...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Friday, June 13, 2008

Home Repairs

With the abundance of major home repairs that have cascaded over us this month, we are faced with the choices of what to put on the back burner and save for another day. Seems like last year was the year to replace existing autos, while this year, we are down to have-to jobs: new AC coils, extensive new drain lines, replacing rusted doors, and a new apron for the drive, something put on hold for years.

So it will feel good to have this stuff completed, with always more that could be done for the future. If you think this is parabolic of the spiritual life, just remember the times you have heard "makeover" over the last year or two. The fact is, we find the idea enticing.

The church talks a great deal about transformation. I wonder how much of that word is more about makeovers that we can see than about the realm of God's reign, which we often cannot or do not see. Jesus' seed parables in Mark 4 point to our reactions and resistance with wanting God's rule (4:1-20), how it happens apart from our own control and recognition (4:26-29), and that in its beginnings, size DOES NOT matter (4: 30-34).

The temptation in church life is to have the one answer that will fix everything, such as a new mission statement, strategic plan, or consultant. In the spiritual life, the lures work the same way- what is the one thing that will repair- renovate- my spirit?

The famous physician and endocrinologist Hans Selye, noted that nature loves diversity. And so it is in the spiritual life. There are many practices that will provide strength and hope for your journey. But it is a gradual transformation more than a makeover. The journey to God is also with God.

Selye's book, The Stress of Life is worth picking up. It's a classic in the physiology of stress reaction.


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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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If you want a formula for making the best of the less-than-perfect and making the most of what you have been given, then begin to compare your lot to what you were before you were born, and it will empower you with wonder every time. John Claypool

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