Michele Minehart

words & yoga

Category: calling (page 1 of 3)

The Birthday of the World

The Birthday of the World

(as told by Rachel Naomi Remen to Krista Tippett in Becoming Wise)

In the beginning there was only the holy darkness, the Ein Sof, the source of life. In the course of history, at a moment in time, this world, the world of a thousand thousand things, emerged from the heart of the holy darkness as a great ray of light. And then, perhaps because this is a Jewish story, there was an accident, and the vessels containing the light of the world, the wholeness of the world, broke. The wholeness of the world, the light of the world, was scattered into a thousand thousand fragments of light. And they fell into all events and all people, where they remain deeply hidden until this very day.

Now… the whole human race is a response to this accident. We are here because we are born with the capacity to find the hidden light in all events and all people, to lift it up and make it visible once again and thereby to restore the innate wholeness of the world. It’s a very important story for our times. This task is called tikkun olam in Hebrew. It’s the restoration of the world.

And this is, of course, a collective task. It involves all people who have ever been born, all people presently alive, all people yet to be born. We are all healers of the world. That story opens a sense of possibility. It’s not about healing the world by making a huge difference. It’s about healing the world that touches you, that’s around you.

 

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Hope from the Sidelines

Part of our reintegration process includes our family’s adaptation to the life of jr. high football. After spending many years away from coaching, JJ has been reunited with his first love, Todd, (who has been coaching here from the time before JJ began in 2003) and his favorite game. The daily practices and weekly games mean JJ puts in long days, which translates in my own experience of sole parenting for the bulk of the week. Needless to say, I’ve been watching for any signs of fatigue or frustration that I can capitalize on before he signs up for another year. Because I’m thoughtful and considerate and thinking of everyone’s best interests, of course.

So on Tuesday, following quite a debacle of a 7th grade jr. high game, we hosted the 3 coaches for pizza and films. I finally got an ear to their conversations. The outcome of the game was so frustrating it was nearly comical to the men in my kitchen. They watched the key points of the film and began talking strategy.

Unfortunately for the younger of the teams, they haven’t had a lot of wins this year. I heard the conversation begin to change focus on what would keep these boys continuing to come out for football in the future. The coaches verbalized a hope that the boys wouldn’t give up on the game, despite the losses.

At that point, I knew I was loosing a battle for the 3-5 p.m. time slot in August through October. I’m doomed to become a football widow forever and ever, amen.

None of the men in my living room eating pizza and laughing at big hits of the night could necessarily see it, but I did. I could sense the presence of hope living in these jocks.

I asked JJ later, just to confirm my theory, why they wanted kids to keep coming out for the team, even if perhaps the boys aren’t that good. Why even worry about those on the bench? Why the big push to keep a love of the game? (I may have been asking with a slight devil’s advocate prerogative.)

IMG_2427Of course, the coaches love the game of football. Of course, they have some allegiance to their alma mater. Of course they want to see a better program at the higher level. And of course they enjoy the kids and want them to have an experience that makes them better players and instills a passion for the game. Of course. By definition, that’s what coaches do.

If you dig around in the hearts of coaches – at least, the three in my living room – I believe there’s something bigger at play. (I believe there always is.) Something that keeps them on the field at all hours and in extreme temperatures. Something that makes it worth enduring parental phone calls and school politics. Something that keeps them from wives and children during prime hours of the day. And let me tell you from experience, it’s not the money.

I have a hunch that these men want to create a positive football experience for all these kids because deep down they know these kids aren’t done yet. The kids haven’t reached the fullest expression of their potential – both on and off the field.  The coaches know there’s more inside each kid. The eight games of 7th grade football cannot be the barometer of which these boys forecast their lives. 

And where does such hope come from? How do we reach the understanding that no one is finished at 13?  For at least one of the coaches, I believe it comes from understanding God is never done with us. It comes paired with an experience that God hasn’t given up despite some lackluster performances. And no matter the score, God wants us to continue showing up and getting better.

God’s not done with you, so please, please, young guy, don’t be done with you. Don’t measure your worth on this one experience. Give yourself the gift of another chance. And another. And another.

So we, in this house, will give you the gift of a guy who believes you’re worth it. He believes that every player has something to offer, not just on the field but to the world. And not just today but tomorrow as well. I guess, as a family, we’re just as invested in this thing called Hope.

Go Rams.

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When hard things are good things

JJ and I have an amazing opportunity in front of us. We get to move home, close to family, where he can teach in the local schools, as he had hoped those years ago when he decided to change careers into education. We’re excited – only as the stars perfectly aligned did this become a reality. This is a good thing.

Yet, it’s a hard thing.

It’s hard to leave. My friend dropped by with chocolate – and later with cilantro – when she knew I was struggling. I have to leave thoughtful people like this! It’s totally unfair. Our beloved school is only a Troy campus. Our church family. Our small group. My yoga studio. My work.

It’s hard to pack. We’re painting, de-cluttering and staging a house to put on the market with 4 nosy young children. This isn’t just hard, it’s nearly impossible.

It’s hard to find a new home. The size of our family makes us a tad needy in the space department. The size of our income makes us a tad needy in the budget department. And now that I’ve been surrounded with these delightful people who know about beautiful things, I want all of the beautiful things. In fact, I just hung up curtains in my bedroom tonight. DO YOU KNOW HOW FINISHED A ROOM CAN FEEL WITH A SET OF CURTAINS? People, this is valuable information that needs to be shared. Buy all the curtains! Even the cheap ones from IKEA that need hemmed! Hang them on an inexpensive IKEA rod and do a happy dance at the beauty of a properly clothed window!

I digress. Back to the hard things. (Although, cutting in a straight line to hem curtains is HARD for me.)

Part of me, in my early morning festering of woe, wanted to throw in the towel. Should JJ rescind? We could just stay. We can be in a house, with a yard, right here. (WITH BEAUTIFUL CURTAINS, let’s not forget.) Perhaps we made the wrong decision. This is too hard – if it were good, it would be easy, right? Things would happen with rainbows and butterflies and the occasional unicorn. Prices would drop, water softeners would be included in the price and the next 3 months would consist of mimosas with the ladies I love most. That’s how we know when we’re doing the right, the best, the good thing. Right?

Where did we come up with such a philosophy of life? That once a decision starts to cost us something, we’re doing it wrong? If it’s hard, it’s also bad?  These are terrible guides into life. Everything in my life that is worth anything to me has come with a cost. Being married, mothering children, often even my work – they all tend to be hard. But they are good. Beautiful, even. They’re my best offerings to my world. If I took steps away every time it gets a bit challenging, I would be halfway around the world by now, drinking Italian wine and reading old books by the sea. But that’s not good, it’s just easy.

So my mantra now is good things can be hard things. They’re not mutually exclusive. The Easy Button that Staples wants to sell us only rescues us from buying printing supplies. If we start using it with the rest of life, it could end up quite boring. It’s only through engaging challenges that we find out it’s true worth.

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