A 5-minute podcast with some thoughts to ponder:
I welcome your thoughts and questions…
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I was having a dialogue on Facebook recently with a friend who holds different beliefs from mine. We have a love and respect for one another that transcends any differences between us and we entered into a short exchange of thoughts about the Bible. She genuinely asked me how I can believe it with all its contradictions and questionable translations. I told her how I see it and we had a civil conversation about it that, I hope, left us both better people for having had it.
Not long after, I opened my email inbox which held my daily reading excerpt from Frederick Buechner. I’ve pasted it below and it’s pretty much what I was trying/hoping to say in that Facebook conversation. Hours before this, in another book, I came across another passage mentioning the particular silence written about below.
Since Buechner is a much greater master of words than I could ever hope to be, I wanted to share this because he puts into words what I can only struggle to say…
“Somebody should write a book someday about the silences in Scripture. Maybe somebody already has. “For God alone my soul waits in silence,” the psalmist says (62:1), which is the silence of waiting. Or “Be not silent, O God of my praise,” which is the silence of the God we wait for (109:1). “And when the Lamb opened the seventh seal,” says the book of Revelation, “there was silence in heaven” (8: I)—the silence of creation itself coming to an end and of a new creation about to begin. But the silence that has always most haunted me is the silence of Jesus before Pilate. Pilate asks his famous question, “What is truth?” (John 18:38), and Jesus answers him with a silence that is overwhelming in its eloquence. In case there should be any question as to what that silence meant, on another occasion Jesus put it into words for his disciple Thomas. “I,” he said, “I am the truth” (14:6).
Jesus did not say that religion was the truth, or that his own teachings were the truth, or that what people taught about him was the truth, or that the Bible was the truth, or the church, or any system of ethics or theological doctrine. There are individual truths in all of them, we hope and believe, but individual truths were not what Pilate was after, or what you and I are after either, unless I miss my guess. Truths about this or that are a dime a dozen, including religious truths. THE truth is what Pilate is after: the truth about who we are and who God is if there is a God, the truth about life, the truth about death, the truth about truth itself. That is the truth we are all of us after.
It is a truth that can never be put into words because no words can contain it. It is a truth that can never be caught in any doctrine or creed including our own because it will never stay still long enough but is always moving and shifting like air. It is a truth that is always beckoning us in different ways and coming at us from different directions. And I think that is precisely why whenever Jesus tries to put that ultimate and inexpressible truth into words (instead of into silence as he did with Pilate), the form of words he uses is a form that itself moves and shifts and beckons us in different ways and comes at us from different directions. That is to say he tells stories.”
– Frederick Buechner
from The Clown in the Belfry & Secrets in the Dark
I often think about the people who have positively impacted me, so recently, I made a list of my top 10 people. These are people who, when I look back, I wonder where, or how, my life would have ended up if our paths had not crossed… how different, and less rich, my life would be.
One thing they have all had in common is summed up in the words of Emily Dickinson:
“I find it shelter to speak to you.”
Actually, my list ended up with 11 such people. I couldn’t keep it at 10 just for round numbers. And really, it’s a list that could grow to 20, 30 and more, but for starters, I have 10 (11).
I want to suggest to you that in the next week, you take a few minutes to make such a list. It could be anyone. It could be people you’ve known for years. Or it could be someone you sat next to on a bus or train who said or did something you’ve never forgotten.
I find my 10 people are my most perfect gratitude list. Whenever I’m feeling low, if I think of even one of these people, it puts everything into perspective. It also reminds me that, at any moment, someone like that can show up again in my life.
The most incredible thing about each of these people is how divinely orchestrated each connection with them actually was. We only fully realize this when looking back.
Today is the birthday of one of “my people” and appropriately the sun is shining as I just finished journaling about all the things about this person that I’m grateful for.
Try it. Take the time. Maybe one day, one or more of those people will be delighted to find that they are on your list.
Wishing you a beautiful week.
Blessings & gratitude,
Artist / Life Coach
4 minutes on open doors…
I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences as you keep your eyes open for them.
To have a courageous conversation, click this link to schedule an introductory call with me and we can explore where you are feeling stuck and help you locate those doors. No charge. Just please follow through if you book a call.
** image credit: Victoria Yore and Terrence Drysdale
So what might those notions be?
These came to mind…
2. Giving when you’re low on money. What? Really? That just doesn’t seem like good accounting. It seems like the last thing you should do when you’re low on cash, and wondering how you’re going to pay your bills is give some (or all) away. But for some reason, the law of the universe is “give and you shall receive.” Perhaps because it takes faith to give. It takes trust to give. And that faith and trust are never more tested than when we give even though it looks like utter foolishness. You can trace some of the greatest (and sometimes wealthiest) people to their generosity. If you were to examine some of their lives, you’d find that they gave when it hurt to give and when it seemed they had nothing.
3. Doing less, not more. Striving: it seems like a good word and a good idea, but is it? Sure, we should strive to love more deeply, create more authentically, trust more fully, work more heartily, but striving is something different. Striving is doing something in our own strength and forgetting why we’re doing what we’re doing, and for whom. Striving can be exhausting. When there is much to do, and so many depending on us, to step away requires faith, it takes strength, and that first takes willingness.
4. Loving and being kind to someone who has hurt or offended you. Whenever I’ve heard of people sort of mocking the idea of following Christ, as if it’s for simpletons and weaklings, I wonder if they know about this thing he said: love your enemies. This is where the rubber meets the road. Whether someone stepped on your toe, or destroyed your life (or the lives of people you love), we are called to love… which is the absolute last thing we feel like doing in that moment or season.
5. Keep going when you feel like giving up. You’ve been planting seeds and watering them continuously. You’ve been hoping, praying, trusting for a situation to change or improve. You’ve done your part. What gives? What’s taking so long? Where’s that harvest you were promised? Sorry, I don’t have an answer on that one. I wonder myself sometimes.
What I do know is that even though everything in you wants to call it quits and forget about it… even though you’re frustrated, tired, exhausted and want to throw in the towel, something inside you refuses to give up. Even though it would be easier, you can’t. You won’t. You’ll get up one more day and keep going. You’ll trust one more day and anticipate something good, even though you have every reason to say, “Hey, after all this time, it ain’t happening.” Even though the outward reality looks completely opposite. Again, things aren’t always what they seem. Just like in the best plays, there’s always something going on behind the scenes to make the story one worth telling.
It’s what the best stories are about, the best movies: tenacity, overcoming, resilience… moxie. It doesn’t even seem possible to keep going, but you do and you will.
In all five of these things, what stands out is that none of them “feel” good, or make sense. They’re completely contrary to how we normally operate. So they must require a strength outside of ourselves in order to pull it off.
* * Image credit: Christian Schloe
If you’d like to have a courageous conversation, click here to book an appointment with me (no charge). I’d be happy to talk with you and explore how you can move your life forward.
Reposting this from a few years ago. It all still holds true.
The other night while doing some research, I came across a man I had never heard of named Rich Roll (http://www.richroll.com/bio/). I was fascinated by his story of personal transformation. He went from being an overweight alcoholic to being one of the fittest, healthiest men in the world—all due to a change not only in his way of eating, but his way of being in the world.
It’s likely we all have addictive personalities to some degree. It’s just that not every addiction is visible. Just because our addiction is obsessive worrying, or nagging, or pornography, or complaining, or approval, or being right, or being the smartest person in the room, doesn’t make it any less an addiction.
The sad thing for many with obvious addictions is that their shame is usually laid bare, out in the open, for all to see. If someone has an addiction to food and…
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