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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

526 God chooses to be impotent in the world, entrusting the world to us.

Day 526 Tuesday, August 24th, 20921

Beginner's Heart

Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaks of how the God we worship chooses to be impotent in the world, unless God's work is manifest through the collaboration of human beings. In this, God entrusts the world to us.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaks of how the God we worship chooses to be impotent in the world, unless God's work is manifest through the collaboration of human beings. In this, God entrusts the world to us.

And so the miracle rests with us and IS seldom spectacular, but more the work of humble people choosing to give what they have.

By doing so, we become vehicles of the Divine, not in being a spokesperson for the mind of God—no one can claim that—but more, in being a conduit of the vitality that keeps everything alive. "In this way," the archbishop says, "You may have the chance to wipe tears from the eyes of someone who will then know that they matter, that they are loved." This, he says, is Godly work.

This brings to mind the story of Jeremy who was a likable but odd boy, somewhat of a loner. His parents found it difficult to teach him responsibility. He was forever losing things. He'd come home, having misplaced a new sweater or a knapsack. His' parents tried to discipline him so he would value things, but nothing seemed to work. Once, he came home having lost his sneakers. He just walked in barefoot and went to his room.

When scolded, he shrugged, said he was sorry and that he'd try harder to keep track of his belongings.

Tragically, Jeremy died in an auto accident in his junior year. It was devastating. When his parents attended the school memorial, they were stunned to see hundreds of students show up. One after another spoke of how kind and generous Jeremy was, of how he was always helping others. One boy told how his single mother couldn't afford to buy him shoes and how Jeremy pulled him aside, unlaced his sneakers, and gave them to him.

A girl told how she didn't have a jacket in winter and how Jeremy, seeing her shiver, gave her his sweater. On and on, students stepped forward to pay tribute to this young, quiet conductor of kindness who gave everything away.

His parents were undone, and the students softened to learn of each other. Jeremy, at such a young age, was an anonymous seed.

In some strange way, everyone who had been given something by Jeremy now shared a special friendship. They looked around at each other, like distant relatives, with a quiet eagerness to know each other better.

I thought about changing his name in telling his story, but something caught in my throat at the thought of it. For his name and the name of those like him should be sung into the night.

Jeremy, who, for some reason, didn't hesitate to give anything away. Jeremy, who kept his sacred calling to himself. Jeremy, who, like the sages and saints of the past, taught us that giving creates a bond that makes relatives of strangers. Jeremy, who would vanish into the humble satisfaction of pure giving, like a wave that has done its work softening the shore. Jeremy, Jeremy, Jeremy.

One lesson here is that if you want to discover the bond that exists between all human beings, give freely to anyone you find in need.

Giving freely invokes gratitude. And giving and gratitude, like the two poles of electricity, spark the current of intimacy known as life force, which connects everything. We --could call the place where true giving - generosity, and true gratitude lead us —Beginner's Heart.

Where Beginner's Mind allows us to glimpse the totality of life freshly, Beginner's

Heart allows us to experience that totality, the rush of which has made hardened soldiers cry.

Of course, at their deepest, Beginner’s Mind and Beginner's Heart are one and the same—just different paths to the same center.

And stories such as Jeremy's affirm that generosity and gratitude are never very far from us, we are born with them and carry them under our skin.

if we want to collaborate with God, as Archbishop Tutu suggests, we simply have to give what we have, like Jeremy. Jeremy accepted what he was given – a sweater, a pair of sneakers, and passed it on to those in need. He accepted his place as a carrier of gifts.

It seems we do Godly work when we let things pass through us with love. This is one way we know we have returned to a Beginner's Heart, when we feel the things of life move through us, with our blessing to others.

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