Another Step

Just put one foot in front of the other and eventually you get somewhere, even if you don’t exactly know where you are going.

The Electricity of Every Living Thing is a book about that kind of activity.  Katherine May sets out to walk the 630-mile South West Coast Path, UK’s longest National Trail, a few days at a time.  She doesn’t train for the challenge or even really plan for it in the traditional sense.  And, the surprising thing to me was that she negotiated her regular life around the days she spent on the trail.

About halfway through her memoir, Katherine May recalls coming to a literal fork in the road where she has to choose whether to go left or right.  She muses,

Fareham is far away from where I live, and sounds impossible to walk to.  But then, isn’t impossibility the point, sometimes?  Shouldn’t we all ask ourselves to do impossible things, just once in a while?  I touch the sign with my gloved hand, and take the right turn towards Fareham.

The great idea I had about restoring our backyard by Easter seems improbable today.  I’m not ready to say impossible, yet, but that could also be true.

During the last 10 days, professionals have displaced me.  The carport and attached shed have some new walls, porch posts, and a torched roof.  Strong arms dug up the yard again for perimeter drains around the shed to stop the rot.  The apple trees have been pruned.  The pruning folk weren’t actually professionals, just our experienced friend with her how-to-book and Mitch on the ladder. 

What I’ve been “doing” is not seen with the eye.  I can see that I cleaned up around new rose growth, uncovered ground cover, and unearthed lots of worms, that made their way back under. But what I’ve done most diligently is hidden: observing all kinds of landscaping as I walk the neighbourhood, paying attention to old pictures of this home in its glory days, and pondering care tags, price tags, and considering all the plants at the Demitasse Café and Garden Centre.  

After feeling overwhelmed by all I don’t know about plants, I was captured by a Star jasmine. I imagined how it might flourish in the corner of our yard behind my swing. Maybe, it could vine over the swing’s wooden frame or trellis up the aging fence. The trouble is I have no idea if that is possible; I don’t know how to get that kind of breathtaking result.

I do know something about Jasmine.  I know that in 2013, I sat every morning for a week in a swing enveloped in its fragrant abundance.  I know how I couldn’t wait to sit peacefully in that surround and smell the sweet blossoms and enjoy my cup of coffee as the day began. I can see that spot in my mind’s eye even now. I am sure that recreating that sense of retreat would be a good way to resurrect that unsightly corner.

Katherine May turned right and simply walked on. Maybe, I can take that risk. Impossible will take a little more time. I just have to turn right into the garden centre and bravely bring the Star Jasmine home with me.

Just Sweep

I learned early in my life that there are inside brooms and outside brooms.

When we moved into the last house we owned, there was a broom and dustpan in the kitchen that I’m supposing belonged to Mrs. Rogers.  She lived over 50 years of marriage and her last days in that house on the Avenue. On my last day as the owner, I used that very broom to say goodbye.  I lovingly swept each room in gratitude for the abundance of our life there.

We know the history of this house in Victoria on another Avenue.  This one, too, was home to a family for over 50 years.  Health challenges, for both the house and owners, prevailed in later years and then the house sat in solitude for a few more. Now we rent the home where Kay grew up and she is honouring the house in tangible ways, painting and repairing and putting in new parts.  After caring for her parents, she is now caring for the memories, and Mitch and I listen with care to her stories that still live within these walls.

The yard isn’t large but it is overwhelming. K left the yard tools for us inexperienced gardeners. Work will begin next week to repair the shed and carport in the back. When I knew we needed to follow Rachel Held Evans’ inspiration to turn something ugly into something beautiful as a Lenten practice, the backyard became that new vision.

The daffodils and crocuses helped.  They appeared—a shock of bright life even when clouds filled cool days.  I noticed waiting hanging baskets, earthworms languishing in the soil, and a hint of new growth at the base of an old stick that once held a rose.  A nurse tree stump is home to unknown beauty—the trailing cotoneaster bush, lush mosses, and unknown greenery rest in and around the sturdy base.  A weathered garden gnome keeps watch. 

We can learn to care for these treasures and nurture the life that is already here. We raked the sticks and leftover leaves.  Mitch cleaned out and turned over the dirt bed near the fence and I planted Asters freely offered by a stranger cleaning out her flowerbeds. Together, Mitch and I participated with those shoots of new life and the earth’s worm labourers in practicing resurrection, to renew this yard and our selves.

