Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

When the Future Looks Bleak   2 comments

drop

“Hope for the moment. There are times when it is hard to believe in the future, when we are temporarily just not brave enough. When this happens, concentrate on the present. Cultivate le petit bonheur (the little happiness) until courage returns. Look forward to the beauty of the next moment, the next hour, the promise of a good meal, sleep, a book, a movie, the likelihood that tonight the stars will shine and tomorrow the sun will shine. Sink roots into the present until the strength grows to think about tomorrow.”

~ Ardis Whitman

Posted December 4, 2013 by janathangrace in Reading

Tagged with ,

Intimacy   3 comments

I have been encouraged a great deal in reading one of my favorite 17th century theologians, Thomas Traherne, and want to give you a taste of his thoughts on friendship, especially regarding friendship with God.  (I’ve modernized spelling and a couple words)

[Friendship is] kindness of behavior, a thorough and clear communication of souls, a secure reliance upon each others fidelity, a perfect discovery of all our thoughts, intentions, and [feelings], an ardent willingness to impart lives and estate for the benefit of our friend, the reposing of all our secrets in each others bosoms, to do all services, and suffer all afflictions, for each others sakes, to prefer the concerns of our friend upon all occasions above our own….

The greatest secret in its nature is, the mutual agreement of souls and spirits, the delight which either takes in the other, the honor and esteem they give and receive, the approbation and love of each others dispositions, the sense and admiration of each others virtues, the continual desire of being always together, peculiar ecstasy, which the beauty of either occasions in the other, when of all other treasures in the world their persons are the greatest to one another.  Either is the proper element and [consolation] of the others soul.  Their bosoms are the mutual receptacles and temples of each others accomplishments, whereinto they are received in all their desert, and have justice done to every degree and perfection in their nature; their hearts are thrones where they are exalted, and magnified, and live at ease, are honored [and extolled].

–though I often fall short, I want to dedicate these aspirations to Kimberly

friends

Posted September 9, 2013 by janathangrace in Reading

Tagged with , ,

Too Good Not to Share   Leave a comment

Georg Saunders commencement address about the importance of kindness

 

George Saunders

Posted August 14, 2013 by janathangrace in Reading

Tagged with ,

Love Is Not Safe   Leave a comment

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket—safe, dark, motionless, airless—it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.” C. S. Lewis

Love

Posted June 19, 2013 by janathangrace in Reading

Tagged with ,

The Fear of Being Forgiven   Leave a comment

I lost my USB drive holding my reflections on forgiveness, so my momentum on that topic has died, but here is a great quote from Stanley Hauerwas in The Peaceable Kingdom:

It is crucial that we understand that such a peaceableness is possible only if we are also a forgiven people.  We must remember that our first task is not to forgive, but to learn to be the forgiven.  Too often to be ready to forgive is a way of exerting control over another.  We fear accepting forgiveness from another because such a  gift makes us powerless—and we fear the loss of control involved.  Yet we continue to pray, “Forgive our debts.”  Only by learning to accept God’s forgiveness as we see it in the life and death of Jesus can we acquire the power that comes from learning to give up that control….

forgiveness

To be forgiven means that I must face the fact that my life actually lies in the hands of others.  I must learn to trust them as I have learned to trust God….  

But because we have learned to live as a forgiven people, as a  people no longer in  control, we also find we can become a whole people.  Indeed the demand that we be holy is possible only because we find that we can rest within ourselves.  When we exist as a forgiven people we are able to be at peace with our histories, so that now God’s life determines our whole way of being—our character.  We no longer need to deny our past, or tell ourselves false stories, as now we can accept what we have been without the knowledge of our sin destroying us.

Posted April 25, 2013 by janathangrace in Reading

Tagged with , , ,

Life is Hard   Leave a comment

From Anne Lamott, Help, Thanks, Wow:

Human lives are hard, even those of health and privilege, and don’t make much sense.  This is the message of the Book of Job:  Any snappy explanation of suffering you come up with will be horseshit.  God tells Job, who wants an explanation for all his troubles, ‘You wouldn’t understand.’

And we don’t understand a lot of things.  But we learn that people are very disappointing, and that they break our hearts, and that very sweet people will be bullied, and that we will be called to survive unsurvivable losses, and that we will realize with enormous pain how much of our lives we’ve already wasted with obsessive work or pleasing people or dieting.  We will see and read about deprivation and barbarity beyond our ability to understand, much less process.  Side by side with all that, we will witness transformation, people finding out who they were born to be, before their parents pretzelized them into high achievers and addicts and charming, wired robots.

But where do we even start on the daily walk of restoration and awakening?  We start where we are. We find God in our human lives, and that includes the suffering.  I get thirsty people glasses of water, even if that thirsty person is just me.

Posted April 17, 2013 by janathangrace in Reading

Tagged with , ,

Grace Described   Leave a comment

“Grace… [is] the force that infuses our lives and keeps letting us off the hook.  It is unearned love—the love that goes before, that greets us on the way.  It’s the help you receive when you have no bright ideas left, when you are empty and desperate and have discovered that your best thinking and most charming charm have failed you.  Grace is the light or electricity or juice or breeze that takes you from that isolated place and puts you with others who are as startled and embarrassed and eventually grateful as you are to be there.

“It is amazing.  I do not at all understand the mystery of grace—only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.”  –Anne Lamott Traveling Mercies

Posted February 18, 2013 by janathangrace in Reading

Tagged with , , ,