LONGING TO MOVE FORWARD – PART I

I don’t know what the statistics are, but all of us on this journey of life find ourselves at times, longing to move forward. I’ve been told that for many this begins as a tiny seed, and that, as Mary Poppins would say …  is a very good place to start.

A life well-lived is a life that is fluid. A life in motion. A life that matters. A life that is meaning filled. We all can find ourselves stuck from time to time and that can, in itself, serve as that tiny seed which is longing for what I will call the newness of life. Over the course of our living, we all break away (I hope) from the posture of static which is oftentimes a result of our own (so let’s own it) doing. Who wants to stand still while life is passing them by? Perhaps no one. But let’s be honest… the longing to move forward with life is subject to us breaking away from the distractions of life. And that ain’t easy for most folk.

Several years ago I did a sermon series (I prefer message series) which began with this title; Making A Move. That title, from my perspective, was and is a way to transition which of course is the first step to leave where you have been in order to go where you long for. Where we were may not have been a bad place, but it had ceased to be a place where we knew we were becoming. To become is a value all of us desire to accomplish because it reminds us we are not just alive, but that we are advancing in our aliveness!

The famous female painter Georgia O’Keeffe wrote that; Interest is the most important thing in life; happiness is temporary, but interest is continuous. What you and I are interested in should move us long enough to capture us and create in us the agency of becoming. It is in some way akin to Jesus’ point in John’s Gospel that he had come that we may have life and have it to the full. 

I stop, not always of my own accord, but often out of the sense that these words of 

Jesus clearly seem to announce a life which I have at times lost touch with. Indeed, we live in a world that competes for every second of our attention and Jesus can get lost for weeks out there.

Now, to be sure, there are some of you who are reading this post who are about to move to another screen. Please don’t. I want to ask all of us a question. What do you think it means to be offered a life that is full or a life that is abundant? You can answer this as a mental exercise right now. And in answering you might discover some things privately about your current journey, about who you are becoming.

When we seek to move forward in our lives, I am assuming we are focused on becoming more than we were. In other words, there is a point to our movement forward. What I am going to call “more ness.” I’ve read that given the opportunity to be different, most of us will choose to be like everyone else. Sociologist and Psychologist spend their careers expounding on why this is true. More on that in Part II.

Looking forward to the next installment and hoping you’ll be back. Here’s where we’ll pick up. Most people in your network aren’t interested in WHAT you DO, however, they are deeply interested in WHY you DO IT. Oh, and believe me, this will all pull together!

See you first of the week. 

MC

ANOTHER VOTE FOR SIMPLICITY !

From: Common Prayer

A Liturgy For Ordinary Radicals

A couple of guys I like to follow and read are the authors of the above noted book. I happened to be reviewing it last week as I prepared for our new onlinePrayer Component (PC) which began this morning at Life Community. 

As some of you know, during these days of sheltering in place, I am focusing on letting go of stuff that really brings little if any real life into my life. Some of you are doing this as well, by saying goodbye to old habits that, quite frankly, you have outgrown. And hopefully, exploring new alternatives which fit you and the real life you have chosen to pursue.

One of the things you may be discovering is a symbiotic sense of your heart and mind getting on the same page. That congruency signals growth and maturity when we are serious about building a life that draws in the significant and meaningful matters of a real life. Strangely, you’ll know you are heading in that direction when the habits you have engaged replace the stuff you once thought would bring you all you could desire.

So, this morning we opened our Life Community Prayer Component and for those who participated there was this sense of, “Wow, I didn’t expect for this twenty minute PC to be so useful!” Actually, its usefulness is found in its focus on God and our friends and neighbors, in the midst of this pandemic. 

It’s amazing where our hearts and minds end up when we face unsettling times. Read below the short paragraph from Shane Claiborne and Johnathan Wilson-Hartgrove

Major Life Transition  Lord, help me now to unclutter my life to organize myself in the direction of simplicity. Lord, teach me to listen to my heart; teach me to welcome change, instead of fearing it. Lord, I give you these stirrings inside me. I give you my discontent. I give you my restlessness. I give you my doubt. I give you my despair, I give you all the longings I hold inside. Help me to listen to these signs of change, of growth; help me to listen seriously and follow where they lead through the breathtaking empty space of an open door.

