People respond differently to the opportunity to take time off for Spring Break. Some love it. Some hate it. Some want to come back. Some want to stay away as long as possible. Whatever the case, taking a rest or a break from our normal productive activity create a situation in which we have to value ourselves differently–outside of our accomplishments.
Watch this video by The Work of the People to reflect on the role of Sabbathing in our lives:
Do you like to Sabbath? Where do you find your value as you rest or take breaks from your day to day activities? How can you plan in weekly Sabbathing as a reminder of who you are outside of what you do? How do you experience death and life during rest periods?
As I watched the snow come down late Tuesday night (or early Wednesday morning), I couldn’t help but have a small desire to have my classes canceled yesterday. I’m sure many of you were thinking the same thing to be met with either excitement or disappointment yesterday morning as you checked your emails to see if you would have to trudge your way to class. As I thought about it more, however, I realized that we should be grateful for the privilege to be able to attend a top-tier private university. There are so many people across the world and even in the U.S. that have an intense desire to attend school and receive even a basic education. Some of them would even kill for even the slightest chance to attend a one-room school dozens of miles away, and we (myself certainly included) complain about having to walk a few hundred feet to go to our classes.
I don’t think we ever fully realized how truly blessed each one of us is. We all have so many gifts, talents, treasures, friends, and families that bless our lives. I encourage all of you to stop and think about just one thing in your life that you feel truly blessed to have received. A friend that was put in your life, a mentor that has taught you a lot, a favorite material good that has improved your life. I encourage you to take the time to reflect on how this thing has made a difference in your life and just be grateful. Take the time to appreciate what you have and what you will receive, and don’t be afraid to pay it forward.
p.s. I’m sure many of you have seen this video, but in case you haven’t, think of this the next time you are having a rough day or are struggling to embrace your abilities.
Yesterday our community talked about “Reality” in our community meeting. Since our perception is intimately tied to our realities, it is important to enter into other’s perceptions so as to enter into their realities. Below is a video of an artist who is attempting to challenge perceptions.
How can you challenge your own perceptions? Whose reality is it hardest for you to understand? What perspectives do you have that block your understanding of that person’s reality? Are there ways to hold your perceptions at bay while still acknowledging them?
We went on a retreat this weekend. It was wonderful. We talked about the layers and work of community, about creating sacred space, about bringing our assets to enhance the life of the community, about becoming servants to one another, and about vulnerability.
We began the retreat by acknowledging difference. We acknowledged the different places that we were all in both on that day, but also in life. We moved to an acknowledgement of our different desires and gifts by writing personal mission statements for the year. We acknowledged the diversity of other communities present within and surrounding our own.
This difference, this particularity, may be the most important part of our community and the most difficult. See the short video below for Walter Bruegemann’s reflections on honoring particularity.
How can you honor your own particularity? How can you honor other’s particularity? Knowing that this doesn’t mean agreeing or experientially understanding, how can you set yourself up to respond and love well when you encounter ideas or customs that are strange to you? Why is this important?