This morning, reading Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper, I reflected on the question she and her team were asked by a facilitator brought in to conduct an offsite session to assess where they are and where they want to be, as writers for the Sunday Paper. They were asked “Why do you do this?” “To what end?”. Great questions for all of us. Why do we do what we do?
Many of you have shared in response to my posts from Maria that you started following her after I have shared her articles or that you admire her too. We post sunsets and flowers and graduation pictures. I have friends on “vacations”- one on a long trip to Israel visiting many of the holy sites I long to visit, others now returning from an incentive cruise to Norway as a result of great success with their stamp & paper crafting businesses and recently a group that traveled to Italy with my friend and author, Judith Valente, visiting lesser known Benedictine spiritual sites. I have enjoyed each and every picture they have shared from their journeys. I think we share those moments with each other to make a connection, to have companions for those special moments or to impart some information that we found helpful.
We recommend recipes and great restaurants because we want others to have the wonderful experience we had. We share the ordinary moments that make us smile, like my cats in their new cardboard box, which they won’t let me breakdown yet, or a friend who takes his dogs to establishments in Florida for lunch or refreshment and afternoon music. Are these things going to change the world? No, but they bring moments of happiness as we share them and as our friends participate, albeit virtually, in those moments with us. My morning posts of a coffee cup or an inspirational quote are not going to change your life, that’s for sure, but I hope it gives each of us a minute to pause and think about something pleasant in the world.
I share my love for essential oils, or a new system I have found to reduce pain and promote healing and restoration, because I want others to experience the same benefits I have found. Whether it’s health and well-being, kitchen items or jewelry, I believe that my friends are sharing these items because it brings them some delight or comfort. Maybe that’s what small communities used to be like. People set up their small businesses because they knew it was a trade they were good at and wanted to help others.
I am looking forward to reading a new book I found out about this week from author Kate Bowler, written by her former Yale professor Miroslav Volf, Life Worth Living; A Guide to What Matters Most. To be a complete fan girl of Maria Shriver today, she wrote opening comments to the book regarding her new venture, Open Field, and she said “We are all seeking the same things. We’re all seeking dignity. We’re all seeking joy….seeking to be seen, to be safe….We can all give each other these (spiritual) gifts if we share what we know-what has lifted us up and moved us forward.” Her new venture, Open Field, with Penguin Books is the publisher of this book. My initial sense of the book so far is that it asks all the Questions – questions that challenge us, inspire us to define what’s really important, face the limiting beliefs that prevent us from pursuing it and then start making the changes to get there.
Hopefully we do the work we do, paid or volunteer, because it brings us joy and fulfillment. At some point we must have reflected that it would be work we would enjoy or it is a gift or talent that we have. If it no longer does that, perhaps it’s a good time to ask why not and how we could change that activity to become more meaningful again. Or maybe it’s an opportunity to consider doing something new. It may be a stretch to think about a new venture. My transition from corporate life to ministry work has invited me to use a prayerful, discerning heart and mind over a rational, pragmatic one. It isn’t always easy to change but it may make a difference in each and every day of your life and potentially to the lives of those you impact on a daily basis.
Today is the Solemnity of Pentecost. We celebrate the birth of the Church with Mary and the Apostles but that continues to come alive each day in us. Ronald Rolheiser’s reflection in Give Us This Day for today, May 28, was poignant. He said “We are always dying in some ways, though never dead. We are always alive with new life. But we need to grieve what’s dead, adjust to the new, and let the old ascend. If we do this, Pentecost will happen in our lives. We will receive a new spirit for the life that we are, in fact, living.” Then he made a statement that perhaps is the answer I have been seeking for many years. He said that the Holy Spirit brings about the “dissatisfaction and restlessness” that we feel until our lives, and the spirit by which we are living them, is integrated and aligned. To that I say, Come Holy Spirit! Let us continue to pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit in our lives: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, and Fear or Respect of the Lord.
Peace be with you, Deena
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