Tossed About

I think I’m doing fine until a miscommunication leads to a last-minute pick up from Sure Copy. Piles of photocopied class notes for the Living From The Heart course cover our dining room table. Hurriedly, I check, count, and paperclip each set of handouts, hoping I will get it all done before my brother and his wife arrive from Minnesota.

I’m halfway through when I discover one document is missing. Though I checked and rechecked my list, it was not included in the originals I gave the printer. Before I can finish counting or do anything about the missing handout, I hear a knock at the door and familiar hellos.

I greet my brother Ron and his wife, Deb, and leave my work to visit with them. But it’s hard to be present. I can’t stop thinking about what I still have to do before I leave the next day.

Our daughter and her family arrive, and we have a lovely dinner together. But as much as I try, I’m only half there. By nine, Ron and Deb can barely keep their eyes open, so they turn in for the night. I apologize for being distracted, and they are quick to forgive.

I leave the last of the dishes to Fred and turn on the computer. I begin printing copies of the missing document and, despite my prayers, the printer keeps jamming.

By eleven o’clock the dishwasher’s running, my clothes are packed, and all the photocopies are counted and in order. I go to bed but can’t sleep. Regret makes me toss and turn. I wish I’d been more organized. I wish I could have let things go and enjoyed my evening.

Around 2 a.m., I remember a friend’s wish. She said, “I wish you’d have more compassion for yourself.” I lie still and listen deeply for God’s compassion. Like a gentle wave lapping on the shore, I hear, “That was so hard.”

Together, God and I look back over the last two days and notice how I spent my time. I was delighted when I found Naomi Shihab Nye’s video for my blog post and loved how it all came together. Because I didn’t think my photocopies were ready, Fred and I had time for a walk. I sense that God enjoyed those moments as much as I did. Neither of us wished that I had been packing or counting copies instead.

I blamed myself when I got thrown by the circumstances that made it hard for me to be present, but God wasn’t upset with me, nor was anyone else. There’s a person that I’d really like to be all the time, but I’m not. And somehow that’s okay.

The next morning is sunny and spacious. Ron, Deb and I enjoy a leisurely breakfast and a long walk along Stoney Creek. They catch their ferry and, a few hours later, I catch mine.

During my week away, co-facilitating Living From The Heart, moments come like waves. Sometimes I’m lifted and delighted to be who I am. Other times, I’m dropped and dismayed by something I’ve said or done and left scrambling to regain my footing and salvage my self-esteem.

But whether the waves lift or drop me, one thing never changes–I am still in an ocean of love drawn by God’s current of compassion.

The Lord is gracious and righteous;
    our God is full of compassion.
The Lord protects the unwary;
    when I was brought low, God saved me.
–Psalm 116:6 (NIV)

Love Mischief for the World

I was chatting with “Mike” (not his real name) who is a regular at the Wednesday Lunch Club, an outreach for those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. I find out he used to be a chef at a prestigious hotel. He tells me one of his creations is still on their menu. One thing leads to another and he tells me how he got chatting with a manager of a local grocery store. The manager told him that right before cheque issue day, they have a fair bit of food stolen. Mike says, “Tell you what, why don’t you give me the food that’s about to expire, and I’ll take it down to the homeless camp and cook it for them.” That’s just what he did. “They loved the food and the manager’s problem was solved,” Mike said. Now that’s come incredible love mischief, eh?

What love mischief are you and God doing to care for the world?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References:
“Stormy weather” by Leif Harboe. Used with permission.
“Pacific Ocean” by Scott Anderson. Used with permission.
“Love” by Dustin Gaffke. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2018.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows:
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2018.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
Posted in Homelessness, Ignatian Spirituality, Reflections, Wednesday Lunch Club | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Belated Valentine for You

Lately, I’ve been writing my posts on the week I publish them. But this week I was on Bowen Island co-facilitating the Living From The Heart course, so I knew I needed a stand-in. I found one, or should I say, she found me. A month ago a friend recited this poem by Naomi Shihab Nye, and I’ve been savouring it and sharing it with friends ever since. Enjoy.

