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 10, 2011

Little - Great - One, Come Home - I

The first thing we often do when
gathering is to fill out a name tag.
Words have meaning and names have power.  ~Author Unknown
"A name is a precious gift. It is something to be lived into. It is someone to come home to. Your (My) name is filled with the power of you (me)...Being able to name the ache in your life gives you power over that ache. Being able to name a fear in your life gives you power over the fear. Claiming and naming is part of life's experience." (Macrina Wiederkehr, A Tree Full of Angels, p 1)
When my daughters have waited for a child to be born, they like many of us thought and thought about names.  One pregnancy a name was chosen that I really disliked. I stayed quiet, until my daughter asked, "Mom, you aren't crazy about this name are you?"

When asked....

Another name was chosen that, while I wasn't crazy about it, at least it was better than the first choice! But, you know what? All the things that came to mind when I thought of this name have changed. I hear this name, and all I see in my heart is a precious child's face, and I love him more than life itself.  This adorable little boy has given new meaning to his name.  As he continues to grow, I know this name will become "his" more and more. At this point, for me, his name has already become "him."

Names do have power, and names are important. If we did not believe that, there would not be as much effort put into naming anything, whether it be a child, a dog, a new business, a blog site....

Macrina is a member of St. Scholastica Monastery, her birth name was Martha Ann, she became Macrina when she became a new person...a nun.  Macrina shares that she asked a friend about the meaning of her name in Greek.  He did not have much luck, except that he gave her exactly what she needed.
"He thought the first part of the name mean great; and ina being a term of endearment, he came up with Little-Great-One. As I read those words...something clicked inside me. Like a flash of lighting it came to me: That's everybody's name! That's the answer to our lost identity. We are:" (Wiederkehr, p 2)
Macrina then gives me several examples from scripture where terms or objects have been used to "name" people:
Zephaniah 3:12-20  ...God's anawim of the Old Testament which means "poor ones" who were faithful to God. In this passage I am GUESSING that it must be the same as Daughter of Zion14 Sing, Daughter Zion; shout aloud, Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, Daughter Jerusalem15 The LORD has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy.

Hosea 11:3-5  ...the beloved, enfolded one of the book of Hosea
Isaiah 54:11-12 ... poor storm-tossed creatures, yet precious stones. 
Matthew 5:1-11  ...the poor little blessed ones of the Beatitudes.
2 Corinthians 4:7 ...earthenware jars filled with a treasure.
2 Corinthians 6:10 ...those who have nothing, yet possess everything.
I, all of us, are the "poor ones" when we think in terms of God.  God is everything, and we are only dust.  YET, as Macrina reminds me, there is a second part of my name.  Yes, "Little" may be the first name, but it is followed by "Great"

Littleness and Greatness.  The two do not go together in my mind, yet the tiny ant comes to mind and the strength within that small creature.  The dandelion seeds I blew into the air yesterday, those tiny seeds have been able to outsmart many a herbicide.

As Macrina reflected on the Little and Great, she remembered Wiederkehr means to return again.
"In an instant my heart became full of prayer. It was as though God started praying within me, 'Little-Great-One', come home." (Ibid)
Remember Dorothy, and no matter the friends she made or the adventures she had, she wanted to go home.
"Home! Come home! Does not this ache that refuses to leave our hearts want to remind us that we are not yet home? What gifts do we possess to help us on this homeward journey except our littleness and our greatness, our frailty and our splendor, our poverty and our wealth  our new name, lived out. Little-Great-One, come home. (Ibid)
I often find precious children for these kind of insights, "Be
patient, God is not finished with me." BUT, I am just as precious
in the eyes of God as this small child is precious in my eyes.
"Home" is that place where my name becomes precious, the place where my name finds its power. I have been blessed to come from a wonderful home with the best parents a girl could ever ask for. My name, "Sandra" was common in the 1940-1950.  There were two in my SMALL grade school class of 20+ and at least one in every class ahead of me and behind me! "Sandras" were a dime a dozen, yet, within my home, I became precious and I did have power because that is where "this Sandra" was loved and accepted.  It was in this place that I did not have to try to be something or someone I was not, in order to be loved.  If I can say this about my earthly home and my earthly parents, how much more will this be true of my heavenly home?
"The call from God is to come home, to embrace both our littleness and our greatness and come home. Come home to our families, our friends, our church, our selves, our God." (Wiederkehr, p 3)
I am not sure if Macrina is referring to families, friends, church in a broad term or personal, but what really strikes me in that sentence is "God is calling me to come home to MY SELF. She continues, asking me where I have felt at home and if I have ever really felt at home.  She asks if I have ever felt like running away from home and if I have ever heard the call to come back home.

Wow..... What does it mean to "feel at home"?  It means to feel safe, to feel accepted and loved. It means that I do not have to wear a mask or pretend...I can be my self...if I still remember who she is.

Thing is, it seems as though so many of us wear a mask so that we cannot be hurt, or so we can be perceived in certain ways.  Some of us, myself included, have at times become very adept at managing these masks, so much so that I begin to forget who is beneath the mask.  Yet, if I am constantly working, even unconsciously, at keeping that mask in place, I cannot feel "safe", "secure", "accepted"...

Macrina offers me a profound statement, "Sometimes we run away from home without leaving. We just conveniently aren't hurts too much to be there and so we disappear. It is easy to disappear. Disappearing is what makes home so hard to find...We disappear because we are uncomfortable with being in process."

I think that is another way of referring to "wearing masks" and I do not think I am alone in this, sadly, I think it happens many times a day...wherever there are people.

From page 3 - page 8, Macrina talks about many kinds of homes; family, friends, church, community, and self.  She talks about each of these homes, and again, there are statements that target my heart:
"We are all we've ever been as we move forward, in process, to become all we can be. Going home is a sacred journey. We carry our names with us as we go." (p 4)
"...together we have to accept both the burden and grace of being Church. The Church is us. She is mine and she is me. She is yours and she is you. She is home, a broken home, yes! Broken, because you and I are broken." (p 5)
Just today I listened as a young person shared the frustration, helplessness, pain, and anger of being in a relationship with someone who struggles with liking their own self. I admitted that it is difficult to love another if you do not love yourself.  With that conversation still on my heart, Macrina's words strike up along side:
"There is also that home I am to myself. Am I comfortable in the home that I call me? This home is of utmost importance, for it holds the key to my being comfortable in other homes. If I am not at home with myself I won't feel at home anywhere become my own friend." (p 6)
I have admitted that I can be my own worst enemy and I have heard others voice that similar thought.  I have journaled that I cannot offer peace, love, healing....I cannot offer anyone anything that I do not possess myself.  Sadly, I see that played out in so many relationships without the people involved realizing what is happening.  We have a tendency to address the symptom without going to the cause of the symptom.

I have a lot to hold at the moment, enough for now.  Transformation is not a fast process.  It is slow and sometimes painful.  Sometimes it feels as though nothing is happening, and then .... !! I knew this book was going to be a slow read when I read the introduction.  Still, I believe it is worth the effort.

I literally stumbled upon this video while looking for something else.  The words captured my attention and my heart.  But when he says, "I have always been question is, 'Will you be my child?' I am waiting for you." I wanted to share....

All this thinking on "coming home" I think of the Prodigal Son from Luke. While I would love to post thoughts on this now....there is a video I hope to find, and two videos in one posting is enough.

God, I believe you do constantly call us home...home to our selves because that is where I can find you..."God dwells within me as me." But also home to family, friends, and the Church because in those relationships, I find you as well.  You call me outside of these places, places where I might not normally go...and there I can find you.  God, I lift up the young couple I mentioned...I lift them up and ask that you work within their hearts to so they can feel safe...have the trust needed to give up a part of themselves to the other.  God, I lift up to you my elderly friends who are hearing your call a little differently than I. Grant them peace and the assurance they seek.  God, I just ask your blessing on all who seek to come home to you.  May we grow into our names so that we can rejoice when you call. AMEN.

Many Blessings ~ Sandi

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