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There’s no doubt about it. I’m a champion at keeping busy but I’ve encountered two things this week that have me asking a question. Am I the right kind of busy?

Each week, a friend and I make photo badges to share online. It is something that we do to add a bit of positivity to a world that seems to need it. As I was looking for quotes to use, I came across this quote by Brittin Oakman.

That’s one thing.

Periodically our pastor gives a “character sermon.” He’s preached as the inn keeper who turned away Joseph and Mary. He’s preached as a tax collector and even an angel. This last one gave me pause. He preached as Satan.

To put it mildly, it was unsettling. He talked about how easy it is to turn prideful people to his bidding. Some of the names he mentioned were Biblical – King David and Saul. But he also talked about people who are in the news and how even every day people can stir things up and do his work.

It isn’t what they meant to do. They are standing up for themselves or someone else. Or they are just so very tired. They spoke without thinking. They didn’t mean to divide people. They didn’t mean to hurt anyone.

How much easier it would be to avoid undermining the light of God if we would spend some time being busy taking care of ourselves? Rest and recharging make it so much easier for us to see what is before us. How much better would it be if we would spend some time being busy reorienting ourselves to light and love and God? We would come away from these experiences carrying the light of God.

How much better would that be?

–SueBE

I thought I’d been doing a pretty good job staying upbeat during the lockdown.  Not that it has been easy.  We haven’t been able to talk to my dad since March 1st because the Veteran’s home where he lives has been on lockdown since then.  No visitors in.  No residents out visiting.  You can call people but Dad’s dimentia means that his phone is lost or without power 99% of the time.

But the staff locked the place down to keep the residents safe.  They’ve updated us regularly.  This may not be what we want but they are working to keep everyone safe.

I repeat that to myself a lot.

Then I called a friend whose mom died in a hospice facility of COVID-19.  She told me about the conditions there and everywhere.

Everywhere.  That’s when the nightmares started.

After several nights, I called another friend.  She’s something of an touchstone.  She has a strong faith but she is also painfully honest.  “I just got off the phone with Liz.  She was telling me about all the precautions they’ve taken and how good everyone is doing.”

I had totally forgotten that Liz worked at the Veteran’s home.  My friend had an inside track!

It is so easy to feel discouraged and pressed down by the enormity of it all.  God, never promised us an easy life, but with this social distancing it is so easy to feel isolated and alone.  If this is you right now, reach out.  Pick up the phone and call someone.  Comment on this post here.

None of us has all the answers. But more often than not one of us will have the ability to hear the still small voice of God at that particular moment.  That discouragement you feel is not from God.  Let us share in the Light.

–SueBE

 

When I saw this quote, I thought of our Christmas Eve service.  We ened the service with each person holding a lit candle.  The ushers turn off the lights but the space isn’t dark.  Instead it glows in the warmth of candle light.  The pastor sends us on our way with a simple direction – carry Christ’s light with us out into the world.

This morning I saw just how easy it is to share this light with others.  A young man walked into the local diner. He wore worn jeans, a faded shirt and taped work boots.  It would be easy to judge.

A man walked up to him and asked about his trade.  The young man lit up and told him about his landscaping work.  Then he posted about it and thanked this man and his parents for respecting him working with his hands.

Someone passed a light to him and he passed it on.  Christ’s light and love moved from one to another and through the community.

As you move through your day, periodically hold up your candle.  Look a those around you in the Love and Light of Christ.  Then find an opportunity to share this light.  Many tiny flames can push back the darkness.

–SueBE

It has been almost a month since I managed to post here on our dear blog.  With two family members experience health issues and hospitalization, something simply had to give.  There were times that I thought it just might be me.

But these two ladies here had my back.  “You are taking time for yourself, aren’t you?”  Miss Ruth was always the more pointed of the two but that’s what we love about Ruth.  Straight up, no nonsense caring.  She has no qualms about telling you to remember to take time for yourself.  Lori checked in, lettting me know that they had everything covered.  I knew they would.  I never doubted it.

Still I appreciated those little notes checking in on me.  And the prayers.

These ladies were definitely among the rainbows these last few weeks.  And spotting this quote after the last few weeks, my ultimate compliment may have to change to “you’re a rainbow.”

In Christian believe, rainbows are a symbol of the promise between God and his people.  But they are much more.

They are symbols of light and hope.

This week, when you spot someone who is struggling with something, take a moment.  Check on them.  Shine Christ’s light into the darkness around them.

It will make a difference in their lives.

–SueBE

 

 

A couple of weeks ago, I was short-sighted enough to disagree with a friend of my husband on Facebook.  I should have known.  Really, really should have known.  It isn’t that I dislike him but I know him.  He is pushy.  I think he’s condescending because I’m female.  My husband counters that he’s condescending because he’s breathing.  Female.  Male.  People in general.  Condescension will happen.

