Monthly Archives: January 2017

The Gift of Years and Growing Older Gracefully: An Introduction

Dear friends,

The holidays are over.  My January class is complete, and I am ready to begin again with The Gift of Years.  This book made such an impact on my life when I reathe-gift-of-yearsd it with a peer group that I decided to give it to some dear friends.  I don’t give it to you because you are old.  I don’t give it to you because I think you need it.

I give it to you with great hope that you will be released from burdens in life as God reveals to you the blessing.  I give it to you with great love to know that naming and sharing burdens with one another is one of the primary ways God uses his vessels of grace.  We are to bear with one another.

I wish I could give everyone the book…but that’s just not possible.  If I didn’t physically give you this book, I give you the recommendation to get this book and join us on this journey.  We are taking it slowly… one topic a week.

My prayer is that you will find wisdom in your years as you experience each topic.  With wisdom comes the knowledge of Grace that redeems you.  And this is a gift like no other.

You will know yourself better at the end of the journey.  Which means you will also know God better at the end of the journey.   And, if you are willing to take the risk, you will also know your neighbor better at the end of the journey.

So get over the fact that we are all getting older.  Joan Chittister wrote this book at 70.  She wishes that someone had given her the book at age 50.  I turned 50 this year, and I couldn’t agree with her more.  The sooner in life we see how God turns our burdens into blessings, the more healing we receive now, the more joy we experience now, and the more complete we become…now.

Don’t let the world tell you what you need.  The answer lies within you.  Don’t be afraid to wrestle with each topic.  This is can tell you from experience, if you don’t stop into the ring, you won’t learn what God has for you now.  You might get it later.  But, why wait?

These are the topics we will encounter together as we seek the meaning and purpose of life one topic at a time:

REGRET (Yes, right off the bat!), MEANING, FEAR, AGEISM, JOY, AUTHORITY, TRANSFORMATION, NEWNESS, ACCOMPLISHMENT, POSSIBILITY, ADJUSTMENT, FULFILLMENT, MYSTERY, RELATIONSHIPS, TALE-TELLING, LETTING GO, LEARNING, RELIGION, FREEDOM, SUCCESS, TIME, WISDOM, SADNESS, DREAMS, LIMITATIONS, SOLITUDE, PRODUCTIVITY, MEMORIES, FUTURE, AGELESSNESS, IMMEDIACY, NOSTALGIA, SPIRITUALITY, LONELINESS, FORGIVENESS, OUTREACH, THE PRESENT, APPRECIATION, FAITH, and LEGACY

Joan Chittister says in her introduction, “Life is not about breathing only.  Life is about becoming more than we are, about being all that we can be.”

As we breathe together along this journey, may we be surprised with the life we find in the most unexpected places.

With a grateful heart,

Lil

 

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It is not just an ordinary day of hope

IMG_0450“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

On this day we recognize the reconciling work of Dr. King.  I stop the busyness of my morning to reflect on the meaning and purpose of Dr. King’s  message to the world.  I am particularly struck by his perseverance in the face of adversity and his faith that God would indeed use him as a transformational voice in a broken world.

Today, we find ourselves in a place where we need to hear, once again, a transformational voice in a broken world.   What I see on social media and hear in the news are cries for leaders to step up and lead the change we so desperately need.  Only, darkness cannot drive out darkness.  Hate cannot drive out hate.  The storms that are brewing spew words of darkness and hate.  Where are the words of light that will break into the center of the storm and calm the skies?

The answer is so simple.

It lies within us, each one of us.  Change begins with one voice.  Change begins with one voice believing that the Holy Spirit is at work in that voice to be a reconciling and transforming agent for all of creation.  It is a voice that values  all people.  It is a voice that builds up instead of tearing down.

This is the way the world is reformed.

Sadly, the world began to believe again that some people are more holy than other people, that some people have more power than other people, that freedom is something we possess.

This is simply not true.

We are called today to remember what really is true.

Remember the power of Love within us that values each person as a beloved child of God.  Remember the power of Love is the only power that conquers hate.  Remember that freedom is a gift of God, the only gift that frees us from the power of the world.

So, today is not an ordinary day of hope.  It is an extraordinary day of hope as we stop and remember a beloved child of God, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who believed in the power of Love to transform the world; who used the gift of freedom as a reconciling agent in the world; who led others to believe in the power of this Love.

How will you let the power of Love lead you?  Is it just another holiday or another day off to finish projects at the house?  Or will you let the Light inside of you be freed from the fear and hate of the world?

It is not just an ordinary day of hope.

This is my prayer today for you and for the world.

(c) 2017 Rev. Lil Smith

 

 

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Praying for his urgent need

at-the-traffic-lightI left the house 10 minutes late this morning.  It was overcast and a little foggy.  The friend I was meeting for coffee was so gracious and understood how time gets away from us sometimes.

It was a normal commute through traffic to our coffee date.  Until the honking began.  I knew immediately there must be an urgent need.  The white SUV startled me as it unexpectedly flew by, honking, switching lanes, maneuvering the quickest way possible to get to its destination.  The man behind the wheel was distraught.  The sound left quickly, but the sea of brake lights ahead of me blinked a pattern of urgency as the honking capsule seemed suspended in air as it zig-zagged through the lanes, speeding toward an urgent need.

Years ago, I  would be agitated by his urgency.  It would have hardened my heart and sent me into a rant at work.  But today, having experienced many storms of urgency that have smoothed the stones in my river, I stop.

And I pray for him.

I pray that the urgency is over and that all is well at the end of the day.  It was a day that began in chaos for him.  I pray that others who were startled when they encountered the honking car of urgency  recognized the need to stop.

And pray for him.

(c) 2017 Rev.Lil Smith

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