I suspect that everyone knows the phrase “cleanliness is next to Godliness.” I’m working on it. I have continued to clean out drawers, closets, and now file cabinets. I am sure that when I get it all cleaned out I can start again where I began. It has made me wonder am I cleaning out the right places?
Maybe it is me I should be cleaning out. I know that I don’t spend enough time in quiet and contemplation. I waste time doing trivial things to keep from looking to deep inside. There are things inside I don’t want to think about.
After my latest episode with IBSD I have pondered on how quickly I move from a physical problem to anxiety…the mental problem. Obviously I have not spent enough time cleaning out the mental closets. Am I cleaning the house to avoid cleaning myself? It is certainly something to think about.
Cleaning out is good. It makes me feel I have accomplished something. Now I just need to do the same thing about those inner closets.
If we are blessed we gain wisdom as we age. Sometimes those we encounter tap into that wisdom and are (hopefully) helped by it. I have been an extrovert my whole life and am always willing to share. (Sometimes both the person I share with and I wish it had never happened.) Wisdom is best imparted when asked for.
I have talked often on this blog about how much it means for us to share our experiences with each other. Professionals are important but sometimes good advice comes from those whose experiences are similar to ours. All advice must be weighed against our own experiences and our insight into ourselves. Don’t ever be afraid to speak up for yourself when in the presence of “professionals” who may or may not really understand. You are allowed to ask questions and take some time to consider. You are your best advocate.
When working in pediatrics I listened carefully to the mothers who came to us. Sometimes others don’t listen carefully enough and may miss important clues that make a big difference. Doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists hear so much that sometimes they can leap to the wrong conclusions. Don’t let them rush. (especially doctors) Make sure you have the time you need. If that doesn’t work for them find someone else.
You are important. Your thoughts and feelings are important. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
There are times when I reflect on someone else’s life and wonder how they manage. There are so many tragic stories out there. I have wondered how I would react if asked to live life as a paraplegic…if I could not longer feel anything but my face. What would be my reaction to being trapped in my body with only a mind to make me feel alive? Would I cope or would I seek to end my life?
How would I react if my husband required 24/day care and I didn’t have the money to hire someone to help?
In life there can be some living nightmares. Scenarios that we not only wouldn’t want to be in but also wouldn’t wish on someone else.
It is an ethical dilemma to make decisions when things like this happen. Would you be willing to help someone die? (Assuming of course that their life was full of nothing but pain and imminent death.)
These are core questions. The kind that we hope we never have to come up against but they are real.
What are your core values? If faced with this kind of decision how would you decide? It can be difficult to envision this ever happening to you but this kind of thinking does help you to understand deep moral questions. For those of us with a faith underpinning we hope that we would turn to that for guidance.
In my time as a nurse I have seen families struggle with decisions that can tax their moral ground. I have seen them divided over the answers and sometimes torn apart by it. Many times we would like for the doctors to tell us what to do but that is not their decision to make. Most of them will avoid giving an opinion which makes it harder.
If you have never considered having a living will to take the burden off of those around you please think about this. We tend to think that this sort of thing is for older people but the worst struggles come when something happens to someone young. You are never too young to fill out this important document. It seems morbid but it is important.
If you don’t know how to get an advanced directive leave a comment and I will answer.
Humanity is acquiring all the right technology for all the wrong reasons. R. Buckminster Fuller
Science is a wonderful thing. Conversely science is an awful thing. As people find out new things about how everything works there are some wonderful discoveries. We are learning more about DNA, RNA, genes and what their impact is on our lives. We are heading toward curing some terrible diseases. This is a wonderful thing. If we use this information to increase wellness and reduce pain and suffering that will be good.
However, in some ways we have opened Pandora’s box. The Nazi’s wanted to “purify” the race and make selections for genetic manipulation. There are people who would like to do that now. Imagine if a like-minded group rose up and used the information we have currently to change the people of the world to suit them. We have the knowledge available. Science can run amok.
Everyone in the world is not working from the same moral code. There is great diversity among cultures. Those of us in the western world have (hopefully) been exposed to a culture that values human life. I’m not so sure we have conquered honoring diversity. The thought of some group deciding to make all genetic choices for us is frightening.
Science is a wonderful thing but it must be monitored to keep it within moral limits. If we are not careful we will find ourselves with no say in the matter.
We are always asking questions about life? The problem is there are so few answers. At least not ones that make any sense to us. We want to know what life is all about. We want to understand. We just get more questions.
Sometimes not knowing spirals into a feeling that we don’t really matter. We do matter. Believe it! Just because we can’t answer the question of why we are here? Just because we feel we have no purpose doesn’t mean we are not meaningful in this world.
There are people who think they have the answers. Sometimes those answers seem right and we grasp them only to see them slip away as we grow and learn.
We don’t need the answers. We have to understand that just letting the questions be is ok. Life is unpredictable and we may not have answers. Sometimes is is hard to live with this reality. We want to know…why am I sick? Why do I have mental illness? Why did the child die? It is hard for us that there aren’t answers. It would be so much easier.
Maybe someday we will know but for today we just need to live each day and know that we are important, we matter and we are meaningful.
We ask the question why?
Why are we here?
Where did we come from?
Where are we going?
So many question
but no answers
and there won’t be any
we must live in
Meaning escapes us
we need to grasp
the search is enough
form our lives
How we live the
who we are
do you live
that have no
or do you
live the questions?
