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If you’ve been reading the meme’s that I’ve posted throughout the week, you’ve seen that quite a few of them have to do with patience. When I first saw these Lenten quotes about patience I was a bit . . . what? What does patience have to do with Lent?
The more I think about it, the more that I realize that patience is a huge part of Lent.
Lent is all about awaiting the coming dawn. Waiting, to put it simply, is not my strong suit. I want it now. No really. NOW would be better than later.
But that isn’t always the case. Waiting and patience give us time for preparation. Preparation can make the difference between success and a failure. I know this, but I’m still not very good at waiting.
Lent is also a time of turning into the light. It is a time for us to remove what stands between us and God’s light. It is a time of helping us remove what keeps other people from seeing God’s light in us.
Quite often that requires patience. Patience to take care of what ever it is in us that keeps us from being Christ’s hands on earth. Patience to listen to what the other person has to say, because until we know what is in their hears and their minds, we very often have no clue what they need.
Patience. It is a key part of empathy.
Patience. It is most truly something that I need today.
Those miniature mangers we keep around our homes at Christmastime are liars — they make us forget that the three kings (or magi) never hovered around Jesus’ birthplace to adore him along with the shepherds, angels and various ungulates. It took them time to get where they were going. In this, I understand and sympathize with them. It takes most of us time to see the way to God — years and years and years. As such a sojourner, I felt compelled to compose the following.
I didn’t get it
not at first
still don’t, not really
but the portents are present
and I can read them,
the words becoming old friends
to my tongue.
One of these days,
after crossing the desert
or the ocean
or the mountains — any of these
may be —
I will at last decipher the last
of the bent runes,
turn my map counter-clockwise,
realize that where I’ve been
is where I’m going
after all, and then
I will arrive, hot on the heels of magi,
with only my body of stardust to give.
It will suffice.
2016 — the year that was. It’s practically played out, virtually put to bed. Maybe it was a great year for you (Cubs fans), but for me it was largely a crapfest. We lost some good people, and I don’t mean just the famous ones. I lost three of my beloved cats. I lost my friend Mary. I am worried about the future when I look upon the wreckage of the past.
But enough about what is practically last year. We’ve got a whole new one stretching in front of us, and lots of people are doing lots of thinking about what might happen in it…or what they hope might happen.
Think about 2016 as a suitcase. You’ve arrived home. What do you want to take out of your suitcase and discard, and what would you like to carry on into 2017? Sure, most of us would like to stuff our suitcases with money, but realistically, unless we all hit the lottery simultaneously, that’s probably not going to happen. So deal with what you’ve already got packed: your job, your relationships, and — most importantly — your spirituality.
I would like to unpack lingering bitterness toward others. It’s heavy, and it’s weighing me down. I would also like to unpack the past…not forget about it, but stop feeling the sting of regret. I would like to add to my suitcase hope, focus and direction, especially vis-à-vis my relationship with God. I’d like to know that I’m on the right path, that I’m heading toward God in the most direct way possible. Inasmuch as a person can know her intended purpose on earth, I’d like to know that I’m at least hovering nearby it.
I’ve got a few things for your suitcases, too. I wish you peace of mind and heart. I wish you honest conversations and open hearts. I wish you closer family ties and better days ahead.
And you? What will you pack in your suitcase? What are you willing to leave behind? Are you certain you need everything you’ve packed? Or are you willing to walk into the new year with an empty bag, and wait for God to fill it? Whatever you decide, I wish you the very best in 2017.
As they say in Vegas, “Whatever happened in 2016, stays in 2016.” We’re just days away from a brand new year. It’s your chance to decide which way to set your compass. Whatever mistakes you made during the year are in the past.
Most of our worries fall into the category of “anticipation anxiety.” I just made up that term, so if you use it, kindly send me a dollar as a royalty. 🙂 Focusing on the worst case scenario can send anyone into a panic.
So here’s what I’d like to propose for 2017. Make a vow to yourself to live in the present tense.
Think of negative emotions as volatile compounds that can burn and scar.
Guilt is like gangrene.
Regret is like rust.
So in the new year,
if when you make a mistake, don’t feel bad about feeling bad. That was something you wouldn’t do if you had it to do again – even if it just happened yesterday. Give yourself a break.
Feel what you feel, but give yourself a timeframe. Say, I’ll wallow for the duration of this sad movie, then I’m getting out of the swamp. There’s a meadow over there I can meander through instead.
Don’t look back on times you weren’t yourself and say, that wasn’t me! Of course not. You’re you now. That’s good enough.
Don’t look back and say here’s another reason why that wrong ___________ was wrong for me:
Two wrongs sometimes do make a right. That noun that left your life did you a favor. It wasn’t right for you.
a drag counter-productive, because, in the first place hash is kind of gross aesthetically unpleasant, so having it again is yucky not optimal two times over.
Here’s to a new year and a new you. You’re a blessed, beloved being in all your glory. Whoever you were last year is in the past. Whoever you were a minute ago is, too. Why not take advantage of this unlimited time offer and be yourself in this moment, right where you are?
Peace & Blessings to you and yours!
Often, when I go for my hour of Perpetual Adoration on Friday, there’s already someone there — a little Vietnamese gal who spends so much time in the chapel, I’ve dubbed her “the lady who lives there.” She is a devout soul, spending hours on her knees. But the other week, she actually sat down and nodded off. I have no doubt that she woke full of self-recriminations, but I wanted to tell her not to. It struck me that there might not be a better place to rest than in God’s own presence.
“Stay awake,” said Christ
but surely he knew
how bodies give out, go limp,
sag as if in a warm bath
feeling secure, safe,
safer here than anywhere, ever,
before his presence in monstrance
To sleep before the Lord
is the sweetest of sleep.
The sleep of angels.
The sleep of saints.
Under God’s watchful eye
the soul and body rest,
ready to rise — like bread,
like spirit, like new day breaking.
Have a peaceful Christmas everyone!
I just had someone at my front door wanting to explain to me why Christ died for us and why we have Christmas. They even had a video. It was a little surreal.
Apparently, Adam is a businessman who steals from his company leading workers to lose their jobs and electricity. Jesus is the good businessman who pays the bills and gets the lights turned back on — that’s why he died. That’s why we have Christmas.
Of course, she looked at me and said, “What do you think of that?”
One day I will learn to smile and nod but that day is not today. But I did filter. It was oh so obvious that this was a message meant to play on people’s fears of the economy and not being able to pay their bills. In my opinion, it rather missed the point but a lot of work had gone into it so I didn’t want to criticize the video itself. “It seems overly simplistic.”
“Then why do you think Christ died?”
After the businessman analogy, I knew I couldn’t give her the entire answer. Christ died to bring an end to the cycle of sin followed by the sacrifices needed to get back in God’s good graces. Christ died to bring us grace. Christ is the ultimate sacrifice.
I decided instead to focus on Christmas. It’s a prettier story. “The Christmas season is a time of waiting, of contemplation, of preparing yourself for the coming of Christ.”
“By reading scripture?”
“And prayer and worship and whatever it takes to get you as an individual ready. I need solitude and music.”
“That’s too confusing. What did you mean by the coming of Christ? The end times?”
“Eventually, but also the coming of the Christ child. You have to prepare yourself to accept him and his message and the acceptance and love he brought mankind.”
Prepare the way. That’s the whole message of the Advent season. Prepare your heart to accept his message of love and acceptance and mercy for all. His sacrifice washed away our sins and the condemnation that required blood sacrifice to cleanse our souls. Prepare yourself for Christ.
He has come not to condemn the world but so that the world through him might be saved.