Category Archives: Deeper Sensation
Dear World, forgive me.
In my desire to share what is so important to me, so necessary, so powerful, so helpful, so true, I have neglected to notice this about you: your cup is not empty.*
Willing students, perhaps, come with polished, expectant cups. Some with them behind their backs, waiting to see if the offering is worth the sloshing that would come with the filling.
But all others who come, even the parched and those drunk on new wine, come with cups that are not empty. They are filled with what the world has already had to offer. People and places, ideas and conversations, mothers and fathers, families, traditions and cultures. So much.
If I want to pour my ideas into your cup, I need to understand what’s already there. Perhaps sit and sip a while. Have some tea and a teacake. Listen and look. Waft and taste. Touch and let myself be touched.
Only newborn children come with empty cups.
We fill them. The world fills them. With good things and love. With encouragement and praise. Or not. Oh holy Lord, sometimes … With abuse and neglect. With harsh words or impossible expectations. With hunger, loneliness, violence, despair. Lord, let us be bearers of hope for these.
Friend, your cup is not empty and neither is mine.
World, forgive me. Lord, forgive us. For our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. May we taste and see, seeking first to understand.
*Melinda Gates in her book, The Moment of Lift.
What makes us fit? A good fit?
Our shape? Size? Color? Language? Nationality?
Our behavior? Net worth? Service record?
Our church membership? Community service? Volunteer hours?
Our education? Employment? Contribution?
How many lives we’ve touched?
How many stories we’ve listened to?
How many hands we’ve held?
How many sacrifices we’ve made?
How many gifts we’ve given?
What we’ve done? What we’ve left undone?
How much we pray?
How often we meditate?
How acquainted we are with God? a Higher Power? a Supreme Being?
How many Bible verses we can quote?
How obedient we are?
How dutiful, faithful, diligent?
What makes us fit for the Kingdom? a good fit in the Kingdom?
Our Creator does.
The One who knows the shape of the Kingdom space we were created to fill.
What does Creative shaping feel like?
A spin-whirl-hum, twirling,
A pinch-push-pull, settling,
A chisel-whittle-hone, admiring,
A plant-water-fertilize, tending,
A spark-breath-glow, emerging
Going, grasping, gauging,
round and round, in and out,
down and up and toward.
All for the want of light.
The light of love pulls us
When darkness comes,
Love reaches for us.
Our hand fits perfectly in This hand.
Our body nestles perfectly into This bosom.
Our soul rests perfectly in This soul.
In our Creator’s image, we fit.
We always fit.
“I declare my courage to participate in the building of the reign of God that is in the world and in me.” ~ Henri J.M. Nouwen with Nathan Ball
How can we tell if something is alive?
Biologists look for 5 traits, processes or functions as signs of life:
- metabolism (consume, construct, destruct, excrete)
- growth (learn, build, improve)
- reproduction (spawn offspring or ideas)
- responsiveness (sensitive, attentive, active)
- movement (action, progress, liveliness)
These are the characteristics of life — the life of anything.
That’s cool, because I can ask, how does my group or organization fare in this test?
- Does it have a healthy intake, constructing, evaluating and excreting the excess?
- Is it growing in size, stature, knowledge and/or numbers?
- Is it spawning new ideas, new energy, spin-offs, satellites?
- Is it sensitive to the needs of community and responding effectively to those needs?
- Is it doing things and taking action rather than standing by, waiting or watching?
If my organization is alive, I can dive in. If not, how can I enliven it? If I can’t, perhaps I should look elsewhere.
Even better, I can do the life-test with projects I am considering taking on or investing in.
- Will it engage me in a healthy way and allow me to sift out and toss the excess?
- Will it contribute to my growth? help me learn, improve or perform better?
- Is it creative and something I will want to share and pass along?
- Does it meet a real need in a way that is effective at reducing the need?
- Will my active participation offer satisfaction, fulfillment and contentment?
Of every opportunity, I can ask: Is this alive for me?
… If maybe? Give it a try and test again.
… If no? Then it’s someone else’s project.
It’s worth the test. Our biology shows us how. All things we choose to do should answer yes to this question: Is this life-giving for me?