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Why this journey?

Life is a series of choices. We don’t often think of that but just getting out of bed in the morning is a choice. We are so used to routine that it doesn’t seem like we made a choice. It’s just what we do every day with little thought. How different life could be it we could be fully present for each of those choices. It is interesting to reflect on one’s path in life. It is so easy to see the places where I stepped off the path and usually paid for it. Sometimes the slip brings an instant outcome. Sometimes life continues and only with a long look back can we see the result of the choice.

I have always wanted to learn to live each day in the present moment but I haven’t mastered it yet. If only every second of every day I could remember I am alive now!  How different my whole life would have been.

You see, I am a worrier. I cross bridges and explore every good and bad outcome for each crisis or major event that comes up. I can easily picture myself with a fatal illness or catastrophic problem. The real question is how I have managed to live for 76 years and not learned how to let this go. It is time to move on. This is my journey into change. My first step into a new way to really live each moment.

I know that I have a tough road ahead of me and will struggle with my resistance to changing habits and applying all the advice and wisdom I have been given. I worried as a child. My grandmother used to tell me to sit in a chair and worry as hard as I could and get up and see if anything had changed. Her wisdom (she died at 100 ) was there for me as long as she lived. I heard it over and over but never learned how to do it.

The practice of faith was not absent in my growing years. God was a part of my everyday life. I was baptized in the Presbyterian church that my parents attended and each Sunday was in church with my parents or my grandmother (she was Methodist) I saw my grandmother read her Bible each day and pray as she rested after lunch and again at night before bed. Her connection to God was strong. Was Her consistent time spent with God the thing that brought her such peace? Many of my adult years have been spent in God’s ministry. Interesting that all that energy and action didn’t have a deeper effect on my way of being. One would think that Bible study, leading church events, teaching yoga and meditation would have had more impact.

So many human quirks that have been around since Adam and Eve have been given titles and are seen as present in many of us. In today’s world, my worrying would be given the title mild anxiety. What I do is not unusual nor can it be considered a psychiatric diagnosis. It seems to me that the recognition of garden variety anxiety has given some relief for those of us who worry. I am not the only one and will certainly not be the last.

Added on to this propensity to worry are the major changes in our way of life. It seems to me that sometimes ignorance is bliss. (note: I say it seems that way). Today we are bombarded with information. The world seems to be more dangerous day by day. To quote Dr King “Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars… Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” We can see the result of this on the streets of our cities. Have we been desensitized to violence so that nothing is too abhorrent to do?

All the electronic devices have added noise on a former unprecedented level. Is there silence anywhere? Do we understand the effect on body and mind of constant noise? Do we ever just sit back and think? I see this pattern as actually increasing worry or anxiety in the future. There is no time to just be.

All that having been said this writing will record my progress (or lack thereof) of a journey into change. I cannot change the world but I can change myself. I believe in the butterfly principle and maybe if one person finds a different way something will change.

Middle Ground

SONY DSCLife can be so frustrating. Things can begin to pile up and then they push us over the edge. And we fall. Tonight I spent time talking with someone who is being pushed and is maybe too close to the edge.

Living with anxiety and depression can be hard for us but it can be terrifying for those we love. They can see the cycle happening and want to do something but everything they try doesn’t help. They sense the danger and can do nothing. This can lead to overreacting. Being anxious and feeling watched for signs of stress doesn’t make life easier. The sad part is that we know it is about love but we also can do nothing.

The books that came out in the 1950’s and 1960’s talked abut what life would be like if we were being watched. “Big brother” is always watching. This idea is unsettling. It takes a toll and makes life even more difficult. It adds on guilt for seeming to be a burden and making those around us afraid.

This is a heavy weight to carry. Someone watching our habits…sleeping…eating…living and questioning our level of wellness can actually set healing back. I don’t know what the answer is. To be loved is what all of us want and need but it can be overwhelming.

balance

Each of us needs to find the middle path between our loved ones anxiousness and our own search for wholeness, wellness and ability to function on our own. We must accept their loving care but need them to know that we are aware of their fear of harm for us, understand but also need space to just be be ourselves.

Patterns

quiltSometimes you are up and sometimes down. There is not telling when it will happen but I do have a pattern. If I have a day when I have nothing to do I am down. Now understand, there are plenty of things that I could be doing. There is laundry to do, floors to clean, dusting, and I could go on and on but that’s no what I want. I have no pattern to my days and I am not used to that. The interesting thing is that when there is no pattern I actually do less and that makes me feel bad.

We need consistency in our lives. If there is no visible pattern then we need to make our own. Patterns help us to find calm. When there is no pattern we are at sea. It is so easy to crawl under the covers and cover our heads. There doesn’t seem to be a reason to get up and move forward. I really spent the day doing nothing. I hate it.

The bottom line is it is up to me. I am the one who has to find a pattern. I can’t wait on someone else to do it for me. It is part of the healing process. I have realized that it takes strength and effort but it has to be done.

Patterns are part of our lives. Even if we can’t see the pattern it is there. It can be an erratic pattern but it is there. Now I just have to find it. There is a pattern to each life. God will help to provide the pattern and I will wait to see it. Sometimes we are too close and need to back away. We many not be able to see it but God can.

quilt

You are worthy

As I promised myself I have been reading Henri Nouwen’s book The Wounded Healer during Lent. Nouwen is not at easy read as he is every profound in his thinking. The book was published in 1972 so there are some parts that speak of a time that is past but he says so much that we need to hear.

your story mattersNouwen talks so clearly about what happens in these blogs and those I read. He says:”only he who is able to articulate his own experience can offer himself to others as a source of clarification.”  That is the gift that we find is many blogs. People are willing to share of themselves. That sharing helps others to understand their own issues and find ways to help themselves. The openness allows for validation of others and allows them to begin to speak out also.

