Sister Sal & Sister Mary Rachel
Take nothing for the journey. Luke 9:3
I read these words over and over in my mind this morning. Each day I wake I lose something to ALS. It's not until I try to use a muscle that I realize the disease has creeped further into my neurological system and taken something else. My life sounds like a sci-fi movie. Ironically, it looks like it, too. I'm not complaining; I'm rejoicing. The more of ourselves and possessions we leave behind, the closer we are to our next adventure. Humans can't comprehend needing nothing. When you realize what is valuable usually it's time to go be with your creator. The light bulb comes on and your gone. If you are part of the ones that get what life is all about, you are a special person. It's a gift.
Take nothing and give all. The things you give are not burdensome or hard to carry: time and attention. They are sacrificial. They are precious. When they are well spent, the memories, feelings, smells, and warmth will stay with you your entire life. They bridge you to the next world. They feed you soul for the journey. I know so many wonderful people who are blessed to do this through their vocations. In my first season, I was blessed to be able to serve others as a teacher. Whether you are a nurse, waitress, Wal-Mart greeter, lawyer, PTA, or politician, it's all about serving and giving to those in your life path. Give time and attention to each person you encounter. If you do, it's a game changer not just for them.
Today's message is a message to me. As I shed the baggage of this earthly life, I am lighter and stronger. In my physically healthy life, I don't think I could have left behind everything. I couldn't leave my job, my car, my house, etcetera. A vow of poverty? Delete that. I had been born into a hard working, low income family. I earned my degrees and wanted to give my children the opportunities I didn't have. I wanted them to be proud of me, of our home, and of the life we have built. I wanted them to love me like I loved them with all of my heart. Fast forward 20 years. ALS has taken so much. It took all of the things that I would have had to leave behind: nice, trendy clothes, new cars, shoes, makeup, but we have been blessed to still have our home. It is renovated for this rolling gal. Things are not done to my expectations, but things get done. I'm good with that. My family and friends are doing so much. They envelope me with true love. I have let so much go. Now I'm baggless, stripped down, and free. Free? Yes. Free from social anxiety, competition and comparing. I go where I'm needed. I use my time, talent, and treasure to serve others. My journey has been and is a beautiful one. I realized long ago what really matters. My kiddos love their parents not for "things" but for our time, attention, and love.
The other part of this message to me is my daughter is considering the religious life. She's a special one. She gets it. She wants embrace poverty out of the gate. This may change after four years of college. Only God knows. I'm amazed at the selflessness of her and others for considering giving their lives literally for others. These special people take a vow of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience. They go where the need is. Their lives are never about what they want. It's always about what God needs. This perspective was a gift from God through ALS. Just like nuns and monks, I take nothing for the journey except the light He puts in me.
Today think about what makes your heart so heavy. There are so many ways to be bogged down: selfish individuality, competition with co-workers and neighbors, gambling and shopping addictions, alcohol and drug addictions, pornography, self hate, and feeling sorry for yourself. It's time to de-clutter. It's time to be kind. It's time to pray for yourself and your neighbors. Bob Dylan sings, "You gotta serve somebody. It may be the devil or it may be the Lord. But you gotta serve somebody." Remember your actions speak louder than words.
Sarah Anderson Alley
Sal the Let it Behind Gal
Quotes of the Day:
In the third grade, a nun stuffed me in a garbage can under her desk because she said that's where I belonged. I also had the distinction of being the only altar boy knocked down by a priest during mass.
Your daily life is your temple and your religion. When you enter into it take with you your all.
However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them?