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My son is eighteen-years-old, and, as you can imagine, I’m keeping him covered in prayer. At the same time, I’m trying to keep my distance.
After all, he knows how to navigate the world, and he’s got a good head on his shoulders. I have to remember that I’ve raised him to the best of my ability, and now the rest is up to him.
Still, occasionally, if my prayers were read aloud, they would sound frantic. Because sometimes, that’s just how I feel.
He’s going to college. He’s got a steady girlfriend. He’s driving on New Jersey’s busy highways.
The other day, I prayed anxiously. I’d been thinking of all the things I hoped for him in his life, and felt tight. At the end of the prayer, I spoke to myself, just as if in conversation with a friend, trying to understand why I felt so unsettled.
I hope he does well.
I trust God knows what he’s doing.
I believe it all works out in the end.
Breathing in and out a few times slowly, I went into my sunroom and sat in the spot on the couch bathed in soft light rays. Just as my cat might do, basking and being. Just being.
There was a subtle shift in my soul and I exhaled, speaking out loud the words I had just said, only this time, I changed the punctuation slightly. When I put the emphasis back on Providence instead of on the problem, a wave of of peace washed over me.
I hope. He does well.
I trust. God knows what he’s doing.
I believe. It all works out in the end.
“What if you woke up and the only things that remained were the things you gave thanks for yesterday?” This is something I read on Twitter recently, by a site called Amazing Grace.
Staying in a state of grace is putting God back in charge. You know. Where he was all along. It’s okay to let go of things you really can’t control anyway. Just a gentle reminder from someone who’s been there.
In a dream the other night, I was given some sage advice. I was told, “It’s not solve the problem. It’s resolve the energy. How do you get from down to up. That’s what matters.”
That’s been true in so many situations in my life.
When the Great Gatsby came out a few years ago, I was really looking forward to seeing it. I got my ticket and found a seat in my local theater. About two hours into the movie, I noticed it was sapping my spirit and affecting my energy. It’s not that it was a bad movie, but it got so sad that it was really bringing me down and I felt like I wanted to ditch it. I held off, thinking that others in the audience might look askance at me if I did.
Due to health issues, I was using a crutch. I’m visually impaired. If I were to leave, I’d have to find my way down the steps in the dark, tap-tapping as I go, drawing attention to myself. Should I stay and feel deflated by this bummer of a movie?
As I was pondering this question, a character said, “Sorry you have to be going.”
I thought, hm. Is that for me?
The other character replied, “Yes, sorry, I have to be going.”
Does that confirm it?
“Here, let me show you to the door.”
Okay, God. I get it.
It’s okay to decide that how you feel matters. We spend so much of our time pre-processing our potential actions to run them through the filter of norms and expectations that we don’t even put our own state of mind on the list.
Honor how you feel. If something/someone is bringing you down, catch the bus on out of there. You’ll thank me for this public service the next time you’re in this situation. Just do me a favor – send me your Milk Duds when you leave the movie! 🙂
At the mall, I picked out three pairs of shoes and waited for the salesman to help me. It was a very busy day, and he caught my eye. “I’ll be right with you, ma’am,” he said, breathlessly.
“Don’t break your back,” I said.
He stopped in his tracks, dropping one of his boxes.
“How did you know?” he asked.
“Know what?” I replied.
“That I broke my back. This is my first day back on the job.” He sat down, looking a bit ashen.
I sat down with him. “I honestly don’t know why I said that. But I … I think it means, pace yourself. You’re just finding your feet,” I said, as he laughed at the shoe pun.
We spoke for a few minutes and he went back to work, this time at a slightly slower step. He smiled over his shoulder and nodded good-bye.
I thought about the exchange. It was the first time in my life I had ever used the phrase, “don’t break your back.” If you think about it, it could be taken as sarcasm. I didn’t mean it that way – just that I wasn’t in a hurry.
It was such a small moment, but it made me think. How many times do I want to speak words of encouragement, of praise, of inspiration, and I hold myself back? What if they take it the wrong way? What if they just aren’t in the mood to hear it?
In a previous post, I wrote that I know I don’t have all the answers. What gives me the right to offer advice to anyone else?
It may well be that none of us has all the answers, but together, we can find a way to wend our way down the path of life.
Sometimes God puts words on your heart for a reason. It might be just the small sustenance someone needs to make it over that next hurdle.
Slow down and travel at Godspeed. Speak kindly to a stranger. Say it from the heart and you may end up making someone’s day.
Just wondering. Ladies, why did we decide painting our fingernails would be a thing? Why not our kneecaps? And why do we pluck our eyebrows, yet embellish our eyelashes with mascara? Why the eyelash favoritism? What, do eyelashes have a louder lobbying group? Payola going on in some back room? Hmmm?
