“What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.” – Buddha
We have been having a week of glorious Indian Summer. Golden sun-splashed days gently yield to balmy open-window nights this November.
I sat on the deck one recent afternoon and listened to the rustle of leaves falling from the nearby sugar maple. (And successfully ignored my impulse to rake them up.)
I watched a flurry of activity in a group of yellowjackets who have apparently built a nest under the shingles of our roof. The wasps were frantically flying in and out of an opening too small and too hidden for me to see, desperate to find sustenance from the last few marigolds remaining in the garden.
Poor yellowjackets, I thought, uncharacteristically, since wasps are low on the list of creatures towards whom I feel tenderness. I tend to become a little bit frantic this time of year too. Maybe it’s the waning light or the approaching cold or the looming bustle of the holidays but November often stirs thoughts of action in me.
In the calm, clear light of the Autumn afternoon, I paused to consider what I am currently thinking, feeling, and imagining. What we bring into our lives matters. What we keep in our hearts is reflected to others.
I have been thinking lately about transactional relationships, specifically the you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours variety.
Transactional relationships as they relate to faith presently occupy my mind.
A young faith is often transactional. If I …(fill in the blank)…regularly attend church, read the Bible, tithe, pray correctly…I will be blessed by God.
The only problem with this thinking is that the Creator of the Universe doesn’t make deals. He is under no obligation to me, no matter what I do.
Blessings come solely by grace.
God is not safe, but he is good, to paraphrase C. S. Lewis.
I have been feeling calm lately. And anxious. And elated. And scared. Resolute and quaking in my boots, patient and itching for action. These emotions come simultaneously and one at a time.
My feelings have been all over the map.
What does that tell you about what I am attracting?
Everything sticks to me. My fears, hopes, schemes, memories, and baggage weigh me down with their enormous gravity.
Learning to release them is a full-time job, a worthy one that encompasses much of my energy each day.
I imagine living in a country where we can discuss difficult topics without rancorous words, without crouching in our usual defensive positions.
I imagine us having the confidence and the love, the grace, and the holy courage to be more welcoming, to listen to voices other than those in our own echo chamber.
I imagine a society where life is celebrated and community is valued.
I imagine living in a world where freedom and justice are for everyone, for the dirty, tired kids in detention centers along the border, the hopeless and traumatized women languishing in Mideastern refugee camps, the exploited sex workers who fear for their lives and have run out of options, the neglected children growing up poor in our inner cities with no hope, no future, and no family, in the company of others facing the same fate, and the police officers doing their jobs in the most stressful and fraught conditions possible. Justice and honor, freedom and peace for all.
I hope my imagining helps birth these concepts into existence.
What you imagine, you create.
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