Sunday, June 01, 2008

Sacred Life Sunday: Perspective...

When I got up, I fixed a cup of coffee, put a DVD in the player and got back under the comforter. My idea for this day was to watch movies. Since I've been doing so much clearing of my living space, schlepping "stuff" from one place to another, several hours of relaxation seemed like a good idea.

I'm always careful about what I watch and try to be mindful of what kinds of thoughts I put in my head. There's been more than one occasion when I've stopped a movie in the middle and quit watching it because it was full of violence... or filthy language... or crummy values. My NetFlix queue is an interesting and eclectic collection of documentaries and movies.

This morning it was "Mother Teresa". It's a very pleasant movie but also challenging. She was a small woman but packed a powerful message.

This isn't about religion though. As Mother Teresa said herself, it's not important whether one is a Muslim, a Catholic, a Jew, a Buddhist or a Hindu. It is only important that you are a good Muslim, a good Catholic, a good Jew, a good Buddhist or a good Hindu.

She wore her faith like a gentle shawl and it enveloped everyone who came in contact with her. That, in my opinion, is goodness from the inside out.

Intense love does not measure, it just gives.

I felt the smallness of my own life and the self-absorption I allow all too frequently. It's easy to get caught up in what we want, what we believe we need. We recognize our hunger pangs and all the places that feel unfilled. We look for ways to be fed and comforted for the things we believe we lack. She made an important point. In order to be fed, we need to feed. In order to be comforted, we need to comfort. To be loved, we need to love.

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.

The movie reminded me who we are and why we're here. Very few people are Mother Teresa. Very few people do extraordinary things. I think the universe sends us extraordinary people in all shapes and forms as examples - from saints to bodhisattvas - but that isn't because we need to emulate them. We just need to learn from them. Most people are householders. They have families and jobs. We can't all go out into the world and save it.

Jesus said love one another. He didn't say love the whole world.

It's easy to think we have to do something huge, something magnanimous, to make a difference. We don't. We touch each other, one by one.

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.

It's really not all that difficult. It's not even about charity. It's about a way of life. It's about being loving when that is challenging and difficult. It's about loving each other, even when we think someone is making a bad choice or a choice we don't agree with. (Being rather judgmental by nature, this one truly challenged me.)

The success of love is in the loving - it is not in the result of loving. Of course it is natural in love to want the best for the other person, but whether it turns out that way or not does not determine the value of what we have done.

Perhaps this is meant to remind all of us that we are not small and that the things we do, say and believe do matter on a larger scale. It reminds us to not become overwhelmed by the enormity of all there is to be done to alleviate suffering in the world.

It starts here:

I want you to be concerned about your next door neighbor. Do you know your next door neighbor?

(All quotes from Mother Teresa)



heartinsanfrancisco said...

What a beautiful post about a beautiful woman!

"The success of love is in the loving." Those words should be engraved on our hearts because we tend to believe that if we are not visibly loved in return, we failed and our love was wasted.

You are very wise to monitor your own intake because so much information available to us does not elevate our spirits in any way, and THAT is a waste of our energy.

Anvilcloud said...

I am one of those billions of people living a little life and trying to do my best with my destiny.

Julie Pippert said...

Chani, what a great post start to finish, because each line contains something so important, things I think about often.

I think this sums it up perfectly, though:

"Jesus said love one another. He didn't say love the whole world.

It's easy to think we have to do something huge, something magnanimous, to make a difference. We don't. We touch each other, one by one."

Oh I wish I could get this point across to people who think they do nothing, don't matter, are insignificant, don't do enough, can't do anything because too much is needed, etc.

Especially followed by her next quote and your next point.

Hmm I might ask permission to C&P and distribute this when it feels like the need arises if you would be okay with that.

niobe said...

Jesus said love one another. He didn't say love the whole world.

As you know, I'm not a Christian. But this quotation really speaks to me.

Jen said...

Lovely post. Wonderful quotes, too. I'm having trouble centering and clearing out and being well, helpful, right now, and this was good to read.

I'm still trying. Just hitting the wall a bit due to letting emotions get the better of me about things I can't do anything about.

Say It said...

what a wonderful tribute. And yes, I know my next door neighbor, good people.

dmmgmfm said...

My next door neighbors are a very nice family. I'm especially fond of their 9 year old daughter. I've hired her to babysit my cat when I'm away from home. She takes great care of her and my kitty adores her.

Great post Chani, many good thoughts there.


Carla said...

What a lovely post, lovely quotes from a beautiful woman. Thanks so much for sharing.

QT said...

Great post, Chani. I, too, love to watch movies with my Saturday or Sunday morning coffee - it feels so decadent somehow to start the day *relaxing*.

Sometimes I am overwhelmed by what is happening in our world, to our planet. It feels like my tiny actions can't possibly undo the damage. Thank you for the inspirational quotes.

Olivia said...

I too really loved this post. Mother Theresa was an extraordinary woman, but I'll bet she saw herself as rather ordinary in the beginning (or maybe in the end too) just living her life and loving truly and wholly, in her sphere. I will check into watching this as it sounds very inspirational. xxoo, O

we_be_toys said...

"It's easy to think we have to do something huge, something magnanimous, to make a difference. We don't. We touch each other, one by one."

This is so true, and something I try to do whenever I can. I truly believe that if we all put a little love back into the world with selfless acts it can make a bigger change in our world.

You always make me think - thank you Chani!

painted maypole said...

she really was an amazing woman

Ian Lidster said...

People, being people, will sometimes give love in hopes of getting love. But, if you are true to the concept you will still give unconditional love with no expectations. The return you get is in the giving.

Annie Z said...

Wow, this is an absolutely beautiful post! I am so touched by your words. Thank you for putting this post of love out into the blogger world.


velvet said...

"It's easy to think we have to do something huge, something magnanimous, to make a difference. We don't. We touch each other, one by one."

What a wonderful perspective. She was truly an inspiring woman.

Woman in a Window said...

If we could just be smart enough to deal with the simple. But yes, YES! And I love the idea that it's about being a GOOD catholic or muslim or ... We work at being good people. We've no other hat than that but I believe that if you really work at that hat it should be good enough.

Mary said...

Hi Chani,

Just checking in. I like your new look. It's you.

I've been slowly drifting away from the blogworld - life is taking my time although I love offering a post now and then. Less often for a long time, I think. No time for reading or posting much anymore.

Keep on keeping on. You have a gift!


hele said...

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other."

I'm taking this into my day with me. Thank you and blessed be*

Anonymous said...

Thats a beautifukl post, CHani, and one that really speaks to me. I read once that Mother Teresa had terrible doubts nearly her whole life about God. And yet she persisted in living a life that was a true example of all that is scared. I think she is all the more inspoiring for following what she knew to be right in spite of her doubts.

Olivia said...


I don't have your email, so I just wanted to say here that I hope you get the housing you want and that you will be missed. Also, I agree with your post about language. I will be thinking of you and enjoy seeing you on my blog. Blessings, O

molly said...

Mother Teresa is one of my heros. I love that she didn't push any one religion, but just by her example showed us what a powerful thing it can be to be good and kind and unselfish.....
This post could be about the prayer of St. Francis----do you know it? If not you should google it. I think you;d like it.
Good luck on your move to Humboldt Co. It's beautiful up there. Being among the giant redwoods is like being in a cathedral....