I’m posting quotes as we go through the fuzzy zone of being new parents again in these next days. This quote comes from Henri Nouwen (Life of the Beloved, 67):
It is remarkable how easy it is to bless others, to speak good things to and about them, to call forth their beauty and truth, when you yourself are in touch with your own blessedness. The blessed one always blesses. And people want to be blessed! This is so apparent wherever you go. No one is brought to life through curses, gossip, accusations or blaming. There is so much of that taking place around us all the time. And it calls forth only darkness, destruction and death. As the “blessed ones,” we can walk through this world and offer blessings. It doesn’t require much effort.
I’m posting quotes as we go through the fuzzy zone of being new parents again in these next days. This quote comes from Parker Palmer (The Active Life, 50-51):
If we were to accept large areas of life as pure gift, we would be forced to acknowledge that we are not in control. Were we to live as recipients rather than makers, we might feel dependent and diminished, like clients of some cosmic welfare system that demeans our lives. If we were to affirm that we have received many gifts, that we have not earned all that we have, we might feel obliged to pass the gifts along rather than hoard our treasures to ourselves.
I was re-reading Parker Palmer’s Let Your Life Speak for a class with students of theology the other evening. But I thought of writers when I read it. He was discussing how to honor and live one’s nature. Parker had discussed how we damage our own integrity when trying to be generous, even if we have nothing to give, all in the name of love.
When I give something I do not possess, I give a false and dangerous gift, a gift that looks like love but is, in reality, loveless–a gift given more from my need to prove myself than from the other’s need to be cared for. That kind of giving is not only loveless but faithless, based on the arrogant and mistaken notion that God has no way of channeling love to the other except through me. Yes, we are created in and for community, to be there, in love, for one another. But community cuts both ways: when we reach the limits of our own capacity to love, community means trusting that someone else will be available to the person in need.