EASTER #7: Enough Time

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IMG_8427To practice patience as a mother of three young children felt like either a much-needed focus or an exercise in futility and frustration.  John O’Donohue told Krista Tippett in his 2105 interview, “Stress is a perverted relationship with time.”  I love that interview, but its truth can feel ironic on all the mornings when boys must be dressed, fed, and teeth brushed in order to leave by a specific time.  How would John O’Donohue have phrased it differently if had to repeatedly tell his children to get their shoes on and not get toothpaste all over the walls?  No matter how much time I spend in prayer in the mornings, living in a time-obsessed society can dismantle all the patience I have.

But my Easter practices invited me to live into this virtue as I prayed all week, “God, can you dissolve my anger when delay and difficulty disrupt the journey?”

To practice patience is to remember hope.  “If we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience” (Romans 8:25).   If.  There are some days when hope feels like a choice, a privilege, a gift.  Hope invites me to live into the alternative narrative: all is well as we wait, even as all is not yet well.  Hope is a daily invitation which I must acknowledge and accept.

To practice patience is remind myself of the promise where rest is found.
To practice patience is to change my relationship with time.

When the journey holds delay and difficulty, it is tempting to throw up on my hands in defeat.  When mornings are most difficult, it is tempting to lean into my anger and my seemingly-well-earned frustration. Anger over injustice breeds repentance.  But anger over the imperfections of myself and others breeds pride, hatred, and isolation.

This Easter reality grounds me as an abiding branch on the life-giving vine, tended to by the Good Gardener.  When I can abide in who I am and whose I am, then delay and difficulty are not the whole narrative.  Delay and difficulty are not the faults of another.  Delay and difficulty can never take away the good news of resurrection.

It is the promise that frees me.

The promise allows me to extend my hands in resilient kindness.  I can lower my voice, letting the angry yell dissipate into a gentle whisper.  I can practice stubborn gentleness, for I know that the journey’s delay and difficulty cannot overwhelm the joy that lies ahead of us.  I can live with persevering devotion and a patient heart.

Even with all of the beauty of God’s creation in full bloom, there is no greater beauty than human beings practicing patience with one another.   There is no more abundant glory than when we, as branches, reflect God’s steadfast devotion and become people of resilient kindness, stubborn gentleness, and persevering devotion who love one another.

Love.  May there always be enough time to love.

EASTER #6: Pausing for the More

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Compassion: sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings/misfortunes of others
Kindness: quality of being friendly, generous (showing a readiness to give more of something than is strictly necessary or expected), and considerate.

IMG_8999-2After a week where time was scarce and there was not enough of me to meet all the surrounding expectations, I breathe in this morning and remember the completeness of Easter – that which can never be achieved through human effort nor can it be lost despite of it.  So for this sixth week of Easter, I pause in my reflections to be close to the vine, trusting that the “more” to give can only be born from the vine and tended by the Good Gardener. Continue reading

EASTER #5: Drop the Case

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“I’m sorry. Are you ok? Do you want a hug?” Mumbled under their breath with a scowl on their face, these lines eek out of our boys’ lips as they stand before us with the requirement to apologize to one another. They race through the lines before quickly trying to point out the other’s wrong-doing to ensure that I know where the blame rightfully belongs.

We seek to teach our boys forgiveness to prepare them for the Easter Forgiveness that they will come to need as they get older and the way becomes more difficult.  This fifth week of Easter, I am reminded that Easter Forgiveness cannot happen in the courtroom.  Any attempts to argue one’s way to forgiveness or justify its need will only nullify God’s grace.  While we must take injustice seriously, we also must be careful as the courtroom’s attempt at justice produced crucifixion. Resurrection emerged far from the halls of human justice. Continue reading

EASTER #4: Courage from the Vine

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This fourth week of Easter has been a week to remember relentlessly the process by which fruit grows on the branches. Fruit comes not from the branches’ plans or designs.  It is not in its own pruning or tending towards itself.  It is neither in the grit of its teeth nor the grunt of its considerable efforts.  The branches produce fruit because of the vine on which they grow.  For the branches to produce fruit, they must hold fast to the vine.

The world’s courage is mustered from inner strength.  It is measured by one’s comfort with risk.  Easter Courage has nothing to do with natural inclinations or personality traits.  Easter Courage cannot be produced merely by our thought or by our effort. Continue reading

EASTER #3: In the Valley, Peace Be

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To practice Easter Peace, I had to reconcile this week with all the imaginations of what I assume peace to be, too often.  Forever still waters, by which I permanently abide.  A helicopter that comes to lift us out of the valley and deliver us safely to the other side.  A table with no enemies, but only friends.

Yet, this week I have wrestled with this Easter practice: In the valley, to let peace be.   Continue reading

EASTER #1: Surprise Relief

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Still close to the empty tomb, before the proclaiming begins, the women breathe in and out.  Breath becomes the first method of processing what has happened.  The story of Jesus has not ended the way that they assumed it had.  Breath prepares them to greet the new, unexpected narrative.

This first week of Easter, I have practiced Surprise Relief through the simple act of breathing, pausing, and reminding myself – the story does not end the way that we are convinced that it will.

The simple act has had a profound impact as it has begun to raise my awareness to all the times when I have assumed the trajectory to be set.   Continue reading