Thursday, December 23, 2021

Gifts of In-Breaking: Part 3


In Part 2 of In-Breaking, I spoke of the “O” Antiphon “—O, Oriens” (the Morning Light from the East). The in-breaking of that light comes as gift to each of us in unexpected moments—leaves blazing autumn; smile dawning on a face awed by kindness; gnarled hands soothing a sobbing child. These can be moments of great enlightenment and wonder. They are always moments when, to paraphrase the English poet Wordsworth, our “heart leaps up.” 


As we move through the seasons of our life, the gift of light—insight—grace blesses us. Each moment of utter awareness becomes a treasured bead. From these beads, we make our life’s rosary of gratitude—gratefulness. The beads slip through the fingers of our mind whenever we need to recall the quiet, the peace, of blessedness.  


That startling moment of in-breaking for me last Tuesday brought questions . . . answers . . . and recall. 


In years past, I crocheted; worked jigsaw puzzles; walked four miles each day; macraméd; peddled a bike 10 miles before work; volunteered; protested; got out the vote with; served as an election judge; painted watercolors; used a piano keyboard; practiced yoga; worked in my vegetable, perennial, and rock gardens; baked; tried countless new vegetarian recipes; threw dinner parties; studied classical Greek; memorized a stanza of a poem each day, . . .


When light broke in; I realized I’d left it all beyond. All the joy of it. The feeling of accomplishment. The delight. My life had narrowed to five items a day; I’d pinned my entire attention on writing a memoir.


That in-breaking also helped me realize why this had happened.


In October 2019, I published The Reluctant Spy, an historical novel. The novel reflected my own search for who Yeshua was and is, my struggle with a personal God, my dreams of Wholeness, and my dawning belief in Oneness. 


The Reluctant Spy represented 20 years of living, reflecting, researching, and writing. And . . . it was . . . it is . . . a dismal flop. Only a few—maybe 15—copies have sold. 


Six weeks after its publication, I had my second knee replacement. The recuperation from that, unlike the first replacement, was long. Difficult. Problematic.


Possibly because of the stress from those two incidents or from the changes wrought by climate change or because I’ve been diagnosed with Meniere’s that is “progressive and intractable,” the disease kicked in and for the past two years has been—it sometimes seems to me—ever present. 


What now? What after the gift of grace? 


First, gratitude abounds. Second, I’m taking baby-steps to redefine my life and put back into it those activities and thoughts that bless me: Puzzle pieces litter the dining-room table; the keyboard on the card-table beckons my fingers; yarn lies ready to be crocheted into an afghan. The yoga DVD is in the player. Two textbooks—one Greek, one Latin—await my inquiring mind. All invite me to create a new life as I move toward the Beyond.


Then, wonder of wonders, that in-breaking brought to me the first paragraphs of the memoir with which I’ve struggled for two years. It is, I believe, the perfect entryway to the telling of my life.


This sudden and welcomed in-breaking then is the gift of Advent and Christmas. Life truly is good.




NOTE: The writings of Richard Rohr, whom I mentioned yesterday, explore a theology I no longer embrace. But often, his daily meditation provides food for thought about Oneness. 


I also read Cameron Trimble who writes for “Convergence.” His down-to-earth stories always bring new spiritual realizations to me. 


Photo from Wikipedia.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

"O Oriens"--An Inbreaking: Part 2

Part 1 of “The In-Breaking of Light” provided the background for today’s posting about an in-breaking that lifted my spirits out of a malaise that began in November 2019. In future postings, I hope to explain what happened two years ago that brought me to what felt like an impasse. 

Let us begin:


As I explained yesterday, my rereading of my December 7th posting left me befuddled. Last Tuesday, I went to bed somewhat disgruntled about myself. For a few minutes I played spider solitaire on my iPad. Then, wearied by my own loss of hope, I leaned back into the headrest. 


Closing my eyes, I went to the deep center of myself where Oneness dwells—has always dwelt no matter how I’ve tried to flee or ignore or remonstrate. Always there. At the deep center of my being. Always.


I let myself sink into the River of Oneness flowing through that center. Always and ever, I, a diminutive drop of life-giving water for humankind, enter the stream that moves inexorably toward Wholeness—toward the vast Ocean of Oneness that absorbs us so that all touches all and we unite in the great Alleluia of Life and Light, Love and Being. We become One.


This is the way I now meditate. It’s not the way of my thirties and forties. That served me well . . . then. The meditation of myself in Oneness has served me now for some forty years. I never read anything about what I’d come to believe and hold blest. I simply experienced living and reflected on it. Slowly the realization of Oneness came to me.


Yet just this past year, I discovered a writer who has published several books on Oneness. I am now on Richard Rohr’s daily meditation mailing list. For now, at least, he and I seem to be on the same path in our spiritual journey. He’s traveled farther than I; I stumble along trusting Oneness.


So, I’m meditating last Tuesday, flowing within the River of Oneness, and suddenly, light breaks in. Some would say, “an insight.” Raised as a Roman Catholic, I’d say I experienced a lovely grace—the Presence of all those who, throughout my life, have raised me, taught and educated me, befriended me, mourned with me, rejoiced with me, cherished me.


In that grace-filled moment, a sudden, and to me, surprising, thought came: “Why has my life narrowed down so?” 


With great certitude, I realized that it had nothing to do with the pandemic. No. I, myself, have allowed my life to narrow down to five activities: meditating, struggling to write a memoir, puzzling over spider solitaire, listening to mystery novels, and watching BritBox. Five!


Then another thought: “When and why did writing become the thumbtack that nailed me to only one definition of success: a published book read by many?”


It was then that the light promised by Advent dawned within me. The “O” AntiphonO Orienssaid at Vespers on December 21 each year beseeches Oneness to send us light—the light we all need if we are to grow into wholeness.


O Morning Star,

splendor of eternal light and sun of justice,

come and shine on those who dwell in darkness

and the shadow of death.


For Christians, that Morning Star is Yeshua. For myself, Yeshua is one human—a beloved one—among many. Among all. So that Morning Star is the Oneness of all humans who—however and whenever and wherever I have met them—have shed light into the darkness of my own doubt. 


Tomorrow, I hope to share with you how that River of Light that streamed through my bemusement brought change. You will, I trust, rejoice with me when you read the next installment. 




Tuesday, December 21, 2021

The In-Breaking of Light--Part 1


Two weeks ago, in my first posting since July, I shared with you the despondency that had come upon and over me due to an inability to find an entryway into a second memoir. 


That posting was, perhaps, too personal, too revealing. It reveals the “inner skin” of my thoughts, not just the outer.


However, I always tend to write the words that come to me in the flow of inspiration that passes from head to heart as I sit here at the computer. For several days, the words for this posting have been bounding forth like a river bursting its dam. Today will be background for one or two more postings. (Such is the baptism of graciousness that has been given to me in the past two weeks.)


So let us begin.


I’ve reread the December 7th posting several times and been somewhat dismayed. Why? Because the temperament of the Dee Ready displayed in much of that post was from the first ten years after I left the convent. 


In the depths of that Dee was an insecure, somewhat narcissistic, self-absorbed, self-centered, immature young woman—a consummate actor—who fled the life she’d been living as a Benedictine and continued to flee—from Missouri to Ohio to New Hampshire to Minnesota—for ten years. Never looking back, seldom keeping in touch with those she met, she fled like an immigrant from the rubble of the war waging within her troubled mind and bewildered heart. 


In the months that I’ve struggled to write another memoir, I’ve come to cherish and, yes, understand that young woman. Within that deep center of myself where Oneness dwells, I’ve sobbed for her pain and her despair as she fled the three presences/entities/hallucinations that accompanied her from the convent. I’ve come to admire her strength and her bravery.


When I reread that last posting, I wondered if that strength had deserted me. In the ten years of my flight, I'd found my strength in meditating—in the Jesuit style—on the four faith testaments of the early Christian churches in and around the Mediterranean. 


