A couple of weeks ago was my birthday.  It was so much fun to get together with family and friends.  It was especially fun because my sister-in-law had my age wrong and had gotten me a bit elaborate HAPPY 50TH BIRTHDAY CARD.  I hope she wasn’t embarrassed because I’m actually older than 50 so I took it as a compliment.

But the highlight was a friend who popped in only for 30 minutes.  We hadn’t seen each other in years but she made a point of coming by since I had invited her.  As I introduced her around, I’d explain who everyone was.  “She knits. So does she.”  Soon people were introducing themselves.  “I don’t knit. I make jewelry.”

Then my friend had a great idea.  “We need to see each other more.  We should get together and knit or whatever.”

So guess what we’re doing tonight?  In spite of work deadlines, home improvement projects gone awry and recent illness, six of us are getting together tonight to craft and eat and visit and laugh.  We all have tons of things that we could be doing but really?  Who doesn’t need the love and support of friends?

As a card-carrying introvert, it is easy for me to pull into my shell when I’m stressed and tired.  Thank God for sending me an extroverted friend to make a suggestion I just couldn’t resist.

Reach out and show someone a spark of God’s Love today.

–SueBE

 

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Things have gotten awfully heavy of late. It feels like we’re all just trying to carry the weight of our crosses; sweating, straining, staring at our own two feet. Meanwhile, people are buckling all around us. They are dropping to their knees. They are feeling alone. It cannot end well, for we all need to be loved. And so, I am urging you: Take up an end. If you’ve got your cross balanced and you’re making your way, slowly but surely, help someone else out. Or to drop the metaphor for a moment, tell someone today that you love them. Tell them you forgive them. Tell them you hear them. Because you might be the next to stagger. It can, after all, happen in an instant. Or to take a more nautical theme:

A warning to mariners:
storms crop up quick.
Squalls in the harbor,
thunder out to sea,
fog like a shroud.

If your skiff’s at risk,
signal. Do not attempt
to rescue yourself.
The water is cold.
Depth cannot be calculated
by any standard measure.

If your skiff’s afloat,
please save the sinking.
Bail with a bucket,
or even a thimble.
Make a life jacket
from your own heart.

Continue until all’s clear,
which may be never.
That is all.

If you are spending any time on social media lately, you have a pretty good idea what people think about each other.  Fool.  Idiot.  Moron.  The litany of names is endless.  Is it really any surprise that people cannot come together to find a solution while the hate-filled names are flying?  Who wants to work with someone who just called them an ass?  Instead of cooperating it makes you want to pick their argument apart.

Before you let your fingers fly, take a moment.  Take ten.  Moments are, after all, small things.

Look outward.  Look inward.  Look wherever it is that you regularly sight all that is Holy.  Draw his love into your heart.  That means drawing in his love not only for you but for all of his flawed, squabbling children.  And maybe, just maybe, when you look back at the rest of us you will see things a little differently.

–SueBE

 

 

Last night at women’s Bible study we read one of my favorite Bible verses.  “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”  Hebrews 13:2.

Of course, the study felt the need to explain to us at great length that it wasn’t the angels that were unaware.  It was the people.  Before last night it never even crossed my mind that that might confuse someone.  We were often a King James household growing up but I don’t recall any confusion as to what this meant. Aid and help those who need it because you never know who it really is.

What does this have to do with shaping our world?  For me anyway, a big part of this is environmental justice.  You don’t dump either your garbage or your tailings in someone else’s yard. You make sure everyone has clean water and access to arable land or the food produced on that land.

This pretty well sums up how I vote.  Are you the candidate who cares for ALL of the people?  Then step aside because I’m voting for the other guy.

I know, I know.  We aren’t supposed to mix religion and politics.  They are both taboo topics.

Then again, that attitude doesn’t seem to have served us very well.  We need to talk and we need to go beyond talk.  We need to step up and shape the world we want to live in and we need to do it now.

–SueBE

Yesterday was an all around stormy day meaning that the storms were both literal and figurative.  Leaving the gym, I got to make a choice.  Rain jacket covering me or my yoga gear?  I decided to protect my mat which sops up water much more easily than it releases it again.  But we’ve been in a drought so rain is good.

Still, I could have lived without the flickering power and the lost job.  Yep.  Got home only to discover that an assignment had been pulled.  Well, not quite pulled.  I could keep it if I didn’t mind  . . .   I’ve said no to the new terms before and I said no again.  Oh, well.  I’ve been meaning to work on that novel.

But wait.  Then I found out about another possible job.  I’m still waiting on the details for this one but it looks like things may work out for the better.  I couldn’t have fit this one in if I still had the other.

I don’t think of myself as a particularly faithful or trusting person.  I question God all the time.  In fact, question is probably a tad polite.  But when I finish a job or a company I’m working for quite using freelancers, something else always comes my way.  And the funny thing?  Many are amazing experiences that I never would have looked for on my own.  God definitely has my back but the storms?  I wouldn’t mind a smoother transition.

–SueBE

 

 

At first glance, you may think this quote is blowing off your failures or making light of your hard times.   Think again!

