Home Again

I love our camping adventures–
being outside
exploring by bike
hiking trails to a view
sipping wine from a jar
watching flames turn to coals
musing about what we forgot
and how we made do
cozy and warm in our tent
grateful for tarps and when
the rain comes with the dark
and leaves with the dawn.

One morning we find
a family of mushrooms has pushed through the soil.
Maybe that’s what the birds were singing about,
that’s why the leaves rustled.

We come home
full 
of astonishing
ordinary
moments.

After the last load’s brought in
before the cooler’s unpacked or the laundry’s begun,
I say hello to my plants,
give them a drink,
welcome the new baby leaves.

“My, how you’ve grown,” I say.
And they say the same
to me.

Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.

–Mary Oliver, from the poem Sometimes

∗ ∗ ∗

Love Mischief for the World

Near the beginning of the Baldy Mountain Trail in Sorrento, B.C., we walked through this gate. It was lovingly created out of discarded bike parts and a few shovels. This work of art invited me to celebrate each person’s uniqueness and creativity. What a gift we are to each other when we become who we are, do what gives us life, and offer it to the world. In Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants, Robin Wall Kimmerer writes, “The most important thing each of us can know is our unique gift and how to use it in the world. Individuality is cherished and nurtured, because, in order for the whole to flourish, each of us has to be strong in who we are and carry our gifts with conviction, so they can be shared with others.

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

Credits and References:
A view of Shuswap Lake from a lookout on Mount Baldy near Sorrento, B.C. by Fred Hizsa. Used with permission.
Nibbled on Panthercap (Amanita pantherina) in Shuswap Lake Provincial Park, Scotch Creek, BC. by Fred Hizsa. Used with permission.
Gate at the beginning of the Mount Baldy trail, Sorrento by Fred Hizsa. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2022.
The 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 2013-2022.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
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The Cross I Take Up and Lay Down

Then Jesus said to them all, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” –Luke 9:23

What does it mean to take up our cross and follow Jesus?

Plenty has been written about it, but at the end of the day, it comes down to this: we are summoned to follow Jesus’ example and do what we are called to do to save the world, no matter the cost.

As Jesus’ followers, we participate in this salvific venture in some small way for the greater good of all. It’s wonderful work but, as Jesus makes abundantly clear, it’s hard, painful and involves death. To do what we are called to do, we have to die to what we are not called to do and, perhaps, die to what we thought our life would look like.

What it means theoretically is less important than what it means to each of us personally. It’s worth meditating on.

When you sit in silence with Jesus, what is most important to you? What makes you want to weep thinking about it? What makes your heart sing when you imagine doing what you were created to do?

What challenges, distracts or derails you? What might you be avoiding? Does fear of failure or judgment keep you stuck?

How do you feel knowing that your deepest desire is Jesus’ desire as well, and he is walking beside you carrying this responsibility with you? Even if few people value or understand what you hold dear, Jesus gets it. He sees what you see and feels what you feel. 

The crosses we bear differ greatly, and we often have more than one. Here is what I heard as I sat with Jesus and thought about one of my crosses.

When You called me to follow You
and asked me to pay attention
to how You are loving me
and then write about it,
I thought I’d died and gone to heaven.

Then You challenged me to take up my cross 
and not just to write 
but edit–
take out all the words that don’t belong,
open up to what more comes,
rework and revise
until nothing gets between the reader
and You.

The cross I take up
is not just to pay attention, write and revise
but to publish
and not just publish,
but get out there and market it,
(which is the last thing in the world I want to do)
and not just make my writing available
but make myself available
and vulnerable.

The cross I take up
is not just to write, revise, publish and market
but to keep doing it even when
I encounter those who don’t like my writing,
don’t need it,
and don’t want it.

The cross I take up
is to continue to believe that what I do
is significant, valuable,
and worth my attention.

But not all the time.

The cross I bear
is to have courage and humility:
the courage to keep taking up my cross
and the humility
to keep laying it down.

Will you come and follow me if I but call your name?
Will you go where you don’t know and never be the same?
Will you let my love be shown?
Will you let my name be known?
Will you let my life be grown in you,
and you in me?

Will you love the “you” you hide if I but call your name?
Will you quell that fear inside and never be the same?
Will you use the faith you’ve found
to reshape the world around
through my sight and touch and sound in you,
and you in me?
John L. Bell, The Summons, vs 1 & 4

∗ ∗ ∗

Love Mischief for the World

This song makes me cry every time. I am so grateful that John Bell said yes to Jesus and wrote the songs God gave him–such salvific work in the world.

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

Credits and References:
Jesus carrying the cross by Titian, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
“Walking” from Pixabay. Public Domain.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2022.
The 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 2013-2022.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
Posted in Reflections, Stories, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Kingdom Tale

𝕮𝖍𝖆𝖕𝖙𝖊𝖗 𝕺𝖓𝖊

WHEREIN the King proclaims that all taxes are forthwith suspended. In return for his generosity, the King requires that all his subjects love one another–including their enemies. The Everyday Pilgrim, who lives in this magical land, is filled with gratitude and sets an intention to love everyone in the kingdom. She has no enemies. However, she finds Certain People irritating and annoying. As hard as she tries, she cannot stop judging and trying to fix them.

𝕮𝖍𝖆𝖕𝖙𝖊𝖗 𝕿𝖜𝖔

WHEREIN the Everyday Pilgrim visits the Sage and inquires about how she might learn to love these Troubled People. The Sage reveals the problem lies–not with Certain People–but within the Everyday Pilgrim.

𝕮𝖍𝖆𝖕𝖙𝖊𝖗 𝕿𝖍𝖗𝖊𝖊

WHEREIN the Humbled Pilgrim goes far and wide, seeking healing for the wounds that causes her to react ungraciously. She learns many things about herself and her past, but the healing is slow. Years pass.

𝕮𝖍𝖆𝖕𝖙𝖊𝖗 𝕱𝖔𝖚𝖗

WHEREIN the King sends the Everyday Pilgrim on a mission with Certain People. The Pilgrim tries to love them the best she can. There’s a Terrible Incident with huge misunderstandings. poor communication, and significant consequences. Everyone behaves badly. The King disbands the mission.

𝕮𝖍𝖆𝖕𝖙𝖊𝖗 𝕱𝖎𝖛𝖊

WHEREIN, the Grievously Wounded Pilgrim regards Certain People as her enemies and retreats to the far reaches of the kingdom. As a follower of the King, she knows that she must forgive Certain People. She tries and tries. More years pass.

𝕮𝖍𝖆𝖕𝖙𝖊𝖗 𝕾𝖎𝖝

WHEREIN the Everyday Pilgrim meets a Traveling Minstrel who instructs her in the Ways of the Heart. One evening by the fire, the Minstrel shares her stories of frustration, pain, and loss and how she has learned to not be afraid of her feelings. The Curious Pilgrim invites the Minstrel to stay with her a while and she, too, learns to welcome her feelings and befriend them. Eventually, she can feel sad, rejected, or lonely, and the feelings do not overwhelm her. They come and go and tell her things.

𝕮𝖍𝖆𝖕𝖙𝖊𝖗 𝕾𝖊𝖛𝖊𝖓

WHEREIN the King invites the Everyday Pilgrim to a banquet honouring all those who have tried to love others including their enemies. The Proud Pilgrim prepares for the grand event and looks forward to enjoying it with her friends. However, she is dismayed to discover she will be seated at a table with Certain People who have hurt her and still annoy and irritate her.

𝕮𝖍𝖆𝖕𝖙𝖊𝖗 𝕰𝖎𝖌𝖍𝖙

WHEREIN the Everyday Pilgrim petitions the King’s Counselor for a change of seating. The Counselor listens to the Troubled Pilgrim’s story with compassion. He gently tells her that the King has assigned the seats himself, then adds, “It’s too bad that you feel hurt, annoyed, and irritated when you’re around Ones so beloved of the King.”

𝕮𝖍𝖆𝖕𝖙𝖊𝖗 𝕹𝖎𝖓𝖊

WHEREIN the Conflicted Pilgrim spends a restless night deciding whether go to the banquet or not. She tries to imagine ways she can nicely ask Certain People not to do the things that hurt, annoy and irritate her. But, no words come to her. Then she remembers the last thing the King’s Counselor said, “It’s too bad that you feel hurt, annoyed, and irritated when you’re around Ones so beloved of the King.”

Suddenly the Everyday Pilgrim knows that all she needs to do is welcome these feelings, too.

𝕮𝖍𝖆𝖕𝖙𝖊𝖗 𝕿𝖊𝖓

WHEREIN Our Dear Pilgrim goes to the banquet with a sense of hope. When she remembers the Terrible Incident, she realizes no one’s to blame. Each person is wounded in some way or another and has a limited capacity to love. Even though they hurt each other, they were all doing the best they could.

