Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Small Signs of Advent - Morning Stillness

     Why is the morning so still? Why is the time between darkness and dawn so very quiet? The night voices begin to quiet themselves and the morning voices , like me, are hesitant to start moving. Stillness.  I open my eyes and leave the warm space to listen and wait. As the first rays of light peek through the trees, the morning noises, one by one, come to life. Another day. Another new morning reminds me of the words from Isaiah, "Morning by morning He wakens - wakens my ear to listen as those who are taught."( Isaiah 50:4)
I have learned the quiet before dawn is what rescues me from the perils of the day. The stillness and quiet waiting are when I hear the voice of God, assuring me that the One who brings his first rays of light to creation is also bringing me a ray of light, a ray of hope, a ray of guidance.  It is the example Jesus gave to his disciples where, "In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went to a deserted place, and there he prayed. (Mark 1:35.) The Christ child teaches us.
I cannot help but wonder about those who miss the quiet before the dawn. Admittedly, sometimes I am one of those, but choosing to miss the lonely, quiet place of silence is dangerous. Henri Nouwen, in his book Out of Solitude says: "Somewhere we know that without a lonely place our lives are in danger. Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals, without distance closeness cannot cure. Somewhere we know that without a lonely place our actions quickly become empty gestures."
Where is the place of "somewhere?" The answer lies in my Advent reading for today.
"God wants to open the heart before it opens itself to the world; before the ear hears the innumerable voices of the day, the early hours are the time to hear the voice of the Creator and Redeemer. God made the stillness of the early morning for himself." (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is In the Manger)
Open my heart, God, to your day and let me always show up as you wait for me in the stillness of the early morning.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Small Signs of Advent - Weeping for Newtown

The headlines tear to shreds my peaceful Advent journey.
Small, innocent children and teachers are senselessly murdered in our country. 
God, where were you at Sandy Hook Elementary School? God, you whose eyes are on the sparrow, who sees and knows everything, where were you when the tormented young man left his home where he killed is mother and then entered the school and opened fire on innocent victims?
It is unthinkable and my heart bleeds with the brokenhearted families who are reeling in pain and and whose lives will never be the same. I look for the "small sign" and can't seem to find it through my weeping.Maybe that is the small sign.

I return to the writing of Ann Weems who gives voice to anguish.
"Anger and alleluias careen around within me, sometimes colliding. 
Lamenting and laughter sit side by side in a heart that yearns for the peace that passes understanding. Those who believe in the midst of their weeping will know where I stand.
In the quiet times this image comes to me: Jesus weeping.
Jesus wept,
and in his weeping,
he joined himself forever
to those who mourn.
He stands now throughout all time,
this Jesus weeping
with his arms about the weeping ones:
'Blessed are those who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.'
He stands with the mourners,
for his name is God-with-us.
Jesus wept.
'Blessed are those who weep, for they shall be comforted.' Someday. Someday God will wipe the tears from their eyes.
In the godforsaken, obscene quicksand of life,
there is a deafening alleluia
rising from the souls
of those who weep,
and of those who weep with those who weep.
If you watch, you will see
the hand of God
putting the stars back in their skies
one by one."(Psalms of Lament)
Holy Infant Jesus, your tears are joined to mine. I hear the alleluias.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Small Signs of Advent #12 - Staying Alert

     If Advent is a time of waiting, then shouldn't we always be alert to that for which we wait? The funny song we hear on the radio reminds me that I, too, need to focus on the one right thing. Alvin, the chipmunk, has the same trouble that so many of us have each Advent. The director is preparing his group to sing their Christmas song. Simon is ready. Theodore is ready. But then we hear, "Alvin....Alvin.....ALVIN!"  Alvin is looking off, busy with other things, maybe good things, maybe not. Time is spent getting him back on track to sing his Christmas song. (The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late,1958)
How much time do you spend getting yourself "back on track" to sing your own personal Christmas song?
Today I read:
"Be Alert, be alert, so that you will be able to recognize your Lord in your husband, your wife, your parents, your children , your friends, your teachers, but also in all that you read in the daily papers. The Lord is coming, always coming. Be alert to his coming. When you have ears to hear and eyes to see, you will recognize him at any moment of your life. Life is Advent: life is recognizing the coming of the Lord."(Henri J.M. Nouwen, Gracias! A Latin American Journal)
     But you say, "But I don't see the Lord in that person and I look and look, but can never find the Lord in the news."  We keep looking for love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. And guess what, we find the Lord either in rejoicing because of the presence of those things or the lamenting the great need of them. We rejoice with finding the Lord or we search and wait for Him to be found. Either way, we recognize him and our great need for him.
Even the Chipmunks in Christmas Don't Be Late recognize their need for Christmas when they sing:
"We've been good, but we can't last.
Hurry Christmas, hurry fast!"
     Try as we might, we just can't be good in our own might. We can't last. We need the coming of Christmas to bring us the perfect Christmas gift - grace, wrapped in swaddling clothes.
Pay attention! We have a song to sing!
"Keep awake - for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else me may find you asleep when he comes suddenly."(Mark 13:35-36)