I did not see those four “Gospels,” or proclamations of good news, as exact accounts of the life of Yeshua. They were not memoirs, biographies, or autobiographies. Yeshua never read those words written about himself. He planned no Church; he dictated no unambiguous letters to be left to posterity. 


I suspected then, as I do now, that were he to read the faith testaments, he’d be somewhat surprised by them. Surprised by the stories, the beautiful myths, that the authors used to convey the wonder of his birth and childhood.


The four faith testaments, written by four early Christians, represent the beliefs of four communities—for instance, the Church at Antioch. These communities (first of Jews and then of Gentiles) found in the man they called Yeshua the answer to their questions about the meaning and purpose of living and dying. Of loving and forgiving. Of embracing and accepting. Of letting go and holding on. Of reaching out to others and even loving those who might act as enemies.


These four, plus others, both men and women, wrote down what they had seen for themselves or heard from others about an itinerant Jew who had assiduously and prayerfully studied the Hebrew Scriptures and found there a God who called on all humans to seek out the poor, the outcast, the homeless, the sick, the refugee, “the other.” 


To seek with the belief that in the Holy Oneness of All Creation we find the answers to our deepest heart-wishes and we embrace kindness, mercy, and generosity with open hearts made lovingly compassionate by an acceptance of our own weakness and vulnerability.


That’s all for today. I’ll continue this tomorrow with a quotation and the great grace—the inbreaking of light—given to me this past week.




Photo from Wikipedia.


Tuesday, December 7, 2021

To Thine Own Self Be True

Six months have passed since this blog had its last posting—six hundred words on two quotations that summed up what I’d learned in eighty-five years of responding to the question found in the Book of Micah in the Hebrew Testament: "What does Hashem require of you?” 


The prophet offers the following unadorned but profound response to that question: “To do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God." (Tanach translation of 6:8)


To illustrate his response, I used—in that July posting—what I’d gleaned from my journey with Meniere’s Disease. A quotation from Maya Angelou and one from Philo of Alexandria encapsulated the gift of gratitude that had grown within me as I’d stumbled and stuttered my way through life. 


However, that posting, in and of itself, stopped me in my tracks. I admitted to myself that I was talking the talk, but not walking the walk. How so?

For eighteen months, I’d been working on a memoir. I started with the ten years following my departure from a Benedictine convent, but I could not find the warp of those years


So I began again, this time with the twenty-two years before entering the convent. Once again, the tapestry of that period eluded me. I found myself entwined in the weft of the events that had resulted in my experiencing—even now—the diagnosed symptoms of PTSD. 


Writing a memoir is a humbling exercise. I had hoped to find healing; instead, I found how often my actions had hurt others. Night after night, since July, I’ve tried to find sleep. It’s ignored me, insisting that I sort through the events of the past, making culpa again and yet again each night for my many mistakes and misunderstandings. Guilt and shame ensnared me.


In truth, I’ve spent months beating up on myself for not being that person Micah encourages us to be. For those of you who have read my memoir about the convent, this probably is not surprising. Always I am haunted by the need to be perfect—a need breed and born in the traumatic years of my childhood.


Repeatedly in the past six months, I’ve given up writing; I’ve let go of my love of the cadenced sentence that evolves into story. 


A friend of many years recently observed that I’m a concrete thinker, not an abstract one. To me that meant that I wasn’t a deep thinker. So how could I write anything worthwhile if I didn’t have the intellect to find its meaning? Only one answer presented itself to me: throw in the towel.


But there’s more to this story then my depression, reluctance to let go, and, yes, despair. 


And this is the more: As I listened to a Fannie Flagg book in audio last weekend, a sudden peace settled within and about me. A peace born of the acceptance that I may not be a deep thinker, but I am a storyteller. That is my identity. I’m not mother, wife; baker, cook; photographer, sculptor. No. I am a storyteller. 


Then let me embrace that. Let me tell the story just as it meanders through the labyrinth of my mind. Let me let go of seeking the metaphor, the smooth transition, the telling word, the ah-ah moment. 


