Get Real Still

Feather 2 Jim Champion

I’m on retreat right now. So I here’s a post from a few years ago for you.

It was easy to pick out Hadrian in the line-up of swimmers. The eight-year-old wore a life jacket and stood a foot or two shorter than the rest. Like those ahead of him, he waited for his turn to try the obstacle course that stretched the length of the pool.

Large blue and grey inflatable tubes, eighteen inches in diameter, were attached in parallel and perpendicular configurations with a slide at the far end. I watched one swimmer after another attempt to walk on water over this deceptively simple looking course. Nearly every person ended up losing their balance and falling in.

Then it was Hadrian’s turn. He dog-paddled out to the first tube and pulled himself onto it. Gingerly he got to his feet. He paused for a moment then stepped slowly onto one tube then another. When he felt his body waver, he paused until he regained his balance and then moved on, stepping and pausing along one and onto the next. Then he scrambled up and slid down the slide.

When he got out of the pool, my husband gave him a high-five.

“How did you do it?” Fred asked.

“I got real still inside me,” Hadrian replied.

Hadrian’s words spoke to me. In the course of my day, I tackle one obstacle, and before I recover my balance, I’m onto the next. Perhaps this is why, at day’s end, I feel overwhelmed and just want to watch TV and eat. But the God who sees all this comes “disguised as my life” and invites me to pause between activities and get real still inside myself.

For me, that means taking a deep breath and opening myself to God’s love in the present moment, in whatever is before me.

Hmm. Will this really make a difference to my life?

Well, it’s working for Hadrian.

54 Vernon Walk

I have stilled and quieted my soul.
–Psalm 131:2a (NIV 1984) 

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Love Mischief for the World

brene-brown-home-360x239

Any social worker that is willing to do research in the area of shame and vulnerability, face her own stuff and talk about it has been up to much love mischief! Brené Brown is that person. I just watched her talk, “The Anatomy of Trust.” So helpful. Catch her Ted talks here. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “Brené Brown, you’re my hero.”

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

Credits and References:
“Feather 2” by Jim Champion. Used with permission.
Quote: “God comes to you, disguised as your life.” is by Paula D’Arcy in Falling Upward by Fr. Richard Rohr.
“Hadrian in Vernon Walk 2015” by Fred Hizsa. Used with permission.
Photo of Brené Brown from her website.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2019.
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 2013-2019.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
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Yes

“I tell people you need to pray as long as it takes to get to YES, a foundational yes–yes to reality, to the moment, to God present in the grass, to God present in you and in me,” Richard Rohr told Oprah in an interview.

Sometimes I wake up with a NO to life. I don’t want to do what needs to be done or what’s good for me. NO turns me inward and away from others.

When I’m in a NO headspace, I feel stuck in it. But Rohr reminds me that I always have a YES in me. I just need to sink into it. There’s nothing wrong with me. I’m simply out of the flow of love.

My breath returns me to that flow. As I follow each breath, I can let go of my NO and open to God present in me right now, freeing me to receive and give love.

I came across a talk about HeartMath, the science that shows that opening to our YES and breathing it out into the world helps others open to love, peace and gratitude.

We’re all connected and always have been ever since God breathed life into Adam. “From our very first breath,”  Richard Wagamese wrote, “we are in relationship. With that indrawn draft of air, we become joined to everything that ever was, is or will be… Our breath comingles with all breath, and we are a part of everything. That’s the simple fact of things.”

As I was practising centering prayer one morning, I opened myself to God’s love and realized that my ability to receive that love was in part because others were opening to the YES in them and breathing it out into the world. By receiving their love and breathing it out, I too was contributing to the flow of love.

Pastor Ruth reminded us on Sunday that we contribute to the flow of love when we look into each other’s eyes and pass the peace at church. We pass it on to others in our communities with heartfelt “Good mornings” and “Thank yous.”

Remember this song?

Peace is flowing like a river, 
flowing out of you and me,
Flowing out into the desert,
Setting all the captives free.

Yes. Indeed, it is.