MC

Judges, Jeopardy and Joining the Cause

I had hoped to write on my blog about last months court hearing and update on the court date our family and friends went through on March 12th. The second defendant in the killing of my son Bryan Cooke and the shooting of me, appeared in court to face a plea deal of Voluntary Manslaughter. Unfortunately I am still trying to make sense of the Judge’s confusing sentencing. While I asked the State of South Carolina represented by the Ninth Circuit Solicitor’s Office to give me an explanation immediately following the sentencing on March 12th, I have heard NOTHING a month later… crickets? Not surprising, and I am sending a second request by mail to see what, if anything the Solicitors office discovered on our behalf??

It was the day following our court hearing that Coronavirus seemed to finally invade our lives in earnest. Discouragement followed by even more discouragement. How have you been weathering this worldwide pandemic here’s several questions to open this blog with which have impacted all of us at some level of concern this past month.

1st – Have you been reading about how to keep yourself safe from contracting the Coronavirus?

2nd – Have you been watching the 24/7 channels where you can get what they all refer to as Breaking News about Covid-19?

3rd – Have you come to agree that sheltering in place does save lives?

4th – Have you been frightened (at some level) by what you see and hear of this Pandemic?

For most of us, the unknown can, at times, create anxiety.

Self preservation can be a good thing. Two years ago I was hell bent on preserving my own life when an 18 year old fired four shots from a .40 caliber pistol four feet away from my body. Surviving became the only thing I could think of to act on. It reminds me of the hoarders we’ve been reading about. Perhaps you have run into one at the local grocer these past several weeks. Hoarders often find themselves in what can only be described as a sort of pretend survival mode.

Then there are people who are far more drawn to the activity of acquiring information today which, given new circumstances about this contagion, can change markedly by tomorrow.
“Well” you say, of course the info can change but is it really “IT” (the Breaking News) that is changing or is it “US” who are not changing. In a country initially asked to self quarantine, we’ve now been told to shelter in place, orders to hopefully save others and hopefully ourselves from contamination. An order focused on reducing the curve.

I can’t believe I am writing and posting a blog about this. The vast majority of us awaken to a surreal world which is anything but a pretend world. While it’s hard to shake, we all know it is real in spite of the talking heads who can’t control their own conspiracy theories devoid of reality.

When I use the word world here I am envisioning you and me because in times like this, surviving here and now seems primary if in fact the World is to survive. Seriously, what can we do in our smaller, lower case worlds that we have yet to do out of inconvenience?

We Americans, who have lived lives of convenience for all these many years we’ve been in the World (at least this American has), now confront an internal existential threat to ourselves; can we suffer through the inconvenience this Pandemic requires of us?

I want to say, “we’ll see”, but right now that’s not at all helpful given the increasing number of human beings who are testing positive each day and the human beings who are dying because we live in a world that was in many ways unprepared for this disease.

Now, you and me, WE, have to change our lower case world. And that, is becoming increasingly necessary if survival is going to be our goal, a goal worth sacrificing for everyone.

MC

The Power of Real Life

Years ago I began a blog which failed from the beginning, I assumed due to both my ignorance and lack of commitment. I discovered when I was honest with myself that there was a third reason which I now name as “hubris” revealing itself as it always does in self promotion. 

I have something I believe reveals my humanishness, a need to be known. I’m assuming all of us to some degree want to be known yet find that “being known” can at times feel like that metaphor – a bridge too far. I’m often reminded of Jo Beth Williams line in that movie The Big Chill when in dialogue with old friends she says; Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t know we were telling the truth here.

Pretension is quite likely both a social and emotional epidemic in America. I think most people want to be real but learn to settle for pretension because of a fear driven by losing their position of acceptance. At least that’s the Life Boat Theory Donald Miller wrote about in his book – Searching for God Knows What.

I am beginning this second attempt at blogging with renewed confidence focused on the people I do life with who I’ve joined with on the journey of significant and meaning filled friendships. And I want to invite you to be a critical part of reading and responding to the posts I put up here @ mikecooke.life.

Presently I am writing a book entitled simply – Participation. Much of that book deals with the human longing for a place to be the person you were created to be. Over the course of this year I hope to post several times each week as my schedule allows. More importantly I hope to hear from you and your friends, and possibly their friends as together we share stories, anecdotes, victories, losses, encouragement, and challenges of real life.

I close this opening with a quote from Father Richard Rohr.

The energy in the universe is in relationship

Have an awesome day!

Mike

Welcome!

Welcome to my blog site! I am thankful you are here and hopeful you will find the content engaging. 

That word life says it all. I realize it is broad but if we place the adjective real ahead of the noun life it really can change the conversation. 

So, let’s try to do just that and let’s invite others to join in the discussion with us. 

You and me, we can make a difference, real life awaits!

MC