I don’t believe in coincidences. For me, it seems that the things that happen are meant to be. I guess I believe in Karma, fate, destiny and the arangels. If this seems naive then so be it. So many things have happened in my life that would be incredulous without this belief.
I had retired from nursing and was just enjoying the time. One day I decided to read the newspaper. (I never do that!). Even more unbelievable I read the want ads. There was an add for a Parish Nurse. I had heard about this movement to join nursing with church life and had been very interested but never thought about actually doing it. The add asked for a reply to email which I did stating that I did not want a job but a ministry.
I was called and asked to interview. The job was part time, a two year grant to start and run a program and teach the idea across all denominations in my town. Good so far. I was then told that the pilot program would be hosted by a church where my Aunt was a member and where a “kissing cousin” worked part time as a visitation minister. I had been to that church often and in a town with many churches this was amazing.
I took the job and after two years was hired by the church to continue. Twenty years later I retired.
Too many “coincidences” for me to swallow.
What do you think?
Do you dream? Do you remember what you dream? I dream a lot and I often remember the dream…at least for a while. The bad part is that sometimes I have nightmares. I had one last night. Mine are not about monsters chasing me or falling off a building. I wish they were. I could deal with that better.
My nightmares have to do with trying to help my mother and my aunt. (both deceased) The dreams are sad and frustrating. I struggle to solve whatever is going on with no success. It makes me wonder if this is some leftover guilt for something I regret not doing for them. I cared for them in their last days and was with each of them when they died.
As a part of grieving we tend to guilt ourselves for being human. Of course I have regrets but my care for them was the what I was able to do. I did all that I could. Sometimes we just can’t let it go. I remember crying hysterically in the dream ….so frustrated that nothing I tried worked.
Now wide awake I have to understand that grief comes in waves when we least expect it. This time it surfaced in my nightmare years after both of them died. It is still there and will crop up again. Loss becomes a scar but sometimes the scar hurts. That is normal.
I have been overwhelmed lately by my friends crises. When I think about the things that others are facing tears come to my eyes. If only we could fix whatever we wanted. Sadly, life is not that way.
As we get older we have to face the reality of others traveling with us are also aging. With age come health issues. We cannot live forever. I know this and yet it still hurts to see those we care about struggling. I tried to express some of this in this poem.
Life doesn’t last
loss of abilities
Any man who thinks he can describe love understands nothing about it. from The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
Love really can’t be explained. It has so many facets. Advertisements want us to see love as passion and sex. It sells things from perfume to Viagra. Passion is important. It keeps humanity going but it is a minute part of love. There is so much more.
I talked a little about this in an old blog. The Greeks had a totally different way to look at love and did a much better job of seeing it.
We need to experience the full range of love in our lives. Explore your life and find the different ones that you have experienced or are experiencing. Broaden your thinking beyond what advertising wants us to see.
This is what most of us think of when love is mentioned. We have narrowed love down to sexual attraction. This love can be like a flame that burns down and dies. We have lost so much by doing this. I think we know other kinds of love are out there but we push them to the back.
2. “Philia” or Affectionate Love
This is our love for our friends. If we are blessed to have friends who love us and that we love in return we should rejoice. This love leads to caring about others.
3. “Storge” or Familiar Love
This is love of family. We can actually have this love for long term friends who have become family to us. It is similar to Philia
4. “Ludus” or Playful Love
This is like the early stages of Eros but with something added to the sexual attraction. This can be flirting or playful affection.
5. “Mania” or Obsessive Love
Mania is a dangerous kind of love. This is the abusive partner who bit by bit isolates the loved on from all others. This is obsessive love.
6. “Pragma” or Enduring Love
This is the love of a couple who have spent a lifetime together. Their love has componets of all the positive loves. It cherishes familiar love and Philia. It includes Eros. It is a deep and constant love.
7. “Philautia” or Self Love
The Greeks understood that we have to learn to love ourselves in order to love others. This love is important to ground us as persons.
8. “Agape” or Selfless Love
Most of us see this love as the ultimate love. The love that Christ had for us. It is when we can love the unlovable.
Quite often I sit and wonder what I am going to write about. Most of the time something comes to me and I start with a thought and have no idea where it is going. Usually it works into something that what never what I thought in the beginning.
Today the only thing that came to mind is that in June my husband and I will have been married for 57 years. I can’t say that a single one of them have been bad. We never questioned that we belong together even on the off days. Ups and downs yes but never infidelity or desire to be with someone else. This quote from C.S. Lewis is fitting.
It is so sad that Christianity is struggling today. There have been so many issues not confined to one group. The Catholics have been fighting sex scandals for years and this seems to be the most explosive. The United Methodists made decisions recently that may split the denomination. Episcopalians meeting in England were distressed to have same sex spouses barred from the proceedings. These are all mainline churches.
The less united denominations don’t seem to have suffered as much since members who disagree just move elsewhere. However, over the years, they have suffered from what seems to be leaders who took advantage of them.
Christianity has been tested before. Usually it seems to help people assess what it means to them and what it is really about. The way it looks after this testing we can’t know. It may be radically different. Hopefully people will look deeply into their hearts and draw closer to the deeper meanings of that faith. All I know is that testing usually results in change. Hopefully for the better.
Today I did another mediation. It is always interesting to see what it is about. Sometimes it is someone owing someone else money. Sometimes it is member of a family arguing about something minor. Usually with families the problem is not what they have brought to us but lost in their past history. With cases like this it is usually not possible to resolve anything. There is too much water under the bridge.
Too often we see families divided over long standing hurts and disagreements. Families are not perfect but it makes me so sad to see them totally divided. We have so few people in life who love us unconditionally. What leaps to mind is my dogs. It seems we humans have more trouble understanding each other. We are so ready to let good relationships fall away.
Keeping a family together is hard work just as keeping a marriage together. Feelings get hurt, people behave badly, things go wrong. Sometimes parents have tried their hardest to do the right things and sometimes the parents are damaged themselves and can’t parent well. No matter what happens having a loving family to support you in life is one of life’s greatest blessings.
Unconditional love is not easy but we do have to try. Sometimes is it impossible and we have to move on. When that happens my hope is that a new relationship can be formed using the lessons learned from the past. Being loved and loving is worth the effort.