire. I do Reba. A Sky Full of Angels and this is a fun way to begin a Monday morning!

Last week I journaled about the first part of Macrina's introduction.  I decided I had all my head and heart could hold; especially with the images/thoughts of "the altar of daily life" and "living under the eye of God".  I have wondered how I can possibly walk this path, but then I continue reading and Macrina shares that my heart can be fed...with "crumbs".  Oh do I wish I knew how to draw within a blog!

But, to back up just a bit...

Macrina writes that there are two things that I must embrace to find God's saving grace.
"Crumbs" can bless and feed
me if I am "present"
  1. Embrace/Recognize that there is an "ache" within my heart for God.  Macrina believes that this ache resides within every heart. (I might use the word "emptiness"...which could also produce an "ache."
  2. That I have a "gift"; a gift of my frailty and my splendor, to bring to this ache. 
Macrina says the "ache" in my heart must be fed AND that "crumbs" are sufficient.  She describes these crumbs as:
"...those small things that the world would toss aside, seeing little value in them. However, to the one who lives under the eye of God, they are far from valueless...the person who has learned to see with inner eyes there are no leftovers.  Everything in life can be nourishing.  Everything can bless us, but I have got to be there for the blessing to occur. Being present with quality is a decision we are invited to make each day." (Macrina Wiederkehr, A Tree Full of Angels, p xiii)
Clutter = Knotted Thoughts
 Being present...Joyce Rupp, and other teachers, continue to talk to me about the challenge of "busyness", of all the distractions - the clutter that work to keep me from being present the sacred that is around me every day.  I have referred to these things as "demons" within me that are just as powerful as the demons I read about in scripture.  Loosening the grip, the influence, of these demons on my heart is a never ending is not easy. Yet, making this decision and doing my best to feed my soul in order to accomplish this, is a kind of salvation.  Macrina writes that it can save me from many kinds of death:
"...the death of apathy and mediocrity, the death of carelessness, the death of boredom, the death of selfishness, the death of meaningless.  There is nothing so healing in all the world as real presence. Our real presence can feed the ache for God in others." (Ibid)
 I never thought of being present as healing...hummm.  Although I speak of "God's healing presence."...

Fields to plant, children to feed, house to clean, yard to mow
I became so busy I was missing the wonder, the crumbs...
Thinking in terms of the ache, that Macrina says is in my heart, I can see that being present to the one who created me, the one who holds all I see and have...being present to that being would be healing.  I can remember that ache when I went to college.  I began walking across campus to attend University Presbyterian Church.  I was so amazed to discover worship I had not experienced as a teen.  Feelings similar to ones I had experienced at church camp, once again surfaced in my heart. But then...I became so caught up in "doing" as a young adult, that I ignored the "ache"...kind of.  I remember listening to Christian radio, following Bible teachers like Jay Vernon McGee, Praise Gathering...searching for something but I wasn't sure what that something was...

Presence.  Healing Presence.
"This is a book about seeing and harvesting. Seeing the holy in the ordinary! Harvesting angels out of crumbs! Spending your days in the fast lane of life impairs the quality of your seeing...You live in a world of theophanies. Holiness comes wrapped in the ordinary. There are burning bushes all around you. Every tree is full of angels. Hidden beauty is waiting in every crumb." (Ibid)
My yard is FULL of these crumbs, how many have
I stopped to notice? REALLY notice in order to be fed?

Wow...she continues...
"Life wants to lead you from crumbs to angels, but this can happen only if you are willing to unwrap the ordinary by staying with it long enough to harvest its treasure." 
Just in case I miss her point, Macrina offers me some wonderful examples:

If this is true, I hope they are
not the SAME mistakes!

  • a spider web, wearing the mourning's dew
  • a mistake, reflected upon and learned from
  • reconciliation after a quarrel
  • an autumn tree letting go of her leaves
  • a spring tree putting leaves on again
  • a wound, embraced and understood.
"The question remains. Will I be there? Will I be there with my eyes open? Will I unwrap the gift of the ordinary? Will I gather up the crumbs? Will I harvest the angels hidden in those crumbs?" (Wiederkehr, p xiv)

"Glory" reflected from simple glass beads.
One of the learnings from my last car accident was that each day is a gift for me to unwrap AND that it is my choice as to if and how I unwrap that gift.  I have shared that with others so many times!  Now, Macrina is giving me back my words.  She is reminding me of the learning I gained from that terrible experience....blessings that came from pain and tears.

"The incredible gift of the ordinary! Glory comes streaming from the table of daily life. Will I be there to catch the rays or will I remain blind to the holy because I am too busy to see? Am I too busy with my own agenda to let God's agenda bless me?" (Ibid)

This is how it is with blessings,
they just keep going, and going....
Macrina tells me that one of the treasurers she is intent on helping me harvest is the seed of my own goodness, my possibility for splendor.  I never thought of "me" having a possibility for splendor.  I don't think I have ever thought of "me" and "splendor" in the same sentence! What strikes me next is Macrina's thinking back to blessings, to "confirmations" of her writing this book and how she asked a blessing on the contents from the author of an old book, a Jesuit by the name of Raoul Plus.  She writes that we ought not take "experiences" (I think she might have said "coincidences"). She tells how Raoul Plus blessed her and in turn, so am I. That is how it is...I can make a difference in this world..."I" can change this world by being present.  When I am present and receiving the blessings of the crumbs that are all around me, I in turn then pass that blessing on...
Faith and Courage = Trust
"This brings me to the heart of this book, which is trusting the God who speaks to us (me) in our experiences at every moment." (Ibid)
There is that word again! TRUST!

