TGIF with Ingrid August 24, 2018: Wisdom, Community, and Breath

TGIF with Ingrid

August 24, 2018

Well friends, I took a brief hiatus from writing, but I am back!  Thank you for waiting, for reading, for joining me on this journey.

What I am Trusting

Today I am trusting in the wisdom of the ancients who remind us that there is a time for everything under the sun.  In the Old Testament book Christians call Ecclesiastes (Kohelet for our Jewish friends), there is a reading that might be familiar if you are a church-going Christian or a dyed in the wool Atheist: “for everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die;” (Ecc. 3:1-2, NRSV).  Whether you know it from the Seekers song ‘Turn, Turn, Turn,’ or Bible study 35 years ago, the message is the same.  This week a wonderful and vibrant friend welcomed a brand-new son into the world and a wonderful and vibrant friend took her last breath on this earth.  Life in all it’s fullness. 

 

What I am Grateful For

I feel so blessed by life in community.  To meet a tiny human on his first day and to say goodbye to a woman with faith that could move mountains, to stand graveside with a family in mourning, to laugh in the grocery store with a friend from church remembering a ridiculous moment in the service: this is the stuff of life.  There are so few places other than religious community these days where members from all generations meet, mix, serve, and love together; where we can really know one another, not intimidated by our differences, but celebrating our similarities.

 

What Inspires Me

Today I feel the breath of God outdoors with the relief from the smoke in the Valley.  It is as though all of Creation (me included!) is breathing deeply once more: we can see the blue of the sky, the flowers gaze heavenward, and the trees get a break – they have surely been working overtime.  The word inspire (in·spire inˈspī(ə)r; verb) means to: fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.  As a woman of faith, the fill-er is God, and today God has filled me well with gratitude for the clear skies and prayers of resilience, strength and support for those fighting to contain the fires.

 

How I am Practicing My Faith

By reading the Bible!  I love and hate the Bible.  I love it because of its richness and the depth of wisdom contained in it, because of the beauty of the poetry and the prose, and the real and raw nature of the way our ancestors of praised and cursed God.  I love/hate it because I am constantly challenged to face that which is objectionable within myself, anything in me that gets in the way of my service to God, and actually deal with it so that I can live more fully into my call as a Christian.  And I hate it because there are sometimes I can read a passage that makes me want to stick the whole book in the freezer and not take it out.

 

Today though, after Ecclesiastes came to mind I grabbed my Bible and had a read.  Delicious.  Profound understanding of the realities of our human-ness.  In Ecc. 9:13-18, the author writes of both the wise man (hakham in Hebrew) and wisdom (hokhmah).  The Hebrew word hokhmah can be (and usually is) translated into the English word wisdom, but the Hebrew encompasses a wider understanding than can be held in that one English word.  The Hebrew speaks to a deep inner knowing, made possible through a connection to the Divine.

 

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines wisdom as, “knowledge that is gained by having many experiences in life” and wise as “having or showing wisdom or knowledge usually from learning or experiencing many things.”  Though subtle, this difference is key in recognizing what might colour a modern reader/hearers understanding of this passage (and beyond).

 

I think this subtle difference in understanding is indicative of our hesitation to trust the inner knowing.  This hokhmah is accessible to us all, and yet we separate ourselves from it in the busy-ness of day to day life.  In 9:16, Kohelet states, “Wisdom is better than strength” which a contemporary reader might understand as “experience is better than strength.”  And while said reader might be more comfortable with that understanding, it misses the underlying connection to the deep inner knowing inherent in hokhmah

 

So then I wonder, what deep inner knowing do I follow today?  And what am I willfully choosing to ignore?

 

Photo credit: © Vancouver Island Landscapes