And then, the next day came and the next.  All I could see was the weeds, the overgrown grass in the cracks, the care I didn’t know how to manage in my quest for newness.  I thought of buying some flowers for the hanging baskets of dirt I filled.  I wondered about hanging the baskets or something else on the fence outside the kitchen window, but I wasn’t sure.  I asked my friend Jean about pruning the rose bushes but she said it wasn’t time yet.

But, this house came with a broom, too, a stiff one with worn-off bristles that Mitch thought useless.  That’s something I know how to do: sweep.  So, I did. 

Whether the bottom of that broom was purposefully cut off or simply worn down with use, it works.  That dense pack of straw makes a hearty sweeping sound and loosens grime on the time-worn cement porch of the shed and carport.  I scooped up everything in the corners, disrupting a few of my fellow workers who scurried off to find another shelter under the thin rotting wall. 

Sweeping was an act of restoration for this moment.  All those leaves and sticks and dirt will return with the wind. The little creatures will come back to re-inhabit those corners.  The grass will grow back in that crevice between the cement and the asphalt of the driveway. 

Sweeping is what I knew to do.  Then, I watched the sun illuminate the lush lacy growth surrounding the daffodils.  I was certain the earthworms were nourishing this growth. I am included in the earth’s revival.

Hands-on Lent

Dryer lint.    

Dryer lint was the inspiration for “Sawatsky’s Sign-off,” the last story on our local newscast. Something about this particular story made me take notice—the creativity, found beauty, care for the environment, and use of art to speak volumes.  The artist Margie has a keen eye for the impossible.

Margie’s dryer lint creations, as Adam Sawatsky reported, explore the biggest issues of the human condition: a figurative work about being more loving, abstracts about our impact on the environment, pieces that migrated into each other over time to make a new result and shared as trading cards.  All inviting us to tangibly see our world through another lens.

Fast-forward just a day or two. In the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep, I continued reading Rachel Held Evan’s book, Wholehearted Faith. Rachel explained her inspiration to turn something ugly into something beautiful as a Lenten practice.  Over 40 days, she “let her fingers pray out” origami swans and sailboats and foxes from pages of hateful mail and she learned some things.

And it struck me, that is what Margie did with the dryer lint that she couldn’t just throw away.  And, what Mike Martin and his dad Fred began doing after the Sandy Hook tragedy.  Mike and Fred literally turn guns into garden tools in their garage blacksmith shop in Colorado.  And I’m certain you might have your own story to tell about practicing resurrection.

Rachel Held Evans wrote, “whether it’s turning an AK-47 into a rake, an old tire into a flower bed, or trash into a work of art, there is something profoundly fitting about struggling through the creative process with the goal of finishing something new by Easter to provide a tangible, hands-on experience in discipline, resurrection, and restoration.”  I knew this was something Mitch and I needed to figure out how to do together, especially this spring of 2022. 

We have been sheltered here on this Island where we live compared to most of the world.  I watch images of violence and hate that fill pages of our newspaper. We witness crowds of protestors of Old Growth logging and the outpouring of support for the Ukrainian people and linger near the hundreds of children’s’ shoes and stuffed animals that line the steps of the BC legislature building in our city.  Each pair represent a child who never returned home from the church-run residential schools in our province.  These are sorrows we carry together. 

So what will it change if I use my hands to heal something I can see?  Something that I will have to struggle to learn how to affect for good?

Rachel said she learned that “we are meant to remake this world together.  We hurt together and we are called to heal together, forgive together, and create together.’

Today, Mitch and I are going to begin our almost 40 days of hands-on care for what has been neglected for a very long time in our own backyard.

Simply Listen

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.  Traditionally, I understand these 40 days before Easter as a time of self-examination, letting go of the old, readying for something new.  And to be honest, we seem to have done a lot of that during the pandemic and I am not exactly sure what to do with some of my discoveries.

So, I was struck with something Marilyn McEntyre wrote in Adverbs for Advent another reflective time in the Christian calendar.

Simply… expect that we will be given what we need for our own

growth—that we will be invited again and again to awaken, pay

attention, learn, stretch into love in new ways, practice discernment,

exercise generosity or rest, and be held in a rich and joyous way of life

The sun peeked through the clouds; so, I decided to ride my bike to get an onion and a cucumber that I needed for supper.  I started out a different way than I usually go and realized the road was a little more “uphill” than I wanted to climb.  I abruptly took the next turn.  I happened to be a few blocks from Willow Beach. 

I decided to stop. I parked my bike in the rack on the least traveled end of the beach. There weren’t many beach walkers.  A few dogs fetched driftwood and a lone young man braved entering the chilly water. I walked close to the ripple of approaching water.  I am ever in awe of the changing tide and the spaciousness of the sea and sky. 

When I turned from the water toward my bike, I noticed a lady who appeared to be putting something into my helmet that was tied to the handlebars.  She turned and walked on with her friend.

As I approached, I could see the thick green leaves of the surprise she left—a branch of bay leaves.  On a paper heart, the lady had spelled out the benefits of adding the bay leaf’s freshness to the lentils and rice I’d planned for dinner.  I stuffed the bouquet in my backpack, smiling now as I started out for the market.  Everyone seemed friendlier as I made my way into the store.  The ride home seemed easier too.

Maybe, Lent 2022 is a journey from old visions of our lives that have been upended, and instead of figuring out whatever “it” is for us; we will risk being surprised by new im-possibilities. I can trust that each day will offer its own invitation and when my mind is quiet, I will hear the Voice I most need to hear.

The Promise of February

I’ve been waiting since August for February.  That fact is surprising considering that I live in the Pacific Northwest where winter is dark until after breakfast and dusk comes well before dinnertime. And now it’s more than ten days into February and the days are getting longer and yet, the darkness still hovers over an early supper.

February, where I live, is rainy and grey, but I’ve seen evidence that something is coming that I can’t quite see, yet…

February 29, 2020, in Victoria, walking home from my yoga class.

On August 10 in 2021, I was reading the novel, Olive, Again, the sequel to Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Olive Kitteridge.  I have read most of Strout’s novels because she creates people that we might not be friends with in real life, but we know them.  And Elizabeth Strout makes us love them in a Jesus kind of way—if I can say that.  Seeing the inside of them, with all their, and our own, inconsistencies.

I wrote down a few paragraphs in my notebook that I wanted to remember.  It was about February.

A few years ago, folk singer Carrie Newcomer wrote a song, The Beautiful, Not Yet, in which she described this time of year as a “quickening.”   Carrie said we live our lives “between then and soon, right here and now, in the beautiful not yet.”  I used to listen to the song over and over at that disappointing time in my life to give hope for a resolution to changes and chances that were beyond my control.  That was February, too.

Olive, Again is 13 short stories that are about Olive and people in her small town in Maine that she affects in some way.  One of those stories is about Cindy, who was a student in teacher Olive’s high school math class many years before. Olive visits Cindy, whose cancer in midlife has advanced, and they quietly watch the sun go down together on the February day. 

Cindy, thinking over her life that is coming to an end, is remembering her longing to be a writer when she was younger.  Strout writes Cindy’s surprising hope, relived at this moment.

What she would have written about was the light in February.  How it changed the way the world looked.  People complained about February; it was cold and snowy and often times wet and damp and people were ready for spring.  But for Cindy the light of the month had always been like a secret, and it remained as a secret even now. 

Because in February, the days were really getting longer and you could see it, if you really looked.  You could see how at the end of each day the world seemed cracked open and the extra light made its way across the stark trees and promised.  It promised, that light, and what a thing it was.  As Cindy lay on her bed she could see this even now, the gold of the last light opening the world.

Olive, Again

My everyday life has changed quite a bit since February 2018, when I first heard Carrie’s song about the “beautiful, not yet.”  And yet this February 2022, I need to expectantly pay attention to the quickening that precedes new light.  In the last two years, my life has moved on and at the same time seems to have stalled. 

To see the light in all the seemingly challenging circumstances of our lives, of my life right now; the dilemmas I face are not ones that hinder living abundantly.  If I wasn’t concerned with these things, I’m certain there would be others that scurry in and take their place. 

Really look, Cindy says, at the light—the goodness and the gloriousness that surround me.  For me, I often discover something I didn’t know to look for up close.

Walking the dog last week, I saw two oystercatchers on the rocks that frame the sea. I’d never seen an oystercatcher close up.  Actually, until a few months ago, I didn’t know there was such a bird.  Even on this misty February day, the birds’ bright red beaks and sharp black bodies and pink legs filled the moment with delight. 

