Unconditional love

crash and tillieToday I seem to have returned to some equilibrium. This episode helped me to realize how easy it is to run the train right off the rails. With the start of this blog I wanted to find ways to prevent this but wasn’t consistent. Unfortunately, consistency is the key. You can’t use a tool if you haven’t mastered it.

So the journey continues. I have made some good changes but not enough. There was no major crisis in my life but I had forgotten how the little things pile up and become an overload. One thing I can say for sure my dogs really do help. Both are rescues and have had their own share of trauma. Their names are Crash and Matilda. Crash was named that by his foster family because when rescued he was hit by something (possibly a car) and had broken his pelvis. He was so covered in fleas and ticks that his blood counts were dangerously low. He is now a happy, health and slight goofy basset hound. Tillie, found at the pound by a friend of my son’s had little history to explain her past but is loving and stubborn and funny. Both of them are a blessing.

dogIt seems to me that our pets are a true gift from God and certainly an example of how to live. They love unconditionally and share that love always. They don’t judge. They love in spite of our failings. What better example could there be of God’s love.

Make us whole!

Finally finished 3 days of training to be a mediator for the state court system. My state has a non-profit center that does mediation. Mediation helps people resolve issues so they don’t have to go to court and spend court fees and have a judge decide. Mediation works to get the parties to a reasonable settlement. The training was good and I will now observe some sessions and them begin to do them.

It is so strange. The three days that I was in class I had no stomach issues but today it’s back. It just lets me know that when my mind is totally occupied there are no problems. It clearly shows that I am the problem.

dividedI have been thinking a great deal about how connected are mind, body and spirit. When science became at the forefront only the body was considered. In recent years we have begun to see that you can’t treat one part. In some ways we have moved forward and in other ways not. I think we see the connection but medicine has become so specialized that each part of our body has a different doctor. They don’t always communicate well so not only have we forgotten about the other two but the body is divided up.

It seems that the best of all worlds would be to have a clinic where every part was addressed. There would be physicians for everything, mental health people, alternative health providers and the option for spiritual guidance. How wonderful that would be. The whole team would sit down and consider the care of each person. Holistic medicine at its best! It’s not going to happen but what a healing thing it would be.

holisticI guess we have to try and pull all the parts together ourselves and seek out the best helpers that we can.

Faith in a changing world

church 50sI grew up in an era where church was important. Most of the USA were church goers. That doesn’t mean that they were really Christians but they went to church. Which church people attended was sometimes chosen for social reasons. Going to church on Sunday was just what you did.

In my family we had a mixture. My father (of Scottish decent) and mother were Presbyterian. My grandparents were Methodist and my Aunt and Uncle (of German origins) were Lutheran. It didn’t seem strange to me that everyone in my family went somewhere different. The one thing that was understood was that we all had Christianity as our roots. Of all the family my grandmother’s faith was rock solid. She read the Bible every day and prayed faithfully. She also was the perfect example of Christian living. I never heard her speak against anyone, she gave generously, and was kind to all.

god-in-a-box1Because of this upbringing I grew up believing in and depending on God. Because of all the different examples before me I questioned often, read extensively and never felt constrained by doctrine. I was free to find my path. I think being able to explore helped me to never stop believing in God. God was never static for me.. God was and is bigger than any box anyone ever tried to put him/her/it in.

Today people are exploring God/spirituality in many different ways. Church is no longer the norm. There are many reasons why this has happened. Most of us explore during out formative years. Maybe they find a different path. The path of other faiths may draw them. I only hope that the path each person takes gives them the strength that I find in mine.

find groundMy belief is the thing that holds me up when things are not good. I turn to that faith and rest on it. It gives me strength to keep moving on and has done so for 77 years. People help to sustain my life and reflect God’s image to me often but this doesn’t stand alone. I don’t know what people hold on to who have no faith to turn to. Maybe they don’t need one. It certainly wouldn’t work for me. “God is my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46)

Scary silence

scaryOur society doesn’t do silence. We are not set up for it. I have recently noticed some school programs that are teaching young children to meditate. I am glad that someone can see our dilemma. We have gone for so long being dependent on noise that silence is foreign.

 

 

Silence can be so scary. If we are anxious we don’t want to spend time with ourselves. TV or computer or whatever shuts down the voice inside is the answer. To think is to get more jittery. There is something about spending time with ourselves that is frightening. Thoughts race, heart rate increases, body responds to adrenaline.

silence healsThe sad part about this is that silence could help us if we could tolerate it. Silence can mend the soul. It’s healing hands soothe us and bring peace. We have to find a way to explore silence as a safe place.

Sadness and Joy

charlie brown treeChristmas Eve I went to the service for the first time in years. We went to his church. It was a beautiful service but I had to leave during Silent Night. For some reason it triggers sadness.

I stopped going at the church where I was employed a while ago.. My husband always went to his church and it was too sad going by myself. For some reason I also balked at going with him.

I think the memories of Christmas when we had small children and young adults are strong and fill me with sadness and nostalgia. Life moves on and rightly so but sometimes the memories (although wonderful) bring on the loss of those times. As we grow older we a not so much a part of the core and feel distanced. It is not that anyone puts us to the side but that we are viewing from a different perspective. We raised our children to be independent. We are not left out of their lives we just have different roles.

god is greaterChange is always stressful and accepting new patterns a challenge. I will grow into it. I am so grateful for all that I have had and still have. God is Good!

Frantic to Peaceful Sleep

“It is but lost labour that we haste to rise up early, and so late take rest, and eat the bread of anxiety. For those beloved of God are given gifts even while they sleep.”

This is a quote from the beginning prayers of Night Prayer from”A New Zealand Prayer Book.” 

franticNow with Christmas on the way we will begin our mad dash to get everything ready. Presents to be bought, baking to do, parties to attend. There is so much we think we have to do. As the quote says we rise early and go to bed late. In between we obsess about the things we haven’t done yet. We are the creators of the pressure we are under. We can’t turn loose of our control. We won’t let ourselves fall down on the job.

As the time draws closer we become more and more anxious. Anxiety becomes an even more part of life. We Christians are not the only ones who are frantic. Hanukkah is coming also and events for others. Even many agnostics and atheists can get caught up in the commercial part of the season. It leaves very few untouched.

For those of us who grew up with the Christmas traditions it can seem magical. People seem nicer. Charities receive donations and people help each other more. The sad part is that we do all this in one short season. Then we seem to go to sleep until the following year. Showing kindness, helping others, and sharing what we have should go on all year. Somehow we need to learn to carry it forward. Think what a wonderful world it would be if we did.

sleep

Maybe then we would not be frantic for a month and take the gifts that God gives us even when we sleep.

You don’t eat what?

mark twainNot too long ago I belonged to a circle of women who met once a month for dinner and a program. We held the meetings at someone’s home and a light dinner was provided by the hostess. After a while ideas about diets began to be popular and things changed with the group. It was expected that the hostess would try to accommodate the dietary requirements of the members. One person became a vegetarian and that was pretty manageable. Then someone become a vegan and it got a little more difficult. Then someone didn’t eat carbs and another went gluten free. It began to feel as if water was the only choice for dinner. The group decided to eat out and let everyone make their own choices. Strangely enough, people who were on restricted diets seemed to eat whatever when eating out.

I have noticed that this is a growing phenomenon in society today. People are choosing various eating methods in order to be healthy. For people who have allergies or celiac disease or diabetes or other serious problems,  it is logical to avoid certain foods. We have long known that most of us eat too many carbs and too much sugar. But we seem to have reached the ridiculous.

(How many of you have seen the movie Notting Hill where a dinner guest objects to eating carrots because they were murdered?}

I have friends who have been vegetarians or vegans for many years. They manage their diets well and usually manage at dinners without any fuss. I also know people who claim to be one or the other and really don’t understand how to manage it well.

Just as recent converts to a faith are the most stringent so the most recent converts to a diet are rabid about maintaining it. This kind of thinking makes me decide to not have people to dinner as they have few manners about pointing out their restrictions. As the group decided, it is easier to not do it. We have become picky eaters and outspoken about our desires. Others are often left feeling that they are not in step if they don’t follow.

garfieldEating healthy is important for many reasons but let’s not be so obsessed as to make others uncomfortable. Everyone is entitled to their own choices. There is some implication in one of the two Genesis stories that vegetables should be our primary choice but it is up for interpretation. (Have you realized that there are two stories?) I have felt for a long time that moderation in all things is the key to living. Extremes cause problems. It’s up to you.