In Sweet Company

“Saint Brendan said, ‘You are the veil that hides the paradise you seek.’ Each of us has our own veil that keeps the immanent God, the greening power of God, the God who wants to birth Herself in us, hidden.”  — Lauren Artress, IN SWEET COMPANY: CONVERSATIONS WITH EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN ABOUT LIVING A SPIRITUAL LIFE

If you’re like me, the temptation to let the mind and heart become embroiled in an eternally inflated Things To Do list looms large during the holiday season. Every year I lose mySelf in my desire to bring tidings of comfort and joy to my masses. I shlep, I drag my bones from one modern-day temple of materialism to another, searching for just the right gift for everyone on my list until the sum total of my efforts breaches my reserves and incinerates my nervous system. No visions of sugar plums dance, then, in this girl’s head.

I really do know better. I know “stuff” can’t buy happiness. I know it’s the little things, the simple things, the unexpected kindnesses and the deepening awareness of God that brings lasting comfort and joy. I simply cannot buy with plastic what I really want to give my loved ones — the feeling that fills my heart when I sing “Silent Night.” That sense of wonder and calm too often gets buried under all the sparkle and glitz. 

Lines from an old Taj Mahal song pop into my head: “Remember the feeling as a child, when you woke up and morning smiled. It’s time, it’s time, to feel that way again.” I’m putting this on the top of my Things To Do list. This will help keep God close. If I shop till I drop, I will hitch a ride home with Her.
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