I have an uneasy relationship with the first part of the Bible. I am not a friend of the deity who calls on a nation to enter a land and slaughter everyone, except for the virgins that the marauders want to take for themselves. The height of hypocrisy, in my opinion, is the Christians who pull violent quotes out of the Quran to prove that Islam is a religion of violence, when I could show you many verses in the Judeo-Christian book that show a Divine Force calling for genocide. Thank goodness, we have a little space for interpretation in our holy texts. Jewish people find the God of Love in their text, a God who cares for the people and the land. Christians find a God who sends God’s child in human form to teach the people to Love, Muslims find a prophet who tells them that doing good works is pleasing to Allah.
So here, in my list today, is a quotation from Deuteronomy, one of the books I tend to avoid, because it’s in some of those early books where we find an Accounting God, who keeps close record of every little infraction in order to prove you’re not worthy. And this is a total proof-text, I suppose, because it’s prophet speaking, and I am using it as a self-blessing. The sentiment is beautiful, and a blessing to teachers who want their work to be about nurture and development and growth. We use texts for our own purposes, and find in them what we need. There’s danger in that, that we twist and manipulate words and ideas. Still, it’s often how we meet texts: we find that which applies to our own story, and say, “Yes! This!”
“Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.” —Deuteronomy 32:2
“There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun.” —Thomas Merton (Oh, but I am going to try, Thomas Merton. I am going to try.)
Straighten the spine.
Scan the wide vista before you.
Feel the morning breeze
as the sun rises
over the far horizon.
Another deep breath.
Spread your wings.
“It is better to err on the side of daring than the side of caution.”
“What comes, will go. What is found, will be lost again.
But what you are is beyond coming and going and beyond description.
You are It.”
“Though my soul may set in darkness
it will rise in perfect light.
I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.”
—Attributed to Galileo
“Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.” —from The Talmud
“An artist is a dreamer consenting to dream of the actual world.”
1. The day ahead
2. The day behind
3. This moment where I sit
4. Work that is Work
May we walk in Beauty!