Birth–Death

birth-and-deathBirth – death. Funny how they go together. I loved an episode of “Call the Midwife” where a grandfather to be is dying as his grandson is born. He makes a comment about the two of them passing. I really love that thought…..one generation turning life over to the next.

It is so wonderful for me to read blogs from people of all ages. I love that I can share with those just starting out in life and those who are on the other side like me. There is a wonderful continuity in that. My granddaughter is about to give birth to my first great grandchild. It feels so strange to say that. Sometimes if feels as if my life as a teenager is just a moment away. Sometimes I dream that I am back in college and it feels normal to be there.

Life is connections. My husband went to West Point and they call those who have graduated from there “The Long Grey Line.” There is this sense of a line reaching back through history and froward to the future.

We are all part of that line. Our lineage goes back in time beyond my understanding. It will go forward in time to a future I can’t even begin to imagine. We are connected. We are part of the human family. As connections die others are being born. Life prevails.

life

The middle ground

middle-groundToday I worked in the yard re-potting plants and cleaning up.  I overdid it. By the time I came in I was over-tired and over heated. I know better than this but I got going and didn’t want to stop.

It is so easy to take on more than we can manage. You say yes to one thing and then another and suddenly you are in overload. Then add to that the worries that we all carry and the things we HAVE to do and we are in serious trouble.

It is so hard to stick to the middle ground. The Greeks talked about the Golden Mean….that center place where we have done just enough. If we choose to do too little we end up with a vapid face…if we choose to much we are tired, irritable and overworked.

We face the problem that in today’s work scene many employers expect too much. Since we can be reached at almost any time on our cell phones we are seldom out of touch. We are afraid to turn the thing off because we might miss something. It’s hard to call time when a job is on the line.

balance2There is a balance and we have to try to reach it. It may not be easy but unless we do we are at risk for more anxiety and more stress. None of us need that.

Reach for that center place where peace dwells.

inspiration-peace

God’s dump truck

out_of_the_frying_pan_and_into_the_fire_by_amorous_inc-d5zf87rHave you ever felt that you move out of the frying pan into the fire? Lately I seem to be doing that. I get past one crisis and another arises. I do key into other’s problems and help if I can. At times that can be overwhelming. Sometimes I just need to back away.

Today I have a very open and honest conversation with a friend. I hope that we both came away with a positive feeling. It is in relation to my journey to discover the next place that God is calling me. We will see how it moves forward and I trust God to help me discern what is best.

I have also been with a friend whose husband is ill and has been fighting the medical system. I hope things are getting better.

As we know these kinds of interactions can push the anxiety button. Fortunately it is only hanging in the background and that is where I want to keep it. It is time to use the things I have learned about taking control.

Control is a word that can have positive or negative connotations. Being in control is where we want to be but that is not always possible. It is so difficult to turn loose. I once taught a class where I talked about putting all of our worries and aggravations in a trash bag and handing them over to God. Then we would move on. However, our inclination is to move and drag the bag with us….move and drag the bag. We can do this endlessly. We just can’t seem to turn it over and leave it there. I wonder if it is our lack of trust or maybe the feeling that we should be able to handle it.

garbage truck

No matter what is the reason we have to learn to stop dragging the bag and let the God dump truck take it away forever.

Keeping balanced

original_good-day-and-bad-day-mugsToday was such a mixed day. I began stressed waiting for some medical results. I think I overdid my meds because of that. I got called about 11:00 that all is well and the anxiety subsided to leave me feeling groggy. It’s funny how there are times when the adrenaline goes it goes all at once. Still I felt good. I went to meet some friends for lunch and on the way out of the building down steep stairs fell the last two and twisted my foot/ankle? It hurt but I could walk on it so went on to enjoy lunch.

After lunch walking back it really hurt so headed home for ice and ibuprofen. Those helped and now it is just a minor ache. I learned a good lesson about managing my meds as I’m sure that’s why I lost my balance.

best daysLife is about balance. Can I balance my checkbook? Can I balance work and home? Can I balance exercise and food? We are always working to keep life on track. We have to weigh the things we do and try to keep an honest balance. Taking care of others and not ourselves makes life out of balance. In contrast we can say the same thing about paying attention only to ourselves and shutting others out is not a balanced life.

