The Crumbs of Life

08 Oct

I want to share with you something I have just read from A Tree Full of Angels: Seeing the Holy in the Ordinary by Marcina Wiederkehr.

“We stand in the midst of plenty and we starve.  We dwell in the land of plenty, yet we persist in going hungry.  Not only do we dwell in the land of plenty; we have the capacity to be filled with the utter fullness of God (Eph. 3:16-10).  In the light of such possibility, what happens?  Why do we drag our hearts?  Lock up our souls?  Why do we limp?  Why do we straddle the issues?  Why do we live so feebly, to dimly?  Why aren’t we saints?  Each of us could come up with individual answers to all these questions, but I want to suggest here a common cause.  The reason we live life so dimly and with such divided hearts is that we have never really learned how to be present with quality to God, to self, to others, to experiences and events, to all created things.  We have never learned to gather up the crumbs of whatever appears in our path at every moment.  We meet all of these lovely gifts only half there. . . . We are too busy to be present, too blind to see the nourishment and salvation in the crumbs of life, the experiences of each moment.  Yet the secret of daily life is this: there are no leftovers! There is nothing–no thing, no person, no experience, no thought, no joy or pain–that cannot be harvested and used for nourishment on our journey to God.  What I am suggesting is that everything in your life is a stepping stone to holiness if only you recognize that you do have within you the grace to be present to each moment. . . . Each experience, every thought, every word, every person in your life is a part of a larger picture of your growth.  That’s why I call them crumbs.  They are not the whole loaf, but they can be nourishing if you give them your real presence.  Let everything energize you.  Let everything bless you.  Even your limping can bless you.  All too often we bemoan our imperfections rather than embrace them as part of the process by which we are brought to God.”


Posted by on October 8, 2010 in Family / Life


5 responses to “The Crumbs of Life

  1. Mark

    October 8, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Good thoughts. Life is about the Journey, not necessarily the destination. When we take time to enjoy the journey, the destination will be that much more rewarding.

  2. christie

    October 10, 2010 at 11:58 am

    I’m trying to learn to see the joy in the mundane of life as well. It’s so true that we can “wish ourselves past” everything, feeling that it is stressful or negative in some way, and soon find that we’ve wished away the very life God put before us to enjoy and experience. If we see those “crumbs” as the individual aspects that we need to notice and relish in we can live life with a richness and appreciation. Lord, help me to find meaning and joy in the every day stresses such as homework, soccer practice, lost shoes, spilled milk, crumbs on the floor and toothpaste in the sink….for each of those things represent those precious people who live in my house.

    • Mark

      October 12, 2010 at 9:00 am

      You make a good point about the “homework, soccer practice, lost shoes, spilled milk…” and so on. Too many times I find myself getting upset about the little things of life. Sometimes I let those things represent what I don’t want to deal with instead of opportunities to help and teach those I’m entrusted with. I too need to remember that these things represent opportunities, whether in my house or out, to journey with others.

  3. John

    October 11, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    This is good stuff but have you ever had so many crumbs at one time or in a constant stream that you start to feel a stomachache? Sometimes you feel like you need a break from the constant diet of crumbs or stepping stones. At least for a moment so you can catch your breath and heal. I do however see God in all of these situations and count it a blessing that at all times He at least is someone I can trust. Then some how that seems to be enough and there is peace for a moment.

  4. Mat

    October 11, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    I think too often those of us in the west always feel like we have to be working towards something. I know many people (most of them Christians) who are discontent with life. They keep setting unachievable goals and are miserable while trying to achieve those goals.

    I think we miss out on the concept of constant communion with our creator. As we live life in communion with our creator, we can find joy, hope, and shalom in the present.

    Brother Lawrence echoes Wiederkehr in his writing the “Practice of the Presence of God”. Lawrence lived during the 17th century in France. He was raised in poverty and became a household servant at an early age. He became dissatisfied with life and joined a monastery. By the time he joined a monastery he was a middle-aged man, and was looked down on by the other monks in the order. He was assigned the most menial duties in the kitchen. As he grew older he became deeply respected by the other monks. In his diary Practice of the Presence of God, he wrote,

    “Having found in many books different methods of going to GOD, and divers practices of the spiritual life, I thought this would serve rather to puzzle me, than facilitate what I sought after, which was nothing but how to become wholly GOD’s. This made me resolve to give the all for the All: so after having given myself wholly to GOD, to make all the satisfaction I could for my sins, I renounced, for the love of Him, everything that was not He; and I began to live as if there was none but He and I in the world. Sometimes I considered myself before Him as a poor criminal at the feet of his judge; at other times I beheld Him in my heart as my FATHER, as my GOD: I worshipped Him the oftenest that I could, keeping my mind in His holy Presence, and recalling it as often as I found it wandered from Him. I found no small pain in this exercise, and yet I continued it, notwithstanding all the difficulties that occurred, without troubling or disquieting myself when my mind had wandered involuntarily. I made this my business, as much all the day long as at the appointed times of prayer; for at all times, every hour, every minute, even in the height of my business, I drove away from my mind everything that was capable of interrupting my thought of GOD.”

    Lawrence actually saw washing dishes at the monastery as an act of worship to a beautiful and loving God.

    Lawrence and Wiederkehr speak significant much needed words to our western, modern world. One of the challenges of our modern, western Christianity has been an attempt to systemise our relationship with God. We are taught from an early age to set aside a few minutes each day for ‘personal devotions.’ While good an of themselves, if this is the sole focus of our Christian undertaking, we miss out on the beauty of searching God’s heart in the mundane. We miss out on seeing God’s presence in everything and viewing life with awe, passion, and wonder. I think we need to recover the early church’s view of constant communion with our creator.


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