You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Life Lessons’ category.

We live in a broken world.  There’s no doubt in my mind that this is true.  As Ruth wrote in “Give the Past the Boot,” we continue to suffer from past events often because we keep replaying past mistakes and harms in our minds.  And in “Until,” Lori wrote about how hard it is to believe in either government or church. The world is definitely broken.

But you know what isn’t broken?  God.

God is whole.  Think about that for a moment.

God. Is. Whole.

It can be so hard to keep moving forward in this broken world.  It seems that no matter what we do, something is still wrong.  In the words of Mr. Incredible, “No matter how many times you save the world, it always manages to get back in jeopardy again. Sometimes I just want it to stay saved! You know, for a little bit? I feel like the maid; I just cleaned up this mess! Can we keep it clean for… for ten minutes!”

But that’s the reality when you are broken people living in a broken world.  And some days that is really going to get you down. That’s why I didn’t post on Friday.

And I get the irony of today’s quote.  I really do.  But there’s also a beauty in it and I think that’s why the Diary of Anne Frank continues to be such a popular book.  Anne Frank was someone who saw the light and life in the world.  She knew it was broken.  But she also looked for that glimmer of light.

What can you do today? It doesn’t have to be big.  And it isn’t going to fix everything.  But it might be the thing that catches someone’s attention and turns them toward God, God the Whole, God our Light.

–SueBE

 

Advertisements

So I bought a frozen pizza that was on sale for less than a dollar. Turned on the oven and put the pizza in to cook. Once it was done, I tried to pull it out of the oven, but it got stuck on the rack. After a struggle  to get it out of the oven, I was really hungry and took a bite. Instantly, I regretted it, as it was still too hot and it burned the roof of my mouth. To boot, it was flavorless, as if I was eating the box it came in. All that work and it tasted like cardboard.

And I thought, how many life experiences are like that?

You twist yourself into contortions for someone else (insert situation here: a peer group, a romantic interest, a potential employer, etc.) and end up looking back on it with regret. They didn’t like you anyway, even after you changed yourself to make them like you. And you didn’t like yourself in that context either. That wasn’t you.

When the past comes at you with all the weapons in its arsenal – shame, guilt, and regret – whip out the shield to fend off all efforts to get under your skin and into your soul: faith. Faith that every day is a clean slate and a chance to start again – on your own terms. Faith that the choices you made in the past were your best efforts at the time, and helped you build an acumen for action going forward. Faith in the fact that life is good and you deserve every good thing it has to offer.

And as for that negative narrator in your head, reminding you of times you’d just as soon forget? Put on your boots, kick it to the curb, and keep moving.

I can make myself believe
that voting still matters
that good will win out
that women will be heard
and people of color respected

I can make myself believe
that redemption is possible
that no one (even me) is useless
that justice is a-comin’
and blue waves can save

I can make myself believe
all manner of fairy tales:
Father knows best
blind obedience is my duty
and we can pray away the pedophiles

But I cannot believe in America
(not really)
or in my Church
(not absolutely)
until men believe in change.

This quote applies to so many areas of life.

Are you active in your community, working to help improve the things that need improving?  Or do you move?

Do you volunteer in your children’s schools?  Or do you put them in private schools to avoid the bad element?

Unhappy with your church?  Do you work to make changes or do you go in search of another?  I have to admit that here I’m lucky.  I’m Presbyterian.  The members govern the church.  We hire the pastor.  It is ours.

But I’m also lucky because I’m an idea person.  I don’t see a problem and panic.  I see a problem and start looking at the possibilities.  In truth, it is a tendency that can annoy other people.  Even if I don’t know how to take step 1 (turn of the water flowing across the floor), I know who will know.  So you make that phone call.  You get a mop.

I don’t have Edison’s patience.  Honestly, I don’t know that I would have found 10,000 things that didn’t work as I struggled to make the lightbulb.  But that’s okay.  That’s Edison’s thing.  I can do my thing to make the world a more beautiful place.

When we act as Christ’s hands and feet, we aren’t just looking for greener pastures.  We are looking, in my not-so-humble opinion, for ways to make the pasture greener.

–SueBE

I really do think that we reflect our thoughts.  If nothing else, our faces bear witness to our personalities.

For example, my son has what we lovingly call “resting smirk face.”  He always looks like he’s thinking something irreverent.  A kid with that smirk has got to be up to something.

