Testing Christianity

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.

testing

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.

time for change

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.

About hope

Hope…something to cling to when there is nothing else. Suzanne Boyd

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There are times when there seems to be no way forward. We can’t see ahead at all. Everything around us tells us that there is nothing that can be done. But somehow, we have hope. Hope allows us to get up in the morning. It helps us to sleep peacefully at night.

Some situations truly do seem hopeless. Someone is dying and there is nothing to do. What we can’t see may be that death is not the worst thing that can happen. In death itself there is hope. We will grieve. Sadness will rise up and swamp us often. But we are alive and will find hope in the rising sun. Each day will help us to see a future that is different. It may not be the one we planned but it is there. There are joys to be had and people to love.

The situation may seem hopeless but beyond it is a new beginning. We may have to change our hope to something different but it is there. Hope may seem lost but it is just waiting to be reclaimed.

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Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul – and sings the tunes without the words – and never stops at all. Emily Dickinson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just thoughts

memoryToday I cleaned my office. Until today it has been impossible to even walk through it. Literally! I should have taken a photo that I could post. This room was used for storing and wrapping gifts and it got completely out of hand. It is so nice to look around and not see chaos.

Life has been reasonable this week and I am glad. Things seem so much more normal. (if there is such a thing) Sometimes settling into routine can be boring but at the moment a little boring is good.

Several  bloggers have posted how difficult the season has been for them and I hope that things will get better for them. I have had my ups and downs but right now feels better. I will wallow in it for as long as it lasts.

art.jetson.hbWe are heading into 2019 and I can remember wondering if I would still be around this far into the 21st century. That may seem strange to most of you but if you were born in the first half of the 20th century it is not strange at all. I can remember reading 1984 and thinking it was so far in the future. I remember all the predictions of the strides in gadgets for the future and I want to know why I don’t have a flying car! I was promised one and I am disappointed.

I don’t think anyone foresaw the leaps in communication. If i heard anything about the impact of the internet (before it appeared) I don’t remember it. When I think that my grandmother was born in the 19th century it is hard to believe all the changes.

I hope that as we head into a new year that younger people (than me) will make communicating over distances a way to bring us closer together without losing the importance of being able to physically touch someone. We are social beings who need touch. It is critical to our well being. Without it we can end up with attachment disorders that can make our life and the lives of those around us horrible. Humans need bonding. We can’t let that get away from us!

International-hugs-day-January-21

I know this kind of relationship is difficult for some and that might be attributed to their upbringing. I hope that in the new year you may each find your comfort zone with another person and be able to get a hug when you need one.

In the darkness — hope

high-street-lamp-illuminates-the-falling-snow-dark-winter-night_hen-iw9zg_thumbnail-full01The last few weeks have been busy and stressful. I would imagine that this is true for many people as they get ready for the holidays. This time of year can weigh us down. In addition, it has rained here for the last week. When I wake in the morning it is dark and dreary. I have to turn on lights to function. I am ready for some sun. The sun did come out this afternoon and it will dry up some of the giant puddles where the ground has just had enough.

Most of the time I like rain. I love the sound of it and the smell on the grass but when it is constant it is enough! The winter has enough darkness. We don’t need darkness caused by clouds and rain but we have to believe there is better to come.

wait hope

Not having light can be depressing but the light is coming. If you are Christian then it is coming with the birth of Christ. If you are not then the winter solstice is on its way and days will be lengthening. The light will return, the season will change and life will go on. Hope can abound.

The light of home

richmond-home-with-christmas-lightsIn the past my friend and I walked the neighborhood each winter. We loved seeing the houses lit for the holidays. All the sparkling lights were so festive. When you walk in the dark you can also see lit rooms in the houses we passed. People living their lives.

This morning our pastor talked about the dark and how the light of home beckons us. It made me think of the John Denver song “Back Home Again.”

“Back Home Again”

There’s a storm across the valley, clouds are rolling in
The afternoon is heavy on your shoulders
There’s a truck out on the four lane, a mile or more away
The whining of his wheels just makes it colder He’s an hour away from riding on your prayers up in the sky
And ten days on the road are barely gone
There’s a fire softly burning, supper’s on the stove
But it’s the light in your eyes that makes him warmHey, it’s good to be back home again
Sometimes this old farm feels like a long lost friend
Yes, and hey, it’s good to be back home again

The winter can be a difficult time for those of us who crave the light. However, it is a wonderful feeling to turn into the drive and see the lights of home welcoming us. We are pulled into that feeling of belonging and peace. The light from home does draw us in. It is the place we feel secure….the place where we can rest our souls. It is a warm place in the coldest dark. Even in the darkest time that light can brighten our feelings.

ALighttoLead

Through this winter darkness remember there is light and peace not only at home but also coming with the spring. The darkness fades and the light returns.

If you would like to hear this song:

Grief is a journey

grief journeyWhen we experience the loss of someone or something truly significant to we can be overwhelmed. Sometimes numbness sets in and we are separate from things going on around us. When the grief begins to explode our psyche we don’t know what to do to help. There is a danger at this point. We want so badly to help the pain that we can reach out to things that can put a band aid on the hurt for awhile. Sometimes those things are knee jerk reactions and end up adding to our emotional crisis. That is why most advice says don’t do anything hasty. Usually the advice is about selling a house or moving. But there are other things that can crop up.

One thing we seek during immediate grief is connections. We need others to see our pain. Most of the time people don’t know what to say or how to help. Many say the wrong things. There will be some who understand the things that you really need. Hold them close…they are your lifeline.

If this happens to us early in life ..losing a spouse or loved one…we so want the grief to relent that it is easy to dive into another relationship thinking that is the answer. I have a friend who lost her husband early on and had two disastrous marriages before stepping back and eventually making a  loving and lasting connection. She just wanted the pain to stop.

Grief is not an easy thing and it does not follow the same pattern for everyone. Small things can cause waves of pain.. a smell, a song, an event. There are so many more.

griefpoemfinal-740x628There will be life following. It is fine to laugh, have good days and momentarily put thoughts of your love from your mind. Don’t be guilty. You are allowed to go on. You still have God given life and you can live it.

 

 

Focus on now!

I love C.S. Lewis. I have read a great deal of what he has written. He has written so much beside the Chronicles of Narnia. Recently, when we were without power I re-read his other fiction series beginning with “Out of the Silent Planet.”

I could quote him every day but I want to focus on this one.

C-S-Lewis-Quote-You-can-t-go-back-and-change-the-beginning-but-you

We all have a past. It may have been wonderful or it may be have been awful but it is the past. We can’t change it but we can let it go. Even if we are struggling the struggle will pay off. We are like the swan who looks so wonderful as she glides along and is paddling furiously under the water. Each thing that we do, every moment that we glide ahead takes us one step further even if we are paddling frantically.

We can change only the moment we are in. That’s as far as we can go. We need to not obsess about tomorrow but just manage this day, this hour, this minute. It’s all we have.

We can change the ending. Believe it!