 

Love Mischief for the World

Naomi Shihab Nye is a poet, songwriter, and novelist. She was born to a Palestinian father and an American mother. Although she calls herself a “wandering poet”, she refers to San Antonio as her home. Her books include 19 Varieties of GazelleA Maze Me: Poems for Girls, and Transfer. Her most recent book is Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners  Nye was the recipient of the 2014 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature

What love mischief are you and God doing to care for the world?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References:
“Happy Valentine’s Day” by Elisa. Used with permission. (banner)
Photo of Naomi Shihab Nye by Micahd – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,  Wikimedia Commons,
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2018.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows:
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2018.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
Posted in Poetry, Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

An Old Memory and a New Reality

“Where did you accept God’s invitation to be loving, to be grateful, to be yourself?” Father James Martin asks in his Daily Examen podcast.

Wow. God wants me to be myself–unselfconsciously, unapologetically, gloriously me.

What does that feel like? Like the girl who doesn’t think twice about offering Jesus her lunch.

That feeling reaches into my past and pulls out a thirty-year-old memory. I’d taken our kids to a Norman Foote concert, and we had so much fun, I felt like the best mom in the world. We were singing silly songs as we buckled up to go home, but before we got very far, I heard an expensive scraping sound. I looked in my side view mirror. The rear bumper of our van had hooked onto and dislodged the front bumper of the car beside us.

Even now, as I write about it, I feel adrenalin rising in my chest and into my throat. I don’t recall how we got unhooked from the car and exactly what happened next, but I do remember thinking, “If this were a movie, that would be Norman Foote’s car.” Sigh. It was.

Though I could see the humour in it, it wasn’t funny to me at all. Life was admonishing me: Don’t go thinking you’re so good.

From that day on, whenever I get close to feeling good about being myself, I think about Norman Foote’s bumper. That’s why, I suspect, God brought this old memory to mind.

Just like our van got unhooked from the damaged bumper and repairs were made, God is detaching me from the damaging belief that if I become truly myself, I will embarrass myself and harm others–and that would be terrible.

“It isn’t true,” I tell myself and take a deep breath to let a new reality emerge. Accidents can happen to anyone–and do.

That new scrape on the drivers’ side of our car? I didn’t do it. And the one who did is an excellent driver who has no trouble being himself and enjoying every minute of it. I think he makes God very happy.

So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose?
–Romans 8:31 (MSG)

Love Mischief for the World

Norman Foote is a Canadian musician, songwriter, and comedian. He has been nominated for four Juno Awards for Best Children’s Album in 1990, 1993, 2001, and won in 2010. Foote is known for his kids’ eye view of the world and his friendly, but pointed, jabs at anything from pollution to Mom’s style of cooking. His latest album is called Always Be Yourself. That’s the plan, Norman. Thanks for being a part of my journey.

What love mischief are you and God doing to care for the world?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References:
“Pure Joy” by Martin Hricko. Used with permission.
“Joy Is Measurable” by Funkybug. Used with permission.
Photo of Norman Foote used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2018.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows:
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2018.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
Posted in Ignatian Spirituality, Reflections, Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Sees Me

All of a sudden, I was the boy in the story. I heard Jesus tell the disciples, “You give them something to eat.” While they stood there perplexed, I made my way through the crowd and offered Jesus my uneaten lunch: five small barley loaves and two fish. He received it with such gratitude that I was taken aback. It may not have seemed like much to anyone else but, to Jesus, it was perfect. And then, of course, he did something wonderful with it.

This is what I imagined as I sat in a room filled with people listening to a reflection on the feeding of the five thousand. Tears came to my eyes, I was so moved by my encounter with Jesus.

Jesus had locked eyes with me, received my meagre offering, and cherished it. He saw the childlike desire of my heart to give what I have without stopping to think how insufficient it is.

The next morning, in my prayer time, I return to that encounter with Jesus. I wonder what he received from me. What does my lunch represent?

I picture myself again before him. I offer my attempts to be present, my misfired intentions, my writing. Each gift evokes the telltale signs in my chest and nose that I’m about to cry.

But there’s more. Jesus doesn’t just receive my offerings, he receives me. He looks at me–just as I am–and loves me. Now I have tears in my eyes and a hard lump in my throat.

If there’s one thing I know, that I talk about in sermons, write about on my blog, and hold space for in spiritual direction, it’s this: we are loved just like this.