Sometimes Creator blinks. Sometimes She is not looking at me. Those instances can feel really, really long some days . . . that’s when I should blink too. Close my eyes and breathe, feel the unceasing current underneath everything, surrender to it, then open my eyes again to possibility and walk on. That’s how I learn to be graceful. Full of grace. In the blink of an eye.
–Richard Wagamese

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Love Mischief for the World

Today I begin another 8-day silent retreat with colleagues who direct the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises in Vancouver. For eight days, we will be sinking into God’s Yes. I’m looking forward to the love mischief God has planned for us and am grateful that more love will flow into the world because of it.

 

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

Credits and References:
“Peace” by Matthias Ripp. Used with permission.
Embers: One Ojibway’s Meditations
by Richard Wagamese, 44,65.
Genesis 2:7
“Peace Is Flowing Like a River” Words in public domain.
“Vulcan Stream” by Reza. Used with permission.
Photo of chairs on lawn by Katherine Tam. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2019.
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 2013-2019.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
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Resolutely I Set Out

“Where is Jesus asking you to go? Will you follow him?” Pastor Ruth asks at the end of her sermon on Sunday.

Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. He knew what he needed to do. “Foxes have holes,” he said to a would-be disciple, “but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

I know what I need to do. It isn’t grandiose. I’d been wondering if it even mattered until I read this in Embers earlier today.

When the muse is full upon you, you move to the chair at your desk as if entranced, and in that ghostly glow against the full dark before sunrise, story becomes a shape-shifter, a presence that cajoles you, tempts you, coaxes words to eke out onto the page, creating worlds and people from the fire deep within you so that this alchemy of creation becomes transcendent, making time lose its properties. There is just you and the universe and this creative fire moving through your fingers in bold palettes of colour chasing the dark away until you emerge in the sure, calm light of morning and feel like a writer again.

I am affirmed by Wagamese’s words. I feel like a writer because I am a writer. God values this gift in me–the process of writing and the publishing of it.

The hymn after communion brings me to tears.

Here I am, Lord. It is I, Lord.
I have heard you calling in the night.
I will go, Lord, if you lead me.
I will hold your people in my heart.

The call to hold God’s people in my heart touches me deeply. I connect this desire which is grand to the unpretentious act of formatting my first blog posts into a book which a small number of people will read.

The final hymn beckons.

Will you come and follow me
if I but call your name?

Will you love the you inside
if I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside
and never be the same?

Loving the “me” inside means loving the writer in me and not neglecting my gift. What I fear is that I’m being prideful and self-indulgent. Or that I’m wasting my time and could be doing more important things.

But in “the sure, calm light of morning,” people I hold in my heart–Jesus, Richard Wagamese, Dan Schutte and John Bell–tell me, “Go be a writer. Do what writers do.”

So resolutely I set out to self-publish my second book.

Do not neglect your gift. –1 Timothy 4:14

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Love Mischief for the World

Dr.David P. Gushee has heard and responded to Jesus’ call to follow him and hold LGBTQ people in his heart. He explains that for hundreds of years, contempt for Jews was justified in the church based on history, culture and a few scripture references. Then Christians began to see how unChristlike this was and repented. We must do it again for our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. Dr.Gushee (PhD, Union Theological Seminary in New York) is Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and Director of the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University. He is the author of many books including Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust, The Sacredness of Human Life, and Changing Our Mind.

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

Credits and References:
“Walking” from Pixabay. Public Domain.
Embers: One Ojibway’s Meditations by Richard Wagamese, 52.
“Here I Am, Lord” by Dan Schutte, SJ, 1981
“The Summons” by John L.Bell, 1987.
Luke 9:51-62
“Christ and the Adulteress” by Follower of Lucas Cranach the Younger [Public domain] 1515-1586
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2019.
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 2013-2019.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
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This Moment, This Conversation, This Life

Summer has arrived and life is more spacious. Nothing urgent demands my attention. I can finally get to the mundane jobs that I’ve been putting off for a while. However, cleaning cupboards and straightening drawers are not as appealing as writing, offering spiritual direction or riding my bike.

