12/29/17

All Shall be Well

 

“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” Julian of Norwich

 

This cold snap is settling in and looks to stay awhile. It’s frozen Ladybird’s water bowl solid through and turned the leaves crunchy with frost. Inside we have a fire going strong, mugs full with steaming mulled cider. The gifts have been opened, put into use, returned or exchanged. It’s the perfect setting, as the calendar gets ready to make its yearly flip to freshness, to dream and plan, make resolutions and commitments.

 

In other words, it’s really easy to get suckered; to set ourselves up for some major disappointments, some coming even before the weather starts to thaw.

 

Kathleen Norris quotes an unknown author as writing “The true religions of America are optimism and denial.” Rarely is this more exhibited in our rush to accept the glittery promises of a fresh start on January 1 and trust all our resolutions to get it right this time ‘round.

 

We rev up our collective engines and burn rubber through the first few weeks, we convince ourselves we can make up for months, even years of neglect or abuse with a few short weeks of “being good and working hard”.

 

Good luck with that.

 

But the alternative is just as false. Resignation, pessimism, apathy and cynicism all have their particular poisons just much as optimism and denial.  

So might I suggest the alternative to all of this is to cultivate the practice of abiding? To learn the discipline of abiding in God. Abiding in our true selves. Abiding in community. Abiding as created, incarnated and image bearing persons and collectives.

 

Abiding is not rushing, it takes humility. It takes listening. It takes patience.

 

The theologian Han Urs von Balthasar in his book A Theology of History puts it like this:

 

“God intended man to have all good, but in...God’s time; and therefore all disobedience, all sin, consists essentially in breaking out of time. Hence the restoration of order by the Son of God had to be the annulment of that premature snatching at knowledge, the beating down of the hand outstretched toward eternity, the repentant return from a false, swift transfer of eternity to a true, slow confinement in time...Patience is the basic constituent of Christianity...and the power to wait, to persevere, to hold out, to endure to the end, not to transcend one’s own limitations, not to force issues by playing the hero or the titan, but to practice the virtue that lies beyond heroism, the meekness of the lamb which is led.”

The virtue of abiding.

 

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LEADING INDIVIDUALS AND GROUPS TOWARD A DEEPER AND MORE PURPOSEFUL LIFE THROUGH GUIDED RELFECTION, ADVENTURE AND HANDS ON HELP TO CHILDREN AND FAMILIES IN CRITICAL NEED.

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