Reflecting on Generosity of Spirit….

nothing but flowers by RabiriusThe younger generation amazes and baffles me. I love the time I spend with my daughter and younger friends and relatives. Intense memories of my younger days awaken to delight and disturb me. Like this amazing digital art by my friend Rabirius, I recall running full speed ahead, missing more flowers than I paused to stop and smell. The twenties are a difficult time, a time when we all seek identity and purpose. Most of all, we set the trajectory for the rest of our lives. Small course corrections can make huge differences later on, so it can be difficult to understand how much to help and how much to just listen. I must admit I am not good at this sort of thing on my own. It is so easy to swoop in and take charge, to flatten out all obstacles, to impose my version of right and wrong. Yet if I open myself up, if I truly listen, I soon learn how different the world is now than the world of my youth. Opportunities abound that I could not even begin to imagine, opportunities to soar and opportunities to crash and burn. Yes, the stakes are high, but the highest stakes lie in the decision making itself. My daughter and her contemporaries must live with their decisions, walk their own paths, discover their own ways of making a difference in the world. So I hold open a space to allow the excitement and pain and confusion to flow. I wait then wait again before I ask a question. I open more than my mind. I open my heart and soul. That monumental effort takes a generosity of spirit than I am unable to offer on my own. That openness is the fruit of consistent and faithful prayer, lifting up their concerns on a regular basis, praying for understanding and enlightenment for their path ahead. Sometimes than generosity means stepping aside because I am not the right person for this junction in the road. I can be generous because opening the circle does not diminish me, it enlarges me. The circle grows as their path, not mine, takes us all to amazing places and allows dreams to become reality. Most of all, that generosity overflows in unexpected ways, opening up new beginnings in people and places thought long past healing or renewal. Make time to pray for those you love, even if your relationship is strained or difficult. Pray for their concerns, their path ahead, their way to make a difference. Let go of expectations to open up your heart and mind and soul. Most of all, let God weave our paths together, enfolding us in the greatest circle of all. Text by Connie Chintall ©2017, photo entitled ‘Nothing but Flowers’ by Rabirius©2016-2017, used with his permission, All Rights Reserved. To see more of his work, go to https://rabirius.me/

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Reflecting on Epiphany….

What is Hidden Behind this Door by RabiriusEpiphany Sunday has come and gone. The wise men have long since paid homage, left their precious gifts with the Christ child, and headed back to the East. I am just now arriving, just now approaching the manger, just how beginning to comprehend the Lord made flesh. So I was drawn to this amazing image by my friend Rabirius. I am uncertain if his work is photography, or art, or both. There is a mysterious, multilayered quality that draws me in, fires my imagination, makes me dig deeper for meaning and insight. I don’t know about you, but my ‘aha’ moments are more lie ‘aha’ seasons. There may be a sharp flash of light, an opening, a new direction. But the meaning is not something I come to quickly, or at least not as quickly as others. Like Mary, I must ‘ponder these things in my heart’. I must pray over them. I must look from more than one angle, in more than one light, with more than one perspective. What catches your eye first in this image? For me, it was the wall. How often do we walk away or take another path because we are sure the way ahead appears to be a dead end, blocked off and impenetrable? We simply dismiss the possibility, and go off on another tangent. What if we allowed ourselves to look further, to mull over the scene, to be sure we haven’t missed anything? Perhaps we might encounter the brightly colored door of this scene, illuminated by mysterious light. Or an eye meeting our steady gaze, beckoning us to a new and better place that what we leave behind. So what if it takes more time, or if we arrive after the others have departed? Such soul work is worth the time and the effort and the healing we find along the way. Make time today to ponder the walls in your life. Consider how long it took to build those walls, and what it might take to tear them down. Allow the Holy Spirit to show you the path ahead, a path that may wind and turn, but path you can be assured will get you there. Open your heart and mind and soul to the gift of grace, whether an epiphany or a gloaming, whether in an instant or over a lifetime. And always remember, our ‘work’ is simply to be present to transforming grace and mercy of our Lord, the same Lord that was born as a baby and walked among us in the flesh. Text by Connie Chintall ©2014, photo entitled ‘What is Hidden Behind This Door?’ by Rabirius ©2013, all rights reserved. To see more of his work, go to http://rabirius.wordpress.com/

Reflecting on Anchors….

How Did the Anchor Become so Rusty by RabiriusIt’s a mild autumn morning with a hint of rain in the air. Showers may be on the way, but for now I can enjoy my second cup of coffee on a deck covered in leaves. It seems this time of year is more about endings than beginnings, about loss instead of gain. So I was drawn to this intriguing photo of a rusted anchor by my friend Rabirius. I love the stark contrast between the layers upon layers of rust and the smooth blues in the background. I can almost see the flakes about to fall, to feel the disintegration of the heavy iron. I don’t know about you, but it is easy for me to feel rusty this time of year. I recall the loss of beloved family and friends, people who prayed over me and made sure I found my way back when life tempted me from the straight and narrow. Sometimes it seems so many have gone before me that every falling leave is another soul in heaven. At times like these, my morning prayers become more important than food and water. My burdens are more than this frail human frame can bear, but light work for the same Lord who conquered sin and death on the cross. So I empty myself to make room for God, to look beyond the corroded surface of this life to see the rock solid promise of the Eternal. I drop my rusty anchor into the depths of my soul, letting go of the good, and the bad and the ugly. I pray in front of an open window on the second floor, looking out over the century old oaks in my backyard. By the end of my morning devotions, I can see more than the falling leaves. I take a closer look at the empty branches, where the buds of new life are already formed. The resurrection is present in the midst of death, new beginnings in the midst of loss, abundant love in the midst of grief. Make time today to leave your burdens at the foot of the cross. Let go of your ways and your thoughts, trusting instead in the ways and thoughts of the Alpha and Omega. Pray without words, offering an uplifted eye, a heartfelt sigh, a single tear. Open your heart and mind to the Holy Spirit, depending on the mystery of God to make up where we all fall short. And always remember, no matter how rusty you get, you can trust in the solid, steadfast love of God, who remains patiently waiting for your return. Text by Connie Chintall ©2013, Photo entitled ‘How Did the Anchor Become So Rusty?’ by Rabirius ©2012, to see more of his work, go to his blog http://rabirius.wordpress.com

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