Not Quite There, But Thinking About Easter

If Easter is only about what happened to Jesus;
It is then all pretty easy and safe;
Kept all in the past;
Using the past tense of verbs
That don’t connect then with today.

But, if instead
Easter is about what happened to them;
And the choices they made;
Those who cowered in fear as they watched him die:
And who fled for their life the first chance that they had;
Then it is also about me
And the choices I make.

If that is the case
Easter is anything but easy.
Instead challenging us with hope which runs strong
In the direction of life.

Walking With A Limp

walking

 

A number of years ago a friend told me a story…
They were wrapping up their time in Nicaragua during which they had helped to build a home for a family.  As the group members were reflecting on their experience and on what they had learned, one person held up a pebble and his shoe.  He said, “I am going to keep this pebble in my shoe as a reminder that as long as there are children who go to bed hungry and as long as their are families who live in sub-standard housing, I should never feel completely comfortable.”  I was reminded of this story when I read this written by Abraham Joshua Heschel in the book I am currently reading.  Heschel writes, “[Humanity] is too great to be fed upon unispiring pedestrian ideals.  We have adjusted our ideals to our stature, instead of attempting to rise to the level of our ideals.  [We] have royal power and plebeian ideals.”

Which makes me wonder…
Do we work too hard at being comfortable?
Do we turn away from each other?
Do we shut our eyes in an effort to ignore the reality of the headlines in the news?
Do we turn inward to what we can safe guard and protect and control?
All in a misplaced desire to be comfortable?

But, if Heschel is correct that desire for comfort is our undoing limiting our dreams and causing us to lower our ideals.  It is that discomfort; that unease; that unsettledness which reminds us that the world is not yet as it could be or should be. That we are not yet as we could be or are called to be.  At least, that is, if you believe that me that all should have enough and all should have a place.

In a culture that values comfort sometimes above all else;
Maybe we are called to live purposefully with discomfort.
Maybe we all should walk with a limp.

Maybe I Have Been Asking the Wrong Question

question mark

 

One of my favorite quotes is this:
“If they get you asking the wrong questions they don’t have to worry about the answer.”

As a result of a book that I am reading – Abraham Joshua Heschel: Essential Writings – I realize I probably have been asking the wrong question and, therefore, not finding what I have been looking for.  In an effort to pay attention to what I think  is important or to move beyond what appears on the surface I have been asking:
“Where is God in this particular circumstance or situation.”
I ask my question with the best intentions in an effort to remind myself that even the most ordinary moments have the possibility of being tinged with the Holy.
But, maybe I have been asking the wrong question.

I think what I need to begin to ask is this:
“God is present.  What do I need to do to be more aware of, more open to God in this moment that I have.”
The difference between the two questions may sound like semantics, but here is what I think is the difference.  When I ask “Where is God?” the assumption is that God is hiding.  Playing a type of holy hide and seek with me and my job is to find God.  But, if I ask “What do I need to do to be more aware of God in this moment?” it is an acknowledgement that God is everywhere and always present and that my responsibility is openness and awareness and acknowledgement.

I wonder…
I think I will try asking what I think is the right question and see what I discover.

A Moment to Think

Friday afternoon my coworker, Juan Miguel, and I were running around getting everything set up for a group that arrives later today.  We went to the market in Managua to buy all the dried foods and other supplies and then headed to the community to drop it off.  While we were there, we stopped by one of the homes we built last week.  The family, Incarnacion, Teresa and Crystal all welcomed us back with big hugs and kisses on the cheek.

Sometime during the week, the Bridges masons had installed beautiful wooden doors and windows on their house.  Teresa had placed a few potted plants by the front door.  All the tools and left over cement were picked up.  It was incredible to see the finished product and see it in the process of becoming a home.

Incarnacion asked his daughter to get the key to their new home.  He proudly opened the door for us and invited us into his new home.  They hadn’t moved any of their belongings in yet, but it felt like a home.  We stood there admiring the windows and commenting on how cool it was inside.  A pleasant breeze blew through the windows.  I couldn’t stop smiling.  I looked at the faces of everyone in the home with me and they also couldn’t stop smiling.  I felt so overcome with gratitude and pride for this family and it was clear everyone else felt the same way.

Despite the down time we have while the group is here and the reflections we hold, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture.  I didn’t have an opportunity to really think about why I am here and why I am doing this work.  It wasn’t until I had left the community for a week and returned that the reality of what we had done really set in.  We built this house together.  I felt so immensely happy.

Incarnacion was sure to send his regards to all the people (including my father and brother) that supported him with the construction of his home.  I said that I had heard the group made it back to the States safely and I’m sure they send their love back as well.

Wonder

wonder

 

Today I began reading a book that has been on my bookshelf for too long – Abraham Joshua Heschel: Essential Writings.  Sometimes the right book finds the right time or maybe it is the other way around.  Either way, it is exactly what I needed to read today.
Here is one of the sentences that caught my attention.
“[Humanity] will not perish for want of information, but for want of appreciation.  What we lack is not a will be believe, but a will to wonder.”          

I needed to hear those words today.
I needed the reminder that in the midst of all my lists;
And all the tasks I think I should do;
What is really needed…
What I really needed…
Was to just stop for a moment.
To pause long enough to look around and to take a deep breath;
To wonder at the mystery and beauty of the world around me;
And the mystery and beauty of my own life.