Why Wait for Peace?

for peace, forgive

Great wisdom from The Doctor: “The only way that anyone can live in peace is if they’re prepared to forgive.”

Someone needs to be first. And there are no guarantees that forgiveness will be reciprocal. But if I do not forgive, I can guarantee that I will not know peace.

So, is it worth the risk? Absolutely.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you . . . do not be afraid.” John 14:27

btw, for those of you who are DrWho fans, the quote comes from the brilliant two-part episodes 907-908.

Love Mercy – Day Four

Mercy anne lamott

On this fourth day into contemplating turning 50, desperately resisting the compulsion to take the easy route and apply the term angst (though it is likely more akin to ambivalence—but, more on that later), I am drawn to consider mercy. A recent entry to a blog I follow reviewed Anne Lamott’s book, Hallelujah Anyway, with a beautiful hand and great wisdom, but mostly leaving Lamott’s words to speak for themselves. She calls mercy “radical kindness” and it occurs to me that kindness is the last thing I give myself when I begin the long spiral down the chute of “what ifs” and “too old now fors.”

I resist the good-natured counsel I often hear to “be gentle” with myself and to call it “grace” without any sense of doing something about it. How can I be kind to myself, radically or no, and not get stuck binge-watching Netflix with cumin corn chips and a whiskey sour? Lamott, with her severe honesty is instructive here:

“[Mercy] includes everything out there that just makes us sick and makes us want to turn away, the idea of accepting life as it presents itself and doing goodness anyway, the belief that love and caring are marbled even into the worst life has to offer . . . .”

It is this “and doing goodness anyway” that supports everything that I have preached or written about, how I instruct my children and counsel others, but often forget myself. When I find that I am so weary of trying to make things right in this world, to do justice and motivate others to do the same, but keep hitting walls . . . over, and over, and over, and over . . . and 50 years in . . .

Do goodness anyway, Nicole. Of course. And there is such power in realizing that doing goodness, practicing mercy, is a spiritual act. Doing goodness, practicing mercy is the oxygen that sustains the life of one who lives in the reality of the Kingdom of God—on earth as it is in heaven.

“Kindness toward others and radical kindness to ourselves buy us a shot at a warm and generous heart, which is the greatest prize of all.”

Yes. And this brings me back to the words I put on the opening picture. The first piece, forgiveness – with mercy, inextricable – is the first step. Must be the first step. Forgiving those who crushed (knowingly or no) and forgiving myself for grasping too tightly, or for giving up (way) too easily. Because, do I want this or do I want to be right? And with Lamott “Well, can I get back to you on that?”

“I want to want this softening, this surrender, this happiness. Can I get a partial credit for that?  The problem is, I love to be, and so often am, right. It’s mood-altering, and it covers up a multitude of sins… I know justice and believing that you’re right depend on cold theological and legal arguments where frequently there is no oxygen, but honestly I don’t mind this. I learned to live in thin air as a small child.”

How does she know me so well? But, yes. I do want this surrender, to practice mercy and breathe the oxygen of goodness, and be the fragrance of that rose still more fragrant when crushed under that heal. Because the kingdom of God is a community, a gathering of people just as fragile and prone to being crushed – and crushing each other. But if I choose to do goodness anyway, you might choose goodness – even when I may crush you (Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy). And behavioral science shows that behavior is contagious. So, perhaps you might commit with me to do goodness anyway – today? Just today. Because, like God, mercy is timeless – even for those who are (nearly) 50.

Lenten Prayer Practice – Day Six

forgiven irish saying

#BePresent to each other. #Forgive one another. #LoveMercy

Holy Trinity, center me now that I may notice Your creative intention, nest in the broad, safe space of Your presence, and intentionally nurture another with the same.

What word or phrase do I notice on which I may center:

2 Cor 5:20-6:2 We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you. How? you ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God. Companions as we are in this work with you, we beg you, please don’t squander one bit of this marvelous life God has given us. God reminds us, I heard your call in the nick of time; The day you needed me, I was there to help. Well, now is the right time to listen, the day to be helped. [MSG]

Line the nest of God’s presence with this prayer for _______ and myself:

Jesus, thank you, for wanting to be my friend and taking the blame for me. God, thank you, for your mindful attention on ________. Help me to breathe in the marvelous life you give. Give ________ and me the courage to not waste Your beautiful gifts to us. Help ________ draw on the power of Christ’s mercy and to notice the help you are so ready to give each moment. Amen.

How will I intentionally nurture ________ today:

REMEMBER (3Ns)

noticenestnurture

PRACTICE (Lection Divina)

lectiodivina

Lenten Prayer Practice – Day Four

treasure-unrelenting

Holy Trinity, center me now that I may notice Your creative intention, nest in the broad, safe space of Your presence, and intentionally nurture another with the same.

What word or phrase do I notice on which I may center:

Psalm 51: 1-4 Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins.
Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin.
For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night.
Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight.
You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just. [NLT]

Line the nest of God’s presence with this prayer for _______ and myself:

Holy God, thank you, for your love that never runs out. Thank you, for your mindful attention on ________. Open my eyes to your compassion for me. Give ________ and me the courage to recognize and let go of the guilt. Help ________ draw on the power of your complete forgiveness. Help us to notice your grace in your presence, and by loving mercy, extend mercy to another today. Amen.

How will I intentionally nurture ________ today:

REMEMBER

noticenestnurture

PRACTICE

lectiodivina