That’s what I do; I miss the wonder that is right in front of me in my searching for an elusive something that I’m on the right track. 

Black Oystercatcher, Victoria, British Columbia, Creative Commons

Cindy said you really have to look to see the world crack open.  That extra light that seeps in in February is a promise, an opening to see my world with awe, wonder, and newness. 

Look with your arms wide open.

It has been at least a week of days, probably more like two. The day ends in wonder… literally. What did I do all day? I might rally the next day and do something that counts in productiveness’ eye as worthwhile. 

Lately, I sit in my old red chair in the living room where I can see out the window.  I read and take note of well-crafted sentences.  I thoughtfully copy whole paragraphs in my notebook that mean something to me.  I read texts and savour pictures of my family that live too far away. I walk my dog, always to the sea, and wonder at the vicissitudes: whether the day is grey or bright, how the winds and tide shift the décor, how the gulls catch air and glide and a big heron rests on the rock where I linger. 

And then, when I felt like I needed to do something, I picked up Mary Oliver’s book, Devotions, and just opened to a page.  It was page 186, not quite in the middle.  I like that about a book of poetry; order is not required, you can begin anywhere and only read one page to get filled up.  This one began,

There are things you can’t reach. But

you can reach out to them, and all day long.

The wind, the bird flying away.  The idea of God.

And it can keep you as busy as anything else, and happier.

Yes, I know the joy of that kind of busy, but I’m glad Mary went on to explain,

I look; morning to night I am never done with looking.

Looking I mean not just standing around, but standing around as though with your arms open.

Open to receiving.  That is worth doing. 

WHERE DOES THE TEMPLE BEGIN, WHERE DOES IT END?

There are things you can’t reach. But

you can reach out to them, and all day long. 

The wind, the bird flying away.  The idea of God.

 And it can keep you as busy as anything else, and happier.

The snake slides away; the fish jumps, like a little lily,

out of water and back in; the goldfinches sing

            from the unreachable top of the tree.

 I look; morning to night I am never done with looking.

 Looking I mean not just standing around, but standing around

as though with you arms open.

And thinking: maybe something will come, some

            shining coil of wind,

            or a few leaves from any old tree—

              they are all in this too.

 And now I will tell you the truth.

Everything in the world

comes. 

At least, closer.

And, cordially.

 Like the nibbling, tinsel-eyed fish; the unlooping snake.

Like goldfinches, little dolls of gold

fluttering around the corner of the sky

 of God, the blue air.

Mary Oliver, Devotions

Unsheltered View

I read a lot, all kinds of books.

I haven’t read The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. I learned about the book from one of those “lists” that proliferate this time of year: books most checked out in the Public Library.

Any library is my good friend. I’m rarely in my public library for more than a few minutes. I pick up my books that are “on hold’ and maybe glance at the “fast reads” that, along with self checkout, are just steps inside my local branch.  My city also has over 300 “little libraries” that are homemade book exchange boxes in front of homes, schools and businesses. We have two on our block.

Linkleas Avenue Little Library

I recently picked up the well-read title, Educated,(that i’ve avoided for years) and award winning 419 by Will Ferguson (yes, brilliant) from the little library nearest me.

Okay, back to not reading The Midnight Library.  I overlooked the sci-fi/fantasy genre label as I read this hook:

Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever.  Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived.  To see how things would be if you had made other choices…  

Why do I read so much? It is more than to live another life through the story—real or imagined or the fine line in-between. I read because other peoples’ words and experiences name a little tiny bit of the mystery of my life.

I just finished reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Unsheltered, the integrated and parallel tale of two eras. It’s not unusual for me to fall in love with a book like this, but what was it exactly?

More than writing.  Barbara Kingsolver has a gift, not only with words, but in her ability to express things I cannot or do not easily name, not just with words, but with nuances of relationship between husband and wives, between adult children and parents, between mother’s and daughters, and between me and worry and the security of “home.”  In this novel, she subtly unfolds belonging I desire but can’t easily express.

The way the protagonist Willa sees her children, now adults, somehow made me see through the puzzlement of my own experience.  Willa’s sense of them evolving—the illusion of her son Zeek from childhood as accomplished and driven and her seemingly wild and untethered daughter Tig.

