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The Molecules of God: A Beautiful Reader Thought . . . and why it’s so important to me

Many of us in the blog-o-sphere must have our mothers to thank for being our first readers. Some things don’t change much. I find putting up a blog post, in some ways, to be like toiling over a drawing back in early childhood, head tucked down close to the paper (the screen), agonizing over every line, every shadow (every word, every phrase), feeling a swelling of pride when it is finished, holding my breath and lifting the creation up for all to see (in this case, pressing that big blue Publish button).

Pressing that publish button – it’s an act of faith, hope, creation, sharing, ego. Every time I do it, I know that what I’ve agonized over is unlikely to be read by more than a handful of my closest acquaintances. And the stats playfully confirm it, too: the map lights up – “Oh, my friends and family in the U.S. are online! There’s my smattering of friends in Canada. Ahh, my lone friend in Australia has read my post! Why so many visits from China? Hmmm…do I know someone in Estonia?”

Next there’s a nagging nibbling at the back of my mind: I really should be doing something more productive with my time. . . like making my children breakfast. My handful of friends and family are going to get sick of seeing these blog posts pop up over and over again. Or, worse, those aren’t my friends and family at all, but just a smattering of joyless, thoughtless, hunting bots crawling across the vast digital content of this planet!!!

But then, Mom tacks the drawing up onto the refrigerator and makes me feel great about it. Or . . . in this adult version . . . she shares a kind comment or a repost to her friends on Facebook. Validation!!!

My Mom and I live far from each other. Mom’s satellite internet connection sucks so video calls are just an exercise in screen-freezing torture and “what-was-that-you-cut-out” frustration. So we don’t talk that often. My parents don’t like to travel, and I’m in that stage of life where I have extremely limited time and funds to travel, so we see each other even less. The opportunities to feel supported by each other and to share ideas and thoughts are few, and I hate to say it, but for me, often my experience of family love relative to my parents and brother and sister is more an intellectual exercise in knowing it exists than an experiential state of feeling and sharing love together. Distance, time, travel funds — such is the reality we live in.

Which makes Mom’s comments on my posts even more meaningful to me. There aren’t that many opportunities to explore thoughts and contemplations with my Mom. Unfortunately, that in turn means, there aren’t that many opportunities to discover her, to grow to know her, as a more complete and complex individual than just “my mother.” When those opportunities arise, they are precious.

So today, Mom’s comment was extra wonderful. It wasn’t just a kind or supportive one, a pinning of my drawing to the fridge. It was her own really beautiful contemplation on where God might be seen and found in this world, a comment that entices a deeper, richer contemplation of where “God,” where meaning, might be unexpectedly discovered and enjoyed in the most mundane-seeming aspects of our lives. But more importantly to me, it’s a comment that reveals a little glimpse into the universe of thought and consideration going on inside of her – a small window of connection that allows me to know her better. My mother sharing her own drawing back to me.

It seems to me, and I’m sure to many of you, that perhaps the simplest and also most profound way we can live a better life and make the world a better place is to strive to live love. But I don’t think we can truly love if we do not seek to richly know and understand others. Love may not require proximity in geography, or a requisite number of annual visits, but it does require connection, at least in thought if not in person. One of my hopes in starting this blog, compared to my previous blogs, is that it might, over time, become more conversational and be more than just me sharing my random thoughts into the world. I hope it might be a point of connection, and that others will share their ideas (hit the Comments or the Contact Me!), their testimonies if you will, on finding meaning, love, and God in little things and in connection with others.

So here it is, the first guest post from Mom:

[The idea of] looking for God in the small moments of our lives reminded me of something I heard Neil deGrasse Tyson say on the radio:

“There are more molecules of water in a cup of water than cups of water in all the world’s oceans.” and “There are more molecules of air in a single breath of air than there are breaths of air in Earth’s entire atmosphere.”

Those were mind-blowing ideas for me. So that, combined with [this post], made me think: I imagine people who climb mountains, when they reach the summit, can see the face of God all around them. But since I’m not a person who climbs mountains it’s good to be reminded that God is also in every molecule of breath we inhale and in the trickle of water going down our throats.

And it follows then, that there is communion in words shared upon the breath, whether they be from the great minds that have lived before or among us or on words whispered to each other by exhausted parents before they give in to the rest they need. And while there is communion in meals shared by dignitaries as they discuss ways to solve great problems on the earth, so too there is communion in the glass of water being handed to a thirsty child.

~Joyce Libal

Thank you, Mom, for tacking my drawing up onto the refrigerator, for participating in this conversation, for making the thoughts richer, deeper, and more beautiful, and for sharing with others.

