If 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.
We 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.
Many people say getting old is not for sissies. They are completely right! As we age we have to learn to accept the fact that we can’t do all the things that were so easy in the past. Even though I am quite active and do heavy gardening and walking there are some things that are not the same. One of the things that is hard to prevent is losing core strength. That’s what puts us at risk of falling. With yoga I do balance exercises but I can tell a difference in how sure I feel. I have learned to make sure that I hold on to something if I am at risk. Things like this make me see how I am aging. Am I sorry? Well I would like to live longer but I don’t think forever. That would be a dubious choice.
When my grandmother was alive she would say that God gave her a hearing loss so that she could opt out of any conversation that she wanted to by turning off her hearing aids. She also said that she could’t see as well so that she didn’t have to see what she looked like. She was good about putting a positive spin on things.
Even though I can have days with mild anxiety I try to keep the same attitude. After all, the alternative to growing old is not being here. Not an acceptable choice.
The thing that is difficult is seeing those you love losing strength and having health issues. When we love someone we don’t want to watch them fade. There really is not a wonderful way to die. Some people would rather go suddenly and not face pain and sickness. Some people would at least like to have time to put things in order. Most of us are more afraid of dying than of death, With death you are either with God or know nothing. So what is there to fear?
Wow has this become a depressing blog but I don’t mean it to be. I think living with all of this is part of life. If we are blessed to live long enough we will face these issues. Accepting that we are human and having a limited time here reminds us to make the most of each moment. Enjoy each phase of life and treasure what it offers. If I am lucky I will see a great grandchild. Who knows?
I 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.”
I 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
Yesterday I did something I have not done in a very long time. ….I visited my mother’s grave. Most of my close relatives are in a mausoleum type place in a local cemetery. I seldom visit because for me they are not there. Only the shell they inhabited is there. Nevertheless I do feel guilty for not going there to see that all is as is should be.
My mother was a loving, caring person and reached out to those around her. She was a tremendous blessing in my life and brought me up to love God and others.
Almost two years ago I lost my longtime friend. She was the last person who knew me as a child. Life feels different when that person is gone. You can’t call them and say “remember when.” I miss her very much and was blessed to be given some pieces of costume jewelry that were precious to her. Every time I wear one of those pieces I can feel her with me.
She was an amazing person whose deep faith was an inspiration. She had a strong sense of social justice and was always helping where she could. Lots of people loved her and she has been missed.
Her youngest child, a daughter, was born with multiple heart defects and struggled through her life. It was my joy to be there for her following the death of Deirdre (my friend), Sadly, I think the loss of her mother was just too much and she died six months later. I was with her. She also had a deep faith and I loved the fact that she asked to be buried with a tree. Her ashes were scattered in the hole and the tree planted with her. She will nourish that tree as it grows. What a wonderful understanding of God’s creation and the cycle of life.
Though these three (my mother, my friend, her daughter) are all gone their love and faith sustained me through the loss and reminds me still that God is loving and caring.
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.
It 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.
It is not easy to shake a problem that has plagued you your whole life. For the last week I have been battling mild anxiety. I have no idea why. It has, however, kicked up my IBS which is very aggravating. There doesn’t seem to be any specific thing that I can blame this on. Everything seems to be fine. So,,,I am striving to continue on and just accept that it is what it is. I have not worked on my strategies for handling this enough and now I can see the result.
It is clearly evident to me that habits are hard to break even if the habit is to do nothing. That may be the hardest habit of all to break. To go from doing nothing to doing something pushes me way out of my comfort zone. I am determined to struggle with it each day and take one day at a time.
The events in that small Texas town have brought home to me the crisis the US is in. I am so sad to see the nation I grew up in at the brink of disaster. Are we all living in a mental health crisis? It certainly begins to look that way. When one person takes a gun and shoots random people to solve a problem it tells others with problems that this is a viable solution. How do we stop the ball rolling downhill?
Throughout my lifetime this has been a wonderful country to live in but I am very afraid for us. So many people have turned away from a moral life. When the ethical ground of a country is eroded then it seem the country itself is also eroded. May God be with us.
It is impossible to understand what is happening in the USA. Now there has been a shooting in rural Texas….a small town of about 400 people. It seems that the shooter was not part of the town but came in from outside. There is not enough known to say much about this except that I am weeping for my country. The violence is so pervasive that it seems that no one can escape it. It is hard to understand why this is almost an every day occurrence.
Having grown up at a time when this kind of violence was unheard of it is hard to take a look over the years to see what has changed. Apparently there was a scene in the recent movie “The Kingsmen” where someone went into a church and shot people. I have wondered before if seeing violence everywhere has dulled us to it.
Who can tell where all this will lead. Why is there so much hatred? Is there nothing that we can do? I keep remembering that I am only one but I am one. I will continue to talk about seeking peace. I will speak out about violence. I will speak out about my faith. I am sure that God weeps along with us and will grant those of us who speak out the strength to continue to do so. I do think that each of us matters and somehow we will be heard.
I weep for my country and all those who have lost a loved one in all the recent violence. God help us!