Coping with life and those who judge

care kitEvery day is different. There is no being prepared for what comes next. I am sad. Sad for two members of my family whose life has been disrupted each in a different way. Concern for them and wishes for some peace and foremost in my mind. It causes my worry to raise its head. Life definitely changes from day to day and we have to find ways of coping. The younger we are the less coping skills we have.

Things that happen to us teach us and we learn the skills we need. Some people are lucky enough to not have things go wrong in their lives. However, this means that they develop little ability to handle things when the fall apart.

The only people who can really understand what someone else is going through is a person who has had a similar experience. When people don’t understand they can be judgmental. For so long there has been a stigma for those who struggle with any sort of mental issue. Sometimes I would love to make them have the same problems so that they will get it. For many years those with AIDS struggled with abuse and being ostracized. It is still happening with mental issues. I is amazing how hatred can be born.

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I think that people often wonder why those who struggle just can’t pull up their socks and fix it themselves. It is just not that easy. Everything can’t be fixed. That is a hard lesson to learn. You can’t judge others. You don’t know where they have been.

Friends

friends 2Today was rainy and cold. Really depressing weather. When we lived in the north I preferred snow to this rain. It chills you so.  I have been helping out in the office of the church I used to work for. The only people I see are the administrator and a friend. Both are very dear to me. My friend and I do some simple tasks to help out a little. It is wonderful to see the two of them and we have lunch together.

I don’t know how I would survive without friends. It seems that women are more likely to have close friends than men. I am sorry about that because a dear friend can make life more beautiful. Two years ago I lost my lifelong friend and I still miss her. She was the last person alive who knew me as a child. Friends store memories for us. As we age they are the ones who can say “remember when?’ The two at church have known me for over 20 years. My other two close friends have known me for over 40 years. A lifetime!

Friends grow close through shared experiences. We have all had our share of illness, loss, crisis etc. We have all had good times. We understand each other’s faults and good points and accept each other totally.

I see friendship as another example of God’s love. God loves us and knows everything about us. There is nothing that we can do that will separate us from the love of God. Which brings me to one of my favorite Bible verses.

he love usRomans 8:37-39 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If you want to make God laugh….

laughing GodIf you want to make God laugh tell him your plans. I was at church this morning and the minister said “God is not manageable.” This is so true but I don’t think we really get it. So often we are tempted to try. Awhile back there was a book out called “The Prayer of Jabez” ( I think that is right). It seemed to me that the book was saying if we say certain prayers and do certain things everything will be well for us. ( If  I got it wrong I’m sorry) The trouble is that we can’t make God do anything. There is no formula that we can use or computer code that we can design to manage him/her. We are not perfect and there is no way that we can measure up. We just have to accept that there is God’s grace.

We want so much to be in charge. That is when we feel safe. If we have OCD this is even more critical. We are compelled to organize our world or we can’t cope. That’s why the idea of God is so difficult to grasp. How can we depend on an unmanageable God?

A friend of mine did refreshments after church today in honor of the day (she said) her son went home to glory. We often question why did God let her son be killed in an auto accident? Unfortunately, there is no satisfactory answer to that. We come right back to the fact that we can’t make God the way we want. If we try we are putting God in a box of our own manufacture. God may not be the God we would make (if we could make one). God says “I am that I am.” Certainly cryptic enough.

grace blogWe cam’t spend our time trying to understand the ways of God. We can only spend our time having faith that we are loved and are children of God and covered by grace.

Infinite intimate God

moses chI have been pondering images of God. How do we see God? If asked I am sure many people would see Charlton Heston (too old for most of you) coming down the mountain with the ten commandments. Some might say the softer image of Jesus in the garden. Our image as children usually changes as we become adults.

There have been interesting books written about this in recent times. In the past I read Models of God by Sallie McFague a theologian who was at Vanderbilt University. She offers some different images than what we normally think about: God as friend; God as lover; God as mother. She says that if we can’t move away from the masculine patriarchal God as our ONLY image that we will never have peace in the world.

