When I started this journey on Word Press I wanted to stop worrying so much over simple things and stop ruminating. Over the past several years I have learned much from the people I have encountered. I have made major changes in my thinking and my life. These things have helped.
What has not helped is what is happening in our world. It is one thing to obsess over things that will usually never happen and to be concerned over things that are happening. The concern is realistic and can’t be done away with. However, my changes have made me different so that even this current crisis has not been the tipping point to take me back to where I was.
Lessons can be learned and applied to make life, though challenging, less likely to move us back to where we started. We can learn and change and cope better. It is possible. Never give up and think it can’t get better. I can and will if you work at it.
In my youth I envisioned the future as a wonderful place, Peace, flying cars, visiting space. That idea is gone. Have the changes made a better world or one more frightening, more dangerous, more ominous? My memories make it seem that way. When will we ever learn what really matters?
My past is a dream A memory A life of summer days Poodle skirts Bobby socks
We did Hide under desks With fear of A bomb And built Air raid shelters
That did not Dim our hope Our dreams Of a better world Free from fear
Time moved on Electronics, VHS, DVD’s Computers, internet Instant everything A better world?
Strange My memory world Seems happier Less fearful More hopeful
The better world Vision lost More war More sickness More hatred
There is no greater disaster in the spiritual life than to be immersed in unreality, for life is maintained and nourished in us by our vital relation with realities outside and above us.”C.S. Lewis.
Lewis is so right but not just about our spiritual life. Living in unreality is a disaster in every way. It touches us on every level. I impact our physical self. No matter our level of activity it is not the same as it was. Even how and what we eat has been impacted.
Our emotional/psychological life has been impacted. We can’t do the things we used to do. Our social interactions have been curtailed. Whether we are introverts or extroverts this is still a change. I am sure that everyone is feeling this distancing in some way. I used to be an extreme extrovert but in my latter years I am more in the middle. This change has affected me in many ways. I miss the touch of others, the face to face exchange of ideas, the fun of simple conversation. I am lonely.
Our spiritual life has most assuredly been impacted. In some ways mine has expanded in that I spend more quiet time and intense connection with God that I have in quite a while. There are not so many distractions. I miss the camaraderie of our church community in addition to the services themselves.
This time has created a different way of being. One that can either strengthen or break us. We have to maintain perspective. Though maybe months distant there will be a change. The view will be changed making us find a new path into the world as it emerges. We have the ability to blend into the new world around us and adapt and make it better.
Part of my nightly prayer from the New Zealand Prayer Book: Night Prayer says:
The night heralds the dawn.Let us look expectantly to a new day,new joys,new possibilities.
We are going through a tough journey right now. Each day, each step forward is toward something new. Going back is not a option. Time doesn’t stop. It doesn’t reverse. It just moves forward and takes us with it. Look to the new day.
Take a deep breath. Look toward and new day a new beginning.
There is so much fear out there…..with good reason. For those of us in places not usually touched by war, bombings and attacks fear may not be an everyday thing. We are not used to it. But we are now. We are concerned about our safety and the safety of our loved ones. But God tells us to rely on Him.
Proverbs 3:24-26New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
24 If you sit down,[a] you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. 25 Do not be afraid of sudden panic, or of the storm that strikes the wicked; 26 for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.
The crises we find ourselves in as a species require that as a species we shake up all our institutions—including our religious ones—and reinvent them. Change is necessary for our survival, and we often turn to the mystics at critical times like this. Jung said: “Only the mystics bring creativity into religion.”  Jesus was a mystic shaking up his religion and the Roman empire; Buddha was a mystic who shook up the prevailing Hinduism of his day; Gandhi was a mystic shaking up Hinduism and challenging the British Empire; and Martin Luther King, Jr. shook up his tradition and America’s segregationist society. The mystics walk their talk and talk (often in memorable poetic phraseology) their walk. 
Fox wrote this a while ago but it is right on target. We do have to change. People are complaining about church. They say it is not relevant. They say the members are hypocrites. We have lost some idea of what it is all about. We need to look again with fresh eyes at the gospel. We need to think clearly about Jesus’s words and what he did. We need to reinvent ourselves and renew what it is all about.
A number of years ago my husband and I had a house that we rented. Some people moved in and at first it was perfect. They paid rent on time and the house (from the outside) looked good.
As time went on the husband told us that his wife was sick and they would be late with the rent. This went on with them occasionally paying something on the rent. My husband and I felt sorry for them to be going through such a tough time.
Then it got to where they were paying no rent but continued to tell us their many problems. We were worried but we were too kind to put them out. Two of their grown sons came and went along with other relatives. Now we were more worried. Then one day they came and told us they were moving. This actually was a relief. They left and we went into the house. Things were damaged everywhere. It took much money and lots of work on our part to fix the house up to rent again. We later learned that the sons were selling drugs from the house.
Now we could haunt ourselves with how stupid we were to let this happen. And you are right…we shouldn’t. But here’s the thing…we consider ourselves to be good people….worthy of being called Christian and that is how we live. We wouldn’t let that happen again but they were the bad people not us.
I know that they left saying how dumb we were but being told of the wife’s illness ( and she really was sick) we lived out our commitment to be compassionate. It gives us a twinge once in a while but we lived what we believe.
Recently I wrote about the things that will be coming in the future and there are still some things that I can see ahead. I wonder what will happen with genetics. Will we be able to solve and end children being born with serious defects? Will we be wise enough to use the research in an ethical manner? As our knowledge of our most basic programming grows will we be able to use it for good? It seems that there is always someone who can corrupt the good.
Will we use extending life for everyone or just the uber-rich? Will extending life be for the good or will it create issues we can’t even imagine?
There are so many ethical issues facing us as our knowledge of smaller and smaller particles put us at risk. The same is true of our understanding of the universe and all it entails. With ethical behavior seeming to decline how will we cope with information that could change everything?
I probably will not be here to see how this all comes about but I pray that our ethical and moral decline will turn around and we will have the wisdom to do the right thing.
This week I have been assigned two Community Conference cases. After reading the information on both of them I am amazed at what teachers are dealing with. I don’t know how anyone can teach in an environment with so many problems. From my recent experience I see so much violence erupting in the schools. Students get in arguments and their way of solving them is to get in a fight. This is not high school….this is middle school.
The environment of violence that we live in today is being played out by children! This is how they have learned to react. They have no experience with other ways to handle disputes and disagreements. We have to find ways to break the cycle. The Mediation Center does have a program that goes into the schools and teaches groups how to mediate a dispute and there are peer groups that are trying to help.
This culture of violence will continue until we teach alternatives to young children and help them to be played out in Elementary School. We have to stop it early.
Have you heard about angels? In one of his fantasy books C.S. Lewis implies that they move to fast for us to perceive them. They are only visible when they slow down.
I am not sure about wanting to actually encounter an angel. I have an idea that they are pretty impressive to see. Have you ever noticed that in the Bible almost every time they appear the first words they speak are “FEAR NOT!” That should give us an idea of what they are like.
One of my favorite stories about angels was told my Madeleine L’Engle at a conference I attended. It is such a sweet story that I decided to share it here.
There was a religious school in a neighborhood. Many of the children there had families who experienced fighting, yelling and sometimes abuse in the home. One little boy was always falling asleep in school so one of the nuns asked him if he was able to sleep at night at home. He admitted that there was usually lots of yelling and the he was frequently frightened and pulled the covers over his head to try and disappear.
The teacher told him not to worry. That night she would send four angels to stand at each corner of his bed to keep him safe. The next morning she asked him if the night went well at home. He told her that he was not frightened at all…the angels were there but could she cut down the number of them? The flapping of their wings was keeping him awake.
This is such a wonderful story and an example of the power of belief.