Your Monday Muse: On Greeting the Strangers in our too-busy lives

Our Too-Busy Lives The following is an excerpt from “Life Coach/Christ Coach”:  The noted lecturer Evelyn Underhill speaks of the busy “click-click of the life of succession;” and the danger of developing what she calls a ‘lop-sided Christianity; concentrated on service ‘and on this-world obligations,’ as to forget the needs of constant willed and quiet contact with that other world. Underhill says we conjugate three verbs: to Want, to Have and to DO. ‘Craving, clutching and fussing, on the material, political, social, emotional, intellectual-even on the religious-plane, we are kept in perpetual unrest…forgetting that the fundamental verb, to BE, and ‘that Being, not wanting, having, and doing, is the essence of a spiritual life” Christ spoke of the lilies of the field. He advised to let the day’s own trouble be sufficient unto the day. It is about learning to be present in the moment, and not worrying about the future. The busy lives we lead reflect an inner emptiness at times, I am afraid. To need to fill the calendar for every minute defeats the purpose of living in the moment. The phrase: Fear of Missing Out is called FOMO. And the fear is that in doing all things and working diligently to ‘have it all’, we end up with nothing. By that, I mean there is an emptiness or a need to continually seek something that brings fulfilment, rather than looking in the mirror and starting from within yourself. My small dog is always looking to go for a walk or a ride, just like a small child! I call her “Miss FOMO” because she is always living with the fear she might miss out on something. I can relate well to the ‘click-click’ that Ms. Underhill talks about. And our busy lives are filled with so much from without, that it is a good reminder to stop and not only smell the roses, but perhaps to look at the lilies of the field and then to think about some of the things that you may have missed by not seeing the forest for the trees! Forgiving Ourselves  An Excerpt from “Life Coach/Christ Coach”: Remember that in speaking of Christian love, we learn of Christ’s forgiveness for the ultimate sin of betrayal and denial from his disciple, Peter, who had, it says, “his body and soul humbled.’ He could not think of Christ’s great act of forgiveness without crying….  William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, speaks of the time he committed a sin against some other young men in a business deal from his youth. He describes seeking them out and confessing his transgression, and the “peace that came in its place, and the going forth to serve…from that hour.” We do not need to formally commit to going back, and in some instances, as when someone is not there or is dead, we cannot go back and apologize, or right a wrong. But the conversion can take place. We can forgive ourselves when we make restitution in our minds. It may entail writing a formal letter, sealed only for you. Or talking with friends and counsel of some burden that is laying heavily on your heart and soul. … This is the beauty of the act of forgiveness in your life. As you seek out and truly forgive those who may be also reliving and remembering and worrying about something that happened long ago. The story in our own family is of two brothers who were born well over a hundred years ago, and had a falling out over money. They had not spoken in many years, when the sister of both spoke of their quarrel with the one brother she was closest to. She told him that as he attended church as a Christian, that there was no use in continuing to go each week if he wasn’t going to follow the beliefs he professed to aspire to. If he was going to live his life out as a Christian, he would have to be the one to approach his brother and make the first move.  The brother listened carefully and took her words to heart. He worked up the courage to go to his brother’s house and speak with this man who was now a prosperous merchant. The two spoke together, and cried, and hugged. The happy ending in our family story saw the two reconciled, and the brothers even began to go to church together, as the one who was approached had not been a regular attender.  The moral here, and the underlying story, is about the healing power of forgiveness and love. There had been a dark undercurrent at work in the lives of these two brothers. They could not live completely and fully as upstanding members of their community, good husbands and fathers, knowing there was a hidden pain within them. And the moment that the breach had been healed, there was an understanding of reconciliation and an acknowledgement of love.  This is what may happen when forgiveness is an act and is at work in your life.. Greeting the Stranger From “Life Coach/Christ Coach”: …One of my favorite stories, called “Nansen’s Hut,” is about living with and accepting those who are strangers. It is the story of a traveling monk. The monk stopped at the hut of a fellow worshipper and was given specific instructions about how to cook the food, clean up and to help himself to a dinner while the other man was out working.  When he returned, the place was in chaos. The bowls had been broken and the furniture overturned, and not one of the instructions he carefully left were followed. Moreover, the other monk had vanished without a word, but simply trashed the place and left! Upon reflection when telling the story, Nansen said, “He was a good monk…I still miss him!”… The story reflects and stands on its head the traditional tales of what we expect when we let people into our homes

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