Let me simply tell the story of my life so as to follow my mother’s legacy. Many more times than once, she said to me as I grew up, “If you look for good, Dolores, you will find it. And if you look for bad, you will surely find that too.”


This weekend, I realized that I do look for good in others, but I fail to look for it in myself. I’m oblivious to it. Looking within, I find only the worse in myself. 


I tell you now that in this month of December 2021, I have committed myself to looking for the good in what I have done and said. In the way I have touched the lives of others. The memoir will be the whole of who I am—failure as well as triumph.   


I will be kind to myself.



Photograph from Wikipedia.

Note: I have no idea why so much of this appears as if it's printed on ticker-tape! Technology continues to baffle me. Peace. 


Tuesday, July 13, 2021

From Whence Comes Gratitude


Hello All. 

Today, I want to share with you two quotations I recently discovered. They pretty well sum up my attitude toward life as I’m headed down the home stretch toward the finish line and what lies beyond. But before the quotations, I want to share with you the experience that has led me to an understanding and appreciation of these quotations. 


Since Meniere’s Disease entered my life in early 2006, I’ve never been able to plan for the morrow. One day goes well: no imbalance, foggy brain, stuttering when speaking, migraine-like headache, or vertigo/dizziness/lightheadedness. 


The next day, Meniere’s forces me to “go with the flow,” to experience one or more of the symptoms.


The following day, depending on the severity of the previous day’s symptoms, I’m depleted and can do little but listen to books on CDs.


This pattern can repeat itself week after week, especially during spring and fall. . . . OR . . . There can be a string of carefree days stretching into a week or so. Everything depends on the precipitous fall or rise of barometric pressure. (Climate change seems to have exacerbated the symptoms. I conclude this because the last two years have been more difficult than any since 2006 when the daily experience of “acute rotational vertigo” made life terrifying.)


Since 2006, Meniere’s has put boundaries around my days, yet I’ve grown accustomed to its presence in my life. While I’d never want to relive that initial year, I am grateful for the disease. 




Because from it, I’ve learned the following: (1) I have control only over how I respond to life’s vicissitudes. (2) Gratitude for all that is and has been and will be banishes discontent and brings peace. (3) Living in the sacredness of each moment leads to an awareness of just how blessed my life is. (4) I live with Meniere’s and everyone  I meet is living with some sorrow, problem, or fear, that is stressing and changing her or his life. This awareness makes me more generous in my thoughts about others. 


Given what I just shared, you will understand why the following two quotations speak to me and sum up what Meniere’s has taught me.

The first quotation is by Maya Angelou, who wrote I Know Why the Caged Bird Sing when she was forty. Here’s something she said later that reflects the lessons I’ve learned from Meniere’s:

If you must look back, do so forgivingly.

If you will look forward, do so prayerfully.

But the wisest course would be to be present in the present gratefully. 

Because of a foggy mind, I’ve shortened the quote to the following, which is easier for me to remember. “In thinking about the past, be forgiving. In thinking about the future, be hopeful. In thinking about the present, be present and be grateful.” 

The second quotation I want to share with you is from Philo of Alexandria, a Jewish philosopher who lived during the last century BCE and the first century CE. All those years ago, he said: “Be kind, for everyone we meet is engaged in a great battle.” 

Meniere’s has taught me to stand as if before the burning bush that Moses encountered and kneel down before the humanity of others—even those whose actions befuddle and confuse me. All of us—all of us—are simply fellow sojourners here on Earth. We never know truly the life that others have and are experiencing. So, yes, kindness. I’m working on this as Meniere’s and Philo ask me to see with new eyes the pain and fear of others. 


Pictures from Wikipedia.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Good News to Share with You


Hello All, nothing much has been happening here in the Ready household. 
Step inside and you’ll discover no philosophical conversations nor discussions 
of academic books that branch the dendrites.

No. Nothing like that. BUT . . . I can share with you some welcomed news about my vision. 

Way back on December 9, 2015, I had my three-month, routine appointment with a local ophthalmologist. He measured the pressure in my eyes. Abruptly, he drew back from his perusal, obviously alarmed. My pressure? Left eye 54/right eye 59.  

