Meditations of the Heart (Thurman) Section 4 Day 1

Howard Thurman, in his journal of meditations today, calls us to reflect and remember forgotten treasures and memories so that on our darker days when everything is going badly we can draw upon those memories to renew our hope.

I had the idea, since it’s Christmas time, to of write on plain tree ornaments one word or short phrases that would capture the ‘gifts’ I’ve received from others, such as “prayer in a cafe” which I’ve done with friends, spoken quietly after the food is served.ChristmsSharpieOrnaments The memory is sharing the meal with friends.

“Carols in the Mall” would be from the days our church took our praise band and sang carols in the mall one Friday night before Christmas. The memory is all the people who stopped to listen or sang with us, some stayed where they’d stopped for quite a while, enjoying their own memories wrapped in these carols.

“Phone calls” would be the memories of “cancer world days” when a phone call from someone was a life-line that I need to get me through that day in particular.

“Grand Tetons” would be remembering the fantastic vacation we had as a family in a rented camper traveling through mid-western states of such beauty.

Christmas Glitter+OrnamentsMy children’s names with their special activities or abilities “football”, “drumline”, “wrestling”, “choir”, “theatre”, “cat-whisperer” would be on my tree. My best friends name with “cups of tea”  to remember all the days we sat, tea cups at the ready, for hours of conversations.

These are the memories that revive my hope.

What’s your’s?

Christmas memory balls

Meditations of the Heart (Thurman) Day 3

Rev. Thurman’s concept that quiet prayer makes room for the discernment of one’s purpose is a familiar one.  I’ve heard all my life that I should pray for the Lord’s will to be made known.  I’ve read books on how you know when it’s God’s will and not your own.  I’ve also been in committee meetings where my expression of call has been questioned: “Is it God’s will or your will?”

I supposed the Will of God is heard or experienced and observed in a variety of ways, so I don’t presume to question someone’s calling, although we can have many conversations on how they live into their calling.  It drives me crazy when someone in a role of authority, who doesn’t know me, acts suspicious over the validity of what I interpreted as God’s request for what my work will be in the world.

When people say they heard God say.. what was it they experienced?  Was in a voice but not their own saying something audible only to them?  Was it a sense of an indwelling Presence from which words came to mind?  Was it a yearning of the heart which they translated into directives?  Maybe all of the above?

Rev. Thurman talks about seeking answers, or at least clues, to the deeply felt need to discover the Will of God for your life.  He says everyone wants to know that their life has meaning and purpose.  I’m reminded of Mandisa’s song “Voice of a Savior”.  She sings “some people try to listen to the end of a bottle.” Identifying all the places we look for answers, she sings  “Some people try to listen in blind ambition”.  She says we all have a void we try to fill up and try to hear the voice of a savior.

And then, there are people who don’t try to find their natural and God given purpose for being on this earth.  Or they ignore or avoid it. And, many walk around really unhappy, to the point where they impact those who live and work with them. You can’t make someone do the work of discernment on their life’s purpose.  Some people don’t even know you should and can consider a higher power’s  image for us.

One of the things I’m interested in for ministry with young adults is to help them navigate this process even beginning in their Jr. and Sr. years in high school.  Certainly as they leave their parent’s homes and support, they rebel and push ahead with their own ideas and desires. And, I believe it would be really helpful to them to have a trusted adult who will listen as they bring their questions and discoveries about themselves into conversation.  Buoy them with pastoral care, career workshops, service projects and trips to inform them as they find their feet on the path they were created to travel.

Two paths diverged