Rules?? for prayer??

Today after reading

https://fracturedfaithblog.com/2018/09/05/prayer-warrior-im-more-a-prayer-wimp/

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.

list-of-rules

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.

PrayerThe 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!

Am I an elephant?

On the way home today I was listening to another of The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency. Something was said that set me to thinking. What kind of animal are you? Not what kind of animal would you like to be but what kind you are most like.

It does require some thought. Am I like a dog who loves more than life itself? I doubt it. Am I like a cat….independent and quiet? NO. So what animal am I like? There are many to choose from.

monkey-camera-2

I am social so I am like dogs with that. I can be anxious like a ground hog sticking its nose out to see if it is safe. I am curious…poking my nose into places where I shouldn’t like monkeys.

 

 

hammock-1

I can be lazy like a sloth. I am caring about my family like elephants. At times I can be unapproachable like swans. (If you have never been around swans…trust me…they are territorial)

There are always quizzes on Facebook to tell you what animal you are like but we each have traits in common with animals. The exercise of matching up your traits with different animals is an enlightening experience. It makes you explore yourselves and see some of the good and some of the bad.

elephant

 

What animals are you most like and what are the traits that you see in yourself?

Are there survivors?

Since this is suicide prevention awareness month I wanted to post it in a different way. I am thankful that I have never considered suicide but have been depressed enough that I understand how it feels to think that not existing is the only solution.

Survivor_Day_Postcard_Pic_t240I have been involved with families who have experienced suicide and have seen the result first hand. I am distraught by the number of suicides that we are seeing in young people today and the devastating impact on the families.

Suicide automatically leaves guilt behind for loved ones. The first questions they ask themselves is “what did I do wrong?” This is followed by “why didn’t I know?” Parents may want to place blame as a way of removing themselves from the equation. Sometimes one parent blames the other. Marriages disintegrate and families split apart. This result is sometimes called “suicide survivors.” Are they really surviving?

The impact on others is far reaching. Friends will also feel guilt and issues of blame arise also. “If only I had been a better friend.” “If only others had been kinder.” The ripples from suicide are like that of a stone thrown into a pond. Anyone who is connected at all is changed forever.

The long term effects can also be devastating. If my friend found that suicide could solve his problems maybe I can too. The rate of suicide in families who have had a suicide is much higher than the general population.

preventionWe have to find ways to end this epidemic. Non only for those who can see no other way out but also for the people they touch. There is much to be done as this epidemic is reaching pandemic proportions. Awareness is a beginning but as I have said before we must have more accessible help in a timely manner. Faster recognition of those with problems and better care.

We all must help and demand recognition of this problem!

You can win the war in the mind

WAR-IN-THE-MINDHaving had this almost week long drop into anxiety I had an interesting thought. I realized that when I am there I am living in my mind. I realized that’s what we are doing when we land in OCD, depression, anxiety or any other crisis. We are not living outside but inside. Our mind is in control. It is the thing that is in charge. It doesn’t want us to move away from the grasp it has on our thoughts. We have to wrench the power away from it and move outside and be in control.

Day to day living consists of being present in the moments of our lives. Being aware of the life around us. Being able to see the grass and the sky and the trees and truly experience them. The mind is an amazing thing. It can be with us as we see the beauty around us. It can also create an environment where we dwell in the muddled and off kilter thoughts that plague us.

Meher-Baba-Quote-The-best-way-to-cleanse-the-heart-and-prepare-forThere are so many tools available to us to move away from those thoughts and sometimes we have to move from one to another until we find the thing that works and manage to escape.

happiness is foundDon’t ever give up. As we grow we learn to avoid the triggers and keep an even keel. Yes, we can have a relapse but we usually have better control and coping skills. Life is good. Don’t let the bad rule and have you miss out on the good things. There is always a way back.

Tomorrow is a new day

This has been a difficult week for me. I have been anxious and not feeling well. Nothing major just the usual dumps. The waiting to have my husband’s surgery done has taken its toll on me. I just can’t seem to get back to my groove.

sometimes_life_can_be_tough

For most of the week I have been at home by myself and that is never good for me. I am an extrovert with some introvert tendencies and though I need time alone too much can let me ruminate and that is never good. That is what has happened. Thursday we traveled to the Mayo Clinic for his pre-surgery tests and returned last night. Today I have been home and I am glad I will be out tomorrow.

