Sharing Our Stories: Wednesday Edition (8/5)
This was an email originally sent out to the parish on Wednesday, August 5, 2020.
Here are the latest group of stories we have collected. This is a wonderful way for us to stay connected with one another and to accompany one another on this journey. We would love to have YOUR story. Check out the broad guidelines HERE. And if you have already submitted a story, please let us have another one!
Shared by Kathy Smith
Jon and I miss worshipping with our St. Thomas family and seeing everyone. This rewritten version of ‘You’ll Be Back’ from Hamilton made me smile, lifted my spirits and reminded me that we will be back!. Click the following link to view: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFduNE4pXAQ
God’s peace, good health and virtual hugs to all!
Reflection by Dwight Russell
The word “journey” has always been magical for me, conjuring pleasant images of road trips, distant relatives, other countries, and new adventures. It also describes my most important transformation, that of giving myself one-hundred percent to God. A few years ago I began to realize that my life had been based on dual-thinking. On the one hand there were the existential activities – career, money, relationships, achievements, and certainly a healthy ego. On the other hand there was the religious/spiritual aspect – attend church, give money, and all will be well. Everything wrapped up in a neat package that I could easily manage! What I didn’t realize during this phase of the journey was that God wanted more than I was giving – God wanted all of me. I was feeling a “nudge” from time to time, but it was easy to ignore. Besides, the normal human reaction is: “No! I don’t want anyone pulling my strings but me! But think about this: Who made you? God, of course – who better to run your life? And then I remembered reading Romans 8: 26-27, “…a little voice inside of you, praying for you” …”the Spirit intercedes for you.” God was already there in the form of the paraclete promised by Jesus. I began to realize that I was being led toward a new relationship, a path toward becoming “one with God”. It involved surrendering my entire being, which was the most difficult thing I have ever done, but gaining perfect freedom. That freedom emanates from depending entirely on God, learning to pray unceasingly and letting Him run my life rather than my doing so – best described as being “God-centered”. But I also learned that I couldn’t just sit back and put everything on “cruise control”. We are given free will and must use our gifts to navigate through our lives; we must be responsible humans. I am open to discussion if you wish. Thanks for listening; the sacred journey continues. At this juncture I commend to you a poem that I think beautifully describes our spiritual journeys.
Be thankful now for having arrived,
for the sense of having drunk from a well,
for remembering the long drought
that preceded your arrival and the years
walking in a desert landscape of surfaces
looking for a spring hidden from you for so long
that even wanting to find it now had gone
from your mind until you only remembered
the hard pilgrimage that brought you here,
the thirst that caught in your throat;
the taste of a world just-missed
and the dry throat that came from a love
you remembered but had never fully wanted
for yourself, until finally after years making
the long trek to get here it was as if your whole
achievement had become nothing but thirst itself.
But the miracle had come simply
from allowing yourself to know
that you had found it, that this time
someone walking out into the clear air
from far inside you had decided not to walk
past it anymore; the miracle had come
at the roadside in the kneeling to drink
and the prayer you said, and the tears you shed
and the memory you held and the realization
that in this silence you no longer had to keep
your eyes and ears averted from the place
that could save you, that you had been given
the strength to let go of the thirsty dust laden
pilgrim-self that brought you here, walking
with her bent back, her bowed head
and her careful explanations.
No, the miracle had already happened
when you stood up, shook off the dust
and walked along the road from the well,
out of the desert toward the mountain,
as if already home again, as if you deserved
what you loved all along, as if just
remembering the taste of that clear cool
spring could lift up your face and set you free.
- David Whyte