We are not responsible for what breaks us, but we can be responsible for what puts us back together again. Naming the hurt is how we begin to repair our broken parts ― Desmond Tutu
Awareness is the first step in healing. — Dean Ornish
The wound is the place where the Light enters you. ― Rumi
The place of true healing is a fierce place. It’s a giant place. It’s a place of monstrous beauty and endless dark and glimmering light. And you have to work really, really, really hard to get there, but you can do it. — Cheryl Strayed
Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it. — Helen Keller
Being brave isn’t the absence of fear. Being brave is having that fear but finding a way through it. —Bear Grylls
SONGS about HEALING:
- Sayin’ What I’m Thinkin’ by Lainey Wilson (country):https://youtu.be/aZtCol-tUaE
- Bird Set Free by Sia (pop):https://youtu.be/FkOO3kz92_c
- Beautifully Broken by Plumb (Christian): https://youtu.be/ce6PT-3sQGg
- Annie’s Song by John Denver (country/folk): https://youtu.be/RNOTF-znQyw
- Sound of Surviving by Nichole Nordeman (pop): https://youtu.be/IaOExJJa_YA
- Everything Comes Alive by We Are Messengers (Irish Christian): https://youtu.be/7ga5wTxF6Tc
- I Am Not Nothing by Beth Crowley (pop): https://youtu.be/SNJ–gHasOE
- I Won’t Let Go by Rascal Flatts (country):https://youtu.be/z4lk4OIi56Q
- Strong Enough by Matthew West (Christian): https://youtu.be/knuHDPbE5es
- Mended by Matthew West (Christian): https://youtu.be/-Otg-5p7qug
- Leave a Light On by Tom Walker (pop): https://youtu.be/nqnkBdExjws
- Ashes Remain by Right Here (rock): https://youtu.be/36ieBoBMcHc
- Scars To Your Beautiful by Alessia Cara (pop): https://youtu.be/1tAvYhW1ZLI
- It’ll Be Okay by Shawn Mendes (pop): https://youtu.be/KrgJp7Z1Hv8
- People Help the People written by Cherry performed by Birdy (pop): https://youtu.be/OmLNs6zQIHo
The JOURNEY — Mary Oliver
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice –
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do –
determined to save
the only life you could save.
THE HEALING THAT COMES — Jan Richardson
I know how long you have been waiting
for your story to take a different turn,
how far you have gone
in search of what will mend you and make you whole.
I bear no remedy, no cure,
no miracle for the easing of your pain.
But I know the medicine
that lives in a story that has been broken open.
I know the healing that comes
in ceasing to hide ourselves away
with fingers clutched around the fragments
we think are none but ours.
See how they fit together,
these shards we have been carrying—
how in their meeting
they make a way
we could not find alone.
FACING OUR FEARS (Demons)
Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it. — Judy Blume
Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. — Dale Carnegie
You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do. — Eleanor Roosevelt
The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. — Nelson Mandela
He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life. — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones. — Thich Nhat Hanh
Have no fear of perfection–you’ll never reach it. — Salvador Dali
Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold. — Helen Keller
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. — Theodore Roosevelt
One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do. —Henry Ford
I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear. —Rosa Parks
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. —Nelson Mandela
Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less. —Marie Curie
Fear comes from uncertainty. When we are absolutely certain, whether of our worth or worthlessness, we are almost impervious to fear. — William Congreve
These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them. ― Rumi
What about evil, you may ask? Aren’t some people just evil, just monsters, and aren’t such people just unforgivable? I do believe there are monstrous and evil acts, but I do not believe those who commit such acts are monsters or evil. To relegate someone to the level of monster is to deny that person’s ability to change and to take away that person’s accountability for his or her actions and behavior. ― Desmond Tutu
Through meditation and contemplation we can learn, for example, that patience is the most potent antidote for anger, satisfaction for greed, bravery for fear, and understanding for doubt. It is not very helpful to rage against others. Instead, we should strive to change ourselves. — Dalai Lama
These verses – and all those like them scattered throughout the Scriptures – are encouraging, inspiring, and revealing. But they can also be quite painful for those who are suffering and do not experience healing. Why then and not now, we might ask. Or, more poignantly, why them and not us? — David Lose
Our own life has to be our message. — Thich Nhat Hanh
Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos—the trees, the clouds, everything. — Thich Nhat Hanh
The practice of forgiveness is our most important contribution to the healing of the world.—Marianne Williamson
Healing yourself is connected with healing others.— Yoko Ono
Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn’t you – all of the expectations, all of the beliefs – and becoming who you are. — Rachel Naomi Remen
There are so many ways to heal. Arrogance may have a place in technology, but not in healing. I need to get out of my own way if I am to heal. — Anne Wilson Schaef
The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love. — Hubert H. Humphrey
Love one another and help others to rise to the higher levels, simply by pouring out love. Love is infectious and the greatest healing energy. — Sai Baba
I’m touched by the idea that when we do things that are useful and helpful – collecting these shards of spirituality – that we may be helping to bring about a healing. — Leonard Nimoy
Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. — Proverbs 16:23-25
To me, forgiveness is the cornerstone of healing. — Sylvia Fraser
The art of healing comes from nature, not from the physician. Therefore, the physician must start from nature, with an open mind. — Paracelsus
The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind. —Caroline Myss
All healing is first a healing of the heart.— Carl Townsend
Eventually you will come to understand that love heals everything, and love is all there is. — Gary Zukav
Everybody has losses – it’s unavoidable in life. Sharing our pain is very healing. — Isabel Allende
When I stand before thee at the day’s end, thou shalt see my scars and know that I had my wounds and also my healing. — Rabindranath Tagore
ON HEALING ― Richard Rohr
To finally surrender ourselves to healing, we have to have three spaces opened up within us – and all at the same time: our opinionated head, our closed-down heart, and our defensive and defended body. That is the summary work of spirituality – and it is indeed work. Yes, it is also the work of “a Power greater than ourselves,” and it will lead to a great luminosity and depth of seeing. That is why true faith is one of the most holistic and free actions a human can perform. It leads to such broad and deep perception that most traditions would just call it “light.”
Remember, Jesus said that we also are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14), as well as saying it about himself (John 8:12). Strange that we see light in him but do not imitate him in seeing the same light in ourselves. Such luminous seeing is quite the opposite of the closed-minded, dead-hearted, body-denying thing that much religion has been allowed to become. As you surely have heard before, “Religion is lived by people who are afraid of hell. Spirituality is lived by people who have been through hell and come out enlightened.”
The innocuous mental belief systems of much religion are probably the major cause of atheism in the world today, because people see that religion has not generally created people who are that different, more caring, or less prejudiced than other people. In fact, they are often worse because they think they have God on their small side. I wish I did not have to say this, but religion either produces the very best people or the very worst. Jesus makes this point in many settings and stories. Mere mental belief systems split people apart, whereas actual faith puts all our parts (body, heart, and head) on notice and on call. Honestly, it takes major surgery and much of one’s life to get head, heart, and body to put down their defenses, their false programs for happiness, and their many forms of resistance to what is right in front of them. This is the meat and muscle of the whole conversion process.
