Sunday, January 31, 2010

Study Hard


Innocence is our first teacher.
Curiosity is our second teacher.
Pain is our third teacher.
Wisdom is our diploma.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Welcome Rain


A man on a long journey was passing through a region that had not seen rain in many months. The land was dusty, stream beds lay empty, and leaves hung on trees like bats. The man needed a place to spend for the night, though, so he rented a cabin from an old farmer.

Not long after falling asleep, he woke to the sound of thunder. Remembering the local drought, he looked around and noticed a large wooden barrel in the corner -- a rain barrel, he thought. He jumped up and rolled it outside to catch any rain that might fall.

Within minutes, the rains did come, and they poured down in torrents. Back in the safety of the cabin, he discovered that the roof had a big hole in one place, and rain was pouring in all over the floor. The storms were so heavy, in fact, that he had to use every piece of dry clothing he had to mop up the mess.

The next morning as he was saying good bye to the farmer, the traveler said, "I have good news for you. I used a barrel from your cabin to catch rainwater for you last night. Unfortunately, I also have some bad news. Your roof has a terrible leak."

"Thank you for your kindness," said the farmer, "but the leak is not a leak. It is the runoff from the roof. I collect it to use for washing."

"But it just pours out on the floor," the man exclaimed.

"That is what the barrel is for," the farmer answered.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Crossing a Stream


When crossing a stream from rock to rock, it is not always easy to tell which stones are solid and which ones will topple underfoot.

Best to step lightly.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Sometimes I Wonder


Sometimes I wonder what my life is for.
Sometimes I wonder why I'm here at all.
Sometimes I wonder what it all means.
Sometimes I wonder what my response should be.
Sometimes I wonder where it all came from.
Sometimes I wonder where it all goes from here.
Sometimes I wonder at my own wonder.
Why wouldn't I want to know?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Waiting for the Water to Settle


How long should we wait for the water to settle before it is clear enough to drink?

As long as it takes.

How do we know we are still on the right path when the night is dark and we have no light?

We listen.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Letting Go of Pain


Forgiveness is about letting go of pain. It is not about forgetting the pain. It is about remembering the pain without feeling the pain.

When we let go of the pain others have caused us, we can let go of the anger and hurt and fear we feel toward them.

We come to realize they are in pain, too. Otherwise, they wouldn't have felt the need to pass off some of it on us.

Forgiveness begins when we realize we no longer have a reason to keep carrying the pain they've given us, so we set it down.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Laugh with Those Who Laugh


Laugh with those who laugh. Mourn with those who mourn.

How do we do this when we are not happy? How do we do this when we are not sad?

It isn't about mirroring the feelings of those around us. It isn't about feeling their joy or suffering their pain.

It's about remembering our own need for laughter, our own need for tears.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Friend


A friend is someone who cares about us and is interested in us.

A friend is someone we can trust to have our best interests at heart.

A friend is someone we can turn to when we need support and encouragement.

At the deepest level, a friend is someone whose actions keep us ever aware that we are not alone.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Short-Lived


There are very few people in our lives -- especially close friends and family -- who we will know across the entire arc of their earthly span, from birth to death.

This is a blessing, because the death of anyone younger than we are is a tragedy.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Enemies Under the Same Roof


If a man finds he has enemies in his own house, it is more likely he invited them in himself than that they broke in against his will.

We help to create what we oppose.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Listening Well


To listen well is a great gift.

Before I can listen well to someone else, though, I must first learn to listen to myself.

Listening to myself means being still enough and quiet enough to hear the profound silence we each carry within us. It is the source of my deepest self. It is the source of your deepest self.

When I am listening to my deepest self, I can hear every word you say.

When I am listening to your deepest self, even the silences between your words speak volumes.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Questions with Answers


There are questions we ask of ourselves that we already know the answers to, but we aren't ready to accept them as the answers.

Seeking an answer you already know but are not ready to accept is like answering a completely different question.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Why Take on the Fears?


