At the start of 2013, I shared a rather odd thing that I would include as Number 11 on my “Bucket List.” It is “meeting the Dalai Lama.” (If you really need to know why this United Methodist Pastor would desire such a meeting – well, read the original post here.) For the purpose of this post, a year has come and gone and I have not met him.
I have, however, been reading little snippets of wisdom from a calendar “Insight from the Dalai Lama.” It’s one of those “page-a-day” calendars that I often times found myself reading a week at a time in order to get caught up. So much for my ability to be in the moment.
Despite my less than methodical trod through this year’s wisdom from a Buddhist monk, I found many gems along the way. I would have to say that two from the last week have spoken to me in ways that made me think about my Christian life in very different ways.
The first was the offering from the day after Christmas [marked as Kwanzaa begins (USA), Boxing Day (Canada, NZ, UK, Australia – except SA), St. Stephen’s Day (Ireland), Proclamation Day (Australia-SA) – who knew the day after Christmas was anything but “Holiday-Merchandise-Is-Now-50%-Off Day!”]. That day’s offering is a prayer that I have found myself praying each day since I first read it:
“May I become at all times, both now and forever
A protector for those without protection
A guide for those that have lost their way
A ship for those with oceans to cross
A bridge for those with rivers to cross
A sanctuary for those in danger
A lamp for those without light
A place of refuge for those who lack shelter
And a servant to all in need.”
I read that and was reminded of a story that Eugene Lowry once told about doing a children’s sermon. He asked all the kids to sit down with him and said, “I have a special friend. I have a special friend that lives in my back yard. I have a special friend that lives in my back yard and likes to eat nuts. I have a special friend that lives in my back yard, likes to eat nuts, and has a bushy tail. Does anyone know who my friend is?”
One tentative hand went up and a child said, “I know that the answer is supposed to be Jesus, but it sure does sound like a squirrel to me.”
I read the Dalai Lama’s prayer and I knew it was supposed to be Buddhist, but I couldn’t help it, it sure sounded like Jesus to me.
Maybe it has been because of that prayer that when I read today’s offering – the final one on the calendar – I found myself becoming both reflective about the past and extremely hopeful about the future. I think that is a good way to be on New Year’s Eve. Here it is. I hope it says something to you.
“Time passes unhindered. When we make mistakes, we cannot turn the clock back and try again. All we can do is use the present well.”
Hmmm…sound like another squirrel to me.
Happy New Year! Thanks for reading! “Live in the present well” with me in 2014!