Fred sprained his ankle, so I’ve been doing the driving–one of my least favourite activities. Behind the wheel, stopped at a light, I think about how boring this is. But my recent reading about mindfulness reassures me that this moment is not better or worse than any other. The choice before me is whether I will be awake to this moment and receive it as it is without judging its value. Will I wake up to the richness and depth of what I am experiencing right now?

On a walk that morning, Hadrian, our grandson, talks about Minecraft; Hannah, his cousin, is beside herself because Season 3 of Riverdale has ended on a cliffhanger. I know nothing about either topic. I want to change the subject and talk about something more meaningful to me. And yet, there is a judgment, a rejection of this moment as it is.

They walk faster than I do and take their conversation with them. I look at the trees, the sky and clouds. My knee hurts. The pain is likely exacerbated by my extra weight. I notice how easily my thoughts leave this sidewalk, these trees, this body and go somewhere else. I’m figuring out how to make future moments better.

I notice that I’m not present and choose to return to the earth under my feet, my grandchildren laughing, my life in this moment.

In this moment, I am grateful that I notice my judgment, the pull to be elsewhere, and my desire to be present.

Mindfulness means moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness.
It is cultivated by refining our capacity to pay attention,
intentionally, in the present moment,
and then sustaining that attention over time as best we can.
In the process, we become more in touch with our life
as it is unfolding
.
— Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn

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Love Mischief for the World

 

“Take a book. Leave a book.”

Little free libraries are popping up in neighbourhoods all over the place. My daughter has one for children’s books outside their house. Hadrian gets to meet the neighbours, pet their dogs, and see if anyone’s left a book about Minecraft.

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

 

Credits and References:
Photo of driving a car by George Hodan. Public Domain
“Sidewalk Flowers” by Steven Harris. Used with permission.
“Neighbourhood Book Exchange” by Richard Eriksson. Used with permission
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2019.
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 2013-2019.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
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Helping Each Other Make It Home

As you can imagine, I have been reflecting on the love mischief of tears and paying attention to what has come to my awareness.

Five truths have emerged.

1. I didn’t deserve to be bullied.

That statement alone brings me to tears. The Dam Keeper, Laurel’s kindness, and my friends’ responses to what I wrote about last week reassure the little girl in me that what happened when I was a kid was not right. I didn’t deserve to be treated that way. Not then and not now.

2. A person’s behaviour reveals their limitations.

My siblings felt bad about the way they treated me when we were kids. I don’t hold it against them. They would have treated me differently if they could. I’m grateful that they have been liberated to love well now. And they do.

3. My judgment reveals my inability to accept the limitations of others.

For months I’ve been bewildered and resentful toward those who gave me that punch in the gut. I kept trying to understand why they did it, fearing that somehow their actions were justified. When I recognize that they weren’t, I can let go of my resentment and accept their limitations. I can see that these people are similar to my young sister and brothers: they were doing the best they could too. For some reason, they didn’t have the capacity or freedom to see the possibility of another course of action.

4. Compassion is evoked when a wider understanding is revealed.

In the past few weeks, I have seen example after example of this.

I was talking with a friend about a series we both enjoy on Netflix and going off again about how much it bugs me when there are inconsistencies in the plot. “If the man who lives alone is deathly allergic to tomatoes, why would he have a can of tomatoes in his cupboard?”

“By the time someone working on the episode noticed the discrepancy–if they noticed–everyone on set was likely too exhausted and too pressed for time to do anything about it,” she replied.

Her viewpoint softened my heart toward the ones I’d judged.

A few days later, my heart was softened again. I was with friends for a meal and afterwards, we meditated on John 10:22-30. In this passage, those who were not following Jesus asked him to tell them plainly if he was the Messiah or not. I had assumed the inquirers were being antagonistic, but one fellow in our group said, “Maybe they were wondering if they could trust Jesus. I think they were afraid.”

