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Friday, August 30 2013

What you encounter,recognize or discover depends to a large degree on the quality of your approach. Many of the ancient cultures practiced careful rituals of approach. An encounter of depth and spirit was preceded by careful preparation.

When we approach with reverence, great things decide to approach us. Our real life comes to the surface and its light awakens the concealed beauty in things. When we walk on the earth with reverence, beauty will decide to trust us. The rushed heart and arrogant mind lack the gentleness and patience to enter that embrace" John O'Donohue


I came across this quote today and marveled at its beauty, truth, and timeliness for my life. I have just returned from a small town about sixty five miles away which I visit quite daughter and her family live there. I have to confess right up front it has never entered my mind to stop and consider how I approach my visits. Truth be told I usually buzz in and out and could easily qualify for being in the "rushed heart" category if not the "arrogant mind"!

This visit was different. I decided to go to this town early to take my dreaded driver's license renewal exam. No four hour wait here, just a short fifteen minute stop and suddenly I had some extra time to to kill. I went to the cemetery (no pun intended). I don't know anyone buried in this cemetery so I was not going to "visit" a grave, I just have grown quite fond of this particular place. Instead of being hidden on the outskirts of town, this cemetery is located right smack dab in the middle. There is an elementary school, a YMCA, and some beautiful homes riming its borders, all making the silent statement that death is very much a part of life.

So I pulled into this quiet spot and parked under the shade of a large oak tree with no real agenda on my mind other than to sit and wait. Without realizing it I was approaching my upcoming family visit with reverence; the very quality of my approach was being transformed by this unusual pause in a holy place.

There is nothing like a cemetery to pull you out of a "rushed heart and arrogant mind" state of being. Try it! "As we are, you will be" cry out all the names on those stone markers. No one escapes passing through the thin veil separating time and eternity...very humbling. As for rushing; generations are on display here...years and years and years...centuries even, and the question arises in my heart "what's all the hurry"?

My family visit was very different this time and until I read John O'Donohue's words this morning I did not know why. Now I realize those moments of approach I passed in the cemetery brought to light the concealed beauty in many things. A verse of scripture was  highlighted on one of those graves; a verse I sorely needed to see and know. And later the concealed beauty was revealed in my daughter and grandchildren sharing a meal together and watching a beautiful sunset. Great things came forward and I was embraced. Yes the visit was very different.

These words challenge me to examine how I approach so many things in my life. Do I approach a new day with reverence? Or am I rushed and arrogant taking it for granted? Do I approach another human being with reverence? or am I rushed and arrogant concerned only with myself? Do I approach God with reverence? Or am I rushed and arrogant wanting only a quick fix for one of my problems?

Read the first line again.....What you encounter, recognize, or discover depends to a large degree on the quality of your approach. How will you approach life tomorrow? In a rushed and arrogant state of mind? Or are you willing to try a new approach, to pause with reverence and be grateful for one more day?

Posted by: AT 08:43 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, August 16 2013

I have a young friend who recently was cast into a small part in a local production of Les Miserables. As if this wasn't exciting enough guess who came to see it and guess who she got to meet? No, not any of those people.....she got to meet Rolfe-from The Sound of Music. Don't ask me why he was there I don't know the details, but I was fascinated that she called him Rolfe-from The Sound of Music. We all know who Rolfe is or rather was; the cute seventeen year old who sang the famous song "16 going on17" in the Gazebo to Liesl and then betrayed the Von Trapp family after he joined the Nazi party (which is why we both love and hate him).

After hearing how my friend referred to him as Rolfe-from The Sound of Music making it his given name rather than saying "I met Daniel Truhitte"; I couldn't help wonder if he liked going through life as Rolfe-from The Sound of Music. When he was cast in the role did he know the movie would become one of the most beloved films of all time? Did he sign up for being forever fixed in the public imagination as a seventeen year old Austrian singing a catchy tune? Did he realize he would spend the rest of his life being introduced as Rolfe-from The Sound of Music? Maybe yes...maybe no. Of course this may have been wonderful for him, maybe he would rather be Rolfe than Daniel who knows? But it has to be somewhat difficult to age gracefully when every stranger you meet cannot understand why you don't look seventeen anymore and they are secretly disappointed. Your Rolfe????Okay...loved the movie!

At the same time I was pondering these questions I went to see Fox Searchlight's new release The Way Way Back ( which I highly recommend). The movie opens with a slouching awkward fourteen year old boy sitting in the way way back seat of a classic station wagon. He is going on vacation with his mother, her new boyfriend, and the boyfriend's teenage daughter. In the first scene the boyfriend Trent looks at Duncan in the rear view mirror and asks the youth to rate himself by picking a number between one and ten. You can literally feel Duncan's discomfort at being asked to put a number on himself. First refusing he eventually succumbs to Trent's goading and selects a safe choice, the number six; to which the older man replies "I think you're a three". Ouch!!!

Fortunately the movie is a hero's journey and does not leave Duncan in the loser role Trent wants to cast him in. Escaping the house one day the boy crosses a threshold and enters the new world of "Water Wizz"; the local waterpark. Here he meets his mentor Owen the waterpark manager, makes allies of the other employees and passes tests that prove he is much more than a three. The best line of the film comes toward the end when Duncan opens his wound to Owen and repeats what Trent said to him; this time the "older man" speaks truth to Duncan and says "that's about him and has nothing to do with you". Wow!!! That's about him and has nothing to do with you!

So my question is Who cast you into the role your playing" Are you like Rolfe living out of a false persona because at some vulnerable age you were offered this chance to become a "somebody" if you would only take the part? Or did some older and supposedly "wiser" person label you a three or speak ugly words over you which in your youthful insecurity you accepted as fact? Did you ever have a mentor who knew you, loved you and was able to expose the lies and give you truth?

More important than any of these questions is this one: What role did God want to cast you in? If you are in any other role than the one He chose and created you for, your not only missing life with Him....your in the wrong story.

Posted by: AT 04:02 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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