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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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I would love to have a debate with Thoreau.  Scratch that. I’m almost certain we are equally opinionated and I would end up dumping him out of his little row-boat into Walden Pond.  Truth is vital, but it needs to be tempered with love.

A friend believes that more than anything we need to hear the unvarnished truth.  She’s been known to give someone a bucket full of reality in the middle of a dinner party and then announce to any and all, “You hadn’t straightened her out but I took care of it.”  I’m still having trouble looking my sister-in-law in the eye.

The crazy part of the whole situation is that I’m all for truth.  I loathe being lied to but I also acknowledge that truth without love is often more of a weapon than a gift.  No, you don’t really want to know what I think about your hair cut and please oh please do not ask me if those pants make your butt look big.

Yesterday Lori wrote about Christ’s light.  How about holding that truth into the light before you share it with everyone?  Do you see a glimmer of love or is that a stain of malicious intent?  Love and truth together can do remarkable good so share them far and wide.  The other?  I’m not sure what you should do with it but sharing it is probably a really bad idea.

–SueBE

I wouldn’t say that it is shame that keeps me from doing right.  It would be more accurate to call it aggravation.

It seems like so often when I feel the need to step up and step in someone is going to be irritated.  “We’re a green church.  We shouldn’t use styrofoam plates.” “There’s no need to try to intimidate her just because she’s Muslim.  You need to step back.”

Clearly, I get why someone is irritated when I step in.  When my husband and I saw the intimidated woman in the grocery, it was obvious that stepping in was sending a message that the other people were bullies and racist.  Even when one of us reminds people that we are supposed to be going green, I get it.  It can be really embarrassing to have another adult call you out on something.

And that’s something that I’m going to remember the next time someone says something to me.  We all make mistakes, myself included.  No one but God is perfect.  And it may well have taken a lot of nerve to say something to me.  After all, I’m not known for keeping my big mouth shut.  Keeping true and doing right.  It’s never easy.

–SueBE

 

For me, yesterday was Mother’s Day.  As we’ve done the last several years, our family has gone to the latest Marvel Avengers movie.  It’s a Mother’s Day/husband’s birthday tradition.

The funny thing is that I have friends who are “insulted for me.”  Apparently, I’m supposed to get brunch (too early) and flowers.  Do none of these people have cats?  In a cat household flowers are an attractive nuisance to be barfed up on the rug.

But they can have flowers.  And brunch.  And pedicures if that’s their thing.

Still other mom’s I know prefer to ignore Mother’s Day.  Some have lost their own Mother’s or a child.  Others have never had children.

It all makes the truth of Mother’s Day tricky.  It’s hard to give everyone what they need/want/crave.

In light of that, let’s try to be aware of each other today.  If someone is bubbling over with giddy happiness, you can probably safely wish her Happy Mother’s Day.  If someone looks like she’d rather you kept it to yourself, keep it.  Not sure?  My favorite fall back is to wish someone a truly blessed day.  It works for men and women and people of all faiths.

So, in parting, may each and every one of your feel blessed today and every day.

–SueBE

 

Where did we get the idea that we should alway win?  Seriously, I don’t remember my mom telling me that.

Besides winning carries with it its own set of problems.  Something that authors talk about is the imposter syndrome.  Following a big sale, you start to wonder.  Do I really deserve to be here?  Can I do it again?  What if this was just a fluke?

Authors may talk about it but I bet the rest of you feel the same way periodically.  What if, after a promotion, you simply can’t do the job?  What if you come to regret the move into the new house?  Getting into your dream college?

This is why it is vital that we all be true to who and whose we are.  Christ was clear.  Honor God.  Honor your neighbor, which he defined rather broadly. Help the poor.  Work with the talents God gave you in doing these things.  Be true. Live up to your light.

The rest?  You’ll win some.  You’ll lose some.  That I remember hearing from my mom again and again and again.

–SueBE

Advent.  Often time we think of this as the season of peace.  But how good are we at seeking out peace?

If you spend any time on social media, you see plenty of evidence that we’d rather be right.  After all, we could scroll on past whatever offends us.  Instead, we stop and pick a fight.  As if anyone’s mind was ever changed by an argument on Facebook.

I’m not saying that we should let injustice go unchecked.  But there’s a huge difference between not picking an argument and enabling injustice.

Maybe just maybe this is a good season to relearn the difference.

–SueBE

Truth is precious.  I think we forget this as we massage facts to fit our agendas.  Truth and compassion.  Carry them with you wherever you go today!

sourceSunlight fell upon the wall; the wall received a borrowed splendor. Why set your heart on a piece of earth, O simple one? Seek out the source which shines forever.

Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi

There’s nothing I appreciate more than a Pointless Pun. Here’s an example:

I like my poets like I like my pants.

Rumi.

Now, your response is probably, “Get the hook! Get off the stage! You stink!”

Yep, you’re right. It’s terrible! But when it comes to Rumi, the renowned Persian philosopher, I have a rather quirky theory. I know he was, well, a Very Deep Cat, but looking at some of his writings, I’m thinking people just starting recording everything he said. Maybe sometimes, he was just chatting, like we all do.

I imagine this quote came during dinner, when some protégé got overzealous, jotting down every word Rumi said and calling it an important nugget of truth:

“Either give me more wine or leave me alone.”

Because, really, even Great Poets get thirsty. Probably from saying all those lovely words and Being Deep.

Then they arrived at the bar for more libations after dinner, and his friend was hung-over from the previous night’s excesses:

“I know you’re tired, but come, this is the way.”

At some point, his gossipy friend got a bit too TMZ on The Man of Many Words, so Rumi said:

“Listen! Clam up your mouth and be silent like an oyster shell, for that tongue of yours is the enemy of the soul, my friend.”

And then, Rumi had a bit too much wine and said this:

“I didn’t come here of my own accord, and I can’t leave that way. Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.”

Because there was no such thing as Uber back in those days and his Honda Accord was in the shop.

Just to be clear, kind people. I don’t mean to be disrespectful of Rumi at all – he really was an incredibly gifted poet. So much of what he said centuries ago still resonates beautifully today.

My point (though it’s a stretch, I’ll grant you that! But then, heck, so are my yoga pants) is that sometimes, a sign on the highway is just that. Not everything in life is a metaphor, and you don’t have to change course based on tea leaves or fortune cookies. Your truth is already inside you. If you think you’re going in the right direction, keep going. Nobody needs to tell you what you know in your bones.

And while you’re walking your own path, it’s okay to be adventurous and dream big. The worst that can happen is that you’ll have a great story to tell your grandchildren someday. There’s no point in putting limits on yourself, and certainly not on God.

Even Rumi – the Man Himself – agrees with me on this count:

“Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.”

Now that, dear friends, is some really deep wisdom.

Last week, SueBE wrote of the directive to “bring the unchurched into a relationship with Christ.” I agreed with the entire post, except for that particular line in the way it was phrased, and it stayed on my mind for hours.

It occurred to me that not everyone reading our blog has “taken the altar call” and “accepted Christ as personal Lord and Savior. “ I didn’t want our blog to be perceived as closed to Jews, Muslims, Wiccans…. anyone really wanting an open dialogue about prayer and positivity.

What exactly was bugging me about this line? If you believe the Bible is the last word on truth, it’s scripturally sound and in keeping with the Great Commission to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth.

It wasn’t said in a negative or judgmental way. What was my problem here?

And I realized, yes. Indeed. It was my problem.

You see, I am one of the unchurched. This year and last, I’ve “auditioned” many churches and, while I liked the fellowship, the message and the songs, there was always something in the dogma that turned me off.

I realized that I’d done to SueBE what I feel that most religions do to me – made it all or nothing. Like, you’re not saved unless you…. insert church’s doctrine here. But if a church is welcoming and lives the creed of kindness, I should be able to live with elements of the faith that I disagree with.

To coin a term, I got all hair-splitty and took every word of SueBE’s post literally. I got stuck on a speed bump and missed the whole point of the post. Which is, don’t take it all so seriously. Laugh. Have a light spirit. Loosen up.

Thanks for the gentle reminder, SueBE. Message received.

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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