Today after reading
I started to think about how we view and talk about prayer. I am somewhat of a eccentric Christian and have finally found peace after 77 years with my beliefs. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have questions. I will always have them until I “fly away.” But I am at peace about forming a relationship with God. Again, this does not mean that the relationship is perfect on my part. I am sure God’s side is ok.
We humans have spent centuries making a relationship with God complicated. We have created rules about prayer, rules about worship, and rules about anything else we could think of. I don’t remember Jesus mentioning any rules except:
Matthew 22:37-39 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
37 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
He broke many rules of his time. He ate with tax collectors, gentiles and women. He touched lepers to heal them. He excluded no one. He was radical. So often we have managed to turn him into someone I am sure he would not recognize.
So what about prayer? He gave us one prayer called “the Lord’s Prayer” because he was asked to teach us to pray. It is a wonderful prayer but it is not the only prayer. Prayer comes from the heart of the person praying. There is no rule for how it is done. It is simply pouring out your heart to a loving God. If you have a routine…fine. If you don’t…fine.
The thing about prayer is the person you know best is the one you speak with the most. If we speak with God about our day, our hopes, our distress, our job, our pain, our family….I could go on and on, then we spend time with God. Tell God what is on your mind and know that you are heard. That’s all there is to it and the more we do it the closer we become with the one who loves us.
Prayer is simple!
It happened on Sunday. The pastor in his sermon asked us to answer a series of questions. I only heard the first question. I don’t know if it was the mood I was in or if my mind took a vacation but I was completely blank. The question was: “what is your greatest joy?”
It was terrible to be asked that question and to have absolutely no answer. We were told to just think about the first thing to pop into our minds but for me that was nothing. I have been thinking about it since. Do I not have a greatest joy? My life is really good. I have a wonderful husband and family, a beautiful home and I could go on. What is wrong with me? I don’t know if the words “greatest joy” drove all else from my mind or if I really don’t have an answer.
Many things bring me joy. Sometimes just the smallest things but I can’t classify them as the greatest joy. I guess my list is either endless or nonexistent. The question has totally overwhelmed me.
Is there something wrong with me?
Am I taking the question in a wrong way?
Does anyone have any thoughts about this?
I don’t know if anyone has noticed but it is almost impossible to open the things you buy in the store. Some foods come in packages that are supposed to open easily but I invariably end up getting a knife or some scissors. The plastic that items are encased in won’t even open with scissors. Sometimes I think I’m just supposed to look at the item and not ever open it.
The other day I tried to open the casing for an-over-the counter pill. If it had been something that I needed quickly I would have never gotten it. It actually had tiny lines with a tiny pair of scissors shown so that you knew it took scissors to open it but it would also have taken the world’s tiniest scissors. I finally punched a hole in it with a seam ripper used for sewing.
I begin to think I could use a set of medical tools like scalpels and forceps to get into packages. If this is supposed to keep us from stealing things then they will need bigger packaging so that it can’t be secreted away in my bag.
There should be a place in Dante’s hell for the people who make these packages!
We all have bad things happen to us in life. When that happens some of dig deeper into a relationship with God. Some of us just let God go. They can’t believe that a loving, caring God could let bad things happen. Some are very angry at God and doubt his existence. This is a ‘both and” (see below) in that if you don’t believe in God how can you be angry at him?
I can understand this as the problem of terrorism, murder, rape, and other acts of violence do make us ask questions. This question has been kicked about in major theological circle for centuries. Some thinkers have tried to explain it but I don’t think that anyone has ever done it.
There are some things that we will never understand. I don’t know that I want a God who can be totally explained by someone. God is so very far beyond our very small minds. I don’t have any problem understanding that.
To accept this God we sometimes have to accept two things that are opposite each other but both are true. For me this is called both and. It can be called an oxymoron and there are some simple examples of this such as “found missing’ or “alone together.” We don’t have any problem with those but the problem of a loving God who allows pain is difficult to swallow.
I can’t explain it. For some reason I don’t feel that I have to…at least not to shore up my faith.
What is your take on this?
I have decided that I am a somewhat unorthodox Christian. I have difficulty following the rules. I am enamored of those who stepped outside of the norm: Matthew Fox, Martin Luther, Meister Eckhart, Francis of Assisi. Hildegard of Bingen, Jesus and many others. I also love the stories/parables of Anthony DeMello and the plain speaking of Marcus Borg. I grow reading them.
I grew up in an eclectic family. My grandparents were Methodist, my parents Presbyterian and my Aunt and Uncle Lutheran. I guess I decided early on that no denomination had all the answers. I still feel that way. Jesus did not follow rules but loved people. He broke the Sabbath rules and many others.
As the “church” grew throughout history it took the message of Jesus and added rules/doctrines to try and be sure that we all follow the norm…. that we are all in sync. This is not wrong in and of itself as we do struggle with the meaning of the writings in the Bible and the words of Jesus. We must listen to the teachings of others and weigh them against our own experience. We also need the community of other Christians. We learn and are supported by the stories of others. I hope that I find a middle ground in all of this.
This doesn’t mean that we can’t find our own way. It’s freedom within form. I don’t ask others to follow my path. Each of us must find our own way and I pray that God leads me in mine. May he also be with you in yours.