Today there was a terrible tragedy in our area. A C 130 military aircraft crashed just after takeoff. They have not said yet about survivors but a video of the crash (taken by someone who heard the aircraft and thought it sounded funny) shows the plane going in a nose dive. It seems unlikely that anyone survived. We have not heard how many were aboard but somewhere between five and nine crew.
It is amazing that it crashed on a major highway and didn’t hit any cars. I guess in every tragedy there is some light. My heart goes out to the families of those soldiers. Their lives will never be the same. “What a difference a day makes” (from the song). It is so true. We can never be sure of a next moment, next day, next year. We make extensive plans and don’t know if they will happen.
If we spent our days worrying about what will happen next we would never leave home. When my youngest daughter was 15 years old she flew to Japan as an exchange student. We let her go far away. At that time a passenger plane was (I think) accidentally shot down and I didn’t want her to go. My husband pointed out that we can’t stop living for fear of what will happen.
Many people have talked about how fruitless worry is. We are not living if we spend our life in fear. We must live and make life worthwhile.
Sometimes you just want to cry for others. Someone you know has so much on their shoulders with no change in sight and you want to help. Sadly there is nothing you can do but be there. I know that being there is the important thing but it doesn’t seem like it’s enough.
Sometimes what you feel is more than compassion….you can physically feel their pain. I have a friend who is going through so much and I am doing what I can but there should be more. If you hive children you can understand this feeling. It’s when you would willingly take their place if you could. The only solace that you can find is in turning it over to God.
The trouble is that we don’t always expect God to fix it. We want the solution to be ours. God’s answer could be painful and hard. It is so hard to turn loose of our wish to be in control. We like that. Wanting to be in control is wanting to take the place of God. That is not what we are here for. We are here to offer solace, compassion, love and any other help that we can. Those are the tasks that God has called us to.
We can’t fix everything. It would be nice if we could. I learned early on while nursing that there were things that we can do nothing about. It is just hard to let it go. I have seen children die and families devastated. I could do nothing. I have to remember that God can help. He can heal the wounds of their hearts and bring them peace. We just have to let it go and pray.
Today is a new day. Today I pulled up my socks and decided to stop wallowing. Today I took some steps to move forward and it feels so good. I made some appointments that I need to do and made the decision to get on with it.
Doing this made me feel better. Now the idea is to keep it up. My experience shows me that I will have down days when I don’t want to keep moving. My prayer life has been perfunctory and an obligation except for the last prayer of the night from the New Zealand Prayer Book which is:
Lord, it is night.
The night is for stillness. Let us be still in the presence of God.
It is night after a long day. What has been done has been done; what has not been done has not been done; let it be.
The night is dark. Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives rest in you.
The night is quiet. Let the quietness of your peace enfold us, all dear to us, and all who have no peace.
The night heralds the dawn. Let us look expectantly to a new day, new joys, new possibilities.
This prayer brings me peace and prepares me for sleep. Now I need to find a way to make this same kind of connection during the day. I will do this by setting aside a time for prayer and meditation in the morning before the day gets in my way.
Prayer is so important. No matter what God you believe in prayer is the connection. You may just call it something else but it will involve silence and freeing your mind to acceptance, to wait upon God. We always need to expand our prayer life and learn to experience God. This is different from talking to God. This is immersing yourself in the creator and letting all else go. This is not easy and like anything good requires work and consistency. I plan to do the work. Pray for me!
There are times when I wish I lived in a bubble and the world outside didn’t matter. Inside the bubble would be love, joy, peace, calm. All the things I long for now. I should add that I am blessed to have love but I could use the others right now.
The trials that I have had in my life were mostly mine to deal with. Something that I could do something about. The trials I have now I have no control over. I can’t fix any of it. I would share the problems but since they belong to others I don’t feel comfortable doing that.
Yesterday I did have to go with my son to put his beloved dog to sleep. My pain was not only for the dog but for my son and his family. The sadness of losing a pet is heartrending. I can’t fix that pain but I was there to share his grief. That seems to be my role at the moment. I can share the pain but that is all. And I can pray.
