06.29.16 – Insights from Wendy Connelly

WendyConnellyWendy Connelly, wife to Mark and mom to two kids, is Community Outreach Director at the Leawood campus, a seminary student at Saint Paul School of Theology, and co-leads “Live and Let Think” dialogues at Leawood and RezDowntown.

Mountaintop experiences in life are few and far between, and when they break through the mundane, we have a tendency to want to grasp onto them and hold on for dear life. So it was with Jesus’ disciples at his Transfiguration. “We should construct three shrines,” said Peter, in an attempt to petrify this beguiling experience in stone. If only the transcendent could be so easily grasped!

Exactly three weeks ago, I was amidst the mountaintop dwellings of ancient hermits and modern-day Connelly familymonks. For millennia, mystics have climbed the higgledy-piggledy, cave-dotted peaks of Meteora, Greece, seeking God. Some stayed and built shrines, arguably the most glorious monasteries on Earth. As my kids, husband and I explored musty caves and cliff-clinging dwellings through fierce storms and sweeping rainbows, I was tempted, like Peter, to build a shrine to that magical day spent with the people I love most, and bottle it all up. Life, sometimes, is simply that beautiful.

Our GPS guide asks how these mountaintop experiences can stay with us, and for this answer, I look to Mary. What did she do, after an angelic encounter? She treasured it up in her heart. Mary didn’t enshrine. She savored.

Psychologists tell us savoring boosts our happiness in three ways. AccordGreeceing to The Happiness Journey, written by my friends, Bob & Virginia Pothier, savoring:

  • 1) Reinforces our sense of identity
  • 2) Boosts our self-image, and
  • 3) Generates pleasure 1

So the next time you scale the peaks, instead of building a shrine, I’d suggest treasuring up the experience – savoring it – until it seeps into the very depths of your being. You won’t grasp the transcendent; but the transcendent might just seize you with lingering joy!

1 Pothier, Bob & Virginia. The Happiness Journey. Hapacus, 2012.

Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.

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