Dogfish — Mary Oliver
Some kind of relaxed and beautiful thing
kept flickering in with the tide
and looking around.
Black as a fisherman’s boot,
with a white belly.
If you asked for a picture I would have to draw a smile
under the perfectly round eyes and above the chin,
which was rough
as a thousand sharpened nails.
And you know
what a smile means,
I wanted the past to go away, I wanted
to leave it, like another country; I wanted
my life to close, and open
like a hinge, like a wing, like the part of the song
where it falls
down over the rocks: an explosion, a discovery;
to hurry into the work of my life; I wanted to know,
whoever I was, I was
for a little while.
It was evening, and no longer summer.
Three small fish, I don’t know what they were,
huddled in the highest ripples
as it came swimming in again, effortless, the whole body
one gesture, one black sleeve
that could fit easily around
the bodies of three small fish.
Also I wanted
to be able to love. And we all know
how that one goes,
the dogfish tore open the soft basins of water.
You don’t want to hear the story
of my life, and anyway
I don’t want to tell it, I want to listen
to the enormous waterfalls of the sun.
And anyway it’s the same old story – – –
a few people just trying,
one way or another,
Mostly, I want to be kind.
And nobody, of course, is kind,
for a simple reason.
And nobody gets out of it, having to
swim through the fires to stay in
And look! look! look! I think those little fish
better wake up and dash themselves away
from the hopeless future that is
bulging toward them.
if they don’t waste time
looking for an easier world,
they can do it.
FORGIVE — Wendell Berry
I was your rebellious child,
do you remember? Sometimes
I wonder if you do remember,
so complete has your forgiveness been.
So complete has your forgiveness been
I wonder sometimes if it did not
precede my wrong, and I erred,
safe found, within your love,
prepared ahead of me, the way home,
or my bed at night, so that almost
I should forgive you, who perhaps
foresaw the worst that I might do,
and forgave before I could act,
causing me to smile now, looking back,
to see how paltry was my worst,
compared to your forgiveness of it
already given. And this, then,
is the vision of that Heaven of which
we have heard, where those who love
each other have forgiven each other,
where, for that, the leaves are green,
the light a music in the air,
and all is unentangled,
and all is undismayed.
On Healing with Christ — Nadia Bolz-Weber (excerpts)
He just touched him, looked to heaven, sighed and said “BE OPEN.”
It’s a wonderful statement for healing isn’t it? Be open.
It’s an image that’s stuck with me all week. This might sound weird but all week I kept picturing Jesus sticking his fingers in each of your ears and saying “BE OPENED.” And then in the same daydream, before I could stop it, I pictured Jesus’ Holy and unwashed fingers in my own ears. He sighed he looked to heaven and he said, “Be opened.” To which I said, “No thanks.”
See, It’s painful to be open. There’s no control in it. No self-determination. But Jesus is like that, taking us away from whatever the THEY thinks about us, getting all up in our business and insisting on our wholeness.
Be opened, he says.
Be opened to a life where you aren’t the broken one anymore.
Be opened to the possibility that there is healing in the world and it might not look like you think it should.
Be opened to knowing that your own brokenness doesn’t need to be hidden behind someone else’s brokenness.
Be opened to the idea that you are stronger than you think.
Be opened to the idea that you aren’t as strong as you think.
Be opened to the fact that you may not ever get what you want and that you will actually be OK anyway.
Be opened to finally being happy.
Be opened to your own need for healing especially if you yourself are a healer.
Be opened to life and life abundant.
Maybe that’s what healing really is.
We think it’s about identifying what’s wrong with someone else or with ourselves and then having that thing cured, but I wonder if spiritual healing has more to do with being opened than being cured…
But it’s not easy. Healing can hurt. It can feel like a loss as much as it can feel like a gain.
Because sometimes healing feels more like death and resurrection than getting a warm cookie and glass of milk.
Maybe you are someone who has for so long been the one who suffers depression or illness or dysfunction that you are simply more comfortable that way, because frankly, when you stay sick no one expects much from you. And that’s easier.
Maybe you are someone who deals so much with the brokenness and sickness of others in your work that you forget that you are in need of healing too.
Maybe you are someone who has experienced healing of hospitality here in this community and you have yet to be healed through offer the same thing to others.
Maybe you, like myself, would rather not admit to needing anything form anyone. Including Jesus…
FORGIVENESS as a HEALING PROCESS
From article by Religious News Service — Jonathan Merritt: As the former Archbishop of Cape Town, Tutu became a leading human rights advocate who has championed causes such as poverty, racism, homophobia, sexism, HIV/AIDS and war. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 and the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. In his … work, The Book of Forgiving (co-authored with his daughter, Mpho Tutu), he offers four steps to forgiving and healing:
- Telling the Story
- Naming the Hurt
- Granting Forgiveness
- Renewing or Releasing the Relationship
Transformation begins in you, wherever you are, whatever has happened, however you are suffering. Transformation is always possible. We do not heal in isolation. When we reach out and connect with one another—when we tell the story, name the hurt, grant forgiveness, and renew or release the relationship—our suffering begins to transform.
― Desmond Tutu
7 SKILLS for FORGIVING
- The Forgiveness Project: https://www.theforgivenessproject.com
- From the The Forgiveness Toolbox: http://theforgivenesstoolbox.com/
The skills of making sense of one’s suffering, researching & learning phase
Nothing is easier than to condemn the evildoer, nothing is harder than to understand him. — Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Before we can forgive one another, we have to understand one another. — Emma Goldman
Broaden perspective through history.
A potentially useful way to seek an understanding of one’s suffering is by considering the bigger historical context in which the harm took place. Such consideration may help uncover the links between one’s suffering and the adversary group’s suffering. An understanding of one’s suffering in relation to the past or current suffering of the ‘other’ may reveal insights into the adversary group’s basic psychological needs (e.g. security, autonomy, avert existential threats). A threat to these needs may have given rise to the motivation to use aggression to protect them.
For some, it may be possible to make sense of their suffering by viewing the roles of victims and perpetrators as reversible. Such flexibility can result from considerations that a degree of victimhood and hopelessness must have lied within the perpetrator to motivate him/her to cause suffering in others. The inter-changeability of roles between victims and perpetrators may further be encouraged by beliefs that human beings are fallible and that they all share a potential to harm each other. This skill may also require one’s acceptance that one’s views of justice and truth may not be shared by others, especially by the adversary party.
Move beyond understanding.
Sometimes victims become too preoccupied with their search for understanding the causes of the harm they’ve experienced and consequently may neglect to harvest the benefits of the above researching & learning skills phase. In other words, understanding becomes the only and ultimate goal. The above skills are not intended solely to accumulate knowledge but also to utilize that acquired knowledge to stimulate shifts in one’s static, uncompromising attitudes and positions.
2- Building bridges born out of suffering:
The skills of relating to another person’s pain
If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we would find in each person’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility. — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Build bonds of suffering.
