"It just so happens that your friend is mostly dead. There is a big difference between mostly dead and all dead." The Princess Bride
It just so happened that yesterday, after football, I was mostly sore. There is a big difference between mostly sore and all sore. All sore is how I feel tonight after my first kick-boxing class at the Y. Yes – a definite difference between mostly sore and all sore. I’ve been wanting to do kick-boxing for a long, long time and never have. But Alison, a friend of mine, had told me about this class she attends and finally it worked for me to join her. What a great workout. The first 30 minutes is cardio on the aerobic step which was very familiar to me. I did step classes in college and when I first moved back to JC. But a new part that I’ve really, really wanted to do was the time with the freestanding heavy bag. (boxing) I absolutely love the freestanding heavy bag portion. Man – what a great stress reliever. We kick and punch the heck out of that bag and it feels good. Alison had warned me to get gloves for that portion so I picked up some lifting gloves that cover my everything but my fingers. And it was a good thing because even with the gloves I still am typing this with some slightly bloody knuckles. And I’m quite proud of these bloody knuckles. I’m a little kooky that way. When I was little, I was a complete tomboy and played outside and played rough all the time. Whenever I had scabs or bruises, I was incredibly proud of them. They were badges of honor. That still lingers in me. Between my short nails (thanks to wussy bball guys in CG); bloody scabs from wart removals and now my bleeding knuckles, my hands are anything but feminine. BUT — I’m proud to call them mine.
Blog updates: Two new blogs in the world to share with you so you can check them out! These are CG guys so this may be of more interest to local readers than anyone. Kris Swanigan and Grady Martin. Check them out and leave them some comment-love! If you leave a comment tell them Melissa sent you and maybe I can win a ginsu knife out of it.
Interesting quotes from the Merton book I’m reading right now as a devotional guide. It’s a little long because I haven’t been posting them as I’ve read them but want to share these amazing nuggets of spiritual wisdom. Chew on them. They are very rich and satisfying to the taste.
- "It is not we who choose to awaken ourselves, but God Who chooses to awaken us." (10)
- "In the end the contemplative suffers the anguish of realizing that he no longer knows what God is." (13)
- "For whatever is demanded by truth, by justice, by mercy, or by love must surely be taken to be willed by God." (18)
- "Contemplative obedience and abandonment to the will of God can never mean a cultivated indifference to the natural values implanted by Him in human life and work." (20)
- "A saint is capable of loving created things and enjoying the use of them and dealing with them in a perfectly simple, natural manner, making no formal references to God, drawing no attention to his own piety, and acting without any artificial rigidity at all. His [or her] gentleness and sweetness are not pressed through his pores by the crushing restraint of a spiritual strait-jacket. They come from his direct docility to the light of truth and to the will of God. Hence a saint is capable of talking about the world without any explicit reference to God, in such a way that his statement gives greater glory to God and arouses a greater love of God than the observations of someone less holy, who has to strain himself to make an arbitrary connection between creatures and God through the medium of hackneyed analogies and metaphors that are so feeble that they make you think there is something the matter with religion." (24) – WOW!
- "The eyes of the saint make all beauty holy and the hands of the saint consecrate everything they touch to the glory of God, and the saint is never offended by anything and judges no man’s sin because he does not know sin. He knows the mercy of God. He knows that his own mission on earth is to bring that mercy to all [humankind]." (25) Preach it, Brother Merton.
- "The fulfillment we find in creatures belongs to the reality of the created being, a reality that is from God and belongs to God and reflects God. The anguish we find in them belongs to the disorder of our desire which looks for a greater reality in the object of our desire than is actually there: a greater fulfillment than any created thing is capable of giving." (26) [Read this last sentence again. It is one we need to repeat to ourselves over and over again.]
Merton is providing some deep and profound thoughts for me to chew on. I actually would benefit from slowing down with it. I have a feeling I miss half of the points he tries to make. In a most simplistic, yet significant, synopsis, Merton’s words are reminders to me of the great need we have to stay in deep, loving intimacy with God. Yet this is such a struggle for us to do. It takes great discipline and I know that I continue to fail in that discipline. But I must keep trying. I must keep accepting the merciful hand that God extends to me. I’m compelled to place my hand in God’s strong and loving grasp and feel God pick me up off the ground – yet again. God’s grace is unending… my life has been proof of that thus far and will give witness to that truth as long as I live. It is freeing to submit to God. It is cleansing to be forgiven by God. It is safe to trust in God. It is peaceful to rest in God.
May we all seek to bring God’s mercy to all humankind – Melissa