Monday, August 07, 2006

Sleeping with Bread Monday

Welcome to Sleeping with Bread Monday, a new meme I started just last week. If you don't know what it is, scroll down to read the story and explanation that go along with it. If you are joining me today in this meme, simply post yours in the comment section or create your own post and then leave a link in the comment section for us to follow. Each week, feel free to answer any of the questions posed below or rephrase it in a way that suits you best.

My question and answers for the week:

For what am I most grateful?

This week I am most grateful for my community of friends. I took my two children and two of my friend's children to the beach last Friday. Watching them play and boogie board in the water, I was struck by how much they had grown and by how long we had known each other. My son is the oldest, 14, but he was only around 4 when we started hanging out with these particular friends. I was at the hospital when each of their children were born and our children are growing up together. They've always known each other. When I was young, we always spent holidays with aunts, uncles and cousins. My family has dispersed, and although my son did grow up to a certain extent with a couple of cousins, we have very little family in the area now. But I am grateful that my children have "substitute cousins" in the form of all the friends we have here.

Least grateful?

I think, when I look back over the last week, that I am least grateful for the way I feel physically and its effect on me emotionally. I am just plain tired of being tired and irritiable. I feel like I'm in the last stages of a marathon. And, although I am still somewhat nervous about by ability to cope with the C-PAP treatment, I am so sick of all this that I am looking forward to next week when I can start using the contraption. I pray that it will go well and I can feel like myself again.

(If you don't know what this being tired and C-PAP business is all about, you can click here and here.)


The Sleeping with Bread Story and Meme Explanation
During the ing raids of WWII, thousands of children were orphaned and left to starve. The fortunate ones were rescued and placed in refugee camps where they received food and good care. But many of these children who had lost so much could not sleep at night. They feared waking up to find themselves once again homeless and without food. Nothing seemed to reassure them. Finally, someone hit upon the idea of giving each child a piece of bread to hold at bedtime. Holding their bread, these children could finally sleep in peace. All through the night the bread reminded them, "Today I ate and I will eat again tomorrow." (Linn, Dennis et al, Sleeping
With Bread
, p.l)

These are the beginning words of a book that introduced me to a practice called the examen. The orphans held on to what nourished them and were thus able to sleep peacefully at night. The examen, based on the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius, helps a person hold onto what spiritually nourishes him by looking at what is giving him consolation in his life or causing him desolation. It allows someone to express his gratitude to God for the good stuff and turn to him for solace for the bad stuff.

It is quite simple. You simply ask yourself, in the last day/week/month what gave me consolation and what caused me desolation. You can also phrase the question in any of the following ways:

* For what am I most grateful? Least grateful?
* When did I give and receive the most love? The least love?
* When did I feel most alive? Most drained of life?
* When did I have the greatest sense of belonging? Least sense of belonging?
* When was I most free? Least free?
* When was I most creative? Least creative?
* When did I feel most connected? Least connected?
* When did I feel most fully myself? Least myself?
* When did I feel most whole? Most fragmented?


Sheila said...

I played today! I didn't see the new questions, though, but my answers kinda fit anyway :)

Mary-LUE said...

Sheila, I responded directly to you on your SWB post.

But for anyone else who looks in, any question is appropriate each week. It doesn't have to be the same as mine. Also, this is not an exhaustive list of how to phrase the questions. The important thing is the examining of life and looking at what is causing us desolation or giving us consolation.

L-Girl said...

Touching entry....and the beach pictures of your adventure are beautiful! The kids look soooo happy, as they should! And thanks for your words about Rusty....he is missed! It's amazing that you can miss such a little thing, but I do!

chickenone said...

I'm a day late, but I did it. (SWB) I'm giving myself until the end of the month to learn how to do a link! Hold me to it.

Mary-LUE said...

Yeah! And I can soooo totally talk you through the link thing. It is nothing compared to the template stuff.

bubandpie said...

I love the "Sleeping with Bread" story. I'm most grateful today for air. After last week's humidity, when stepping outside was like walking into a bathtub, the freshness of the air on my skin when I stepped out of the house this morning was healing (after a very bad morning).

"Least grateful" is an interesting phrase - it could mean "What would I get rid of if I could?" or "What in my life am I taking for granted?" I'll do it the second way. I should feel more grateful for the fact that the course I'm teaching is almost over. I would feel grateful if I could think farther ahead than tomorrow's class.

Good meme. If I get better at it, I'll put it on my blog.