I often reflect here about what it means to live beautifully. About living with gratitude and finding abundance by simplifying.
Those themes belong.
So does grief.
Living in Prayer & Liminality
It’s September 11th as I type this.
A day of grief for the country, and I join you in your remembrances, pain, and sorrow.
I think about the sacredness of those lives lost. About the courage of rescuers and helpers.
I’m filtering emotions about September 11th through some physical pain, and I am keenly aware of the blessing it is to BE HERE. To be feeling, breathing, hungering, weeping, walking, smiling, contemplating, resting, moving, and PRAYING.
How often do I take too lightly this precious gift of life I have been freely given?
I listened to a podcast the other day, and the gentleman being interviewed mentioned something his father said to him when as a child he was behaving arrogantly. His dad said,
“Stop acting like you hit a triple when you were born on third base.”
Indeed I was born on third base.
Many of us were. Yet it seems unremarkable now to daily hear variations of “I hate my life” or FML.
Too often, my behavior is far from life giving; my outlook jaded.
Why do I keep falling asleep and wandering from the realm of grace?
(I can hear a few of you friends lovingly whispering into your screen…”You need the Word” or “There’s an enemy at work.”)
I do love the Word.
Though my faith tradition is Christianity, I share these reflections simply as a seeker of beauty and peace muddling through the mystery.
What I long for just now is to live humbly in prayer.
To find strength and hidden wholeness.
What does living in prayer look like?
For me, it is daily communion and daily transformation. It involves silence and sweeping my floors.
Living in prayer is about quieting the mind, opening the heart and finding a spaciousness there to hold the bitter and the sweet.
Living in prayer is about cultivating an inner landscape of beauty.
Here’s the thing.
One of my circumstances today is illness.
Yet an inner landscape of beauty cannot be polluted by circumstance.
It has been a bumpy journey since our recent road trip to Colorado.
I experienced trouble with food while we were there and chalked it up to feeling my age, the altitude, and the physical demands of our hikes. But the first day back home, things grew worse.
You may have read the thing I wrote about traveling mercies. Each night brings pain, and at times it is intense. Plenty of my days have been colored by Crohn’s disease, and though it became a familiar friend, I have been living inside the blessing of full remission since 2012. We don’t yet know if this is a flareup.
When I am having an attack, these four words bubble up into my consciousness:
I LOVE MY LIFE.
It may be a small thing, but I am so very grateful for the gift of this affirmation.
For weeks now, I have been living in
L I M I N A L I T Y.
Familiar with this anthropological term?
It’s a threshold – a middle space – between the old way and the new.
I know you understand it. Things fall apart. You have a nervous breakdown or become seriously ill. You lose your job or a family member. You experience great loss.
Remember the liminal space our country lived in after 9-11?
As I breathe through this chapter, I feel more profoundly present and wide awake. I can see my blessings. I can see the beauty of my life. I am drawn into confession. I am led into worship. Songs played at the piano are more soulful. The words I type here, more intentional.
Deep calls to deep.
While I am ready for what is next, I will not curse the darkness of this liminality.
There is much to learn, and I want to be open.
I’m trying to let go of my strong desire to run and numb.
To let go of my need for everything to be orderly.
I know you get it. You have your own secret pain and battles.
Some of you are MOVING and MUDDLING through liminal space this very moment.
You are doing your best, and it’s honorable.
I see you. You’re not alone. You are being made perfect in your weakness. We are not just being re-arranged; we’re being shaped into something new.
There is light ahead.
Wholeness is shimmering on the horizon.
Thank you for reading heart-talk from a fellow traveler leaning into grace, tender mercies, and small miracles just now.
Just one more thing.
Don’t forget HUMANS ARE GOOD.
They are. You are. We are.
The people of earth are good. We’re reflections of the divine image.
We must guard our hearts from bitterness and cynicism.
Such resistance requires surrender and Big Love.
So I wish you surrender.
In all this exquisite imperfection right where I am, I wish you Big Love.
I wish you healing rays of light in your darkness and…
Peace to you right where you are.
Because of my discomfort, I struggle with irritability. Here is a very wise reflection which helps me forgive myself. It’s from a beloved teacher of mine, Henri Nouwen (who left his body years ago yet whose words and spirit sweeten the atmosphere still):
“It is important to know that our emotional life is not the same as our spiritual life. Our spiritual life is the life of the Spirit of God within us. As we feel our emotions shift we must connect our spirits with the Spirit of God and remind ourselves that what we feel is not who we are.
We are and remain, whatever our moods, God’s beloved children.”
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Hello. I don’t know you… I came across this post on Pinterest but was moved by your writing and situation. In Jesus’ name I pray the Lord bless you with His amazing love,peace and comfort. Amen
Thank you for stumbling upon the post and for your prayer – I’m so grateful.
Michelle, continuing to pray for you during this time of pain and uncertainty toward healing. I love your attitude of appreciation for the gift of life. AND you have shared so much beauty with us during this difficult time – your bespoke kitchen post the other day was fabulous as is this one – thank you.
I’ve walked with you in prayer in the powerful name of Jesus during this similarly difficult month I’m experiencing and can echo the feeling of awakening to the God-bestowed gifts all around me that I often take for granted when life is going smoothly. Please know that others are with you and we care. My niece Natalie is an advocate for those living with Chron’s as she is, if that would be at all helpful: https://lightscameracrohns.com/about/ XO
What a gift to be joined as you join me here. I don’t take it lightly. I will pray for you, friend and hope you will feel assured that you are hidden in Christ with nothing to fear. I will definitely check out your niece’s site. To participate in the healing of one other – to point each other to living water – to become the beauty we seek – it just never gets old. Thank you.
Michele your words and the way you share them in such a fluid beautiful way always touch my heart. There is no peace like the sweet peace that comes from time spent with our Lord. Sometimes I feel like I never want to hang up, so to speak. Sometimes life will throw us on our knees and when we look up he is always there ready to help us up. There are no promises that life won’t be hard but he does promise us that he will be with us getting us THROUGH whatever we are experiencing. I pray for you my sweet friend as you go THROUGH. Love you💙🙏💙
You’re so wise and kind to me. Thanks for the prayers, sister. Muddling through. Looking up. Grateful for my life. xox
You have been included in my morning prayers these past few weeks, Michele. May God bring you healing and peace!
Thank you for including the quote from Henri Nouwen! I have all his books and take them out to read something at random whenever I am in need of some comforting words. I am always amazed that his words fit the exact need/fear/problem of the moment!
YES! His words do the same for me, and I have almost all of his books. Thank you so much for the prayer. Feeling a little better and know I will get well. xox
As always, your words are spoken so eloquently. I’m grateful for your beautiful blog. Lovely to have all these prayerful sisters on this blog as well. Blessings and healing to you Michele.
I’m grateful to have you here adding beauty and bringing blessing. Peace to you, and thank you for your support.
Hello, my name’s Rosane and I usually see your posts on Pinterest. I’m in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. Today, reading this post I felt connected to you through the love of Jesus. What I’d like to tell you is that the Holly Spirit, these days, is pouring the truths of His Word all around the world, in a different way. Free form religiosity, because Jesus is comming soon! So, what is written about us being healed is THE condition of our lives and nothing can change that reallity, only our unbelief. Our feelings lie,our emotions lie, but the Word of God don’t. We are healed because He loves us and that’s the only truth that shall command our lives. I have a friend that was healed from this same illness here at our praying group of women. May the paece of the Holly Spirit fill your heart!