We spend most of our youth wanting to be older. Boys can’t wait to shave. Girls can’t wait to put on make-up. Once we’re adults, we’re perpetually trying to look younger. What’s wrong with this picture?
When did we un-learn wonder? That feeling we had as children, looking with awe and astonishment at each petal on every flower.
One day my ex-husband’s daughter came to visit and saw a sponge on the counter. Just a toddler, she found this sponge to be the most amazing thing to behold. “This!” she exclaimed, surrounding it with her hands, leaning in to examine it. Eyes huge, she looked at me as if to say, are you seeing this too?!?
The adult in me was thinking, of all the mundane things to be amazed by, but the child in me understood. It’s an interesting texture, this sponge. It’s wet, but not really. It’s bouncy but it isn’t a ball. It holds water, until you press it, and then it spurts liquid into the sink. Really kind of a marvel, if you think about it.
Tapping into the wonder of childhood is something of a virtual fountain of youth.
I still feel wonder when I read a great line from a poem, like this one by Rudyard Kipling: “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you…”
Also, when I hear beautiful harmonies in this song from Alison Krauss and Union Station.
But I think it’s just as important to indulge in goofy fun to add quality of life to the day, like this video of NFL Bad Lip Reading on YouTube.
Maybe Your Second Childhood will become a thing, too. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be the next internet sensation. It’s a Wonder-ful Life!
Justice is not “just us.”
It’s every one
doing what that one can
and eventually, it is all of us, together.
So it really is just us. There is no “them.”
You and me again become we.
Step one: take one step.
Well, if you read the news these days, it’s discouraging, but there are still good people in the world doing positive things.
These individuals didn’t save the whole world, they saved one person. Just one. But that one person really matters. To their friends, to their families. To God.
Both of these things happened in mid-air, so there was no other way to get help. Sometimes God puts a person uniquely equipped to save the day in exactly the right place.
We’ve all seen the protests, picket signs and caustic comments online. There are small pockets of positive resistance forming out there, waiting to connect with each other and spread peace instead of discord.
With all of the drama going on, that may be where the next groundswell sets in. Singular acts. Small gestures. Just you. Just me. Just us. Being neighborly. Keeping our words civil. Treating each other like extended family.
Hopefully, the next hashtag that catches on will be #JustUs. We’re all in this together, and there really is no Us Versus Them. We’re all “Us.” U.S. We all live here. We all belong here. We don’t all have to agree, but we can get along if we all agree to try.
Even aliens – and by that I mean, from outer space – should be treated humanely. The other type of “alien” doesn’t really exist. We all came from somewhere else. Now we’re here.
Post-election, my vote is to get past this ugly chapter and get on with the “one nation under God” thing. It’s time to put aside those weaponized words and meet each other as human beings with healing hearts. Somebody’s got to take the first step.
Every year around this time, Google reports a surge in this search term: “Superb Owl Day.” No, it’s not a gathering of bird-watchers in the foliage. It happens around the weekend of that big ole football championship game. You know. The Super Bowl.
It’s just a misplaced space (now there’s a tongue-twister) that yields a result that’s way off-base (oh, that’s a tiny poem), but it’s something of a metaphor. Sometimes in life we know what we’re looking for, and even have all the ingredients, but we’re just not sure how to put it all together.
Like something’s missing. That space can feel like a void. If you think of all the things we yearn for, they’re big ticket items. True love. Mega-million jackpot. Job with an expense account. Maybe it isn’t the thing we’re looking for, but what we think it will bring to us.
Just as there are many different versions of the Bible, I like to look at life through my own personal filter of faith. I’ll give it a name too, to make it official. How about this: Light-hearted Upward Version, or “LUV.”
Maybe if we strike it rich, we won’t have to worry about how to make it through each month. We’re really looking for sustenance and certainty. Verily, I say unto you, this is another way of saying “Faith.” Book of Ruth (No Relation) 2:6a LUV By the way, 2:6 is just today’s date. Nothing deep. 🙂
Maybe if we find true love, we won’t have to eat alone at the diner counter anymore. We’re really looking for a sense of belonging and a support network. Brethren and Sistern (Cistern?) I say unto you, this can be found in “Fellowship.” BoR(NR) 2:6b LUV
Maybe if we get the perfect job, we won’t have to spend the whole day at the copier again. We’re really looking for a sense of purpose and personal satisfaction. Yea, though I travel through challenging times, I can accomplish this through “Outreach.” BoR(NR) 2:6c LUV
There are many ways to find the missing pieces in life, and often, they’re already around us. It might be just a matter of stretching out, and reaching up.
Tell me this. When, exactly, do the cows come home? They must be the Ultimate Party Animals. People always say, “We’ll stay out until the cows come home!” as if it’s a measure of the amount of fun they’re having. Now, I’ll get along with anybody, but if Elsie Moos and Mambos at five AM outside my window, I’m going to be pretty darn lactose intolerant!
I wonder why we phrase it this way: “Nightfall” and “Daybreak.” To me, they should be reversed. Night actually breaks, if you think about it. The sudden presence of pitch-blackness disrupts us as we’re going about our daily lives. Oh! Not even 5 o’clock. Night-time already! Well, better get the knitting. Warm up the cocoa. We’re in for the night!
But if you’re an early bird and have ever (voluntarily) seen the sunrise, you know it comes gently, gradually. Often beautifully. It doesn’t “break” upon the scene, no, it rolls in. Perhaps even strolls in.
It isn’t always clear why “things have always been done this way.” Sometimes it’s out of habit, or tradition, or maybe it was whoever won “Rock, Paper, Scissors.”
It may take a few years, but eventually, you’ll realize that it’s okay to be yourself. There was a time when I’d check in with friends to see what they’d be wearing to the party, or to make sure I knew where the action was later on that night.
Nowadays, I don’t get out as much as I’d like due to health issues, but as I sat in my sunroom and watched my cat watching squirrels, I realized something startling.
This is the peaceful life I always wanted. These are my druthers. Sure, there are things I’d like to do: it would be good to get out and explore the world more. See my friends in person. It would be nice to be able to “impulse-shop” once in awhile.
But I don’t miss the hustle and bustle, or the “schlepping” to get where you wanted to go – the place where you thought the action was.
Just as the church isn’t a building, but the people, the party isn’t the location, but the company you keep. Sometimes it’s the whole family, or just you and your cat. It’s all good.
My definition of blessings? A home that’s peaceful, prayerful and positive. Just like this blog.
Here’s to the good life!
When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In the news lately, we’ve been hearing about people committing awful acts of terror, and this term seems to come up more often than not: “self-radicalized.”
It might be more accurate to call it “metastasized.” Something incompatible to life taking root at the cellular level.
I’ve noticed that this word isn’t applied to everyone equally.
We don’t call these two grandmas in a shoot-out at Wal-Mart “radicalized.”
In most cases, the term is used when speaking of Muslims involved in violent acts, but I think it could be applied to people of any race, gender or religion who feel disenfranchised.
That being said, I still believe that most of the world’s population is comprised of peaceful, law-abiding people. Of course, there are some exceptions, but there are still many reasons to be hopeful about life.
God’s grace is still the oxygen of the universe.
Here’s what buoys my spirits.
To know that there are people like this four-year-old who read a thousand books and was made Librarian for a Day at the Library of Congress is like a vitamin for the soul.
To know that this elderly lady in distress dialed a wrong number and it turned out to be a police detective who stayed on the line to help her is evidence of Providence at work.
To know that these stray dogs in Turkey were given shelter at a mall by kind-hearted locals during a snowstorm warmed my heart.
To know that young and old can connect, as this 82 year old man found out when a 4 year old said, “hi, old person, can I have a hug?” brought a tear to my eye.
What if we took back ownership of the word, “radicalized,” and used it in the spirit spoken of by Dr. King?
We might self-radicalize toward full-scale compassion. Mobilize in the direction of brazen kindness. Maybe if we open our hearts and reach out our arms, we’d find we could embrace the whole world.
The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed;
those who help others are helped.
Proverbs 11:25 (MSG)
Waiting in the lobby of the doctor’s office for my appointment, I noticed an elderly gentleman walking in the door. He stopped, squared his shoulders and set his chin. It occurred to me, Something is about to happen.
Marching over to the front desk, he waved a paper at the receptionist.
“You people did it again! Tried to bill me twice. But I’m onto you. You won’t get another DIME from me!”
The receptionist said, “I’m sorry about that sir, but if I can direct you to call our billing department, which is at another location….”
The angry man turned on his heel and noticed someone he knew. “Hiya, Tom,” his friend said. “Having an issue with the billing?” The man said, “Yeah, I had to give them a piece of my mind. Sometimes you have to show them you’re not gonna take their BS!”
Proud as punch, he swaggered out; still, he didn’t get his problem resolved. He’d refused to listen to the woman trying to tell him how to address it, and he was still as tightly-coiled as a cobra.
Not exactly one for the “Win” column.
You can berate, raise a ruckus, and cause a stir, or you can represent yourself and your faith in a memorable, mindful, mature way. Really, you can’t do both. There is a clear choice, every day. Navigating sticky situations with compassion. Showing the world your character, even as others lower the bar. Outreach instead of outrage. Tact instead of attack.
A new approach might be to “Bless-tify.” To testify about your faith by treating everyone with respect, even reverence – especially when emotions are running high.
“Blessing” is both a noun and a verb. The beauty of it is that you can give it and receive it at the same time. You’ll find yourself walking in the same spirit of love that changed your life when it really mattered. The saying goes, “Think before you speak,” or to put it another way, Pray Before you Say.