A tendency that maintains the cycle of revenge is to compete over one’s share of suffering (akin to Dr Noor’s concept of Competitive Victimhood: We have suffered more than the other group!). However, it is also possible to use one’s suffering as a bridge to connect to someone else’s suffering, their ‘imperfect’ humanity. Thus despite political, economic, religious and other types of divides, the victims of two conflicting groups can use their suffering (e.g. loss of loved ones and other traumatic losses) to establish a strong, emotional and psychological bond (akin to Dr Vollhardt’s concept of Inclusive Victim Consciousness). They can find it possible to agree that the conflict has brought about adverse consequences for both groups, albeit in perhaps different ways. A focus on common suffering can result in unexpected discoveries of intimate bonds based on shared pain and it can trigger generosity in attitudes and actions between counterparts.
Grasp the concept of Ubuntu.
My humanity is caught up in yours. This ethic which originated in South Africa is a critical skill. Archbishop Desmond Tutu describes this perspective as, ‘Ubuntu’ is not, “I think therefore I am.” It says rather: “I am a human because I belong. I participate. I share.” In essence, I am only because you are.
The skill of putting oneself into someone else’s shoes without judgement. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it. — Atticus in To Kill A Mocking BirdTry on dirty, uncomfortable, new shoes.
Attempts to understand how the world is viewed by the adversary party might shed further light on what motivated them to cause the suffering. For example, the adversary party’s attacks on one’s child who serves in the military may be incomprehensible to the bereaved mother/father, especially because of the child’s best intentions and limited choice to avoid compulsory conscription. However, after taking the perspective of the adversary group, from which the military is viewed as a force of oppression, and thus their child as a symbol of that oppression, the hostile behaviour towards soldiers may become more understandable. Thus the skill of putting oneself into someone else’s shoes enables one to acknowledge that the world can be viewed and understood in ways that may be very different from one’s own worldview. To do this, it is required to first become aware that these other types of perspectives and worldviews exist and then to develop the desire to relate to them. Healing work is about acquiring a new pair of spectacles. Practising this skill in relation to someone who has inflicted harm can result in insights into the person’s thoughts, feelings and actions that motivated him/her to cause the suffering. Such empathy is void of moral judgement and thus can move the person beyond simple understanding. Yet, it does not necessarily contain condoning of the suffering.
4- Curiosity & Courage The skills of looking beyond yourself.
You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. — Andre GideGenerate curiosity to correct stereotypes.The benefits of the other skills in the tool-box can be honed partly by developing the skills of curiosity. To develop a sense of wanting to find out more about the ‘enemy’ requires one to go beyond oneself and one’s existing knowledge. It also requires an acceptance that one’s knowledge of the world as well as its sources are imperfect, limited and in need of expansion. Such expansion can be implemented by developing a desire to reach out and add to or revise one’s existing knowledge. It is also possible to gain further understanding of one’s own suffering and the circumstances that led to it by generating curiosity to find out who the enemy group really is. Such curiosity often generates a motivation to engage with the other group, which in turn creates opportunities to correct one’s stereotypes of the other group.
In tandem with the skills associated with curiosity, the skills of developing courage to engage and potentially meet with the person who is responsible for one’s suffering may be required. One way of developing courage is to become aware that the adversary might have to go through a similar courage-generating process full of its own challenges and that they could have opted for ‘easier’ options (e.g. avoidance, offers of pseudo-apologies). 5-Accepting personal and collective responsibility:
The skill of locating the ‘I’ and the ‘We’ in the suffering
The gunman and his family are victims too. Perhaps victims of the society we have responsibility for. — Andrea LeBlanc, (lost husband in 9/11) commenting on Boston bombings
Rediscover agency without shame or guilt.
Acknowledgement and apology are important factors in the healing journey but they may not be available and therefore can put the power in the wrong hands, keeping the harmed stuck in a place of disappointment and expectation. Instead, rediscovering one’ personal and group-based agency is a more fruitful approach to healing. The skill of reviving one’s agency requires that one does not separate oneself as a passive recipient from the harmful event, but instead one acknowledges that as human beings we have agency. At the time of the harm such an agency may have been perceived as non-existent or strictly diminished. Acknowledging personal and collective responsibility is to concede that even at the time of the difficult harmful situation one had a degree of agency. Such insights may produce feelings of guilt and shame. However, the above skill is intended to direct individuals towards empowerment such that it helps them to rediscover their agency after the harm has been done. Whether erroneous decisions (miscalculation, missed opportunities, etc.) were made by one’s group leaders or by one’s own inaction to challenge short-sighted leaders, accepting personal and collective responsibility requires the development of a critical awareness of how oneself and one’s group have contributed to the situation that led to the suffering. Such insights into own contributions to one’s suffering can in turn enable one to act in order to change the course of action from further harming to healing.
6- Resisting conformity The skills of finding your own path
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that has ever happened. — Margaret Mead
You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist. — Friedrich Nietzsche
Defy what others may have in mind for you.
Traditionally, there is a piece of cautionary advice not to overburden individuals who have experienced major painful events in life, for example, by encouraging them to re-adjust too quickly or to engage with the person who caused the pain. However, as useful as this advice may be, it is equally important to bear in mind that at times these individuals may be trapped within their victimhood, not because they want to remain victims but rather because of the expectations by their families, community, society, etc. to conform to their victim role. Thus, in order to counter these expectations individuals may be required to develop the skills involved in resisting such expectations, namely, deviance. The kind of deviance referred to here involves two sets of skills: Be a small black sheep The first set presents a number of challenges at the personal level and encourages the individual to acquire skills that were described earlier (e.g. challenges to the self to empathize with the adversary, to consider the non-static nature of victim and perpetrator roles, to acknowledge personal responsibility, to be curious and brave, and to engage with the person causing the pain).
Be a big black sheep This set of skills presents challenges at the group-based level and requires critical thinking about one’s own group, their assumptions, norms, values and worldview. It further requires a genuine understanding of the adversary group’s concerns and psychological needs (e.g. need for safety). These skills will help develop awareness that one’s own group may have contributed to the conflict and suffering as well, be it through provocation, poor negotiation skills or missed opportunities for a peaceful co-existence. The above sets of skills essentially enable the individuals to discover the ‘full story’ and to move beyond the ‘always guilty other’ and the ‘always innocent me/us’. 7- Recovering from resentment: The skill of letting go of anger and bitterness
Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies. — Anon
Return to being human.
No-one is born angry, resentful or evil. However, our hearts and minds can easily be filled with strong and persistent negative emotions and intentions due to a victimhood experience. The more that resentment plants the desire in one to exact a wrong, the further one moves away from our humanness with which we are gifted at birth. The skill of letting go of anger and bitterness requires the realisation that resentment has the potential to undermine our humanity, its integrity and its capacity for compassion, as well as the potential to eat away at our peace of mind and well-being. Holding onto resentment has a cost. This skill is the ability to transform the impulse for revenge into a search for something larger; it is about broadening one’s perspective to encompass a sense of the ‘other’.
This skill invites the act of forgiving.
Forgiveness is not a pancake movement. Feelings cannot just be flipped, but you can tilt the balance in the direction towards the discovery of a new way of operating in the world. Hatred and resentment have a tight grip in the same way that the more one focuses on a problem the more engrained it becomes. Forgiveness results in a loosening of that tight grip. It generates space and creates capacity to doubt, modify and think anew.
House of Joy — Rumi
If you knew yourself for even one moment,
if you could just glimpse
your most beautiful face,
maybe you wouldn’t slumber so deeply
in that house of clay.
