I posted this on my other site but realized that I wanted to share it here also.
I have long been a believer in the “butterfly effect.” The idea that somehow we are all connected. I see this in so many ways. There is a wonderful children’s book called “The Invisible String” that tells us that love is one of the ways we are connected and it is the “invisible string” that never goes away even with death.
Sometimes we have a strong feeling of connection to someone we have never physically met. I feel that way about some people I connect with on this blog. I hear their voice through their words. I have a sense of who they are and feel connected. Because I don’t know them otherwise I could be wrong but there is still something there. Kindness and compassion are clearly felt.
We are connected to the people we see in our everyday lives. It could be seeing the same grocery clerk every week or someone we meet for lunch. People touch us in our work. Obviously some of these links can be good or bad but there is still a connection. Each of us has an impact on those around us.
We are connected to those who have gone before us. We may not know about them or we may have heard stories about their lives. They are present in our DNA. We often find that there are personality traits that have been passed on. People say that I look like my great grandmother. Pictures do show a strong connection.
In the church where I worked for years there is a sense in the building of the lives that have gone before. It is something I feel when I sit in silence in the sanctuary. It is as if the “communion of saints” is physically present.
Don’t doubt that we are all connected. The things that I do each day affects others. Science tells us that nothing is lost…just changed. What I do matters. What you do matters.
It is scary to think that I am beginning to think this life is normal. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I guess I am settling into a routine.
For me, routine is always a plus. Just getting up and following a pattern makes me comfortable. I don’t know how others feel but it works for me. I go out to go to the grocery store, the pharmacy and doctors visits. Otherwise I connect with people through electronic means. I do feel the absence of personal contact as I truly believe that human physical contact is necessary to our well being.
I suspect that this time has been more challenging for those of us alone or with someone else who needs care like my husband. We seek our connections with others and that is limited. My life has changed so drastically that covid is only one aspect of the whole. I have spent months adapting to constant change and now there is some sort of consistency and I suppose that is why I feel more settled.
I hope that each of us continues to find our way through into a routine that is helpful and sustainable. I pray for those who have lost job, income, health and whatever else has struck them.
Times are tough. There are many children who are being brought up by single moms. Most of the work hard and do their best for their children. Still, being without a spouse is doubly hard. I think it takes two parents. The stress on one parent is horrendous. We all need help and in the case of raising children it is critical.
Regardless of who is doing the raising having more than one person to be looked up to and hopefully emulated is so necessary. It is helpful if boys have some male in their life and a female for girls. This is not always possible but hopefully some other family member is able to step up and help.
When we grew up in small towns there were many others to help. It really does “take a village” to raise a child. The more adults loving and molding growing up the better. Many of the children I am seeing now have only one parent and it is most frequently the mother. We need to grow the organizations “big brothers” and “big sisters” to fill in the gaps. children who are mentored do so much better. If not they seek affirmation from all the wrong people.
This has been the calmest week (so far) that I have had in a long time. The peace is wonderful. I know that it won’t last but this time has refreshed me. I didn’t plan for calm but it just happened. Maybe because the week was so ordinary.
I don’t know if chaos just comes naturally or I help it to appear. It is so easy to take on more than I can handle and end up depleted at the end of the week. I did travel in May and had company (family) in July so maybe this is the kick back time from that.
I know that this won’t continue since we will have our bathroom torn up in the near future. We don’t have a start date yet but I think it will be soon. Just having to move everything out of that bathroom and put it elsewhere will be a challenge. Maybe it will help me to clean out more cabinets and not put so much stuff back. That is the positive side.
Most of us don’t like change. In this case change will be good but the process will be excruciating. We have another bath but it away from our closets. I have realized that I will have to sleep elsewhere unless I want to rise at O’dark thirty every day. No and no!
As a nurse I learned that there is stress related to good things. Think about the stress of a wedding or the birth of a baby. This is called “eustress” and can be energizing but it can be anxiety producing as well. It depends on how we use it. I will have to work to maintain a regular schedule and life pattern so that I don’t slip off into anxiety. I have been better with the things I need to do lately so I plan to keep on. Wish me luck!
