...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

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Essence of Spirituality

When John Wesley wanted what the Moravians had, he identified perhaps the most basic element in human spirituality: the yearning for something more. The peace of Moravian faith Wesley witnessed for himself amidst the trauma of a terrifying storm at sea. While he was panic-stricken, the Moravians were singing hymns. St. Teresa of Avila was known to have prayed, "O God, I don't love you. I don't even want to love you. But I want to want to love you."

There are often moments when we are confronted with the true spiritual reality of our lives: we want for ourselves what we see in others. A friend and colleague seems tremendously in the zone every time I see her. So centered, focused, prophetic, possessed by a mission that is undeniably authentic and obvious. What can I do but admire that!

There is no silver bullet of spiritual health. No matter where we are or where we've been, I believe all we've got to work with is our longing for more of God. And the honesty, like St. Teresa, not to call it love. The willingness to be a beginner is the enduring foundation of the Christian spiritual life, and in the end, our wanting to learn, not how far we've come, is what's most important.

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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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