Blogging, Education, Environment, Faith, Family, Fate, Fulbright Program, Holidays, Living in Hawaii, Marathon training and running, Middle Age, Philanthropy, Poetry, Quakerism, Teaching, Teenagers, Vincent van Gogh, Writing
It’s been a while since my last post that I had written last week before the Thanksgiving holiday.
My students and I had finished composing a poem based on Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night, striving to understand the light in van Gogh’s painting, and sharing the Light with others to inspire hope. The poem and the creativity of teenagers who at my request are forbidden to look at their phones while we write together carried us all into the thick of holiday season.
And then the unexpected occurred. I took a picture of our group poem with my phone which I have had for only two years. (I thought I could make it through life without one just like I have never owned a credit card.) The burst of light that came through on the picture shown on this post was due to how I held my phone — or was it?
As a Quaker, the theme of Light carries me every day. I believe in miracles.
But I also believe you have to be open and allow them to happen.
It takes courage to do so. And sometimes a little effort.
When I lived in a monastery in my early 20s, I joined the community of monks to begin praying at 4 a.m. They had told me that there was less noise at that hour and God could hear more clearly.
But what was I doing in a monastery in my early 20s?
I had received a Fulbright scholarship and taught in a monastic school in Austria in the mornings and studied at the University of Vienna in the afternoons. The monks invited me to join their community.
It was a miracle I had received a Fulbright. I’m not brilliant. But I put myself out there, applied for one, and, as the miracle drew nearer, allowed myself to believe.
It changed my life. I had wanted to be a writer for Sports Illustrated. Instead, I moved to Austria, later worked at an embassy, and, after moving back to the United States, became a philanthropy professional.
Luckily, I’m also able to teach a few classes and luckily, the teenagers who sign up for them open up about their dreams and hopes.
My message to them: keep one foot rooted in what you need to accomplish every day, and let the other foot move high above the ground as you reach for more. Miracles really do happen.