Archive for the ‘inspirational experience’ Category

Jim’s Latest Book Is Yours for Free

January 28, 2019

abba-cvrMost of Jim’s writings through the years have revolved around loss and grief, illness and caregiving, healing presence, and managing transition. While there is commonly a spiritual dimension in his works, either in the background or the foreground, as a rule he has chosen not to write specifically religious books. Most references to religion have been with an openness to a variety of faiths, including Judaism and Christianity, Islam and Buddhism, among others.

It is a fact that Jim is himself a Christian, as well as an ordained clergyman. While he has not made his living as the minister of a congregation for over 35 years, he still occasionally performs those functions. When his daughter, the minister at Peace United Church of Christ in Fort Wayne, Indiana, went on a sabbatical leave, he volunteered to preach in her absence for four consecutive Sundays. He chose as his topic the Lord’s Prayer.

Not far into his preparations Jim realized that he could not communicate all he wished in four 20-minute sermons. So he ended up writing out in greater detail what he did not have time to speak, including a hefty selection of themed age-old quotations and some suggestions he proposed for how the reader might bring to life the various parts of this prayer in everyday ways.

The book came to be titled Our Abba: Praying the Lord’s Prayer So It Comes Alive in Us. Jim had a fair number of copies printed and then gave out a complimentary copy to each congregational member after his final sermon.

Now he’s making “Our Abba” available at no cost to you too. Simply click here to download a PDF of the entire book, which you can read on an electronic device or print out on paper. You can also choose a bound, signed copy of the book if you’d like, but he’ll need to charge you for that one. You can order it here. Quantity discounts are available (as with all his books)—call 260.490.2222 for details.

“You Helped Me See”—An Encounter I’ll Remember

July 8, 2011

Recently I had the good fortune to photograph in northern France for several days by myself.  One afternoon found me making images on the beach of the village of Etretat, in an area known for its soaring white cliffs. As the sun descended, I made my way up the high trail to the south with my camera and tripod. Then, just before sunset, I retraced my steps down toward the beach, anticipating the evening colors that might appear in the sky.

A handsome couple approached me on their way up, and the man stopped and said something to me in French. I responded that I did not understand, that I spoke only English. He looked away, paused, then looked back. In retrospect I realize he hesitated to proceed to speak with me due to how limited he felt his English was. But he did proceed anyway.

“You photographed on the beach earlier, no?”

I nodded.

“You turned in many directions; you took your time with each picture. It was lovely to watch.”

He looked into my face to make sure I was following.

“It was so beautiful: the sea, the sky, the cliffs. But this was also beautiful: you standing in the middle of it all, photographing all that was before you. This afternoon you helped me to see the beauty that I might not have seen.”

He held up his hand to count first with his thumb and then with his fingers as the French do. “There were four beautiful things this afternoon: the sea, the cliffs, the sky, and you. And you were just as important as the other three things. I will remember that sight for a long time.”

Then he touched me on the shoulder and said, “Thank you.” I reached back for his shoulder and said, “Thank you!” Then we walked on in opposite directions, grateful in different ways for what we had experienced.

My story is more than just my story. It is a universal story. It’s a reminder that any of us can be giving a lift to someone’s day, we can be offering them an insight or an inspiration they’ll long remember, and we won’t even be aware of it, unless they happen to cross our path unexpectedly, and then make the effort to tell us.

Yet whether they tell us or not, still it happened, and we will have made a difference simply by being authentically who we are, simply by being genuinely alive, simply by doing whatever it is we do best, in the moment that they observed us.
That’s all. And ultimately, that is everything.