Today I invite you to tap into the wisdom you have within yourself, a wisdom you may not even know you have. Here’s how I came up with this little exercise.
Recently I was reading about Nicholas Black Elk, a revered Native American. As some of you may know, he was a Catholic catechist whose cause for canonization was opened in 2017. Black Elk said these simple words:
“Sometimes dreams are wiser than waking.”
I liked that. It was such a little sentence, yet it held significant meaning(s) as I pondered it during my prayer. Afterward, I got an idea. I decided to substitute three other words for dreams… wiser… and waking. I wrote down this sentence outline:
“Sometimes ____ are/is ____ than ____.”
Then I began filling in the blanks with all kinds of words.
Maybe you might want to try it. Just fill in the blanks with three words or phrases and see what you get. Don’t think too much. Brainstorm instead. Try to come up with several different sentences within just a few minutes. To help you get started, I will share three of my sentences with you, adding a few comments.
Sometimes walking is more rewarding than riding. (Walking is usually slower than riding, less frantic than speeding on a freeway… When we’re walking, we’re closer to the natural world—to its sights, sounds, smells, and feelings… When we’re walking, we’re in solidarity with millions of other of people currently living on our planet who walk almost everywhere they go… We’re in solidarity with history too. Jesus, for example, walked. Virtually everywhere. Only once do the gospels show him riding on a donkey—on his way into Jerusalem shortly before his death.)
Sometimes patience is stronger than power. (It takes strength to be patient, that is, to wait, to let go of control, to retain hope in a situation that appears to be hopeless… Yet just think of all those important human activities that require patience: being a good spouse, a good parent, a good community member, a good teacher, a good gardener, a good cook, a good leader… Actually, maybe patience IS power…)
Sometimes camaraderie is more important than productivity. (Getting along well with others… working well together… having a sense of belonging… doing things to foster community… these things often have more value than output, yield, or profit. My grandnephew, for example, fresh out of college, just got his first job. One of the reasons he chose the particular workplace, he said, was because “I liked the people I would be working with.”)
Okay. Now it’s your turn. Tap into that wisdom that lives inside of you. See what emerges. And (as always) I invite you to share some of your sentences with the rest of us. You do not have to comment on the sentence(s) you share unless you want to. I hope we get quite a few responses below! Let’s share our collective wisdom together!
PS #1: I will be giving a talk on HOPE this Saturday, October 5, at St. John of the Cross Parish (formerly St. Felicitas) from 10:00 am to noon. The church is located on Richmond Road in Euclid, Ohio. If you can afford two hours on a Saturday morning, I’d love to see you there.
PS #2: I will be giving a weekend retreat at the Franciscan Spiritual Center in Aston, PA October 18-20. The theme is “Celebrating Four Gifts of Autumn: Beauty, Harvest, Letting Go, and Hope.” The retreat starts Friday at 7:00 pm and ends Sunday at 11:00 am. Call 610-558-6152 or check their website for details. I’d love to celebrate Autumn with you in Aston!
PS #3: Thank you to all who came to our Chicken (and rib) Barbecue and Boutique this past Sunday. We Sisters of Notre Dame really appreciate your support. And I enjoyed seeing so many friends and relatives again! Next year’s BBQ will be Sunday, September 27. Mark your calendars!
Our song today might seem at first to be a contradiction. It’s entitled “Dream Small” by Josh Wilson. Aren’t we supposed to dream big? But there’s wisdom in these lyrics. Often it is the small, simple, loving acts that change the world. As St. Teresa of Calcutta said, “Do small things with great love.”
Please share your thoughts below: