Our Neighbor

“The hardest spiritual work in the world is to love the neighbor as the self—to encounter another human being not as someone you can use, change, fix, help, save, enroll, convince or control, but simply as someone who can spring you from the prison of yourself, if you will allow it.” —Barbara Brown Taylor in An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith (HarperOne. 2010).

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Our older son takes his daughter to high school each day on his way to work. If they have some extra time, they stop at their favorite coffee or smoothie haunt and have a cup of coffee or hot chocolate or smoothie together. I am thinking what a treasure it can be to have a few minutes a day with one of your parents, and maybe even share a cup of your favorite comfort drink. They are both introverts, so they may not say much; but each offers the other a presence in this one-on-one experience, and a chance to get to know each other a little better.

I grew up in a small town with amazing neighbors. Mrs. Rick, a widow with pearl-white hair, lived across the street in a house that seemed huge at the time. One of our neighbors on Second Street had to move away for physical reasons. Mrs. Rick then started walking at 9:00 every morning for seven blocks from Second Street to Ninth Street, up to Riddle’s Drug Store, to meet this neighbor for coffee. Our next-door neighbor, Paul, cut Mrs. Rick’s grass every week.

I have a friend who calls me every morning. Most people are too busy working to call or talk to one person a day on a regular basis and see it as a as pure gift.

These are the kinds of relationships that work best to “spring” us from ourselves. We don’t have to pretend anymore. If we allow such intimacy, these people are permitted to learn who we really are. When we are with them we begin to let down our mask and start becoming the person God created us to be.

Joanna joannaseibert.com

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Release party!!!!!!!!!!! TOMORROW

Come and get a signed copy of the new book

Just in time for the holidays

A Spiritual Rx for Advent Christmas, and Epiphany

The Sequel to A Spiritual Rx for Lent and Easter

Both are $18

All Money from sale of the books goes either to Camp Mitchel Camp and Conference Center in Arkansas or Hurricane Relief in the Diocese of Central Gulf Coast

Seibert’s, 27 River Ridge Road, Little Rock, Arkansas 72227

10 to noon, Saturday September 14, 2019

RSVP joannaseibert@me.com


Merton: Third Step Prayer

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me.. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. ... And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost..

—Thomas Merton in Thoughts in Solitude (1956).

Fork in the Road . Camp McDowell

Fork in the Road . Camp McDowell

I share many prayers with spiritual friends, and this is one of my favorites. I especially love to pray it along with friends who are in the process of discerning how to become the person God created them to be: when deciding on a vocation, making life-changing decisions, or just trying to live in the present, one day at a time.

This prayer has similarities to the Third Step Prayer (p. 63 in Alcoholics Anonymous: The Big Book): “God, I offer myself to Thee—to build with me and do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of Life. May I do Thy will always.”

Both of these are prayers of surrender to each day, to whatever God puts in front of us each day.

Joanna joannaseibert.com

adventfront copy.png

Release party!!!!!!!!!!!

Come and get a signed copy of the new book

Just in time for the holidays

A Spiritual Rx for Advent Christmas, and Epiphany

The Sequel to A Spiritual Rx for Lent and Easter

Both are $18

All Money from sale of the books goes either to Camp Mitchel Camp and Conference Center in Arkansas or Hurricane Relief in the Diocese of Central Gulf Coast

Seibert’s, 27 River Ridge Road, Little Rock, Arkansas 72227

10 to noon, THIS Saturday September 14, 2019

RSVP joannaseibert@me.com


Our Twilight Zone

“There is a twilight zone in our own hearts that we ourselves cannot see. Other people, especially those who love us, can often see our twilight zones better than we ourselves can. The way we are seen and understood by others is different from the way we see and understand ourselves.” —Henri Nouwen in Bread for the Journey (HarperSanFrancisco, 1997).

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I do believe it is not a coincidence that certain people come into our lives. I remember Catherine Marshall talking about praying for patience; and soon afterwards she happened to hire the slowest housekeeper. I learned about homosexuality from so many gay friends, especially Richard and Terry and Joe, as I walked beside them through their struggles. I became aware of the depth, love, and concern for others present in those of the Muslim faith among my radiology residents and partners, especially Sadaf and her family.

These are all people I already loved. Today I am getting just a little hint that I also have much to learn from the “difficult” people who come onto my path. Over and over I know I am being taught by them about forgiveness; for I know if I cannot forgive the harm they have brought to my life, I continue to let them hurt me. Slowly I also am admitting my part: my character defects, my sins, my hubris, my self-centeredness that contributed to the difficult situation.

As I meet with friends for spiritual direction, we often discuss what lessons we believe God is teaching us in our contact with each person with whom our lives intersect—whether it be a joyful or difficult experience. Again, this is how we gain the courage to deal with that twilight zone in ourselves and in others that Nouwen describes.

The sacred place where God heals us is in our solidarity—especially as we enlarge our community and take down fences and walls.

Joanna. Joannaseibert.com

adventfront copy.png

Release party!!!!!!!!!!!

Come and get a signed copy of the new book

Just in time for the holidays

A Spiritual Rx for Advent Christmas, and Epiphany

The Sequel to A Spiritual Rx for Lent and Easter

Both are $18

All Money from sale of the books goes either to Camp Mitchel Camp and Conference Center in Arkansas or Hurricane Relief in the Diocese of Central Gulf Coast

Seibert’s, 27 River Ridge Road, Little Rock, Arkansas 72227

10 to noon, THIS Saturday September 14, 2019

RSVP joannaseibert@me.com