At the banquet, the Everyday Pilgrim greets Certain People courteously. Inside herself, she greets feelings of hurt, annoyance, and irritation when they arrive. She also greets feelings of delight and compassion as she interacts with the People at her table.

As the evening progresses, Our Beloved Pilgrim begins to see why the King loves these People so much. She even finds a gentle stirring of love for them growing within her heart.

𝕿𝖍𝖊 𝕰𝖓𝖉

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. –John 14:34.35

∗ ∗ ∗

Love Mischief for the World

I am so grateful for the love mischief of the Sages and Minstrels in my life who have helped me in my pilgrimage, particularly my spiritual director, the founders of SoulStream, and the facilitators and participants of Living from the Heart and Art of Spiritual Direction. I am also grateful to my co-Counselors whom I met with biweekly this past year to learn about and practice Nonviolent Communication.

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

Credits and References:
Image by unnamed_terror from Pixabay CCO Public Domain
Forest image by Dorothe from pxhere. CCO Public Domain
Image of rock with an arrow by Lynn D. Rosentrater. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2022.
The 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 2013-2022.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
Posted in community, compassion, Reflections, Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Little Girl at the Window

“I feel so vulnerable,” I said to my spiritual director on the day I clicked publish. “Even though I sense from God and others that my writing is significant, something in me feels the risk of putting it out there to be judged. A part of me is on guard for the next disappointing response.”

In the silence, an image came to mind. I see that part of me as a little girl looking out the window, watching for who might hurt me now. As I stayed present there, Jesus came. I thought he would lead me away from the window, but he didn’t. He put his arm around my shoulders and stayed with me there.

“It’s not like I have much of a choice. I can’t imagine myself not putting into words what I experience.” As I said that, tears fell, and a huge lump hardened in my throat. My director asked me about that, and I told her the story of  A Home for Everyone.

“Years ago, I was at Rivendell Retreat Centre and, in their five o’clock community prayer time, we were invited to share our hopes. I said, ‘A home for everyone,’ and suddenly a felt this huge lump in my throat. A sob rose up in me and ached in my throat. It was so strong that I wept and wept. Eventually, I understood that the sob came from God’s heart in mine. God wants a home for everyone. I think that story came to mind because God wants me to know that my writing leads them there.”

That thought wouldn’t have been safe to say in many places. But here, in this sacred space, these words could be said aloud and believed.

As I welcomed that thought, another memory came to mind. My younger brother and I were preschoolers in Sunday School. When the pianist began to play and the children started to sing, I recalled my parents dancing the night before. So, I grabbed my little brother’s hands and led him in a partner dance. We quickly discovered that wasn’t appropriate, but I don’t remember being scolded. I remember being fearless.

“I see a younger me now sitting by the window with Jesus. She’s not looking for people who might scold her. She’s looking for anyone who wants to come home,” I said to my attentive listener.

I biked home from that spiritual direction session with two beautiful invitations: to be tender with the little girl in me that’s afraid of rejection and to set free the younger one that wants to dance and believes everyone else does too.

Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. —Matthew 5:14-16 (MSG)

∗ ∗ ∗

Love Mischief for the World

In a pocket of fearlessness, I wrote and recorded Ride Your Dreams, an album of children’s songs, for my kids and the other children I taught in Sunday School. Back in the early nineties, most of the music available for children’s spiritual formation focused on trying to get them to be good. I wanted them to know they were loved. As I wrote this post, a song from that album came to mind–a song called Dance.

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

Credits and References:
Photo of the girl thinking by Marja Bergen. Used with permission.
Image of the child at the window by victortsu. Used with permission.
Image of Ride Your Dreams cassette cover by Esther Hizsa.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2022.
The 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 2013-2022.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
Posted in compassion, Reflections, Spiritual Direction, Stories, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

In the Heart of the Beloved

When readers open my new book, I invite them to open it up and flip it over. In the introduction, I wrote:

Look at the whole cover. Take in the beauty of the image: vibrant pink, glowing edges, green stem, white centre, light, droplets of rain, petals wide open.

This book differs from the first two in my Everyday Pilgrim series. In Stories of an Everyday Pilgrim and Seed Cracked Open, the beauty is all on the front cover. But, in this one, you don’t get the full impact until you open it up and turn it over.

