Happy Thanksgiving, friends. Take time to embrace your family, drink the deep air, turn small and large moments into prayer, and celebrate the gifts of God, no matter your present circumstance.
“I believe in a life of celebration. I believe that the world we wake up to every day is filled to the brim with deep, aching love, and also with hatred and sadness. And I know which one of those I want to win in the end. I want to celebrate in the face of despair, dance when all we see on the horizon is doom…when (Death) comes for me, I want to be full-tilt, wide-open, caught in the very act of life. I think that’s what we’re here for, not for a passive, peaceful life, but to stand up in the face of all that lacks peace and demand more…God gives us something amazing when he gives us life, and I want to live with gratitude…It’s rebellious, in a way, to choose joy, to choose to dance, to choose to love your life. It’s much easier and much more common to be miserable…I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don’t want to get to the end, or to tomorrow even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes…I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift…Because we were made for motion, for arching up toward God with all the energy and passion of a thunderstorm, lightning slicing through a sleepy world to remind us that we serve a fast-dancing God, a God who set this world whirling…Let’s sizzle and pop in his name. Let’s dance and shimmer and scrawl out our stories across the sky, like he taught us to. Let’s echo his words, and let our lives speak those words: It is good.”
— Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines:
Finding Answers in the Ache
In my previous post, I reflected on the painful silent periods of faith, using the metaphor of the darks side of the moon. When we enter periods of darkness and confusion, as difficult as it can be, we must try take a step back and enlarge our view. To this end, think of an opposite moment in your life, a good and clear moment—perhaps a time when you were intensely captivated by some person, moment or experience. Think 11 on a scale of 1 to 10. Picture it, feel it again. Do you remember the magic, the wonder? If you are struggling now, that moment is likely as far away from how you feel as the earth is from the moon. Such impossibly sweet moments should last forever! But they don’t.
Instead, what you have is a memory, rather than the continuation of the experience. Intuitively, we understand “endings,” and learn to dread them. “I wish this would never end!” we might think, even as the good thing is happening. After, in the glittering residue, and the sweet, terrible ache, we are left with confusion. What’s going on? I’ll tell you. In the middle of it all, something very important is happening. Eternity is leaking into your life.
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This is not my own. It is a retelling of an old Oriental proverb. Yet the wisdom it contains is simple, memorable, and impacting.
High in the Himalayan mountains lived a wise old man. Some said he was crazy. Periodically, he ventured down into the local village to entertain the villagers with his knowledge and skills. One of his skills was to foresee and name the contents of whatever the villagers held in their pockets, boxes…or minds. One day, a few young boys from the village decided to play a joke on the wise old man to discredit his “special abilities.”
One boy came up with the idea to capture a bird and hide it in his hands. He knew of course, the wise old man would perceive that the object in his hands was a bird. So the boy devised a plan. READ MORE >>>