And the honest truth is that it has been a struggle. Yes, giving has happened, but not regularly, not recorded, not always intentionally. And I've noticed that giving is a normal rhythm of life, and I'm grateful to observe that. It is good to see generosity practiced, and I see it in many places. It is the stuff of beautiful stories. And I want to continue to be more aware of practicing this gift in my own life.
I had two good intentions over this period of Lent, this forty days preparing for Easter. One was to give more... in fact to give every day. The other was a gift to myself, a new renewal to practice "Sabbath", taking time to rest.
And life happens. For all of us. It has been an intense time at my workplace, extra company, health issues for my hubby (who is on the mend), lots on my plate. Every time I would try to take time out, a new challenge or roadblock seemed to appear. And I became weary of even trying...
This morning's Lenten devotional by Henry Nouwen nourished me:
A Cry for Mercy
O Lord, this holy season of Lent is passing quickly. I entered into it with fear, but also with great expectations. I hoped for a great breakthrough, a powerful conversion, a real change of heart; I wanted Easter to be a day so full of light that not even a trace of darkness would be left in my soul. But I know that you do not come to your people with thunder and lightning. Even St. Paul and St. Francis journeyed through much darkness before they could see your light. Let me be thankful for your gentle way. I know you are at work. I know you will not leave me alone. I know you are quickening me for Easter - but in a way fitting to my own history and my own temperament.I pray that these last three weeks, in which you invite me to enter more fully into the mystery of your passion, will bring me a greater desire to follow you on the way that you create for me and to accept the cross that you give to me. Let me die to the desire to choose my own way and select my own desire. You do not want to make me a hero but a servant who loves you.
Be with me tomorrow and in the days to come, and let me experience your gentle presence. Amen.
Words like this nourish and heal and bring hope to the heart. It is a prayer that I can join in with, a prayer for days when things don't go as I planned.
A wise friend said to me once, I should welcome the interruptions in life. To see interruptions as my work. I have tried to live into that, and know that any plans I make need to have flexibility written into them. And even in the rhythms of busyness I can create moments of silence and quiet, even if I retreat for a few minutes. Sometimes it is as simple as singing a song, silently in my head, beautiful words that nourish me.
In days where my gifts seem scarce, I can give the gift of a smile, or a word of encouragement.
My good friend Dene, always an encourager in my life gave me this bookmark, which I lose in a book and rediscover it from time to time. Even though she is now in heaven, I was delighted to have this bookmark resurface this week again, just when I needed to hear these powerful words written on it: