When we go into the inner desert, we appreciate for the first time just how much unnecessary baggage we carry around. We see and gasp at the incredible artificiality of our old way of life, the flimsiness of our old values, the duplicity of our old self. The process is harrowing because it rips away everything by which we’ve defined ourselves. But this desert dying, this going under, is a necessary condition for the kind of “ineffable joy” and “wonderful light” that suffused Francis at the end of his time in the pit.
—from the book Perfect Joy: 30 Days with Francis of Assisi by Kerry Walters
Stop! Look! Listen! The universe is always speaking to us.
I saw this beautiful rainbow tonight. So beautiful I got out of my car to take a picture. As I was taking the picture I noticed the stop sign. At the same time my phone buzzed with a reminder I have on my phone to buzz me throughout the day as a reminder “Something Wonderful Is About To Happen”. I have this reminder because life happens sometimes. Life can feel Super crazy. For me this is a great reminder to always expect something wonderful.
Just when things get a little overwhelming, the universe steps in causing me to stop, look and the next thing I know my phone buzzes and causes me to listen. At that moment I am reminded “Something Wonderful Is About To Happen”.
Tonight it was a beautiful rainbow. Life is good and the good news is The Universe Has My Back always providing me with something wonderful. I just have to Stop, Look and Listen.
Today is my sixth month anniversary. Six months ago, I was on my walk. It was Sunday. I was praying that day asking god to intercede in my life and help me to land on my feet again spiritually, emotionally and physically. I was so tired of the anxiety, depression, PTSD, a negative mindset as well as the constant fear and worry that had taken control of my life.
This coming May will be five years that I returned from San Francisco. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve isolated myself in my room ever since. Life happens sometimes. Challenges arise, traumatic experiences happen. Health problems, relationship problems, job loss, finances…..Life as we knew it can change in a New York minute.
That Sunday, I made the decision to take my life back. I won’t bore you with the details. Some things are just meant to stay private. However, I will share I have been working diligently to take control of my mind, body and soul and spirit everyday. The result….I’m happy again. I love life again….and I’m grateful. I have a whole new perspective. I see the blessings in all things even at a time when we are all forced to be in isolation. I’m learning every day to create a better me. You too can create a better you the minute you decide to take control of your life. Good times will happen as will bad. Happy times will happen as will sad. It’s how we choose to react to every situation. Personally, I chose to react poorly.
Six months ago, I chose peace, love, serenity, joy, health, family, but more importantly life! I choose to live my life in a state of gratitude opposed to depression. It’s been six months ago today that I prayed asking God for help. He heard me that day because today is my anniversary and every day I find myself looking forward to the day as well as what the future will be that is right in front me. With any luck, the light that shines in my life will exude and shine brightly on those I encounter everyday. Life is good! It always was. I just failed to recognize it.
A dear friend read this devotional at a meeting tonight. I was so moved by it I asked for a copy to bring home and read everyday. I think we’ve all been guilty a time or two in thinking the grass was greener on the other side. We make hasty decisions based on a belief that somehow the grass will be greener on the other side. Sometimes we even leave a relationship to chase another “knight in shining armor” only to find that knight was nothing more than a toad. It’s then that we realize the grass We were on in the first place simply needed a little watering.
For me this is a great reminder to find the blessing in where I am today. Emotionally, physically and spiritually. I’m not where I want to be but thank god I’m not where I used to be. I’ll just keep watering my side of the grass until the winter I find myself in finally turns to spring.
I don’t particularly like to voice my political opinions. Mainly because there is so much hostility and divide in this country right now. It seems that if I don’t believe a certain way I find myself being attacked. That doesn’t work for me. I feel Honesty, empathy, value and integrity are no longer alive and well in this country. Thats my opinion. However, whatever your political beliefs are it’s undeniable that the real hero yesterday was Mitt Romney. He stood up in the midst of a storm to stand up for his moral beliefs, his faith in god as well as his integrity. That takes courage. He gets 5 stars in my book. Like him or not…agree with him or not but as Christians isn’t that what we are supposed to do? Choose to do the right thing even when it means being condemned, bullied and vilified.
Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus is amazed at a Roman centurion’s faith: “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” How often the Bible compels us to meditate on the meaning of faith! We might say that the Scriptures rest upon faith, remain inspired at every turn by the spirit of faith.
Faith is an attitude of trust in the presence of God. Faith is openness to what God will reveal, do, and invite. It should be obvious that, in dealing with the infinite, all-powerful person who is God, we are never in control.
One of the most fundamental statements of faith is this: your life is not about you. You’re not in control. This is not your project. Rather, you are part of God’s great design. To believe this in your bones and act accordingly is to have faith. When we operate out of this transformed vision, amazing things can happen, for we have surrendered to “a power already at work in us that can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.” Even a tiny bit of faith makes an extraordinary difference.
“In the midst of all the violence and corruption of the world God invites us today to create new places of belonging, places of sharing, of peace and of kindness, places where no-one needs to defend himself or herself; places where each one is loved and accepted with one’s own fragility, abilities and disabilities. This is my vision for our churches: that they become places of belonging, places of sharing.” — Jean Vanier in Befriending the Stranger
And, on this solemn day of memorial in the United States, remembering the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the many that perished that day, may we all pray and work for unity, understanding, love and peace.
If you want to be a successful painter, you will at first fail on numerous canvases. And if you want to be a successful mathematician, you will at first fail in solving the equations. If you want to be a successful writer, your manuscripts will be rejected endlessly until one of them isn’t. But there will never come a point when you stop failing, because that’s what creativity is about. What works can only be known against the backdrop of what doesn’t—and if you’re too afraid to ever risk establishing that backdrop, personally and professionally, then you’ll never know what success is like. In the Hebrew Bible, we have the beautiful images in Jeremiah, for example, in the potter’s house where he comes to understand that even as Israel screws everything up over and over again, God—like a potter with clay in hand—is patient and allows the remodeling to take place, allows us to try again, to become the beautiful creation intended from the beginning. If we cannot live because we fear failure, then we cannot be good Christians because it is a faith predicated on being often diametrically opposed to worldly success. If you want to be successful, you need to learn to fail well.
I love this quote and can certainly relate. I remember living in San Francisco. I was going through chemo treatments while living with Mephistopheles in the flesh. My life sucked. I had cancer. I was enduring treatment with zero support. I couldn’t work. I was financially challenged. In short, my life sucked!!!
My priest encouraged me to do some volunteer work in the hopes it would help with the depression and sadness I was feeling at that time. I ended up volunteering at the shelter at our church. I’ll never forget the first day I went. I was feeling sorry for myself. Life sucked or so I thought. Our guests were all waiting in line outside to come in for a warm meal. That day I met some of the kindest people I’d ever met in my life. I had never met so many people with so much gratitude. All of them were homeless living on a sidewalk, a park etc. Geez, they had nothing other than a place to go to for a warm meal. Most of these people exuded so much joy and happiness. They supported one another and were so grateful for the help they were receiving.
That day was so humbling for me. I had cancer. Life sucked yet I had a place to live in a great part of the city. I had food to eat. Clothes to wear. The list goes on. I had cancer. My partner was an unsupportive and extremely mean person. I was facing my battle all alone yet I was in better shape than the guests that were at the shelter that day. I found myself so ashamed of myself. I realized just how blessed I was yet so ungrateful. I went to the back room that day and began to cry. Sister Lois came in as I was crying. She said the same words to me me written on this quote. I had so much to be grateful for yet until that day I hadn’t recognized just how blessed I was. That day changed my perspective forever.
We all go through hard times. Life sucks sometimes. However, no matter what we are going through there is always someone experiencing something worse. Count your blessings. Sometimes it’s hard to do but if we don’t how in the world can we expect a bigger blessing? I remember hearing someone say “every morning when my feet touch the floor I know it’s a great day!” Isn’t that the truth? I often find myself feeling sorry for myself and when I do, God sends me a little reminder that no matter the circumstances I am truly blessed. We all are.