(The pressure that’s considered acceptable is 15-20. When the pressure reaches 21, most patients begin to use drops.)

He immediately called a specialist whose reputation drew patients from a five-state area. Yes, she’d fit me in. I just had to get there. 

“You can’t drive,” he said. “At any moment, you could be blind.” He called one of my friends. She came immediately and drove me to the specialist, an hour away, across the state line. 


Before leaving his office, I was told that within five hours I would be completely blind unless the specialist could help me.  Now it was I who was stunned.

Two hours later, Dr. Meg (not her real name) worked her magic with a series of thin, thin, thin needles. She got the pressure into the mid-forties and scheduled an operation for each eye the following week. 

Since then, I’ve had two or three more operations on both eyes—all to save the optic nerves. Dr. Meg explained that these were “severely damaged” by the initial high pressure. She’s now worked with me for nearly six years to keep further damage from happening. Or, more accurately, to slow its progress. 

That’s background.

 Here’s the most recent news: 

In March, laser surgery on my left eye failed; the rising pressure did not decrease. 

Then on May 13, Dr. Meg did a lengthy (1 ¼ hour) surgery on that eye because the pressure had gone up to 26—which could further damage my optic nerve.

During the operation, Dr. Meg inserted a new base and a new stent deep down at the side of my nose. She then sutured several layers of tissue to close it up. At each of my subsequent four visits, she checked my left-eye pressure to determine if the stent was working. It wasn’t; the pressure kept going up.

Then yesterday, GOOD NEWS! The pressure was down to 6. The stent had opened up. It worked! 

And yet, an ominous tone was sounded. If the pressure gets too low, possibly to 0, vision may cease. My vision test revealed the truth of this: I could not read any of the letters—no matter how big—with my left eye.

So, 6 is too low. The magic numbers for me—with my vision concerns and my damaged optic nerves—is between 8 and 10.

The pressure in my right eye has hovered between 9 and 11 for three years now. Excellent.

Now, we need to get the left eye pressure to that normality.

So . . . instead of putting three Glaucoma drops a day in my left eye—which I’ve done now for five years—I’m to put only one. ONE! Wow!

Also, I’m to use lubricants less often.

For five years I’ve put drops in my eyes 10x a day. During March, April, May, and into June of this year, I put drops in 19x a day: glaucoma meds, lubricants, inflammation meds, anti-biotics. 

Now, wonder of wonders, I am down to doing this only 7x a day.  Oh, joy in the morning.



PS: I don’t know how to turn the “No Comments” sign on. I know you are all cheering for me. So please feel free not to comment! Take care. Be gracious to yourself. And please excuse typos. 

Monday, June 14, 2021

The Crocodiles Will Arrive Later


Today the mind is taking a wee rest and can't recall when I begin to read Kathy McCoy's blog: sometime in 2011 or 12 or maybe even 2013. She had probably left an intriguing comment on someone else’s blog. Perhaps that comment led me to her blog: Dr. Kathy McCoy: Living Fully in Midlife and Beyond. 


I was on the far side of “midlife” and into “beyond,” so the title intrigued me. Her postings did that also. Each was filled with workable suggestions for how to handle tricky situations. She seasoned these suggestions with a gentle humor and an understanding of the human condition. It was clear that she had extensive experience in counseling and knew whereof she spoke! 


I quickly felt a rapport with Kathy. The blurb about her on Amazon noted that she was a psychotherapist who’d won awards for more than one of the many books she’d written. She’d also been published in Family Circle, Mademoiselle, The Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, and several other leading magazines. 


Moreover—and those of you who know me will appreciate this—she and her  husband live in Arizona with four cats: Gus, Maggie, SweetPea and Hamish. Ah, my kind of gal!

When her book Purr Therapy: What Timmy & Marina Taught Me About Life, Love and Loss was published, I immediately read it and left a review on Amazon. In it, I said that while the cats with whom I’d lived had often purred me into a welcomed perspective, none of them had ever done what Timmy & Marina—Kathy’s two therapy cats—had done for her patients. They were truly amazing. 

After reading that book, I so hoped she’d write a memoir.


And she has: The Crocodiles Will Arrive Later.


Reading this memoir could have depressed me for the “crocodiles” of the title are the violent mood swings her father experienced as had his mother before him. The crocodiles devoured his treasure trove of good will, intellect, and humor. His three children quaked in terror, fearful that he might kill them, as he threatened to do almost daily.  


Given that title and its implications, you can see why the book could depress. And yet. (It’s these “and yets” in our life stories that so fascinate and captivate me.) And yet. And yet, Kathy grew up to be a woman of great good sense—a sense of the deep-down desire we all have for wholeness.


She fashioned a career, married, made friends. Laughed. Fell and got back up again. Mourned and embraced the next day with renewed expectation. Importantly, as the memoir recounts so vividly and tenderly, she came as an adult to the gift of realization.


What was that realization? 


That beyond the mood swings, the threats, the slow disintegration of her father’s personality she daily witnessed as a child, teenager, and young adult, there was love. A love threaded with her father’s fear that she, too, would know crocodiles. A love that tried to find ways to protect her.


Kathy’s memoir is filled with light, love, and laughter. As the songwriter Leonard Cohen sang, “There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in.” Because of her great honesty, the cracks—the crocodiles—in Kathy McCoy’s life reward the reader with the realization that out of painful experiences can come an understanding that leads to forgiveness. Her father’s crocodiles ultimately gave Kathy the tools she needed to not only survive, but to thrive.



Postscript: I've previewed this several times and keep having problems with white lines. Not sure why and can't fix it. So please ignore all formatting problems! Thanks. Peace. 

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Joy Amidst the Journey

Not sure whether my internal action motor is in good repair or not. What I mean by that is this: Again, and yet again, I’ve vowed to myself that I would begin to post something on this blog every other week. I keep making that commitment to myself—and sometimes to you—yet, somehow the motor sputters, then conks out. No posting for weeks, sometimes months, once two years. 

So today, I begin again with no guarantee of when the next post will be, just an update of what’s been happening in the life of Elisa, the 38-year-old woman whom I met through blogging and who has become the daughter/granddaughter I never had. 

Since November, when the specialists at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake diagnosed her rare stage 4 melanoma cancer, she’s had a great deal of radiation. Two weeks ago, she drove to Utah from her home in Idaho to have another brain scan. Then, great news! Her two brain tumors were gone. They’d vamoosed! Cause for deep and lasting rejoicing. 

However, this past Thursday, when she returned to Huntsman for her every-three-week-immunotherapy-infusion, the pre-infusion tests brought less joyous news. That is, the medication, which is supposed to attack and kill the cancer cells in her neck, spine, and hip, had attacked her liver. She now has stage 3 liver failure. 

In November, the doctors told Elisa she might live 2 years. Then when immunotherapy began, they said that if she responded well to the particular infusion med they were using, she might live 10 years and, possibly, experience remission.

 Obviously, that med doesn’t work for her. There will be no further infusions for at least two months. She drove herself home yesterday afternoon, after staying two nights in the hospital. Drove, not knowing if the infusions will begin again and, if they do, what med will be used and how effective it might be. 

That is, she drove not knowing, but trusting, as she has trusted throughout, that all shall be well. In an earlier posting, I shared with you my belief that the essence of Elisa is joy. At the deep center of herself where she is truly One in Oneness, she is always—no matter what happens—joyous. 

Her “million-dollar smile” reflects that joy. It’s the reason, I think, many of the people she meets do not recognize that she is ill. She doesn’t look ill, nor act ill. She keeps laughing with her children, her husband, her parents and in-laws, her friends. She keeps making memories with them.

 I’ve said before, and I say again, she inspires me as I deal with my piddling ills. On days when  self-pity begins to tip-toe into my psyche and I, although aware of its sneaky ways, let it enter the corridors of my mind and heart, I think of Elisa and try to embrace the joy she’s shared with me. 

That doesn’t always work, I admit. Sometimes, I do my Irish keening because of vision concerns and also the Meniere’s symptoms that have been so persistent with the weather pattern of the past weeks here in Missouri.

Throughout my youth, Mom used to say whenever I grumbled about my life:  “Dolores, you find what you look for. If you look for good you will find it, and if you look for bad, you will surely find that also.” 

That seems to be Elisa’s philosophy of life. Somehow, she has the inspiring ability to embrace all the possibilities of her life. She is, I tell you, one of the great gifts of my existence. 


PS: Elisa posts on Facebook. She also posts on her blog:


Monday, March 15, 2021

Becoming Instruments of Peace

My brain has always been like a pinball machine—ideas bouncing from one pole of interest to another with irradiating lights announcing delight, joy, curiosity, knowledge, fact, possibility, gift, rosiness, success . . .  OR . . . worry, fear, concern, trepidation, desperation, disaster, mistake, failure, flaw—the 180° differences embedded in my psyche, personality, and philosophy! 

That pinball machine of a brain has led me to embrace many changes in life and to find peace and serenity as I’ve surrendered my need to always be in control or to be right or to be the ultimate judge and arbiter not only of my own choices and life, but also of the choices of others.

Pinballing has led, I believe, to my accepting differences while looking for ways to act in a way that will bring to others and to myself a quality of mercy that surpasses all understanding. Mine included. 

Of course, none of us can journey through life without the occasional failure to embrace a recognized universal good. We make mistakes; we fail in our commitments. We talk the talk, but don’t always walk the walk. 

That is to say, we are humans with human flaws and failings. But we can always recommit ourselves to serving human kind in the least obtrusive and destructive way. We can hold on to an empathy grounded in the truth that undergirds every major spiritual tradition: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. 

That is, in accepting ourselves with all our foibles and flaws, our darkness and our light, we pledge, we vow, we commit to accepting others. We may not accept their actions. In fact, we may find their actions reprehensible. Just as our actions may be reprehensible at times. But we accept that at the deep center of themselves, they are driven by some emotion that makes what they do seem right to them. 

We may not understand that emotion—what it is: fear, greed, pride, lust for power, antipathy, jealousy, envy, whatever. But we can try to begin to understand our own feelings . . . and those of others. We can try to search out and understand the experiences that prompt the actions of others.

Then we can try to create through our thoughts and actions a world that responds to the experiences that led to seemingly destructive actions—whether in ourselves or others.

Is there some perfect world of emotion? Some perfect world where are can live without fear? Some perfect world where power is seen as a source of doing good for all humans? 

I don’t know. I’m at the end of this posting, and I admit to not being smart enough to know how we can fill up the cup of others with life-giving waters as they . . . and possibly, we . . . wander through the desert of our own needs. 

If I were more philosophical or more well read or a deeper thinker or a more abstract thinker . . . if I were wiser . . . if, if, if. Then, perhaps, I could find the words that would be like a rain shower, washing all of us clean of our own arrogance, presumptiveness, pride, self-righteousness, or whatever it is that holds us back from being wholly human. From being holy humans, whose lives bless those of others.

So, I ask you, what is it that we can do to help all of us become, as Francis of Assisi said, “an instrument of peace.” That is, what actions will help us become the life-giving humans we are called to be. Called perhaps by the God in whom many believe. Or, called by our own inners selves that have known the thirst for wholeness. 

What is your response to the needs of our world today and to the great divide between so many of us? To the chasm that exists today in our culture? 


·      Francis of Assisi wrote a well-known prayer on how we can be instruments of peace. Click here if you’d like to read his words.

·      The Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization I wholeheartedly support with monetary contributions when I can, succinctly says: “Fight hate; teach tolerance; seek justice.”


I wish you peace, pressed down and overflowing today and all days. 


PS: For those of you who would like to learn more about what’s happening with Elisa as she lives with cancer, here’s her blog URL. On it you will find her postings since 2011. The cancer postings go back to November 1, 2020.


Illustrations from Wikipedia.