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Monday, August 25, 2014

30 Day Journal Challenge, Days 21 and 22: Returning to the nitty gritty

For 'inspiration' Lisa today shares a message seen painted on a wall in Puerta Vallarta, Mexico:
     Ricuerda quien eres - Remember who you are.

Ooh, now this could mean to look at the positives or the negatives. Could one just be the yin of the other's yang?  Okay, now we're getting around to another view of 'root.'  What is/are the roots of my procrastination, tendency toward impulsiveness, frequent failures to recognize how I would, could, and 'should' come across to others--visually, aurally, and in print, and failures to follow through?

This question is parallel to today's prompt:  to name and let go of a limiting self-definition,  turn it around by asserting something I want to do and/or be. Teacher/mother/self, I seem to have been both endowed with and intentional about having a positive attitude.  Looking back over the years, however, I've noticed this attitude eroding in how I view myself and my abilities, self-doubts arising from complaints and criticisms of and by me gradually taking over.  

But having recognized a problem is the first step toward 'solving' it.  By the grace of God, time and space open up in a new way after retirement from a career of teaching and years of child-raising and family responsibilities.  On the one hand, there's never enough time.  The nitty gritty of daily tasks remain: self care, meals, dishes, laundry.  On the other hand, these can be moments of stillness and awareness where one has to/is allowed to take a step back and look at what's happened, what's happening.  Even the simple act of washing one's hands, or the dishes, can be calming times of meditation.

"State desired results," I admonish others in distress.  Renewed positive thinking, the desired result. "Every day is a new beginning," I tell my children and friends seeking a shoulder to lean on. I realize anew that the same is true for me.

My own process of renewal is inevitably energized by returning to the roots of my faith journey. Chronic lateness is pulled up short by the need to join worship in a community that meets at a certain time and place, a community that begins its weekly meeting with a joint confession of shortcomings by nature and by intention, along with an affirmation of the unwavering love and forgiveness of God.

What poetry, what truth, comfort, relief, actually, in uttering those familiar words in corporate admission to our common humanity:  "We confess that we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves.  We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone.  We have not loved You with our whole heart.  We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves.  For the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us, forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways, to the glory of your holy name.  Amen.

...and the 'comfortable words' of the pastor's statement of God's forgiveness:  

Almighty God, in His mercy, has given His Son to die for us, and for His sake forgives us all our sins. As a called and ordained minister of the Church of Christ, and by His authority, I therefore declare to you the entire forgiveness of all your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

My desire is to tap into that love and forgiveness, to receive, celebrate, anew, every day.  Familiar verses from scripture and a lifetime of hymn-singing rise up to reinforce me when desire or attention flag. Today:  "New every morning is Thy love, my waking and uprising prove." 

My prayer is that what I write will reflect that.  Strength and confidence in everyday terms.  Peace.

These thoughts seem inevitably tied to the prompt of the 22nd:  Stillness...  We need it.  
Scripture puts it in even stronger terms:  "In returning and rest ye shall be saved..."  Isaiah 30:16.
I wonder whether this speaks to the reader as it does to me.  Or is the meaning only clear when and for whom it is the right time. And/or willing.  Never mind the negatives, I am a beloved child of God.  And so are you.

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