Today I read some thoughts from Richard Rohr, A Franciscan  who writes many thought provoking meditations. He wanted us also to think of God as mother. He quoted Marcus Borg, a controversial theologian who died just recently.

“Marcus Borg points out many other good reasons to identify and honor the female (as well as non-gendered) images of God throughout the Bible:

  • Male images for God are often associated with power, authority, and judgment. When used exclusively, they most often create an image of a punitive God. God must be appeased or else.
  • Male images for God most often go with patriarchy—with male primacy and domination in society and the family.
  • Male images of God most often go with domination over nature. Nature is often imaged as female (“mother earth”) and domination over women extends to a rapacious use of nature.

Female images of God suggest something different. God is the one who gave birth to us and all that is. God wills our well-being, as a mother wills the well-being of the children of her womb. God is attached to us with a love that is tender and that will not let us go. And like a mother who sees the children of her womb threatened and oppressed, God can become fierce.”

infinite-GodI think Borg has some thought provoking ideas about embracing more than one image of God. We have to expand our thinking and stop putting God in the “masculine” box. God is so much more than that. God is much more than we can ever understand

Blogging community

Today has been a better day. The anxiety has lifted some. I a still very sad about the last violence episode. They seem to be coming more frequently.

heardIt is amazing to me how the community of bloggers uphold each other. There is a strong sense of caring about people we only know in print. I know that it is often easier to share the dark side of life in print rather than in person and it is wonderful to receive support from others with similar issues.

For me, blogging has been a wonderful outlet. I have been able to express my feelings and concerns openly. I am so new to this experience and find it rewarding. It is one thing to know there are people who care but to read all the posts and see yourself in them and know it’s ok is wonderful. Finding an outlet for my thoughts and ideas has been a revelation.

This is just a post to thank anyone who is reading what I write. Your are appreciated.

Hold up others

One of my wonderful friends is going through a difficult time. Without going into details she need holding up by her friends and by God. Prayer does work. Just praying for those in need uplifts them. I am sure that God hears those prayers.

dutyA group that I belong to has a ministry of intercessory prayer. I am sure that some of the people on the list (which is long) aren’t aware that they are in our prayers. That doesn’t matter. Some of the people on the list are there with just a first name and there are a few who may be listed as “a friend.” God knows who needs prayer and hears our petitions. We may not know about the problems of others but can pray for God to be with them. Praying for others is such a blessing and having others pray for us is a wonderful gift.

There have been times in my life when I have been so down that I couldn’t pray. During those times it was the prayers of others that have made me feel supported. Often people will say “I will pray for you” but I have wondered how often they really do. Having a loving group that does actually pray is so amazing.

othersTake the time to pray for those who need prayer. Our intentions are good but it is so easy to walk away and forget about it. I am trying to pray immediately so that I don’t forget. When you tell someone that you will pray for them remember to do it!

What is right?

moralThere are so many ethical issues that we have today. Some of them almost seem insoluble. Advancements in gene studies have given us major things to wrestle with. Where do we draw the line.

When I was working in Neonatal Intensive Care ( many moons ago) there already was the issue of which babies should be saved and which ones to let go. King Solomon wouldn’t know what to do. Now it is even worse. We do invitro  fertilization and have eggs left over. Scientists want to use eggs that will be discarded tto get stem cells which can be used to help many diseases. Are they “potential” babies or not?

Medicine has challenged many ethical and moral ideas over the centuries. We can do so many things that were not done before. We are living a lot longer and there is a question about prolonging life beyond what is reasonable and moral. Are we using up resources that could better be used for others?

pathThe Bible does help us with its basic moral ground but these things were not issues when the Bible was written. We have to learn to ask questions and spend time understanding the answers in order to make judgments.  Even then there may not be any clear path. Sometimes there are two good choices….sometimes two bad. Who is to decide? It seems that it is up to each of us to understand and make a decision based on our own beliefs. This means that there will be differing opinions and we will have to learn to accept that others may not agree with us. It is important for us to view their decision with tolerance even if they can’t see ours.

God, as always, will be present and knows that we will try to make the best decisions with prayer and compassion.