Touch your own mystery in this conversation between Willa and Tig, mirrored in what Mary Treat told her neighbour, Thatcher.

[Willa] “My mother used to say when God slams a door on you, he opens a window.”

Tig gave this two seconds of respectful consideration before rejecting it.  “No, that’s not the same.  I’m saying when God slams a door on you it’s probably a shitstorm.  You’re going to end up in rubble.  But it’s okay because without all that crap overhead, you’re standing in the daylight.”

 “Without a roof over your head, it kind of feels like you might die.”

“Yeah, but you might not.  For sure you won’t find your way out of the mess if you keep picking up bricks and stuffing them in your pockets.  What you have to do is look for blue sky.”

Along side this conversation is Mrs. Treat’s wisdom: 

“Without shelter, we stand in daylight.”

Either way, I figure, I have to look for the light in the blue sky and let go of my own bricks.

Oh, and I put The Midnight Library on hold at the Greater Victoria Public Library, Oak Bay Branch.  I’m 84th on the list but there are 42 copies—evidence that I made a compelling choice, but I will see in a few months—unless a copy shows up in one of the little libraries I might pass.

The Rightness of My Life

My prayer this morning or maybe it is a hope—I guess I’m not sure of the difference—is that I am learning to trust God and other people. 

Trusting enough to know, as Frederick Buechner writes, “the deep down rightness of the life God has created for us and in us” no matter how all the things I am concerned about unfold.  That I can let go of my self and maybe let go of my conceptions of God and what life should be, to risk both doing and not doing.

Right now, I will finish the laundry I started and be grateful for this place we’ve been entrusted with for a time. 

I will pray for my family with the Ephesian prayer to know the Love of God, to be strengthened inside, and that Christ may dwell in our hearts as we are being rooted and grounded in Love. 

And the greatest and surest risk may be to trust that the power at work with us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine.  

The Thread

The Way It Is by William Stafford

There’s a thread you follow.  It goes among

things that change.  But it doesn’t change.

People wonder about what you are pursuing.

You have to explain about the thread.

But it is hard for others to see.

While you hold it you can’t get lost.

Tragedies happen; people get hurt

or die; and you suffer and get old.

Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.

You don’t ever let go of the thread.

I came across William Stafford’s poem in April, almost half a year ago. I began wondering, what is my thread?  I wasn’t sure it had a name. Oddly (or maybe not) what came to my mind was when my parents were dying and I suspended everything else to be together, my sisters and I, and whoever happened by in those weeks.  I’ve always measured other significant experiences alongside these.

I couldn’t name the “it” of the weeks I spent with my Dad when his cancer seemed to take a turn.  I had visited him several times after his diagnosis.  We’d get Pizza King’s cheese pizza and talk on the way there and back.  I was “in the driver’s seat” literally now, a listener, and a caretaker. We shared our love of pizza that took me 40 years to know. 

Growing up, I often had a contentious or non-existent relationship with my Dad. After he retired, he moved back to central Indiana, where I had also returned after years away. When I dropped everything and drove the two hours to his house on a Tuesday without plans for when I might return home, I was surprised the going seemed so natural. 

For the next five weeks, I was an intimate observer of my Dad’s life and his death. That was an extraordinary gift; I was simply present with him. I didn’t remember my job that someone else was now doing for me.  I wasn’t concerned about my husband and young adult children.  I didn’t remember the harsh words my sister and I had shared or my younger sister’s distance from extended family affairs.  Now we spent our days together as the family we never were.

We weren’t aware of the gratitude that held us. At first my dad joined our easy conversations about uneasy subjects until it was only with his eyes that he loved us, a fact we now believed. We rested in those who brought food and medical care and the steady presence of my Dad’s youngest brother.  Gratitude was the divining rod that moved among us that made God’s faithfulness visible.

That’s the uncanny thing.  I was taken beyond my circumstance. I wasn’t too concerned about what I should do or think or be or wear or eat or worry about.  I imagine now that I held the thread of the possibility for something else, a wholeness that lies beneath even my greatest fears.  I somehow opened up to some goodness that was beyond my usual view. 

How do I grab on to this thread?  I’m not sure but I know it is possible, if even for a moment.

If even for a moment, to grab hold of the thread that frames a different way of seeing.  I don’t get lost or react to whatever is happening in my life.  And as my compline prayer reminds me: be present, O Merciful God AND Me …so that we who are wearied by the changes and chances of this life may rest in your eternal changelessness; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

The Good News of Not Enough

I guess you would say this blog includes a “guest writer.” I asked my dearest friend, my husband Mitch, if I could include his meditation from Sunday’s service (2 Corinthians 12:2-10, Mark 6:1-13) in this blog. I’m not sure why this week seemed especially impactful for me. So, I’ll just say to you what I hear him say often, “listen for a word for your life.”

I should have been relieved.  But when I heard restrictions for church services had been lifted for phase 3, I was suddenly overwhelmed with all of the “what if’s.”   We’ve been in a bubble that felt safe and controlled. What I thought was a safe zone, I would no longer have.  I feel comfortable and in control when I wear my mask and physical distance.

In Mark 6,  Jesus goes back to Nazareth and preaches in the temple.  The hometown crowd  was initially impressed with Jesus’ fame  but the more he talked, they took offence with what he said and did. How could this man they knew as a boy say and do these unconventional  things? Jesus was amazed at their unbelief, but his focus was on the disciples.

Jesus sends the disciples into the villages two by two and he gives them their first instructions.  Here is what you take, this is what you don’t take.  Here is how you respond to people who aren’t receptive to you.

I call Jesus’ instructions the  good news of not having enough.  Jesus provided limitations and boundaries to help them do their job of ministry.  He ordered them to take nothing with them but a staff. The staff was to help them walk but also to ward off animals. Take no bread, no bag, no money in their belt, wear sandals but don’t wear two tunics.  When they entered a house they were to stay there until they left the place.  If no one would welcome them, they were to shake the dust off their feet and move on. 

It is important to focus on not taking more than we need.  Wherever you are, that [moment]  is your focus. Do not look around or look out, do not depend upon things outside of yourself.  Don’t rely on what is in your hands but what is in your heart. For 18 months, we’ve had to focus on the present because the only future we could grasp was day by day.  Was that a weakness?

2 Corinthians is really about boasting of your weakness. Paul talks about being given a thorn in the flesh and asking that it be removed. Paul was reassured by God  that  “my grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Paul is content with his weakness; knowing that when he is weak, God is strong.

Throughout 2 Corinthians, Paul balances his struggles with God’s sufficiency.  In almost every chapter,  Paul describes his  despair:  he’s been hard pressed, but he hasn’t lost heart; he’s been struck down, but not destroyed.  He has been able to endure, he’s been able to sustain persecution and hardship. 

Part of Jesus’ challenge to the disciples is not to take more than they needed. As humans, we want to be prepared.  But Jesus would have them consider that the good news of not having enough is that Jesus’ ability and power is made perfect in weakness.  God’s  sufficiency is made perfect in our weakness.

The disciples might have thought they needed two tunics and money for the journey. Our caution moving forward is us filling our backpacks with what we feel we need  because it is what we needed before.  Our challenge is not just to go back to the way it was because that was comfortable.

How do we learn from this moment?  If all we’ve done is wait until we “go back to normal” then we have wasted this time.  What has this time taught us about feeling insufficient or not knowing what was around the corner?  What do we really need? 

Frederick Buechner tells about meeting Agnes Stanford, a layperson who was well known for her prayer practices.  He recalls,

The most vivid image she presented was of Jesus standing in church services all over Christendom with his hands tied behind his back and unable to do any mighty works there because the ministers who led the services either didn’t expect him to do them or didn’t dare ask him to do them for fear that he wouldn’t or couldn’t and that their own faith and the faith of their congregations would be threatened as the result. I recognized immediately my kinship with those ministers.

The crowd that knew him too well and couldn’t understand his authority tied Jesus’ hands behind his back. Jesus prepared  his  disciples for the rejection that they were sure to receive  because he knew that their hands would be tied just like his hands were tied by unbelief.  Jesus  cautioned the disciples  about tying their own hands by filling them with things that were comfortable and familiar and would  give them confidence and assurance they had what they needed.  It’s not your own resources  that will  prepare you, it’s the things that happen on the journey.  Trust your own perceived weakness, trust your own insignificance because as Paul taught throughout 2 Corinthians, it is our weakness and our struggle that makes perfect God’s strength and power working in us to do what needs to be done.  The good news of not having enough.