Archive for August, 2012

Suppose you Ask God for a Miracle

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

 -Joshua Reeves

Walker Percy said, “Suppose you ask God for a miracle and God says, yes, very well.  How do you live the rest of your life?”               

 For me, the miracle is God.  The knowledge of a loving and wise presence, that I am not alone, and that there is always more than I perceive.  The iota that life has a point–this is the miracle.  If God says “Yes, very well;” I might forget right then the miracle I was asking for, which when I really consider it, I probably wouldn’t need to ask for in the first place if I had a greater belief in God.  

  “God, heal this person.”  “God, help my team score and win.”  “God, make my dreams come true.”  Like in Dumb and Dumber when Jim Carrey’s character asks a girl what his chances are and she answers one in a million, he says, “So you’re saying there’s a chance.”  Even the slightest glimpse of the sublime truth and your life can be changed forever.  Even the slightest illumination of the infinite and not only are you changed but how you live changes too.  The miracle is never the act, God is the miracle.  Life itself is the miracle.  When we want for something spectacular, we should turn to God- not to will her hand but to be more conscious of her presence.  It is then that the truth illuminates and the miracle ensues.  The miracle is not the act but that the act could take place in the first place.  The miracle of ourselves is not in what we accomplish, it is that we are alive.  What we do with that life is up to us, but being alive fully, persistently, with trust and belief in God, in my experience, brings about greatest possibilities.

Headlines

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Joshua Reeves

  Many people can get caught up in what I call a yellow perspective, which I borrow from the term “yellow journalism,”-that practice of creating a dramatic headline that is generally a greatly exaggerated truth to get you to buy the paper.

   You can see this often in something like the Huffington Post- “SOUND THE ALARM- G8 finance chiefs to hold emergency meeting” or “MISERY IN MADISON-Walker wins Wisconsin recall election.”

   Can you see how we can sometimes create an over amplified headline in our own lives? 

“IT’S ALL OVER- Jennifer’s boyfriend is late again.” “SHE HATES ME-John’s love interest hasn’t replied to his e-mail yet.” “I’M NOT GOOD ENOUGH-Rebecca is still trying to write the great American novel.”  “LIFE SUCKS- there’s traffic on the 405 again.” 

  It is up to us to read into the context of our lives to find out what the story really is. This helps us break free of the many patterns and triggers our exaggerated headlines may cause us to spur into.

  We will never have an authentic realization of the real truth in our lives by telling ourselves a false story, be that a false story because it is laced with dramatic victimhood, or naive positivity.  Only through doing the investigating to find out what is fundamentally true about who we are and the life in our heart that we want to live can we begin to form headlines for ourselves that are more in step with our true story.

  The best stories don’t need big headings…but if you must, “No BIG DEAL- Jennifer goes out by herself.”  “SO WHAT?” John puts down his IPHONE and calms down.”  “CHAPTER ONE- Rebecca starts over.” “SIDE STREETS”- change your route, change your drive.”

  Our headlines should be grand and encompassing of our whole life- “LIVING FOR FUN AND MEANING.” “FINDING OUT WHAT LOVE IS ABOUT.”  “DOING MY BEST ALL THE TIME.”  When the yellow perspectives start to rise, it is a sign that the guiding themes and narrative that you are most passionate about in your life are being pushed to the classifieds somewhere.  Taking a long read through of your life can help put not only the story, but who is telling it in perspective. 

Present Time

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

    

   Nothing is more precious than “present time.” The moments, we fully appreciate our life not just for what is in it, but for being itself.

        There’s a beautifully written book by Marilyn Robinson, called Gilead, and it poses as a journal written by an old, dying preacher to his very young son. And her writing has a way of articulating his rich vision, his view from “present time.”

       

        “I’d never have believed I’d see a wife of mine doting a child of mine. It still amazes me every time I think of it. I’m writing this in part to tell you that if you ever wonder what you’ve done in your life, and everyone does wonder sooner or later, you have been God’s grace to me, a miracle, something more than a miracle. You may not remember me very well at all, and it may seem to you to be no great thing to have been the good child of an old man in a shabby little town you will no doubt leave behind. If only I had the words to tell you.”

  How beautiful it is to see from “present time,” the gifts of our life. The man goes on to speak from a more timeless understanding.

        “There’s a shimmer on a child’s hair, in the sunlight. There are rainbow colors in it, tiny, soft beams of just the same colors you can see in the dew sometimes. They’re in the petals of flowers, and they’re on a child’s skin. Your hair is straight and dark, and your skin is fair. I suppose you’re not prettier than most children. You’re just a nice looking boy, a bit slight, well scrubbed and well mannered. All that is fine, but it’s your existence I love you for, mainly. Existence seems to me the most remarkable thing that could ever be imagined. I’m about to put on imperishability. In an instant, in the twinkling of an eye.”

  And that right there is the marvel of present time, existence itself. I’m alive, you’re alive. We’re here, alive, at the same time. And whether it is the most random fleeting event of all, or one of synchronistic symphony here we are and there is nothing more miraculous.

  There is something sacred that happens when we live in “present time,” recognizing the gift our life is. Something comes to connect our inner experience with our outward one. They begin to harmonize together…and profound unity ensues.

       

  Even though so much may be gone from our lives that we love and care for, it is not gone from “within us.” Even though we may struggle to give form to all the possibilities of feelings and ideas so profound within us, they sparkle in moments and activities before us.

In the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus says “when you make the two one, when you make the inner as outer and the outer as inner- then shall you enter the Kingdom.”

        That’s the gift of present time. Put down what you’re doing and free yourself from any pace that is not your own, engage in your own rhythm, and the present time reveals itself.

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