Wondering While I’m Wandering

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Headed to NYC this afternoon to spend a few days with my sweet brother enjoying autumn in the city.

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Listening to Empire State of Mind & hoping that Alicia Keys is right–that the big lights will inspire me. Looking forward to sharing some of that inspiration here upon my return.

I’ve been noodling around with organization, content, and concept here on Hope of Things Not Seen. As the weather changes I’m itchy to get things a little more accessible, warm, and streamlined in this little corner of the internets.

What’re YOU looking for here? What do you want to read more about? What do you like?

listening to the heart of God

“But I still my soul and make it quiet, like a child upon its mother’s breast; my soul is quieted within me.” (Psalm 131:2, BCP)

2013-09-03 11.13.17Babies know when Momma is holding them; Dad doesn’t sound or feel quite the same, and though Grandma and Auntie and Brother are lovely, no one is Momma except Momma.

From our very moment of creation–those little cells furiously dividing in a womb–there’s one voice, one heartbeat, one digestive system that calibrates reality for us.  When we are again near that same heartbeat, napping on top of Mom, or hear that same voice (even decades later!) the deepest, most primal part of us responds.  Some bit of ourselves, deeply coded with the nourishment (the life!) that this person provided for us, always knows Mom’s voice and body, the being that taught us by her simple presence and lifeblood what life and the world are.

God does exactly the same thing for us, but on an even deeper and more primal level.  The most profound calm, the Most-Anti-Anxious-State, the greatest security, and the truest reality arrives when we sit in the presence of God.  Yoga and meditation (and prayer) teach us to do this literally–to physically sit down, to face up to our racing minds (and hearts) and start digging in our heels, slowing down our minds, listening through distractions and listening into quietness.

One of my colleagues has a plaque on his office wall, “Bidden or unbidden, God is present.”  God is sitting next to you, where ever you are, whether you want him there or not–when we quiet down, we can start to notice his presence.

Part of the point of yoga and meditation and prayer is to help us recalibrate to that original orientation–sometimes it’s awkward and feels uncomfortable or even painful (physically, or socially, or psychologically) to slow down, to sit down, to quiet down.  Persistence in sitting quietly, in praying (or meditating or doing yoga), begins to loosen up our knotted up selves, and the searing shout of silence starts to feel more like a peaceful river of quiet.

God, his identifying heartbeat, his stirring voice, is not always the loudest or most insistent sound (often it is one of the quietest) in our lives, though it is the most profoundly sustaining.

 

For what God says to us in the quiet, a sermon preached by Sam Wells, “The Heart of God.

For what struck me about Psalm 131 last September, “Psalm 131 Mash Up” (isn’t it funny how certain poems speak to you at particular moments of the year?  And isn’t it funny how the same words evoke something so different in the same person a year hence?)

another unarmed black teen killed by police #mikebrown

No older than some of the dear students with whom I spent the last week at choir camp in the NC mountains, the unarmed Mike Brown was shot and killed yesterday in a St. Louis suburb.

I read the news when I checked twitter from my bed this morning.  I had to do some sleuthing to even find the story on the internets–this death hardly makes it to CNN.com (only under “Mike Brown,” not his Christian name, “Michael Brown”).

Feeling sick with yet another death on our hands, having chosen unadvisedly to look at twitter before praying Morning Prayer, the Holy Spirit butted into my heart anyway.

A scrap of music (performed in the link by Leichester Chorale) fell into my mind as I my stomach knotted up and I searched for more information on my tiny screen.  I’d first heard it exactly a year ago on my arrival at choir camp.  The sweet young voices of faithful young people gathered and blended, crying for peace–an end to violence and death–knowing that only God can bring such relief.

Even a year later, their voices still minister to me: pulling up the curtain on ugliness, glimpsing death and deep-seated hatred, what should pop into my mind as my heart breaks but the God’s word set to beautiful music, sung and prayed by dear devoted young people with courage and faith?

A voice cries out in the wilderness, prepare ye the way of the LORD.

Happiness List

Deep in a dance party of one last night, I was inspired to share the epic playlist.  My mind moved at lightning speed, wanting to share, too, the eyeglasses which just arrived (having almost posted a status yesterday–before coming home–that Warby Parker was holding the keys to my hope.  I eventually decided it was a little too stark.) and the menu for the Margaritas & Mexican party I’d just cleaned up.

Further, beginning the discipline of enumerating the highlights of each week might help my resolution to focus on the good, the true, and the beautiful (as psychologist friend told me this week, “we see what we want to see”–it’s much easier for me to see negative, bad, gloomy things).

So, without further rhapsodizing, my first happiness list, for the last week of July 2014:dance party cover

1. DANCE IT OUT playlist (via spotify) It’s heavy on mid-2000’s anthems.

 

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2. these new glasses, arrived from Warby Parker yesterday, squee!

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3. the fail-safe margarita recipe (recommended: make in batches of 8 servings–as shown below)

12 oz  fresh-squeezed lime juice

12 oz tequila

8 oz orange liquor

2 oz agave or simple syrup

(add Emily’s version–coming Monday–of Pioneer Woman’s Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork, and PW’s Tres Leches Cake, and you’re rollin’!)