Here are two cool guys doing something good:

So amazing and inspiring. To have an idea, and then seize on it and bring it into the world, so admirable! These guys are doing something wonderful to inspire and make the world a better place!

Bikes Philosophy

Arthur and Bruno.

Passionate travelers and bicycle lovers.

We know each other since elementary school and our paths crossed many times:
We played together in the same football team and we have also been bitter opponents.

in the last years, for a series of events, we discovered to share the same passion for cycling, that’s why we decided to open this blog in which we promote a healthy and sustainable way of living, traveling and exercising.
Obviously this madness started from a joke!
We were talking about bike culture in The Netherlands and the beauty of their cycle paths so we decided to challenge ourselves to something that we never did before: a short trip from Amsterdam to Utrecht and back via some little towns along the road.
We weren’t really prepared, but 50km a day can be do-able for everyone.
It was a great experience that…

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Beauty in Aging

Lately I am contemplating the unexpected discovery – gift – that there is so much joy in getting older. If you had asked me five years ago, I likely would have expressed nothing but frustration with my youth and what I would expect to be my best years for health and energy; years that seem to be slipping away with so little (from my perspective) accomplished.

But now I am discovering (and wishing someone had told me!!!), that getting older is AMAZING. Reaching a point of accumulated experience, beginning to feel some learning, some knowledge, and some conviction around evolving beliefs and personal discoveries, benefiting from the larger experience and wisdom of others, and actually being in a stage of life that allows me to more fully understand, appreciate, and respect where that wisdom comes from: these are great gifts!

I have begun shifting from a feeling of frustration with aging and lack of accomplishment to great enthusiasm, anticipation, and determination for the second half of my life.

I so hope I will be lucky enough to live many, many more days, for even as health and energy decline, I know they will be replaced by knowledge, experience, and a greater understanding of what is truly important to do with this limited time and limited energy. And this, in turn, makes me even more determined to be good to myself, good to my body, and build health, strength, and stamina, so that the best possible, most productive life, can be lived as long as possible. So that even as I age and grow less able physically, I will grow more able mentally and still be able to accomplish, to do. As the children grow older and the daily needs of this stage of life lessen somewhat, I am looking forward to greater time to learn and greater freedom and abilities to contribute to my community, to needs in the world, and to my own personal interests.

So now all of you who are twenty years older than me may be saying, “Ha! You young naive thing! See if you still feel this way when all the aches and pains start setting in!!!” And I’m sure you are right. It will be harder and harder to live with the conviction that aging is wonderful the further that aging progresses. Nevertheless, I see there is tremendous value in it and a tremendous amount to seize and look forward to.

And perhaps the best thing of all, so far, about this aging journey and discovery: understanding that there is this value and hope ahead is allowing me, increasingly, to let go of the frustration I feel in my current circumstances and stage of life, and instead focus on the beauty and joy in the children, the work, the needs, and the fleeting nature of this moment, as it is, right now.

Why I’m Here

This past Sunday, our minister shared this quote from Writing for Your Life by Deena Metzler:

“Stories move in circles. They don’t move in straight lines. So it helps if you listen in circles. There are stories inside stories and stories between stories, and finding your way through them is as easy and hard as finding your way home. And part of the finding is getting lost. And when you’re lost, you start to look around and listen.”

This blog will be a project in getting lost, going in circles, listening, and story telling.

For the last two years, I have consistently felt more restricted, more without agency, than at any other point in my life thus far. As a working-mother-partner-nearing-forty, I know I’m far from alone in this feeling. Life must be sustained = we need money = we must work. Work demands our talents, energy, and attention. Children demand, well, everything, so they can grow and flourish. Our partners, if we have them, still need our love, compassion, and engagement, even when we have no energy to give it. We need time, inspiration, restoration for ourselves. This seems the stage of life where all of the needs and dirt of the world are on us, and there is no time for rest and certainly to time for personal desires and interests.

And in this morass of frustration, and desperation, and exhaustion, a thread keeps spinning me back to the idea that this is where the opportunity lies. This is the place where you really come to understand that meaning truly is in the little things, that life is in the present moment, that all that could be found only can be found right in this thing right now, that it’s only in the dirt of this world that things can grow in this world, and that if God exists in anything, God exists in everything, and if, by the end of my life, I want to have felt any meaning, any purpose, any God, in the life I was lucky enough to be born into, I need to find it in the universe of this infinite, ungraspable, vibrating, spiralling moment.

So This God Project, at least today, is about sharing a journey in contemplating and discovering the God, the everything, in everything.