You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘in the news’ category.

Strangers hold onto man for two hours after he threatens to jump off bridge

So here’s an idea. Instead of a Smart Phone, why don’t we invent a Sweet Phone – only calls from kindred spirits with a sunny outlook get through; those with a hidden agenda, a chip on their shoulder, or an axe to grind would be blocked.

It might be possible to do that with our social media habits as well. If you think of the news headlines as a slow drip of poison into your psyche, you’ll be more cognizant of the negative effect it’s having on your emotions.

My mother used to say each of us needs twelve hugs a day just to survive. Not sure why she chose the number twelve, but I’m down with the sentiment. We can do the bio-equivalent of that with our online viewing habits.

What about starting a trend that for every critical tweet or comment you post, you must compliment someone or focus on a positive thing? For every bad airline encounter story you read today, I propose that you read two feel-good stories. Listen to an uplifting song. Write a poem. Anything to counteract the constant barrage of chaos and carnage.

Here’s a positive story to start you off. It’s not often that a picture can bring me to instant tears of joy, but this picture of Good Samaritans reaching through the bars on a bridge to keep a suicidal man from jumping really got to me.

Strangers do good things for people all the time, even though the bad news gets most of the press.

These random people came together when a car overturned into a flooded area, trapping two infants inside. One man carries out a toddler, saying, “Dear Jesus, please let this baby breathe.”

Cue the waterworks again! Mercy. I may as well go to the kitchen and chop some onions at this rate.

This stranger’s kind act really warmed my heart: a sweet story about a long-lost letter.

With all the political weirdness and the general turmoil in the world, I propose that this kind of news is not just human interest, it’s a poultice for the soul.

One of my mom’s favorite sayings, and it didn’t matter if she was talking to a five year-old or a twenty-five year old, was “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”

Yes, she knew she was quoting Disney and she knew we knew.  Bring it up and she’d just give you that stare.

You probably think that Mom came to mind because it’s Mother’s Day weekend.  That’s probably part of it. But part of it was also reading Lori’s post. Even if she didn’t agree with what any and all of these people had done, Mom would have chosen a different path. Confrontation just wasn’t her thing.

When the mom up the street didn’t feed her kids well or keep them clean, Mom didn’t argue or lecture.  She invited the kids down for lunch and she put their coats in the wash. She even put then in the tub a time or two because “we had played outside for too long and they were obviously chilled.”

I never heard her tell another mom off because their child behaved badly, but woe to me if I repeated that behavior in front of that parent.  “We do not behave like that. What would people think?”

Arguments online? That wasn’t an issue way back then, but knowing Mom it still wouldn’t be today. Mom might have gone on Facebook to catch up with an old friend or exchange a recipe. She definitely would have participated in sewing forum’s and shared patterns and tips. But argue? Not Mom.

When they asked Mom to teach Sunday school, they probably thought she’d go for the cute, little kids.  Mom asked for the high schoolers. I was too young to be in her class but I heard about it. They discussed everything using the lesson as a jumping off point for life, the world and everything. The opinions stated by her students weren’t always the common wisdom.  They challenged each other.  They asked her “why do we believe this and not that?” She gave what they asked thought before she answered, especially when she didn’t agree.

And week after week, they came back.

If they didn’t have something nice to say based on someone else’s belief, they could speak their mind but they didn’t name call, they didn’t argue.  It wasn’t about the other person, it was about their own belief, idea or opinion. They could disagree, but they had to be civil.  Otherwise, what would people think?

Wishing you all a Blessed weekend filled with inspiration and memories of the mom’s, grandmothers, Sunday school teachers and others who shaped us into the people we are today!

–SueBE

Boy oh boy, are we in trouble. A 22-year-old Russian man is on trial for playing Pokemon Go in church. A politician in Indonesia is being charged with blasphemy against Islam. Stephen Fry, noted British comedian, is being investigated in Ireland for scathing remarks he made on a talk show, about God — if He exists — being something of a sadist.

I could make more or less well-constructed arguments in each of these cases. No, you shouldn’t play games in church, but if we sentenced every kid who didn’t pay attention during Mass, we’d have very few children left to fill the pews. God is infinitely compassionate, but the British tend to be a bit suspect on such matters, what with having endured hundreds of years of religious-based harassment and executions. And though I don’t always understand Islam, maybe some people just need to settle down a bit. In fact, maybe we all should.

I’m no fan of blasphemy. It riles me up when people make suppositions about God based on limited human experience. But then again, I do this, too. We all do. The thing we so often forget is that God can take it. God’s no hothouse flower, withering away at the scald of an unkind Tweet. God is bigger than we are. We take offense at slights against ourselves and against God. God does not.

In fact, God loves us even at our worst. Especially at our worst. God loves dopey people who do dopey things when they ought to be praying. God loves Islam, even when those who practice its tenets make God into a tyrant. And God loves anyone who makes others laugh — laughter being one of God’s most wondrous inventions.

