Life barrels by in all its ordinariness and uncanny beauty.~Journal entry, March 10, 2007
I am fortunate to have a life filled with rich correspondence. On a regular basis I hear from readers sharing their lives with me. I am humbled to be allowed into these spheres--persons from diverse age groups and ethnicities. I am often amazed at peoples' resiliency and creativity as they forge their way through life's arcs and curves; how people patch up their hearts when they've reached a dead end. I'm gladdened by the courage I witness when a reader tells me they've taken a step out of a comfort zone to perform at an open mic or submit a piece they've written. Post their art on twitter. Write a poem. Get out their paints. I'm overwhelmed with joy to see career doors open when there's been little hope, perseverance the norm for years. I weep with those who are caring for elderly parents with little margin in their days, weary from the exhausting investment of love and caring. I rejoice with those parenting young children, tackling such a huge task in this culture. I champion those coming to the close of work lives, envisioning retirement, feeling young. My readers are gracious with their feedback. They enlarge my heart with their kindness. "I resonated with what you wrote." "I feel encouraged today just knowing I'm not alone." It is comforting to know that we have connection, that we don't walk the pathway by ourselves. Just this week, I received a text from a young woman who is helping me with my latest manuscript. I'm honored that she has taken the time from her life to provide input for me. She writes, "It's a joy to partner with you." How we need each other, this life a collaboration.
Often, for me, it is important to gain encouragment from those that have gone before me. They are enduring voices that illuminate the darkness. Here are a few voices I thought you might like...
Remember: If you want to make progress on the path and ascend to the places you have longed for, the important thing is not to think much but to love much, and so to do whatever best awakens you to love.~St. Teresa of Avila (from The Interior Castle)
Forgiveness--mercy seems to me the most beautiful thing on earth, perhaps because it is unearthly, and the touch of God in us; the miracle of mercy, the unexpected, the arms of the prodigal son's father, the ravens bringing food in the night, the cup running over.~Anne Morrow Lindbergh (from Against Wind And Tide)
For I have never written a book that was not born out of a question I needed to answer for myself. Perhaps it is the need to remake order out of chaos over and over again. For art is order, but it is made out of the chaos of life.~May Sarton (from At Seventy)
The Kingdom of God can't be detected by visible signs. You won't be able to say, 'Here it is!' or 'It's over there!' For the Kingdom of God is already among you."~Jesus (from Luke 17:21, The Living Bible)
If we limit ourselves to the age that we are, and forget all the ages that we have been, we diminish our truth...I never want to lose the story-loving child within me, or the adolescent, or the young woman, or the middle-aged one, because all together they help me to be fully alive on this journey, and show me that I must be willing to go where it takes me, even through the valley of the shadow.~Madeline L'Engle (from Story as Truth, The Rock That Is Higher)
God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before Him...God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to His eyes.~King David (from Psalm 18, The Message).
Life can be so good...and so messy. Sometimes I can't quite move ahead. I fumble, trip and fall when I least expect it. That's when I catch myself, catch my breath as I lay sprawled on the ground, deciding how to best get up again. And when I manage to stand, it's best for me to keep things daily. Stay present. It's almost like stretching a rubberband too far. If I look ahead too much, I'll surely snap...and so each moment leads me to the next. Today, it is lovely and sunny, spring elbowing winter out of the way. Some dear readers brought me a pot of African Daisies, as I've been under the weather with a cold. The flowers sit before me, the sun shining on bright yellow petals, bursting forth in all their glory. God's kingdom. Here. Now.