Its 3 am on a Monday morning, and I cannot sleep. Last nite, I went with a friend to a show called Mariachi Christmas and it was a splendid performance. The backdrop was a mariachi band — a dozen violins, four guitars, a double-base, two horns, and one accordion – all but the accordion player were females in classical mariachi dress. The singing by the female musicians – solos plus choir – lifted and soared through the theater.
Each segment was a mix of Mexican folk dancing and songs from a different state in Mexico. The entire theater came alive with vibrant, toe-tapping energy. The highlight was of course the Mexican Hat dance when whirling skirts looked like enormous swirling flower blooms – a stunning sight.
SEARCH FOR CONTENTMENT.
Now it’s 3:30 am, I’m wide awake and I reach for a book called Streams of Contentment by Robert J. Wicks. Its two days before Christmas near the end of another year — 2019. Life tends to be rushed at this time of year and I think, well, maybe the book could help me. It does provide some clues, and these look helpful. I’d like to share one set of clues here.
Robert Wicks says don’t do these things the next time you get upset. Don’t react. Don’t dismiss the incident. Don’t defend yourself. Don’t blame another. Don’t beat yourself up for not being good enough. Don’t be discouraged because this is something you’ve done again and again.
Instead… Ask what in this encounter is really bothering me? How can I understand it better? Are my motivations as pure as I would like? What is behind my anxieties and anger about this topic?
• When we are upset, be open to specific truths about yourself.
• We usually don’t want to be enlightened this way, but it can be instructive.
• For example, seeing or hearing something about our attitude or behavior that’s upsetting.
• This can lead to real knowledge if we embrace it with humility.
• Knowledge plus humility equals wisdom.
• When we add compassion to wisdom we get love, and that’s quite a reward.
I did something like this recently. I was wrestling with a personal relationship, feeling a bit rejected. I decided to ask a friend, and she gave me a different perspective. This was new knowledge, it made sense, and I accepted it with humility. According to Wicks, knowledge plus humility equals wisdom. I was thankful, feeling like I did gain a little wisdom.
Now an example on a higher plane… As a scientist, I was trained to search for new knowledge, and have spent a lifetime doing this. But with all this scientific knowledge I still felt like I had a vacuum in my soul. I knelt and asked Jesus to come into my life and career and fill the vacuum. It was a humbling experience, but the vacuum disappeared into a well of intuitive understanding that Wicks would call wisdom.
Jesus became a role-model for me, and examining his life led me to compassion. Seems like he spent half his life helping the poor and desperate and marginalized people he encountered. Compassion to me is helping others to hope. When I stop and look around I encounter many who need hope. I try to break the mental preoccupation with my own agenda, and to reach out to others. This is what Wicks calls love.
What I also love about my faith is its humble origin. What could be more humiliating than to be born in an animal stall or cave and sleep in a food trough? But his birth changed the world…
This comes to you with a wish and a prayer… for you to have a Merry Christmas and a challenging and rewarding new year of 2020. May God bless you.
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The Gray Nomad ….. Read and boost your contentment.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
[Book of Luke, chapter 2]