5. We are all connected.

In Embers: One Ojibway’s Meditations, Richard Wagamese writes,

We are all connected … we all belong to each other.

Every year, once spring has sprung, my world regains proper proportion because baseball is back. I love the central metaphor of the game–all of us helping each other to make it home.

Relationships never end; they just change. In believing that lies the freedom to carry compassion, empathy, love, kindness and respect into and through whatever changes. We are made more by that practice.

I think about what I will say to friends who ask me what happened. It feels good to have the freedom to say what helps them make it home.

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you.
–Romans 15:7 (NIV)

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Love Mischief for the World

The Vancouver Sun reported that on June 15 more than 1,500 people gathered outside China’s consolute in Vancouver to oppose an extradition bill and condemn the Hong Kong police force’s use of violence against protesters. Among them, was my friend Father Richard Soo. The Sun also reported that the next day Father Soo and Chris Chiu (who is leading the Intro to Ignatian Exercises retreat with me in October) and more than 200 others gathered Sunday afternoon for a prayer rally organized by Metro Vancouver Christians to support the human rights of the people of Hong Kong.

I just heard from Chris that they are having another ecumenical prayer meeting for Hong Kong on Thursday, June 27 at Tenth Church in the Lower East Hall at 7:30pm. Everyone is invited and welcome! Please spread the word. More info here https://www.facebook.com/events/345405429690045/

What love mischief are you and God doing to care for the earth?
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.
Quotes from Embers are found on pages 36, 45 and 44.
Return of the Prodigal by Jan Weenix in 1669 [Public domain]
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2019.
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 2013-2019.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
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The Love Mischief of Tears

“Find your pitch and hum it,” Donna said on the first morning of the seventh annual SoulStream Partner Gathering at Sorrento Centre. We hummed in harmony and in unison following her instructions. Then she stopped and remarked how beautiful we sounded. “That child that told you to stop singing, that music teacher that wanted you to just mouth the words, they were incorrect. You can sing. Every voice matters,” she said.

I noticed Susan looking up at Donna. She was listening intently and smiling. Her face bore such a sacred witness to this truth that I was moved to tears.

The night before, the twelve months of the year were posted around the meeting room.  We were asked to go and stand under our birth month. I was the only May baby, so Laurel left April to join me. I looked at the first question we were invited to talk about and tears began to form at the base of my throat.

Laurel shared a memory of a birthday party she enjoyed.

“I can’t remember my birthday parties,” I said. I was relieved the question didn’t ask about a sad memory, so I didn’t need to tell her about the year it was Hate Esther Day on my birthday. But of course, that was the next question. So I did and tears filled my eyes.

Saturday afternoon we had a “Cinema Divina.” We watched an animated short called The Dam Keeper. It’s about a young pig who has the job of keeping the darkness from coming into the town and how he is rejected and bullied by others that attend his school.

After the film and a few minutes of silence, we broke into small groups. I didn’t know how deeply I was affected by the film until I tried to tell Fred and Glen about the scene that impacted me the most. I could barely get my words out for the flood of tears.

Eventually, I said, “I loved how the fox reached out to the pig, but my strongest emotion was when I saw the crocodile and hippo drag the pig into the washroom and close the door.”

Saturday night a band played oldies but goodies in the open air Kekuli. We shed our “dance shame,” as Brent put it, and had fun dancing in twos or threes, alone or with a broom. When we knew the words, we’d sing along.

Laurel made eye contact with me from the other side of the Kekuli and invited me to slow dance. “We’re celebrating your birthday,” she said. When everyone sang, “I can’t help falling in I love you,” she sang it to me and my tears returned.

Sunday morning, Doug and Laurel challenged Jeff and me to a game of bocce on the lawn. “Come on,” Laurel said to me. “It’s what you do at birthday parties.” We were tied after the first two games, then Jeff and I won the rubber. They may say they let us win, but I wouldn’t believe them if I were you.

Near the end of worship on Sunday morning, Irene read Psalm 23 from Nan Merrill’s Psalms for Praying. The last line stirred up my tears again. “And I shall dwell in the heart of the Beloved forever.”

