Children of God

 She is 91.

She is small.

She is powerful.

She is filled with God’s Spirit.

She wears bootcut jeans

with a white shirt

and a leather belt.

She comes to Higher Ground

to pray

and play the piano

for the hymns we sing.

She brings lunch

for the folks who gather

and are hungry.

Finding her center and balance,

she puts one foot in front of the other.

We hold our breath

as she goes down the steps.

She follows her walker

to the curb.

It takes a while.

Her ride waits.

A red sports car slows to a stop.

The driver must idle

as cars pass on the other side.

His tires squeal his anger

as he accelerates

past the older black sedan.

Our writing group pauses.

We lift our heads up, shocked.

She buckles her seatbelt.

Her driver takes her home.

We take a long, deep breath.

We are all just children of God

doing the best that we can.

Published in: on October 21, 2011 at 9:40 am  Comments (6)  
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W W J D?

(What would Jesus do?)

“I can’t usher or help with the Lord’s Supper.  And I can’t mentor the Boy Scouts either.”

He has been an active and faithful church member for years.  He has worshiped and participated regularly and enthusiastically.  He turned to his pastor for support months ago when he was diagnosed HIV positive.  He trusted his pastor with the truth, to be held in confidence.

A member of the congregation complained to the pastor.

This pastor told my friend he could not participate in the activities and fellowship of the church.  He could worship if he sat in the back row.

My friend feels hurt and betrayed.  He still believes God loves him just as he is.  He also believes God loves his pastor.

I am humbled by my friend’s genuine desire to forgive.

I am awed by such faith.

Published in: on August 16, 2011 at 8:52 pm  Comments (10)  
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Meandering Mind

1.  You can’t see your own ears.  Unless you look in a mirror.

I heard someone say that 3 days ago and it’s still stuck in my mind, a random, useless, captivating piece of information.  If I were an artist I’d draw a head on a long neck twisting around like a spring.  The face would be laughing.

2.  It’s a wonder the parts of the body work at all.  There are a few flaws in the design.  Like knees.

And the uterus is above the bladder.  A pregnant woman I know couldn’t pee for 12 hours.  Her baby was the size of an avocado.  (See babycenter.com.)  Her growing uterus shifted just enough to block urine trying to come out of her bladder.  Kind of like when you step on a hose hard to block the water so you can release it and spray your sister in the face.  Maybe the pregnant woman will uncork the tube from her catheter and spray it like little boys do.

3.  I’m at the beach.  At 8:00 am I sit on the balcony with my hot green tea and listen to the ocean and watch the waves just keep coming.  My soul rests.

I love the beach.  I want to hear it and see it.  I don’t go on the beach these days.  I sunburn easily and my brother has had melanoma.  I’m afraid of twisting my un-artificial knee.  I don’t like being hot.  And I’m never sure I’ll be able to get up if I sit down on the sand.

I love the beach, especially anytime other than summer.  I want an oceanfront condo with a shaded balcony, an unobstructed view of the waves and a comfortable chair with a way to prop up my feet.  A squishy couch for naps, a good novel, a copy of The Sun Magazine and five days of solitude all pamper my Spirit.

4.  Most living creatures are fine.  My zookeeper daughter used to take care of snakes and reptiles.  The little squiggly things have personalities.  One skink (no, not skunk) cuddled against her neck when she picked it up.  The snakes were boring, but I didn’t mind being in the snake room.  Her dad and her husband did.

However.  Slugs are totally disgusting and give me the shivers.  Slugs came to our front step every time it rained at our old house.  Some were the size of a fat dill pickle from a barrel at Mast General Store in Boone.

You can kill a slug by pouring salt on it.  It probably suffocates.  I bought lots of round, blue salt boxes each spring for 7 years.  I got excited, almost giddy, when I poured salt on the slugs.  (I killed the slugs when my kids weren’t watching.)

I’m not really a kind, compassionate person.

Published in: on August 11, 2011 at 10:30 am  Comments (4)  
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We’re Failing

Here are words and ideas I want to share:

Click here go to another blog, “Word Nymph”, written by Monica Welch  (and yes, she said it was okay to use her link).

Cracked Souls

I heard a man say that his HIV-positive diagnosis was a blessing.  I know a woman who says she is a grateful recovering alcoholic.

The man who is HIV positive says his diagnosis stopped him from following a path that would have killed him.  My friend in recovery says her worst day sober is better than her best day when she drank.  Both talk about the people they wouldn’t have met otherwise.  They know the meaning of self-compassion and they live healthy lives, physically, and spiritually.

Maybe that’s the common denominator–the spirituality thing.  They talk about a higher power that has kept them alive for a reason.  They share with others where they have been and where they are now.  The cracks in their souls that were caused by pain and sorrow let their light shine through.  They are wounded healers walking among us.

Some people are bitter and angry because their lives are not what they expected.  We all have hard stuff,  eventually.  Loved ones die, illnesses are diagnosed, jobs are lost, and children make dumb choices and get hurt.  It might be tornadoes or hurricanes or floods.  Relationships flounder and addictions are rampant.

We have choices.  We will feel the anger and sadness and panic and confusion that follow a crisis.  Then what?  How do we keep putting one foot in front of the other?  How do we find the strength to do the next right thing with some grace and dignity?

The man who is HIV-positive has connected with others who have that diagnosis.  My alcoholic friend has a recovery community for support and encouragement.  They have found compassion and understanding.  They have found others who can laugh at the absurdities of life.  They are not alone.

Words on the blackboard behind my eyes

Acceptance            Approval           Compassion         Boundaries

Permission         Pity              Blame          Anger

Forgiveness          Empathy        Mercy          Grace         Faith

My granddaughter’s extended family gathered last Sunday to celebrate her baptism.   At lunch were 15 adoring adults and one 5-month-old baby.  Each of has our own story of love and angst and worry and joy in relation to each other.

Do love and compassion help with unacceptable behavior?  Or do they simply enable and excuse?  When is confrontation appropriate and when are surrender and acceptance the only real answer?  Where do I find empathy when I can’t imagine myself in his shoes?  Who gave her permission to act this way?

Last spring, I joined a Lenten study group on forgiveness. We didn’t come up with any easy answers for these very difficult questions.  We talked about pride, sisters and brothers, God’s mercy and grace, parents and children, drugs and alcohol, mental illness, and anger.  We wondered about personal responsibility and setting boundaries to protect our own souls.

“Would you rather be right or happy?” ask my wise friends.  “Can’t I be both?” I ask.

Peace comes with acceptance for me.  Acceptance doesn’t usually come easily.  I don’t often surrender to reality gracefully, not at first.  Anger and frustration no longer energize me.  They make me tired.  And not like myself much.  So I pray for willingness. Sometimes I pray for the willingness to be willing (think about that–it will make sense).

One of my life goals is to live as the child of God I was created to be.  I wish it could be easier.  But “I’m workin’ on it“.