Monday, December 1, 2008

Peace Within, Peace Without

Greetings fellow Network of Love Lovers!

It's hard to believe we have come to the first of December! The snow covering just about everything outside makes it somewhat more believable and the pending papers due in a few days make me realize that indeed I am coming to the end of a semester, the beginning of December.

In the liturgical cycle of the Catholic Church, a New Year begun yesterday. We anticipate the birth of Jesus...the season is Advent, a time of waiting, anticipating, hoping for a change, praying for a miracle.

This past weekend, I received plenty of mini-miracles. Just being back at the place I grew up, the city I was born, Milwaukee, WI, led me to people I have not seen in months and led me to a feeling of peace and hope I rarely am accustomed to during moments of life---the end of a semester---that should be so very hectic and unsettling.

Rarely am I one to quote Psalms. But today, I feel moved to do just that. This morning, while reading through the daily readings of the Catholic church, I was struck by a particular line in Psalm 122:
"Because of my relatives and friends
I will say, "Peace be within you!"
Because of the house of the Lord, our God
I will pray for your good."

This weekend made me want to pray for the good of all the sisters and brothers that have touched me in a particular way, that have made me reflect on my own existence and own path. Returning to Milwaukee for Thanksgiving weekend made me especially aware of those friends and family that have been there for years as sources of wisdom, of knowledge, of love.

A concrete example: my friend Libby. I hadn't seen Libby months until our paths crossed this past weekend. She had been a good friend of mind during high school, a friend I occasionally went running with. As some of you might already know from previous postings, I really enjoy running and I especially appreciate the bond that can be formed when someone is willing to share a run and conversation with you...even if the tiredness of the run limits our ability to carry on a normal conversation. I remember one time, while on a run with Libby had had enough running. We were running past a farm field filled with grazing cows, and I recall Libby shouting in an aggressive, but not un-friendly manner, that walking would be a great idea. It was probably my fault for constantly asking her questions on the run, gabbing away and expecting a person to not get tired!!!).
At a party on Friday night at a friend's apartment in Milwaukee, Libby told me with great happiness that she had switched her major from advertising to art education. She had never really settled into was like a size seven foot trying to snug into a size six shoe---manageable but uncomfortable. But now, she was doing something she seemed really proud of. When she first started school, she said she was worried about money. Now, she said she didn't care about that. For her, there was something else she desired besides money. All the money in the world couldn't give her the comfort of knowing that where you are at is a place you feel contend and called to be. She seems to have found peace in this moment of her life. She is fulfilled in her choice of major and possible career path. I pray for her because I think she has the potential to positively touch the lives of many kids through something as wonderful and inspiring as the arts. "Peace be within you Libby!"

"Because of my relatives and friends...I will pray for your good."

This week, I want to continue to reflect on this Psalm. It seems like a practical fit for this season...we are anticipating continued time with friends and family, the holidays, the joy that comes with being in community. We are anticipating winter. We are anticipating continued love. We are hoping for change in our local communities and in the world at large.

I ask you to reflect on your relatives and they help to bring peace within yourself, and how that peace within yourself makes you feel called to work towards creative ways to bring good to the world around you.

In this season of anticipation, may we find peace within and without. May we bring good to a world that needs to reminded that God is good...all the time.

peace and with love,

your friend bob : )

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