Quiet afternoons

I’ve enjoyed some very peaceful and quiet afternoons the past few days. I decided to fast from “screens” during nap time so I could find spend more intentional time reading or praying. So far I haven’t missed the constant “connection” that the laptop or phone or iPad usually affords me and I’ve made some real progress in a number of books I’ve been wanting to read. A few times I’ve caught myself wanting to check my email or look up a recipe during the afternoon, but if I just sit in the quiet space for a minute the feeling usually passes. This weekend I was also challenged to just sit in my “feelings” of self-denial (we so seldom do!) – what’s wrong with feeling a little bored? a little hungry? Our lives are shaped around our comfort and so often we put little thought toward why we do the things we do, or the pace with which we do them. I want to rush through nap time and get as much accomplished as possible. I have a mile-long “to do” list and half a dozen books or websites to read, meals to prepare, laundry to do, or blog posts to draft. 😉 It has been so refreshing to just sit and reflect and pray and feel little baby somersaults.

“Lead us back, our Father, to your Torah;
bring us near, our King, to your service,
and cause us to return in perfect repentance before you.
Blessed are you, O Lord, who accepts repentance.”
[from the Amidah]

May you have a quiet & peace-filled March 1st.
…only 20 days until spring!

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Snowy & Quiet Sabbath

Community has become a buzzword in the church in recent years. Overbusy individuals hope they can cram it into their overstuffed schedules like their membership to a health and fitness club (which they never have time to use). Churches hope they can conjure it with candles, programs, or training videos. …community is far more costly than that: one cannot add it to anything, rather one must begin with it in order to enter it, practice it, and preserve it.” Brian McLaren, A Generous Orthodoxy

“The truth is I don’t know much about Christian community…[and] let me confess a few things about myself. I have always been somewhat of a solitary figure, a moody person who gets nervous when I start to feel my personal space threatened…I panic at the thought of having to be somewhere and having to spend time with people I don’t know nor have a vested interest in. …but I belong to a faith tradition formed and steeped in the idea of self-denial for love of the neighbor and rooted in community…I belong to a tradition that tells me my life is not really my own but rather is caught up in the divine and communal life of something much bigger than myself. …These are all tenets I find hard to swallow on a daily basis. I prefer the parts of the tradition that talk about grace and God’s forgiveness of us and the fact that none of us can ever really measure up to perfection. These parts offer me the illusion that I am off the hook from striving to be something that I obviously was not cut out to be – holy.” Enuma Okoro, Reluctant Pilgrim