Why take on the fears of others?
Why not let them deal with their own?
Don't I have fears enough to deal with already?

And what is fear but a lack of trust? A lack
of faith that I will be okay no matter what.

What a small thing fear becomes
when seen through the eyes of God.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Deciding Who We Are


We become who we are by deciding to be who we are. This is not as common a thing as one would expect. Why? Because we don't want to become who we are. We worry who we are isn't as good as who we are not. We see others and worry that we should be who they are, not who we are.

What we don't realize is that we already are who we are. We can be no one else, and no one else can be who we are. It's our task alone. The only decision we have before us is whether we're going to decide to be who we are.

It's the only way we can become who we already are.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Predictable


Predictability is what we seek as humans.
Predictability is what we seek as humans.
Predictability is what we seek as humans,
except when it isn't.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Making the Other


Deep creates shallow.
Silence creates sound.
Darkness creates light.
Oneness creates endless
reflections of itself.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

There Are Many Paths


There are many paths
to the same destination.

Some are direct.
Some are dangerous.
Some are wandering.
Some are wayward.
Some are clearly marked.
Some are newly blazed.
Some are overgrown.
Some have not been made yet.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

To Have or Not to Have


First are the things I have that I want.
Second are the things I don't have that I don't want.
Third are the things I have that I don't want.
Fourth are the things I don't have that I do want.

The first two lead to stasis. I want to keep having the things I have that I want, and I want to keep not having the things I don't want.

The second two lead toward change.

The question is how much pain do I have to feel before I decide to do something about it?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Living in Boxes


If I live in a box
that somebody else built,
is it his box or is it my box?

If somebody else
lives in a box I built,
is it my box or is it his box?

And what is a box
but another set of limits?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Measured by What I Buy


Am I measured by what I buy?
Am I the sum of what I own?

A tree fills the ground with roots
under the shadow of its branches.
Does the tree own the ground?

A storm fills the sky with clouds
and rain and lightning and thunder.
Does the storm own the sky?

The ground holds the tree firm.
The sky carries the storm to its destination.
Will I let my possessions decide my worth?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Burn


Boiling water turns to steam,
leaves behind what it cannot carry,
and condenses on cooler surfaces.

Tragedy generates its own heat,
burns away the chaff of our lives,
and clears the way to higher ground.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Not Every Adversary


Not every adversary is an enemy.
Not every loss is a defeat.
Not every mystery is a puzzle.
Not every question is a challenge.
Not every conflict is a battle.
Not every fear is a disaster.
Not every difficulty is a problem.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Just Long Enough


To wait when I do not know
what I am supposed to do
is to do what I am supposed to do.

How long do I have to wait
for the right action to arise?
Just long enough.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Everyone Matters


One of the greatest misfortunes we can bring down on the heads of others is to convince them somehow that they do not matter.

One of the greatest services we can render is to recognize that everyone matters.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Finding Each Day Richer


When you can find
each day to be richer
than the day before,
you have no reason
to fear growing older.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Four Books


Four books carry wisdom.

First is the book of limits.
Second is the book of directions.
Third is the book of silence.
Fourth is the book of lights.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Fellow Traveler


Marriage isn't about tradition.
It isn't about kids or sex or
money or loneliness or power.
Marriage is about companionship.
It's about someone to share the journey with.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

You Are Not


You are not what you own.
You are not what you can afford to buy.
You are not a label or a logo.
You are not a clothes mannequin.
You are not a tube for designer drugs.
You are not a target market.
You are not a consumer.
You are not alone.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Balancing the Scales


When physical weight and
gravity are all that matter,
balancing the scales is simple.

When hurt and pain are involved,
balancing the scales is more complicated.

Fairness is about balance.
So is forgiveness.
Bitterness only leads
to more imbalance.

Imbalance has its place,
but it is not sustainable.
It requires too much
power to maintain.

Coming into balance is
like water flowing
to the lowest places.