To love someone is not first of all to do things for them, but to reveal to them their beauty and value, to say to them through our attitude: “You are beautiful. You are important. I trust you. You can trust yourself.” We all know well that we can do things for others and in the process crush them, making them feel that they are incapable of doing things by themselves. To love someone is to reveal to them their capacities for life, the light that is shining in them.

Vanier, Jean. From Brokenness to Community (p. 16). PAULIST PRESS New York and Mahwah, N.J.. Kindle Edition.

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I’m speechless
because I’m guilty,
swallowing hard at the extent of my collusion
with the deceiver within me,
the extent of my obstruction of the justice due you
to be the one who sees my desperate need,
who rescues me from my delusion
that you are the one who needs rescuing,
not me.

dw

 

I’m deeply challenged by Vanier’s perspective, both in the quote above and in this video.

Over my shoulder, a glance of the eye
Catches Cancer crabbing across the sky
Devouring time and a fetus named John;

Time two brothers might have played, gone to school,
Become men, raised families, and grown old,
Always together, apart sixteen months,
James, now asleep, and his hoped for brother;

A fetus once kicking, its fingers formed,
Its days twelve times seven, all dark,
Etched only in memory, a father’s worn face,
A doctor’s log, a mother’s heaving grief.

Summer, 1985
dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

Thinking of E and J…peace and healing to you…

 

We are all such escape artists, you and I. We don’t like to get too serious about things, especially about ourselves. When we are with other people, we are apt to talk about almost anything under the sun except for what really matters to us, except for our own lives, except for what is going on inside our own skins. We pass the time of day. We chatter. We hold each other at bay, keep our distance from each other even when God knows it is precisely each other that we desperately need.

Frederick Buechner, Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons, “A Room Called Remember”

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Escape artist maybe,
But a skill learned reluctantly and painfully
To recover from discovering – too many times –
What mattered to me was no matter at all,
Or an annoyance, or an affront.

Ok, well then, nice weather – right, moving on.

We escape to avoid the shame of experiencing that we aren’t worth attending to.
You know it; I know it; we’ve lived it, too often with each other.

Yes, we desperately need each other,
but in practice I make due with keeping what’s most important between myself and God.

And sometimes this blog.

dw

The name of the room is Remember — the room where with patience, with charity, with quietness of heart, we remember consciously to remember the lives we have lived…

So much has happened to us all over the years. So much has happened within us and through us. We are to take time to remember what we can about it and what we dare. That’s what entering the room means, I think. It means taking time to remember on purpose. It means not picking up a book for once or turning on the radio, but letting the mind journey gravely, deliberately, back through the years that have gone by but are not gone. It means a deeper, slower kind of remembering; it means remembering as a searching and finding. The room is there for all of us to enter if we choose to, and the process of entering it is not unlike the process of praying, because praying too is a slow, grave journey — a search to find the truth of our own lives at their deepest and dearest, a search to understand, to hear and be heard.

The room called Remember…is a room we can enter whenever we like so that the power of remembering becomes our own power…[it] is a room where all emotions are caught up in and transcended by an extraordinary sense of well-being. It is the room of all rooms where we feel at home and at peace.

Frederick Buechner, Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons, “A Room Called Remember”

This is from another of Buechner’s sermons that has captured my imagination and is still capturing my heart. I don’t enter this room often enough, but the times I do I am blessed, refreshed, and am often given a new perspective that allows me to heal.

I’m posting this today because it resonates with a short-but-moving sermon I heard this morning about the importance of remembering our journeys and God’s faithfulness all along the way.

Grace and peace to you…

dw

It makes one unhappy to judge people and happy to love them.

Day, Dorothy. The Reckless Way of Love: Notes on Following Jesus (Plough Spiritual Guides: Backpack Classics) (pp. 72-73). Plough Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

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I know there is an Accuser
(poor Job didn’t know)
its voice constantly in my ear
always outraged
(thought God was his adversary)
assuming the worst
about everyone and everything
(when God was so proud)
pronouncing judgement
endlessly, monotonously
(of his servant and friend)
until I remember
I’m asked to love, not judge
(that, after accepting his apology)
and my brow relaxes
and the unhappy knot in my head loosens
(that he gave him a tour of the great acts of creation)
and I find myself loving instead of judging,
happy, almost
(culminating in Leviathan sporting on God’s leash)
as my dog,
who loves me without judging me.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

THERE ARE ALL KINDS OF FEAR, and I certainly pray to be delivered from the fear of my brother; I pray to grow in the love that casts out fear. To grow in love of God and man, and to live by this charity, that is the problem. We must love our enemy, not because we fear war but because God loves him.

Day, Dorothy. The Reckless Way of Love: Notes on Following Jesus (Plough Spiritual Guides: Backpack Classics) (p. 34). Plough Publishing House. Kindle Edition.

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There is Love and there is Fear.

Fear is kin to Envy, Prejudice, Hate, and Violence.

Love is kin to Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.

Love and Fear are not kin.
Love and Fear are enemies.

Fear hates Love; Love loves Fear.

Fear would kill Love.
Love would die to save Fear from itself.

dw

Copyright © 2019, becomingflame.com

I took this photo on Sunday. I often sit right behind Samuel’s chair, right where I often sat when he was still in sanctuary in our church building.  We miss him every Sunday and still wonder what value our country got out of the taxpayer dollars ICE spent in its action to entrap, arrest, and deport him. We experience every day the damage that was done.

Over the past month I’ve been putting together this video for Samuel, using a photo published the day we surrounded the ICE van, a graphic produced shortly afterward as we fought against his deportation, and an arrangement of Amazing Grace I often play at a nearby cancer center. I offer it here as an encouragement to Samuel (who recently celebrated a birthday) and also to all of us who miss him.  It’s just over a minute long and has audio – please take a look (and listen).

 

If you’d like to find out more about Samuel, check out my original post and also this page that lists ways people can support him and his family.

Grace and peace to you…

dw