What is is to search for our own soul. (It doesn’t matter what you call it. It is our inner core…our best self.) How do we turn away from the things that our society has led us to believe are the ultimate good? When are we able to grow enough to cast aside the ideas that we have been taught from birth?
Most of us who have spent our lives in western society have been taught to reach for things that are finite. We look to find joy and peace in things that fade. We want everything taken care of NOW! We are impatient and want pills to cure our ills that work fast. If we feel the slightest bit bored we want entertainment that distracts us from spending time with ourselves. We want to be as beautiful at 80 as we were at 25. The look of youth is the ultimate. We want things to feed our emptiness with…cars, jewelry, clothes, electronics, houses….anything to make us important. We want to seem important, looked up to and emulated. We think that these will be fulfilling. They won’t. Their rewards to us are ephemeral.
Turning away from these illusions and seeking the soul itself is a challenge. Can we go against society and understand that love and compassion and empathy and generosity are what matters? These are eternal.
Seek inside yourself for the things that really matter and pursue them.
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.
I like to bake bread. This week I decided that I wanted some sourdough bread but had no starter. It takes time to make starter. You have to let it sit for at least several days to sort of ferment. The starter did beautifully and I used a recipe for the bread that said let it rise for 12 to 24 hours. I left it for one afternoon and it rose out of the bowl. Needless to say the starter works. (it is what makes sourdough bread rise)
The process to make this bread takes time and patience. Today most of us don’t want to wait. We don’t want to do anything that takes time. We have little patience. Yet patience pays. Look what happened when I was willing to take some time. The bread not only rose but rose way up. Time can yield results if we allow it.
We have to learn to be willing to wait. Good things can come of it.
In coastal Georgia, where I live, we have 7-8 ft tides. There is nowhere else along the southern coast where there is such a fluctuation. It is because of the westward dip in the coast. Today we had extremely high tides. I have not heard how high but such tides cause some coastal flooding on roads that are extremely low. It is not unusual for this to happen on a full moon and at this time of the year.
When the tide is so high that we can only see a little marsh grass peeking out across Turner’s Creek we know it is well above normal.
Tide has an ebb and flow. It is related to motion of the earth. As human beings we also have an ebb and flow. The fluids within the cells in our bodies actually respond to the cycles of the moon and the motion of the tides.
Years ago my youngest daughter wrote a paper about the moon, tides and the increase/decrease of episodes of crisis in those with mental illness. She studied the admissions to psychiatric units and correlated it with moon and tide phases. it was a small study and not really enough to prove the relationship but there was an increase in admissions related to certain moon phases.
Nurses have forever said that hospital admissions, births and accidents have that same relationship although statistically it never shows up that way. As a neonatal nurse we usually saw more babies with problems at a full moon.
I do wonder if we kept track of the times we ourselves have difficulty with mental health flare ups we would see some correlation. It would be interesting to know. It would help us to better understand the cycles of crisis and plan to be ahead of the curve.
Today I saw the new Mary Poppins movie and enjoyed it very much. I read the book as a child (in the deep dark past) and always loved the story. I adored the original film but found this one deeper and more profound. I know that I will watch it again in the future.
I am often caught by phrases spoken in films and in this film it was said “some people think too much.” I suspect that any of us who worry and obsess and have anxiety do this. We think too much.
Thinking too much is definitely what we do when we worry. We lay out every scenario that can possibly take place. I explain to myself that if I encounter one of my scenarios I will be ready to face it. Usually I don’t face any of the things I envision and if I did I would probably not be prepared at all.
This obsessing is a venture into futility. It is a total waste of time, energy and, last but not least, an exercise in chaotic thinking. It leaves me anxious and exhausted.
It has been said that people who do this are smarter than the average. I don’t know if this is true but there are studies with that information. The reason given is that they can come up with more outcomes for any scenario.
If it is true that anxious people are smarter than the average then it is a mixed blessing. I might want to give it up for some peace.
The end of another year…the beginning of a new one. What will come to us? There is no way of knowing. The best we can do is hope for the best. There is truly no way to plan but we can make sure that our attitude is positive. May each of you have a blessed new year!
Some people delight in complaining. They want to tell you what is wrong. They don’t want to fix it they just want to complain. Some of them are negative all the time but some are not. If you are part of a group plan there is always someone who wants to tell you why it won’t work. I hate to say it but probably the worst are church members. I think that part of the reason is that everyone who belongs think they own the whole thing. If there is one typo in the bulletin they have to point it out. Especially in some place where everyone can hear.
The hardest part about belonging to a church is that it is as imperfect as we are. I think that’s what turns some people off. The expectation is that everyone in the church will behave in a Christian way. Yeah, that’s not going to happen.
Church may not necessarily be important to your spiritual growth but a community of people is. If you can find a church that feels like home that is wonderful. If you can’t then at least seek our some like-minded souls who will support you on your path.
It is very difficult to grow in your chosen faith alone. We all need people who share their stories, their struggles and their journey. Connecting with others gives us insights that we would not find on our own. That is the same kind of support that some of us find blogging. We can gain support that way if we truly exchange our formation stories and our successes and failures. However, where faith is concerned, I think some sort of physical connection helps. Not everyone benefits from a place where we experience physical touch but as humans it changes us.
Don’t ever stop seeking the place that you can grown and thrive!