Monday, February 13, 2017

On My Heart

A few things are on my heart this morning.  We are living in strange times and it is easy to become discouraged.  I have, however, found some recent events to be inspiring.

  •       On Thursday night I ate dinner with a friend at Mogadishu Grocery here in St. Cloud.  I was looking forward to the Somali food but experienced an unexpected source of joy.  The food was wonderful, the people were welcoming but what was most touching was the celebration that was underway.  Somalia has just elected a new president which gives Somali people everywhere hope of a lasting peace, for the first time in decades.  The pure loud exuberant joy expressed by the Somali-Americans at Mogadishu provided a surprising lift to my own spirits.
  • On Saturday afternoon my daughter and I attended a benefit for a community member faced with extraordinary medical expenses.  The turnout for this event reminded me that we are a community of love.  We do not live in isolation.  We live in community.  We determine how we live as a community.
  •  On Sunday morning I listened to stories of six individuals who had just returned from a mission project in Mississippi.  The stories of the way in which their work touched the lives of others and filled their own hearts brought me to tears.   The love among humans is amazing. 
  • On Sunday afternoon I had the pleasure of attending, with a friend, the Minnesota Youth Symphony Winter Concert.  The tickets came to me through a generous act of sharing, pride and appreciation which is another story.  What I want to comment on here is the beautiful, talented, dedicated and diverse group of youth who comprise these orchestras.  The complete commitment of all involved (including performers, parents, teachers, conductors and artistic directors) was evident. As I listened to these performances and watched the culmination of decades of dedication, I experienced more than music.  I experienced a surge of hope for America’s future where the ability to “play well with others” is alive and well.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

A Morning in June

Gratitude abounds this morning in June.  Among the things I appreciate today are the ability to go for walks, maple trees, a dog in a wading pool, Egyptian mint tea, graduations, coffee standing up, people planning weddings, petunias, a basket of clean towels, the breeze through an open window, garden parties, babies on the way, green tea, hosta plants, coffee on the deck, a hammock rocking in the wind, squirrels on their race track, and the slow waking of the neighborhood.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Calendars and Clocks

The clock on my desk sometimes seems to run my life.  I’m always checking to see that I am “on time” for this or that.  Keeping people waiting is very uncomfortable for me.  Or I’m checking to see if I “have time” to do one more thing before I need to move on to the next scheduled event.  When I am not checking the clock, it seems that I’m checking the calendar.  Though people often think that I have a calendar in my head, I have become increasingly reliant upon paper calendars and electronic calendars to remind me of how I’ve committed to spend my time. As I get older, it cannot be assumed that an appointment is sufficiently encoded on that calendar in my head.  And, of course, I wouldn’t want to miss a thing. Where did all of this preoccupation with time come from?  How did time become so important?

Time can be loosely defined as a space between events.  Early measures of time were quite simple and functional.  A day, the space between two nights, and a month, the space between new moons, were adequate measures in early “times”. Even now, I love it when I hear a parent tell their child “just two more sleeps” before some anticipated event.  This refreshingly simple measure is adequate for the really important things in life.  Similarly the measurement of one’s age as the number of harvests he/she has lived through seems adequate without reference to the precise month date and year when we arrive or pass from this world.  Bedtime was once the time when the day no longer provided adequate light.  What simplicity.

 In my own life I intend to seek out more unscheduled “times”.  Let me pencil that in. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Turns in the Road

Do you ever wonder just how many turns in the road led you to be in just this place where you are today?  How did that happen?  Did it just happen or were there decisions involved?  How were those decisions made?  Whose voice was in your head?  What dream were you following?  Did you have a spirit guide?  Did you have a vision or were you just on an adventure?  Is your life filled with randomness? Are your decisions made intuitively?  Or are you completely rational and methodical?  Do you take risks or play it safe?  Does the past weigh more heavily in your decisions, or does your future weigh more?

 How have these traits worked out for you so far?  Have you tried making decisions in any other way or trying on a different style?

Friday, August 21, 2015

The thing about Saturdays

What is it about Saturdays?  The day starts out with that amazing feeling of leisure and the thought that the day is all yours.  You might have thought you would sleep later but something pulls you up and out of bed.  Maybe it is that first cup of coffee or the opportunity to be up while the house and the streets are quiet.  Something propels you forward. And then, the little commitments and the tasks which you’ve put off for the weekend come to mind.  Little by little the day becomes filled.  It may be filled with friends, filled with errands, filled with projects, or filled with everyday chores. It may be filled with conversations or with solitude.  The day may unfold just as you planned or it may turn out to be nothing that you had anticipated.  But what is it about Saturdays?  Saturdays are a slice of who you are.  Saturdays are made up of those things that you treasure most.  Saturdays clarify your priorities and help you to weed out the unnecessary agendas from your life.

This Saturday take time to breathe.  Go for a walk.  Drop one thing to do another. Allow yourself to be flexible and gentle with yourself.