We Have Each Other…

About 15 years ago, my husband and I attended a party celebrating the anniversary of one of our relatives. It was a joyous occasion for a person who has been fulfilling her vocation with great devotion and passion, and most often with a smile on her face. At the end of our time together and as we were exchanging hugs and “so longs,” she said to us, “thank you for coming, for being part of this occasion. Did you get your gift?” We had not, but almost as soon as our faces shifted to what must have been quizzical expressions, she was off to get the gift, and before we knew it, we had it. The gift, a framed saying – “Joy shared is joy multiplied” – so appropriate for the person who gave it and the occasion on which it was given.

JoyShared

Over the past week, this saying and different variations of it have come to mind so frequently, across a number of settings. As I have stayed with it, I am reminded how through the years, in sharing, most definitely, joy has been multiplied, grief has been made bearable, and faith has been strengthened. As I look around, it seems we have everything we need…we have each other.

You Raise Me Up by Josh Groban 

When I am down and, oh, my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up to more than I can be.

 

 

Advertisements

Dinosaurs and Birds…

“None of us is as smart as all of us.” – Ken Blanchard

In the course of being part of many different kinds of groups over the years, in both the for profit and non-profit arenas, as well as for business, ministry, and pleasure, it has been interesting to see how the spirit in which the group members come together far outweighs any talent, intellect, or circumstances that may come into play. More often than not, it does not matter how difficult the goal is to reach or the obstacles that may be present so much as it does the spirit and attitude with which each member enters and participates in the group.

In groups where members have helped to shape a clearly stated purpose(s) and remained focused on it while embracing diversity, listening to one another, and being open to the sharing of ideas and different approaches, seeing them as opportunities from which something might be gleaned, even if they seemed foreign to some within the group, much has been accomplished. Not only that, but through meaningful communication and working together, bonds have developed between group members. Through a spirit of cooperation, each individual has been better for having been part of the group. In addition, the fruit of the group has served a greater purpose; it reaches beyond the group.

In groups where this has not happened, far less has been accomplished and members have often either walked away in frustration or stayed, but with a diminished spirit and sense of purpose. Usually, these members become occasional participants or observers (more on the outside) rather than an active, engaged part of the group. Also operating within these kinds of groups, and larger than the collective purpose of the group, is often a smaller group of two or three driving things mostly to the exclusion of the rest of the group and all that others might bring to the table. There is not much working together in a sustainable way and the fruit of the group, as related to its purpose, doesn’t reach very far and is little to none.

The other day, a friend and I were talking about how sometimes it can be hard to know when to walk away and when to stay. Initially we talked about what would happen if more often than not people walked away. Then we discussed what it is like when they stay, diminished in spirit, present but not really vested; an environment of apathy. The more we talked the more we agreed that the latter was worse, but still as with most situations, for each seeker, eventually the path becomes clear and the way made known.

As I continue to reflect on our discussion, I think about how people and things come and go…as they have since the beginning. Then, I remember, as another friend said a while ago, sometimes it has to die in order to be born again with a new, enlivened spirit. Perhaps the choice is not to leave or to stay, but to embrace and face the unknown and the uncertain (death of what is known and of what we are sure) or to become extinct. For that, the location makes no difference…only the spirit.

InletView

Gifts from God are Everlasting…

About a week ago, it was the month and date of the last time I was together with all of my siblings. A number of us had traveled a good distance south to be there. The six of us were present and engaged, laughing and talking with each other.

I don’t recall what the weather was like that day, but the sun was shining. At least I remember feeling that way…surrounded by warmth and love. We were gathered in a room, eating lunch and spending time together prior to the youngest of us starting preparations for another bone marrow transplant. Despite the impending procedure, I recall feeling joy in the moments of our togetherness.

Our time together that day ended and some of us returned north. Afterward, I spoke with my younger brother by phone. We were talking about our lunch together with all of our older siblings. We spoke about how much we enjoyed being together. Then he said, “I wish we could be together all the time.” I remember saying, “Yeah, but we would probably get on each other’s nerves if we were together all the time.” Then we joked about how it would be fine as long as we had space to retreat to, we could live on a cul-de-sac with a house for each of us, numbered 1 through 6 of course…we laughed. Growing up many a thing was labeled with our birth order number so as for us to easily identify our belongings.

While seven years have passed now since that day in May, sometimes it seems as if it were just yesterday. None of us knew that day, that the next time we would be together would come so soon…and with one less voice. My brother passed away a little more than a month later.

Every year around the anniversary of that day, I feel such sadness and heartache at first. Then, as I recall the day and the spirit in which we were together I feel so grateful for that one last time all together, and all the days we had together leading up to it. Each time I recall that experience, or any other time with my younger brother, I can picture his handsome face and mischievous smile. It is as if, in that moment, our spirits bow to each other and I know he lives on…encouraging me to remember there is beauty in each moment…to embrace and cherish it. Reminding me that what really matters cannot be taken away, not even by death.

One Voice by The Wailin’ Jennys – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bc6HloRYZGc

This is the sound of one voice
One spirit, one voice
The sound of one who makes a choice
This is the sound of one voice

This is the sound of voices two
The sound of me singing with you
Helping each other to make it through
This is the sound of voices two

This is the sound of voices three
Singing together in harmony
Surrendering to the mystery
This is the sound of voices three

This is the sound of all of us
Singing with love and the will to trust
Leave the rest behind it will turn to dust
This is the sound of all of us

This is the sound of one voice
One people, one voice
A song for every one of us
This is the sound of one voice

This is the sound of one voice

DJM2Drum

Ask and You Shall Receive…

There I stood…my heart deeply moved, tears forming, feeling so grateful for what I was experiencing once more. This feeling had seemed absent for quite some time…missing for so long. Wow! To think I did not wake with the intention to be in the location that I was standing. There was too much to do and not enough time to do it, but still I felt a nudge, pushing me…rather pulling me toward this very spot. So here I was, thinking, “How good it feels to be present here, at this very moment!” Remembering what a Spirit-filled celebration it used to be. Remembering what it was like to be filled up and sent forth with this Spirit…the presence that drew me in and brought me back daily to this communal practice.

As I stood, I could feel the river flowing once again, drought no more, at least temporarily. Then, I recalled how I expressed a desire for the same Spirit of life, light and truth that was present at a friend’s home the prior week to also be present once more in the place in which I was now standing…a place in which it had been feeling next to intolerable to experience such a void. Aaah! Answered prayer…my heart once more filled with gratitude, and in awe of the Lord. All that was left, to pray. May the Spirit be upon and flow through all who enter this sacred space, and all who lead…replacing any darkness, with God’s grace.

“Yet I will rejoice in the LORD and exult in my saving God.” – Habakkuk 3:18

OpenDoors