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There aren’t too many bad days at the beach, so it was difficult to choose a photo for this Photo Challenge:Weekly Photo Challenge

But a partly sunny/partly cloudy day sometimes yields the best waves for those who are up to the challenge.

This surfer girl was not hesitating, she was studying her male counterparts to see where best to get the most out of her day.

Hey, God – Thank You for good waves to ride when the conditions seem too challenging. May we see our days as partly sunny instead of partly cloudy.

Help us to rise to the challenge and trust that we just might have the time of our life if we brave the elements and jump in for the adventure.

Let us remember that sunny days don’t always sharpen us, and rough seas can sometimes teach us more than calm waters.

For this week’s  Weekly Photo Challenge, I offer the face of an angel with boundless joy:

image

David, at Special Olympics, this past May.

Thank You, God, for untold joy, for unstoppable joy that springs from unspeakable grief. For spontaneous joy, for the unexpected, the unseekable that presents itself and makes life worth every hardship.

Thanks for the unending hope of joy, for using each of us to inspire one another to keep seeking You and the untold riches of joy You offer.

I love close ups. There are universes in microcosms, n’est-ce pas?

 
And vice versa, when you consider the big picture includes a glimpse of the life of American icons’ private lives…  
Thanks, God, for the big picture You provide and the close-up version we so often see up close and personal. Sometimes when we look closely we see Your big picture and the other way around. 

Thank You, God, for Your depth in the far-sighted and for Your finding a way to show us the path regardless of how closely or how far our gaze takes us toward or away from You…

Thanks for always guiding our gaze towards You, no matter how far we stray…

 Symbol of summer…sunrise on Ono Island, Alabama:  

 
 

   
  
Thank You, God, for some of the best summer memories yet, symbols of dreams come true…and glimpses of Heaven itself.

In a recent conversation, I posited that faith is not tangible, that it is blind trust paired with hope. Expected outcome without guarantee. 

As a lawyer’s daughter, I think faith might be experienced by walking a thin tightrope held up by a combination of idealism, high expectations, justification and a pinch of foolishness.  Better carry a good, long pole for balance!

What makes us trust? What makes us run? What makes us cling in the face of no sound reason or rationalization?

Lately I have been challenged to trust…and others to trust in me. How can I expect them to trust in me when I might not fully trust in myself? Doesn’t it take at least one person to step forth and proclaim “CARPE DIEM!!” ? Who determines who goes first? Is faith a chicken and egg conundrum?

The wounded shy away from trust and need to be coaxed, reassured and led. 

The doubtful need to be shown.

The Pharisees need to be out-foxed.

So what do the faithless need?

Proof? Facts? Numbers? It can’t be…that is the essence of faith.

If you are waiting to be shown, for veracity to be proven in factual terms, you’ll be waiting a long time. 

The onus is on YOU to believe. Only then do dreams come true.

Thanks, God, for the gift of faith, no matter how little or how great ours may ebb and flow over the course of our lifetime. Thank You for getting my 12 year old on those planes and safely to the other end of the continent today. 

Thank You for showing me things when I step back and have time and space to consider facts vs. faith. Thank You for trusting in me, even when others may not, and even when I may not even trust in myself. Thank You for the great gift of faith!

 (he had only heard and read about the Grand Canyon prior to today, but this plane afforded him visual proof!) 

Guests

Today I had the privilege of working with a homicidal patient who is partial to philosophy. This can present a challenge as a therapist, in that one must steer the patient away from an unhealthy amount of overthinking – and yet insight comes from a certain degree of thinking beyond the garden gate.

My patient quoted a line from a poem by Rumi (see below), so I brought it up on my device and together we tried to untangle the mystery of whether the darkness of mental illness is a guest in our lives, or if we are a guest in the darkness.

We wrestled with how to achieve mindfulness; to tolerate, endure and to even embrace the unexpected or the unwelcome. We contemplated how to find balance. We considered if it is pain or freedom that is fleeting and temporary. 

While we mused, she played in the kinetic sand tray on my desk. Afterwards, I observed aloud how, when talking about her pain and darkness, she stabbed at the sand and carved deep but symmetrical gashes. When she spoke of healing and hope, she used the roller to smooth it out. Someone had left the sand in mostly one half of the tray; I commented that as she had approached it, she met it where it was – she did not attempt to rearrange it, only made impressions on it. 

“What do you make of that?” she asked.

“Mmmmm….” I paused, “What do YOU make of it?”

She broke out in a broad smile for the first time I’d seen.

Yes, “meet them at the door laughing and invite them in!”

Here is how she left the sand – what do YOU make of it?

  
THE GUEST HOUSE

This being human is a guest house.

Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,

some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!

Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,

who violently sweep your house

empty of its furniture,

still, treat each guest honorably.

He may be clearing you out

for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.

meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.

because each has been sent

as a guide from beyond.
— Jelaluddin Rumi,

    translation by Coleman Barks

Motion is the very essence of Life…

 Pour la danse est de vivre!

motion 1

motion 2

motion 3

I couldn’t take a picture of the incredible motion I saw today, but I found myself behind a truck that was hit by a car and rolled over 3x before landing in a ditch. Miraculously, all parties walked away from the wreckage, unscathed, before first responders arrived.

Hey, God…Thanks for breathing life into us and help us to remain in motion till the end of our lives…

Thank You for giving us the impetus to keep moving, even in the face of stagnancy and stuck-ness…pause, hesitation, unforeseen misfortune and planned inventory alike. Through crisis and challenge, through fortune and formation.

Every breath we take represents movement, motion and motivation!

Thanks, God, for the many blessings of life which naturally propel us forward – whether willingly or kicking and screaming – into the next chapter of life.

Motion est la vie!!

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