So lay off, folks. The one thing you can say without a doubt about our species is that we make mistakes. We are error-ridden, clumsy, maladroit, blabber-mouthed idiots on a near-constant basis. And that’s okay, because God made us that way. Out of a pile of dirt and hubris, male and female, we were formed. We make mistakes, but hopefully, we learn from them. We see God only in glimpses, but if we make an effort, those glimpses can be glorious. And we constantly discount God’s capacity — for goodness, for miracles, for compassion and love. We really shouldn’t do that.

But it’s okay. God’s got tough skin. We’d do well to remember that.

Do your actions speak louder than your words?  It is so easy, especially when someone is rude or insulting to be rude or insulting back.  That’s when I have to remind myself to take a deep breath and, like my great aunt, sweep them away with Jesus’ love.  So glad I had that powerful woman to show me the way!

Together we stand.

As I read through various blog posts on Friday, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  Pope Francis had done a TED Talk?  No way!

But, he had.  For those of you who have missed out on these talks, TED stands for Technology, Engineering and Design.  Thus the first talks were all pretty techy and many of them still are.  But the people behind TED have branched out with talks on creativity and writing and how people see each other.

This past Tuesday, the Pope addressed the TED conference which this time around had the theme “The Future You.” In working within this, he addressed the power that each “you,” each individual in this world has to make change.

Francis discussed how deeply interconnected we are and how this connectivity works. To truly connect, and I’m paraphrasing all of this because he spoke in Italian which was translated, equality and solidarity have to be the goal.

And not just the goal on Sunday.  Or when we are doing churchy or charitable things.  Equality and solidarity have to be the goal of politics, of economics and even of science. This means, according to Pope Francis, going beyond our culture of waste in which it is okay for certain people, individuals and groups, to be cast aside. People, he reminded listeners, are not statistics.  They are not numbers.  It isn’t enough for us to have good intentions and talk about social justice.  We have to get out there and make it happen like the Good Samaritan or Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Like them, we need to be individual candles in a world of conflict.

In doing, we will create hope. Where one of us is there can be hope.  Where many of us are, there can be revolution.

That said, he calls on us to create a revolution of tenderness. This needs to be a revolution of tenderness to hear and see the hopeless and those who are crying out, to hear and see the damage being done to our Earthly home, It means to use our hearts and our hands to take action.

A revolution of tenderness.

Wow.

Just wow.

–SueBE

“Happy birthday!” I said to my teen-age son, and walked over to give him a hug. Huh. How about that. My son was so much taller than me that his shoulder was over my head. I had to turn to the side to breathe. Wouldn’t it be ironic if I suffocated in the armpit of the son I gave life to? 🙂

On an awards show, the singer, Pink, wearing a sparkly leotard, spinning on a trapeze high above the audience, was singing, “I’m not here for your entertainment!” I scratched my head. Surely this isn’t educational?

Flipping to another channel, there was a half-hour infomercial called “Identity Theft News” posing as a live news broadcast.

As we all tend to do, I surfed the web while watching t.v., and found some other puzzling things. Like the use of trendy, made-up phrases in news articles, i.e., Obama White House Photographer Throws Shade at Trump, Rep. Maxine Waters Claps Back at Bill O’Reilly After Hair Insult.

Even more confusing, sometimes a word can be used in opposite directions: Almost 75 Years After Death Beatrix Potter Drops New Book, and Simon & Schuster Drops Milo Yiannopoulous Book Following Release of Controversial Video.

Over the years, I’ve learned:

  • Things aren’t always what they appear to be.
  • Social media is here to stay, along with selfies and skinny jeans.
  • Times change.
  • We’ll be okay.

I don’t have to always “get it” as I look around at the world today, because I know some of the most important things never change. Faith, family, friends, and the perpetual power of prayer.

As the Yiddish proverb says, “Prayers go up, and blessings come down.” Let’s let Anne Lamott have the last word today: “Anything you say from your heart to God is a prayer.”

Generally, my post goes up Friday night.  Here it is Saturday afternoon and I’m just now sitting down to write.  I could tell you that I’m running late because I have a book due Monday that has been consuming my energies.  True enough.

I could also tell you that I had a cold.  Also true.

But I’ve also been putting it off because I just don’t know what to say in the face of the gas attacks in Syria and our own military response.  The day American missiles flew, my 18 year-old son filled out and filed his Selective Service registration.

I look back and I shudder.  I look forward . . . and I just don’t know. There are so many wrong paths, so many destructive choices, so much hate and wrongdoing.

What should we do?  I’d love to say that I have eloquent answers, but I don’t.  I love to say that I have a detailed plan, but that wouldn’t be true.

Then I pulled up this graphic for today.  Trust in the slow work of God.

I took a deep breath.  Trust God.  Trust that it might take a while.  But trust God.

I can do that.  I can trust in God while questioning man.  I can pray for justice even if I’m not sure how to bring it about. And even if I don’t know the big plan, I can do small things with compassion and love.

I may not be striving forward with confidence today but I am looking to Him.  Listening for Him.  And acting as His hands on Earth.  Trust.  Pray.  Compassion and love.

Right now its all that I have.

–SueBE

%d bloggers like this: