Years ago, when I was pastoring, we had a tradition we called Hugs and Love. We would always start off with a reminder about how God loves us just as we are. Then we would greet each other and tell each other that God loved us just as we were. I remember the first time I opened this tradition as if it were yesterday. I talked about how we were like coffee cups. When you first go to the store to purchase a cup, it is smooth and clean inside. However, over time and use, there are stains which build up and tiny little cracks that sometimes appear and yet we still go back to that cup time after time and accept it just as it is. Read more
Sometimes the greatest gift we can give someone is our presence. As I shared in this month’s newsletter, Recently, I came across a story about practicing being present in a book by Sandy Boucher, author of Opening the Lotus: A Woman's Guide to Buddhism. She wrote about the practice of being present from a Buddhist perspective. “The word 'practice' covers everything that Buddhists do in their efforts to achieve clear understanding and benefit other beings... Last week I spoke with a Buddhist friend who had just had a baby. ‘How is it caring for a little girl?' I asked. She replied without hesitation, 'It's twenty-four hours a day of practice.' She was being called upon to pay attention to, and to act with compassionate caring toward this tiny human being constantly throughout day and night. And she was attempting to do it, not by rote but, with full presence of mind and spirit. This is Buddhist practice." Read more
Growing up, I remember my Bubby (Yiddish for grandmother), reminding me that there was a lesson hidden in everything I felt. Her advice was to accept the feeling and seek out the gift. This was true regardless of whether it was sadness, happiness, or something in between. She taught me to understand and see what I was feeling within the broader context of life. This was a lesson she taught me a few ways. One day, when I was sad she gave me a pinch of salt to eat. I remember needing to rinse my mouth out with water, for what seemed like forever. I had tried to spit it out; however, she would not let me. Later, she took the same amount of salt, sprinkled it on a burger, and had me eat it. As part of the burger, it tasted amazing and seemed to make the burger taste better. This lesson reminded me that everything is part of something bigger then what it appears to be.
I call this “game” my Bubby taught me, accept and seek. Read more
When I was in seminary, Dr. Gail
Ricciuti, my homiletics professor, told me about a book by J Ruth Gendler called
The Book of Qualities. It has since
become one of my favorite books, in part because she has helped me to
understand human qualities, such as jealousy, in new ways and enabled me to put
a very different human face on them. She wrote this about jealousy,
Jealousy stands by the blue flame of
the gas stove stirring obsession stew. In his mind he is tearing people limb
from limb. He wears a shirt that is almost in style with it odd angular shapes
and bright edges. He can be quite charming when he wants to be. He certainly
has a flair for drama. After a while though, the roles jealousy takes begin to
seem shallow, dishonest, repetitive. The more upset he feels, the more loudly
he denies it. For a time I stopped giving parties because he wouldn’t come if I
invited certain people. At that point, I couldn’t give a party without inviting
him, and I was unwilling to censor my guest list for his sake. He is quite capable
of showing up anywhere unexpected, uninvited, unwelcome. Read more
I shared this story on Sunday at Love and Inspiration and it was suggested I post it here as well. I found it one of the websites which I read periodically.
37 Seconds To Read: May Change Your View For A Lifetime
Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.
One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs.
His bed was next to the room’s only window
The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. Read more