Recently I have been trying to clear some of the clutter from my house. I am creating a collection of things that can go to charity and putting them aside. There is so much in my house that has been collected over the years that I don’t really need. Some of them have memories attached. Nevertheless it is time to clean out and let go.
We have to do the same thing about ourselves. Sometimes it is time to look deep inside and let go of the garbage that has collected. It may be anger at someone or the pain that a slight caused. It may be the memory of something that we are sorry we did. There are times when we need to face all these thing and throw them out.
Open the closet doors and just pull away the bad things. Let the light get in so you can see the dust and dirt and really sweep it all out. The lightness that we feel when we take this action is amazing.
It is a hard thing to do and it may have to be done one closet at the time but there is always a time to get started. We can each do it!
I have finished reading the book by Henri Nouwen and have started the book “Reading the Bible Again for the First Time” by Marcus Borg. Borg is talking about reading the Bible from a new perspective. There are people who don’t like Borg but his thoughts challenge me. Borg talks about our perspective being connected with scientific thinking which says that something is true if it can be verified by further studies.
Our beliefs about Christianity cannot be verified and science can easily discard them as not valid. It is not easy to think about something that can’t be proved. We have lived with scientific method for so long that it is ingrained. My favorite author, Madeleine L’Engle, says there is true and then there is truth. Truth is something more. Something beyond explanation. It cannot be proved but somehow we just know it.
I certainly can’t explain my faith to someone who does not believe. Intellectually it can’ be done. I can, however, live it in a way that makes them ask why….why did I act that way? Behaving as Christ did is not understandable to the rational mind. He did everything against the mores of the time. He was a radical, a revolutionary.
If we live that way there will be questions asked. Some may think we have gone off the rails but this doesn’t matter. This is the kind of irrational behavior that I want to try and embrace. Something to aim for.
Life 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.
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.
Sometimes 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.
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.
Nouwen 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.
That 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.
Today 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?
I 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!
Life 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.
The most important part is to listen and keep listening. So hard to do when there is so much noise around us.
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.
I 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 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.
If 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.
Since I am continuing to think about the school massacre it brings back to mind my thoughts about more extensive mental health screenings and help in the schools. As a society we seem to be headed down a path of increasing mental illness. People are angry and have no idea what to do with that anger. Taking a weapon and using it on innocent people has become the way to express that anger and frustration.
The mediation center that I will be volunteering for also has a program that teaches conflict resolution in the schools. This will not solve the whole problem but is a step in the right direction.
History tells us that there was brutality in the past and discrimination and violence. I hoped that we were growing and learning but it seems I was wrong. Unkindness is growing and having compassion is not the norm. There may have been some bullying when I was in grade school and high school but I don’t ever remember it becoming a major issue. (of course that was over 60 years ago) I wish I knew what could be done to help but I don’t have any more answers than anyone else.