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This quote from the poet Rumi reminded me a lot of conversations Miss Ruth, Lori and I have had in the past.  Lori discusses limiting God.  My phrase is don’t try to put him in a box.

We are just as likely to put ourselves in a box especially when it comes to doing what God wants us to do.  Sure, some things sound easy.  Don’t steal.  But then again once you get all the details, even that one doesn’t seem so easy.  Covet your neighbors’ new deck?  Yep.  That counts as stealing.

Even the things that seem small are difficult.  What about the things that seem huge?  Noah was tasked with building an ark and gathering the animals.  Moses had to lead an entire people, enslaved people, out of Egypt and across the desert.

What tasks has he called you to do that just seem heart-stoppingly immense?  Our church has answered a calling to feed the needy.  A monthly dinner hasn’t gained the traction we’d hoped for.  Planting the community garden with vegetables for the local food pantry went a lot better.  So far we’ve delivered 3 pounds of carrots, 5 pounds of onions, 7 pounds of loose leaf lettuce, and over 200 lbs of cucumbers. We also made 4 dozen jars of pickles to deliver.  If people could survive on cucumbers alone, we’d have nailed it.  Seriously.

Feeding the poor is a huge task and I’m not going to claim we’ve figured it out.  But working together we made strides.  We are thinking big and planting fruit trees and making new plans for next year’s garden. Fewer cucumbers most likely and someone suggested zucchini.


Some people live small lives and seem, if not happy, at least resigned to it. What do I mean by “small”? I mean that they place limitations on themselves because of who they are, where they were born, or other circumstances. Imagine a bird in a cage. After years of frustrated fluttering, it realizes it cannot break free. Then someone takes away the cage, and the bird doesn’t try to fly away. It believes that it cannot be free even though its situation has changed. It lives small because it can no longer imagine doing otherwise.

But people are smarter than birds, right? Surely, they must see that they are not as stuck as they might seem. On the contrary — we are more apt, I think, than the dumbest of creatures to box ourselves in to a rigid construct that perhaps fit once, but doesn’t fit anymore…or that never fit at all. How often do you find yourself saying, “I’m too old” or “too short” or “too heavy” or “too dumb” to do something or other that you’d really like to do?

There are people who believe that God is merely an echo of what is eternal in each of us. And people of many faiths believe that God resides in every person. So believers and nonbelievers agree: Each and every human person contains the divine. The divine is infinite. That makes you infinite, too. So what are you going to do about it? There’s an old saw that goes something like this: Imagine what you might do if you knew you couldn’t fail. Now consider this saying with the knowledge that there genuinely is a part of you that cannot fail.

When I was a kid, we would go to a local amusement park and pan for gold in their Old West themed area. You’d scoop up some water and sand in an old tin pan and swish it back and forth, back and forth, until a crumb or two of glinting ore remained. That old pan is you. And even if most of it is filled with grit and gravel, there is gold there, too. God is in and with you. You can fly. The cage? Well, that’s just an illusion. It’s long gone. Or maybe it was never there to begin with.

Maybe you don’t want to fly. Okay, fine. But don’t limit someone else based on your own constraints. Don’t ever dim someone else’s cage-less vista just because you still see bars. To ignore the eternal in yourself is tragic, but to snuff it out in someone else…unforgivable.


Have a Mary Little Christmas

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