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It's like this...
Good morning, friends, and grace and peace to you in preparing for a new week ~
Something I heard a while ago has surfaced afresh for me in recent days. I remember listening to one of my favorite podcasts (Kelly Corrigan Wonders) and she had a short snippet with a phrase that has stayed with me — and had a profound impact…
It’s like this.
To be honest, I don’t fully remember the context of Kelly’s meaningful reflection. It had something to do, though, with feeling like things were bumpy and messy in her life, and it can’t be this way for other people, and aren’t things supposed to be easier than this? It was then someone told her, “Kelly, it’s like this.”
She wasn’t doing anything wrong. Her life wasn’t wrong. It’s just. like. this.
It really resonated as I have often found myself wondering that exact same thing many a time. I can live with a continual, low-grade frustration believing that life is somehow meant to be different than it is. That especially the hard things are not supposed to be this hard. That other people have an insight or a key in their pocket opening and shifting things.
Now, this clearly doesn’t apply to the societal and global justice/kin-dom work we have to do in bringing God’s dream — there’s a lot there that should not, must not, be “like this.”
But the beautiful assurance of Kelly’s phrase — It’s like this — frees me and completely re-creates my expectations. And therein lies the key…at least for me. Expectations.
Subconsciously, we bring ourselves into small and large-scale suffering when our expectations are completely out of harmony with our reality. Freedom, contentment, happiness….it’s all an inside job.
I’m reminded of another quip I heard, this one shared by Mary Pipher. She was meeting with a dear friend who I believe was in her 90’s. Her friend seemed so at peace, so grounded in the goodness of her everyday life. She really didn’t go anywhere or do much. Most of her days were similar to the day before, spent in her quiet room at the nursing home. Mary asked her what made her so content, and what gave her such happiness.
“Mary,” she said. “I have everything I need between my ears in order to be happy.”
So I wonder if today, when we face something that disappoints or frustrates or needles us, we might remind ourselves, “It’s like this.”
And in doing so, feel the wave of empowerment which a welcoming approach can wash us with.
I’ll close with this little snapshot from a book I read to my youngest (*almost*) every night, Thank You For My Dreams…
“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” ~ Lao Tzu
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This prayer from my book, Ash and Starlight (both versions!), gets us back to the heart, which is where the power and perspective come…
When I’m struggling to accept my life right now
Completely Gracious One,
I’ve slipped into cynicism this week,
hanging my heart on negativity,
rather than hope,
covering bloody wounds,
rather than opening them
to the air of your healing.
Air can sting.
I’ve been asking you
for a change in my circumstances.
And I've been complaining.
Sometimes, you want a
change of conditions,
and you equip me to
make that happen.
But I'm realizing maybe
what I need this time
is not a change of what's around me,
but a change inside me.
not my circumstances.
Maybe a change in heart
will lead to a change
But for now, the changed
heart will be enough.
Instead of discontent, gratitude.
Rather than jealousy, generosity.
In place of judgment, compassion.
Replacing anger, laughter.
Mold my heart, God, into
the form you want it to be.
Lead me to my courage.
Kindle and warm what
has grown cold in me.
Energize the passions
In this day, help me stand
before all of my life
with a trusting, open heart.
That's a good enough change for now.
I will ask you about
those circumstances later.
I praise you as
God who is good,
the God who is able,
the God I love,
and the God of us all.
Psalm 34:10 * 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 * Philippians 4:11-13
“Those who seek the Lord lack no good thing…”
- Psalm 34:10
Something that nourished me recently…
*My husband reads this “Welcoming Prayer” by Father Thomas Keating every morning (I should too…) It may be one of the most liberating, challenging prayers I’ve ever experienced. I took a screen-shot from the Richard Rohr emails, which is where I first encountered it…
*Cousin time!! Lots of walking (I realized we never got in a car once), playtime, and runs with my brother. Grateful for all the memories made during the sweet, swift visit.
*All things pumpkin….every year, we have the tradition of doing a “pumpkin meal.” The rule/challenge is that every part of the meal must have pumpkin in it, somehow. this year’s menu included a pumpkin sourdough bread. If you are into sourdough, this recipe is a spongey, delicious winner with just a mild taste of pumpkin. Thankfully, the sourdough around here has improved. Some of you may remember the picture I shared of my early loaves…so hard and dense they could only be crostini (if that, blegh). Lest we forget…
Ash and Starlight, plus other good things…
*SECOND EDITION OF ASH AND STARLIGHT IS HERE! Friends, the snafus are still being worked out with Amazon, bookstores, and other carriers, but you can order from Chalice, and if local to Chicagoland, pick up a copy from me. :) I’m hoping this will be sorted out soon!
*RAFFLE TIME ~ As mentioned last week, Kathy Bostrom created a team raffle basket with gifts for a new baby, parent, and older sibling. The winner will receive copies of Since the Baby Came and Ash and Starlight, as well as snappy baby socks, a cuddle blanket, toys, and treats for the parent from Thistle Farms, a non-profit that helps women heal from prostitution and trafficking. Go here to learn about how to enter. There are a lot of social media options, which if that’s not your jam (it’s not mine either) you can participate by writing reviews on Amazon/Goodreads/etc. (HUGELY helpful) or even purchasing copies for your local church, library, or school! Bless and thank you, friends.
* These little lunch box notes are a daily boost around here. A friend gave me a box when we were experiencing an especially tough transition into school with one of our kids. They are a sweet and tender touch to the day, with space to write messages on the back.
So this week, my friends, remember…
Welcome, welcome, welcome.
It’s like this.
Love and Light,
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Monday Manna is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.