Come to the edge, Life said.
They said, we are afraid.
Come to the edge, Life said.
They came; Life pushed them.
And they flew!
Poem by Christopher Logue
“… If we center down… and live in that holy Silence, which is dearer than life, and take our life program into the silent places of the heart, with complete openness, ready to do, ready to renounce according to His leading, then many of the things we are doing lose their vitality for us.”
– Thomas R. Kelly, A Testament of Devotion, Section: The Simplification of Life
What is absolutely vital in your life today? Are you truly called to be doing what you’re doing… or is it simply your agenda? Align your purpose with a divine motive…
Thomas R. Kelly (1893-1941) was a Quaker educator and writer, with a focus on mysticism. He graduated from Wilmington College, and studied at Hartford Theological Seminary with an interest in being a missionary. During World War I, he joined the YMCA to work with the troops, and worked with German prisoners of war. His pacifist position eventually lost him this position. He returned to Hartford to complete his training, and married Lael Macy. In the 1920s, Kelly and his wife went to Germany, where they were significant in founding a Quaker community. He returned to Germany in 1938 to encourage Quakers living under Hitler. Kelly taught at a number of universities throughout the 1930s. His collection of writing, “A Testament of Devotion”, was published posthumously by a colleague.
Wealth is a state of mind and life. We tend to associate poverty with money. But poverty can be mental, emotional or spiritual poverty. I am often struck by this in my travel and volunteering in developing nations. Often, the divorce rates are low. Families not only stay together, but also spend time together. They gather food from the fields together, cook together and share meals together.
Contrast us: 15 minute family dinners if we are lucky. Fast-food and food distanced from its natural base. We eat alone; we eat in our cars. Divorces are easier to get, and in our mind it can be easier to allow those thoughts in as a possibility, rather than work through critical issues. So we lose the connection to family. We lose the connection to the local farm. We can lose the connection to long-term commitment.
We lose our greatest asset in natural wealth: relationships. Relationships with ourselves, our families, the earth. This wealth creates happy, balanced, productive, lower stress lifestyles, because we are connected in the way we are meant to be.
Further, we often pass by our heritage and where we come from. In many emerging nations, and especially in the continent of Africa, we see tribes value their connection to their heritage as primary importance even above their nationality. There is a deep-rooted connection to rituals and history which keeps people grounded in who they are, and the deeper, long-term meaning of being a part of a larger community in their lives.
Poverty is about money, at times. It has to be addressed as people should have the opportunity to live productive lives and make choices about what they would like to devote their lives to. Poverty is also about our well-being. Often when we get beyond “money poverty,” we forget “well-being poverty,” and get trapped in a go-go-go consumer culture.
I hope we can celebrate the healthy wealth that is accessible to us all in positive, committed relationships with ourselves, one another, our families, our earth, our communities and our heritage. How wonderful this is available to us all.
“When the unexpected and inconceivable intrude on life, and it will…deal with life’s actual events–don’t obsess about perceived eventualities. Relax–enjoy the ride.”
– Michael J. Fox
Michael J. Fox is an actor and activist. He has appeared in iconic roles including Marty McFly in Back to the Future and Alex P. Keaton in the TV show Family Ties. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1991, revealing his condition publicly in 1998. Since then he has been a powerful activist promoting research for a cure. He has been married to actress Tracy Pollan since 1988, and they have four children. Fox is also the author of three books, including the memoir, Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist.
“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. This will be the beginning.”
Louis L’Amour was an American author. He is best known for his Western fiction novels, though he also wrote historical fiction, science fiction, nonfiction, poetry and short-story collections. He was born Louis Dearborn LaMoore on March 22, 1908, the last of seven children. He grew up in Jamestown, North Dakota, a medium-sized farming community. As he grew older, he traveled throughout the United States and abroad, in various positions including as a mine assessment worker, a professional boxer and a merchant seaman. In the 1930s, Louis and his family settled in Oklahoma, and Louis turned his focus to writing. He began to have success with short stories in the late ‘30s and ‘40s, beginning to sell novels in the 1950s. Louis also served in the United States Army during World War II. Louis ultimately wrote 89 novels and more than 250 short stories.
“There’s always going to be bad stuff out there. But here’s the amazing thing: Light trumps darkness, every time. You can stick a candle into the dark, but you can’t stick the dark into the light.”
– Jodi Picoult
Jodi Picoult is an American author with 14 million copies of her books in print worldwide. She wrote her first story at age 5, titled “The Lobster Which Misunderstood.” With a degree from Princeton University in writing and a master’s degree in education from Harvard University, Jodi took a variety of jobs before Nineteen Minutes became her first book to debut at #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list. In total, Jodi is the bestselling author of eighteen novels, five of which have been adapted for film and TV. Jodi, her husband Tim and their three children live in Hanover, New Hampshire with two Springer spaniels, a rescue puppy, two donkeys, two geese, one duck, eight chickens, and the occasional Holstein.
In many emerging nations, children are starving and dying due to lack of clean water. As a “developed” nation, it certainly doesn’t seem that advanced for us to be getting water for free when there appears to be a plenitude of it. Meanwhile, two million people in the developing world are dying every year because they can’t access clean water.
It’s where our society is now realizing that the most expensive, prized and honored possessions in our world are things that we actually cannot possess…water must be used and reobtained and used again. Unlike diamonds, it can’t fit in our jewelry box, where we take it out whenever we so desire. Its beauty rests in livelihood.
Further, its beauty rests in the continuation of life.
Our “new luxuries” are now things that we must use to survive. They are things that must be used frequently, and they must be sought out and obtained on a daily basis. Our new luxury is about survival.