Archive for June 4th, 2013

Join the Tuesday Slice of Life

Join the Tuesday Slice of Life

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
–Mary Oliver
View the entire poem here.

My mother sent me a book. This book came from Amazon during Easter break, so I sat in the cool grass enjoying a spring day, and read the Introduction. I felt an immediate connection to Father Ed Bacon and thought, “I know him from somewhere.” I went to my closet to find a journal from the summer of 1993 when I attended a workshop at Camp Kanuga in North Carolina. A coinciding workshop on Art and Spirituality was being led by a team from St. Andrews Cathedral in Jackson, MS. One evening at dinner (family style) Ed Bacon, the leader of the Art and Spirituality workshop, invited us to join one of the sessions. I remember thinking then (and writing about it in my journal) how generous this man was to let us join their group and enjoy their fellowship as well as experience art and spirituality. And now, 20 years later, I was reading his book “8 Habits of Love.”

The first habit is The Habit of Generosity. Fr. Ed writes, “The human spirit, just like the seas, needs both inflow and outflow in order to foster life and create energy.” We need generosity as much as we need the air we breathe. The more we give, the greater our life becomes with deeper meaning and growth of our spirit.

When I was a senior in high school, my house flooded 5 feet. The exact measurement sticks in my head because that was the height of the top of my closet, so I knew whatever I stored in that space was saved. Everything else was full of mud and soaking wet. This experience was profound for my family as tragedies often are. It was the opening of our hearts to the generosity of others. And there was so much overflowing of generosity, greater than the 5 feet of flood waters. Twenty-one people from our church community showed up to clean out the house. We received donations as well as emotional support from so many. Generosity of spirit overcame the loss of material things.

And today, when we hear about tragedies such as the tornadoes in Oklahoma, we hear, too, the stories of generosity and how that grows and holds up the victims. Generosity knows no limits. It is not bounded by anything because the human heart holds the Beloved.

Sometimes we hit upon road blocks, things that steer us away from a generous spirit. We get busy with the day to day work. And sometimes fear seeps in. We cannot function outside of ourselves when we give in to fear. We must open ourselves up by giving. When we connect with others in a generous way, the walls are broken down. We find love.

Every week, I wake up early on Tuesday morning and go to serve at Solomon House, our church’s outreach mission. We hand out bags of groceries to the needy. But I hate to even use that word…needy, because I may be feeding them physically, but they feed me emotionally. They show me who the Beloved is, in their gentle touch, their laughter, their kindness, their humbleness. Many of these faces are faces of friends.

“The Habit of Generosity is often as much about giving emotional or spiritual support as it is about giving money. At its core, it is about communicating kinship with others.” –Ed Bacon

No matter what the situation, who we come into contact with, if we approach them with loving generosity, we can find a way to connect. And this is what love is all about-connecting one heart to another.

I’ve decided that this summer my Tuesday Slices will be in response to “8 Habits of Love.” Next week the habit is one of stillness.

Please share in the comments how the Habit of Generosity has worked in your life.

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