Every morning, between 5:00 and 6:00 am, my six-year-old shuffles into our room and sleepily whispers in my ear: "Can I lay with you, mama?" And I lift the sheets and blanket, wordlessly welcoming her into the warmth and safety of our bed. Once snuggled between her dad and me, I feel her small body relax, her breathing slow down. For a half-hour or so, before the the demands of the day overtake us, we rest together in stillness. Just by being, I am a comfort.
I am a recovering people pleaser, which sounds nice enough until you realize, oh wait, what I'm hungering for is to be liked. Ooh that pride is sticky and tricky. See it all comes back to me. How do you feel about me? What do the actions of my family members say about me? I feel good, happy, when others accept and approve of me. But that happiness is short-lived, and can morph into insecurity at break neck speed. I cannot become a true healing presence to those around me until I deal honestly and forthrightly with my self-centeredness. Humility is necessary for freedom, courage, and growth.
The meek man is not a human mouse afflicted with a sense of his own inferiority. He has accepted God's estimate of his own life: In himself, nothing; In God, everything. He knows well that the world will never see him as God sees him and he has stopped caring.– A.W. Tozer
Cleaning up after book club. I love book club.
To find beauty and Christ in every person I meet, and to serve that Christ unselfconsciously, is to grasp ( finally!) the key to all peace, to all joy. No one's disdain for me can crumble such a firm foundation of hope and purpose. Neither can being taken for granted, misunderstood, treated unjustly. Community, to me, means wholeheartedly entangling oneself in others' struggles, sorrows, accomplishments, etc. and being healed by God's mercy in the process. In the loving of our neighbors, our spouses and children, in co-carrying their burdens and, just by being, lightening their load, we're able to shed that stubborn sin of selfishness that all too easily ensares us.
A Thursday morning coffee date
As an Orthodox Christian, my digestion of the utter imperativeness of not living for myself alone is paramount to my salvation:
There are no individuals in the Church. We are not autonomous beings who come to Church in order to get our needs met. This is an aspect of our Orthodox self- understanding that sets us apart in our American Christian culture. We are connected to one another. We worship together. We are saved together in the Church. We are members of one another in the body of Christ. Mainline Christianity in America assumes that we are selfsufficient individuals and all we need is "me, God, and the Bible." This is very different than our historical, Orthodox Christian Faith. The Church is made of persons created in the image and likeness of God that come together to be what they cannot be alone, the body of Christ, which is the one body, confessing the one Christ, celebrating the one Eucharist at the one altar, worshiping with one voice.
- Fr. Christopher Foley
Making Christmas nut rolls with the women of my parish.
All for One, and One for all.
A blessed weekend to you, my brother and sisters.
Do you have a photo or reflection on "Community" to share? Please link to your site in my comment section! Next week's "The Way I See It" theme will be: Patience