Gathered Wisdom, Oct 19

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

I’ve learned how to not be broken from life’s unwanted things by watching a willow in the wild wind tossing and bending rather than pushing back against the storm. It’s taught me that I can’t always have everything go my way.
Sometimes I need to bend a bit.

— Joyce Rupp in The Cosmic Dance 
Found in Spirituality and Practice.

What Defines You

In this exquisite film from Green Renaissance, Danielsun Okeyo reflects on no longer being able to count on his own abilities. “I am not Superman,” he says, “and it’s fine. It actually makes it more beautiful that I’m not. The way I am right now is the way it was meant to be, and I’m at peace with that.”

Watch the film.

From Network for Grateful Living with Green Renaissance films.

Touch as Nutrition

Touch is more than skin deep; it’s nourishment for our souls. As adults we often experience touch deficit, especially as COVID drags on.  Our society needs to recover policies that nurture rather than erode us.

Read the article.

From Daily Good.

Faith When Consolation Fails

Warm and fuzzy feelings in prayer comfort us. But for both Samuel and Teresa of Avila, prayer led to a call for prophetic reform.  Not easy lives.

Read the reflection.

From Society of St. John the Evangelist.

Living with Limitations

About one-fourth of adults in the country have a disability that has a major impact on their lives. But each of us can choose how we respond to that. Like Paul’s thorn in the flesh, a disability can bring light into our lives.

Read the reflection.

From Joanna Seibert.

Searching for the Right Fuel

The Prodigal Son’s older brother stayed home and did everything right. But he is resentful, angry, and critical.  His actions are right, says Ron Rolheiser, but his energy is wrong.

Read the reflection.

From the blog of Ron Rolheiser. 

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives.

If this post was forwarded to you, sign up to receive Gathered Wisdom in your email by subscribing at wisdomyears.org.

To learn more visit our website.

Toward Incarnation

An Advent exploration

Dec 2, 9, 16, and Dec. 23 (optional)

Thursdays, 4 to 5:15 pm (Central time).

By Zoom. 

From The Wisdom Years, dedicated to the spiritual journey in the last third of life.

In Advent we prepare for God’s Incarnation in human form. And we recognize that our God has been acting in history throughout time to bring God’s people to himself. In our Advent exploration, we will look at how God was alive and working in the lives of five vibrant biblical women. The invitation is for each of us to explore through these women and ask: How is God working in us so that we might be all that God calls us to be?

We will gather weekly for discussion and small-group conversation.

  • Dec 2 – Sarah: The Long Struggle
  • Dec 9 – Miriam: Singing Her Own Song
  • Dec 16 – Deborah: Order, Disorder, Reorder
  • Dec 23 – Mary and Elizabeth: The Blessing (and celebration!)

To join this study, send an email to Marjorie George at marjoriegeorge62@gmail.com or  marjorie.george@dwtx.org.

There is no cost and no book will be required. 

Questions? email to marjoriegeorge62@gmail.com or  marjorie.george@dwtx.org.

Gathered Wisdom, Oct 12

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

When I am liberated by silence, when I am no longer involved in the measurement of life, but in the living of it, I can discover a form of prayer in which there is effectively no distraction. My whole life becomes a prayer. 

-Thomas Merton, as quoted by John Dear in Living Peace

Found at Well for the Journey

Threshold Choir

“The all-women choirs honor the ancient tradition of singing at the bedsides of people who are struggling: some with living, some with dying. The choirs provide opportunities for women to share the sacred gifts of their voices at life’s thresholds.” Learn about their incredible work in this interview with the founding member. 

Read the story.

Found in Daily Good.

Learn more about Threshold Choir.

A Life on the Ground

When we live at altitude, it’s a long way down when we trip and fall – which we all do. But when you are “grounded,” you fall, get up, dust yourself off, and continue. We need solid ground under our feet, says Parker Palmer.

Read the reflection.

From Awakin.

The Law of Karma

You go through the self-checkout at Target and when you get in your car discover the machine overpaid your change by $20.  Do you go back into the store to return it? Would you cheat, lie, and steal if you never got caught? Fr. Ron Rolheiser proposes that what we sow is what we reap – even if only we ever know.

Read the reflection.

From the blog of Ron Rolheiser. 

Being Instruments of God

Transformation takes us from living as though God is “out there” to living with God “in here.” Richard Rohr calls it “the mystery of participation.” We are characters inside of a story that is being written in cooperation with God. 

Read the reflection.

From Center for Action and Contemplation.

Reviewing our News of the Day

Recovery groups call it the 10th step; St. Ignatius called it the Examen – taking time late in the day to review the day. Like watching the evening new on channel 5, we take time to recall what was, give thanks, make gratitude lists, and pray for all that has come and will come to us.

Read the short reflection.

From Joanna Seibert.

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives.