And, as his mom, I can tell you that if he isn’t up to something now, he will be in just a few minutes.  That’s definitely how God made him.

Me?  I wish I had a resting smirk face.  But I’m often running over some problem in my mind.  How could she have done that?  And really? How did he think that lie wouldn’t come back to the rest of us?

I’d love to say it doesn’t show in my expression, but I’m pretty sure it does.  Which is yet another reason to turn these things over to God. Dump the replays.  Dump the worries.  And fill in the empty places with His light and perhaps just a bit of mischief.

–SueBE

This is a saying that I can see as the heart of a parable.  Why?  Because it is really about so much more than planting a tree.

It is about all of those days where you find out about a mistake that you, or someone else, made days, weeks or months ago.  Do you fix the mistake or throw up your hands in defeat?

It probably comes as no great surprise, that I’m a fixer.  I research and fiddle and compare until I get it to work.  I am very “I’ll do it myself.”

But that also means that I have I hard time acknowledging that someone else might now how to do it.  More than once my husband has come along with the solution only to get snarled at.  Not that that stops him.  He too is a fixer.

And that’s what we need today.  People who are willing to fix things that have been wrong for a long, long time.  That’s what Ruth wrote about in her post, Somethings Got to Change. When people of any given demographic know that they will be WRONG simply because they are black/male/unemployed or whatever, then something has got to change.

That’s what being the hands and feet of Christ is all about.  Helping those who are the least in our society.  Fixing what has been wrong for a very long time.

–SueBE

“I don’t know. Let’s look that up.”

It was one of the most common phrases around here when my son was growing up.  Actually, now that I think about it, it is still really common, but there are three adults in the house to look things up.  Thank God for Google.

Yesterday in adult Sunday school, someone told us about a church she had visited as a teen.  The pastor told her that they didn’t believe in the Trinity because “we don’t understand it.”  Whoa! What?

How can you not believe in things you don’t understand?  If that was the case, I’d cease to believe in a good chunk of humanity, calculus, and a whole lot of other things.

I can’t say that I always love not knowing something or not understanding.  One of the men, a retired engineer, is way too good at putting me on the spot.  But I think he enjoys it.  “You always looks so surprised!”

But how can we learn and grow if we thing we know everything?  Isn’t that an attempt to put ourselves on the same level as God?

I’m okay admitting that I don’t fully understand the Trinity.  I’m enjoying studying about it but that study would probably be a lot less interesting if I already knew it all.

What are some of the things about faith that you find “un-knowable”?

–SueBE

We name them prettily,
these storms, placate them
with soft sounds: Sandy,
Katrina, Maria, Florence.
On they come, regardless,
knocking down houses with fists
of wind, sweeping the skies
with furious rain. Let us pray
for gentle weather, for gusty
diversions that lure a storm
back out to sea. And when
prayers cannot keep chaos
at bay, let us pray for one another.
Let us be gentle weather to
our neighbor, blowing balmy breezes
that cauterize wounds, taking up,
with many hands, the work of
starting over.
Amen.

Target is deleting certain key words from the descriptions of books on its website.  Readers searching for books that reflect the transgender or LGBTQ experience may fail to find just the book they need.  Some descriptions have been corrected but authors have had to contact the chain again and again.

Somehow the wall is still being built.  This in spite of the fact that Texas Representative Beto O’Rourke had another viable plan.  A plan that wouldn’t divide.

Us and them. It’s a human thing.  And yet God made us all.

And I’m not saying that I’m above it.  Who hasn’t made a crack about Boomers?  Or Millenials?  Republicans or Democrats?  As much as I try not to do it, I still catch myself saying divisive things.

And yet.

He has made us all.  Just a little something to think about.

–SueBE

 

 

What we do impacts who we are. Don’t believe me?  Think about spending time with someone who is abrasive and perhaps just a bit mean.  Don’t you become just a bit abrasive yourself?  And crabby?

But the good thing is that the impact isn’t always negative.  That’s right, you can build a better you.

One of the best ways to do this, in my opinion, is to spend some quiet time with God.  This can be prayer time, scripture time, or time spent making things.  Yes, I’m a maker.  When my hands are busy, my mind drifts.  Or go for a walk.  That’s another great way to be a little busy physically which can actually help your mind take things in.

It seems like so much of what we read is about being more productive and multitasking.  That’s awesome but so is time spent with God.  It can help you be a more open, relaxed and light-filled person.

–SueBE

Have a Mary Little Christmas

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: