Good Evening, God!
I’ve been listening to this book . . . slowly ( I’m now on Chapter Three) . . . as the ideas don’t fit easily or quickly into my head. . Thinking of You as a VERB instead of a NOUN is a big change. It seems that Aristotle considered Nouns as on the top of the hierarchy. Nouns had substance. And, I guess, tended to have an objective reality. That led us to seeing you as A Big Bearded White Man. Looking back I can see that gave rise to a lot of problems that are still with us. Mind you, I would hope other cultures don’t picture You as white . . . but, still definitely a human male.
This mental shift to relating to You as a VERB is HUGE. You are not so much LOVE (a noun) as LOVING (a verb). I’m smiling, God. As I was telling my spiritual director, I am realizing how little I know. This hit me a few weeks ago when I thought after a time of Centering “That was poor!” Immediately, it was made clear to me that I am not able to judge or evaluate a time of Centering. And, in truth, how could I as I have no idea of what exactly is happening while I center. I do try though. Astot first I used male words like repair, rewire, reconstruct. But, now I’m thinking it’s more like nourishing and nurturing.
But, these are only words. And words are appallingly inadequate. Except when they are used to tell stories! I love the stories that Jesus told. Stories can be revisited and see from so many different angles. And stories stay with me . . . in ways that abstractions don’t. Ah! Perhaps this is why You came in person . . . enfleshing Yourself . . . becoming a Story of Loving and Forgiving.
Good Evening, God!
I was idly flipping through this book when I was stopped by his use of EMPATHY. It seemed that was a key to one of the best Venture Capitalists in Silicon Valley. I had thought of “empathy” as a virtue . . . a stand-alone sort of character quality. I’d surely never thought of it as being essential to successful Venture Capitalists! Or to generals, spies, etc.!
Our secular culture tends to ignore or deny the practical benefits of being able to put ourselves in other people’s shoes, minds and hearts. Yikes! I was doing it too.
Apparently, empathy allows us to understand a much wider array of people and thus learn more. And updating our information . . . learning and growing and adapting . . . is essential. As Laurence Gonzales said. “Some people update their [mental] models better than others. They are called survivors.”
Hmm. One last point — from a book FULL of them — was about the different “success rates” of Foxes vs Hedgehogs. Hedgehogs know ONE area very well. Foxes know a lot of areas. And when asked to make predictions on what would happen in five years — the foxes were way out in front and the hedgehogs way behind. The foxes were widely interested in the world around them. They updated their understandings frequently. And they were skeptical of one big answer.
I can understand curiosity as useful. But empathy — the ability to feel with other quite different people — that was a huge surprise. But, then isn’t empathy intertwined with love? And so as You are Love . . .it shouldn’t surprise me that love would be a useful virtue . . . not just “spiritual”.
Good Evening, God!
I was busy as usual on Wednesday . . . but then Thursday I slept in and then napped later on. We were joining a dear friend’s family at 6:00 for dinner. Around 3:00 I made the fresh cranberry relish and at 5:20 gathered up the pumpkin pie and wine and off we went. A lovely and delicious evening!
This morning I slept until 7:30 a.m. Got up and had a bite to eat with my wonderful husband Kit and then I went back to bed until 12:20. Sleeping longer at one time than for months and months! I’m thankful!
I’m also thankful that I now know rest does not mean that I stop moving! The body is designed to MOVE. And thankfully a friend was willing to go swimming with me. Swimming with a friend means twice as much time in the salt water — which is good. And a little less time swimming hard which isn’t good . . . but worth it to be in the water longer.
Now I’m home and hoping to get to bed soon and sleep-in again. Appreciating what feels like it might be a sabbath type rest. Hmm. One day in seven of full rest. What a loving Commandment, God! Meant for our good. But oh my! So hard for me to keep!
Good Evening, God!
I have so very much to be thankful for, God! My amazing husband . . . our darling daughters . . . our growing grandsons. Our family and our dear friends. The people we interact with . . . humans are mostly good folks.
I had a thought come to me yesterday — while I was swimming with the giant school of little fish — that has stretched my heart. I was looking at the fish. And I noticed that while pale they did have colors . . . a thin yellow line down the side and other subtle shadings. I, of course, couldn’t begin to tell one fish from another. But then I thought — God knows them all by name!
I laughed! I really don’t know if You have “named” them, God. But, I am quite convinced that You “know” each of them and that they matter to You. I pondered that thought. You know the stars by name . . . why not fish? Really, this whole idea is stretching my heart and mind.
As Madeleine L’Engle said in a Wind in the Door — size doesn’t matter. Nothing is too big or too small for You.
Somehow, pondering Your love for each little fish helped me come a little closer to the height and depth of Your LOVE . . . You ARE Love! And I am THANKFUL.
Good Evening, God,
This is the view from my wonderful husband Kit’s beach — where he lived until he was eight. It is actually called the Hunakai Beach . . . right at the start of Hunakai Street. This was taken at low tide. And much to my surprise there were folks sunning themselves on the beach. At high tide there is no beach. Timing is so important.
Time is so important. Eighty years ago the trees did not have their roots exposed. They were back from the water . . . back from the erosion zone. And even just in the last two years the changes have been noticeable.
Years ago I bought a book called Thinking in Time: The Uses of History for Decision Makers. The only point I retained was that we humans are not good in thinking in time.
The example that has stayed with me was asking people to construct a computer model for helping a small village. The designers of the computer model put in wells and provided medical clinics and the village became sustainable — for a decade or two. But then the uncontrolled population growth (lower infant mortality and no birth control education) erased all the gains.
Considering all the factors is hard. Looking ahead . . . far ahead . . . is even harder. Then too, even when the future is clearly seen — like rising oceans . . . warmer oceans . . . stronger storms . . . we don’t want to see.
Good Evening, God!
This morning my wonderful husband Kit and I left home at 6:20 a.m. to get to the Toyota Service Center for my car’s 7:15 appointment. On the way home we stopped at Kaimana Beach for me to swim . . . and Yes, the giant school of little fish were there to greet me! After my exercise time Kit suggested we stop at his old homestead. Actually, I’m not sure leased land qualifies as homestead — but Kit’s family lived there from 1930 to 1942.
The walk down to the beach is so different now. The big trees that shaded the walk are gone. The old fences with greenery on both sides are gone. The homes are gone too. All that remain are the concrete remains of the World War II pill box. We chatted with a man – maybe in in his 60’s – who was going into the water to hunt octopuses. Kit shared about living here when Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941. The man nodded and said . . . that was a long time ago. We chattered on. And wished each other a Happy Thanksgiving.
I was left with a sense of how impermanent things are. But I also have a new awareness of just how precious the folks are who share our past. . . who remember the same things . . .with whom we can replay the times long gone.