We are so good at putting ourselves down. We don’t need any other critic. The one inside of us does a good enough job. We think that we have to be perfect and that it is expected of us. We need a reality check.
Our reality check can be found in the Bible. When we look at who God chose to do the things he wanted it should give us hope. God called Moses to go and convince pharaoh get people out of Egypt. Moses was supposed to talk to pharaoh. Give a great speech. Unfortunately Moses stuttered. What a choice for God to make!
Next we take a look at Rahab. She was a women who live in Jericho. This was where the Israelites were to enter the promised land. They need information and sent spies into the city to the home of Rahab. Since she was a prostitute they felt they would not be noticed there. Their mission was successful and they promised to spare Rahab. She was to hang a red cord outside the window of her house which was in the outside wall. She and her family were spared when the Israelites attacked. A prostitute….chosen by God.
Now lets look at David. David sent his friend and soldier into battle to get killed so that he could have his wife. An adulterer, a king and favorite of God.
Mary was a teenager who got pregnant before she was married and told Joseph a tall story about carrying God’s child. Fortunately Joseph believed her.
Then there are the disciples who promised to follow Jesus but kept messing up. One of them turned him into the authorities and another denied him three times.
If we want to put ourselves down we are in good company. Anyone is good enough for God to choose. We are loved. We are chosen. We are OK.
Some days are great. The weather is beautiful. It was today. Everything is going fine. It was. And then suddenly, for no reason, you are sad. I can’t explain it. Nothing happened. I am just sad.
Sometimes memories crop up and you remember people who are no longer here and sadness creeps in. That is one of the hardest things about aging. It is possible to lose people at any age but it becomes more frequent as we grow older. Every now and then the losses catch up with you and you can’t help shedding tears and thinking about them.
Two great friends are gone. One several years ago and one just two years this month. She had been my friend since we were in grade school and she wasn’t supposed to be gone before me. She knew me the longest than anyone left in my life and I miss her. I miss the connection. I miss getting to call and just laugh about the past.
This is a normal part of aging but not one that is fun. I am grateful for all those years with both of those friends and I can’t say that I’m not glad to be alive. As long as I am here and others who remember then they are not forgotten. They live on in my heart and in the hearts of others. Love matters. Love didn’t die with them. Love lives on and I don’t regret any of it.
Tonight I have been thinking about friendship. I think we all have many acquaintances but it is friends who change our lives. I feel blessed to have four amazing friends. They are with me through thick and thin. I hope that they feel they can count on me to do the same.
Life may not offer many opportunities to experience true friendship. Sometimes things intervene and don’t give us the chance to bond in “agape” love. In my life experiences I can see that part of having this kind of relationship depends on how much we are willing to give. If we are unwilling to share our true selves then deep friendship doesn’t happen. We have to learn to open ourselves knowing that we can be hurt in the process.
I share joy and sorrow with my friends. We hold each other up in the tough times an rejoice in the good ones. We have all had our share of pain and loss and that has bound us even more together.
I guess my hope is that I can continue to be the friend they need and have them remain mine.
Dreams are interesting. Sometimes we can tell where a dream came from. We may dream about something that happened during the day. The dream may be mixed up and ridiculous. It may be prophetic. It may also show us our hidden feelings. Two nights ago I had a dream that related to my past vocation. It seems I was trying to be part of my previous church in the way that I was before. I was rejected and woke up crying. I fell back asleep and dreamed about the church I attend with my husband and wanted to help and was not allowed and again woke up crying. I realize that my grieving over the past year is not over. It is manifesting itself in my dreams. Maybe, in some way, my dreaming about this and crying is helping to allow the grief out where I can confront it.
Grief is not a thing that disappears immediately. It comes back and helps us to cry and acknowledge the loss. This is not a bad thing. We have to accept that grief hurts and arises at strange times.
The thing is if we didn’t love…whether is was a vocation, a person or whatever…we would feel no grief. Love is never lost. Love is worth it. Our lives would be lesser without love.
Today I seem to have returned to some equilibrium. This episode helped me to realize how easy it is to run the train right off the rails. With the start of this blog I wanted to find ways to prevent this but wasn’t consistent. Unfortunately, consistency is the key. You can’t use a tool if you haven’t mastered it.