If this post was forwarded to you, sign up to receive Gathered Wisdom in your email by subscribing at wisdomyears.org.

To learn more visit our website.

Gathered Wisdom, Oct. 5

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

Longing

The posture of God’s people from time immemorial is a posture of longing, not so much for what was, but for what will be.

In this posture of longing we find blessing. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst, for they will be filled.”

-Br. James Koester

Society of Saint John the Evangelist

This week:

  • Mother Trees in a Wood Wide Web
  • Salt and Salt Substitutes
  • How Do You Be?
  • Embrace the Spiritual Practice of Aging
  • Spiritual Friends

Mother Trees in a Wood Wide Web

It is not only humans who acknowledge and depend on their elders. Scientist Suzanne Simard has found that “mother trees” connect a forest just like human elders connect families across generations.

Read the article. Or listen.

From Awakin.

Salt and Salt Substitutes

We are the salt of the earth. Jesus said so (Matthew 5:13). But what, exactly, does that mean? How do we make sense of that metaphor? SSJE Brother Curtis Almquist looks at the uses of salt and concludes not only that we are each precious and needed, we can also be of value in the lives of others.

Read  or listen to the sermon.

From Society of St. John the Evangelist.

How Do You Be?

Remember the 1990 movie Awakenings? It is the story of Dr. Oliver Sacks, who not only discovered a drug that brought patients out of their comas, he also cared deeply for his patients, often asking them, “How do you be?” How can we ask that question as we emerge from the COVID pandemic?

Read the article.

Found in Daily Good.

Embrace the Spiritual Practice of Aging

We really didn’t know what to expect as we aged. But here we are, and many are finding that aging is a spiritual practice, an opportunity to dig deeper into ourselves and move into our interior lives.

Read the article.

Found in the San Antonio Express News.

Spiritual Friends

Each of us, on our spiritual journeys, needs friends. Spiritual friends help us stay on the path not by walking it for us but by walking it with us. A spiritual friend is a person who “knows something of the terrain from having traveled some of it,” says Joanna Seibert in her reflection.

Read the reflection.

From Daily Something by Joanna Seibert.

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives.

If this post was forwarded to you, sign up to receive Gathered Wisdom in your email by subscribing at wisdomyears.org.

To learn more visit our website.

We support St. Mark’s Bookstore through Bookshop.org, an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores. We encourage shopping at https://bookshop.org/shop/stmarksbookstoresa. Or find your own local, independent bookstore at Bookshop.org

Gathered Wisdom, Sept 28

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

We have lived our lives by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. We have been wrong. We must change our lives so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption, that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and learn what is good for it.

– Wendell Berry

This week:

  • The Great Wisdom of Autumn
  • The Case for the Porch
  • Compassion as Steadfast Love
  • The Unbearable Beauty of Grandparenting
  • Acceptance, Gratitude, and Peace

The Great Wisdom of Autumn

“Living brightly and then letting go at the right moment” . . . that is the wisdom Christine Valters Paintner takes from the arrival of autumn. It is a season of release and moving into stillness.

Read the reflection.

Found in Patheos.

The Case for the Porch

A porch is a jumping off point for both reverie and action, says Charlie Hailey. “Just as it tells stories of joy and urgency—a bright patch of blue sky alongside the undeniable change of climate.”

Read the article.

Found in Daily Good.

Compassion as Steadfast Love

Graciousness, courtesy, compassion – these are part of what we mean by “hesed,” God’s steadfast love. This love is from everlasting to everlasting, and we are to show the same to our neighbors.

Read the reflection by Richard Rohr.

Found at Center for Action and Contemplation Daily Meditation. 

The Unbearable Beauty of – Grandparenting

Writer Courtney Martin offers stories from one of her favorite professors – now in his 80s – on the exquisite bond between grandparents and grandchildren. “I’m blessed by what I don’t understand,” says Dennis Dalton, “yet I know that it’s a beautiful blessing.”

Read the reflection.

From The Examined Family.

Acceptance, Gratitude, and Peace

We can choose to live in the past and obsess over losses and mistakes; we can choose to live in the future and the unknowing it brings; or we can choose to live in the now, giving thanks for each moment that comes to us.

Read the reflection from Joanna Seibert.

Found in Joanna Seibert’s Daily Something.

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives.

If this post was forwarded to you, sign up to receive Gathered Wisdom in your email by subscribing at wisdomyears.org.

To learn more visit our website.

We support St. Mark’s Bookstore through Bookshop.org, an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores. We encourage shopping at https://bookshop.org/shop/stmarksbookstoresa. Or find your own local, independent bookstore at Bookshop.org

Gathered Wisdom, Sept 21

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let dead things go.
– Author unknown

This week:

  • Today is World Gratitude Day
  • Dance With Life
  • How to Age Gracefully
  • Commandments for the Long Haul
  • “Death Doulas” Provide Aid at the End of Life

Today is World Gratitude Day

Diana Butler Bass reflects on how the practice of gratitude got her through the past 18 months. She writes, “Gratitude is resilience of sorts, the defiance of kindness in the face of anger, of connection in the face of division, and of hope in the face of fear. “ 

Read the reflection.

