#LENT: Holy Hilarity & (healing) Laughter

At the end of an 8-day silent retreat awhile back Sister Maria asked me to pick a blessing from a bunch of folded papers in a bowl. Putting my hand in, out came this blessing, much to my amused spirit. For over 20 years I have prayed every day for the gift of Holy Hilarity (much needed for relief & development workers in conflict zones, even more needed for busy caregivers.)

“May the God of Laughter be with you, blessing you with the inner joy that calls you to chuckle at your own seriousness; and may your sense of humor lighten your heart and the hearts of those who share your journey. May your laughter bubble over to others, causing them to smile and laugh. 

May the healing God of laughter gently hold and bless you.”

One thing I learned through the care-giving gig with my parents: the “how” really matters.  Doing that love thing while mopping up poo (or pee) and ‘turning’ my bed-fast quadriplegic Papa (which involved slinging him about) – how I did it mattered.

With love, for love, in love – plus humor definitely helped. Taking Mama through ‘the Beauty Shop’ (getting her showered & spiffy clean) Papa loved to hear us giggling.

How I thank God for the gift of holy hilarity that made those times with Mama so special.  Despite her crooked back & swollen knees, I know she felt beautiful as we sang hymns & shared joyful times together @ The Beauty Shop. (Not just hymns, we’d also sing, ‘rub a dub dub Mum’s in the tub!’)

On this Lenten Thursday, let’s ask God to enliven us with the healing laughter of Holy Hilarity.

grace, peace & holy (healing) hilarity

Virginia : )

“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” Victor Hugo

(even my teddy bear, Bumbles, & Freddy the Frog!)

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#LENT: Singing Spaceships & New Day(s)

One of my favorite science fiction books (reread often) is “The Ship Who Sang” by Anne McCaffrey. Throughout the story Helva, the spaceship who sings (& main character), suffers loss and faces challenges of many shapes and intergalactic sizes.

After traveling with Helva on her arduous journeys (with a few tears usually leaking out along the way) the book ends with the traditional military requiem of Taps heard as a new beginning:

“Day is done.
Gone the sun.
From the sea, from the land, from the sky. 
All is well.
Rest in peace,
God is nigh!”

“Each day dies, to let night with its darkness for sorrowing and sleep complete its course and bring… a new day.”  Helva, The Ship Who Sang (Anne McCaffrey)

On this Lenten Wednesday (with Easter less than 3 weeks away) maybe it’s time to let go of what is deadening our hearts in the darkness of our fears and let Christ do a new thing in us in a new way.

grace, peace & new days

Virginia : )

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#LENT: (atrophied) joy vs. (every day) joy

 “From somber, serious, sullen saints, save us, O Lord.” Saint Teresa of Avila

On this Lenten Tuesday we’re over half way through Lent. Maybe there are things we were hoping to do (that we haven’t done) and things we didn’t want to do (stuff we gave up) that crept back into our ‘doing.’

Whatever the case may be, just don’t let this Lenten season be all doom and gloom. Lent is also a time to get our joy muscles in shape in time for Easter, to take them for a workout (so they don’t atrophy) by sharing a little joy with ourselves (& others.)

“The Lord of gladness delights in the laughter of a merry heart. These wedding guests at Cana could have done without wine, surely without more wine and better wine. But the Father looks with no esteem upon a bare existence, and is ever working, even by suffering, to render life more rich and plentiful.” George MacDonald (“The Miracles of Our Lord”)

“’Whatever He saith unto you, do.’

Out flowed His grapes divine;

Though then, as now, not many knew

Who makes the water wine.”

George MacDonald

grace, peace & (every day) joy

Virginia : )

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#Lent: harvesting joy (from tears)

Going through tough times and seasons of loss, sometimes we think we’ll never be happy ever (ever ever) again. But that’s when giving ourselves time to heal can help us move forward, one teary moment (& prayer) at a time.

“Those who sow with tears
    will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
    carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
    carrying sheaves with them.”

(Psalm 126:5-6)

“God of sowing and reaping, grant those moving from tears to joy the patience to wait, and the confidence to believe happiness will return.”  Sister Joyce Rupp, OSM

grace, peace & harvests of joy

Virginia : )

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#LENT: Looking @ The Beattitudes

On this Lenten Sunday Virginia is dusting off something she shared during her 1st post-a-day Lent gig (7 years ago.) Here’s an inspiring interpretation of the Beattitudes of Jesus Christ from favorite Scripture scholar, J.B. Phillips.

‘Exposition on the Beattitudes’ 

Most people think:

Happy are the pushers: for they get on in the world.

Happy are the hard-boiled: for they never let life hurt them.

Happy are they who complain: for they get their own way in the end.

Happy are the blasé: for they never worry over their sins.

Happy are the slave drivers: for they get results.

Happy are the knowledgeable men of the world: for they know their way around.

Happy are the trouble-makers: for people have to take notice of them.

But Jesus Christ said:

Happy are those who realize their spiritual poverty: they have already entered the kingdom of Reality.

Roses by the Sea of Galilee

Happy are they who bear their share of the world’s pain: in the long run they will know more happiness than those who avoid it.

Happy are those who accept life and their own limitations: they will find more in life than anybody.

Happy are those who are ready to make allowances and to forgive: they will know the love of God.

Happy are those who are real in their thoughts and feelings: in the end they will see the ultimate Reality, God.

Happy are those who help others to live together: they will be known to be doing God’s work.”    (J.B. Phillips)

grace, peace & attitude adjustments

Virginia : )

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#Lent: De-cluttering (our hearts)

Virginia began this Lenten post-a-day gig focusing on tidying up our spiritual homes, utilizing scrub brushes (as necessary) to root out yucky stuff clogging the drains of our hearts & lives. On this Lenten Saturday maybe it’s time to take a deeper look into the internal corridors of our hearts and see what needs to go?

Stuff that’s just taking up space, sparking not joy but disgruntlement, discouragement, despair?

We might ask God for a little humility as we go along, keeping in mind that humility is not putting myself down (a slap in our Creator’s face) but acknowledgement that yes, sometimes I screw up. And yet I hold on to the knowledge that God’s mercy & grace are abundantly available cleaning out the messes in my failure closets.

“It’s easy to throw things away that are cluttering up our apartments, but is it easy to clean up the inside of my life – to throw away rebellious spirit, selfishness, pride, control, pettiness?”  Sister Macrina Wiederkehr

grace, peace & de-cluttered heart corridors

Virginia : )

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#LENT: Being Still (vs. frenetic)

So much clamors for our time and attention all day long (and at nighttime, too.)

Responsibilities tug at us from all sides while distractions deluge us thru social media as we constantly ‘check in.’

During Lent it’s a time to make space for stillness in our hearts. To be quiet (turn our phones off for a sec or two.) To listen.

“Be still and know that I am God…” (Psalm 46:10)

“Let us look within ourselves and see whether there is some delightful hidden place where we can be free of noise and argument. Let us hear the Word of God in stillness and perhaps we will then come to understand it.” Saint Augustine

grace, peace & stillness

Virginia : )

“What matters is to listen attentively to the spirit and to go obediently where we are being led, whether to a joyful or a painful place.”  Henri Nouwen

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