Baby of Grace who comes to us,
                    give me ears to hear and eyes to see without distraction.
                                                                I want to recognize you every moment.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Small Signs of God #11 - The Visitor

      My daughter called laughing, "There's a bird in our house. What do I do?" After instructions were given for shooing the feathered friend back to his habitat, I called back a few minutes later to check the status and had to ask, "What kind of bird was it?" She said, "It was a cardinal, Mom." Stunned, I hung up the phone. Stunned and pleased that the shy, quiet red bird came close enough to my door to enter, sit on the arm of my sofa, circle the room and exit gracefully.
For sixteen months I observed the movement of cardinals. I watched the rhythm of life outside my window move through the seasons while life inside stood still. Always, there would be a cardinal to cheer me, to offer solace and hope. Each time they would visit a tree branch or the feeder, some message would come forth and I would write my thoughts:

     "There is a canvas outside our living room window that Nature has painted. The river birch leaves are the color of mustard and closer to the window a holly loaded with red berries. As Megan and I view our “painting” it comes to life with a bright red cardinal, working among the berries in the holly tree. I wish I knew more about birds, but I do know that the cardinal spends the winters here in Atlanta. Yesterday, there must have been 1000 birds overhead, fleeing for the winter. Other birds, like robins, sort of stay around, but hide themselves. I always felt bad for the robin, remembering the child’s verse, “The North Wind will blow, and we shall have snow, and what will the Robin do then – poor thing? He’ll sit in the barn, to keep himself warm, and hide his head under his wing – poor thing!”
     Could the winter habits of birds be teaching me something about suffering? Warren Wiersbe says that in suffering we tend to fall into three categories of coping. We can escape – flee when the cold winds come. We can endure – hide ourselves under our wings – poor things! Or we can enlist – find an evergreen loaded with nourishment to shelter us from the storm. We, unlike birds, have a choice.
     I will choose the cardinal this winter. Escaping is out of the question, enduring is drudgery, but enlisting is taking the winter on, finding the bright, red berries in the cold, singing when the wind blows cold, and trusting that Spring will certainly come. I am not surprised at wonderful and amazing God – He not only gives the wintering cardinal the instinct to nest in the protected denseness of the holly, but also provides food right outside the door of his nest and places it all for us to view. How much more does he provide for us? As the song says, “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me." (taken from When God Comes Near, Chapter 7)
      For a cardinal to actually come into my house was a visit out of the ordinary. Maybe you have had such a visit. Others had those visits. Isaiah was visited by God's counsel 700 years before the birth of Jesus. He must have been so profoundly moved by his vision he wrote in Isaiah 9:6, "For a child has been born for us." Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and wise men all had visits out of the ordinary. But the smallest visit to earth was Jesus himself - a tiny, out-of-the-ordinary child who came for us. And He still calls us today, saying, "Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me." Revelation 3:20
                      I open my door today with hope - even in the cold - and invite Him in.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Small Signs of God #10 - On the Bridge Between The Sacred and The Secular

