My dear friend...
May you hear these words, for they speak of you and of who you are(1):
You are fierce, you are powerful, you are strong.
YOU...are a force to be reckoned with.
Remember this: You are at your strongest when you're lifting the spirits of another. Remember, too, you're far more winsome, beautiful, intelligent, and resourceful than you think you are.
Far more so.
It's never too late to live in to the person God recreated you to be: His son (or daughter); and it's never too late to become the warrior of loving-kindness, the awakened servant of righteousness Jesus died for you to be.
Sadly, most people in this life are asleep: Asleep in their mindlessness, their sin-sickness, their false personas, and their God-separateness—just as you and I once were. Lazily wandering through life, they're driven by one craving after another, one crisis after another.
Awaken them! Awaken them by being who you are and by letting the weightiness of your happy, playful self point them to Almighty God.
Death isn't what's sad, O dear friend. What's sad is that so very few people ever really live. Be used of God to help those you love awaken to the gift of life Jesus is to them. And awaken, too, to the precious gift they are to those around them.
Inside you, inside me, there's a seed of world-class greatness just waiting to sprout, grow, fruit, and flower. God put it there. Let it be watered in life's joys and deepest sadnesses and cultivated in its victories and most devastating losses. Why run from pain, O dear one, when God can use it to bring such renewal, wholeness, and illumination to you and those around you? To "become joy incarnate," you must traverse the valleys of pain. Stay the course in your sufferings; you and everyone around you will be the better for it.
May who you are, in all your God-given resplendence, be drawn forth from the loving-kindness of the One who not just sees and knows you thoroughly, but—like water in a sponge—dwells with you intimately, and loves you through and through.
Don't give up what you love; rather, mine the love from what you do. Remember this: It's the great enthusiasms; the risky journeys; the soul-immersing searches, questions, and curiosities—and not so much the temporal acquisitions—that spur wholeheartedness and lasting happiness.
Know this: In life, you'll never be better than anyone else. In the same way, you'll never be less.
In all things, and at all times, be happy; don't be afraid to let others see you laugh or cry, or to let them feel the weight of who you are. May your light (tiny as it may be) be a guide; may your roof be another's floor; and may you have the kind of courageous, loving humility that inspires those around you to love and give themselves away to life, God, and those around them. This is true selflessness in its most vulnerable and generative offering.
When you inspire those you love to "become love," you inspire them to live out the greatest of life-adventures: The ever-deepening experience of loving God, loving themselves, loving everyone around them, and loving God's creation—all at the right times, and in the right places, and in the right measures. This is fullness, O friend—a shedding of tears kind of fullness; and it's a fullness no amount of earthly fame, fortune, power, or cultural influence can create. It is this integratedness of being, this transcendent uniting with God Almighty and the whole of creation, that alone creates not just a life worth living but a life-giving legacy worthy of those created and called-forth to live as God's Image-bearers.
With lowliness of soul, O dear one, push forward—beyond your fears—and just be you. Go forth, and just be awesome.
I wrote the central elements of this blessing a few years ago for a dear friend and then expanded it to serve as a general, overall blessing for some of those with whom I get to train (mostly those who train with me in group seminars). Some of you who've trained with me will recognize many of the themes in this blessing. Even though most of the words and phrasings, as well as its overall organization, are mine (sort of—see below), this piece draws from the collective thoughts and wisdom of hundreds of people: Some of whom are still alive, some who aren't, some who've been published, and some who haven't. Given this, it would be nearly impossible for me to credit specifically all who've contributed to the thinking behind these words, especially when multiple people have said or written the exact same things: Some as if what they said or wrote were completely new creations from their own abstract essences (which, except where Jesus is concerned, is entirely ridiculous); and some who recognized that, in their writing, they were only repackaging or recapitulating that which had been said or written by countless souls long before. In all my writing, I find myself among the latter. Given that all truth proceeds ultimately from the Mind of God, I wish to acknowledge Him specifically as the Originating Inspirer of the truths contained in the above blessing. Peace to you...
My new book, Experiments in Prayer: Monastic Practice in Ordinary Life, is now available in paperback from Amazon.
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IKIGAI Weekly Blog Schedule (per The Training Trinity):
Mondays: Meditative Prayer
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Fridays: Martial Arts Practice