Strange apathy –missing what?

apathy1200xLately I have felt apathetic about going to church. There is no specific reason for this that I can see. Nothing is wrong with either the church I worked at or the church I am attending with my husband. They are both friendly churches that adopt members as part of the family. You always feel welcomed and loved. It makes me wonder what’s up?

I am not really sure. I have not backed away from my relationship with God. It is growing stronger than it has been in a while. When you work for a church there is always the danger that you are working more than worshiping. I know I fell into it easily.  Now I actually spend time with God. Not enough but much more than I was. My connection with God is enriched and I am grateful for that.

I do still miss greatly laying hands on people and praying for healing. This is a part of my past ministry that causes my soul to ache, It fed me in a way it is difficult to explain. I was not doing anything myself for it was God who was using my hands and my love….outpouring for others. I still tear up when I think of what it meant for me. God was physically present each moment.

My spiritual life is much more solitary and I am not a solitary person. This is a struggle for me but one that God is pushing me into. I am caught in the longing to do something more physical instead of meditative. Maybe I need to try moving meditation. (which actually is a thing) I would still want to do it with others.

connection-004I have always been aware of my need to deepen my relationship with God and at times during my life have had a deep and amazing connection. Now I need to re-connect.

So why does this translate into a lack of passion for church itself? I wish I knew. I can see clearly that stepping away is not the right choice. It is so easy to develop a pattern of staying home on Sunday morning and it becomes a habit that is hard to change. Church is also not about my feelings although for me, until now, it has frequently been an emotional boost. Church has not changed. I have and I need to spend time delving into myself to seek answers.

soul on fire1

I need an emotional boost. I need to find an amazing conference or heart rending speaker who challenges me and reignites the fire that I can’t find.

God will supply my need. I just wish he would hurry up!

Be kind to yourself- you deserve it

a communityBefore I write for the day I always read what shows up for me to read. Quite often it inspires me to write about a particular topic. Today it reminded me of my writing yesterday when I talked about how wonderful other’s blogs are to read. I felt the same way today.

So many days I can start out feeling down and the blogs lift me up. Some are funny, some give me ideas to try and some I feel that I can say something that may help. This really is a community of comrades.

rest

Today has been so calming. I found that more company were not coming and was able to relax. Little got done but that is ok. The vines in my yard are going apace and will continue to do so since I have no plan to tackle them at the moment.

Sometime we have to give ourselves permission to take some down time. The world will not end if my yard is not perfect or my house spotless. We frequently push ourselves too hard and forget that everyone needs rest and think time. We cannot be healthy or creative if we don’t take this time off. Be kind to yourself.

 

Musings about unlimited love

no limitsThis morning someone said “love has no limits.” The idea struck me. What exactly do we mean by limitless?Does it mean that we love not matter what or that the love is as wide as the universe? I suppose it can mean either.

On the face of it,it is true. Love should have no limits. That’s when we think of unconditional love. The kind of love that keeps on loving no matter what. This is a mother who loves her child who is a serial killer. This is loving the warts and ugly temperament. This is loving the child who actually hates us.

But there are some loves that even though limitless must have constraints on them. An abused women loves her husband but needs to learn to love herself and move away from the abuse. A child will love a drug addicted parent who doesn’t care for them. That love doesn’t make the neglect forgivable. A spouse may have to divorce an alcoholic partner. The love may still be there but the situation is unmanageable.

There are cases where the love may be limitless but one sided and the relationship is fated to fail. Is it possible for the limitless love to continue? I don’t know.

love isIf we are Christian we are asked to love without reservation. Loving this way may not require us to accept the behavior associated with it. We are also asked to love ourselves and this may be the hardest thing of all.

It seems to me that to love genuinely and unconditionally we must first love and accept ourselves with all our flaws. This is what allows us to love others flaws and all. This may be love without limits.

Memories

best-memoriesYesterday my brother-in-law flew in to visit us. He and my husband have not had lots of time to visit each other over the years and this visit ia wonderful thing. They are having a wonderful time sharing memories of childhood and information about the family. We don’t often take advantage of renewing memories and sharing information.

My mother and my aunt were the last two of their generation. When they died all their memories and information were gone. I often think of something that I wish I had asked when they were here.

Two years ago my best friend died taking with her the only connection to my childhood. I don’t think I realized what it would be like to lose that connection. It was so wonderful to be able to pick up the phone and say “remember when?” Now that link is gone.

This is not an unusual happening in life. If we are blessed enough to have a long life there will be many connections to our past that we will outlive. My grandmother lived to be 100 and I can remember her saying that there was no one left who remembered the world she grew up in. It is clear that it is a loss.

dr seuss

If you have elderly relatives take the time to record their memories. It doesn’t matter if they are written down or recorded. There are some online companies who will set up a line that can be called and memories recorded for posterity. What a wonderful idea. My daughter wrote down some of my grandmother’s stories and I am working on the stories my father told. He was a wonderful storyteller and I don’t want them forgotten.

Past history will disappear quickly and once gone it is gone forever. Take the time to keep those memories.

An interesting hospital visit

mayoToday I am tired. My husband and I traveled to the Mayo Clinic for him to schedule a knee replacement there. His knee was originally injured at West Point playing lacrosse and then his time in the Army jumping out of airplanes didn’t help. He had a replacement 21 years ago and now it is failing.

It was interesting to go to a major medical center. It is so different from a local hospital. We stayed overnight in a hotel to make our morning appointment. The hotel is in the Mayo complex so one can assume that most people are there because of a medical issue.

People were so anxious to talk. Everywhere we were, at dinner, at breakfast, on the shuttle to the hospital people just wanted to talk…mostly about why they were there. We saw all sorts of people. Some young, some old, some in between.

I don’t know if all the people who wanted to talk were extroverts or if some introverts were included. It seemed that talking about their problems allowed them to ventilate. I am sure that most people there have major medical issues on they wouldn’t be there. Everyone seemed anxious to support each other.

Some came from foreign countries and spoke little English. The center has an international office that greets and helps them both with translations and to manage their way through the system.

We got through his appointments and will have to return for the tests the physician wants in order to determine the best course of treatment.

This is healthcare at its best. Unfortunately not everyone has access. The Mayo Clinic web site is one of the best for medical information. I have used it for years to answer questions for others. It has more educational information available than any other medical center I have looked up.

Don_t+believe+everything+you+read!If you want information on a problem please use Mayo as a resource. The information is accurate and well written. Too often people find medical answers on the web that are not good resources. Some of the things people have told me that they got from the web are really scary. Just look up mayoclinic.org.

It was good to get home to very excited and loving dogs and sleep in my own bed.

 

Pets are a joy

It is impossible to say how much I love having dogs. I grew up with dogs as my mother and grandmother loved them and we always had at least one. Now we have two rescued basset hounds. For 50 years of my married life we had dachshunds. One day my son brought a sad looking basset hound to our house. A friend of his couldn’t keep the dog and my son knew that we were easy marks. Once she came into the house that was it. At the time we had two dachshunds. We didn’t really need another dog. However, she is a joy. Calm, loving and peaceful. She knows when I am stressed and will come to bond with me putting her head on my knee.

Shortly after we got Tillie we lost first one doxy and then another. We decided to adopt another basset to keep Tillie company. We ended up with Crash.

tillie (2)
Tillie in her usual half asleep mode

Crash was so named by his foster family after he was found by a basset rescue agency. They felt he had been hit by a car. He was emaciated, covered with fleas and ticks and had a broken pelvis. When we got him he had been treated extensively by a vet. He was better but still thin.

Crash was definitely the right name for him. He crashed into our house and life has not been the same. He has relieved me of at least six pairs of shoes until I learned to put them away properly. It was his job to take this task in hand. He succeeded. He is terrified of thunder storms and cowers by our feet. He hates for us to leave home and howls the basset howl for the neighbors to hear. While we are away he pulls towels down from the racks, rearranges all loose rugs, pulls out any laundry left on the floor of the laundry room and removes it to other places in the house.

Nothing is harmed, nothing is chewed….just moved. Crash is joy personified.

Pets are wonderful things. Whether you love dogs, cats or some other pet they bring joy to your life. They improve our health. Their love is an example to us of how God expects us to love. If you have pets I hope that they bring you as much joy as mine do.

Touch heals

There has been a lot of research about touch and how healing it can be. Over the years, while visiting people at home and in the hospital, I have always used touch to draw closer. I truly believe that touch can be therapeutic if used with intent to heal. Recent studies have shown that just holding the hand of a loved one can reduce pain.

healing touch

When visiting a member of the congregation in the hospital I found her in pain. Unfortunately, he pain medicine was not due for some time and she was very uncomfortable. She responded well to my touch and using both touch, a soothing voice, and a meditative talk (like a mantra….”just rest, just rest..close your eyes and just rest) over and over she relaxed into a calm and peaceful state and was able to wait for her next dose of medicine.

I don’t know how many times I used this technique on my children and never thought about it but with my job as parish nurse it was very helpful. Having someone focus your thoughts soothes us and along with gentle touch can bring us to a state of calm.

The problem is it is hard to do this for yourself. I have done it on occasion when I found myself in a situation when I was about to lose either my temper or my mind. Just stepping back, breathing and focusing my mind….I sometimes repeat “be calm, be calm”…does help me get past that moment. I had a Tai Chi instructor who said when faced with her kids waiting in an airport she had to keep saying “lower your chi” over and over.

Sometimes when I am alone I like to sing a piece of Taize music. These pieces from the Taize community in France are soothing chants that can calm your mind and soothe your soul. If you have never heard these look it up.

This link will take you to one of my favorites on YouTube.