Who Can Separate Belief from Occupations?

On this final day of NaBloPoMo, I’m sharing an excerpt from Kahlil Gibran’s “On Religion” from The Prophet, which is one of my forever favorites.

Today, I’m thinking about work, my students, and all the grading ahead of me. I’m also thinking about separate conversations I’ve had this week with a long-ago student and a current student. They were both “extolling my virtues” as a professor and talking about the profound impact I made on them and their peers, not just professionally but personally. Their words were encouraging–because it is always at the end of the semester that I worry over whether my courses did what they were supposed to do and whether I’ve helped my students on their own road to becoming–more than “just” academically.

Although my primary goal is to facilitate students’ development as writers, thinkers, and scholars, I see my role as something greater; therefore, I attempt to do more than teach writing, thinking, and literature. I work to push my students toward agency, authenticity, and wholeness so that they can ably meet the challenges beyond the college experience.

Like other areas of my life, what happens in the classroom is service, ministry, and an act of worship. It is seeing my work in this way that keeps me motivated and committed to students–no matter how they [and some of the other aspects of professor life] drive me crazy at times.

Gibran’s poem “On Religion” blurs the lines and shows us that every facet of our lives must be imbued with religion. Religion is not played out once a week in the company of likeminded others. It is in our every movement, action, and interaction. It is part of our essence, who we are, not a performance or garb we take on and off.

I am saturating my soul with prayer and Gibran’s words as I head into the weekend–a period of rest from students and madness. When Monday comes I’ll be equipped for the challenges the final grading period always brings and will handle them with grace.

Who can separate his faith from his actions, or his belief from his occupations?
Who can spread his hours before him, saying, “This for God and this for myself;
This for my soul, and this other for my body?”

Your daily life is your temple and your religion.
Whenever you enter into it take with you your all.
Take the plough and the forge and the mallet and the lute,
The things you have fashioned in necessity or for delight.
For in revery you cannot rise above your achievements nor fall lower than your
failures.
And take with you all men:
For in adoration you cannot fly higher than their hopes nor humble yourself lower
than their despair. –Kahlil Gibran, “On Religion,” The Prophet

Wishing you a weekend filled with contemplation and rest.


Thanks for reading along for NaBloPoMo18. I didn’t think I was going to make it this time. In fact, I declared I was quitting two weeks ago because my plate was spilling over, but my precious Tyhara encouraged me to keep going, reminding me that I needed to do this for myself–to balance out all the head-stuff. Thanks, Ty!

Linking up with Dawn of The Day After in the final Festival of Leaves photo challenge post for 2018.

LETTING IT ALL HANG OUT

I ran across Just Joan’s blog a month (or so) ago and she made me laugh, laugh, laugh at a time when I really needed laughter. You will love her parodies of classic poems and poetic forms. Start with “Letting it All Hang Out” and move through more of her posts. Prepare for lots of laughter. Enjoy!

JUST JOAN 42

I’ve always taken a “comfort first” attitude toward clothing.  I supposed I would outgrow my disdain for pantyhose and other constricting items as I moved into adulthood, but just the opposite has happened.  I will contend that bras have their place, but they’re the first garment to be shed when I bust (pun intended!) through the front door.  My maiden voyage on the “SS Foundation” occurred some years ago.  I attended a work function wearing a “body shaper” under my dress.  Like magic, it sculpted the area between my boobs and my knees into an hourglass.
I couldn’t breathe, but that turned out to be the least of my problems.  During the 15-minute intermission, every woman in attendance made
a beeline for the restroom – a veritable throng of ladies clamoring for two measly stalls.  Wrestling oneself in and out of a body shaper takes however long it takes, even if a full-blown mutiny is in…

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Full of Surprises | #WordlessWednesday


I’m linking up with The Sky Girl and Natasha Musing for #WordlessWednesday, which provides an opportunity to share photos without words. I must admit I’m a little confused. Most of the “Wordless Wednesday” links I visited have words–sometimes lots of words. No matter. I’m in! Though I can’t promise I’ll participate every week, #WW gives me an opportunity to share the many photos hiding on my camera rolls without the pressure of having to come up with “words.”  Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ll let you choose the words. 😉 However, if you’d like to know about the photo, just ask. I’ll tell.

