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The first time my son went to Boy Scout camp without his Dad, one of the leaders, I was a little worried.  I needn’t have bothered.  A class where he knows no one.  Camp on his own.  A new job.  He finds a way to connect.

Introvert that I am, it is actually something that I’m pretty good at doing.  When I organized an annual writers conference in Missouri, I made a point of greeting each person as they came in.  When I attend a conference, I look for someone by themselves at lunchtime, then I ask to sit at their table.  If you want to be on your own, I’m good with that.  But if you are shy?  I can step up.  Introvert I may be, shy I am not.

Not long ago, in Bible study, we were discussing what it was like to be a Gentile who followed Christ.  You were the new kid on the block.  You weren’t from the tradition of Abraham.  It had to be pretty easy to feel like an outsider.

Now, we Gentiles have been around for a while.  We tend to think of it, whether the building or the Faith, as ours.  With that in mind, we need to remember to reach out.  “No, this is your place too.  We are all His children.”  Scooch over and make a space in the pew.

–SueBE

Recently, a friend confided to me that I mutual acquaintance is “not fond” of me.  To put it simply, she doesn’t like me.

Hmm.  Okay.

Nope. I’m not going to let it bother me.  Part of the reason for my calm attitude is that I know why she doesn’t like me.  I refuse to play the game.

I’m not going to trade a secret about someone for a secret about someone else.  I’m not going to try to guess who did what.  I’m not going to ante up.

I’ll be honest.  When I was younger, you could sometimes draw me in.  But I’ve learned.

Like G-ma always said, “Play nice or don’t play.  God doesn’t like it when we treat other people poorly.”  Be genuine.  Speak truth.  And let the others be.

–SueBE

 

 

The crocus are up and blooming.  Winter is heading out the door.

And, in all truth, it is about time.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love winter.  Snow and cold?  Love them.  I think I like snow days more than the kids do.

But I also have seasonal depression.  By the time spring rolls around, I need a bit of sunlight to lift me up.

Today, I’ll head to the arbor and see if the new rose-bush we put in survived.  If not, I’ll have to replace it.  And my husband went to the nursery to see about the apple trees for the community garden.

The thing about fruit trees?  You aren’t going to benefit from them today.  They are an investment in tomorrow.  To me, they are a symbol of faith.  We will plant this and it will grow.  And tomorrow?  Tomorrow we will benefit.  Spring will come again and again.

–SueBE

I think that one of the things I like most about knitting is that no one tends to talk to me while I knit.  Which is strange.  If I put in an audio book, they flock into the room.  “Oh, I forgot to tell you…”  “Turn it off.”  “What?” “If you are going to talk to me, turn it off.”  An audiobook, which requires my listening, means nothing.  But knitting?  All I can hear is the whisper of needles and yarn.

And it’s into this stillness that my mind roams.  It doesn’t take long before it, my mind, meanders back with a possible solution.  Maybe this will work.  This could be a new way to approach the problem. Redoing a room. Writing a book.  What to get someone for their birthday.  How to draw someone into the peace they need in their lives.

All of these things benefit from stillness and just a bit of quiet.  Because it is in this still silence that we can hear that still small voice, urging us along.

–SueBE

 

I love this quote.  Love it.

For me it serves as a reminder that too much of any good trait can become a bad trait.  I am direct.  Often painfully so.  I suspect that it comes from growing up around women who took forever to get to the point.  What do you want me to do?  Just tell me!

As a result of dodging the passive aggressive card, I often “cut to the chase.”  I have been told that I am occasionally intimidating.  Somewhere there has to be middle ground but I have yet to find it.

I suspect that the answer lies in love.  See those around me as God’s children just like me.  See his spark lighting them from within.  Remember that they may not be doing it my way, but that’s okay.  No one said my way was the only way.  It is simply another way to do it.

Hmm.  That might work.  “Here’s another way we could do it…”  “Here’s something I think we should try…”

–SueBE

A friend of mine likes to repeat something that her father said, and in all truth it is something we should repeat and often.  I know I won’t get it entirely right but it goes something like this:

No matter where you end up, heaven or hell, you are going to be surprised by who you see along side you.  And, really, many of them will be just as surprised to see you.