Nouwen goes on to say that this kind of sharing can be: “a deep human encounter in which a man is willing to put his own faith and doubt, his own hope and despair his own light and darkness at the disposal of others who want to find a way through their confusion and touch the solid core of life.

you-are-greatThat is what happens as we share our own ups and downs, our own “darkness and light”. We do help others. It also gives meaning to our own lives and the struggles we have encountered. No one’s life is meaningless. Every one of us in important in the “circle of life.”

Never feel that your life has no meaning and that you are not worthy. God’s grace has been given to each of us as a free gift. We must continue to share.

I am angry

anger-clipart-16Today I am angry. I am angry at all the people who want to blame just guns for the shooting in Florida. To blame guns is the easy way out. They think it can be fixed by just taking away the guns. They are so wrong. The gun is the end not the beginning of the problem.

Before the person goes to get the gun there is something wrong. Something wrong……because why would they want or need a gun unless something was wrong? Anger or hurt or pain has built up inside until it had to have an outlet. They see no other way. They see no path to shed all of that unless they hurt others. The emotion inside is too strong.

To fix the guns is the easy path. To find what has caused the hurt and pain is the difficult problem.

This is a much bigger problem with no easy answers. It is linked to so many things. Societal breakdown, over-stressed parents, broken homes, lack of mental health availability in our health systems. I am sure I cannot think of it all.

We are a country in crisis. We are a people in pain. It is hurtful that one in four people have anxiety and depression. It is hurtful that  six and seven year old children are being diagnosed with mental health issues. At least we can be grateful that we are finding some early but it is the tip of the iceberg. When we find issues can we find treatment? Can we afford it?

do_somethingI am angry and I will find a way to express my anger to those in power. They may not listen and probably won’t because they will follow the easy path but I will make it known however I can!

Listen and hear

God-CallingLife moves on day by day, moment by moment. Sometimes you fail…sometimes things work out. Sometimes you just don’t know. Today some things became clear to me. I have a calling. I have a ministry that God wants me to use. How to do that is not for me to be concerned about at the moment. I am to continue the healing ministry that God wants me to do. Today I am clear about that. Maybe I won’t be so clear tomorrow but then I can back up and read this and know that I have been clear.

Today I listened, I paid attention, I heard. Now it is up to me to figure out how to accomplish this. The thing is when God speaks it is scary. Sometimes the things we have to do to follow can be something we don’t really want to do. Sometimes it takes too much waiting. That is the scary part. Sometimes we may be dragged by the scruff of the neck but we must go.

I will just take one day at a time. One step, one move forward, maybe a few steps back but always moving. Always trying to pay attention.

listen for GodThe most important part is to listen and keep listening. So hard to do when there is so much noise around us.

More grief and waiting

more grief

It has been over a year and I am still grieving my ministry. The mediation program may help but I don’t think it will replace the joy I got from ministering to people. Part of what I did was lay hands on those who wanted prayer for healing. This was so moving for me. I always prayed before turning my hands over to God for it was not me. If any healing took place it was not my healing but God’s. I miss this connection with God and others so much.

People would come to a small chapel after taking communion and I would anoint them with oil and pray for them. Most of the time I would take them in my arms and pray from my soul. This was a moment to share with someone else and with God. The church I attend now wouldn’t find it appropriate for me to do this since I am not ordained. I do miss it so.

waiting-on-godI hate it that I can’t let all of this go. I still dream about it. It seemed so much to be where I belonged. Sometimes I am so upset with God but I know he can handle it. Somehow there will be something for me to do. I know that there will be a place for me. I just have to wait. There is that awful word again. Wait. But I will wait for God to speak.

 

We are OK

broken crayonsWe are so good at putting ourselves down. We don’t need any other critic. The one inside of us does a good enough job. We think that we have  to be perfect and that it is expected of us. We need a reality check.

Our reality check can be found in the Bible. When we look at who God chose to do the things he wanted it should give us hope. God called Moses to go and convince pharaoh get people out of Egypt. Moses was supposed to talk to pharaoh. Give a great speech. Unfortunately Moses stuttered. What a choice for God to make!

Next we take a look at Rahab. She was a women who live in Jericho. This was where the Israelites were to enter the promised land. They need information and sent spies into the city to the home of Rahab. Since she was a prostitute they felt they would not be noticed there. Their mission was successful and they promised to spare Rahab. She was to hang a red cord outside the window of her house which was in the outside wall. She and her family were spared when the Israelites attacked. A prostitute….chosen by God.

Now lets look at David. David sent his friend and soldier into battle to get killed so that he could have his wife. An adulterer, a king and favorite of God.

Mary was a teenager who got pregnant before she was married and told Joseph a tall story about carrying God’s child. Fortunately Joseph believed her.

Then there are the disciples who promised to follow Jesus but kept messing up. One of them turned him into the authorities and another denied him three times.

you are strongIf we want to put ourselves down we are in good company. Anyone is good enough for God to choose. We are loved. We are chosen. We are OK.