Try photography sometimes.  Occasionally you are going to get the shot you need in one try.  More often than not, you will have a dozen failures before you get that perfect shot.

If things don’t turn out, try again.  Persist.  Tuck your chin and move forward.  Don’t give up.

Many of the tasks that God puts before us are tough.  They don’t come easy.  It may even take time to work up the courage to try and then the failures come.  We aren’t even going to discuss how many wrong notes I hit in choir.  But that’s where God wants me.  So I show up every week and try again.  Maybe this week I’ll get through a rehearsal with no wrong notes.  I doubt it but regardless, I’ll be trying again.

–SueBE

“Inartful” is such an inartful word, isn’t it? It sounds as if somebody was just sitting around, chewing the fat with a bud, and asked, What’s the word for something that doesn’t have any aesthetics to it? No artistic merit at all?

His pal – let’s call him Art – replies, Inartlike? Unartley? Then they both land on: inartful.

Same thing with “impactful.” I’ve seen it an awful lot lately, and every time I do, my mind says, That’s not a word! Somebody just tacked “-ful” onto the end of “impact” one day in a meeting when they were grasping for the right word.

But that’s the beauty of the language. It really does change with the times. Mind you, I’ve had issues with some invented lingo on the web, such as “life hacks.”

Still, that’s what should happen. Our way of speaking should reflect our way of living.

That may not hold true for religions, I realize, but there should be some consideration given to the fact that times change. You can’t change the tenets of any given faith because you don’t agree with them, but they were founded so long ago that some updating wouldn’t hurt. The role of women should be honored, and everyone should be made to feel welcome, no matter who they love, where they’re from, or how much money is in their pocket.

Forgive me if I’m being inartful, but my faith has been so impactful, it’s more than a life hack. It’s the solace of my soul. Grace. Now that’s a real word.

Sometimes I’m sure that doctors, teachers, and emergency workers are the lucky ones.  They know that they are making a difference in the lives of others.  I say that, but I have to admit that it is an assumption.  There may be days that they know they are making a living but they aren’t sure if what they do matters to anyone.  There is always someone else in trouble, a patient who would be doing better if only they had listened, and numerous students who ignore every other thing they are told.

My request to all of you who reads this – let someone know that they have made a difference in your life.  This could mean writing a note to a teacher or messaging a co-worker on Facebook.  Or it could be as simply as letting a kind person that you bump into know that their smile is contagious.

Why bother?  Because if you do, you will be making a difference in someone’s life.

–SueBE

 

What are your plans for the weekend?  Can I make a recommendation?

Don’t Tweet.  Don’t post on Facebook.  Take a few days away from social media.  We cannot make peace as long as one side is shouting at the other.  And it doesn’t really matter which side you are on.  Both groups need to listen.  It is almost impossible to make peace as long as “civil conversation” involves telling people what simple solutions they have missed and that they need to shush up and listen.

Remember, we are all children of God.  All of us.  Even the ones you disagree with.

When we were kids and we would squabble, my mom would tell us to go outside.  Sometimes she just wanted peace.  But I think she also realized that if we would spend time in the sunlight and the wind, we would reorient ourselves, our minds, and our souls.

Seriously.  Outside.

And if you don’t?  Suit yourself.  Maybe you’re more patient than I am.

I’m going out to look for God.  I’ll be back in a day or two.

Note: I’m not walking away from anyone here, but I’ve had a few too many people elsewhere ‘splaining things.  And it ain’t just man-splaining.   I am having a really hard time not counter-explaining that I do not need to have things put SIMPLY. I know counter-explaining would not be productive.  So I’m going out and looking for God.

TTFN (ta ta for now)

–SueBE

 

 

There’s just so much not to talk about today! Take the latest school shooting, for example. Oh, it’s being talked about now. But just give it a few days. Things will settle back to ordinary. And then there will be yet another shooting. It’s cool. We’re okay with this course of events. America has elected a new god and it is guns — singular and plural — and we are perfectly willing to sacrifice our children on our new god’s altar. Eighteen times in 30 days! No one can say we are not devout.

Let’s also not talk about Father James Martin, dubbed the most dangerous man in the Catholic Church for implying, hinting, suggesting that we ought to treat LGBTQ Catholics with dignity and kindness. For this, Father Martin receives all manner of hate mail. It’s good to know that I needn’t turn to another faith practice in order to find the most small-minded one on earth. I can remain a Catholic!

What else should we not discuss? Golly, there’s so much. But no one listens when I get angry. Let me turn instead to my old friend poetry.

Stitch my eyes shut:
I will still see. Numb my mouth
with platitudes and prayer:
I will rouse my tongue.
Tell me I cannot change
people, places, things:
I will wave you away
like a phantasm.
Heaven dropped fire
into my soul. I will scald,
blacken, raise flame.
Even in silence, I smolder.

Let me dazzle you with
incendiary verbiage;
fireworks of thought —
wonder! Delight! Gape
as sparks fly
into upturned mouths.
I need only enflame
one tongue. Then,
and only then,
can I rest in ashes.

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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