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Brace Yourself by Laying It Down

Dear Kaleid Ladies,


How was your August? We truly hope you enjoyed the quotes and images from the August emails as we took some weeks to rest from our longer musings and to consider what is next in the Kaleid community. 


Be on the lookout for a separate series of emails (starting today at noon!) about three Kaleid opportunities for this fall that we are calling Kaleid Circles. We are eager to get back to it and “do Kaleid” with you!


Today we open a new blog series that we are calling “brace yourself.” Because, honestly, if you’re not holding your breath, gripping the sides of the chair, and gritting your teeth a bit in this season, you may not be human. (Which is another issue altogether, and we’re not going into the whole question of extraterrestrial things here today, because we’ve got enough crazy in the headlines.)


Elections, pandemics, and racial reckonings are our trifecta of disturbances of the peace at the macro, cultural scale. Frustrated conversations, doing everything from home, and feelings of impotent grief are just a few of the ways we may be experiencing these disturbances on a micro, personal level.


And so we brace ourselves, never really exhaling, never really relaxing, never really letting go. We just press on to do it all again tomorrow and hope the sun will at least be out and that the dog (or small human) will not make a mess on the rug. 


If this is our reality, if we are going to be bracing ourselves, those of us at Kaleid would at least like to consider what it means to do so with an eye toward growth. To brace ourselves in a way that we are actually fortifying ourselves, with intentionality and grace. And so this seems like a very good time to learn from our civil rights heroes. To listen to the wisdom of the people who lived months, years, and lifetimes inside of macro and micro disturbances that were out of their control but always in their view.


Howard Thurman is an often overlooked architect of the civil rights movement in America. He was a pastor, a mystic, a scholar, and a trailblazer in the mid 20th century. His prayers capture a deep understanding of God’s character and care, human frailty and resilience, and the power of connecting with the spiritual in tangible ways. And so, in the coming weeks, we will use his prayers as a way to consider how to brace ourselves well in this cultural moment.


Today we brace ourselves by laying down our “little lives, our big problems,” recognizing that surrender and release are key spiritual opportunities, but that the practice itself can be far easier said than done. 


To learn to open our hands and let go of our own incompetence and distraction and let it be swept up in the spirit of the grace of God through the love of Jesus and the power of the Spirit is a worthy, undergirding, hearty, but challenging practice for this day. 


Our invitation to you is to read this poem and then consider spending ten minutes in silence with God, in an open physical posture, picturing yourself laying all of the big problems of your little life on the altar of God, in surrender and in trust. You are seen, known, loved, and held. 


OUR LITTLE LIVES


Our little lives, our big problems—these we place upon Your altar!

The quietness in Your temple of silence again and again rebuffs us:

For some there is no discipline to hold them steady in the waiting,

And the minds reject the noiseless invasion of Your spirit.

For some there is no will to offer what is central in the thoughts—

The confusion is so manifest, there is no starting place to take hold.

For some the evils of the world tear down all concentrations

And scatter the focus of the high resolves.

We do not know how to do what we know to do.

We do not know how to be what we know to be.

Our little lives, our big problems—these we place upon Your altar!

Pour out upon us whatever our spirits need of shock, of life, of release

That we may find strength for these days—

Courage and hope for tomorrow.

In confidence we rest in Your sustaining grace

Which makes possible triumph in defeat, gain in loss, and love in hate.

We rejoice this day to say:

Our little lives, our big problems—these we place upon Your altar!

(Howard Thurman)


Together, we relax our hands, open our hearts, and brace ourselves through the ironic and paradoxical strength of surrender. 


Blessings,


The Kaleid Team


P.S. Look for us in your inbox at noon today to find out about Kaleid Circle #1: Being Pro-Life! Tomorrow you’ll learn about Kaleid Circle #2: Contemplative Mornings. Friday you’ll learn about Kaleid Circle #3: Packing Food Boxes. We can’t wait to be together again! 



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