Friday, August 19, 2011

Joy in Small Things

Let me always find joy in small things!  The everyday things that might easily have gone unnoticed are special gifts.

I've never noticed birds a great deal, but lately I'm learning how delightful they are.  Last month when we were backpacking there was a very bold red-headed woodpecker who was quite comfortable right out in the open in our campsite.  He kept an eye on us like the guardian of the forest, and we enjoyed his company.

There's a group of birds that congregate in the mornings to bathe in a big puddle that forms at the edge of the grass outside the window where I work.  What a delight when I'm starting my day to stop for a minute and watch them.  To say that they are bathing is an understatement; it looks more like a raucous dance as they change positions and get completely down into the water and shake for all they're worth.

And what a hoot watching the birds in our backyard, oh my goodness!  We hung a new bird feeder closer to the house, which is suspended by a string and able to spin around freely.  It has six little holes and posts for the birds to perch on as they eat, and it's really funny watching them holding on and spinning around like they're on a thrill ride at the fair.  Centrifugal force pushes some off, but they come back for more.  And there's that one determined soul who's sometimes left spinning around and around by himself like king of the hill.  What beautiful and fun moments, and all I had to do for them was stop and notice.

I'm learning to acknowledge small things, and be grateful for them.  I was looking for an important piece of mail recently and realized that it had probably been taken out by mistake with the recycling.  When I went to check there it was, right where the recycling had been, and it had either slipped out of the pile or had been on the bottom.  Little serendipitous things that seem random or like blind luck are gifts from heaven.

There are so many examples of perfect good at work, a much-needed break in traffic when we're late,  a song on the radio with exactly the lyrics we'd been needing to hear, or a stranger getting to the door at just the same time we do and opening it for us, because our arms are full.

I'm remembering to say thank you now when these things happen.  When we are grateful we make room for more good things in our lives, large and small.

May you always notice the grace in small things, and may this tool be a blessing. . .

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Full-Out Loving Life

I had dinner the other night with a dear friend of mine named Jeri.  In the 20 years I've known her, I've always admired and appreciated her loving acceptance, her openness, her unfailing concern, and the bright light she shines in the world.

It's fitting that Jeri forwarded to me the following wonderful quote from Neale Walsch.  We cannot be conscious of something that we ourselves do not possess, so I'm not surprised that this quote spoke to Jeri.  She is God, and love, in expression. 

"It is the full-out loving of life, and all that life presents in every moment, that is the expression of Godliness."

I think I'm maybe just starting to get it, at this time in my life, on the far side of middle age but definitely not old yet, that I can trust God.

It's a tall order, I think, to approach every situation without worry or fear, and trust that perfect good is at work in all things.  I know it in my head, and often feel it in my heart.  I write about it and I believe every word I say.

In a moment, though, my trust is quickly replaced by fear when something happens that feels threatening, or like it should be different.  It happened this morning, reading in the paper about people struggling against oppression and famine, the worldwide economy, and democracies flailing.

I can visualize a world where all people move through the circumstances of their days with an open heart and an abiding love for being there in the middle of all of it.  But we can only do that when we surrender our need to understand and control, and begin to trust a perfection that we have no way of really understanding anyway, while in this physical form.

And so we choose, and choose again.  In each moment, when we notice we are afraid, we affirm, as Unity teaches, that fear has no power over us, and that there really is only one presence and one power, God the Good.

We acknowledge our fear and our resistance and then we choose the truth we will serve in that moment.  There will always be circumstances that shake our truth, but that doesn't change it.  All of the things that flame our fears provide divine and holy opportunities to remember that we create this world according to what we hold as truth.

It's a huge leap of faith, but we can do it. We are doing it.

In the middle of situations that shake our faith to the core, and in the midst of all evidence to the contrary,  we trust, and we choose, perfect Good.  And for me that's the crux of the matter, because when I trust that there is a much larger good at work, even though it can't be understood with my limited human thinking, I can embrace all of it.  I can love life.  And I am brought full-circle, by allowing God, I experience my own Godliness.

May this tool be a blessing. . .