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of all my fears;
you bless me with oil,
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy will
follow me
all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the heart
of the Beloved
forever.
–Psalm 23:5,6
Nan C. Merrill,
Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness

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Love Mischief for the World

The Dam Keeper is a 2014 American animated short film directed by former Pixar art directors Robert Kondo and Daisuke Tsutsumi. It tells the story of Pig, an introverted youth who lives in a windmill and keeps a dark fog from engulfing his town. Although socially rejected by his peers, he is befriended by the artistic Fox (Wikipedia). I wonder what love-mischief will happen to you when you watch this film and talk about it with others.

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

Credits and References:
Photo of Partner Gathering 2019 by Doug Schroeder. Used with permission.
Photo of Sorrento Centre used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2019.
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 2013-2019.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
Posted in Childhood, community, Prayer, Reflections, Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Inseparable

Fred and I gathered on Vancouver Island with family and friends of my nephew Lee to spread his ashes. Some came just for the ceremony, some for a few days and, others, like us, stayed for the whole week to wander in the mountains and forests and along the seashore–the places Lee loved best.

The afternoon of the ceremony was sunny and warm. We assembled at the beach, and I led with quotes by Richard Wagamese and Dostoyevsky, and poems by Hafiz. Others present shared their memories and reflections. We remembered how Lee loved, then lovingly, we let him go.

Over the week, we played outside, cooked together and visited microbreweries and cafés. I enjoyed conversations with siblings and nieces and their spouses who live far away. I loved watching them interact with my son and daughter and their spouses and my grandson. But, I didn’t enjoy my recurring feeling of inadequacy. I was often disappointed in myself, that I wasn’t more thoughtful, compassionate, or calm. I wished I was more well-read, more physically fit. I also didn’t like how my feelings of inadequacy and disappointment shifted my focus from others to myself.

And where was God?

Silently with me–the eagles circling above, the owl perched stoically by the river, the deer wandering down to the beach at dawn–not saying a word.

The morning after we returned home, I read this in a poem by Steve Garnaas-Holmes:

Nothing can separate you from the love of God.
Not your sin, not your most horrible awfulness …
Nothing can separate you from the love of God.
You are in it like the air, like gravity …

My “horrible awfulness” didn’t separate me from God’s love. But that love didn’t take away my horrible awful feelings either–and I wanted it to.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. –Romans 8:38-39

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Love Mischief for the World

Thursday morning, before we packed up again and left for the annual SoulStream Partner Gathering at Sorrento, BC,  I received this email from a friend. “Karen and I will truly miss being with the community of SoulStream gathering… as we tread Le Chemin de St. Jacques (Camino) in France. In almost every church here, there is an icon in statuary or in paint of the Sacred Heart of Jesus which has been a powerful entry into the welcome of Jesus for me. I have recently become aware that each of our hearts is sacred to Jesus.  Your heart is sacred to Him. As you gather, I offer this prayer, which worked well for me today as a repetitive prayer while walking:

Jesus, heart of the Father,
Holder of our sacred hearts within your sacred heart,
We welcome you.
Spirit of Jesus, pray for us and with us.”

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

Credits and References:
Photo of Miracle Beach by Suzanne Tucker. Used with permission.
Photo of whitetail deer by Russ [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D
Photo of Sacred Heart by Doug Webber.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2019.
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 2013-2019.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
Posted in Prayer, Reflections, Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Love One Another


“Jesus, on the night of his betrayal and arrest, kneels at the feet of his disciples and in an act of intimacy and humility washes their feet and gives them his final message. They are to love one another,” Archbishop Melissa Skelton said in her homily to the delegates of the 119th Synod of the Diocese of New Westminster of the Anglican Church of Canada.

She went on to describe how we in the church should love each other. “For John’s Jesus, love is not about disposition or feeling. Love is something one does. Love seeks the well-being of others in concrete efforts on their behalf, even if this means the giving of our very lives in the process, giving in a way that costs.”

It’s easy to seek the well-being of others who think like we do. But put over 250 lay and clergy delegates in a room for a two-day conference and there will be some strong differences of belief about core issues, issues that might cause people to leave the church or vilify others.

If I want to love the way Jesus did, I need to stand with and keep loving people who believe I am dangerously wrong and vice versa. Love asks me to stand in my truth and allow the other to voice their thoughts and questions without shutting them down or dismissing them. Even if we have opposing views on indigenous rights, climate change, or what defines marriage, we are called to somehow stand together in unity.

At our table discussion over the affirmations proposed by Primate Fred Hiltz, one woman bravely asked, “Why should we ‘affirm the right of Indigenous persons and communities to spiritual self-determination in their discernment and decisions regarding same-sex marriage’? Why would one cultural group have rights to do as they please while others don’t? And if we allow each diocese to decide whether they feel it is right to perform same-sex marriages or not, where will that lead? It could be a slippery slope. Will they begin to decide about other things too and act independently?”

Two delegates avoided eye contact and said nothing. A priest and I offered explanations from our viewpoint.

When we broke for lunch, I thought of the courage it took for her to speak up and thanked her for asking those questions. She seemed surprised and disarmed by my gesture. We had been sitting across the table from each other, so I invited her to sit in the empty place beside me. We ended up having a lovely conversation about our lives.

That afternoon delegates expressed their views calmly yet passionately from microphones around the room. Archbishop Melissa asked us to honour whatever was offered without responding collectively (clapping or booing), and we did.

Two days later, I hosted a dinner with three dear friends. Ten years ago when we began meeting monthly, we were all in the same church and of one mind theologically. Now we’re not. It’s uncomfortable at times, and I’m sad that I can’t share things close to my heart and feel supported. As I was cleaning up the kitchen, I wondered if I wanted to continue meeting with these women. But I love them and so I will pay the cost of love.

“Relationships never end; they just change. In believing that lies the freedom to carry compassion, empathy, love, kindness and respect into and through whatever changes. We are made more by that practice.” –Richard Wagamese, Embers: One Ojibway’s Meditations

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Love Mischief for the World

At Synod, we delegates overwhelmingly passed Resolution 6 to support the choice of the Mission and Ministry Development Committee that Urban Aboriginal Ministries (UAM) receive care + share givings for 2020-2021. UAM is a ministry of St. Mary Magdelene Anglican Church and supports Prayer Circles, Four Annual Feasts: Easter, Thanksgiving, Winterfest, and Christmas, Traditional as well as Ceremonies and Pastoral Care. This is an example of “doing” love. Desiring reconciliation with our Indigenous brothers and sisters means we support ways for them to recover their language and traditions and heal from the abuses of colonialism and the residential school system.

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

Credits and References:
“Christ Washing the  Apostles Feet” Dirck van Baburen (circa 1594/1595–1624) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons (John 13:1-11)
Image of two hands from PxHere. Creative Commons.
Photo of Urban Aboriginal Mission WinterFest used with permission from UAM.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2019.
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 2013-2019.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
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The Sound of Freedom Rising

It came like a low, distant hum, barely noticeable at first: a momentary sadness after a conversation.

The drone grew louder as I noticed it more often–after a suggestion I made evoked a negative response, after a compliment went nowhere, after an attempt at humour fell flat.

The incessant noise heightened whenever I didn’t get the response from others I was hoping for. Although my need for approval isn’t as strong as it used to be, I was disappointed that I couldn’t shut it off and be at peace.

It hummed in the background when I reflected again with my spiritual director about the incident that happened to me two months ago.

“I can easily see what they did wrong. But what do they see when they look at me? I suppose they see a person who doesn’t take no for an answer,” I said.

“And what does Jesus see?” she asked.

I closed my eyes and thought about my stubborn forthrightness. Then I heard Jesus say, “That’s what I love about you!” and burst into tears.

In one hand, I held my desire to be rid of what keeps me from fitting in and, in the other, Jesus’ desire that I cherish how I’m made.