Today I went back and read some of my original posts. I had a plan for this journey. I wanted to find a way to accept what comes each day and to learn new ways of coping. In some things I have done well in others not so much.
I have managed to spend more time in the “now.” I am more aware of each day than I have ever been. I have made daily prayer a habit. I have always prayed in erratic moments but now I also pray intentionally at the end of each day. This has worked for me and allows me to explore the events of the day in a different way. It is a time for contemplation.
I have not done as well with meditation. I can’t seem to get into a pattern or keep to any kind of a schedule. My past experiences taught me that meditation works best when it is practised consistently. This is something I want to improve.
Life is all about changing ourselves to better manage our place in the world. The world is not going to change for us. We are the only ones in our control. We have to continually work to understand how we react to what happens in our lives.
It is so easy to say that I know what to do and so hard to actually do it. I will continue to fight the struggle that some things are for me and work to truly immerse myself in changing. The struggle will remain until I am no longer on this earth but that is being alive. There are always challenges but we can move forward each day.
I have been thinking about ritual.We often equate it with religion but that is not the only place that we see it. When I get ready for bed at night I wash my face, clean my teeth, ready my bed, lower the temperature in the room by opening the window or turning on the air conditioning, turn on the overhead fan and turn out the light. I do these things in order. That is a ritual. The doing of those tasks in order brings me continuity and peace.
This is part of what ritual does for us. participating in religious ritual at its best brings us to a place where we can experience the infinite. For most of us this does not happen often. In the Screwtape Letters C.S. Lewis has a demon distracting us in church by having us focus on anything except on the ritual. Is the lady ahead of us wearing a big hat? Is that a different woman with John? Anything will do.
Ritual of any kind usually feels comfortable and calming. (if it is familiar) We have many rituals whether we realize it or not. See if you can identify the rituals in your life.
I don’t believe in coincidences. For me, it seems that the things that happen are meant to be. I guess I believe in Karma, fate, destiny and the arangels. If this seems naive then so be it. So many things have happened in my life that would be incredulous without this belief.
I had retired from nursing and was just enjoying the time. One day I decided to read the newspaper. (I never do that!). Even more unbelievable I read the want ads. There was an add for a Parish Nurse. I had heard about this movement to join nursing with church life and had been very interested but never thought about actually doing it. The add asked for a reply to email which I did stating that I did not want a job but a ministry.
I was called and asked to interview. The job was part time, a two year grant to start and run a program and teach the idea across all denominations in my town. Good so far. I was then told that the pilot program would be hosted by a church where my Aunt was a member and where a “kissing cousin” worked part time as a visitation minister. I had been to that church often and in a town with many churches this was amazing.
I took the job and after two years was hired by the church to continue. Twenty years later I retired.
What is thinking and how do we handle it? Being able to think is such a good thing but we can really get off track. Our thinking can make decisions about how we live each day. I want as many good days as possible, don’t you?
We get up each morning and without conscious thought may make a decision about how the day will go, This early morning idea can make or break our day. The thoughts may be a follow-through from the day before. It could be leftover feelings from a dream. Sometimes I wake up with a dream in my conscious mind and the related feelings foremost.
Knowing what is scheduled for the day may set the path even before we really have our eyes open. If we dread the day and let that be paramount we will start off with that underlying thought. I don’t think it will be our best day.
Feelings influence our thoughts and can take over from our rational mind and start us off on the wrong foot. When this happens I have to shake myself, like one of my dogs do, and push that feeling away.
If we want the day to go well it helps if we start off that way. If you can find something that gets you up to a good day use it. Someone I admire opens her eyes and says “God be on my right hand, God be on my left hand, God be in my heart and God be in my mind this day.” She says it brings her desire for the day into focus even before her foot hits the floor. Someone else has the things she is most thankful for taped to her bathroom mirror.
Whatever we can find to get those thoughts started off right will make a tremendous difference in our day. Make it a habit and plan for good days.