So the journey continues. I have made some good changes but not enough. There was no major crisis in my life but I had forgotten how the little things pile up and become an overload. One thing I can say for sure my dogs really do help. Both are rescues and have had their own share of trauma. Their names are Crash and Matilda. Crash was named that by his foster family because when rescued he was hit by something (possibly a car) and had broken his pelvis. He was so covered in fleas and ticks that his blood counts were dangerously low. He is now a happy, health and slight goofy basset hound. Tillie, found at the pound by a friend of my son’s had little history to explain her past but is loving and stubborn and funny. Both of them are a blessing.
It seems to me that our pets are a true gift from God and certainly an example of how to live. They love unconditionally and share that love always. They don’t judge. They love in spite of our failings. What better example could there be of God’s love.
Life is always interesting. It is not always pleasant. Too often we have to struggle to face challenges. The challenge may not be that tough but it is the adding on of another and another. I am almost better at handling one big challenge that the little ones that pile up. They wear us out and we finally crumble under the weight. Things have been that way for me since last summer. There have been family issues, health issues, grief and sadness. None of these individually are that significant. It’s just that your shoulders reach the point where they can no longer bear the weight and something fails.
When we reach the breaking point whatever our weakness is will raise its ugly head. I went along for so long without any major problems. Life was good. Things were simple but after the last months I have lapsed back and am struggling to maintain my focus. I want so much to continue with the things that I know will help me and I am trying. Sometimes it feels as if there is no end to it.
Each of us has our own struggles, our Achilles heel. Each of us wants to be on the path to health and wholeness. Many of you, like me, find that the strength to continue the journey in our faith. To be able to turn to something that offers us strength when we are weak, hope when we can’t see the light and love is what saves us.
Every night I have been reading through the Psalms beginning with Psalm 1. I have found great comfort in them in spite of the ones that fuss about enemies. GOD IS truly with us. We do have strength….it is his.
Sometimes I wonder…. have we created God in our own image instead of the other way around. There are so many interpretations of God. Every group seems to have its own god. As a teen I visited a church with a friend and was upset by the wrathful image of God in that place. God was scary. Sin was paramount and love was not mentioned. I felt as if God was waiting for me to transgress so that I could be punished. This was certainly Dante’s kind of God with his various parts of hell.
Was this what they found in the same Bible that I was reading? I guess I spent more time in the New Testament. The various religious texts are there for all of us to read no matter our faith. However, I have discovered that interpretation is the key. Each of us can come up with an entirely different meaning for the same reading.
I have read parts of the Book of Mormon and the Koran and came to the same conclusion. The person reading will see it through their eyes or the eyes of a teacher. Each person also interprets things based on their life experiences. No two of us are alike. It certainly explains how different sects can arise reading the same material.
I have noticed that Buddha and Jesus seldom made things easy for us. Nor did the readings of Hinduism. True mystics seldom speak clear messages but want us to use our minds and our hearts to discern meaning. Jews use exploration of texts placed against thoughts through the ages to interpret scripture. This is sometimes called or related to Midrash. They are unafraid to question and debate over meaning. (see below for definition)
Do you take the word of scholars/teachers about meaning or do you absorb ideas and be willing to question? Questioning is not doubt. It is expanding your belief.
This makes it all the more difficult to know who or what to follow and is not for everyone. Questioning can be scary and rock our belief system. It can make you doubt your belief but can move you to a deeper faith. It is not for the faint of heart but it can be rewarding. When I ask questions I grow and end up with a stronger connection to my faith.
I suspect that I mostly see readings through the eyes of love. Living with compassion and love toward others is my benchmark. That doesn’t mean that I can do it all the time but that is my goal.
(Midrash is an interpretive act, seeking the answers to religious questions (both practical and theological) by plumbing the meaning of the words of the Torah. (In the Bible, the root d-r-sh is used to mean inquiring into any matter, including occasionally to seek out God’s word.) Midrash responds to contemporary problems and crafts new stories, making connections between new Jewish realities and the unchanging biblical text.)