“It seems that there is a cost to being your true self,” my director offered.

“Yes. Sometimes people aren’t going to like me or what I do.”

In an odd way, that felt freeing.

Perhaps the sadness I experience when I feel dismissed or don’t fit in is the sound of my true self rising. It’s the sound of new freedom.  And maybe, I don’t need to do anything about it.


The most courageous thing we will ever do
is
 to bear humbly the mystery of our own reality.
–Richard Rohr

∗ ∗ ∗

Love Mischief for the World

Jean Vanier, passed away on May 7, 2019 at the age of 90. Vanier was a Canadian Catholic philosopher, theologian, and humanitarian. In 1964, he founded L’Arche, an international federation of communities spread over 37 countries, for people with developmental disabilities and those who assist them. He continued to live as a member of the original L’Arche community in TroslyBreuil, France, until his death (Wikipedia). In his book, Community and Growth, Vanier wrote, “I am struck by how sharing our weakness and difficulties is more nourishing to others than sharing our qualities and successes.” The truth of his words has helped me share my weaknesses and difficulties with you.

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

Credits and References:
“Lonely Tree” by Mika Hiironniemi. Used with permission.
“Wheat” by FarbenfroheWunderwelt. Used with permission
Photo of Jean Vanier by Kotukaran, from Wikimedia. Creative Commons
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2019.
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 2013-2019.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
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The Legend of La Loba

There is an old woman who lives in a hidden place that everyone knows but few have ever seen. . . . The sole work of La Loba, [the Wolf Woman], is the collecting of bones. She is known to collect and preserve especially that which is in danger of being lost creatures: the deer, the rattlesnake, the crow. But her specialty is said to be wolves.

She creeps and crawls and sifts throught the montañas, mountains and arroyos, dry river beds, looking for wolf bones, and when she has assembled an entire skeleton, when the last bone is in place and the beautiful white scuplture of the creature is laid out before her, she sits by the fire and thinks about what song she will sing.

And when she is sure, she stands over the creatura, raises her arms over it, and sings out. That is when the rib bones and leg blones of the wolf begin to flesh out and the creature becomes furred. La Loba sings some more, and more of the creature comes into being; its tail curls upward, shaggy and strong.

And La Loba sings more and the wolf creature begins to breathe.

And still La Loba sings so deeply that the floor of the desert shakes and as she sings, the wolf opens its eyes, leaps up, and runs away down the canyon.

Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves

Hope leaps up in me when I hear the legend of La Loba (known in other lands as La Huesera, Bone Woman or La Trapera, The Gatherer). My soul declares, “It’s true. It’s true. That woman is God and I am the wolf. God is enlivening us all.”

My mind concurs. Ezekiel and the valley of dry bones, the shepherd that searches for the lost sheep, the prophet Zephaniah who sees God rejoicing over daughter Israel with singing are echoes of the same story. They’re stories of the resurrection and the coming of the kingdom.

God is always at work, searching relentlessly for the lost parts of ourselves, our communities, the earth and everything in it–and breathing life into us.

When I live out of this truth, I can trust that I will receive what I need to be whole. I don’t need to take it from someone else. Nor do I need to remain victimized by what’s been taken from me.

La Loba keeps collecting bones and bringing wolves to life; that is our work too. Every time I pause to hear God singing over my bones, I rise up with new eyes to see the lost bones of others. What song shall I sing over them?

When You send out Your breath, life is created,
    and the face of the earth is made beautiful and is renewed.
–Psalm 104:30 (Voice)

* * *

Love Mischief for the World

Maya Angelou (1928–2014) was an American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. In this video,  Maya Angelou shares how she was liberated by love. It brought me to tears. I just had to share it with you.

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

Credits and References:
Ezekiel 37:1-14, Luke 15:3-7, Zephaniah 3:17.
“Wolf” by Barnaby_S. Used with permission.
“Wolf Howling” by Steve Felberg on Pixabay. Creative Commons.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2019.
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 2013-2019.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
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