One of the joys of going on retreat is that I take the time to read the notes and reflections that I keep in the pages of my Bible. I tend to tuck things into my Bible that I want to preserve—notes of gratitude, pictures of special events, prayer requests and reflection notes from past retreats.
Flipping through my Bible this week, I came across two notes that particularly spoke to me. The first said:
Remember the five simple rules to be happy:
- Free your heart from hatred.
- Free your mind from worries.
- Live simply.
- Give more.
- Expect less.
Seemingly so simple, but any one of these five can trip me up. I decided to make a copy of this slip of paper and put it on my refrigerator so I can read it more often and be reminded of how simple it can be to be happy. I also tucked the original back into my Bible to be rediscovered at a later date.
The second reflection was in my friend Jim’s handwriting, and it said:
This is the beginning of a new day.
God has given me this day to use as I will.
I can waste it or use it for God.
What I do today is very important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it.
When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving something in its place I have traded for it.
I want it to be
good not evil
success not failure,
in order that I shall not forget the price I paid for it.
The morning meditation I am using for my retreat this year includes a similar reflection about looking at the twenty-four hours that are before me as an invitation and a gift—a day I have never lived before, a gift of twenty-four hours stretching out before me, inviting me to live each moment intentionally, fully awake, aware and present.
It is a good way to start every day.
And at the end of the day, I can look back with gratitude for all the gifts and blessings I was open to receive.
Do you keep little treasures in your Bible?
How do you prepare for the day? How do you review your day to gather the gifts that were presented to you?
Each day after Evening Prayer we have a common time of recollection to assess where we saw God present and where we felt God absent. It’s a good way to end the daylight hours. I want to develop more in my Morning Prayer to watch for the blessings ahead. Ond ay this week, I tried to notice every kindness around me. I saw 4 before Breakfast. Then, I lost count. It was a great practice.
Paying attention can be life-changing. Especially when I feel I have “COVID-brain” and am not fully focused, paying attention helps me to catch glimpses of holiness all around me. Thanks, Anne Marie.
Madeline…I love the 5 simple rules of being happy! Very true and inspiring!
Thanks, Susan. Living them is something else again, but I keep trying.