Wednesday, First Week of Advent
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
This time of year is often a time of excess. Watching TV and seeing ads for Black Friday sales overwhelms me. The idea of cooking for a large group of people (no matter how wonderful they are) overwhelms me. And exams, final papers, and projects… I just feel like I get a little bit lost around this time of year.
I get lost in the sense of “buried” under a pile of work, or rushing around to fulfill perceived obligations to others, but also in the sense of losing myself within myself. I have a tendency to shut down a little bit and I have to be more intentional about checking in with myself and not closing myself off. Stay open: walk with my head up on Martin’s Way, enjoy the way the campus looks and smells fresh before the snow, be grateful that I am able to receive this phenomenal education and in that vein, do my work respectfully. I get to be here!
This reading from William Ellery Channing has always grounded me. I hope it does the same for you.
To live content with small means
to seek elegance rather than luxury,
and refinement rather than fashion,
to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich,
to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly,
to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart,
to bear all cheerfully,
do all bravely,
await all occasions
hurry never —
in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious,
grow up through the common.
This is to be my symphony.
—Libby Chamberlin ‘14