When I opened my P. O. Box the day after Christmas, I was delighted to find an envelope from Francis. It contained a copy of the poem, A Day Worthwhile.
This poem revitalizes my desire to be of service to others whenever I can and it reminds me that each day I do good for another is a day wisely spent. In this new year, I plan on making all my days worthwhile. Thank you, Francis for this special gift!
This inspired me to get busy preparing a vision board for the coming year.
It just so happens that National Vision Board Day is the second Saturday in January. That date – January 13 this year – is already circled on the calendar.
I’ll pour a cup of hot tea, put on a favorite play list, gather a poster board, magazines, colored markers, scissors, glue sticks and have fun as I map out my next adventures. It’s a great exercise to help focus on what I want to have or experience in my life. The board will sit in clear view where it can be seen every day so I don’t lose sight of the things I want.
This song reminds me that I can do my part to create a peaceful world by being at peace within myself. I’ll enjoy listening to this song while decorating my home and wrapping gifts. I hope you’ll make some time to enjoy it, too.
Knowing there are invisible helping hands available to guide me through this world gives me a sense of calm. When challenges arise, fear tries to take over and doubt causes me to second guess myself, prayer comes to the rescue. This prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe is one that that reassures me that the helping hands are there for me when I call on them.
Hail, O Virgin of Guadalupe. We place under your powerful patronage the purity and integrity of the Holy Faith in Mexico and in all the American continent, for we are certain that while you are recognized as Queen and Mother, America and Mexico and our matrimony will be saved. (one Hail Mary) Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mystical Rose, make intercession for the Holy Roman Church, protect the Sovereign Pontiff, help all those who invoke thee in their necessities, and since thou art the ever-virgin Mary, and Mother of the True God, obtain for us from thy most holy Son the grace of keeping our faith, of sweet hope in the midst of the bitterness of life, of burning charity, and the precious gift of final perseverance. Amen. (one Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be in thanksgiving for Guadalupe)
I love this poemby Jalal al-Din Rumi (Coleman Barks translation).
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
Some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
Who violently sweep your house
Empty of its furniture,
Still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
For some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice
Meet them at the door laughing,
And invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
Because each has been sent
As a guide from the beyond.
Rumi encourages us to see the important lessons and seeds of growth that lie in many of those situations we label as “bad”, “negative” or “unpleasant”. Easier said than done, right? Our tendency is to turn tail and run fast in the other direction. After all, this is messy business and we do not like messy. Messy can be painful. There is another way of looking at it, however.
The next time you are faced with a challenging situation that brings you to your knees, consider the possibility that Life is shaking things up for a reason. Maybe you lost that job because a new and more suitable one is becoming available. Perhaps your current relationship fell apart to create space for a new and more wonderful partner to enter your life. Possibly the illness you are experiencing will change you into a more compassionate and loving person. Sometimes, just asking the question “What am I to learn from this?” shifts your outlook on the situation. When you stay open to new possibilities for growth, they have room by which to enter your life. When you shut down and retreat, nothing new can get in.
Following Rumi’s guidance requires trust and patience – a lot of trust and patience. The answers to our questions rarely come as quickly or as clearly as we would like. Sometimes we have to connect the dots backward for them to make sense. Only from a distance can we see how the “bad” thing was an agent for change.
I encourage you to heed Rumi’s advice when sorrow comes to your door. It could have been sent “as a guide from the beyond”.