This is something that I’m struggling with this week.  I think that part of the problem is that the person I butted-heads with is an old friend.  To my knowledge, she has never admitted that she was wrong.  Ever.  She’s used to people being angry with her.  No worries.  They can just deal with it.

How can I forgive someone who doesn’t compromise?  When I know she will do this again?

This is today’s struggle.




There’s a difference between forgiveness and being a victim. Being a victim means that we let people do the same things to us again and again.

Forgiveness?  You put down the anger.  You toss away the rage.  You don’t give it space in your head 24-7.  It doesn’t mean that you forget, but you let go of the rage.

Instead you look for a spark of light.   That becomes your focus and what you show the world.  Not the rage.  Not the anger.  The light that pushes back darkness.


Helping people can be tricky.  We see someone with a problem.  We know, just know, how to help them.  So we do.

The problem was theirs.The solution was ours.  And there are times that all is well and good.

But what if they had another solution in mind?  A better solution?  A solution that didn’t create an us with power and a them without?

When we help someone, we need to do it with love which is what makes helping people tricky. Love listens.  Love opens up to new ways of doing things.   Love doesn’t assume that there is only one way, our way.

Love, like Christ, moves among those in need, getting to know them, seeing them, speaking to them, sitting beside them.   Only then does love act.



There’s been a lot of talk about hope lately. SueBe neatly defined it as a way of thinking positively about life. I gave it some thought and came up with a wild variety of metaphors…and maybe a little insight.

You can live on hope, if you need to.
You can eat it like bread, portion it out
to last, like pemmican, (or whatever it was
Lewis and Clark ate while Sacagawea took them
on a tour of places she already knew), only better-tasting.
The point being, hope is at least as good as a native guide,
even if it can’t tell you where you’re going. It can, however,
sustain. Hope is the rail on the stairway, the boy scout
who helps you cross a busy street, the friendly cop
on the corner. It is a safe place to land. Miss Emily
called it feathered, though, I think it less flighty
than the image deserves. It persists like plastic.
It stands in the desert, against the wind blowing
and doesn’t lose its nose, the way the Sphinx
did. It is a hearty breakfast: toast, eggs, bacon.
It cannot be spent, only abandoned. And even
then, it returns, nudging you with its wet nose
like a cat who has decided to stay. You might
as well keep it. The comfort of it will warm you,
some dark night, and make its care and feeding
worth your while.

The pastor that I grew up with understood people.  He knew how easy it was to focus on the busy work of maintaining a church.  There’s the parking lot to repave, the roof to replace, that room needs painting, and more.

For every dollar we spend on ourselves, we had to donate a dollar to someone else.  It didn’t matter if it was a $200 project or a $20,000 project.

As I child, I didn’t understand why he did this.  I didn’t dislike the practice. I honestly didn’t think about it much.

As an adult, it means a lot more.  Whether we are discussing church life or home life, it is so easy to get caught up in busy work and our own agendas.  So think about it.  What are you doing for others?  A little something to noodle over.


I have to admit, I am in awe of people who can do this.  War protestors.  Civil rights protestors.  Women’s rights protestors.  All have stood, or sat, and let the hatred flow past them.

All I can think is wow.  Me?  I get the modern approach to protest.  Not turning cars over and setting fires.  But fists raised in anger?  Shouting?  That I understand.  I’m not saying that God gave me rage but I have it.  I feel it.  Sometimes I even seem to embrace it and hold it close.

But always my eyes are drawn back to this other way.  And I think wow.


Kindness. It is as simple as that.  

In fact, it almost seems too simple, but really it isn’t.  This is what Miss Ruth touched on yesterday.  Judge or give someone the benefit of the doubt?


I’d love to say that I’m as good at that as she is.  But it is something I have to remind myself to do every day especially when someone has wronged me or called me down when the fault is very much shared.

As Ruth reminds me, I don’t know what day she had before she contacted me.  I really have no clue.  But I can give her the benefit of the doubt.  A small act of kindness and an opportunity to practice what I preach.


Hope.  It isn’t something you have, use and never need again.  Why?  Because so many of the things that require hope are not quickly achieved.

But how much better to think of it all as an adventure vs an ordeal.  Have an adventure.  Have a forward journey.  Definitely a better way to go.

So – have hope!


Since I stopped driving a couple of years ago, I really don’t get out and about as much as I’d like. Some days, it might seem as if I’m a hermit. I’d love to get out more, but I have to work around my health and visual issues, and I’m on a budget.  I know I’ll be able to go to the movies and “impulse shop” again one day, but for now, and I’m grateful for every meal, every clean pair of socks, every hot shower. Even if I don’t get out much, I make the best of what I’ve got right here at home.

I came across a story about a Coptic Christian Priest who re-defines the term, “hermit.” He scales the face of a sheer cliff every single day to get to his church, of which he’s the sole member. It’s really just a cave on a mountain.

At first, I thought this was an example of a man going the extra mile – and then some – for his faith. Then I wondered: is this really what God wants him to do? He’s got no parishioners. He has to make a death-defying climb to get to this “church.” And there’s a chance that this is really just his version of a (literal) man cave, and is just an excuse to get away from the missus back home!

So I came to the conclusion that while I may not understand why people believe or behave as they do, there’s always a back-story. I’ll represent my own faith in the best way possible, by giving them the benefit of the doubt, and an encouraging word when our paths may cross.

We may see the world differently, but at the end of the day, we all walk the path of life together.

Coming off even a hard few days, there are things we can do to repair ourselves and repair the world.

  1.  Take time off.  That’s what I did yesterday.  I spent time reading.  I puttered around here in my office.  My husband and I put up new lights on the patio.  We went out for ice cream.  Your prescription will vary according to what recharges you emotionally and spiritually.
  2. Spend time with God.  Sometimes we need to do this alone.  Time spent in nature works for me.  So does uplifting music.  So I’ll be heading off to church in about an hour.
  3. Reading scripture.  I currently reading the Bible chronologically.  At this point in time, I’m in Genesis 26?  28?  Something around in there.
  4. Smile. This is an easy one but I’ve been paying attention and realize how seldom we do it unless we know the person we encounter.  Smile because it helps you …
  5. Connect.  As you go through your day, pay attention to those you encounter.  Look the clerk in the eye.  When she tells you to have a good day, respond.

This is my plan for today.  I’ll be reading another chapter in the mystery I started yesterday.  I’m going to visit Dad.  But first, I’m going to church for song and scripture and prayer.


Have a Mary Little Christmas

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