Think about that for a moment. The unconscious heaving of your chest right now had its beginning with the breath God. And when it was expelled from his throat a long time ago, life exploded into the universe. In other words, the simple act of breathing is powerful stuff. And it demands that we do something with it. Something extraordinary.
“Bring Polycarp!” someone else shouted, and thus the manhunt for the bishop of Smyrna began. He wasn’t hard to catch. He was eighty-six years old and power scooters hadn’t been invented yet. So soon, the crowd brought him before the proconsul for questioning. Things went south fairly fast. The proconsul wanted Polycarp to deny his faith and go home, which seemed like a reasonable request. But alas, Polycarp refused. Losing his patience, the judge yelled, “Out with the atheist!” To which Polycarp yelled back. “Yes! Out with the atheists!” And he pointed to the crowd. Well, that didn’t help.
The more I can let go of attaching baggage to every little thing that happens, the more I can be set free to allow a day to be what it really is…a gift.
In Ireland, there is a place outside Dublin called Glendalaugh where I regularly experience a thin place. Tradition has it that Saint Kevin settled there in a cave in the sixth century. It overlooks a lake as black as a moonless and starless night. A forest surrounds it, with ancient trees covered in moss and dark green leaves. Early in the morning a mist hovers above ground, like out of a fairy tale. It’s no wonder that Kevin chose this place for his home.
Our lives are directed by to-do lists and calendars and productivity apps. I don’t wake with the sun but with a clock. And the things invented in this world to serve me have become my masters. Sometimes, I fear that I have mistaken crossing something off my list for life. Because the point of life is not to be productive.
Some of you may have noticed I’m posting a little more. One of the reasons is that I’ve decided that one small way I can respond to the anger and vitriol that seems so prevalent in our world is to offer a small moment of mindfulness and kindness.
To that end, I’ve started a podcast on Buzzsprouts: http://spilledcoffeeonancientscrolls.buzzsprout.com/640096
They will be weekly and short (around 5 minutes), based on my blog postings. This way, if you need something uplifting to start your day or on your way to work, you can add this to your routine.
If you enjoy it, please subscribe and share!
Here’s a sample from Spotify.
Listen to this post! "We live the given life, and not the planned.” Wendell Berry, This Day In the movie, Mr. Holland’s Opus, Richard Dreyfuss plays a young composer who has aspirations of writing a major symphony that will become his legacy. Fresh out of college, he takes what he believes to be a temporary …
Listen to this post! In the opening verses of Revelation, perhaps one of the scariest books in the Bible, John wrote this, “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he placed his right hand on me, saying, ‘Do not be afraid.” If you look at other major appearances of …
Listen to this post! When I feel the need to get away from emails and grading and endless meetings, I drive to Abilene State Park and walk the nature trail. If it has been an especially stressful week, I might walk the roads afterwards, with may hands clutched behind my back while my mind ruminates …
for forty yearsthe sheets of white paper havepassed under my hands and I have tried to improve their peacefulemptiness putting downlittle curls little shaftsof letters words little flames leaping "Forty Years,” by Mary Oliver Writing really is amazing. Somehow these squiggly lines convey information that has allowed humanity to rise out of the field and …