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It is enough

Years ago, my husband’s first boss in the software industry took him aside to tell him that he would be given a raise. I was pregnant with our first child and working only part-time. The additional income was welcome.

I’m sure my husband did some kind of happy dance. His boss, a kind, grandfatherly man, had started the business from scratch and was successful. He issued a word of caution to my husband, saying that many people never feel they are making enough, whatever their salary. They continually change their definition of what is “enough”–enough square feet, enough special features in a car, nice-enough countertops, and so on.

When I feel impatient about what I don’t have, I try to remember that I do have enough: I have enough to eat, a safe place to life, and the gift of my family.

It is enough.

— Jennifer Grant, Wholehearted Living, p. 26

Giving

No one

has ever become poor

by giving.

— Anne Frank

Joy and sorrow

Joy will come in the evening;

quietly.

Like rays of light

sifting softly through clouds

she will find the hidden lake

of all my sorrow.

And blessing me,

caressing low as the swallows,

my darkened being will shine.

A thousand caverns

a thousand mysteries

of love and bleeding–

and the lake’s depths will equal the mountains.

— Madeleine Gorham, “Joy and Sorrow”, in Presence: An International Journal for Spiritual Direction, Vol. 21, No. 4 (March 2015), p. 18

Forty days

Crosses are veiled. The word Alleluia is not spoken or sung. Flowers have disappeared from altars, and religious art is draped in cloth. Lent’s forth days walk us slowly through the darkness to Easter.

The number forty echoes through the Bible. Moses spent forty days with God on Mount Sinai. The Hebrew people wandered for forty years in the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land. Christ was tempted for forty days in the desert.

And during Lent, many Christians endeavor to shift the focus of their lives to spiritual matters. We pray, practice self-denial, and give money to the poor.

A friend of mine once nicknamed Lent an “unwelcome violence.” We know it’s on its way, year after year, and we anticipate the sacrifices we’ll make — giving up sweets perhaps, or taking on a more difficult spiritual discipline. Which one of us, truly, looks forward to denying our ever-hungry, ever-egotistical selves?

But, after forty days of walking with our sober friend Lent, we are all there ready to embrace the bright colors and Alleluias and indulgences of Easter.

— Jennifer Grant, Wholehearted Living, p. 88

Amazing grace

There’s a Catholic church not far from my home. On Sunday mornings, familiar hymns chime from the bell tower above the church. Last Sunday morning, the bells began to play “Amazing Grace.” As I walked to church, I began singing along with the bells: “‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far and Grace will lead me home.” The lyrics brought me comfort and peace. If you’re struggling to pray, try singing some of the great hymns you know by heart.

— Nancy Jo Sullivan, 2015 A Book of Grace-Filled Days, p. 103

God the Physician

There is actually a condition known as broken-heart syndrome, a temporary condition triggered by the death or loss of a loved one. The main symptom is sudden chest pain that mimics a heart attack. It’s true that grief takes its toll on our physical and emotional health. Yet when we are attacked by heartache, our Great Physician is always available — even in the middle of the night, when the stab of sorrow seems most acute. Have you lost someone special? Remember that God specializes in broken hearts.

— Nancy Jo Sullivan, 2015 A Book of Grace-Filled Days, p. 111

Following your life purpose

demands wholesale abandon, risk, sacrifice,

and radical trust in the loving heart

of the living God.

— James Emery White

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