On the registration form there was a question – “why do want to take part in the open house”. My answer was “I don’t know, I just feel like I need to.” The truth is I had a lot of questions but my pride and ego told me I knew the answers, they just need to be validated. I was not born to privilege, my father was a world war 2 veteran who was barely literate, only reading at about a 6th grade level. I fought very hard all my life to change my situation and climb the ladder. I did not want my children to face the struggles I did. I guess life would label my journey as successful but I didn’t carry a relationship with God with me. In 2013 God gave me what I believe was 1 last chance. He kicked the chair from under me when I lost that career. I gave my life to Christ in a true transformation. Through grace I have been granted the career of my dreams and work for someone that is a true mentor, friend and great boss. My transformation in Christ though brought a view of the injustice in the world around me that I didn’t have before. Sadly I am very much a willing participant in many cases. I have a yearning to address this in some way. Perhaps that was the draw to the Simple Way and ultimately the open house.
‘Contemplative Spirituality’ – That is my greatest takeaway from the weekend. I cherish the mornings where we sat together and read scriptures, then challenged ourselves to look at them in different ways, through different lenses and recognize how our perspectives are shaped and how they differ from others. I continue to refer to the Welcoming Prayer – I welcome everything that comes to me today because it is for my healing – I let go of my desire to change any situation, condition, person or myself.
One of the scriptures we studied was “If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere . Listening and learning from Caz was amazing. The very unique perspective on discerning these scriptures is one I hope to take with me and put into everyday practice. I learned that in my desire to play a part in changing the world; in appreciating those who live or look different, I built resentment to those who live and look just like me and in that mindset – myself. The command of “love thy neighbor” needs to start with those to my immediate right & left before it extends beyond to those far from me. I walked away wanting to remove the guilt for who I am and accept my situation for my healing. As the Welcome Prayer states – embrace the moment rather than react to change it . I want to grow to be seen as a loving person by those in my immediate surrounding and by building that coalition maybe the culture can be affected.
I may have walked away with more questions than I came with or at least different questions. I learned a lot and hope these things stay with me. I have changed my approach to meditation with God and the way I pray. I am so grateful to Caz and the team for the willingness to lead and share. I recognize that “love thy neighbor as thyself” starts with loving oneself, then extends to those in your immediate surroundings and then and only then can that fountain spring and be light and salt to the world. I am so glad I attended and hope we stay in touch.