Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Thursday, May 14, 2020

seeking hope, in a different place

“Accomplish but do not boast, accomplish without show, accomplish without arrogance, accomplish without grabbing, accomplish without forcing.”
                                         Lao Tzu

By loving them for more than their abilities we show our children that they are much more than the sum of their accomplishments.”
                                         Eileen Kennedy-Moore,

Because we are so quickly led to despair, most of us cannot endure suffering for long without some sliver of hope or meaning. However, it is worth asking ourselves about where our hope lies.
                                         Richard Rohr

I was raised to be a good, functional, human doing
No one did that on purpose
It was just the way it was back in those days, those golden 50’s
And rebellious 60’s

We were expected to accomplish
Expected to excel
Expected to do our best

And thus, taught inadvertently
that we are the sum of our accomplishments

It might not have been that way in every family
But it was certainly true in mine

Not just my immediate family
But in that larger network of “family” of Kliewers
Steeped in the American work ethic and good Mennonite values

I was surrounded by aunts and uncle (and a few older cousins too)
All of whom were ministers, and doctors, nurses, missionaries and teachers

Serve your community, serve other people
Was a family commandment

And so my life has been filled with doing

My days filled with meetings led
Classes taught
Counseling sessions conducted
Events planned (and excecuted)

And has been mostly good
There has been a sense of accomplishment

One could count the numbers
The hours worked
The number of events on the calendar
The number of people in the pew

One could see the faces
Grab hold of the reactions

And now we have “this”

Everything has slowed
In some ways everything is more work
Setting up classes and counseling sessions takes more time
In this world of Zoom and Google Hangouts

But in some ways everything is “unreal”
Dare I use the term “mystical”?

The world slowed to the speed of my rural Oregon bandwidth
The world narrowed down to the small monitor on my XPS13

13 inches

And accomplishments are harder to count
For those of us used to counting

So here I sit, looking out the window at early spring snow
And at the rays of brilliance as an early sun shine through the trees

Learning to do things a different way
Learning to measure things a different way
Learning to slow down, and go deeper
Learning to focus in an unfocused world

It’s all a bit vague
And yes, mystical
There is something so common and gross about these times
And yet, something so spiritual as well

As if we are working on a different plane
Coming from a different place within ourselves

Seeking hope in a different place
in the midst of suffering

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