When I turned 70 in April 2017, I decided to write 70 blog posts as a thanks-be-to-God for the life I have been given. As you know, I named this series of blogs A Nourished Spirit. At the behest of various readers, I’ve now selected 26 of those first 70 blogs and published them in a little book, along with some of Sam Steiner’s blog photos.
This project fascinated and occupied me for most of the summer. I read over my first 70 blogs, making successive piles of “yes,” “no,” and “maybe.” As I read, I noticed that God’s nourishment throughout my life has often come in the simplest of ways, through very earthy means.
Once I got down to 26 blogs – or nearly – I re-edited them and organized them by categories, rather than in the random way I created them week by week.
For the beauty of the earth, #89 in Hymnal: A Worship Book (HWB), was Sam and my wedding hymn, and it provides the template for the first several sections of the book. The hymn names family, friends, nature, culture and church as sources of nourishment, doorways to the holy, and prompts for praise.
The next section of the book describes selected spiritual practices which open me to God. A phrase from my theme song, My life flows on (#580 in HWB), gives shape to the book’s final section.
I’m grateful for the interaction with blog readers over the past 18 months, and for those who responded to my reflection questions. I’ve included the questions in my book, hoping readers will receive my reflections as a springboard to your own.
My life took an unexpected turn when I was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic lung cancer in November 2017. I’m grateful that I could continue with my weekly blogs, meeting my goal of posting 70 of them. Now I’m at #79, and I’m not ready to stop yet!
I’ve found that having cancer strangely heightens my nourishment and joy in cousins, in my niece and nephews and their spouses, and in old friends. It heightens my nourishment and joy as I walk through Rockway Gardens across the street or drive through Old Order Mennonite country or gaze at the ever-changing sky from our 10th floor condo windows.
Br. Paul Quenon, a fellow monk with Thomas Merton, reflects on life writing in his recent memoir, In Praise of the Useless Life: A Monk’s Memoir. He says of his book, “These reflections and stories about my life are another way of being present to my life intentionally. Not in order to relive it, but to re-create it as a form of celebration.”(p.132).
May it be so with me.
Question for Reflection:
By what simple or earthy means has God’s nourishment come to you throughout your life?
The Daily Scrabble Game
To Order A Nourished Spirit: Selected Blogs
To order a copy of the book in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, email steiner.sam (at) gmail.com (replace the (at) with @) to arrange for delivery. The book cost is $20 Cdn.
To order a copy of the book from the USA, the book cost is $20.00 US plus $8.00 postage for a total of $28.00. Email steiner.sam (at) gmail.com for our mailing address if you wish to send a check, or to find out how to pay with a credit card through PayPal.
To order a copy of the book from Canada outside the K-W area, email steiner.sam (at) gmail.com. The book cost is $20 Cdn plus postage ($4.10 for first class mail). Payment can be by cheque, PayPal or e-transfer if you have a bank or credit union account that provides this feature.