“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.”
“When things happen too fast, nobody can be certain about anything, about anything at all, not even about himself.” Milan Kundera
“Speed has helped to remake our world in ways that are wonderful and liberating. Who wants to live without the Internet or jet travel? The problem is that our love of speed, our obsession with doing more and more in less and less time, has gone too far; it has turned into an addiction, a kind of idolatry. Even when speed starts to backfire, we invoke the go-faster gospel. Falling behind at work? Get a quicker Internet connection. No time for that novel you got at Christmas? Learn to speed-read. Diet not working? Try liposuction. Too busy to cook? Buy a microwave. And yet some things cannot, should not, be sped up. They take time; they need slowness. When you accelerate things that should not be accelerated, when you forget how to slow down, there is a price to pay. …For a chilling vision of where this behaviour leads, look no further than Japan, where the locals have a word—karoshi—that means ‘death by overwork.’ One of the most famous victims of karoshi was Kamei Shuji, a high-flying broker who routinely put in ninety-hour weeks during the Japanese stock market boom of the late 1980s. His company trumpeted his superhuman stamina in newsletters and training booklets, turning him into the gold standard to which all employees should aspire. In a rare break from Japanese protocol, Shuji was asked to coach senior colleagues in the art of salesmanship, which piled extra stress onto his pinstriped shoulders. When Japan’s stock bubble burst in 1989, Shuji worked even longer hours to pick up the slack. In 1990, he died suddenly of a heart attack. He was twenty-six. …All the things that bind us together and make life worth living—community, family, friendship—thrive on the one thing we never have enough of: time.” Carl Honore
“Everyone should be quick to listen,
slow to speak and slow to become angry”
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- How often do you realize you’re hurrying for no reason? Do you then slow yourself down?
- Do you feel compelled or driven to be more productive? What does your answer say about you?
- Does the way you live allow enough time for “community, family, friendship?”
Abba, in practicing more slowness may I discover more bountiful living.
For More: In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honore
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek God and God seeks you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to regularly share something of unique value with you in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! Please leave a question/comment. – Bill (Psalm 90:14)
There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” Leonard Cohen
“Unlike the Western conception of beauty—a stylized fantasy constructed by airbrushing reality into a narrow and illusory ideal of perfection—the zenith of Japanese aesthetics is deeply rooted in the glorious imperfection of the present moment and its relationship to the realities of the past…. This temporal continuity of beauty, a counterpoint to the West’s neophilia, is central to Japanese aesthetics. Rather than fetishizing the new and shiny, the Japanese sensibility embraces the living legacy embedded in objects that have been used and loved for generations, seeing the process of aging as something that amplifies rather than muting the material’s inherent splendor. Luster becomes not an attractive quality but a symbol of shallowness, a vacant lack of history:
We find it hard to be really at home with things that shine and glitter. The Westerner uses silver and steel and nickel tableware, and polishes it to a fine brilliance, but we object to the practice… We begin to enjoy it only when the luster has worn off, when it has begun to take on a dark, smoky patina. Almost every householder has had to scold an insensitive maid who has polished away the tarnish so patiently waited for. …We do not dislike everything that shines, but we do prefer a pensive luster to a shallow brilliance, a murky light that, whether in a stone or an artifact, bespeaks a sheen of antiquity.
Tanizaki speaks affectionately of ‘the glow of grime,’ which ‘comes of being touched over and over’—a record of the tactile love an object has acquired through being caressed by human hands again and again.” Maria Popova quoting
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.”
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay”
2 Corinthians 4:7
Moving From the Head to the Heart
- Might you be guilty of “fetishizing the new and shiny?” …of “neophilia?”
- Does this reading tempt you to think differently about beauty? …aging? …friendship? …marriage? …spirituality?
- Why would anyone prefer a “luster” to a “brilliance?”
Abba, help me to appreciate “the glow of grime”–especially in myself and my fellow homo sapiens.
For More: In Praise of Shadows by J
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and God seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to regularly share something of unique value with you in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! Please leave a question or comment. – Bill (Psalm 90:14)