Because in the school of the Spirit,
man learns wisdom through humility,
knowledge by forgetting,
how to speak by silence,
how to live by dying.
-Johannes Tauler

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Carly Simon is singin' to me

Being blessed to have grown up in a middle class society, I don't know if what I'm about to say is true. However, if I had to guess, I'd say this: the poor aren't vain. The lack of material possessions must culture a certain type of humility, because at some point, necessity must override any sense of shame or embarrassment...

I was struck by this thought last night as I was drifting to sleep (don't the best ideas come to us in that time between waking and dreams?) and it kept me awake: in this, my year of poverty (but will it only be a year?), shouldn't I also be embracing this humility - a detachment from vanity? In my limited reflections on this so far, I am led to believe it may be one of the greatest challenges I take on. It is probably the deepest-seeded issue I struggle with, but within this context of poverty, surely I can begin to weed it out and plant new seeds, ones that will flower and bear fruits I may share with others. 

And so begins the search: how can I concretely live this out? To begin, I turn to the words of  a man named Ken Blanchard, who says, "Humility does not mean you think less of yourself; it means you think of yourself less." It is that old recipe for JOY: 


There it is, the greatest reminder: anything worthwhile or successful must begin with The Alpha and end with the Omega Himself. Striving, tripping, falling, but ever pushing on, I will fix my eyes on Christ. +

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Coupons and deadlines

For some reason we set a goal of blog posts per month. I'm not sure why. (An effort to get me to post something maybe?) I do have several topics that are relevant to wordly want that I still have 6 more months to write about. Here is one: coupons.

Everyone loves a deal. Me especially. If someone says, what do you prefer this or that? (i.e., at the grocery or the restaurant), my instinct is to say, "whatever is on sale." Legitimate, I think, we all want to save a little money. And hey, I'm not too picky for the most part. But at some point can trying to save money become an obsession?

I have to admit that I use to spend at least an hour before going to the grocery trying to cut coupons and go to more than 1 store in one trip. Not only did it take up time, but when I would go to the store and they didn't have the item, I would get made. At some point in the recent future I decided to stop all this nonsense and cut back on my coupon 'problem.' Granted, people (me included) can save a lot of money this way, but aren't there other things in life to spend time doing? I can't put my finger on it, but I have felt released from the coupon craze - and I still can be a smart shopper!

I'm coming to the end of this blog post, but I am not sure how to end. Maybe there aren't better things in life to spend your time doing if you can save money and donate it somewhere? Or maybe we should just be donating or time...and/or be less attached to either!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Just when you think you've made progress...

Someone took my coffee cup.

My sister, just because she had some extra points to spare on her student card, bought me an oversized coffee mug from Starbucks. This might sound ridiculous, but I’ve actually gotten a few compliments on it around the office! I really love it, and I kept it at my desk for a long time, because, well…it’s mine. I don’t want to risk the chance of it being “borrowed” and then swallowed up by someone’s messy desk.

Today, I left for lunch and wanted to wash it just before leaving. I have a shelf in the kitchen cabinets at the office that I usually keep a few things on, so I just dried it and set it there on my way out. I forgot all about it until I saw it in the hands of one of the employees – he isn’t usually in the office because he doesn’t live in Indianapolis, but works for the company from a distance, so of course he didn’t know that was my shelf that I keep my things on…and that he had taken my coffee cup. I almost said something to him as he walked by holding it…

And then I saw him take a drink.
Out of my coffee cup.
That no human’s lips had ever touched but mine.

It was like a slow motion nightmare and in my head I screamed, “Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo….”

I am not kidding you – I had to stop and regain my composure. He has no idea, still, the commotion he’s caused within me, and I don’t particularly plan to tell him. I may just sneak around until he’s abandoned it and then reclaim it, hiding it deep within a drawer at my desk, only to see the light of day when I need some cinnamon tea or a cup of french vanilla coffee.

Yet for the last thirty minutes of the work day, I had to ask myself: why is this causing me such grief? It’s a coffee mug for goodness sake! And I thought I had come so far this year, in my detachment and in my purposeful poverty, and now I’ve completely lost it over a piece of porcelain.  

It’s possible this is a reflection of something deeper, some greater issue I’ve yet to overcome…yet to even discover. With six and a half months to go, I’ve got some more work to do in my heart. +