From The Cottage.

Dance with Life

“If we can just take the intelligence we have and temper it with wisdom . . .” In this lovely video from Green Renaissance, Sue Swain dances with trees and reminds us that “we have been blessed with an incredible planetary home.” 

Watch the video.

From A Network for Grateful Living.

How to Age Gracefully

Writing in the New York Times, author Jane Brody makes some decisions about aging. She has stopped dying her gray hair and using makeup. “Wrinkles be damned. I’m proud to have them.”

Read the article.

The New York Times.

Commandments for the Long Haul

Fr. Ron Rolheiser of Oblate Seminary in San Antonio, Texas, offers some practices for living long lives of faithfulness: “Give yourself permission to be inadequate.” “Be sufficiently loving and critical at the same time.”

Read the rest of them.

From the blog of Ron Rolheiser.

“Death Doulas” Provide Aid at the End of Life

While we spend a lot of time preparing for a birth, as a society we shy away from discussing death or preparing for it emotionally and spiritually. Hence the rising interest in end-of-life or “death”doulas who become companions to the dying, sitting with them, listening to them, helping them write their life stories and plan their own end-of-life memorials. 

Read more about “end-of-life” doulas.

Found in Daily Good.

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives.

If this post was forwarded to you, sign up to receive Gathered Wisdom in your email by subscribing at wisdomyears.org.

To learn more visit our website.

We support St. Mark’s Bookstore through Bookshop.org, an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores. We encourage shopping at https://bookshop.org/shop/stmarksbookstoresa. Or find your own local, independent bookstore at Bookshop.org

Gathered Wisdom, Sept 14

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

We seek perfection in our days, always wanting more for ourselves and our lives, and striving for goals unattainable . . .
Where does it come from, this strange unquenchable human urge for “more”? . . .
Learn to value the small as well as the great.

-Kent Nerburn, Small Graces: The Quiet Gifts of Everyday Life

Found in Well for the Journey Daily Faith Reflections, September 8, 2021

This week:

  • Encountering God in Everyday Life
  • When You’re Afraid to Get in the Boat Who Soothes You?
  • How Small Moments of Empathy Affect Your Life
  • Participating in Original Goodness
  • Fire

Encountering God in Our Everyday Life

Many of the spiritual disciplines are like taking out the trash, says Joanna Seibert. The disciplines “are simply to clear our minds so we can hear God speak to our lives.” 

Read the rest of the reflection.

Found in  Joanna Seibert’s Daily Something.

When you’re afraid to get into the boat who soothes your fear?

“ I DON’T WANT TO GO” screamed the little boy who really didn’t want to get into the boat. The boy’s dad was beyond coping, but Grandpa could step in calmly with a fresh voice and fresh love. Everybody needs a grandpa.

Read or listen to the reflection from Heather Plett

More about Heather Plett.

How Small Moments of Empathy Affect your Life

On average, a person receives about nine opportunities to empathize with others and about six opportunities to receive empathy in a 12-hour period of daily life. Studies show that people who are empathetic are more likely to be generous and altruistic and less likely to be prejudiced against others. So what does that mean for our everyday lives?

Read the article by Jill Suttie.

Found in Daily Good.

Participating in Original Goodness

Everyone and every thing is created in the “image of God,” says Fr. Richard Rohr. Our part is to participate in this core identity by saying yes to it. Image must become likeness.

Read the full reflection.

Found in Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation from Center for Action and Contemplation.

Fire

A poem from Judy Brown

What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.

Read or listen to the entire poem.

Found in Awakin. 

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives.

If this post was forwarded to you, sign up to receive Gathered Wisdom in your email by subscribing at wisdomyears.org.

To learn more visit our website.

Gathered Wisdom, Sept 7

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

I have been a seeker and I still am,
but I stopped asking the books and the stars.  
I started listening to my soul.
– Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī (1207-1273).

This Week:

  • Spiritual Compass
  • Shifting in Overhead Bins and within Our Souls
  • A Communion Paradigm
  • The Great Gesture that Unites Us
  • See More

Spiritual Compass

Over the years, our experience makes our spiritual compass – the one that points us toward God -even more accurate and sensitive, says Bishop Steven Charleston. Picking up on this, Joanna Seibert compares it to a GPS, a God Positioning System.

Read the reflection.

From Daily Something.

