Lumunos helps you Reflect ~ Connect ~ Discover your gifts to find your call in life, through these stories and observations here, through our website, and through retreats. Help us help you continue to discover your calling in life. Donations are accepted through our Website.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


by Doug Wysockey-Johnson

What decision are you facing in these next days?  Chances are there is something:

           Calendar: you may be thinking about how to spend next Saturday afternoon;
           Work:   you may be wrestling with how to prioritize projects or        allocate resources;
           Health:  you may face a decisions related to next steps in a lingering health issue;
           Checkbook:  you may be wondering if you can afford ______(fill in  the blank).

Some of our choices are large and weighty.  They give us pause and we may literally agonize over the options.  Others feel easy and quick.  All of them combine to constitute our lives. As the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said, “We create ourselves by our choices.”  Choice by choice, decision by decision, we make a life. 

Lumunos mission is to help you make good decisions.  By “good” we mean choices that reflect your own values—that which is truest in you.  And by good we also mean that which is best for the world.  Our hunch is that when God says in the Old Testament “choose life,” (Deuteronomy 30: 19) this is what God means. There are decisions that represent the highest good both for us and the common good.  This path is generally not easy.   It is not without personal sacrifice.  In fact, it is often quite complicated. But there is a way, a path, a pattern of decisions that is life-giving both for us individually, and for the world as well. 

Two examples from Ann Arbor MI on a Saturday night.  One represents an individual decision; the other comes from the world of work:

--Dorm room, University of Michigan:  Isabel’s friends are all heading out for a fun evening together.  Isabel lets them know that she is going to stay in and have a quiet evening on her own.  Her friends roll their eyes, thinking affectionately, “She is a bit odd, but we love her anyway.” Isabel on the other hand knows that, while she would have fun at the party, what she needs is some alone time.  She knows that she will have more to give her studies, her friends, and the tutoring program she leads if she takes the time to renew her spirit.  She makes a simple choice to stay home, even if her friends don’t fully understand.

--Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Shop, State St:  The ice cream shop is packed on this warm evening.  Regardless of what flavor a customer orders, he or she knows that choices have been made in the creation of that ice cream.  The stakeholders are not just stockholders or the parent company, but include the employees that put the ice cream in its containers and the cows that provide the milk.  (For a fun way to find out what kind of life giving decisions have been made for your favorite flavor, click here.)  These decisions have not been easy.  There has been a cost, literal and figurative.  But the choices represent one company’s best effort to make decisions that are good for Ben and Jerry’s and good for the world. 

Wayne Mueller writes “Every single choice we make, no matter how small, is the ground where who we are meets what is in the world.”  (A Life of Being, Having, and Doing Enough)  Highlighting the importance of these small or large decisions isn’t so that we become paralyzed with fear in the face of our decisions. In fact, all of us have bad choices in our past.  We will continue to be imperfect in this way. 

The point is to be care-full about these decisions we make.  When possible, take the time to connect with our deepest beliefs and convictions.  Then move forward.  Or in the immortal words of Dr. Seuss,

You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

If I Were Bees

by Lauren Van Ham

One can no more approach people without love
than one can approach bees without care.
Such is the quality of bees...
~ Leo Tolstoy
A new command I give you: Love one another.
As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.  
~John 13:34-35
For two seasons now, I have been beekeeping with my neighbor, Frances.  It has been a true adventure with plenty of humor and doses of drama.  The hive sits in her yard, next door, and on days when details or work have become far too engrossing, I’ve taken to walking over and observing the hive.  What happens there, and what happens to me as I watch, is a welcome miracle.

If we were bees, our vision would measure at 23,000 -- that’s 3 times worse than legally blind for humans.  If we were bees, we would fearlessly fly blindly because our navigation skills (using the sun and movement) would put any human navigator to shame.  If we were bees, we would let all the bees in our hive know where the best food is by dancing (sounds fun, right?).  And all our friends would know what we’re saying, not because of how our dance looks (so don’t be self-conscious; we’re blind, remember?), but because of the sound we make with our wings (13 flaps a second) and the degree to which we direct our waggle.  If we were bees, we would understand one another with such accuracy, we could consistently double our population at the aforementioned food source every 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, if we were bees, in the hive, we would, each of us, come up through the colony ranks, fully mastering our declared roles: nurses (tending the bees who’ve fallen ill), guards (protecting the hive from intruders of all sorts), foragers (finding the food), grocers (bringing the pollen home), housekeepers (meticulously cleaning any and every mess -- especially the ones cause by beekeepers checking on the hive!), construction workers (building comb, sealing with propolis), royal attendants (ensuring Her Highness has everything she needs to be profoundly productive), and undertakers (yes, those too).

And if we were bees, we would be doing all of this…for the good of the hive. 

It’s insanely organized, bafflingly efficient, and utterly miraculous.  Standing there, at the hive, watching the coming and going of these winged wonders, I feel the sun on my face and listen to the buzz of those wings flapping 11,400 times a minute.  My heart flutters, it’s own attempt to join and appreciate this simple, ancient community. 

If we were bees and Earth our hive, what role would you play?  In what way are you called to serve, sustain and grow this life together?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Confession of an Introvert

by Tom Pappas

When I went to Home Depot this morning the only other customer in the store (I exaggerate) was looking at the exact item that I came to price. For our shower I want to install 12”x12” white tiles on the walls. I needed 12 boxes and it was possible that the other could buy so many that there would not be enough for me; I stood back hoping he would make a different choice.
After a while, I twisted my courage past my introversion and asked the other, “How many do you need?” He said a vague answer, then he went for a cart. The clerk and I chatted. Me: “Isn’t it weird that there are two of us that are here for the exact same thing? Clerk: “Yes, really weird.”

The other came back and started struggling to drag the cartons of 11 tiles to his flatbed cart. This was made harder because the tiles were strapped into bundles of two. As he was muscling the first pair off the floor onto the cart, I hopped (I exaggerate again) under the shelf to start sliding the bundles toward him.  He misunderstood.
The other: “I was here first, sir.  (Oops, he’s accusing me of getting them out for myself.)
Me: “I thought it would be easier if I pushed them out for you.”
The other: “Oh.”
                                                                              The plight of the introvert!  I did all the processing internally. He’s having a hard time. I’m good at teamwork. If I drag them from under the shelf to the aisle it would be a big favor.  I’ll help him get as many as he wants and then I’ll know if there will be enough for me.  It would have been plenty easy to say, “Mind if I help?” I tend to be the silent partner.
 Sometimes I am Laurel’s silent partner. On more than many occasions my wife has asked me a question or made a comment that required a response. My process is to immediately begin to formulate what to say. In my brain I cover the content of the topic and also the exact language I want to use to explain my response. It seems that the energy I’ve expended moves the meter so far that it feels to me that I have said out loud what I have concluded, when in fact, I never said a word.
The arc of my life has taught me that the Kingdom of God is the kingdom of right relationships. I find it strenuous to be in relationship with someone I love if they are so utterly discourteous as to disagree with me. That’s a friend or loved-one, and we 
all know what Jesus has to say about loving enemies in Matthew 5. 
My prayer is to be a person who is more transparent. With a little effort I can demonstrate to the other, friend or not, that my motives, answers, and opinions are not so important that only I get to know what they are.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Prayer for the Light on This Corner

by Angier Brock

As I made my way from western NC to eastern VA recently, having determined to avoid interstates as much as possible, I came to a place where NC Highway 16 crossed a smaller road. Above the intersection hung a traffic light, green at the time, and so I proceeded. Though I did not slow down, out of the corner of my eye, I thought I glimpsed a sign that read, “God is the light on this corner!

As soon as I could, I made a U-turn and went back to look. Yep, that’s what the sign said. I took a picture: God is the light on this corner! I am still pondering what it means. Taken literally, the sign apparently refers to the traffic light; no other lights are in evidence. I suppose there are worse metaphors for God than one in which the Creator of All reminds us to share the road and suggests when to stop, when to use caution, and when to move ahead.

But perhaps another possibility is that the sign meant that God is the ambient daylight on that corner. If so, wouldn’t it be more accurate if it read God is the light on ALL corners? Perhaps the risk there is that if we speak of God as being everywhere (as most of us sometimes do, when we dare speak at all about the Holy One), perhaps we think on such an enormous (and generic) scale that we miss the specific truth that God truly is here: in this moment, with me, at this desk, right now (8:01 PM on a Sunday evening), as I write this blog about a signboard and listen to this particular CD of lovely and haunting Armenian music. In other words, perhaps the sign reminds us of the intimate and immediate presence of God, even when we are doing such mundane things as driving to or from work, going about our routines, or passing through an ordinary intersection as we drive across two states on mostly back roads returning home from a friend’s birthday party.

 “God is the light on this corner!”  I have no idea, of course, what the person who put the sign up intended by those words. Perhaps one day, out of sheer curiosity, I will call the pastor of the church that sponsors the signboard and inquire. Or maybe I will simply let the proclamation continue meandering on the back roads of my own thoughts.  

Perhaps that is the point: To call passers-by to a consideration of where God is and how God acts. To encourage people to think about—well, about whether God is in fact light to them, and what that means. And to do so in a way that is surprising, even playful. “God is the light on this corner!” This very corner of the road! This very corner of the room where my desk is! This very corner of my life, no matter what road I am on or where I am headed! May it be so.