Summer. It is blazing hot here in Texas. I’ve been on an intentional break from everything except our family. It’s been nice to be off the grid a bit, especially because all the news continues to be so dismal and hard to bear.
I never take a break from journaling or devotional reading. It sustains me. I’ve learned to take my soul care to go, in a bag, so I can journal/read/reflect and pray anywhere. While on break, I loved being at the beach, journaling as the sun rose every day, casting shine and light on the new day.
During my time off, I read Father Richard Rohr’s devotional series inspired by the mystics of Hasidic Judaism. It was a movement that brought a new spirit to the Jews in Poland and Ukraine in the latter half of the 18th century. Rohr writes, the essential message…of early Hasidism is simple, …’the whole earth is full of God’s glory’ (Isaiah 6:3) and the practice: ‘I place God before me always’ (Psalm 16:8). Understand these and you understand Hasidism.
The Hasidic masters pointed out that silent meditation is not an end in itself but something that leads us back to the world of action and interaction. Theologian Martin Buber summarized it in this way, it is a greater thing if the streets of a person’s native town are as bright as the path of heaven. For it is here, where we stand, that we should try to make shine the light of the hidden divine life. (Quoted in Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations, Saturday, July 2, 2022.)
What does Hasidic spirituality have to do with you and me, in the middle of a Texas hot summer when the news around us is mostly bad? Everything. It all comes back to Love and Light. It all comes back to serving where we are. We can’t cure all the world’s ailments. We can’t change decisions beyond us. We can’t fix all the woes we see.
But, we can make our own streets, in our own town as shiny as possible. I’ve come back from my break to the work of our annual community project, the Connect GCISD Back to School Fair, which began in 2011. It is one of the times when we shine brightly on behalf of families in need. To me, this event is as inspiring as a sunrise, bringing Light to the entire community.
Our local school district, Grapevine Colleyville ISD, partners with Connect, an organization which serves students in need in the district. The Grapevine Women’s Division of the Chamber of Commerce, GRACE, Lions Clubs, and other civic organizations, churches and other faith-based organizations, healthcare providers, retail groups, PTAs, retired teachers, police and firefighters and more all put aside differences, come together on a super-hot, action-packed morning and to see and serve these families.
Each year approximately 1400 pre-qualified children receive full age-appropriate school supply packs, brand new backpacks, back to school clothing and so much more.
Do you want to help these Grapevine-Colleyville streets shine? We are accepting donations of new, full size, solid color, high school backpacks beginning July 25, 2022 at the GCISD Central Office, 3501 Ira E. Woods Ave, Grapevine, TX 76051. You can volunteer the day of the fair, Saturday, August 6 from 9-11 a.m. or the day before by emailing me, firstname.lastname@example.org. Do you live far away? Monetary donations earmarked Connect can be given at http://www.gcedfoundation.org.
When times are hot and hard, just shine!
Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three, breast cancer survivor and Mosa to Keller, Pace and River. She is the co-founder of Connect GCISD. To read more blogs, see upcoming speaking events and to sign up for her monthly Inner Circle email resuming in September, go to http://www.drcindyryanblog.com.