Shifting in Overhead Bins and Within Our Souls

“Items will shift in overhead bins,” the airplane flight attendant tells us. Just so, Jamie Osborne finds that there has been a lot of internal shifting and movement in all of us over these past months. “The turbulence, the bumps, and the sudden drops in altitude have displaced the internal cargo. I am not the same person I was. I’m beginning to realize that I’m profoundly different than I was at the beginning of 2020. I think we all are.”

Read the reflection.

Found in Grow Christians.

A Communion Paradigm

When, in a community, we hold each other in positive regard, the community reaffirms that each person is absolutely equal and absolutely unique. Thus the community becomes the “outreach” of God – the very presence of God as world.  

Read more.

Found in Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations.

The Great Gesture that Unites Us

Gratefulness is a spiral, says Brother David Steindle-Rast, in which the giver receives thanksgiving  and thus becomes the receiver. A passage has occurred, says Brother David. “We start out with giver, gift, and receiver, and we arrive at the embrace of thanks expressed and thanks accepted.” Brother David Steindle-Rast is the founder of A Network for Grateful Living

Read the entire reflection.

Found in Awakin.org.

See More

by Jean E. Taddonio

In the broken place
where we live,
hope can be found
in the cracks

Read the rest of the poem.

Found at A Network for Grateful Living.

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives.

If this post was forwarded to you, sign up to receive Gathered Wisdom in your email by subscribing at wisdomyears.org.

To learn more visit our website.

Gathered Wisdom, Aug 31

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

To be a Christian in our culture is no easy thing, because it demands of us to live in faith, instead of fear; to live in hope, instead of despair; to live in love, instead of enmity. The narrow gate is difficult to pass through because it is so much easier to live in fear than faith. But that is not the invitation we have received, for the One who invites us to follow through the narrow gate is the same one who promises abundance of life to those who do follow.

-Br. James Koester
Society of Saint John the Evangelist

Can You Still Find Joy When it Feels like the World is Ending?

It’s bleak out there: wildfires in the west, hurricanes in the south, political unrest resulting in 13 more dead American military men and women, a pandemic that simply won’t go away and communities in uproar because of it.  Ingrid Fetell Lee shares five tips for easing our current events-related anxiety and holding both the difficult and the joyful things in life together. From The Aesthetics of Joy. 

Read the essay.

Find Ingrid Fettel Lee’s book Joyful – The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness on the Wisdom Years reading list at St. Mark’s Bookstore.

Five Things to Know About Lament

Our current crises are unexplainable, says N. T Wright. But Christians are not supposed to explain it. Rather, we are called to lament. Wright turns to the ancient psalms, written by a people who knew deep suffering, to ferret out 5 ways to embrace lament at this time. From N. T. Wright Online.

Read the essay.

Response is Different from an Answer

In the vein of Rilke’s admonition to “live the questions,” Rabbi Ariel Burger suggests we celebrate questions even when we do not have answers.  This requires both humility and tenderness balanced by ferocity. From Global Oneness Project, found in Awakin.org.

Read the essay.

When Crisis Comes

In her understanding of crisis contemplation, Barbara Holmes says, “Mysticism reminds us that the boundaries between this life and the life beyond are permeable, and that our power is not seeded in what is bestowed by politicians and society, but to everyone willing and ready to recognize the moves of an active Holy Spirit. . . .” From The Center for Action and Contemplation Daily Meditation, July 30, 2021.

Read the meditation. 

It Might have been Otherwise

by Jane Kenyon

Found at Poets.org

I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.

Read the rest of the poem and a note from our chaplain.

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives.

If this post was forwarded to you, sign up to receive Gathered Wisdom in your email by subscribing at wisdomyears.org.

To learn more visit our website.

Our Fall Book Discussion Starts Sept. 9

Time to order your book and reserve your space.

September 9 through October 28, 2021
Thursdays, 4 to 5:15 p.m. (Central time)

“In a world of speed and distraction, pace of guidance invites us to combine the practices of measured movement and listening.” – Christina Baldwin, from The Seven Whispers

In The Seven Whispers, our fall discussion book, author Christina Baldwin invites us to clear away the clutter and seek the inner voice of wisdom from our own souls. Through seven phrases or whispers, we will find that it is our souls that connect with the Spirit and can teach us much.

Baldwin is a pioneer in the circle method of learning, through which participants claim their own discoveries and insights, a model The Wisdom Years follows.

Discussion sessions will meet by Zoom on Thursdays at 4 p.m (Central time) for 8 weeks. Participants will need to buy The Seven Whispers by Christina Baldwin. To purchase from St. Mark’s Bookstore, an independent bookstore affiliated with Episcopal Booksellers Association, visit St. Mark’s Bookstore or contact Carla Pineda.

To save your space in the book discussion, or for more information, send an email to Marjorie George at marjoriegeorge62@gmail.com. There is no charge for the study. If you need financial assistance to purchase a book, do not hesitate to contact us. There is scholarship money available.

For more details about this book discussion, see this page.