The Bridge of Angels, Rome

Millions of people celebrate the Christmas season, but not all of them are Christians. They shop and decorate. They attend the politically correct "Holiday" Party and participate in the music of the season. Some will say they are Christian, but just have trouble with a virgin birth and a resurrection - the two, really big mysteries. They say they believe in God and sometimes they go to church. They think there might be something after death - possibly a Heaven, but surely not a place called Hell. How could a loving God send someone to Hell? That's not very Christmas-y.
And then Advent comes and asks us to look again at the message proclaimed. The time is here when prophets warn, stars move in the sky  and angels proclaim. Those who are unsure in their faith find themselves in another Christmas quandary. They find themselves on the bridge between the sacred and the secular and the choice becomes one of confusion and distraction. Back and forth they go - we go. The immediate often reigns over the important. Sometimes it is the good over the best.
I heard a speaker who made a strong point about this division. She said there are two voices inside of us. Deep inside each of us there is God's Spirit calling. Outside, there is the world calling - usually pulling in the opposite direction. Somehow those voices gear up for our attention during the time of Advent. The world pulls us to material pleasures and God's Spirit pulls to one, holy silent night. It becomes a battle and Advent can leave us feeling sad and depressed.
The conversation between Charlie and Lucy in the movie A Charlie Brown Christmas explains our frustrations:
Charlie Brown: I just don't understand Christmas, I guess. I like getting presents and sending Christmas cards and decorating trees and all that, but I'm still not happy. I always end up feeling depressed."
Lucy: "Charlie Brown, you're the only person I know who can take a wonderful season like Christmas and turn it into a problem."
Christmas is not the problem. Christmas is the solution. Christmas is the voice that calls to us throughout the year. Maybe it's because during this beautiful season for celebrating, we find ourselves still on that bridge of indecisiveness, still wondering, still watching for some small sign of God.
God whose infant cries call me to your holy night,
                                Guide my steps to your sacred manger,
                                                                     For You are the solution.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16    

Monday, December 10, 2012

Small Signs of God - Day 9 "The Part I Will Play This Christmas"

Small Signs of God  - Day 9 "The Part I Will Play This Christmas"

When I was in 2nd grade, I was chosen to play the part of Mary in the Nativity Play. It was not because I was a budding actress, but simply because I was very tall like David Herrington who played the part of Joseph and the audience could see us better from a distance. I remember being excited that I got to bring my favorite doll to wrap and hold while the story unfolded on stage. I also liked the pale blue gown and the way the scarf draped over my head and fell in folds to the floor. I had to hold my head very still though for fear of it falling off. I hope you're smiling just picturing this event.  Most of us have acted out the scene at some point in our lives. My youngest daughter was a sheep one year and the way her ears flopped when she baa-ed made my sides burst when I REALLY wasn't supposed to be laughing. Oh, and one year six children in our home donned bathrobes  and acted out the scene to four proud parents. That one got a little out of hand when the two shepherds got in a fight with their broom-staffs.
Today I am asking myself: what part do I play in the Nativity? If I am the angels, well, then, I am already in Heaven and have the privilege of telling others not to worry. I can fly around and sing joyfully. If I am Joseph, I am dazed and confused, thinking about the newly defined family I have been asked to support and must find a hotel quickly because a baby is about to be born that is not even mine. If I am Mary, I am tired and weary, bearing the weight of the world, facing an uncertain future. If I am the innkeeper, I am busy making money and  knowing these people from Nazareth can't pay, should send them on their way - or on second thought,  offer them the shed. If I am the shepherds, I am looking for a little action - something in the sky is different and tending sheep can be such a drag. If I am the Wise Men, well, I will come later, but I do see something happening different in the  stars and I start shopping. If I am the animals, I can sense that something is different and I simply stand very still.
You see: all of creation plays a part in this mystery and wonder of the birth of Jesus. No one is exempt from the reality of the divine child in the stable. All Christian theology has its origin in the wonder of that night - when God became flesh. It is how we "play our part" in the story.  And in the end, scripture plainly tells us that every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all. (Romans 14:11)

God who becomes flesh among us,
              I want to be the angel, glorifying you
                                     or the lowly donkey, simply standing very still,
                   but you have made me the human with a mind of my own to choose my part;
                                 Give me the wisdom of the wise men to search for you with every breath I take.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Who Will I Be This Thanksgiving?

I start thinking about Thanksgiving on the first day of November. Who will be at my table and what delicious foods will be served.

But yesterday was All Saints Sunday. We remembered those we love who have left this life in the past year.  Their names were called as a candle was lit and the bell tolled. We remembered all of those people who have gone on in the past, giving thanks for their lives and their impact on our lives of faith. It is a day of remembrance. It is a day of hope. We face the future without them, but look to the day when we will see them again.

Being part of a service like this is reminder of our statement of faith. And a statement of faith is important to someone going through this process of grief. Because grief twists us and turns us in directions that make us writhe in pain, make us wonder, make us uncertain of who we are.

And we falter and become uncertain of what we truly believe.

And somewhere in our twisted, painful grief, we decide down in our soul who we will be.

And the heightened emotions around the holidays make it all more intense.

I think we have four choices:

We will hold fast to our faith and dig deeper to know God better. We experience a peaceful sort of joy in our sorrow. It is through our trust in Jesus Christ that the Holy Spirit can minister to us and help us through the difficulty of grief.

We will walk away from our faith, blaming God for not healing or protecting our loved one. We become cynical,bitter, and angry. But God never gives up trying to get our attention.

We will experience faith in Christ for the very first time. We start to grow in trust and love.Our priorities change and God begins to reveal himself to us more and more. We have found something to cling to that is real and eternal. We have hope.

We will decide to not decide, but stay on the fence, retreat and wonder, living an undecided life. We have heard the Good News of Christ, but just can't quite believe that Jesus died for us and has provided a way where death is not our final destiny.

Right now is a good time to decide who you will be in your grief. In  a few weeks, we will be sharing the Thanksgiving table with those we still have with us. Who will you be at that table? Will love and peace abound along with platters of food? Will gratitude be abundant?

It's your grief. You choose.

Monday, October 15, 2012

At A Loss For Words...

My friend told me she drove down my street, wanting to knock on my door to ask, "What do I do? What do I say to my friend who just lost her child?" She thought I would have some words, some advise to move her to action in a way that expressed her heartfelt grief. Because I had lost a child, she thought I would have lots of suggestions.

I hugged her and thanked her and confessed that I, too, am at a loss. My mind registers the knowledge, but my heart is presently breaking and simply cannot process this loss. Death shocks and we have a tendency to run away - escape our emotions, looking for air to breathe.

We search for the words or deeds that say, "I am sorry for your loss. I love you. If I could take away the pain, I would. I know I can't do that, but I offer this - my time, my casserole, my words of comfort, my willingness to run errands, clean the house, empty the dishwasher, bathe the dog, care for other family members, provide bedrooms for out of town guests, sort the mail, answer the telephone, make phonecalls, pray, refresh the plants, fill the birdfeeders, and all the while, feeling so utterly helpless." Why? Because death strikes a mighty blow and we temporarily lose our confidence.

When we lose our confidence, Jesus steps in to show us his own personal example of going to the bereaved. Jesus shows us how to grieve. Jesus shows us how to look beyond death. In the gospel of John, we are told a moving story about Mary and Martha who sent word to their dear friend, Jesus, that their brother Lazarus was sick. Jesus did not go to them immediately, but simply told those with him that the sickness would not end in death. And then Lazarus died. And after a very long four days, Jesus wept with Mary and Martha at the tomb. Then he had a poignant conversation with them. In John 11, Jesus reminded the sisters,"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die." Then to prove his point of their conversation, Jesus first prayed, thanking God for the opportunity to show those observing that He truly was sent from God. Then, He did it. Jesus raised Lazarus from death to life. In front of their very eyes. And from his example, He is still teaching us today:

1. Go to the person who is grieving.
2. Weep with them.
3. Be the hands and feet of Jesus through compassionate care.
4. Pray, thanking God for the opportunity to share the Good News with others.
5. Rest in the words of Jesus who said, "I am the resurrection. Believe in me and live forever."
Since I believe all of the Bible is true, I am able to regain my confidence in these passages when I face the reality of death. And somehow, all the words and deeds done, carried out in love, become the hands and feet of Jesus, transformed into a beautiful thing called grace. Can we follow His lead?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hope for Spring Daffodils

Today I heard a talk about the history of bulbs in the garden. Through ancient Greek mythology, tales were told of bulbs springing to life after disaster, blooms rising up from the storm of defeat. As I sat there and waited to give my short report  - specifically about daffodils  - I could not help but agree with the historical musings. Yes, bulbs wait in the cold of winter, push through frozen ground, and amaze and delight us with their fortitude and color. Just when you think winter will never leave, that spring will never come, you look outside and dancing yellow faces are waving to you, beckoning you outside to welcome spring.