Learning to balance our moods and concerns can be even more difficult. Sometimes there is just no way to keep it all together. We need to strive for that balanced life. Sometimes we will lose balance and things will fall over but that is life. Just keep trying.

balance cartoon

“O that my vexation were weighed, and all my calamity laid in the balances!

Touch Heals

Communal_BathA recent article was about the pain lessening effects of touch. A study was done with couples that showed just holding hands reduced the level of pain. I have been a nurse for a long time but I have always believed that touch heals. I have been with patients in the hospital who are in pain and can’t have more meds yet. I have gently held their hand or stroked an arm while speaking soothingly. They almost always calmed and were able to rest more comfortably until med time.

We humans have lived with others (i’m sure) since we lived in caves. We have been communal and depended on each other. I don’t think we are meant to live life alone. That doesn’t mean that we have to live with someone in our home but that we need community. Community is one place (hopefully) where touch can happen in safety.

touchIt has been my experience that human touch is critical to our health. Babies who are not cuddled and held in the beginning of their lives do not thrive. Many of them have significant social disorders later in life.

We need touch. In my role as Parish Nurse I used some form of touch with everyone I visited. I never had anyone not want that. (I know some people don’t like being touched)

With all the issues in our society today touch has become an iffy thing. We are often afraid to touch knowing that it can be misconstrued. It is a tragedy that this is the case. We all need touch to be whole.

New day, new creation!

wallowToday is a new day. Today I pulled up my socks and decided to stop wallowing. Today I took some steps to move forward and it feels so good. I made some appointments that I need to do and made the decision to get on with it.

Doing this made me feel better. Now the idea is to keep it up. My experience shows me that I will have down days when I don’t want to keep moving. My prayer life has been perfunctory and an obligation except for the last prayer of the night from the New Zealand Prayer Book which is:

 

Lord, it is night.

The night is for stillness. Let us be still in the presence of God.

It is night after a long day. What has been done has been done; what has not been done has not been done; let it be.

The night is dark. Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives rest in you.

The night is quiet. Let the quietness of your peace enfold us, all dear to us, and all who have no peace.

The night heralds the dawn. Let us look expectantly to a new day, new joys, new possibilities.

This prayer brings me peace and prepares me for sleep.  Now I need to find a way to make this same kind of connection during the day. I will do this by setting aside a time for prayer and meditation in the morning before the day gets in my way.

Prayer is so important. No matter what God you believe in prayer is the connection. You may just call it something else but it will involve silence and freeing your mind to acceptance, to wait upon God. We always need to expand our prayer life and learn to experience God. This is different from talking to God. This is immersing yourself in the creator and letting all else go. This is not easy and like anything good requires work and consistency. I plan to do the work. Pray for me!

Patterns and change

Patterns_of_changeI think this is the first time in 43 years that I missed Palm Sunday. We we away attending my grandson’s wedding on Saturday and also a baby shower for my granddaughter on Sunday morning before returning home. It did feel strange. Usually I am immersed in the progress from Lent through Easter. Now we are in Holy Week and I feel lost. I know that I can attend Maunday Thursday services and Good Friday but it seems different.

It is interesting how we can develop patterns that comfort us. Lately my routine has been completely out of sync and as a result so am I. I am looking forward to getting back to routine. I know that some people hate routine and I was not as fond of it when I was younger but over the years I have learned more and more about enjoying things staying somewhat the same. I know, boring. Maybe not.

I need at least some normal to keep me centered. Recently between my family and my friends nothing has seemed the same. It is one of those times in life when we experience lots of change and have to find a new normal. Time has taught me that eventually these changes will slide themselves into a new routine and maybe it will last a while before it happens again but there are no guarantees.

change2

We are guaranteed that life never stays the same. There will always be change and we have to learn to cope. I frequently use this prayer from Compline in the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer:

Be present, O merciful God, and protect us through the hours
of this night, so that we who are wearied by the changes and
chances of this life may rest in your eternal changelessness; 
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.