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I woke this morning, as I do every morning, with a sense of urgency — ready to rush into my day. Turns out, however, that today was different. Today, my 16-year-old cat became a kitten again.

When Steven was a baby (he came to us, wild and starving, barely old enough to have his eyes open), he loved to sleep on my stomach, to feel me breathing. But I had work to do. So I donned an apron with a commodious front pocket, slipped him into the pocket, and went about my day, a human kangaroo.

Steven is dying of cancer. (Intrepid readers will remember we just lost Banshee last month. Such is life with a houseful of senior citizen animals.) Just yesterday he was morose and miserable, shying away from our petting hands. This morning, however, he woke me by squirming into my arms and purring up a storm. He wanted to sleep next to me again. So, despite the work of the day ahead, I did as God was clearly calling me to do: I spent an extra half-hour cuddling with my dying kitty.

Sometimes we are called to do God’s work in the world. And sometimes, we are called to stay in bed with a warm, soft orange cat. All callings are sacred, no matter how small. Do today what you are called to do. The dishes can wait. Phone calls can wait. But there will never be another chance to love someone at this time and in this place.

Sort of sounds like a prayer, doesn’t it?

Credit: Elfie Hall

When my son was young, he asked me how to pronounce the name of a particular Egyptian pharaoh.

“Hatshepsut,” I said. “Friends called him Bill.”

He cracked up, so I had to keep going. “I mean, what else could they call him? Hat? Shep? Sut? Nah. Bill.”

Looking up the name on the computer later, I was mildly chagrined to learn that this ruler was actually a woman! Oh, blerg. Digging deeper, even that fact was in question, so I wasn’t too far off the mark after all.

History is fascinating – and often funny – isn’t it? And so is the future.

When the actor who played Steve on “Blue’s Clues” left the show, he seemed to have fallen off the face of the Earth. Today I read that  a newly-discovered aurora borealis has been given the unlikely moniker, “Steve.” Coincidence? Perhaps. Now, I’m not suggesting that this light formation is actually Steve Burns in deep disguise, but let’s just say, I’ve never seen them in the same room together. 🤔

It’s one of life’s great joys to be able to laugh about silly things and spin a yarn. But when it comes to forgiveness, we may find it hard to let go and laugh things off. It’s as important to forgive ourselves as to forgive others.

If Bill is the past and Steve is the future, we could look upon them both more kindly. We might feel the same way about ourselves as we look back with regret, or look ahead with uncertainty. That’s the yester-you, and she did her best at the time. And that’s the you-to-come. She’ll do her best as well.

Be good to yourself and it’s a breeze to be good to others. There’s a word for that, isn’t there? Oh, yeah. Love.

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.

–SueBE

 

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.

–SueBE

Love is a powerful force.  But for it to work fully we need to look beyond ourselves and see.  We have to stop announcing what we think and listen. When need to put aside our offense and feel.

And then?

Most important of all, we need to do.

–SueBE

Last week, I watched a TED talk with a psychologist who joked about the tendency medical school students have to think they have whatever illness they are studying.  Specifically, the joked that his brother-in-law believed he had leprosy but that was only after worrying for a week that he had menopause.

The reality is that if we focus on something that is what we are going to find.  So how great a stretch is it to wonder if that is also what we will create?

I’m not saying that we should ignore injustice, poverty and hunger.  Don’t even go there!  We can’t address what we refuse to see.

But to work toward a solution, we have to believe a solution is possible.  We won’t reach for what we believe cannot exist. It is up to those of us who believe in the Light and Love of Christ to let others know what we see, what we believe in, and what we are working for every day.

–SueBE

 

I’ll never claim to be a champion at meditation.  My mind is far too busy and loud for that.   But I truly understand the value of silence.  It is when I stand a small chance of hearing God.

And this time of year that is essential. As much as I love Christmas, I understand the people who don’t. There are just so many demands on your time and energy.  Every thing you accomplish is done at the expense of two other things you let slide.  And someone is going to speak up and tell you that you did it wrong.

 

This year, my emotional smack came in a Christmas card served up under a patina of holiday glitter. And I’ll admit that I’m still trying to sort myself out after that one.  Why?  Because I’ve got things to get done and people to see when what I need to do is retreat and recover.

Silence and peace.  They really do come hand in hand.

We can’t do everything for everyone. But we can spend some time connecting with God – our source of Light and Life and Love.

–SueBE

 

 

For me, the holidays often seem like a loving time of year.  People are more considerate and think of the needy.  They hold doors open for each other.  They’re civil.

Still, this time of year is difficult for so many.  The invisible.  The unheard.  Those without power.

As you are selecting treats, wrapping gifts, and sending out cards, please take a moment.  Do something for those who have no voice.

That could mean making a small donation to an organization such as Heifer or Habitat.  Or maybe you’d prefer to work a shift at your local food pantry.  That’s a popular one here and slots for volunteers are already full.  But, and this one is really important, kids will be off school. This means that those who normally eat two meals a day at school may be doing without.  Consider putting together a special food offering.

Spare some love for those who have little or no power.  Bless them as God has blessed you.

–SueBE

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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