It's just so hard to wait. It's just so hard to face the cold of winter. You work, toil, fertilize, nurture...and then you wait. Uncertain and unsure about so much. Did I plant deeply enough? Did I order the right variety for my climate? Did I work and prepare the ground enough? Will the pests leave the bulbs alone long enough to burst through the outer shell and send green life out to the world? Will I see blooms? Will I smell the lingering aroma? Will my daffodils flourish?

Over the last four years, thousands of daffodils have been planted in my neighborhood to benefit research for specific causes. Every year more and more bulbs are planted. And every year, those of us who are diligent in the plantings, think about those bulbs this time of year.

We plan ahead.

This is the time to fertilize.  Use a low-nitrogen all purpose fertilizer to stimulate bulb growth. Bulbs will grow underground until the temperature reaches 40 degrees.
This is the time to purchase new bulbs.  Search for varieties that have proven successful in your climate. Choose a variety for naturalizing or one variety for mass planting. Groupings are showy!
This is the time to be preparing a new bed, free from tree roots and red clay. Not your favorite task, but as the temperature continues to drop, you will be glad you did the hard work when the weather was friendly. A man with a strong back sure comes in handy!

Admittedly, the most diligent gardener can experience failure. Improper planting, rodents, bad bulbs - these are just a few of the  hazards always faced. But we plod on. We do everything in our power to make the blooming time one of success. And we hold on to hope. Hope that spring will surely come and bring with it the results of hard work, diligent effort, and the gifts of Creation for giving us a garden in which to play. Who would want to miss any of it?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

An Offering of Grace

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hi Friends of The Olive Branch,

I am launching a new blog site and would love for you to follow along: trust me, it's simple. Just click on the link below and it will take you to the new site. Once you get there, sign up to follow in the box on the top right hand side.

While I will continue to write on both sites, Marcia Gaddis...On the Grief Journey will get most of my attention until it is up and running. Thanks for supporting and reading...and following!

http://marciagaddis.blogspot.com/2012/09/today-is-new-day.html#comment-formMarcia Gaddis...on the Grief Journey


 Today's Post on Marcia Gaddis...on the Grief Journey

 "The tears...streamed down, 
and I let them flow as freely as they would, 
making of them a pillow for my heart...on them it rested."
Confessions 1X,12

 The funeral is over. The relatives are gone.The flowers have been given away in small bunches. The remnants of cakes and casseroles are all that remain. There are piles of cards and letters...some are opened, some are waiting. You open your eyes and everything looks different. The world is a new color of gray and nothing feels right. And then you remember - it all comes flooding over you.

You try to remember what day it is. Everything seems too quiet. There is a hush in your home and in your heart.  You look outside and even the birds are silent on this day. But there is something inside of you that wants to hear the birds sing. There is something inside of you that strains to hear the faintest chirp. Anything that would bring you back to the way it was...before. When life was normal.

A few days after my daughter's service, I stood at the coffeepot next to my husband and waited for the coffee to brew. We stood there, watching the drip of the morning elixer and he whispered, "Would you like to go to the recycling center with me today?" I knew then we would survive. And I laughed that the mere thought of some task so utilitarian could be such an offering of grace.

It is the offering of grace we mourners so desire. It is the offering of grace that reaches down into our soul, soothes us, calms us with the simple tasks of daily life. I suppose they are different for each grief-stricken heart. But when hearts are linked together, the offering and the acceptance are always compatible. You know what I need. You offer. I accept:

                                      a visit on the front steps,
                                                        watching a child learn to ride a bicycle.
                                a hand-picked bouquet from your garden,
                                                      delivered hand-to-hand, eye-to-eye

                                             a linen handkerchief

                                                                    a note in the mailbox

Maybe your heart is linked to someone today who needs a simple offering of grace. Look around you. What will your offering be for the one whose heart is resting on a pillow of tears?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Visit My New Blog

Hi Friends of The Olive Branch,

I am launching a new blog site and would love for you to follow along: trust me, it's simple. Just click on the link below and it will take you to the new site. Once you get there, sign up to follow in the box on the top right hand side.