And when it did?  I lost all perspective.  It became the most important part of my evening.  Again and again I looked up his comment.  How dare he!?  The amount of energy that went into verifying, repeatedly, that he had been rude and he’d done it more than once was, in hindsight, embarrassing.  I should have just turned my back on the whole thing.  I should have turned to face something or Someone entirely different.

What if I’d spent that evening doing something God wants me to do?  Using the talents God gave me?  Facing into the Light?  Maybe nothing grand would have happened.  But, if nothing else, I’d have had a much better evening.

And if we did this often and consistently?  I can’t help but think that we’d get a lot more accomplished acting as His hands and feet on this earth.

–SueBE

If, like me, you live in an urban area, going into the countryside can be a shock when it comes to the night sky.  The name “Milky Way” suddenly makes sense to someone who is used to seeing only the very brightest stars.

During the day, we see one star, our own sun.  During a truly dark night, we see many.  It is amazing.

The other thing I love about being in this part of the state?  We have no cell service.  I can disconnect.   I wander down country roads, stopping to check rocks and moss and whatever else catches my fancy.  I can listen and breathe and simply be.  It’s in those times that I’m mostly likely to hear what it is God is trying to tell me.

Darkness and disconnect.  Both allow you to take in the Light.

–SueBE

 

 

If you’ve never sung in a choir, you may not know what a cantata is.  A cantata combines readings and song and the ones we perform last about 20 minutes.

Our choir director generally gives us a rehearsal disk about 2 months before the performance.  Listen to the disk, sing along, learn your part.

Sounds easy?  And it really isn’t dreadful.  First you learn you part, then you rehearse with your section, then you rehearse with the full choir.

Then, and only then, do we take it into the sanctuary.

Our first run through in the sanctuary is always frighteningly bad.  No, really.  You’d think we’d never heard the music let alone practiced it.

Fortunately, Ellen, our choir director is an angel of hope.  “That was a little rough but you’ve been practicing.  You’ll have it in no time.”  And? She was right.  No matter that we missed almost every cue, forgot our parts, sang the wrong words and what was that?

In the light, you don’t need hope but it in the dark it pulls you forward, back toward the light.

–SueBE

We are all complex combinations of dark and light.  Not that I’m bragging about my darkness but I do believe I need to own it.

I am short tempered.  Judgemental.  And precise.  How is that last one a bad thing?  Tick me off and then bug me to tell you why.  You’ll get it in great and painful detail.  Seriously.

There are also the traits that can go either way. I have a very strong sense of justice.  My friend’s autistic son loves that about me because it makes us just alike.  What can I say?  We understand each other.

I own these facts about myself but I try not to let them control me.  When something starts to get on my last nerve, I look for a way to remove myself from the situation.  Does that make me a saint?  Nope.  I’m just a sinner who knows when and where to beware.

Humans are flawed but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

–SueBE

I popped by a community forum this morning.  One of the messages caught my attention.  “Truck or Treats are killing regular trick-or-treating.  Prove me wrong.”

So I responded.  “We had about 200 kids.”  Someone else responded that they had 300 or more kids.  Others had only 20 or 30.

But what caught my attention?  People heard what they wanted to hear.  People who don’t want to give out candy noted the people who had no visitors.  They complained about rude teens.  The death of community spirit and trust between neighbors.

With 200 kids and parents tromping across my porch, I had plenty of people to observe.  This was the friendliest, most polite year yet.  “Thank you.”  “Have a great Halloween.”  One little guy wasn’t sure what to say but he gamely repeated everything his dad said.  That was fortunately because I’m really bad at understanding toddlers.

Most kids had costumes.  Some did not.  Many were from the apartments about a mile away.  Section 8 kids.

See what I did there.  I could go for the negative. I could look for what Mary Oliver calls “the flawed blossoms.”

Or, I could look for the light.  These are God’s children.  He loves them just as he loves me.

It was a great night.  And I’m not just saying that because I ate 2 tiny Almond Joy.

–SueBE

I grew up in a family of secret keepers.  Knowledge was power and sharing it meant, in their minds, diluting the power.  A lot of it was fairly minor.  I would generally find out that we were going to a company picnic or to visit a cousin when it was time to leave.  “What do you mean you aren’t ready?  Hurry up.  We have to go.”  But some of it was big like a cousin adopted out of the family and my mother’s terminal cancer.

As a result, I’m an open book.  Some would say way too open. A big part of being open is admitting when you do wrong.  Apologizing.  It is, in my opinion, another way of shining God’s light into the world. The world is flawed.  You are flawed.  Me?  I’m flawed too.  Letting in the light isn’t always comfortable.  Its like walking out of a dark theater into bright sun.

But it is the only way we can  share His Light in this broken world.

–SueBE

 

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