A Second Look | Pink Nabi

“Seeing Again,” Photo by Cy of Pink Nabi

Sometimes I miss the full beauty of my own path because it’s a dark mental day or because it’s raining in my life. I withdraw from opportunities or invitations because I can’t really see the beauty of the proposal the first time around. This month was a pretty dreary month physically and mentally. I was forced to “see” something that I had been ignoring for a year. But I also took a second look at something that had frightened me. I still want to run from this new thing, but it is an opportunity to have a very beautiful experience that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

Thankfully, second chances exist to reset our lives. It’s good to pause and take a second look just in case we miss the value of a thing the first time around.  –Cy, “Seeing Again,” Pink Nabi


Today’s post features an image and quote from my friend, Cy at Pink Nabi. I introduced her to #ThursdayTreeLove as a way for us to take a photo walk together although we are miles apart. She willingly plays along. Her meditation on her latest tree love resonates because I’m familiar with trauma and the need to take a second look–to grow, to move forward, to heal. For the full context, visit her original post: Seeing Again.

In a Certain Light | Ty 4 Thoughts

“In a Certain Light,” iPhone Photo by Tyhara Rain

What if we already are
Who we’ve been dying to become
In certain light I can plainly see
A reflection of magnificence
Hidden in you
Maybe even in me
“Four,” Sleeping At Last

Today’s post features an image by my multitalented teaching assistant, Tyhara Rain. She found and captured this beauty on one of our escapes from the office. She featured the image and quote in a blog post a month ago. With her permission, I’m sharing here. Visit Tyhara’s blog, Ty 4 Thoughts,  to read about her experience with the leaf. She’s new to the blogosphere, so maybe, your visit will encourage her to post a little more frequently.

Still. Covered.

“Be Still,” mixed media art by Lisa Larson

Thanksgiving Break ends today. The break I looked forward to since September. Time to be still and allow at least some healing to take place. A little time to just be and allow my grief to spill out without having to hold back or rein it in, without the persistent demands of first-year students or the expectations of colleagues.

But.

That didn’t happen. I’ll spare you the details of the “instead,” but tonight, I was noting how things sometimes come in a torrent. Without warning. The storm beats on us relentlessly and we can hardly catch our breath between lightning strikes. We want to do something, but the only thing we can do is take cover.

And that’s what I did.

I took cover from doctors who spoke doom and gloom. I took cover from the constant barrage of questions and requests from students (yes, during the break). I took cover from fear of all the “what ifs.” I took cover from the emotions that surged to the surface when my bestie told me she lost yet another person in her life to cancer. I took cover when my other bestie got a “not good” prognosis for her mother’s condition. I took cover when yet another bolt of lightning struck just yesterday. I took cover when the little frustrations of life were sure to be the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

I took cover in the Word of God, in the knowledge and experience of who He is, and I rested in His embrace.  I found shelter there because when faced with the impossible, there’s nowhere else to be.

Some time last week, I received the card above from one of my dearest and most constant friends. It felt like a warm and much-needed hug, the hug that says, “I know…and this is the way through.”

I’ve been on a journey with stillness for years now. Some days, I’ve mastered stillness. Others…I stand in place, fretting and fidgeting. The card arrived when I was feeling the full brunt of all of the impossibilities that life has become, when all the disappointments were dancing before me and taunting, tempting me to fall apart. It was my call to do nothing. Be still. Relax against the onslaught and simply hold on to the God who will not, cannot let me go.

And that’s where I am tonight as I face the grueling last days of the semester with all the stuff that was there before and all the stuff that came up since…

Still. Covered.

Pop Up, Sunflowers!

When I can’t be in the actual presence of sunflowers, perhaps, the next best thing is receiving sunflowers in the mail. I always, always, always squeal when I turn over a postcard or open an envelope to find SUNFLOWERS!

When I opened the plain white envelope from Janet T for the final note of Love Notes 25, I wasn’t expecting to find a sunflower.

And when I opened the beautiful brown card with the bright yellow laser-cut sunflower on front, I expected to find a note written inside, but…

 

…a whole sunflower field popped up!

None of my photos adequately convey the experience of opening the popup card, but you can probably figure out I nearly passed out with glee!

Here’s a little bit of the experience:

 

The card was designed by Kathie for lovepop.  If you’re interested in what inspired Kathie’s sunflower creation, check out the story by clicking here. And don’t miss the smiley face!

Sunflower week is over, but don’t despair! I have many more sunflowers to share. I’ll spare you another week of sunflowers posts [this year], but maybe, you’ll see one or two or three more before the end of the year.

Until then, shine on!