“Let me say plainly that gratitude and humility swell when thinking of those who’ve held me up, who’ve helped me endure the many ways I’ve been reduced and worn of my falsehoods through the years. I smile deeply when thinking of those who’ve opened me to the joy of simply being here. I would be less without these friendships. I love you all. I keep telling strangers: to be in the presence of those who can both share pain and celebrate just waking up, this is the answer to loneliness. Such friendship makes sharing pizza in a noisy pub and standing in silence as the old oak creaks all one could ask for. In truth, this process, of being worn to only what is raw and essential, never ends. It’s as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly. Thank you for holding me up to the elements, and for freeing yourselves, and for the joy of these unexpected moments together.” Mark Nepo
“I believe that appreciation is a holy thing–that when we look for what’s best in a person we happen to be with at the moment, we’re doing what God does all the time. So in loving and appreciating our neighbor, we’re participating in something sacred.” Fred Rogers
“Use your freedom
to serve one another in love.”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Do you understand the never-ending process of “. . . being worn to only what is raw and essential?” Have you embraced it as a something good? . . . as God’s loving care?
- Friends who share our pain and celebrate our “waking up” can sustain and save us. Do you have some friends like that? Can you really do without such loving friends?
- Presenting your “sculpted” self to God to love others is “something sacred” you can do. Are you available?
Abba, your strong love has freed me to fly. May I love others that way myself.
For more: Reduced to Joy by Mark Nepo.
Nepo, Mark. Reduced to Joy. Berkeley: Viva, 2013.
Rogers, Fred. “Commencement Address at Middlebury College May, 2001.”