Why not move into your house of joy
and shine into every crevice!
For you are the secret
Treasure-bearer, and always have been.
Didn’t you know?
Advent Daily Devotional: WEEK of JOY: Day 15 – Sun, Dec 12
For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. — Isaiah 55:12
No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket,
but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.
— Matthew 5:15
Joy becomes the focus of our candle-lighting this week. How does the light of joy shine in your life?
Joy arises from an internal and spiritual wellspring. It does not depend on external conditions. It exists, independent of circumstances. The Dalai Lama states, in the Book of Joy, “We create most of our suffering, so it should be logical that we also have the ability to create more joy. It simply depends on the attitudes, the perspectives, and the reactions we bring to situations and to our relationships with other people.”
Do you know someone who shines with delight, passion, humor, or joy in the midst of chaos or trauma? How is this possible?
When you light the third Advent candle, and add it to the trio of flames for this season, along with the ones for hope and peace, you invite joy into your heart and mind. — Rev Gail
… joy came from deeply held spiritual beliefs but it also came from a place even beyond that. Joy comes when you make peace with who you are, where you are, why you are, and who you are not with. When you need nothing more than your truth and the love of a good God to bring peace … — Sandra Brown
We are indeed the light of the world —
but only if our switch is turned on. – John Hagee
When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in You, a joy. — Rumi
We are fragile creatures, and it is from this weakness, not despite it, that we discover the possibility of true joy. ― Desmond Tutu, The Book of Joy
Our perspective toward life is our final and ultimate freedom. — Viktor Frankl
As our dialogue progressed, we converged on eight pillars of joy. Four were qualities of the mind: perspective, humility, humor, and acceptance. Four were qualities of the heart: forgiveness, gratitude, compassion, and generosity. — Douglas Carlton Abrams, The Book of Joy
We create most of our suffering, so it should be logical that we also have the ability to create more joy. It simply depends on the attitudes, the perspectives, and the reactions we bring to situations and to our relationships with other people.— Dalai Lama, The Book of Joy
SONGS about JOY:
- Joy to the World by Pentatonix (acapella Christmas carol): https://youtu.be/-Xo64Q2ucQ8
- Joy by King & Country (country/pop/Christian): https://youtu.be/lA7n7TwPDmw
- Joy to the World (Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog) by Three Dog Night (rock): https://youtu.be/kyI1OImD7ow
- Song of Joy by Julio Iglesias (anthem): https://youtu.be/5ZYPA8BIvSQ
- Joy of my Life by Chris Stapleton (country): https://youtu.be/jsE_zp_4vyo
- Come On Get Higher by Matt Nathanson (folk rock): https://youtu.be/aHx4BlF6V2o
- You Make Me Feel Like Dancing by Leo Sayer (rock): https://youtu.be/HhSjwU8gEsI
- Kuai Le by Yo-Yo Ma from Songs of Peace & Joy (instrumental violin): https://youtu.be/m9ciLW54_B8
- Invitacion al Danzon by Yo-Yo Ma from Songs of Peace & Joy (instrumental violin): https://youtu.be/6xt41xBGFx4
- Joy by Bastille (pop): https://youtu.be/miy6aK6btgU
- I Got You (I Feel Good) by James Brown (rock): https://youtu.be/Lrv-Morm-c0
- Joy to the World by Whitney Houston (Christmas carol): https://youtu.be/NHhA-R0netY
- Happy by Pharrell Williams (pop): https://youtu.be/y6Sxv-sUYtM
- Two Kinds of Happiness by Two Strokes (rock): https://youtu.be/6ux2GZ1OF3w
- Night & Day by Baha Men (rock/reggae): https://youtu.be/mXlzHjubkXg
- Mr Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra (rock): https://youtu.be/aQUlA8Hcv4s
- Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now by McFadden & Whitehead (rock/disco): https://youtu.be/i2FW1WJc0lg
- Joy by VaShawn Mitchell (Christian): https://youtu.be/Yl5lKSTtPR8
- Joy by Rend Collective (Christian): https://youtu.be/VDiETOLBvxA
- Unspeakable Joy by Chris Tomlin (Christian carol): https://youtu.be/tC3SwhJsLqU
- If You Wanna Be Happy by Jimmy Soul (rock): https://youtu.be/Qh9ZZgDqzAg
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning is a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness
comes as an unexpected visitor…
Welcome and entertain them all.
Treat each guest honorably.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
ARTICLES & VIDEOS about CULTIVATING JOY:
- Sparking Joy: Mindfulness Practice from Mindful:https://www.mindful.org/sparking-joy-a-mindfulness-practice-for-everyday/
How to Find Joy Today, and Every Day from Oprah Daily: https://www.oprahdaily.com/life/health/a32957825/how-to-find-joy/
- How To Find Joy in your Everyday Life by Prevention: https://www.prevention.com/health/mental-health/g33002023/how-to-find-joy/
- Finding Your Joy by Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mindful-anger/202102/finding-your-joy
- Forget Happiness, Pursue Joy by Goop:https://goop.com/wellness/mindfulness/forget-happiness-pursue-joy/
- Finding Joy During Difficult Times by HelpGuide: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-living/finding-joy-during-difficult-times.htm
- How to Find Joy in Life During Difficult Times from Lifehack: https://www.lifehack.org/886752/finding-joy-in-life
- Nourishing Joy and Happiness teaching video from Thich Nhat Hanh: https://youtu.be/_KsQsmzm-ys
- Smile / Release teaching video from Thich Nhat Hanh: https://youtu.be/t3RkhdU9Thc
JOY— Maurine Smith
Joy, joy, run over me,
Like water running over a shining stone;
And I beneath your sweet shall be
No longer hungry and alone.
The light at my heart’s gate is lit—
My love, my love, is tending it!
BLIND JOY — John Frederick Nims
Crude seeing’s all our joy: could we discern
The cold dark infinite vast where atoms burn
—Lone suns—in flesh, our treasure and our play,
Who’d dare to breathe this fern-thick bird-rich day?
JOY (excerpt)— Alan Shapiro
What never comes when called.
What hides when held.
most at home where least
balm of Gilead.
What, soon as here,
the body’s native ground and,
soon as not,its banishment. …
MUSINGS on JOY
I’d like to repeat the advice that I gave you before, in that I think you really should make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.
… Don’t settle down and sit in one place. Move around, be nomadic, make each day a new horizon. You are still going to live a long time, … and it would be a shame if you did not take the opportunity to revolutionize your life and move into an entirely new realm of experience.
You are wrong if you think Joy emanates only or principally from human relationships. God has placed it all around us. It is in everything and anything we might experience. We just have to have the courage to turn against our habitual lifestyle and engage in unconventional living.
My point is that you do not need me or anyone else around to bring this new kind of light in your life. It is simply waiting out there for you to grasp it, and all you have to do is reach for it. — Jon Krakauer
What is this thing called joy, and how is it possible that it can evoke such a wide range of feelings? How can the experience of joy span from those tears of joy at a birth to an irrepressible belly laugh at a joke to a serenely contented smile during meditation? Joy seems to blanket this entire emotional expanse. Paul Ekman, famed emotions researcher and longtime friend of the Dalai Lama, has written that joy is associated with feelings as varied as: pleasure (of the five senses) amusement (from a chuckle to a belly laugh) contentment (a calmer kind of satisfaction) excitement (in response to novelty or challenge) relief (following upon another emotion, such as fear, anxiety, and even pleasure) wonder (before something astonishing and admirable) ecstasy or bliss (transporting us outside ourselves) exultation (at having accomplished a difficult or daring task) radiant pride (when our children earn a special honor) unhealthy jubilation or schadenfreude (relishing in someone else’s suffering) elevation (from having witnessed an act of kindness, generosity, or compassion) gratitude (the appreciation of a selfless act of which one is the beneficiary). — Douglas Carlton Abrams
When you are grateful, you are not fearful, and when you are not fearful, you are not violent. When you are grateful, you act out of a sense of enough and not out of a sense of scarcity, and you are willing to share. If you are grateful, you are enjoying the differences between people and respectful to all people. The grateful world is a world of joyful people. Grateful people are joyful people. A grateful world is a happy world. — Brother Steindl-Rast cited by Douglas Carlton Abrams, The Book of Joy
Joy is the reward, really, of seeking to give joy to others. When you show compassion, when you show caring, when you show love to others, do things for others, in a wonderful way you have a deep joy that you can get in no other way. You can’t buy it with money. You can be the richest person on Earth, but if you care only about yourself, I can bet my bottom dollar you will not be happy and joyful. But when you are caring, compassionate, more concerned about the welfare of others than about your own, wonderfully, wonderfully, you suddenly feel a warm glow in your heart, because you have, in fact, wiped the tears from the eyes of another. ― Dalai Lama, The Book of Joy
The Language of Joy — Jacqueline Allen Trimble
Black woman joy is like this:
Mama said one day long before I was born
she was walking down the street,
foxes around her neck, their little heads
smiling up at her and out at the world
and she was wearing this suit she had saved up
a month’s paycheck for after it called to her so seductively
from the window of this boutique. And that suit
was wearing her, keeping all its promises
in all the right places. Indigo. Matching gloves.
Suede shoes dippity-do-dahed in blue.
With tassels! Honey gold. And, Lord, a hat
with plume de peacock, a conductor’s baton that bounced
to hip rhythm. She looked so fine she thought
Louis Armstrong might pop up out of those movies
she saw as a child, wipe his forehead and sing
ba da be bop oh do de doe de doe doe.
And he did. Mama did not sing but she was
skiddly-doing that day,and the foxes grinned, and she grinned
and she was the star of her own Hollywood musical
here with Satchmo who had called Ella over and now they were all
singing and dancing like a free people up Dexter Avenue,
and don’t think they didn’t know they were walking in the footsteps
of slaves and over auction sites and past where old Wallace
had held onto segregation like a life raft, but this
was not that day. This day was for foxes and hip rhythm
and musical perfection and folks on the street joining in the celebration
of breath and holiness. And they did too. In color-coordinated ensembles,
they kicked and turned and grinned and shouted like church
or football game, whatever their religious preference. The air
vibrated with music, arms, legs, and years of unrequited
sunshine. Somebody did a flip up Dexter Avenue.
It must have been a Nicholas Brother in a featured performance,
and Mama was Miss-Lena-Horne-Dorothy-Dandridge
high-stepping up the real estate, ready for her close-up.
That’s when Mama felt this little tickle. She thought
it might be pent-up joy, until a mouse squirmed out
from underneath that fine collar, over that fabulous fur,
jumped off her shoulder and ran down the street.
Left my mama standing there on Dexter Avenue in her blue
suit and dead foxes. And what did Mama do?
Everybody looking at her, robbed by embarrassment?
She said, “It be like that sometimes,” then she and Satchmo,
Ella, and the whole crew jammed their way home.
— Stuart Kestenbaum
The asters shake
from stem to flower
waiting for the monarchs to alight.
Every butterfly knows
that the end is different
from the beginning
and that it is always a part
of a longer story, in which
we are always transformed.
When it’s time to fly,
you know how,
just the way you knew how to breathe,
just the way the air
knew to find its way into your lungs,
the way the geese know when to depart,
the way their wings know how
to speak to the wind,
a partnership of feather and glide,
lifting into the blue dream.
PRAYER for JOY
— Stuart Kesterbaum
What was it we wanted
to say anyhow, like today
when there were all the letters
in my alphabet soup and suddenly
the ‘j’ rises to the surface.
The ‘j’, a letter that might be
great for Scrabble, but not really
used for much else, unless
we need to jump for joy,
and then all of a sudden
it’s there and ready to
help us soar and to open up
our hearts at the same time,
this simple line with a curved bottom,
an upside down cane that helps
us walk in a new way into this
forest of language, where all the letters
are beginning to speak,
finding each other in just
the right combination
to be understood.
STRUGGLES, SUFFERING & JOY: Sometimes It’s Hard to Access Joy
Discovering more joy does not, I’m sorry to say, save us from the inevitability of hardship and heartbreak. In fact, we may cry more easily, but we will laugh more easily, too. Perhaps we are just more alive. Yet as we discover more joy, we can face suffering in a way that ennobles rather than embitters. We have hardship without becoming hard. We have heartbreak without being broken. — Archbishop Desmond Tutu, The Book of Joy
Part of the problem with the word ‘disabilities’ is that it immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other things that many of us take for granted. But what of people who can’t feel? Or talk about their feelings? Or manage their feelings in constructive ways? What of people who aren’t able to form close and strong relationships? And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives, or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no joy, no love? These, it seems to me, are the real disabilities. — Fred Rogers
‘Without pain, how could we know joy?’ This is an old argument in the field of thinking about suffering and its stupidity and lack of sophistication could be plumbed for centuries but suffice it to say that the existence of broccoli does not, in any way, affect the taste of chocolate. — John Green
Joy: A Defiant Sermon — Chinglican at Table
The Third Sunday of Advent is … the day to light the pink candle. It is not without reason that this Sunday is called Gaudete Sunday, a Sunday when the readings, the music, the church decorations, and even the pink candle are supposed to be gaudy. It’s supposed to be a party, a day of joy …
If only we could.Are we even allowed to light the pink candle and be gaudy … when we have endured…accounts of violence worldwide… horrors … immediately … politicized…
No. We are not joyful. We are not even pretending to be. We have had enough … But what do we say—indeed, what can we say? …
…. The Gospel tells us that the crowds asked John the Baptizer, ‘What shall we do?’ The crowds asked John the Baptizer what they should do…. Does John give the socially and politically conservative answer, that what is simply needed is a conversion of the individual heart … because the central problem of personal repentance has not been solved? Does John give the concerned parental response, that the private sphere is under threat … that public safety will soon be a myth … and that for the sake of our children, we must enact some policy … Does John give the ‘I have no words to say’ sermon, a reflection on mystery in the midst of grief, that God weeps with the wretched of the earth but really has nothing better to do than to cry with you as you are terrorized?
