Saturday, March 26, 2011

Good words for Lent

In this Lenten season, my goals include: listen more (talk less), and don't judge others. Work toward the first goal is going fine. The second is more problematic. Sitting with a small group the other day, someone who claimed to know about music and the arts described a string player as a "cello-ist." And "click, click" went my judgmental self, snapping right into place. Anyone should know that it's a cellist, right? Well, obviously not. (And why is it usually music that brings out this bad quality in me?)

So, it's back to the words of John Climacus: "Don't judge anybody. Period. Even if you see them doing something wrong with your own eyes! Appearances can be deceiving. You may be wrong. Don't judge."

Thursday, March 03, 2011


Today a student, C., called while I was in my office. (This was unusual enough; more often I receive a text or facebook message.) Would I be there for a while longer, so that she might come by and show me a present for her mother's birthday?

When C. arrived, she had a large, steaming hot cup of jasmine tea, and it was important to her to share half with me. I divided the tea into two cups. C. presented the gift for her mother: a gorgeous yet simple, custom-made bracelet of aquamarine beads. I admired it (and quite honestly thought her mother was very lucky!) and thought it fun that C. wanted me to see it. But that's not why she stopped by.

The real reason for the visit was C.'s request that I bless the bracelet before she send it off. We went into the quiet church, stood at the baptismal font, and shared a lovely few minutes of prayer and blessing, complete with the sprinkling of holy water. Then we finished our tea, talked about her future and what it feels like to be truly inspired by someone, and she (and the aquamarine beads) were on their way to the post office. Moments like this come rarely, and I'm grateful for every one of them, for every time someone thinks that blessing makes a difference.