Monday, December 28, 2015
Stars are a big part of my holiday decor....a large one greets visitors outside our front door, a plethora of different sized stars dance across our mantel, and of course one tops our tree ---- an aged wooden star we chose when the kids were little. Our first family star. It has a hole in the center ---- right where the fat ends of the points all start their journey outward. There's a heart in that hole.
For many Christmases I added more ... I put them out and up and about .... their simplicity and beauty appealing to me. Until this year, that's been about the extent of it .... simple, beautiful stars. And certainly that is enough. I am grateful for that.
But this season, the stars gave me more than simple beauty.
On Epiphany Sunday last January our minister asked us to think about what STAR we would follow this year. She challenged us to find a STAR that called us, one that we would give more to than an Oh-that's-pretty glance .... to watch for holy moments to guide us in our journey toward our chosen STAR .... and to be able, in January of 2016, to reflect on our Star-led journey of 2015.
Kind of a sacred way of setting a New Year's resolution.
So ..... what STAR would I follow?
Seeking an answer to that question led me to my generosity .... or specifically, my lack of it. Not so much in my giving or my actions, but in my thinking! I wanted to think more generously.
Yes, that was it .... I would follow the kind-and-generous-thoughts STAR.....
I looked for Wise words to guide me.... words to give me a leg up as I took the first steps towards that star.....
Parker Palmer has always been my go-to. His touchstone When things get rough, GO TO WONDER is on the wall by my desk. I love those words. It's always a challenge for me to go to Wonder .... to wonder why another did or said something ..... to wonder why I reacted the way I did .... to go to wonder instead of to judgement.
But I needed some new words too .....
When I found this quote by Franciscan Friar Richard Rohr...."An alternative orthodoxy is never stingy with grace and inclusion because it has surrendered to a God who is infinitely magnanimous and creative in the ways of love and mercy," I thought, YUP .... and YIKES.
YUP ! I no longer wanted to be stingy with grace! Bingo. That's it.
But YIKES.... all the time? Even when someone really bugged the heck out of me?
And this "infinitely magnanimous and creative with my love" part .....whew, tall order.
I remember thinking I was glad I had 12 months for this journey.....
ha .... 12 decades or lifetimes maybe.
So, it's almost January 2016 .... my journey to the kind-and-generous-thoughts STAR has had its successful days and its failed-badly days. But what I have loved is noticing how I feel when I am stingy with grace .....and how I feel when I am magnanimous with love. Loving creatively comes easily some days and is downright impossible on others.
I plan to keep following this star in 2016. I have work left to do.
As the simple and beautiful STARS came out of their boxes earlier this month and went up and about and on top, they each held a reminder of this star I am trying to follow. They were more than simply beautiful.
And when that old wooden star went on top of the tree this year and I saw its red wooden heart in the cutout center where the points begin their journey outward and where it's been for lo, these past thirty something years, I saw that old STAR and this journey I am on with brand new eyes.
May your 2016 be full of wonder and blessed with magnanimous and creative love!