No. None of the above. In the midst of such colonization, terror, and violence, John’s answer is a call to radical hospitality…
In the midst of such colonization, terror, and violence, John’s answer is a call to radical hospitality… John’s call to action is cryptic. It is as if in the midst of the senseless violence in both first-century Palestine and the twenty-first century globalized world, John is calling us to a defiant hospitality. In the midst of violence, the Church defies the common sense … that we need to batten down the hatches … No, John says, we open our doors wider.
John the Baptizer is saying what our other readings for Gaudete Sunday are saying. Rejoice, St. Paul says, again I say it, rejoice, because hope against hope, sending your petitions with thanksgiving to God, the peace of Christ that surpasses all understanding and defies the common sense of anxiety in the midst of this crooked and perverse generation will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Rejoice, the prophets Zephaniah and Isaiah say, for God is our savior from our enemies, he has removed our judgment, he sings over us now as songs are sung at festivals. Rejoice. Be hospitable. Open wide your gates, daughter of Zion.
These acts of joy run counter to our feelings of horror, despair, anger, and rage … He is coming, John says, but as we look forward to his return, he isn’t back yet. So yes, we should grieve at this present darkness. … Yes, we should have no words to say to explain the horror. Yes, do be angry, rage at the senselessness. But as the people of God, in our sorrow and in our anger, in our disbelief at the level of injustice … we also defy … we declare with our actions that this is indeed a time to act, but with the radical acts of hospitality, to let our rejoicing not be empty words, but shocking deeds of expansive welcome to the stranger, solidarity with the hungry and the naked … we rejoice defiantly by flinging open our hearts and our doors to welcome the stranger and love our neighbour.
ADDITIONAL FAITH-BASED COMMENTARIES on JOY
The Fruit of the Spirit: Joy (excerpt) — Kelly Wise Valdes
…People often confuse joy with happiness, but they are not interchangeable. Joy is from within, regardless of what is going on around you. Happiness can be a blurred emotion, dependent on a situation. Joyful people make a commitment to gratitude regardless of the circumstances.
In Greek, the word for joy is ‘chara.’ This describes a feeling of inner gladness, delight or rejoicing. This inner gladness leads to a cheerful heart and a cheerful heart leads to cheerful behavior.
The most important attribute of joy is that you can find joy in adversity.
Top 7 Inspirational Bible Verses About Joy with Commentary (excerpt) — Jack Wellman, Patheos.org
Is the joy of the Lord your strength? How can you have joy in your walk with God? What does the Bible define as joy?
What is Joy? … While happiness is temporary and is based upon happenings, joy is from the Lord and you can still experience joy during trials, suffering, and testing. Joy is permanent but happiness is fleeting.
Hebrews 12:2 “Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus experienced joy but it was also a focus for Him while He suffered excruciatingly on the cross. In fact, the root word for excruciating is the crucifixion. Joy can help you endure suffering too … God is the true source of lasting joy. Happiness is of human origin and is fleeting.
James 1:2-3 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”
… joy can help us endure trials and suffering. The word for “count” as we are too “Count it all joy” is from the Greek word “hēgeomai” which means to lead or go before or to be a leader so our joy, which is from God, will go before our suffering … joy will come during and after our suffering too.
First Peter 1:8-9 “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
… If joy is inexpressible, then how can I describe what is indescribable? …
John 16:22 “So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”
Just before Jesus went to the cross to die for our sins, the disciples were full of anxiety because they were feeling like orphans. Jesus acknowledged their sorrow for now, but when they see Him again, a resurrected Jesus, they will leap for joy and this joy will remain with them … you can put your own name in where it says “you” because Jesus was not just talking to the disciples but also to you and to me.
First Thessalonians 2:19-20 “For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy.”
Paul was so joyful and this seems ironic because he suffered like none of the other disciples did. Why was his joy so abounding? …
Psalm 28:7 “The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.”
The Lord is our source of strength ultimately because human joy lasts only for a time but what comes from the Lord is eternal and this includes Joy. The psalmist stated that his heart, the seat of the intellect in the Jewish genre, leaped for joy and that made him break out in songs of praise. Ever felt that way? …
Isaiah 12:6 “Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”
If the home is a body, the table is the heart, the beating center, the sustainer of life and health.― Shauna Niequist
If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu. — Michael Enzi
I feign fullness, but in reality I am achingly empty. And it is because I too often sit at the table of the world instead of the feet of God. ― Craig D. Lounsbrough
SONGS about SHARING FOOD & ENJOYING LIFE:
- Common Table by Reuben Hollebon (folk rock): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1w4pP_JmLSo
- Hands, Hands, Hands mealtime prayer song by Sacred Heart Montessori (Christian): https://youtu.be/ah_sAtYBZQA
- Thank God I’m a Country Boy by John Denver (country): https://youtu.be/QRuCPS_-_IA
- Bread and Butter by Newbeats (rock): https://youtu.be/S_Jzl_bx3fI
- Meanwhile Back at Mama’s ft Faith Hill & Tim McGraw (country): https://youtu.be/or-Lam5tPHc
- Feeling Good by Nina Simone (rock/blues): https://youtu.be/oHRNrgDIJfo
- Sugar, Sugar by the Archies (pop): https://youtu.be/h9nE2spOw_o
- Try Everything by Shakira (from Zootopia / pop): https://youtu.be/Bd2mU_BmVrs
- Where You Are from Disney’s Moana (musical): https://youtu.be/RTWhvp_OD6s
- Fast Food Folk Song by Rhett & Link (comic folk): https://youtu.be/-uwY3sjqYX0
- Too Much Food by Jason Mraz (rock): https://youtu.be/NN1S3OvYnPo
- Eat It by Weird Al Yankovic (rock comedy cover of Michael Jackson’s Beat It): https://youtu.be/E8Nv5hWd-Js
- Carry Out by Timbaland (ft Justin Timberlake) (rap): https://youtu.be/NRdHsuuXxfk
- Chicken Fried by Zac Brown Band (country): https://youtu.be/e4ujS1er1r0
- Thank You Lord for Your Blessings by Bill & Gloria Gaither (Christian/country): https://youtu.be/R9gEo0_Abc4
- Peanut Butter Jelly Time by Buckwheat Boyz (rap): https://youtu.be/eRBOgtp0Hac
- Coca Cola’s Great Meal (commercial ad/pop COVID anthem): https://youtu.be/vUMQeNw2QDA
- Humble and Kind by Tim McGraw (country): https://youtu.be/awzNHuGqoMc
The Thanksgivings — Harriet Maxwell Converse
We who are here present thank the Great Spirit that we are here
to praise Him. We thank Him that He has created men and women, and ordered
that these beings shall always be living to multiply the earth.
We thank Him for making the earth and giving these beings its products
to live on. We thank Him for the water that comes out of the earth and runs
for our lands. We thank Him for all the animals on the earth.
We thank Him for certain timbers that grow and have fluids coming
from them for us all. We thank Him for the branches of the trees that grow shadows
for our shelter. We thank Him for the beings that come from the west, the thunder
and lightning that water the earth.
We thank Him for the light which we call our oldest brother, the sun
that works for our good. We thank Him for all the fruits that grow on the trees and vines.
We thank Him for his goodness in making the forests, and thank
all its trees. We thank Him for the darkness that gives us rest, and for the kind Being
of the darkness that gives us light, the moon.
