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.

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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!

It’s the little things

little thingsThe last few weeks have been chock full of appointments, visits, company, and everything else. Something has become very clear to me. The big crises can wipe us out but it is the little things that really do us in.

While on the way to the Mayo clinic my cell phone decided life was too simple and just froze. It froze just as we needed information about directions to get off the freeway to get to Mayo. Nothing would entice it to come alive again. It just sat there with half of the screen with directions and the bottom half with mail? or something?? The directions we needed were on the bottom half of the screen. The phone would not shut off or do anything. We managed to limp our way to our destination. I plugged the phone in at our hotel and it decided that it was fine.

On the way home it moved some icons around and continued to tempt us to throw it out the window. I now have a new phone.

This should be good news but I have just spent two days re-connecting to everything I need to function.

Life at home has been hectic with a series of company (all who were wonderful) and we are not done yet.

Today my IBD decided that it had had enough too and joined the fun. At which point I headed for the medicine bottle.

last nerve
I have one nerve left and you are getting on it —————-Jane Seabrook

It is not one big crisis that makes life difficult to handle. It is a series of little irritating events. Events that rest on your last nerve and push you right on over into anxiety. None of these events in and of themselves was a big deal. It was the combination. Those of us who walk on the edge only need for the balance pole to lean over just a little too far and poof! we are done.

For the next few day I will concentrate on seeking consistency and regular routine and life will move on.

Just remember “it is the little things.”

 

(note to my company—you were wonderful and not the problem!)

Too much —-too little, take your pick

Sometimes it is hard to write. Some days it feels as if my brain is either empty or gone. Today is one of those days. I worked in the garden this morning and the heat and humidity almost made me melt. There was a little bit of breeze but not enough to really help.

vines 2We have a big yard. My husband takes care of the lawn and I do the flower beds. ….or more accurately the flower beds do me. It has been raining a lot and things are growing at an enormous rate….that is the weeds, the vines and anything I don’t want. The flowers..not so much.

We are blessed with an enormous amount of vines. Some of them arrived on their own and some I think my grandmother planted. Unfortunately the vines which she planned would be wonderful, have developed a mind of their own and if you stand in one place in my yard for long you may be covered in greenery.

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It is a constant battle for me to keep the vines from killing the azaleas which edge our property. I think the vines are winning. I start at one end of the yard and work to the other end and begin again. Two years ago I pruned the azaleas drastically which did help.

Learning to choose the right amount of work to do each day is critical to our well being. If I plan to do too much then when I can’t complete the task I feel defeated. If I plan to do too little I chastise myself for not getting enough done. This is an important life lesson. Many people are called upon to work to exhaustion in their jobs. They are made to take on too much for fear of losing their jobs. How did we get to this point?

We all need good work to do or we are not stimulated and enriched. If the work is overwhelming we become stressed, anxious and less productive. Given appropriate amount of work and we become more creative and efficient. Businesses need to understand that overwork makes us worse workers.

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We have to remember this in the things we choose to do also. We cannot take on too little or too much. We have to reach that happy medium.

Family?

weird familyFamilies are interesting. I am an only child and so I never had siblings to deal with. When my husband and I married I never thought about how families interact. We have three wonderful children who are married to great people. That expanded out family from three plus us to six +. Now each of them has 2 children which has expanded the family to 12 +. We also have had to work with the in-laws. None of them are bad people but again it added another element to the group.

Initially I only had to worry about my small family but that has changed exponentially. As you get older you just end up with more people to worry about and an increased risk of something going wrong.

We have had our share of family dramas and (thank God) no deaths or severe illness. However as the branches of the tree spread out we have encountered typical family issues. Sometimes people are mad at each other. Often for no reason. Kids have accidents or emotional issues. Parents don’t always get along. Life just intervenes.

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The trouble is that everyone calls me. I am the sounding board for everyone. Maybe that is why I have chosen to be a volunteer mediator. I have had lots of practice. All the phone calls can set me off into anxiety. It would be nice at times to not know any problems. However, it is wonderful to be the person who can share wisdom to my family. I really hope that they never stop calling.

Families can be tricky. Some are totally dysfunctional and in order to survive you have to back away. Some can be loving an supportive. But I have never seen a family that can get through a wedding or a funeral without someone’s feeling getting hurt. We have to remember that when situations are stressful on their own no one is at their best.

Love your family if it is possible even if it is hard to be with them. Enjoy them if you can and remember they are connected to you.

Emotions: the good, the bad and the ungly

be awareLately I have been thinking about good and bad emotions. Good emotions run the gamut from a simple flash of a decent day to full blown joy.  It is easy to see the negative ones. Fear, anger, sadness, anxiety, depression, sorrow….I could go on. To counter these we can use the positive things we don’t often see as emotions: safety, relaxation, strength, gratitude, pleasure, satisfaction, friendship, kindness, and assertiveness. (From the article How to Tap into Your Light by Kalia Kelmenson in Spirituality and Health)

Most of these we don’t equate with emotion and so we don’t key into them. We don’t see them as positive emotions. We don’t focus on them. That is a major part of the problem.

I don’t know about you, but I am more likely to come home and relate a story about how uncomfortable I felt doing a mediation than that I did a good job. I let the good feeling be lost in the negative emotion. We tend to hang onto the bad feelings and nurse them. We are unwilling to let them go. Think of how often you have been angry about something and just kept bringing it up in conversation or dwelling on it. For some reason we must enjoy holding on to them.

When we don’t let go we experience physical changes. Negative emotions can cause an increase in heart rate and rise in blood pressure. They can decrease our resistance to disease and lower the ability of our immune system to function. They allow our bodies to attack us with autoimmune diseases such as lupus, asthma, ulceration colitis, migraines and irritable bowel. Oh, what we do to ourselves.

positiveWe have to learn to focus on the positive emotions and use them to overcome the negative ones. To do that we need to remember what they are and see them when they come. The list above can be added to I’m sure. It’s easy to see how we think when I realized that I had to find that list and couldn’t just come up with one from my head but the negative emotions were right on the tip of my tongue.

I think the most important piece is to be aware of what you are feeling. We can’t change it if we can’t recognize it.

As the song writer Johnny Mercer said “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative!”

 

Old and done? NO old and wise

einsteinSometimes people who are young look at those of us who are older with disdain. What do we know? They dismiss us or not even see us. It usually doesn’t bother me but sometimes I see someone just ignore someone elderly and it makes me furious.

I wonder if they think it won’t happen to them? Well guess what? If it doesn’t happen then you are dead. I wonder when we stopped seeing elders as wise. Most of the people I know have so much wisdom to impart. Many of them are sharing by helping others in some sort of volunteer work. The mediations I do are voluntary. The center would be unable to function without us. We are using what we have gained over a lifetime to help people come to an agreement that keeps them from going to court. This is just one example.

I remember one day when I was having a conversation with my daughter (she was in her car—auto phone) and my granddaughter and friends were listening. I was talking about my blog and one of her friends said “your grandmother writes a blog?!!” There was incredulity in the question. Someone my age writing a blog? Who would have thought?The girls were impressed but it shows what they expected of someone older.

wisdom 3Don’t dismiss older people because of their age. Yes, some people have dementia or fading memory. Some choose to sit in a chair and vegetate but they are not in the majority. My contemporaries are out there doing good works. Don’t dismiss us!

 

In the hurts we absorb, forgive us

fallToday, a friend at church, was showing us the bruises and stitches gotten when she she fell in the grocery store. She fell while buying a bottle of wine. The bottle broke and she was cut by the glass. She talked about going to the immediate med place and smelling like a drunk. I can imagine her saying “but I wasn’t drinking!”

She will have a small scar in one place and that started me thinking about the scars that we all carry. I have one from the time I put my finger in an electrical socket as a child. I have one from falling on a sharp piece of bamboo in the back yard.

woundsWe all have scars. Some are physical and some are emotional. I think the emotional scars are harder to heal. The trouble is we keep pulling them out to look and remember the pain. It’s funny how we do that and hardly notice the physical scars.

It is so easy to remember the times that we were hurt and to dwell on them. We can feel the emotions all over again…whether it is anger or pain or sadness. We almost treasure them and tuck them away so that we can get upset all over again.

We have to open those closets inside where we shove those scars and pull them out and throw them away. The sooner we do that the sooner we will be able to move past them. Holding on to them hurts us. Probably the people who caused them remember nothing and there we are still hurting.

I am trying to expose those scars and push them away from me so that I don’t have to feel the pain. In the Lord’s Prayer it says (new version) “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” A version from the New Zealand Prayer book says “in the hurts we absorb from one another, forgive us.” It makes me think that one meaning we can get from that is forgive us for holding on to those hurts.

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Turn them loose and move on.