When you see a chance…

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to visit with a sibling who resides out of state, but who was unexpectedly going to be in town for part of the day. The visit was on very short notice and was going to be very short in length too. However, it was wonderful to see and experience how in those few hours, there was so much quality. We had such an enjoyable visit. What a blessing.

When our time together was over, my sibling and her family headed back from where they came. We all felt so grateful for the time we had. It was amazing to me that such a brief time together could kindle such feelings of love, warmth and gratitude, strengthening the bond between us.

So often, brief and/or simple encounters with others can have such a profound effect. Oftentimes, though, it can be tempting to think that a small amount of time makes no difference or is not worth the effort. However, nothing could be further from the truth. In matters of life and death minutes…seconds or less, can be crucial, to the overall outcome.

I wonder, what might the world look like if time and use of time, no matter how small or big, was considered more in terms of life and death? While this may seem radical to some, and obvious to others, it is in essence what my faith calls me to…hoping for me to do.

As I journey, I am called to choose between life and death along the way. I (we) are called to be aware and to move toward the opportunities to be with, and to be there for others. Maybe more often than not, those opportunities come in small ways requiring a short amount of time, but in the middle, or in the heat of, our hectic lives. How do we recognize them? How do we allow ourselves to let go and to be guided to the opportunities before us?

PurpleNiagara

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Hope Lake…

Just as the sun draws the mist rising up from the lake on a crisp, cool summer morning in the mountains, I feel hope rising from the depths of my soul. I feel a spirit of inner strength building within as I take in the beauty of creation before me. How good God is!

Of all the things I might say or do, of all the things I might witness or experience, God is the one Truth on which I (we) can always count. So much in the world can be hard, or difficult to understand. There are so many choices, and sometimes, none of them can seem good…noble…just…faithful.

Whether religious or not, we all have some sort of principles that guide us, leading us to make the decisions that we make. The question is who and what is served by the principles that I hold? …and, how do I live by them?

HopeLakeGreekPeakVirgilNYHope Lake ~ New York

 

Blue Jay Way…

For the past number of weeks, almost every afternoon around the same time of day a blue jay has been visiting my back yard. The other day, as I spotted it, I was thinking about how each day, faithfully, around the same time, like clockwork, this bird visits my back yard. Its behavior and routine is kind of curious and amusing. And, some days it brings a companion, another blue jay, with it.

Now, how do I know all of this? Well, I guess, I also am a creature of habit. Around the same time this blue jay visits my back yard each afternoon, I am looking out the window that is over the kitchen sink as I wash my children’s lunch and snack containers.

While I can guess how long I’ve been washing lunch and snack containers, I’m not sure how long this blue jay has been coming around my yard. However, since first noticing its daily presence, I have come to see other things about it too. The coloring and pattern across its body is beautiful. Sometimes it flies from branch to branch or to different parts of the swing set (even hopping up the ladder), and sometimes it hops around the lawn pecking and “hunting.”

It’s interesting how things can become a habit, or second nature, without any intention for them to be so. Sometimes tendencies or personality traits, such as “favorite spots for birds to watch” or “clean as you go along” approaches can be a good thing. Other times they can create a blind spot(s) perhaps causing one to be on a kind of auto-pilot (zoned in on a particular thing to the exclusion of other things). They can cause one to move through the day, or parts of it, with limited openness to a change of course or location. In other words, they can cause me to become stubborn or fixed, or to get stuck in a rut without me even realizing it.

Sometimes I need to pause and ask myself, am I open to being re-directed to something that might be of greater importance as I go about my day? Or, what is it that gets in the way or causes me to be closed off to insight, awareness, or a different view as I go along?

At times, the things that we like to do, or that we started out liking to do, can feel like an obligation. Similarly responsibilities that we may have come to embrace with a sense peace or joy can again, at times, feel like a chore or even a burden. Oftentimes that feeling can be a blessing, leading one to pause and ask, “What am I really doing here?”, “What am I looking for?” or “Why am I doing this?” Then I remember, “There is need of only one thing.” (Luke 10:42).

 

Jesus entered a village
where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
She had a sister named Mary
who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said,
“Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving?
Tell her to help me.”
The Lord said to her in reply,
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing.
Mary has chosen the better part
and it will not be taken from her.”
– Luke 10:38-42

How Now?

Sometime ago I came across a poem titled “Wage Peace,” by Judyth Hill*. I found the title so striking as I had never seen the words “wage” and “peace” side-by-side before. How fitting. Given the current state of civilization, it seems to be exactly what we need. Instead of each person’s outrage, disbelief or heartache turning to anger, a sense of helplessness, hopelessness, or even worse, indifference, imagine what could be if it was turned into a passion for peace….a drive toward love.

While it may seem impossible or too big for individuals to make a difference in such a way, it is not, nor has it ever been. Throughout time, many an obstacle has been overcome and humankind been made better off through movements begun by an individual(s). In much the same way, movements that have led to our falling down…to our detriment, have been started. As always, the choice of which movement is ours, but indifference is not.

Movements fueled by hate and intolerance at the center can only continue if we allow them to be bigger and brighter than our passion for peace, love, and all that is truly good. There is no limit to the power of God. We have to believe in order to retrieve the passion to withstand and rise above the chaos and confusion…to stand up for what is right and just…to restore unity in our homes, in our communities, in our country, and in our world.

We are One. We need to take that to heart, to own it and promote it, before we are none.

How? Know yourself. Dive deep down into your core. Rediscover who you are, who you were created to be. Be rooted in that place, and be sincere to your true self in all your endeavors. By doing so, no matter what comes your way, you will be saved as will the world around you, through you. For God is faithful to those who are faithful to God.

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“Believe! Everything is possible to one who has faith.” – Jesus Christ

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” – Buddha

“Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far-reaching effects.” – Dalai Lama

“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.” – Rumi

“There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.” – Mahatma Ghandi

“How wonderful is it that nobody need wait a single moment
before starting to improve the world.” – Anne Frank

“To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; To put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; To put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; We must first set our hearts right.” – Confucius

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water
to create many ripples.” – Blessed Mother Teresa.

“You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” – Rabindranath Tagore

“We cannot live in a world that is not our own, in a world that is interpreted for us by others. An interpreted world is not a home. Part of the terror is to take back our own listening, to use our own voice, to see our own light.” – Hildegard of Bingen

“There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled.” – Rumi

“So I say to you, ‘Ask and it will be given to you; search, and you will find;
knock, and the door will be opened for you.’” – Jesus Christ

 

*http://voiceseducation.org/content/38-judyth-hill-wage-peace

 

Angels Among Us…

This past week as my daughter celebrated a birthday, I found myself recalling an experience I had on the day that she was born. The circumstances were such that my husband needed to stay with our 2-year-old son and so my daughter and I were alone at the hospital that night. I remember being exhausted as well as happy and then later, so sad.

No explanation beyond labor for being exhausted. I was happy…grateful…that my daughter had been born and was doing okay and then I felt so sad that my husband wasn’t able to be there for the birth of our daughter. He was able to come for a short visit afterward, but now as the day was coming to end, it was just me and my daughter. We were alone in the room and she still wouldn’t nurse. She kept falling asleep.

At one point, I remember wishing so badly that my husband was there. I was feeling very overwhelmed by the experience of the whole day, and so alone. Then a nurse, one who I had not seen before, came into the room to check on us. She had such a peaceful presence and a gentle smile. During the brief time we interacted my feelings of being overwhelmed disappeared completely. As she was wrapping up and preparing to leave the room, she re-swaddled my daughter and gently handed her to me with a smile. She left and my daughter and I fell sound asleep. When I awoke a few hours later, I felt so refreshed and so at peace, and as my daughter continued not to nurse, I found myself with a renewed patience, and strengthened spirit. It turned out that I never saw the nurse with the peaceful spirit and gentle smile again, but to this day, each time I think of that experience I feel blessed and grateful for the angel sent to me in that hour of need.

As one goes through life, there are many signs; some are acknowledged perhaps almost immediately, some are recognized in time, and some remain hanging in the balance, waiting to be discovered.

“Then Peter recovered his senses and said, ‘Now I know for certain that [the] Lord sent his angel and rescued me…’.” – Acts 12:11