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, July 25, 2011


What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare?" ~ W.H. Davies

This morning God has sent me one blessing - BAM!

In case I did not notice, POW! Another blessing.

The last one, hit me right between the eyes, SMACK! I would have had to be totally numb, not to have received that one.

I love it when he works so hard to make sure I get the message!

First, this morning I was going to search for a quote on "something" (God's been so busy hitting me, I've totally forgotten what!) but before I could type in the last word "life" filled the blank..."quotes on life." That had not been what I was going to look for, but decided to click, and I discovered the above quote by W.H. Davies.

"Hmmm, that's nice." I thought.

I did pause to write it down.

A short time later, I picked up Sarah Young's devotional, Jesus Calling. Today's devotion is based on John 10:27; Romans 8:28; and Jeremiah 29:13:
 "As you  listen to birds calling to one another, hear also My Love-call to you. I speak to you continually: through sights, sounds, thoughts, impressions, Scripture. There is no limit to the variety of ways I can communicate with you. Your part is to be attentive to My messages, in whatever form they come. When you set out to find Me in a day, you discover that he world is vibrantly alive with My Presence. You can find Me not only in beauty and birdcalls, but also in tragedy and faces filled with grief. I can take the deepest sorrow and weave it into a patter for good.
Search for Me and My messages, as you go through this day. You will see Me and find Me when you see Me with your whole being." (Sarah Young, Jesus Calling, July 25)
Earlier this morning, I had sent the following email to a seasoned pastor:   I’m a solo pastor of a 120 member PC(USA) congregation in rural Indiana. I feel as though I’m fighting a Demon(s) of Despair…and the Demon is winning.

From there, I shared all the things going on within my congregation: health concerns, drought, corn fields flattened by wind storms, stressed couples, cancer, financial worries, oppressive heat...

I admitted that I feel like Pollyanna wearing rose-colored glasses with my message of "Living from an Attitude of Gratitude."

Bam...Pow...How did God know I feel as though I am fighting a demon of despair within my congregation?

Psalm 139......
"Sandi, Sandi...I know you when you sit down and when you rise. I perceive your thoughts from a far..."

Then, the final, Smack... from Macrina's book on page 107...
"There was a time when I tried to do everything right and proper. That seemed to be my goal. But suddenly all I want is to be holy. I long so for a deep holiness." (Klara) 
I have longed for deep holiness, thinking then I could bring comfort to those in my congregation and my family.  "If I could just be holy enough, then I could fight these demons that are attacking people for whom I care!" My best buddy would most likely tell me this is "stinkin thinkin."

Macrina writes that what she believes the world needs is "feminine energy" and she describes that energy in various ways but ends by saying,'
"Feminine energy shows her best face in leisure. She doesn't take time. She has time. She has time to be. The world is starving for this energy...a slow flame that burns from within and gradually transforms what it touches, precisely because it touches rather than clutches." (Macrina Wiederkehr, A Tree Full of Angels, p 108)
David Steindl-Rast defines leisure as taking things separate, one by one, and singling them out for grateful consideration.  Macrina compares his thoughts to those of Opal Whiteley (page 102-103) who spoke of having long looks at things.

Holding the wisdom and insights of Steindl-Rast and Whiteley, Macrina writes:

"So today I'm taking things to my heart, one by one. I'm singling them out for grateful consideration. ...whenever you single out something or someone for grateful consideration you have a little celebration...these little momentary celebrations may be the very secret of holiness." (Wiederkehr, p 109)
I am not a saint! I am Sandi and when I deal with
one demon at a time, I can breathe and find God.
 When I begin piling all the concerns of my congregation and my family into my heart all at once, of course I am overwhelmed by all the many little demons! Of course I begin to feel the despair of the world!

Demons are tricky.  They can take the form of "caring" for another which of course is not a bad thing! Yet, when I "care" for this person, that person, this situation, that situation...all at once...

BAM! ~ W.H. Davies, "What is this life...[if] we have not time to stand and stare?"

POW! ~ Sarah Young, "...When you set out to find discover that the world is vibrantly alive with My Presence...find Me not only in birdcalls, but ... in tragedy and faces filled with grief..."

SMACK! ~ Macrina, "Take long looks at everything. Single many things out for grateful consideration."

God, when I pause to take a deep breath, I know you are here in the midst of cancer, financial concerns, troubled relationships, drought, destroyed crops...just as you are here in the sunrise, the hummingbirds, the cooing of the dove, the gentle breeze, the smile of my grandkids... Forgive me when I begin thinking it is up to me to solve the problems and concerns of all those for whom I care. By your Spirit, help me to remain still so that I might reflect your presence within this world. For, when your presence is reflected...stand back and watch what you can do!" Thank you for the teachers you send my way. AMEN.

I have spent a lot of time...yet, before I leave...

Many Blessings ~ Sandi


  1. Sandi....the heart of a pastor fights these demons all the time. you are tiny heart can only hold so much heaviness, pain and grief and no matter how Holy we matter how spiritual we long to be.....the heaviness can only be carried by the One who is bigger---
    on this day....for just a few minutes across the miles---I send you LOVE...My God's Power Protect You and Yours today, May God's Presence surround you and May God's Love Enfold You...for wherever....whatever....God is. Blessings...

  2. Everybody needs a good smacking every now and then ;-)

    Thanks Sandi, great post!
    and yes i am glad we don't have any pigs anymore (we had them in holland) but i feel pretty bad for the cows....

  3. I hope you were able to enjoy being in the moment with the youngsters at the park. The boys had a great time, and it was a good experience for my oldest to go up to the door of a busmate and invite him to fellowship. If only we all had that same heart...