While I will continue to write on both sites, Marcia Gaddis...On the Grief Journey will get most of my attention until it is up and running. Thanks for supporting and reading...and following!

http://marciagaddis.blogspot.com/2012/09/today-is-new-day.html#comment-formMarcia Gaddis...on the Grief Journey

Monday, July 30, 2012

Weed Control

It's funny how weeds love to grow when the temperatures soar.
For a while you hardly notice them. They  sneak in and grow along with the grass. Then they take off. You can recognize them because they shoot up with an attitude. They spread like wild fire, creeping through the ground, and before you know it, they have choked out the good grass.
You must stop the choking. You must take action and try to save the good grass. The directions on the container of weed killer say to treat weeds during the growing season. Spray the weeds while they are growing and they will be stopped. Last week I did just that. I sprayed with a vengeance— nutgrass, crabgrass, and a multitude of "other" grasses that do not belong in my lawn. Each day now, I celebrate a little more of the yellowing and wilting of the invaders.
By contrast, there is a parable in the Bible where Jesus talks to the disciples about weeds and wheat. The farmer sows the wheat and while he is sleeping, a villain comes in and sows weeds to grow up with the wheat. The workers ask the farmer if they should pull up the weeds, but the farmer says to let the weeds grow with the wheat, that he alone will separate the two when it is time for the harvest, keeping the wheat and burning the weeds forever. (Matthew 13)
The lesson from the parable reminds me that for this present moment, I am that farmer. Although gratefully I am not to judge,  I am to distinguish between the weeds and wheat—the good and the bad in my life. I am to control the invasive and harmful things that want to discourage and destroy me. I have to be constantly on the lookout for them. And I am to cultivate the good with nourishment and attention. Oh, it's hard work. And sometimes we get weary and just want to ignore those things in our lives that seek to invade and destroy. But until that final harvest comes that is spoken of in Matthew, we must work the fields— and wait—and trust. We must educate ourselves and know the difference between good and bad - truth and lies. We must know how to vote, what to stand for, and where to draw the line.
Where are you celebrating "the wilting of the invaders" in your life?

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Unforced Rhythm of Grace

The goal I seem to accomplish when traveling is to unabashedly wear myself out. There is so much to be done in so little time. I take it on myself to go on beach walks and long bike rides after playing a round of golf. I hike, poke through markets, and  catch up on reading late into the night or talking over late night decaf. It's all good. I wouldn't change a thing—except for the exhaustion I feel when I'm finally home. I look at my calendar and say, "How can I do this to myself?" I promise to never exhaust myself again, and attack my calendar with a machete, slashing all unnecessary events. It takes a few days  of atmospheric change to make the transition, but rest comes. I've settled myself back into my quiet routine.  While I like my busy traveling, I also like my routine.
Routine is a good thing—a prescribed course of action followed regularly.  Over and over.  It is actually very restful and productive to be part of a routine. Watch an out-of-sorts toddler who has missed his nap. Watch an older person who has to leave his home for a hospital stay. Watch me on vacation! In every example, you find disruption, chaos, and ultimately melt-down. I like best the way the toddler handles it—he has a crying fit.
But the creative side of me wants to argue, "But too much routine is boring. I don't want to do the same thing—routinely—day after day. The writer Amy Tan once said, "You have to be displaced from what's comfortable and routine, and then you get to see things with fresh eyes, with new eyes." And I love what Emerson said about routine, “So much of our time is spent in preparation, so much in routine, and so much in retrospect, that the amount of each person's genius is confined to a very few hours.”
Well, that explains it. That explains why my "genius" is so underdeveloped. I spend my days preparing, thinking, and keeping my safe routine. It explains why seeing with fresh eyes can plant new ideas that grow creativity. Yes, even on the busiest of days. And yet, in my routine, I stumble upon the solution. I stumble upon another quote that restores me, settles me, and ignites the creativity in my soul. In Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message), Jesus said, "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."
Ah, to learn the unforced rhythms of grace.