A tulip this open is near the end of her life. Vulnerably, she surrenders to the One she is turned to now. Her Creator beams and emboldens her to blossom and bless the world with all she is, and will not forsake her in death.

Sylvia Sassen, who took this photograph, has given us a wonderful metaphor for what the stories in this book do. They open us up and turn us around to meet the eyes of our Beloved and see the beauty God sees in us. This image captures what it feels like to be in the heart of the Beloved.

I struggled for years to come up with a title for my first book. I’d get excited about one and then, a week later, it was in the trash. Eventually, my biggest supporter and husband, Fred, couldn’t coax up any enthusiasm when I announced a new candidate. So, he was surprised—we both were—when the title of this book came to me before I published Seed Cracked Open.

Nan Merrill’s paraphrase of Psalm 23 speaks of how I have often experienced the Beloved gently restoring my soul, walking with me through dark valleys, and helping me face my fears. The last verse declares:

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me
all the days of my life
and I shall dwell in the heart of the Beloved forever.

You can see why the title In the Heart of the Beloved stayed with me and never left.

The stories and poems in this book were written and published weekly on my blog, An Everyday Pilgrim (estherhizsa.com) from January 2015 to December 2016. They remain in chronological order.

As I read and revised these stories of my day-to-day experiences, I heard how often I was dogged by self-criticism and fear of rejection. Recently, friends who read my blog told me that I’ve changed. I’m much kinder to myself now. This caused some unease as I got reacquainted with the person that I was seven years ago. I winced at how often I felt the weight of my faults, mistakes, and sin. Yet, in every post, I was tenderly invited back into the heart of the Beloved.

God meeting me there in my shame has enabled me to live less disabled by it now. I can more easily join God in finding the part of me that feels disconnected and bring her back into wholeness.

So I hold that old me with deep gratitude and am pleased to honour her. In this book, she invites you to honour yourself and where you are on your pilgrimage.

Are you hounded by self-criticism? Ever feel like you don’t measure up or don’t belong? Do you wonder if you’re good enough or do enough? You are not alone.

This book is full of “me, too” stories. As you enter into the dark valley of your fears and insecurities, I hope you find God meeting you there with strength and comfort.

∗ ∗ ∗

Love Mischief for the World

Would you like to join me in some love mischief?

Take a moment and notice how my stories or poems have touched your life. As you stay present to what you’ve experienced, is there something in you that would like others to experience this as well? Perhaps you are drawn to gather friends and host a pop-up book reading (online or in-person) in your home, small group, book club, or church. If you would like me to join you in some love mischief, please contact me.

You can purchase In the Heart of the Beloved, Seed Cracked Open, and/or Stories of an Everyday Pilgrim from me. They are also available on Amazon.

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

Credits and References:© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2022.
The 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 2013-2022.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
Posted in In the Heart of the Beloved, Poetry, Reflections, Stories, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Gift

“Love you,”
one of my beloveds said.

I held these two words
in disbelief and wonder.
I wasn’t expecting a hug goodbye
or even a glance back.
That didn’t mean
I wasn’t hoping for it.
Now, I was holding the gift
I’d wanted for so long.

For years,
I sat outside a heart
shielded by self-depreciation.
Too risky
to hope,
to enjoy the sunshine,
to say who they are.
Much safer
to stay inside and not
be.

It wasn’t easy to wait.
Leaning against that cold wall
made me cold too–
cold and weary of waiting.
Afraid of what my beloved might become,
I shielded myself.

But Love found a way in.
Love said to me,
“Trust them.”

Those two words
made the wall between us porous.

Love whispered these two words to
others shut out in the cold,
and they too began to trust this beloved one.

Then one day my beloved
wanted to be
in the sunshine,
believed the light
revealed their glory,
smiled, and found
two words.

“Love you,” my beloved said
to me.

After 93 million miles, the sunlight finds things, 
even an old stone wall, to make it beautiful. 
Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Sunlight

∗ ∗ ∗

Love Mischief for the World

On May 7, hundreds of people showed up at the base of Burnaby Mountain, which is a few kilometres from where Fred and I live, to protest the Trans Mountain pipeline project in an event called Hug the Mountain. I regret that I wasn’t one of those huggers. Yet, I’m grateful for the people who did join hands in protest and for sending this message.

