The stories in this book are about recognizing the spiritual blessings commonly hidden in life disasters; how painful events can be the source of change, spiritual growth and life-giving energy. It reveals how the awful often can lead us to the awe-full.
Barnes & Noble.com
Awe-Full Moments is about becoming better, not bitter through life's often painful events. It is about experiencing God's love through persons, places and events that come into our lives, often when we most need them, but least expect them. When these things happen the awful can be transformed into acceptance, spiritual growth and life-giving energy. Thus the awful can become awe-full.
Humans can't forgive as purely as God forgives, and that isn't important. What is important is we remember that forgiveness isn't about forgetting soemthing happened, it is remembering forgiveness has been given--not just by us, but also by God--even when least deserved, even when least expected.
You can see the difference between faith and trust. Faith is sincerely believing something is not only possible, but can happen. When we trust, however, we put ourselves at risk in some way. Faith is an expression of confidence, trust is becoming involved in something happening.
My husband and I received a beautiful gift this past Christmas. A friend of many years gave us an autographed copy of his recently published book, Awe-full Moments: Spirituality in the Commonplace (by Richard J. Bauman). Of course we knew that Richard loves to write and has published many stories and articles, some in Catholic publications. But I was not prepared for the profound musings that I found in this insightful little book. Richard shares personal life experiences, some awful moments that ultimately became awe-filled moments as well as some simply awe-inspiring events. He has discovered that it is through our openness and willingness to see God working in our lives that awful becomes awe-full.
In this season of Lent and Easter, as we reflect on Jesus’ death and Resurrection, it is good for us to reflect on our own little dyings and risings in order to find new life. It is about such things that Richard writes in the chapter entitled: “Are You a Life Giver?”
“It was obvious I was walking for physical fitness as I hurried along a busy street near our home. A young woman, probably in her early twenties was jogging toward me, but on the other side of the road. She suddenly veered across the street and came right to me. ‘Keep it up,’ she said. ‘Keep walking, you’re doing great.’ Then she jogged on, crossing back to the other side of the street never looking back...That was over ten years ago…I’ve never seen her again. But I haven’t forgotten her words because she is what I call a ‘life-giver’…she encouraged and energized me. And she became an example for me.” Richard goes on to relate a story of the opposite type of person, a life-drainer, someone who seems compelled to discourage and discount our efforts and achievements. “A friend remembers when he was in high school and achieved the highest grade in his algebra class on an especially difficult examination. The instructor mitigated his achievement by saying, ‘If you got the highest grade, Fred, then the test was too easy.’ That teacher was a life-drainer.” In contrast, life-givers help us to grow and develop by encouraging us as we trudge along life’s path. Their encouragement is contagious and energizes our efforts toward becoming better people. Life-givers ask themselves, what would I want or need to hear if I were in another’s shoes. It doesn’t take much effort to offer words of support and enthusiasm with the result that life-giving words beget new life. One side effect of being a live giver is that it makes us life-getters as well. Kindness truly is its own reward.
Richard gives another example of a life-giver. “I recently attended a seminar on writing grant proposals. A number of things went wrong during the instructor’s presentation. An overhead projector quit working. The air conditioning was erratic—the room was either ultra-cold or extra warm. She spilled a pitcher of water on some of her handout materials. Despite the distractions she nonetheless made an excellent presentation. A co-worker who also attended the seminar sent the instructor a card, thanking her for the outstanding information she had make available to the class.” This simple action was life giving.
One drawback of being a life-giver is to expect others to reciprocate. It is easy to become discouraged when our actions are not recognized and others are not grateful. The truth is that a loving action is no less loving and encouragement, energy and enthusiasm are not made void by an absence of gratitude. After all Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:12, “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.” This commandment is from the greatest life-giver who ever lived.
In the afterward of the book, Richard quotes the ancient Chinese proverb, “It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.” He goes on to say, “We all need candles in our lives. We need to look for them, find them and cherish them. Candles come in many forms—persons, places, events, writings and things. They can produce brilliant light from outside ourselves that illuminates our inner darkness. We need to be open to those candles, ready to recognize them when they appear…Sometimes, too, we get to be candles for others, and produce some light so they can feel moved forward to overcome their inner darkness.”
As we celebrate the Easter Vigil, the candle flames we share with one another brightly illuminate our darkened churches. Let us remember the source of that light, the Paschal Candle that represents the light of Christ. May we ponder more deeply the sign before us so that we, too, will become light for others.
Richard’s stories of awe-full moments in his book are a candle for me—and he is a life-giver.
Reviewed in Cross Point By:
Dianne Murray, Director
Library Media Center
Diocese of Orange, California
Christian Families On Line
Awe-Full Moments: Spirituality in the Commonplace by Richard J
Bauman. Reviewed by Linda Bowen.
Have you ever had someone ask you to share a profound experience you have had in your life? Perhaps you would think of a major life event, such as marriage or the birth of a child. Maybe you’d recall a personal loss or a tragedy you have overcome. However, you might not realize how some of the mundane happenings of daily life can impact your perceptions of the world around you, changing your life in ways you never imagined.
In his inspirational book Awe-FuN Moments: Spirituality In the Commonplace, Richard J. Bauman shares with us how everyday life experiences can often mask some very important lessons that shape our lives in countless ways. He focuses on how unpleasant, even tragic events, often provide us moments of pure joy - in Bauman’s words, the awful becomes “awe-flail.”
The book is a collection of thirty essays that recount how the author and others have grown spiritually by virtue of finding the positive in their experiences, especially the negative ones. In his moving essay “Finding Judy,” Bauman recounts losing an infhet sister, Judy, when he was a child. At the time, his family could not express its grief, no one would acknowledge her passing or even speak the child’s name. It wasn’t until 42 years had passed that Bauman realized he needed to come to terms with his loss, and did so by locating Judy’s unmarked grave. That step became the first in his journey to healing and peace.
In “A Body of Gratitude,” Bauman talks about how we often take for granted the “wholeness in mind and body” that God gives to us. When we are in good health, we fail to acknowledge and be thankful for having bodies that function pretty well on most days. We give little thought to having limbs that work properly, with little or no maintenance, or eyes that can see the moment we wake up in the morning.
Awe-FuN Moments is uplifting, and I found myself immediately inspired by Bauman’s words. The book is easy to read and would be a wonderfijI gift, particularly for a friend or loved one who is going through troubled times.
Linda Bowen is afreelance writer living in New Jersey with her husband and two
httv://cbristianfamiliesonline.com/books4 1 html
Finding God's Love Among our Everyday Lives
Reviewer: Tom Berntsen from Los Angeles
This book was a powerful presentation of an almighty and loving God in our everyday normal lives. It is filled with inspiration, miracles, and a God that works his divine wonder into the most ordinary situations we face each day. I found myself in awe in reading many of the truly amazing situations faced by average folk in this short <117 pages>,yet dynamic book. The author appears to have written this straight from his heart and describes many of his own life experiences which left no doubt as to the enormous capacity of God’s bountiful love. He’s quite effectively related some interesting stories of others who have witnessed Gods majestic power into the most humble fragments of daily lives. This book has thirty wonderful stories, after I finished reading it looked at my relationship with God in a new way. His presence no longer seemed so much “out there” in a distant part of the universe or in a remote dimension far removed from. my everyday world, but instead felt him very close by ready to allow me to become closer to him, and all I have to do is ask. I highly recommend this book.
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Richard J. Bauman