Macrina shares that from childhood she has had an insatiable desire to know, yet she did not automatically believe everything she was taught.  WHOA! Does this remind you of Thomas from scripture? "I asked questions, though more often in the depths of my soul than aloud. My desire for knowledge and my yearning for the truth encouraged me to spend lots of time with my soul." (Wiederkehr, p xv)

Eugene Peterson and Jesus
Eugene Peterson, one of my favorite teachers has written a great book, "Eat This Book - a conversation in spiritual reading"

“‘Son of man, eat this book that I am giving you. Make a full meal of it!’ So I ate it. It tasted so good—just like honey,” Ezekiel 3:1-15.

I want to also hold Peterson's wisdom in my hand as I hold this book of Macrina's.  There are so many thoughts and unless I read slowly, chewing on the ideas and images...the memories that come to mind, I will have done nothing more than "read" a book.

I was on vacation during the last week of April.  I wish I had kept track of the number of times someone asked, "So, what did you DO on your vacation?"  Our culture expects me to "DO" something with nearly every minute of my day.  Studying the underneath side of a dandelion would be seen as a hopeless waste of time by many.  Someone asked me recently why it is "we", as a culture seem to judge things negatively so much. I don't know, in so many ways society is negative, we look for the bad instead of building up the positive.

This "critical" eye of expectations
 I couldn't help but smile when I found this cartoon. It is a political statement, but when I ignore that, I can see some truth that is helpful for me to remember. Think about it, San...think how the "critical/judgmental" eye of "expectations" is very different than living under the eye of God. 

"DOG" backwards is "GOD" : )
Many times, I would sit and talk to my beloved Riley...I told people that I thought he had God's eyes.  His eyes always were listening.  His eyes were attentive, watching my face as I shared. His eyes were always loving, never judgmental. 

I miss that big guy so much....In many ways Riley was a reminder for me to notice the Angels in the notice the holy in the ordinary.  While there was nothing ordinary about my dirty and smelly rotty...he was "just" a ordinary dog who blessed my life every time I stopped to notice.
"You are a dwelling place for the Source of All Life. You are an offspring of the One who said, 'I Am who I Am.' If the One who gave you birth lives within you, surely you can find some resources there in your sacred Center. An expert lives within you. An expert breathes out of you. Are you able to be still enough to become intimate with the One who lives within?...Frail dust, remember, you are splendor!" (Wiederkehr, p xvi)
God, with your Spirit's help, I am not going to hurry through this book.  I am not setting any expectation of time. Lord, help me to savor the words and the insights so that I might discover you all around me...and within me. Help me remember I am living under your eye...which is loving, accepting, encouraging, and supportive. AMEN.

Another song my Soul Sister blessed me with this morning. The video she sent was doing funny things on my computer, so I have included a different one...that I think speaks so well of noticing the ordinary...and discovering the holy.  Watch for the hungry baby bird...God, let that be me...hungry for your Word! : )

Many Blessings ~ Sandi

1 comment:

  1. Now you can know the true God.The woman of Revelation 12 is now here… God is very precise: A woman delivers the true word John1:1, Rev 12:5, Rev 12:13 who restores Acts 3:21 all things to the world before Christ’s return. This woman exposes the lies of Satan who has deceived the whole world Rev 12:9. This woman creates a new thing in the earth by fulfilling God's promise to Eve Gen 3:15, Jer 31:22, Isa 14:16. She is meek like unto Moses Num 12:3, she was raised up Acts 3:22 from the Laodicean church that becomes lukewarm because they refused to hear her Rev 3:14-17. She is also bold like Elijah Matt 17:11, her witness alone turns the hearts of the fathers to the children Mal 4:5-6 to prepare a people for the Lords return before the great and dreadful day of the Lord Matt 17:3, Luke 9:30. Moses and Elijah are together with the word Matt 17:3 they all three are in this one woman. Those who will not hear Acts 3:23 the true word of God now delivered to the world free of charge, as a witness, at the heel of time from the wilderness Rev 12:6 will not be allowed inside the walls of God’s coming kingdom from heaven Rev 21. This true word turns the hearts of the fathers to the children of God by giving the truth that not one child of God will be put in a hell fire no matter what their sins. It never entered the heart or mind of God to ever do such a thing Jer 7:31, Jer 19:5. God created evil Isa 45:7 to teach his children the knowledge of good and evil Rom 8:7, Gen 3:22 so that at their resurrection they become a god Matt 22:29-30, Ps 82:6. Prove all things. Be a workman that needeth not to be ashamed. You cannot rightly judge this unless you read all that has been written by this woman first Pro 18:13 check out the bruising of Satan.