Once again Jesus steps into my world to tell me what he sees when he looks at me. “If I can look at a goldfish that costs twenty-five cents the way Annie Dillard does, imagine what I see when I look at you.”

And then I hear, “Can you believe that other people see it too? That I couldn’t possibly keep this seeing to myself. How could I? I have to share it with others.”

Now I have tears in earnest and that wonderful witness in my throat. The words that are coming to me are true. “I know how people look at you,” Jesus says. “I know they see what I see. I admit, not everyone and not all the time. But more than you think and more often than you know: you are loved.”

Now I hear music–not choirs of angels in my head but a song my ten-year-old granddaughter listens to. This line keeps echoing, “Can you believe it? Can you receive it?”

Later that morning I walk with a friend who reads my blog. My recent posts have made her sad. She tells me I’m being too hard on myself.

Yup. I think God noticed that too.

Jesus looked at him and loved him. –Mark 10:21 (NIV)

 

Love Mischief for the World

Mobile Loaves & Fishes is the organization behind Community First! Village in Austin, Texas. “Austin is an awesome place,” says  on Best Tech, “but the way the community is striving to give its homeless citizens a better life is what truly makes it a beautiful city. Community First! Village is a development stretching over 27 acres. It provides affordable, permanent housing for people in Central Texas who are disabled or chronically homeless. Not only does it provide homes, but it also helps these people find jobs and purpose. In 2017, men and women earned $400,000 through the micro-enterprise programs at the Village, so the mission isn’t just to give them places to live but to also help integrate them back into society.”

What love mischief are you and God doing to care for the world?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References:
Stained glass loaves and fishes in Saint James the Greater Catholic Church, Concord, North Carolina. Photo by Nheyob [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons.
The Feeding of the Five Thousand is in Matthew 14:13-21Mark 6:31-44Luke 9:12-17John 6:1-14
Jesus with the children by Michael O’Brien. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2018.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows:
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2018.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
Posted in Ignatian Spirituality, Mindfulness, Praying with the Imagination, Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Seeing Ellery

God, help me see what you see, I pray as I walk.

I wonder if I’ll ever slow down enough to see more than a label: that’s a tree, a flower, a truck that needs a new muffler.

Annie Dillard saw what God saw when she bought a goldfish and named him Ellery.

This Ellery cost me twenty-five cents. He is a deep red-orange, darker than most goldfish. He steers short distances mainly with his slender, red lateral fins; they seem to provide impetus for going backward, up, or down. It took me a few days to discover his ventral fins; they are completely transparent and all but invisible—dream fins. He also has a short anal fin, and a tail that is deeply notched and perfectly transparent at the two tapered tips. He can extend his mouth, so that it looks like length of pipe; he can shift the angle of his eyes in his head so he can look before and behind himself, instead of simply out to his side. His belly, what there is of it, is white ventrally, and a patch of this white extends up his sides–the variegated Ellery. When he opens his gill slits, he shows a thin crescent of silver where the flap overlapped—as though all his brightness were sunburn.

For this creature, as I said, I paid twenty-five cents. I had never bought an animal before. It was very simple; I went to a store in Roanoke called “Wet Pets”; I handed the man a quarter, and he handed me a knotted plastic bag bouncing with water in which a green plant floated and the goldfish swam. This fish, two bits’ worth, has a coiled gut, a spine radiating fine bones, and a brain. Just before I sprinkle his food flakes into his bowl, I rap three times on the bowl’s edge; now he is conditioned, and swims to the surface when I rap. And, he has a heart.

I love how Annie Dillard’s care and observing of Ellery allowed her to see beyond his measurement of usefulness or value.  She enjoyed his beauty and savoured the wonder of this creature that God created, gave life to, and loves.

Rushing from one activity to another forces me to measure, judge, and categorize. With so many things to do, I am often in triage mode, separating whatever comes to me like sheep from goats: useful not useful.

But on the heels of Earth Day, God is inviting me to stop . . . see . . . and fall in love with that tree, that flower–maybe even that truck with the noisy muffler. God knows when I do, I care for the earth and all that is in it the way Annie Dillard cared for Ellery.

