29 March 2011

Feeling blessed, giving back, and living with compassion

I've been feeling very inspired and blessed lately. After what couldn't have been a better 24th birthday and looking through pictures of my first bridal shower, I am reminded of how wonderful life truly is. I'm not living in Japan with the threat of radiation poison looming over me, I'm not an orphan without family, I'm not physically sick or hurt in any way. I'll be the first to admit that I can let the little speed bumps in life get to me and forget how lucky (this is the only other word I can think of besides blessed!) I really am. This makes me think of Francesca Battistelli's newest song, This Is The Stuff, where she sings, "In the middle of my little mess, I forget how big I'm blessed." I am so grateful for the countless ways God shows His love, even when I lose focus!

A couple of weeks ago, my director at work sent me the link to a speech called, "This Is Water," by David Foster Wallace, which was given at the 2005 commencement ceremony Kenyon College. It is a wonderful 20ish minute speech about living a conscious, compassionate life, both as an educated person and as a Christian. If you haven't heard this speech, please, please let me encourage you to listen to it! I'll post the links below. It is absolutely motivating and is the best commencement speech I've ever listened to. One line in particular really stood out to me and challenged me in my daily life, in the way I work with clients, in the way I communicate with friends and family, etc. Wallace said,

The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline and being able to truly care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad, petty little unsexy ways every day. That is real freedom. That is being educated and understanding how to think.

You have to listen to the entire speech to fully understand this statement in its context, but for some reason this quote hit me like a ton of bricks. Freedom isn't money, fine clothes, or prestige. It's about being aware of those around you and striving to make a difference in their lives. As previously stated, I've been feeling incredibly blessed. But what does any of this matter if I'm not giving blessings back to others and showing them the love that Christ has so graciously shown me? This is where the inspired part comes in. God's blessings have now inspired me to give back to others in "petty little unsexy ways every day." Just some food for thought.

"This Is Water" links:
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5THXa_H_N8
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSAzbSQqals

And now I'll leave you with this, my favorite passage that I read as a religion minor in college (and I read A LOT!). It is from The Heidelberg Catechism (1563), a document of the Reformed Christian faith. It says,

We learn that we are to be patient in adversity, grateful in the midst of blessing, and to trust our faithful God and Father for the future, assured that no creature shall separate us from His love, since all creatures are so completely in His hand that without His will they cannot even move.
I just love this quote. It doesn't quite go with the rest of the blog post, but I don't care. I love to share it with people any chance I get!
How has God blessed you lately? How have you given back? Are you striving to live a conscious, compassionate life on a daily basis? Again, just some food for thought. :)

In the grip of grace,

1 comment:

  1. This was such a great post, can't wait to listen to the links! Thanks for sharing!


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