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

Credits and References:
“Love Heart” By Louise Docker from Sydney, Australia (My heart in your hands) CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
Steve Garanaas-Holmes quote from the poem Sunlight on the blog Unfolding Light.
“pattern of sunshine on stone wall” by spodzone. Used with permission/
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2022
The 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 2013-2022.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
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Release, Receive and Return

For days after I heard how my words wounded another, I was visited with the recurring judgment that I was a bad person, an unsafe person. I was shrouded in shame until God found me through a Lenten reflection on labyrinths with the themes: release, receive and return.

Gently, God helped me to enter the tomb with Jesus and release the expectation that I would learn from my mistakes and stop hurting or offending people.

It was a painful death, letting go of the hope that I could leave that dark part of me behind. I wrote a poem about it called Resurrection Is Personal in my blog post for Easter. It ended with these three questions.

What would it be like
to love that dark part of me
even when other people can’t?

What would it be like
to stand with her when she feels the pain she caused,
hold her when she sees her mistake,
and forgive her
seven times seventy times?

What would it be like
to release her from the expectation
that this can never happen again?

These questions allowed me to breathe again. I heard: Even if another person finds it hard to love me, I can love myself. I can forgive myself. I will offend others again and feel sad and disappointed, but I will be all right. I received these comforting and liberating words from God with gratitude, and peace began to return.

I shared my experience of resurrection with my spiritual director, weeping while I spoke. Accepting my humanity, forgiving and loving myself was freeing. Yet, I noticed how raw I felt. I wanted to withdraw from people. I felt as if I had no skin on.

My director asked me to pause there with those feelings and notice how God might want to be with me in them.

As I sat there, I sensed God’s tenderness and compassion. Then the idea came to me that God wanted to be my skin. I imagined God lovingly covering and protecting my raw hurting self. I felt so safe and protected.

I told my director what came to me in the silence. “God seems to understand that when an incident like that happens, I’m hurt too, and it takes a while to recover. I think God is inviting me to take the time I need for my skin to grow back.”

I returned home reassured of God’s intimate and particular care for me every step of the way.

You lead me in the path of goodness to follow Love’s Way.
–Psalm 23:3 Nan C. Merrill,
Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness

∗ ∗ ∗

Love Mischief for the World

I am so grateful to be a part of the love mischief that happens in the Living from the Heart course. I hear testimonies like these from participants and am moved every time. I love to hear that people are releasing false thoughts and expectations, receiving a felt sense of God’s intimate love for them, and returning to their true selves. The course is offered in person in Alberta and BC and online for anyone anywhere.

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

Credits and References:
Rivendell Labyrinth  1&2 by Richard Bott. Used with permission

© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2022.
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 2013-2022.  http://www.estherhizsa.com

Posted in Easter, False Self, Poetry, Reflections, Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Playing My Hand

Once I acknowledged that I was on the ADHD spectrum, I saw things I could do to make life easier for myself and those around me. For example, I stuck a post-it note on the inside of our front door: keys, wallet, phone. I didn’t just make lists of what to pack on our vacation to Ucluelet, I checked off each item. I set an intention to pause and consider how others might hear what I say before I speak or send an email.

Fred asked me how he could help. “When I get back from a bike ride or errand, ask me if I unpacked my things,” I replied. I often leave a jacket in a bike pannier or keys in a pocket, and then they’re not where I expect them to be when I go out again.

Most evenings, Fred and I enjoy a game of Sequence. We’re dealt seven cards and each turn, we play a card, then pick up a new one from the deck. It doesn’t matter what cards I had the last round nor does it help to wish I had more Jacks. I just make the best move with the cards I have in my hand.

With greater awareness of who I am and what I have and don’t have in life, I can more freely choose what I want to do with each day rather than feeling like I’m the victim of circumstance. Sometimes, I give in to the allure of distractions and follow rabbit trails of thoughts. Other times, I’m aware of a deadline and choose to focus on what I’m doing. Completing a task pays off with a feel-good dopamine hit. However, pushing myself to always be on task drains me. There is no right way to play the same hand, just different ways.

I thought about all these things as we pored over maps and brochures of Pacific Rim National Park, Tofino and Ucluelet. I wanted to make the most of our week there. Should we get an early start or wait until mid-day when the tide ebbs and the beach rolls out? Should I explore the town or read my book?

One thing we knew for sure was that we wanted to be outside walking on the beach and listening to the surf or on a trail among the silent trees, old stumps, and sculpted limbs.

“In him, we live and move and have our being,” Paul writes of Christ. I love that God is incarnate in all living things, and we are always walking around in God. I felt surrounded in love and beauty in that holy place where ocean and forest meet, that thin place between heaven and earth. Yet there was always a low hum of repetitive thought. You’re doing it wrong, it said to whatever I decided to do.

I heard that accusation again when I sat to pray one morning during our vacation. The words prickled in my throat. My shoulders and arms felt heavy. As I stayed present there, a thought came to me in the silence. What if you believed that you can’t make a wrong choice, that whatever you decide is a great way to play your hand?

A wave of relief washed over my body and caressed my throat, shoulders and arms as it receded. I held that glistening question with curiosity. Of course, this invitation didn’t refer to moral choices. God was inviting me to relax and stop treating all choices as moral ones.

For in him we live and move and have our being.–Acts 17:28

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Love Mischief for the World

In this video, psychologist, author and meditation teacher Tara Brach and Frank Ostaseski, author of The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully, share stories and answer questions about how we can be with difficult feelings. Some real gems in this conversation.

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

Credits and References:
“Nurse Log” by Larissa Sayer. Used with permission.
“Boom” Crashing waves at South Beach, Pacific Rim National Park by Colin Knowles. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2022.
The 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 2013-2022.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
Posted in ADHD, Advent, Aging, Mindfulness, Reflections, Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Honouring Our Elders

We humans are the young ones,
the last to be created
long days after the earth, mountains, seas,
and trees.

What might we learn from our elders who
awaken us with birdsong,
feed us with nuts and berries,
comfort us with their soft fur, 
enliven us with colour,
and call us to glorify our maker
by simply being who we are?

Abundance.
Patience.
Solidarity.
Stillness.
Surrender.
Hope.
Resilience.
Transformation.
The interconnectedness of all living things.
Beauty.

Our elders
speak no words 
and yet,
their gospel stories shape our lives,
their gifts keep us alive.
On their backs, we rest.

These wise ones love us well.

How shall we honour our elders
this day and every day
we breathe fresh air,
feel the ground beneath our feet
and open our hands to receive?

Knowing that you love the earth changes you, activates you to defend and protect and celebrate. But when you feel that the earth loves you in return, that feeling transforms the relationship from a one-way street into a sacred bond.
― Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants

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Love Mischief for the World

John Robbins, author of Diet for a New America, and his son, Ocean, have been working tirelessly for decades to share cutting-edge research and insights on how the earth and all her inhabitants benefit and thrive on a plant-based diet. You can join the Food Revolution Summit on April 23 -30 for free. In 2020, this summit inspired me to be like one of their success stories. And it happened. But more than that, I found a way to honour the sacred bond I have with the earth.

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

Credits and References:
“Giant Old Growth tree-Sitka Spruce” by Nick Kenrick. Used with permission.
Mushrooms by Sylvia Sassen. Used with permission
“Chica, my adopted Spanish kitten” by Sylvia Sassen. Used with permission.
“Wheat” by FarbenfroheWunderwelt. Used with permission.
“Got some flowers for the hummingbirds” by Chrissy Wainwright. Used with permission.
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2022.
The 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 2013-2022.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
Posted in compassion, Creation, Justice, Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Resurrection Is Personal

Resurrection
isn’t just about living forever.
It’s about living now
and how we pick up our cross,
go through death
and become
a new revised version of ourselves.
Resurrection is personal.

This Easter, I entered the tomb
after denying Christ in me three times.
Three times I was Judas.

I can go through periods of time
when I’m the beloved disciple
people want to be around
and wonder if the part of me
that can be so insensitive
so unkind
so hurtful
has finally died.
I want to believe this shiny new me
is here to stay.

Then the dreaded thing happens
again, and again, and again.
and I realize that
the transformation I desire is not happening.
It likely never will.

I spend three days in darkness
letting go of the hope
that I will learn from my mistakes,
and finally become
the person I wish I could be.

In the light of dawn,
a new thought emerges from the tomb.

What would it be like
to love that dark part of me
even when other people can’t?

What would it be like
to stand with her when she feels the pain she caused,
hold her when she sees her mistake,
and forgive her
seven times seventy times?

What would it be like
to release her from the expectation
that this can never happen again?

 

 

 

 

Credits and References:
“Resurrection of Lazarus” by Andrey Mironov 2011, CC licence via Wikimedia Commons
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2022.
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 2013-2022.  http://www.estherhizsa.com
Posted in compassion, Easter, Holy Week, Poetry, Reflections | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments