I feel a little stumped today as I ponder the Sleeping with Bread questions:
- 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?
For several years a close friend and I met weekly in our own little spiritual formation duo. We used the Renovare' Spiritual Formation Workbook and it became a wonderful tool for examining our lives in light of certain disciplines. Eventually our schedules precluded such regular meetings. I miss them. They provided me with a place of safety to discuss my struggles, provided accountability for spiritual disciplines, and gave me companionship in a focused, God-centered way. I think I need to look at that material to help me ponder this Sleeping with Bread exercise today.
The following is one set of questions from their weekly Examen which addresses the contemplative side of my relationship with God and addresses the time set aside regularly for prayer, meditation, and spiritual reading. These pursuits allow me to "practice the presence" of God.
In what ways has God made his presence known to you since our last meeting? What experiences of prayer, meditation, and spiritual reading has God given you? What difficulties or frustrations have you encountered? What joys and delights?God has made his presence known to me this week through the writings of others. The content has not always been what is traditionally considered spiritual, but I have seen beauty, love, joy and pain in the words shared in the blog'verse the last couple of weeks.
Blackdaisies at pluckthepetals wrote drivers wanted in response to a Sunday Scribblings writing prompt. She knocked my socks off with her musings from the quote, "I don't want to be a passenger in my own life" by Diane Ackerman. She writes about loss in her life in a very powerful way.
Odd Mix from The Odd Mix wrote You Wouldn't Know... and shared so much about who he is as a person.
Just today a simple and lovely story of the joy your children can bring was written by Sheila of musings of a mommy and atypical of nonsensical text wrote eloquently of her wrestlings with fear.
Also today, I went to check out dribblingwitt???? It's author, pendullum, left a comment on my Every Day Heroes post so I went check out her blog. Her latest post, dance of innocence is a beautiful tribute to friendship and to her daughter's experience of seeing her mom through new eyes as someone else's hero. This post is what started me down this particular contemplative road today.
Although all these words written by so many different people don't all fall into the "religious" category. I see God in them all--in their uniqueness, in their talent, and in the emotion they bring to their work. I believe that all good things come from the Lord and when I am touched by the words of others, it comes from him.
There is more to this question of where I've sensed God's presence this week though. One of the questions asks about what difficulties or frustrations I've experienced in my contemplative life. And there... yes, there is a question for the ages. As I've experienced different challenges this past year, the Lord has sustained me. Of that, I have no doubt. But I have not repaid that sustenance with giving of myself to him through prayer and reading of the Bible. It isn't as if I haven't prayed at all or contemplated scripture at all. But my habit--the practice--of prayer and reading has been woefully lacking. This lack makes me restless, discontent, fidgety, uneasy, etc.
It is time. Time for a change. Time for accountability. Time for discipline. Time for God.
Also Sleeping with Bread today:
Sheila of musings of a mommy
atypical of nonsensical text
Lamont of Uphill idealist