The Importance of Solitude

Recently I read the meditation posted below from the Henri Nouwen Society about the importance of solitude.  The meditation spoke to me.  Perhaps it will to you.  May we all find our own true quiet centers.

Melody

Solitude Creates Space for God
To live a Christian life means to live in the world without being of it. It is in solitude that this inner freedom can grow. Jesus went to a lonely place to pray, that is, to grow in the awareness that all the power he had was given to him; that all the words he spoke came from his Father; and that all the works he did were not really his but the works of the One who had sent him. In the lonely place Jesus was made free to fail.

A life without a lonely place, that is, a life without a quiet center, easily becomes destructive. When we cling to the results of our actions as our only way of self-identification, then we become possessive and defensive and tend to look at our fellow human beings more as enemies to be kept at a distance than as friends with whom we share the gifts of life.

In solitude we can slowly unmask the illusion of our possessiveness and discover in the center of our own self that we are not what we can conquer, but what is given to us. In solitude we can listen to the voice of him who spoke to us before we could speak a word, who healed us before we could make any gesture to help, who set us free long before we could free others, and who loved us long before we could give love to anyone. It is in this solitude that we discover that being is more important than having, and that we are worth more than the results of our efforts. In solitude we discover that our life is not a possession to be defended, but a gift to be shared. It’s there we recognize that the healing words we speak are not just our own, but are given to us; that the love we can express is part of a greater love; and the new life we bring forth is not a property to cling to, but a gift to be received.

 

 

Labor Day Blessings

One of my amazing pastors growing up in Port Lavaca, Texas was Rev. James L. Mayfield, United Methodist clergy.  Rev. Mayfield continues to influence my life in profound ways.  He recently shared with me and others a Labor Day sermon he  preached years ago.  It ended with this beautiful pastoral prayer that I wanted to pass along.  Blessings on this Labor Day.  Melody

Pastoral Prayer:  God, on this Labor Day weekend, we thank you for those whose labor provides us food and clothing and shelter. For those who labor to provide us not only with the education we need to earn a wage but also with an education that teaches us to think, for all those whose labor expands the boundaries of human knowledge and for those whose labor in the arts expands our sensitivity, we are grateful.

We give you thanks for those whose labor brings us laughter and entertainment, and we thank you for those who labor to keep society safe from harm and for all who work to change what is wrong, to preserve what is right and to make justice possible for all persons. We are grateful for those who work to bring healing to body and mind and for those who labor to bring healing in relationships. We thank you for those who labor to keep garbage from burying us, for those who do the essential work of cleaning that protects us from disease.

For all those who are willing to carry the burdens that come with trying to serve the public and whose labor contributes to our well-being and the well being of our society, we give you thanks. For all those whose labor serves us in some way, we are grateful.

All this we pray in the awareness of Christ and his labor of love on our behalf.  Amen.

Love: all you need is love.

A dear friend of mine recently sent me a posting on Love by the renowned author and priest, Henri Nouwen.  It resonated with me, and continues to be on my mind, especially on this July 4th Eve.  My hope and prayer is that all political leaders around the world will make decisions based on love, tolerance, support for diversity, and compassion.  Certainly we need that in our country, especially as we celebrate freedom and the many men, women and families that have sacrificed in so many ways for our country.  My thinking is that only love will ultimately bring our troops home.

Perhaps you will enjoy the Nouwen piece which is also posted below.

May your 4th of July, and beyond, be full of love.

Melody

from Henri Nouwen:
Without the love of our parents, sisters, brothers, spouses, lovers, and friends, we cannot live. Without love we die. Still, for many people this love comes in a very broken and limited way. It can be tainted by power plays, jealousy, resentment, vindictiveness, and even abuse. No human love is the perfect love our hearts desire, and sometimes human love is so imperfect that we can hardly recognise it as love.

In order not to be destroyed by the wounds inflicted by that imperfect human love, we must trust that the source of all love is God’s unlimited, unconditional, perfect love, and that this love is not far away from us but is the gift of God’s Spirit dwelling within us.

Henri Nouwen

New Beginnings and Heavenly Openings

New Year’s blessings to all.  Just recently I was reminded of a wonderful Eskimo proverb that I read many years ago, and which spoke to me again at the start of this New Year.  Perhaps this proverb will speak to you in this New Year of hopeful rebirth, honest and meaningful transactions, and much-needed system changes that ultimately reduce injustices in our world.

May you find many New Beginnings and Heavenly Openings in 2018 and beyond.  Melody

Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven

where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us

to let us know they are happy.

Our Saints and Thin Places

Today is All Saints’ Day, a time we especially remember those who have gone before us, as we do on so many ordinary days as well. Today I am thinking profoundly of my mother-in-law who died recently after a wonderfully long life of nearly 100 years. I am also thinking of a nephew, who died way too soon at age 52. And I am thinking of so many others, including my own parents. How I miss them all!!

Author and minister Jan Richardson writes about thin places, where earth and heaven meet. May we all have many, many thin places in our lives on All Saints’ Day and every day.

Blessings,

Melody

Walking with all

Back in 2015, my husband and I were privileged to walk part of the Camino de Santiago, a spiritual pilgrimage for people of all ages and backgrounds.  In 2016, I returned to walk the final part of the Camino with strangers who became fast friends.  The experience was simply magnificent and life changing.  Today one of the pilgrims, now a dear friend with whom I walked in 2016, sent me this posting.  It struck a chord with me and I wanted to pass it along.

Blessings to all,

Melody

Spirit of the Camino

Live in the moment

Welcome each new day – its pleasures and its challenges

Make others feel welcome

Share

Feel the spirit of those who have gone before you

Imagine those who will follow you

Appreciate those who walk with you today