Daily Bread January 01

Fresh-Or Not at All
Katie Harmon-McLaughlin of Sacramento, CA, USA

But the Lord sits enthroned forever,
   he has established his throne for judgement.
He judges the world with righteousness;
   he judges the peoples with equity.
The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,
   a stronghold in times of trouble.
And those who know your name put their trust in you,
   for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.
Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in Zion.
   Declare his deeds among the peoples. -Psalm 9:1-6

Right now is sacred.

I thought that the other day while doing the dishes. I was absorbed in my thoughts, busy with the task, when suddenly a sparkle of light caught my attention out the window. I gazed into the blue sky and watched birds move gracefully among the trees. I was suddenly in my life. I was awake. I was present to what was real in that moment. I was present to God.

These moments don’t happen as often as I would like them to, but when they do, I am wise enough to stop and savor. Oh yes, I think, this is what it is to be alive! The same thing happened today when I dropped my daughter off at daycare. I was in a rush, but I paused to say goodbye and watched her blow me a kiss, and suddenly I really saw her. I saw her for the sacred creation she is. I went back for another kiss. I felt my heart swell with deep love and gratitude that this precious, vibrant person is in my life.

It was in a Literature by Women class in college that I first read Jeanette Winterson and discovered this evocative quote, “The truth is that love needs no saving. It is fresh or not at all. We are fresh and plentiful” (The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women, Vol. 2, p. 1452). It grabbed hold of something deep in me and surfaces from time to time as an important reminder. It is the invitation speaking in my soul as I begin another new year. There is a place for memory and for future dreaming, but life is happening right now. Am I available to what is being freshly given? Divine Love is like the manna in the wilderness. “It is fresh or not at all.” I can’t put it in my pocket and keep it for later, or it will spoil. I must receive it as it is given, or I will miss it…I will miss the sparkle of light out the window, the birds on the branches, my daughter’s vibrant smile.

Make your resolutions. Set your intentions. Breathe deep into this fresh beginning. And when you lose track of what you yearn to be, remember the option of returning again and again to what is freshly given in each moment, just for the exact moment you’re in. You won’t always see it but give thanks when you do! God meets us in each grace-filled moment of awakening and invites us to become fully alive. Right now is sacred. Opportunities for divine love in each moment are “fresh and plentiful.”

Prayer Phrase

“May I open myself to change, to being guided by the Spirit; may I risk the unknown and live into the Mystery!” (Nan C. Merrill, Psalms for Praying, 234)

Spiritual Practice

A New Beginning

Opportunities for new beginnings occur in each moment, day, or year. Even when we feel stuck, the Spirit is always offering an invitation to return to our deeper intention of living life fully with God, others, creation, and our truest selves. Pay attention at the opening of this new year to what feels like a fresh beginning in you. Where is the Spirit inviting you into a new possibility, awareness, or way of being?

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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