| Chase Tibbs |

When I was 16 years old, my family and I embarked on a journey to the West for one final trip together. My older brother had just graduated from high school and was moving 500 miles away to start his undergraduate education. My parents saw it to be the perfect time to seize what could be the last chance for the five of us to spend two weeks together, packed tight in a Honda Odyssey, chasing the miraculous beauty of western America.

Existence itself is something we take for granted. The truth that what is is, rather than is not, is awe-inspiring. Think about it for a moment. Existence is beautiful. It may even be beauty itself. There are no words that could ever describe the intricate complexity that forms our very being, that holds the earth together, that makes up what we call the Milky Way Galaxy, that is within the dynamic relationship of electrons, neutrons, and protons. The fact that you are simultaneously many as you are also one, deserves a lifetime of humble reverence (or at least two weeks of family vacation).

It was on this Tibbs’ Summer Vacation that I began my journey of intentionally practicing reverence....

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LETTING GO ISN'T THE LAST STEP: Why Rituals & Disciplines Still Matter

| Anne Williamson |

Few of us can swallow the religion of our childhood whole and believe it. We change, the world changes, and so we need our faith to change too. Old beliefs and patterns now feel untrue. So, we let go. Some of us rip the bandaid off; sure, the skin is red and irritated, the sticky remnants annoying, but we're happy for a "clean" break. Others of us take our time, maybe because the process is painful, or maybe because we never had any intention of letting go completely - some beliefs, rituals, disciplines still feel true to us.

Either way, we were right to let go of what we did. Jewish theologian Abraham Joshua Heschel said, "Things, when magnified, are forgeries of happiness." For those of us who let go, this is what those things of the church or synagogue or mosque or secular-but-no-less-ritualized-home or... had become: just things, forgeries. This is okay. It's our truth.

It is also truth, though, that the things in and of themselves were never the problem...

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| Anne Williamson |

A couple weeks ago, I was re-reading old blog posts for a sermon I'm writing when I came across this one...

October 7, 2014

On Sunday, WAYfinding folks and friends got together for a sensory nature walk through a local park. The kids involved received a scavenger hunt list - things to touch, hear, see and smell. One of these items was to hear a bird. As my daughter and I took off, we felt rough and smooth bark, saw light streaming through the trees, heard friends laughing, but no birds. I remember thinking to myself, "Well, this is too bad. It must be too cold for the birds this morning. None of the kids are going to be able to complete their list." 

We went on like this for maybe 25 minutes when a question appeared in my mind's eye, "Have you really stopped to listen?" I had not. So, I scooped my daughter up, used the universal sign for "shhh," and asked her to close her eyes with mommy. ...

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