Enough is Enough
Everyday Sacred was the name of a book I read quite a long time ago, by Sue Bender. It's a book that chronicles her quest for joyful wisdom and simplicity. Who couldn't use a little joyful wisdom? To discover this, she lived with some Monks and observed their life.
She goes on to tell this story about how, each morning, the Monks leave the Monastery with a single bowl in hand. They walk up and down the streets of the village and whatever is placed in their bowl, becomes their nourishment for the day. Enough.
"The first bowl is inverted, upside down, so that nothing can go into it. Anything poured into this bowl spills off. The second bowl is right-side up, but stained and cracked and filled with debris. Anything put into this bowl gets polluted by the residue or leaks out through the cracks. The third bowl is clean. Without cracks or holes, this bowl represents a state of mind, ready to receive and hold whatever is poured into it. Sometimes I am that first bowl, so busy being "productive" that I don't notice when the very thing I want, presents itself. Sometimes, I am the second bowl, with such a fierce judging voice that focuses on what's not working that I'm unable to see or appreciate all the things that are going well. And sometimes, wonderful times, I am the third bowl, able to be present and absorbed in what I am doing, whatever it is." Sue Bender.
It's such a beautiful thought and it came to mind again, over the weekend so I thought...
This week, I am going to practice the art of enough...at least that is what I am calling it. I am going hold my bowl out each morning and whatever God sees fit to place in my bowl for the day, I will appreciate it, accept it and it will be enough and I will use it for my good.
So often, I find my bowl with cracks and holes and no amount of good remains in the bowl. It sifts itself through and I am left with what feels like little, to be nourished on. I know that at times, God is pouring out blessings but my bowl is upside down and they tumble off, unnoticed and I can hear myself complaining that I never get what I need.
This week, I have a firm grip on my bowl and I will accept what comes. It's already proving to be harder than it seems.
Today alone, I spent, a couple of hours in the hospital for the last of the tests I need before I start my new treatment for my AS- to get it in remission. It has attacked my ribs now and my lungs are unable to expand as much as they need to because my ribs are no longer moving properly due to the disease process. I came home to bill collectors calling, insurance issues- both health and car and a young man who thinks it would be a good idea to move to Arizona. Seriously. How to tell the certain young man that he can move across town, or 4 hours South but beyond that, he better have a solid plan of making 6 figures to pay for his own health insurance and start over with doctors...AND clean his room....it's all tricky business!
I have a million deadlines since the remainder of the week will be spent in back and forth trips to Salt Lake for Shelbie's follow up appointments to get the final word if she will start chemotherapy next month. She will also see her lung specialist since there is a new batch of tumors in her lungs, crowding out the healthy tissue.
It's not an easy week to start this experiment in living joyfully, with enough. At about 4:15, I started to panic that my bowl was filled with too much of what I didn't need or want! I clearly remember not asking for all these problems today.
But, I pictured my beautiful bowl, a little well worn but filled with the things God gave me today to grow. So, at 4:35, I took in a deep breath of Faith, cleared my throat of the fear, took a sip of fresh courage and emptied what I could from my savings to keep the bill collector happy for another month or two. And though I seriously feel like I am going to fall apart at any moment, I didn't.
Looking back over the day, I can see that I received enough... and enough is enough. I could see through the unexpected turns the day took, that today was a sacred day. A day that I received with an open heart all that God had to give and though I may not be able to make sense of it today...that day will come soon enough.