Sometimes when I pray I just sing the song:
Jesus, Jesus, let me tell you what I know
You have given me your spirit. I love you so.
It is so much easier when it is your own problems. At least then you know that the choices are up to you for good or bad. We have all made bad choices in our lives and suffered the consequences. The world will continue on that way. Bad choices will always be made. Let us just hope that good comes in the long run.
All things to all people. An impossibility. Why do I think that I can do it? It’s because I have a family. I am a mother. Mother’s are supposed to be able to fix everything. Sure we can. Lately I have been trying. The impossible? Easy right?
I love my family more than life itself. If only I could fix everything that goes wrong. I can support, listen and love. I can be there no matter what. These are the things that I can do and I am doing them but I ache because I can’t do more.
I am a fixer. My whole life has been spent trying to fix things. I do know that not everything can be fixed. Can’t that be changed? Can’t we be allowed to do that? The answer is no. The world moves along and some things are good and some not. I can’t stop that. However, there is something that I can do. I can call upon the God that I love and trust.
“To holy people the very name of Jesus is a name to feed upon, a name to transport. His name can raise the dead and transfigure and beautify the living”. —-John Henry
Sometimes when you don’t know what to say or when things are too overwhelming you can just call his name. Over and over and over. It will be heard. It will be understood. It will be answered.
Sometimes prayer is as simple as that.
Silence is a useful tool but it can be difficult. Silence is useful if you want someone else to speak. Most people can’t sit in silence and if you are just quiet and wait they will speak. It is hard for us also. Too often we want to fill silence and will resort to anything to fill the space.
In church if you ask people to sit in silence the air will become tense in about 30 seconds. People will begin to shift in their seats. They want the silence to end.
I have occasionally sat in silence in a place that has a sense of holiness. After I have sat for a short while feeling fretful a sort of peace descends and I feel as if I could sit forever. I need to do more of that. Silence stills your soul.
Spending quiet time with yourself is not easy. It can be so revealing of things about ourselves we don’t want to know. And yet, it is just that silence and quieting of the mind that can make the most impact. In discovering ourselves the important thing to remember is that the past is past. What we do today…in this moment….is what really matters. Silence can bring us to the present moment.
I like to create “sacred space.” A place where I feel in the presence of God. It can be created with simple objects….things that are precious or meaningful. I like candles with scent. If I can manage to concentrate on those things I can feel calm. The trouble is I don’t do it enough.
We also spend most of our time in prayer talking TO God. We don’t spend much time listening for an answer. Maybe we think there won’t be one. Sometimes if I wait long enough thoughts come to my mind that come without bidding and with much wisdom. I prefer to think of this as God speaking.
God is always with us in the silence. We spend so much time talking to God that we forget to listen for him in the silence. Maybe the reason we don’t hear him speak more is that we don’t listen.
I am beginning to realize that it may be impossible to think rationally at this time of year. For those of us who are Christian we are pressured to provide the “perfect” Christmas. We know that this is impossible yet we keep expecting it of ourselves.
This can also happen to those who are not Christian but who are caught up in the “season” and celebrate it as a secular holiday. There is so much going on and so much to do. Instead of things being spread out over the year we lump too much into one holiday. There are Christmas parties to attend even if they are no longer called that. Presents must be bought and wrapped. ….not an easy job. Just when we think we have it all done something else crops up.
After wrapping presents over several weeks I was elated that I was DONE only to discover that there were several more to buy and wrap.
The problem with all of this is that we can easily become short tempered and stressed. I’m sure that is what brought on my crazy day yesterday. We keep trying to accomplish too much in a short time. Christmas day comes and we collapse.
To help ourselves we have to do some things to de-stress. Deep breathing can help. Just concentrating on your breath is calming. A walk outside (weather permitting) is great. Listening to calming music or a relaxation tape is good. Praying and listening for God are a tremendous help. Whatever works for you.
Take time to relax and enjoy what you can. Many of us have sadness attached to the season. If the season is hard for you plan something that you enjoy and forget about the holiday.
We all need to try and remove the trappings that have been tacked on to this holy event and keep focused on the birth of Christ.
“Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.”