We thank Him for the bright spots in the skies that give us signs,
the stars. We give Him thanks for our supporters,
who had charge of our harvests.
We give thanks that the voice of the Great Spirit can still be heard
through the words of Ga-ne-o-di-o.
We thank the Great Spirit that we have the privilege of this pleasant
occasion. We give thanks for the persons who can sing the Great Spirit’s music,
and hope they will be privileged to continue in his faith.
We thank the Great Spirit for all the persons who perform the ceremonies
on this occasion.
Table Blessing — Jan Richardson
To your table
you bid us come.
You have set the places,
you have poured the wine,
and there is always room,
for one more.
And so we come.
From the streets
and from the alleys
From the deserts
and from the hills
From the ravages of poverty
and from the palaces of privilege
We are bloodied with our wars,
we are wearied with our wounds,
we carry our dead within us,
and we reckon with their ghosts.
We hold the seeds of healing,
we dream of a new creation,
we know the things
that make for peace,
and we struggle to give them wings.
And yet, to your table
Hungering for your bread,
thirsting for your wine,
singing your song
in every language,
speaking your name
in every tongue,
in conflict and in communion,
in discord and in desire,
O God of Wisdom,
SHARED MEAL: Commentary
Food feeds our souls. It is the single great unifier across all cultures. The table offers a sanctuary and a place to come together for unity and understanding. — Lidia Bastianich
The heart is cooking a pot of food for you. Be patient until it is cooked. — Rumi
The table is a meeting place, a gathering ground, the source of sustenance and nourishment, festivity, safety, and satisfaction. A person cooking is a person giving: Even the simplest food is a gift. — Laurie Colwin
There are times when wisdom cannot be found in the chambers of parliament or the halls of academia but at the unpretentious setting of the kitchen table. ― E.A. Bucchianeri
It’s around the table and in the preparation of food that we learn about ourselves and about the world. —Alice Waters
They all know the truth, that there are only three subjects worth talking about. At least here in these parts,” he says, “The weather, which, as they’re farmers, affects everything else. Dying and birthing, of both people and animals. And what we eat – this last item comprising what we ate the day before and what we’re planning to eat tomorrow. And all three of these major subjects encompass, in one way or another, philosophy, psychology, sociology, anthropology, the physical sciences, history, art, literature, and religion. We get around to sparring about all that counts in life but we usually do it while we’re talking about food, it being a subject inseparable from every other subject. It’s the table and the bed that count in life. And everything else we do, we do so we can get back to the table, back to the bed. ― Marlena De Blasi
Meals are significant because you are in close quarters with someone. Your hands are reaching into the same dishes. It is a clear act of welcoming, accepting, and befriending. It was the precise thing that you did not do with the social pariahs. It was the precise thing that the social outcast wanted: community. — Dave Dunham
You’ve spent the whole of your life filling your plate with the scraps that life has thrown your way. And even so, you feel horribly undeserving of these. But please understand that there is a glorious table generously spread with everything that you will ever need. And you might think about the fact that God sits at that very table staring at an empty chair that has your name on it. So, maybe you should step up and RSVP the God who is desperate to see you in that chair. ― Craig D. Lounsbrough
A SEAT at the TABLE: Including Stakeholders
I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights. — Desmond Tutu
To share a table with someone is to share everything. ― Paul Krueger
A good life does not mean just good food, good clothes, good shelter. These are not sufficient. A good motivation is what is needed—compassion, without dogmatism, without complicated philosophy—just understanding that others are human brothers and sisters and respecting their rights and human dignity. — Dalai Lama
No matter what message you are about to deliver somewhere, whether it is holding out a hand of friendship, or making clear that you disapprove of something, is the fact that the person sitting across the table is a human being, so the goal is to always establish common ground. — Madeleine Albright
All of your stakeholders have to have the right seat at the table, and they all have to be successful. It’s hard to do, but you have to keep your eye on developing a meaningful relationship where it is beneficial for them. Then you work backwards from there. —Brian France
If I am more fortunate than others I need to build a longer table not a taller fence. —Tamlyn Tomita
We don’t come to the table to fight or to defend. We don’t come to prove or to conquer, to draw lines in the sand or to stir up trouble. We come to the table because our hunger brings us there. We come with a need, with fragility, with an admission of our humanity. The table is the great equalizer, the level playing field many of us have been looking everywhere for. The table is the place where the doing stops, the trying stops, the masks are removed, and we allow ourselves to be nourished, like children. We allow someone else to meet our need. In a world that prides people on not having needs, on going longer and faster, on going without, on powering through, the table is a place of safety and rest and humanity, where we are allowed to be as fragile as we feel. ― Shauna Niequist
It is not necessary that you leave the house. Remain at your table and listen. Do not even listen, only wait. Do not even wait, be wholly still and alone. The world will present itself to you for its unmasking, it can do no other, in ecstasy it will writhe at your feet. — Franz Kafka
The best thing we can do for the poor is offer them a place of welcome and community. Our first priority in social involvement is to be the church, a community of welcome to, and inclusion of, the marginalized. This needs to go deeper than a warm handshake at the door. People are often unaware of how much the culture of their church is shaped by their social class. Someone at the door of a church, for example, may hand a newcomer a hymnbook, Bible, service guide, and bulletin with a smile and greeting without realizing how intimidating these can be to someone from a nonliterate culture. The social activities to which the poor are invited, the decision-making processes of the church, the unwritten dress codes, the style of teaching can all be alien to the marginalized. As a result, however warm the welcome, the poor can feel marginalized within the church just as they are outside. (Total Church, 81-82) — Tim Chester and Steve Timmis
Only the dead have seen the end of war. — Plato
This is the day we pay homage to all those who didn’t come home … it’s not a celebration, it is a day of solemn contemplation over the cost of freedom. — Tamra Bolton
Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defenses of peace must be constructed. — Preamble to the Constitution of UNESCO
Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. — Mark Twain
Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime. — Adlai Stevenson
Gentleness, self-sacrifice and generosity are the exclusive possession of no one race or religion. — Gandhi
Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter – but beautiful – struggle for a new world. This is the calling of the sons (and daughters) of God, and our brothers (and sisters) wait eagerly for our response. — Martin Luther King
Memorial Day Prayer —Carl Schenck
We gather on a somber holiday.
We remember with sadness those we have loved and lost.
Let us not glorify the conflicts and violence
that tear our loved ones from us.
Let us, rather, give glory to God,
who calls us to use our freedom peaceably.
Our God is a God of all nations and peoples.
May our worship of God unite rather than divide.
