When I was a 12 year old girl and joining the Presbyterian Church we learned some of the Westminster Catechism and the first question and answer is still with me. In all of its male language:
What is the chief end of man?
Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.
As I sat down in prayer this morning I found myself going over the tasks of the day - what needs to be done. And finally wrote them down in my journal to get rid of them. There are times it takes me a while to settle down and just be and see and hear what is present in this moment. And when I do I find myself remembering God is here always. Sounds simple and obvious but I keep forgetting and go into this place of action and inaction but not presence. if that makes sense.
This is what I wrote this morning
"I remember that I can trust you, Lord
I can trust your way of letting go
I can trust your subtle and constant guidance
I can trust your love for me despite my waywardness and inattention.
My reading of Broken Open was about "Practicing Death" meaning living in awareness of the reality of death. She writes: "If you really want to have fun in life, if you really want to play - then it helps to come to terms with death." She quotes Joseph Campbell that "the conquest of the fear of death is the recovery of life's joy."
Mary Oliver's wonderful poem, "The Summer Day" ends like this:
" Doesn't everything die a last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?"
And of course, we want the answer to be - that we want to LIVE - to really be alive in our life. And Elizabeth Lesser's book is helping me to remember that as I learned as a girl and did not really understand - the purpose of life is to glorify God and enjoy God - which is to say to live our authentic lives with joy and peace and love and resist the way of fear and anxiety and ego.
"we can practice death by becoming conscious of the ways in which we resist life, we can practice death by approaching endings and partings and changes with more ease and faith. For a perso like myself - one whose fear of death has been a lifelong struggle and quest - practicing dying is indeed the practice of freedom."
And so I will tend to my to do list - but hopefully open to the many blessings of this day and the glimpses of the divine and enjoy every moment of this wild and precious life I have been given.
Here is my prayer for this day.
May the God of JOY be with you,
bringing delight at the very thought of your place in God's creation.
May you be thrilled by God's presence in your life
and may your heart overflow with gladness and sons as you celebrate the nearness of such a Lover.
May song burst from your heart in grateful praise and ever surround you as you reach out to others in love.
May the God of JOY bless you.