Mustard seeds are small, stubborn, and selfish -- which are also words one could use to describe me, as long as you also whisper "petty" under your breath, too. In the Parable of the Mustard Seed, we're told that faith as small as this can, if tended, if noticed and cared for, can provide shelter. My mother, saying, "Have a beautiful life," when that isn't the story I have ever told myself, or others, about my mother's love for me, was a shattering and obliterating piece of love and forgiveness -- given and asked for -- when I wasn't sure I deserved it at all.
There are two kinds of suffering in the world: useful suffering, which is impermanent, and performative suffering, which helps no one.
A few weeks ago, at the Meeting House in Bethesda, Zach was breathing too loudly while he was sitting in quiet contemplation for the still small voice of God. A woman in front of us, panicked but also terrible, kept turning around. Zach's eyes were closed, because, again, as I said, he was sitting in quiet contemplation for the still small voice of God that comes from within. His breathing shouldn't have been a prob-- I'm getting ahead of myself.