Songs for Memorial Day Weekend
- Amazing Grace with Bagpipes (instrumental hymn)
- Armed Forces Medley choral performance
- Soldier’s Light by Rylee Preston (pop)
- All Gave Some and Some Gave All sung by Sgt Christiana Ball (country)
- Memorial Day by Coffey Anderson (country)
- More Than a Name on a Wall by The Statler Brothers (country)
- You Should Be Here by Cole Swindell (country)
- I Drive Your Truck by Lee Brice (country)
- Home by Dierks Bentley (country)
- If I Don’t Make It Back by Tracy Lawrence (country)
- The Ones That Didn’t Make It Back by Justin Moore (country)
- Soldier’s Last Letter by Merle Haggard (country)
- Hallelujah Veterans Version by Sailor Jerri (ballad)
- I Will Remember You by Sarah McLachlan (ballad)
- Some Gave All by Billy Ray Cyrus (country)
- If You’re Reading This by Tim McGraw (country)
- Arlington by Trace Adkins (country)
- Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen (rock)
- Memorial Day Tribute from the movie Taking Chance (may be graphic in its detail, watch with caution)
- Ragged Old Flag feature from SuperBowl 53 highlighting the country song by Johnny Cash with Marine and US Medal of Honor recipient Kyle Carpenter
- Commencement Address: 10 Lessons I Learned in SEAL Training by Admiral William McRaven
Protest & Peace Songs:
- Where Is the Love? by the Black-Eyed Peas (rap)
- Teach Your Children by Kathy Mattea, Alison Krauss, Suzy Boggus (country)
- Bring the Boys Home by Freda Payne (protest rock)
- Fortunate Son by Creedance Clearwater Revival (protest rock)
- Masters of War by Bob Dylan
- For What Its Worth by Buffalo Springfield (protest rock)
- War by Edwin Starr (protest rock)
- Give Peace a Chance by John Lennon (protest rock)
- We Gotta Get Out of this Place by The Animals (protest rock)
- People, Let’s Stop the War by Grand Funk Railroad (protest rock)
- Dueling Banjos from Deliverance (instrumental)
- I Should Be Proud by Martha Reevers & the Vandellas (protest rock)
- Backlash Blues by Nina Simone (blues)
Memorial Day (excerpt)— Michael Anania … We know the stories that are told,
by starts and stops, by bent men at strange joy
regarding the precise enactments of their own
gesturing. And among the women there will be
a naming of families, a counting off, an ordering …
Peace — Langston Hughes
We passed their graves:
The dead men there,
Winners or losers,
Did not care.
In the dark
They could not see
Who had gained
Who kept the faith and fought the fight;
The glory theirs, the duty ours.
— Wallace Bruce
You silent tents of green,
We deck with fragrant flowers;
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours.
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Notes on Memorial Day (excerpt) — Lillian Daniel
Memorial Day began after the Civil War as an effort toward reconciliation between the families of veterans in the North and the South. After the war, there was already a tradition in the North of decorating soldiers’ graves, called “Decoration Day.” But in 1868 an organization of Northern war veterans decreed it ought to be a national holiday. May 30 was carefully chosen as the date because it was not the anniversary of a specific battle, and therefore would be a neutral date for both sides. But human beings hold on to their wounds, and reconciliation takes time, grace and mercy…
Memorializing Rightly (excerpt) — Debra Dean Murphy
… much of our memorializing will trend, as it always does, toward … the simplistic, the cliche-riddled hyperpatriotism that does a disservice to the women and men who fight and die in wars conceived by powerful men … Surely it’s possible to honor the selflessness that’s part of soldiering and to mourn the fallen without slipping into the kind of sentimental white-washing that denies the complexities and ambiguities, the compromises and betrayals, both large and small, that the war dead knew well? Why, then, can’t we–in their stead, on their behalf, for their sake–be honest enough to honor such truths? … May we remember and memorialize … all deaths, this day and every day, with the truth-telling they deserve.
On Those Who Serve & Sacrifice
Heroism doesn’t always happen in a burst of glory. Sometimes small triumphs and large hearts change the course of history. — Mary Roach
It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result. — Gandhi
Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few. — Winston Churchill
Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die. — G.K. Chesteron
A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself. — Joseph Campbell
Your ordinary acts of love and hope point to the extraordinary promise
that every human life is of inestimable value. — Bishop Desmond Tutu
It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God such men lived. — George S. Patton
Ceremonies are important. But our gratitude has to be more than visits to the troops, and once-a-year Memorial Day ceremonies. We honor the dead best by treating the living well. — Jennifer Granholm
Work for what you believe in, but pick your battles, and don’t burn your bridges. Don’t be afraid to take charge, think about what you want, then do the work, but then enjoy what makes you happy, bring along your crew, have a sense of humor. — Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices. — Harry Truman
Peace comes from being able to contribute the best that we have, and all that we are, toward creating a world that supports everyone. But it is also securing the space for others to contribute the best that they have
and all that they are. — Hafsat Abiola
It doesn’t take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle. – General Norman Schwarzkopf Jr.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. — Martin Luther King
How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes! – Maya Angelou
I’m very conscious of the fact that you can’t do it alone. It’s teamwork. When you do it alone you run the risk that when you are no longer there nobody else will do it. ― Wangari Maathai
My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. — John F Kennedy
A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history. — Gandhi
On Memorial Day, I don’t want to only remember the combatants. There were also those who came out of the trenches as writers and poets, who started preaching peace, men and women who have made this world a kinder place to live. — Eric Burdon
One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world. ― Malala Yousafzai
If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner. — Nelson Mandela
Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures. —John F. Kennedy
It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it. — Eleanor Roosevelt
If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships – the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace. — Franklin D. Roosevelt
Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come. — Henri Nouwen
We must pursue peaceful ends by peaceful means. I’m committed to nonviolence absolutely … I will continue to preach and teach it… I plan to stand by nonviolence. …(because) only a refusal to hate or kill can put an end to the chain of violence in the world and lead toward community where people live together without fear. — Martin Luther King
Today, we are truly a global family. What happens in one part of the world may affect us all. This, of course, is not only true of the negative things that happen, but is equally valid for the positive developments. … But war or peace; the destruction or the protection of nature; the violation or promotion of human rights and democratic freedoms; poverty or material well-being; the lack of moral and spiritual values or their existence and development; and the breakdown or development of human understanding, are not isolated phenomena that can be analysed and tackled independently of one another. In fact, they are very much interrelated at all levels and need to be approached with that understanding… Responsibility does not only lie with the leaders of our countries or with those who have been appointed or elected to do a particular job. It lies with each one of us individually. Peace, for example, starts with each one of us. — Dalai Lama
When you have a conflict, that means that there are truths that have to be addressed on each side of the conflict. And when you have a conflict, then it’s an educational process to try to resolve the conflict.
And to resolve that, you have to get people on both sides of the conflict involved so that they can dialogue. — Dolores Huerta
The answer lies in the last word of the priestly blessing: shalom, peace. In a long analysis the 15th century Spanish Jewish commentator Rabbi Isaac Arama explains that shalom does not mean merely the absence of war or strife. It means completeness, perfection, the harmonious working of a complex system, integrated diversity, a state in which everything is in its proper place and all is at one with the physical and ethical laws governing the universe. — Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
Violence and nonviolence agree that suffering can be a very powerful social force. But there is a difference. Violence says suffering can be a powerful social force by inflicting it on somebody else, so this is what we do in war… The nonviolent say that suffering becomes a powerful social force when you willingly accept the violence on yourself, so that self-suffering stands at the center of the nonviolent movement… There is no easy way to create a world where people can live together… but if such a world is created…it will be accomplished by persons who have the language to put an end to suffering by willingly suffering themselves rather than inflicting suffering on others… Unearned suffering is redemptive. — Martin Luther King