Wisdom Story – 253

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This came in from a colleague.

A Sufi saint, on pilgrimage to Mecca, having completed the prescribed religious practices, knelt down and touched his forehead to the ground and prayed: “Allah! I have only one desire in life. Give me the grace of never offending you again.”

When the All-Merciful heard this he laughed aloud and said, “That’s what they all ask for. But if I granted everyone this grace, tell me, whom would I forgive?”

(Source: The Spirituality of Imperfection, adapted from Anthony DeMello’s Taking Flight.)

Thursdays with Thibodeaux – 9

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Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” Aristotle believed that the key to living a good life is to develop good habits. Humans are very much creatures of habit. God made us this way so that we don’t have to rely solely on good judgment and decision making in each situation that arises. Instead, we can train our minds, bodies, and souls to habitually, naturally do the right thing. Unfortunately, we can just as easily fall into unhealthy habits! Today’s Examen encourages a reflection on habits.

1. I begin in my usual way.

2. I spend a few moments in gratitude, thanking God for one or two of the blessings, big and small, that I’ve received today: the good mood I woke up in, a kind word from a friend, my undeserved good health, an easy commute to work, another day with my wonderful spouse.

3. Looking over my day, I ask God to show me a few of my habits. I try to see my one thought or action today that is actually typical of the way I think or act. For example, Imay find myself saying to Christ, “Lord looking over my day, I see that I am in the habit of…

• criticizing and nitpicking my coworkers
• staying focused on my work, once I’ve had a strong cup of coffee
• putting myself down for the smallest things
• wasting time on the Internet
• greeting people warmly when they walk in the door

4. It’s usually easier to see my unhealthy habits than to see the healthy ones. When I do find an unhealthy habit, I speak with God about it. Perhaps I’ll ask God for forgiveness, or for healing, and for ideas about how to break the habit.

5. But I don’t want to settle for simply looking at my bad habits. I won’t rest until I find a couple of good habits in my day today. When I do find them, I will give thanks and praise. I speak to God about why I’m so grateful for this good habit.

6. I now look to tomorrow. What bad habit do I want to break? What good habit do I want to cultivate? ‘What graces will I ask God for in order to help me break these particular bad habits and grow these particular good habits? I speak with God about this.

7. I end in my usual way.

Empathy Museum

Sorry this was late posting.  The software had a hiccup!ju_11471831

Yesterday, one of my colleagues shared something funny and today another workmate introduces us to something very different — the world’s first Empathy Museum which is about to open in London.

Their inaugural exhibit is called, “A Mile in My Shoes,” and this is how they describe it:

…it’s set in an empathy shoe shop. As you walk in, the shop assistants will fit you with a pair of shoes belonging to someone from a completely different walk of life to your own. You’ll then step outside and literally walk a mile in their shoes while being immersed in an audio narrative of their life.

We’ve been collecting shoes far and wide. The shoe shop already includes the sky-high heels of bearded drag queen Timberlina, the boots of a sewer worker, the skates of a Roller Derby champion, and the dress-shoes of a Grand Master in chess. And every pair is accompanied by extraordinary, moving, and surprising stories.

Alongside the shoe shop, you will also find a Human Library, where instead of borrowing a book you borrow a person for conversation. So you might find yourself in an open and honest conversation with a Muslim teenager, a Quaker pacifist, a Syrian refugee, or even a Wall Street banker.

Wouldn’t you just love to visit this museum?

You can read about it here.

Favorite “silent auction” item ever?

One of my colleagues shared this with me.  We’ve heard of such prizes as the pastor offering to cook a meal for the winner, but this might be one of the best silent auction items ever offered!

nick