Today I am angry. I am angry at all the people who want to blame just guns for the shooting in Florida. To blame guns is the easy way out. They think it can be fixed by just taking away the guns. They are so wrong. The gun is the end not the beginning of the problem.
Before the person goes to get the gun there is something wrong. Something wrong……because why would they want or need a gun unless something was wrong? Anger or hurt or pain has built up inside until it had to have an outlet. They see no other way. They see no path to shed all of that unless they hurt others. The emotion inside is too strong.
To fix the guns is the easy path. To find what has caused the hurt and pain is the difficult problem.
This is a much bigger problem with no easy answers. It is linked to so many things. Societal breakdown, over-stressed parents, broken homes, lack of mental health availability in our health systems. I am sure I cannot think of it all.
We are a country in crisis. We are a people in pain. It is hurtful that one in four people have anxiety and depression. It is hurtful that six and seven year old children are being diagnosed with mental health issues. At least we can be grateful that we are finding some early but it is the tip of the iceberg. When we find issues can we find treatment? Can we afford it?
I am angry and I will find a way to express my anger to those in power. They may not listen and probably won’t because they will follow the easy path but I will make it known however I can!
Life moves on day by day, moment by moment. Sometimes you fail…sometimes things work out. Sometimes you just don’t know. Today some things became clear to me. I have a calling. I have a ministry that God wants me to use. How to do that is not for me to be concerned about at the moment. I am to continue the healing ministry that God wants me to do. Today I am clear about that. Maybe I won’t be so clear tomorrow but then I can back up and read this and know that I have been clear.
Today I listened, I paid attention, I heard. Now it is up to me to figure out how to accomplish this. The thing is when God speaks it is scary. Sometimes the things we have to do to follow can be something we don’t really want to do. Sometimes it takes too much waiting. That is the scary part. Sometimes we may be dragged by the scruff of the neck but we must go.
I will just take one day at a time. One step, one move forward, maybe a few steps back but always moving. Always trying to pay attention.
The most important part is to listen and keep listening. So hard to do when there is so much noise around us.
It has been over a year and I am still grieving my ministry. The mediation program may help but I don’t think it will replace the joy I got from ministering to people. Part of what I did was lay hands on those who wanted prayer for healing. This was so moving for me. I always prayed before turning my hands over to God for it was not me. If any healing took place it was not my healing but God’s. I miss this connection with God and others so much.
People would come to a small chapel after taking communion and I would anoint them with oil and pray for them. Most of the time I would take them in my arms and pray from my soul. This was a moment to share with someone else and with God. The church I attend now wouldn’t find it appropriate for me to do this since I am not ordained. I do miss it so.
I hate it that I can’t let all of this go. I still dream about it. It seemed so much to be where I belonged. Sometimes I am so upset with God but I know he can handle it. Somehow there will be something for me to do. I know that there will be a place for me. I just have to wait. There is that awful word again. Wait. But I will wait for God to speak.
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.
Since I am continuing to think about the school massacre it brings back to mind my thoughts about more extensive mental health screenings and help in the schools. As a society we seem to be headed down a path of increasing mental illness. People are angry and have no idea what to do with that anger. Taking a weapon and using it on innocent people has become the way to express that anger and frustration.
The mediation center that I will be volunteering for also has a program that teaches conflict resolution in the schools. This will not solve the whole problem but is a step in the right direction.
History tells us that there was brutality in the past and discrimination and violence. I hoped that we were growing and learning but it seems I was wrong. Unkindness is growing and having compassion is not the norm. There may have been some bullying when I was in grade school and high school but I don’t ever remember it becoming a major issue. (of course that was over 60 years ago) I wish I knew what could be done to help but I don’t have any more answers than anyone else.
I needed to pick something to read for lent. I like to tackle something that encourages me to grow. I may add something along with the one I have picked: The Wounded Healer by Henri Nouwen. I read this book a long time ago and I have decided to revisit Nouwen’s wisdom. I have pulled out several others but I haven’t made up my mind about which one to tackle. I always have a few books on the shelf that I planned to read but never got to. I have chosen Plan B by Anne Lamott and Dreams, God’s Forgotten Language by John Sanford to choose from. All three are totally different and I will have to see what works for me after the Nouwen. The front of the Nouwen book say “In our own woundedness, we can become a source of life for others.”
I am reading this again because I have seen this to be so true in my own life. When we have experienced painful things we are more able to help others who have had similar experiences. They are helped to heal by our woundedness. If you have had no problems in your life it is hard to understand and empathize with the problems of others.
It is so important for us to share and reach out to others who are wounded by life. We can share the things that we have done to survive and give hope to those in pain. Others who suffer with anxiety and depression have said to me that if I have managed to live a life that has given me joy along with the pain and survived that they can too.
From The Servant Song
Do not be afraid to share your ups and downs, pains and sorrows, and the things you have learned along the way It can help someone have hope.
Today is Shrove Tuesday. The term shrove is the past tense of shrive which in old English has to do with confessing and being forgiven or shriven. This Tuesday is also called Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday (the beginning of lent). Most people would think of this as being the last hurrah of Mardi Gras a big festival day in New Orleans. For those who are not in liturgical churches lent is a season of penance and fasting. Society pays little attention to most of this.
I love the seasons of a liturgical church. I love how the colors on the altar change and the mood of the music is different. I think that it is somewhat like those who depend on the seasons of the year for their livelihood feel when seasons change.
Lent calls for some change to be made in our lives. Many people give up something, sweets, alcohol, smoking or some habit they would like to change. I am more inclined to take on something….working to be more kind, reading something spiritual, visit someone I have neglected….whatever I seem to have forgotten or put off.
Lent is a time to take stock. A time to look inside ourselves and change what needs changing to make ourselves see the beauty of Easter. The more you observe Lent the more meaningful Good Friday and Easter become.