Think about it for a minute.  Many of the people we’ve labeled bad or irredeemable, they are among the saved.  In spite of the very worst thing that they did, they are among the chosen.

And, in spite of our church going and sermonizing, we don’t get a vote.  Not a one of us.  All that time you spent pointing out your brother’s sins, marching around carrying that sign? Pfft.  You get no say.  I get no say.  God?  Salvation and grace come through Him alone.

And in all truth, that’s a comforting thought.

 

 

When we enter Lent, we tear our hearts wide open and invite Christ inside.  Last night was Ash Wednesday.  Part of our annual service is tearing cloth as we contemplate how to celebrate this liturgical season.

Will we give something up?  It doesn’t have to be chocolate or coffee.  It could be harsh words, uncharitable thoughts or judgment.

Or will we add something to our Christian practice?  A friend plans to read scripture whenever someone gets under her skin.  I’m going to try to see the Child of God in those around me.  That spark of His Light.

So far so good but I’m working from home today.  So far I’ve encountered a total of two people.  And, in truth, I think this will be my day-long total.

Fingers crossed that tomorrow I can remember to take a deep breath and look closer for the spark of His Light and Love.

–SueBE

It’s a tricky balancing act.  One person is angry and they are taking someone else’s power.  My son had to deal with a bully when he was in grade school. She was rude to adults and mean to her fellow students.  I can’t even tell you how often she knocked him over the tables they used as desks because he would get in trouble if he hit a girl. She wanted to show him her power.

I’d love to say I found a loving solution.  But it did stop mostly because I backed the staff into a corner.

Early on, I explained to my son that some people only feel strong when they are standing on someone else.  It’s sad but that doesn’t mean you have to let them stand on you.  And there are times you can keep them from standing on someone else.

More than once, I’ve accidentally meandered between an adult bully and their victim, while pretending to text.   I’ve asked to speak to a manager when a store employee is being harassed by an unreasonable patron.  I’ve even been known to snap a photo with my phone.

I may not have figured out how to be loving to the bully, but I can find ways to stand up for the down trodden.  I can let them know they are seen.   And from there their power can build.

Be Christ’s loving presence in an angry world.

–SueBE

Until this week, I had never heard of it.  Motive Attribution asymmetry.  I’d never heard of it but I’ve seen it in action.  I’ve been guilty of it too.

In this phenomenon, we assume that our motive or outlook is based on love.  Whoever we disagree with?  Their motives are based on hate.

Motive attribution asymmetry is worse than intolerance.  If I think you are hateful, ignorant or just plain stupid, it is easy to be contemptuous.  If you think my opinion is immoral, I am that much easier to dismiss.

Contempt causes stress and anxiety.  Contempt divides.

Disagreement is natural.  My husband and I always joke that if we are both in the room, there are likely to be three or four opinions on any given matter.

Maybe just maybe I should try to remember that, short-sighted though the other person may seem, they too are a child of God, imperfect and flawed just like me.

Child of God.  Hopefully if I repeat it enough now I’ll remember it the next time I’m tempted to open my big mouth.

–SueBE

How much is enough?  That’s something I find myself considering every now and again.  I grew up in a two bedroom cottage.  Granted we had a basement and a garage but it wasn’t a huge home.  Yet four of us along with all of our stuff fit in it just fine.

Now I live in a three bedroom ranch with a double garage and full basement. There are three of us and I work at home.  But it’s a bigger home.  And yet, this house is full.

But when confronted with need, we get pissy.  “How dare the Pastor suggest we eat out less so that we can give more to the poor?”

It seems like the more we have, the less willing we are to share.  We are so worried that we might give it to someone undeserving, someone who is trying to scam us, someone who might squander it.

Or we might just change a life.  I read the perfect post about this earlier today at Sean of the South.

It doesn’t always take something huge to turn someone’s life around. Sometimes it just takes a small gift, a bit of mercy and faith.

–SueBE

 

 

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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