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.
–Genesis 1:31 (NIV)

Love Mischief for the World

Second Nature Home Boutique is a social enterprise entirely focused on eco-friendly, organic products for the home. “A social enterprise is one whose social mission is just as important as their financial mission,” says Elizabeth McKitrick (left),  founder of the store located in East Vancouver. “So it’s on equal footing; you have to make a profit in order to be in business, but the profits are re-invested back into the business for the benefit of all involved [the artisans who make the products, the local community, the environment and the owner].” Elizabeth was interviewed by Maryam Khezrzadeh on Medium.

What love mischief are you and God doing to care for the world?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References:
Photo of two goldfish by Erin Khoo. Used with permission.
Photo of goldfish by maxxum. Used with permission.
Quote by Annie Dillard in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
Photo of Elizabeth McKitrick and Elya Bergen at Second Nature Home Boutique by Maryam Khezrzadeh. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2018.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows:
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2018.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
Posted in Creation, Mindfulness, Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

I Love You More than Anything

I love You more than anything.
And when I am in my right mind
I know this to be true 
But You know it all the time.
Rob Des Cotes

If actions speak louder than words, mine wouldn’t say I love God more than anything. They might say it’s true sometimes. Yet God knows–even when I don’t–that it’s true all the time. God isn’t angry when I turn to other loves but stays with me and patiently restores me to my right mind again.

I want to live in my right mind all the time and know what God knows: that I really do love God more than anything. For me, this means waking up to this reality in every moment.

“I think God is inviting me to live mindfully,” I told my spiritual director and waited for her response.

I’ve been seeing my spiritual director for some years now. She will question me if she thinks I am taking on a spiritual practice to earn God’s love or avoid a painful feeling.

She wasn’t questioning me now. Instead, she helped me explore this invitation. As I did, I admitted that being present to whatever I’m doing is often boring.

“I like being entertained and getting a break from the constant chatter in my head,” I said and told her that I enjoy snacking and watching a movie. But I don’t like what it does to my body, how it keeps me up too late and makes me not want to pray.

“What are you thinking?” I asked.

She was reminded of the story of the disciples in the upper room. They had locked the door yet Jesus came in and appeared to them.

My addictions lock me in. But that has not stopped Christ from coming in to free me. He is offering me new life, and this new life is going to take some getting used to.

I told her that I’m clear-headed in the morning, but by evening, I’m at the mercy of my addictions. I mentioned the Ignatian practice of making a plan while in consolation, so I know what to do in times of desolation. I was thinking generally; but she asked me specifically, “What’s  your plan for tonight?”

Yikes. It was a Friday. TGIF. I didn’t want to commit to anything but a pasta dinner and wine with Fred and kicking back. It was hard to make a plan and say out loud that I would pray and go to bed at a decent time. But it was easier to do it with the support of someone who loves me and doesn’t rationalize my addictive behaviours.

As I biked home from that session, I rode mindfully. I counted the revolutions each time my foot pushed down on the pedal. I tried to see how high I would get before I stopped pedalling. To keep counting, I had to pay attention to what I was doing. What a gift to realize that during the hour it took me to get home, I got a break from the chatter in my head.

Even though it felt boring, at nine o’clock I prayed for twenty minutes in silence, read something inspirational, prayed the Examen and the SoulStream Night Prayer, and went to bed. Then I did it the next night and the night after that.

Each morning, I was able to wake an hour earlier than I used to. I had an extra hour to pray and write at the time of day when I’m in my right mind. What a luxury that is.

Ignatius says, “All the things in this world are also created because of God’s love and they become a context of gifts, presented to us so that we can know God more easily and make a return of love more readily.” All things–including Netflix and Scrabble. I still enjoy these gifts, but less often and as a choice instead of a compulsion. And when I do, I enjoy them with God, and it’s the most important thing I do at that moment.

We love because God first loved us.
–1 John 4:19

Love Mischief for the World

Rob Des Cotes founded Imago Dei Christian Communities in 2002.  He became a spiritual director, retreat leader and pastor of Imago DeiHe is the author of four books of meditations for spiritual direction, Fan the Flame, Higher Than I and Ultreia! (Go Higher) and the final book, Strength to Strength. Rob passed away on April 6, 2016, and as it says on the Imago Dei website, he “continued on a new part of the journey with his Father.” Rob was instrumental in making Christian contemplative writings and teachings accessible to all as well as forming community where contemplative practices can be lived out. If you do a search of his name on my blog, you will see some of the ways he has impacted my pilgrimage. He is deeply missed.

What love mischief are you and God doing to care for the world?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References:
Photo of woman on dock by Matthias Zomer from Pexels. Creative Commons.
Prayer by Rob Des Cotes,  written on October 9, 2014, for Imago Dei Communities.
Ignatius quote from The Spiritual Exercise of Ignatius of Loyola, Principle and Foundation, paraphrased by David L. Fleming.
Jesus with the children by Michael O’Brien. Used with permission.
Photo of Rob Des Cotes used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2018.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows:
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2018.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
Posted in Easter, Ignatian Spirituality, Overeating, Prayer, Reflections, Rob Des Cotes, Spiritual Direction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time for Rising

Lift your head and dry your eyes.
Time for rising.
–Steve Bell, Bethany in the Morning

During Lent, I tried unsuccessfully to refrain from zoning out. Many evenings I succumbed to temptation and played Scrabble on my tablet or snacked while watching Netflix. As the weeks passed, I became more and more aware of how my addictions control me.

When I took it to God, I felt invited to renew my practice of Centering Prayer in the morning and do it again in the evening to keep the demons at bay. I hoped this would loosen my addictions’ hold on me and reconnect me to my desire for God.

Sometimes all I could do was make myself sit for twenty minutes in prayer with the promise that I could have a game of Scrabble afterwards. This actually felt like a move forward, and I do think it helped.

Working so hard to pray and fight my addiction doesn’t feel very contemplative. There’s a violent tone to it. Yet Christ didn’t come to me with clubs and swords, but with his breath. Just breathe. That’s all I had to do.

On Easter weekend, I listened to a podcast by Christine Valters Paintner on work. She quoted Thích Nhất Hạnh and in a guided meditation invited me to pay attention to what happens in my body when I rush and what happens when I’m present.

As I said last week, that’s when Christ appeared to me. Now was the time for rising.

I began reading Thích Nhất Hạnh’s The Miracle of Mindfulness and Richard Rohr’s The Naked Now and committed myself to a few simple practices:

  • Practice Centering Prayer 20 min twice a day.
  • Pray the Examen at the end of the day.
  • Whenever your mind is dispersed, pay attention to your breath. Count it. Let it return you to the present.
  • As much as possible, wherever you are, be fully there. Let it be the most important thing to do.

I get nervous when I write a “To Do” list like this. I don’t want to set myself up for failure. But in another podcast, Paintner talked about her rule for Sabbath keeping and admitted that, although she cannot always keep it, it’s good to return to. She likened it to what happens in Centering Prayer: when our mind wanders off, we are invited to gently return to God.

This felt doable.

An Ignatian practice is to recognize times of consolation (when we are turned toward God) and times of desolation (when we are turned away). Then make a plan while in consolation for what to do when desolation comes.

Mornings are my times of consolation and evenings are my dark times. By committing to these practices in the morning, even if I can’t always do them, there’s more possibility that I will.

I may not be able to sit for long or pray the Examen, but I can follow my breath for a few minutes and be aware of God praying in me, loving me, now, and now, and now.

The one thing we do every moment of our lives [i.e. breathe] is therefore to speak the name of God. This makes it our first and last word as we enter and leave this world.–Richard Rohr, The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” –John 20:19-22 (NIV)

 * * *

Love Mischief for the World

Christine Valters Paintner , PhD, OblSB, REACE is the online Abbess of Abbey of the Arts, a Benedictine oblate, and the author of 8 books on monastic spirituality and creativity, as well as a poet, photographer, spiritual director, pilgrim guide, and teacher. I met Christine at a workshop SoulStream hosted for spiritual directors a few years ago. I still have the collage I made that day. This Easter, I signed up for Christine’s “daily nourishment” and received an invitation to take a free 8-day “Monk in the World” e-course, which contains the podcasts I referred to in my post today. I found her course so helpful, I have recommended it to directees and friends. The podcast I listened to on work is on the fifth day of that course. 

What love mischief are you and God doing to care for the world?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References:
Raising of Lazarus photo by Ted. Used with permission. This brightly-coloured icon is a fresco on the wall in the Monastery of St. John near Athens.
Richard Rohr, The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See, page 25.
Sunrise by Susanne Nilsson . Used with permission.
Photo of Christine Valters Paintner used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2018.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows:
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2018.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
Posted in Easter, Ignatian Spirituality, Mindfulness, Overeating, Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Miracle Moments

I love the drama in the stories of Jesus’ resurrection, watching the progression from sadness and despair to confusion and then to joy. One minute life is dark and pointless and the next, it’s bright and full of possibility. Jesus’ presence changes everything.

I’ve experienced this myself and seen it in others as we bring our troubles into the light. There, in Christ’s presence, the very thing we’re afraid of loses its power, and trust rises. It’s a miracle moment.

Speaking of miracles, my Christmas cactus is in full bloom for the fourth time since before Advent. It seems Christ wants to bring new life everywhere, in everything.

I came across this quote:

If while washing dishes, we think only of the cup of tea that awaits us, thus hurrying to get the dishes out of the way as if they were a nuisance, then we are not “washing the dishes to wash the dishes.” What’s more, we are not alive during the time we are washing the dishes. In fact, we are completely incapable of realizing the miracle of life while standing at the sink. If we can’t wash the dishes, the chances are we won’t be able to drink our tea either. While drinking the cup of tea, we will only be thinking of other things, barely aware of the cup in our hands. Thus we are sucked away into the future–and we are incapable of actually living one minute of life. ―Thích Nhất Hạnh, The Miracle of Mindfulness

After I read this, I noticed times when I’m not alive. I often rush through one activity to get to another. I also noticed, just as Thích Nhất Hạnh says, that when I finally get to do what I wanted to, it’s not as satisfying as I’d hoped.

When Christ appeared to me in this quote, I  wasn’t sad or desperate. I was feeling flat and bored, looking for the next best thing to entertain me. My Lord showed me there’s no life in that tomb. The miracle is right here, right now, in this moment.

Thích Nhất Hạnh writes,

. . . the real miracle is not to walk on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child–our own two eyes. All is a miracle.

Hmm. This is going to take some practice.

Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom
of God without being born from above.” –
-John 3:3 (NIV)

Love Mischief for the World

Thích Nhất Hạnh, born in 1926, is a Vietnamese  Buddhist monk and peace activist. He lives in the Plum Village meditation center in southwest France,  travelling internationally to give retreats and talks. After a long-term of exile, he was given permission to make his first return trip to Vietnam in 2005. Nhất Hạnh has published more than 100 books, including more than 40 in English. He is active in the peace movement, promoting nonviolent solutions to conflict. His book, The Miracle of Mindfulness, teaches people of any religion how to be consciously alive to every moment. (Wikipedia)

What love mischief are you and God doing to care for the world?
Let me know and I will include it in an upcoming post.

Credits and References:
Christ appears to Mary Heinrich Hofmann, published on Bible card [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo of boy on path from Pixabay. Creative Commons.
Photo of Thích Nhất Hạnh by Duc (pixiduc) from Paris, France. (Thich Nhat Hanh Marche meditative 06) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2018.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows:
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2018.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
Posted in Easter, Mindfulness, Reflections | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Purple Everywhere

John and Peter rush to the tomb.

If it’s empty, as she said,
then–

Prayers rise to their lips
leap from their hands.

God runs to meet them,
spilling purple
everywhere.

 

Credits and References:
Painting of the disciples Peter and John running to the tomb on the morning of the resurrection by Eugène Burnand (1850-1921) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2018.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows:
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2018.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
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Writing a Prayer

My friend
wrote
this icon.

“You don’t paint icons,”
she said.
“You write them.
You are writing
a prayer.

“You begin with a small
brush. Then use
smaller and
smaller
ones.”

She entered the tomb
with her
brushes,
paint and
trepidation.

She paced
and wrote
until her prayer
appeared–
white linen, dark robe,
beard, fingers, forehead,
her lips and his,
her cheek on his,
his life for hers.

 

Credits and References:
Partial copy from The Entombment (Russian, Late 15th Century) Icon written and photographed by Ann Green. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2018.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows:
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013-2018.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
Posted in Easter, Holy Week, Poetry, Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments