I worked for a Lutheran church and I now go to an Episcopal church. I love liturgy. It has form and function. In the midst of a chaotic world it continues an age old pattern. That gives me comfort.
We are now in the season of Advent. Advent arrives in the darkest time of the year. Where I live it has been gloomy for the last week. We have had cold and rain. The sky is gray, the trees are gray…it feels as if the world is gray. The weather at this time of the year can be really depressing.
We are at the time of the year when a lot of the world is preparing for the (dare I say) Christmas holidays. Hanakkuh is also being celebrated. Even people who have no religious background or affiliation get into the season. It is hard to resist lights, trees, and presents. The commercial world is pumping out enticing ads and people are binge watching holiday movies. For most people the mood is bright.
However, this can be a difficult time for some. Think about those for whom this time of year is hard. For the homeless it is just cold and miserable. We see them huddled on the streets and in cardboard boxes cringing away from the cold. Those who have lost loved ones during this season struggle with their loss. There are so many memories. People who are without family or friends see the season highlighting their loneliness.
This can be a wonderful time. Anticipation can be joyful. It can also be devastating. Look around you at those who suffer in Advent. What is coming for them can be sad and lonely. Do what you can to help.
The only people who change, who are transformed, are people who feel safe, who feel their dignity, and who feel loved. When you feel loved, when you feel safe, and when you know your dignity, you just keep growing! That’s what we do for one another as loving people—offer safe relationships in which we can change. This kind of love is far from sentimental; it has real power. In general, we need a judicious combination of safety and necessary conflict to keep moving forward in life. Richard Rohr
This is an amazing statement. It is important that we feel safe. That safety has nothing to do with being safe from accidents, guns etc. It has to do with having a safe ground beneath our feet. A tree is able to grow to great heights if its roots are deeply set in the ground. The same is true of us. We can endure the winds of life buffeting our branches if we have that grounding. We can survive and be strengthened by the challenges in our lives. We can grow tall and strong.
This follows Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Safety and security are the base of his pyramid. For him it has to do with food, safe home, basic needs fulfilled. Rohr recognizes that there is more. We all need someone in our lives to acknowledge our existence and to show us that we matter.
Change is inevitable. We need to know where our roots are held fast and then we can move with the change. We may find that grounding in God, in a person, or in a community. Where is not important. Find your ground.
Is there something in your life that makes you feel good? Something that you like doing and it puts you in a calm place. There are several things that I do that calm my mind and my mind is peaceful. I do Mandalas. I started these after seeing the book by Judith Cornell on Mandalas for healing.
I am not artist but just creating something while in a meditative state gives me peace. I also use the book Praying in Color as a way to pray for others using drawing. Again, I am not an artist but the action is calming.
Writing is also calming for me (most of the time). Writing poetry allow me to vent my feelings in a constructive way. I also like to play the piano.
The point of all of this is that if you can find something that is calming for you and that you like doing, use it. If you, like me, tend to binge on TV to reduce stress and keep your mind from freaking out, try something like this instead. There is something about engaging your hands, eyes and mind all at once that soothes us.
I have been fighting the dregs of this cold for so long. I feel as if my head is twice its normal size. In addition I am cloudy….that is my brain is not working at 100%.
Sometimes I feel as if I am in a dream-scape. Everything seems altered. My thoughts are vague and it is difficult to write about anything comprehensive. If this and the last few blogs seem peculiar that is why.
You would think that being in a dream like state would be pleasant but for me it is not. I feel drugged…without any meds. When I was young I never tried taking the few drugs that were around at that time. I never wanted to feel out of control. LSD was popular and was being touted by Timothy O’Leary. This was the late 50’s. Most people didn’t realize that LSD could be so damaging. There were friends whose trips never really ended. I never understood it and I am grateful that I felt that way. For some reason being out of control was terrifying for me.
I still don’t understand the desire to be out of control. I think I worry more about staying in control which may be why anxiety can wipe me out. That is definitely being out of control.
It worries my so much that young people feel the need to escape reality. It is sad that real life is so disturbing that some other reality is preferred. What is happening in our world today? Why are so many children depressed, anxious and finding drugs to change their world? I wish there were something that could be done. Some way to give them the (mostly) carefree, safe childhood that most of my peers experienced.
Times have changed and I am not sure if for the better.
Today is the first day that I have felt somewhat normal. I developed a cold just before taking my husband to Mayo and was stuffy and miserable while there. At last I am beginning to see the light.
When we don’t feel well nothing seems right. Things that we would normally take in our stride become big hurdles to overcome. Most of the time I felt like I was sleepwalking. Feeling better is wonderful.
We were blessed to have been bypassed by the last hurricane but I feel so deeply for those who are suffering through the aftermath. It is bad enough that the storm floods everything and the wind blows trees over on houses but afterwards is horrible. Days and days without power. No clean water, no lights. no place to be comfortable. When you are allowed to go home you find a damaged roof or a tree through your bedroom and the nightmare continues. The rest of the world is moving on unaware of the struggles you face.
People who are not at risk for hurricanes or tornadoes do not know that insurance companies now set the delectable on damage differently than they used to. If it is a “named” storm the deductible is a percentage of the estimated damage. Some percentages are quite high. For $30,000 damage you could pay upwards of $3,000. Sometimes much more. This can hit hard and from the storms we had some people have not been able to have their homes repaired and have done what they could on their own.
After Florence fades from the picture most of us will continue with our lives. We must, however, remember the enormous toll those affected will be paying for a long time to come. Help where you can and pray for those left with their world changed forever.