It is amazing how quickly whatever bothers us can jump up and grab us. It seems to be lurking in the shadows just waiting for us to walk by. I know this can be shaken off but it is a struggle. Not writing for two days didn’t help either. Being able to express my feelings this way helps me to get a better grip.

new-dayI have been a lifetime with anxiety but it has not won. There are so many times that I have pushed it aside and just moved on. This is just another chance to do that. Each day offers a new opportunity to conquer my demons and push them back into the shadows. Tomorrow is a new day and I am ready to move on.

A letter to my grandchildren: Part One – Love

I have decided to write some thoughts for my grandchildren over time. This is the first.

to-my-grandchildren

I think that I have lived long enough to share some things that I have learned in my life. As we grow and age we learn from everything we have been through. We probably learn the most from our mistakes.

LOVE

As I write this only one of you is married but I want all of you to take this to heart. Love and living together is a tricky thing. We are joined to another person whose upbringing and life experiences are different from ours. They have had good and bad in their lives and some things will trigger memories that will translate into actions and reactions. The same is true of you.

The things we have been through in our lives can cause us to react in ways that don’t actually fit the current situation. It happens because that memory has left scars that hurt when exposed. Think about how hearing a certain song can take you back to the memory you have of that moment. For a brief time we are back there experiencing those feelings. Another description might be that we have recorded certain events with their feelings attached and they will pop up when triggered.

When there is a reaction to something said or done that surprises or hurts you see if you can discover what is behind it. You may be angry but let that go. If you can spend the time to discover what is underneath your significant other’s or your action you may be able to understand and accept it. This is not easy in the heat of argument or upset but it can save so much pain in the long run.

As an example, someone in pain may be negative about everything. This may not be normal for them but they can’t help it at the moment.

There will be days when you may question your love for another. This culture has taught you that love is a feeling. That is NOT TRUE. Love is a decision. Never ever forget that. That excitement that you felt when you were first together may come and go through your relationship. Time spent on your relationship can help to keep that feeling in your love….but not every day, every moment. It can come and go. That does not mean that the love is gone.

Being with someone long term is work. And it is worth it. Today people jump from one person to another looking for something that they may never find….wanting to hold on to that passion and excitement…..like cows reaching under the fence to get the grass on the other side. The problem is it will not be better forever.

Beautiful-Love-Caring-Thoughts-Love-Quotes-Images-Wallpapers-Pictures

Each morning you need to make the decision to love that person and then act on it. Having been married for 56 years I can tell you it is worth it.

(Obviously, there are exceptions to this. There can be truly bad relationships that need to be ended but I think today we are too quick to run away.)

For further thought this is part of the Greek’s description of long standing love:

  1. Pragma, or longstanding love                                                                                                           …..described it as a mature, realistic love that is commonly found amongst long-established couples. Pragma is about making compromises to help the relationship work over time, and showing patience and tolerance.

The psychoanalyst Erich Fromm said that we expend too much energy on “falling in love” and need to learn more how to “stand in love.” Pragma is precisely about standing in love—making an effort to give love rather than just receive it. With about a third of first marriages in the U.S. ending through divorce or separation in the first 10 years, we should surely think about bringing a serious dose of pragma into our relationships.

from: https://www.yesmagazine.org/happiness/the-ancient-greeks-6-words-for-love-and-why-knowing-them-can-change-your-life

 

 

Do children feel secure?

Today at lunch with friends we were told about a family who lost a 10 year old son to suicide. He shot himself in the head. Later the family lost another son to drugs. This is a loving family and their relatives say there was nothing wrong with their childhood. The younger child was bullied and I don’t think the other son ever got over his brother’s death.

media

It scares me that suicides are occurring in such young children. It’s hard to know why. I know that our exposure to so much data may be part of the answer. A child growing up when there was no media would probably never know anyone who committed suicide and certainly would not be bullied on line. There was some bullying in school when I was a child but it was nipped in the bud by the teachers. This was also the era when parents believed the teacher and usually there was some sort of punishment to follow for the child. Things have really changed.

Now we are so exposed to all the terrible events around the world that to take a gun and shoot oneself or someone else is not unusual. Exposure desensitizes us.

There is so much anxiety and depression in children. I have mentioned that I see it as being related to parenting in such a way that children do not have a safe base….a place where there are rules and secure love. Children need limits. No limits is a scary thing. It means that no one cares what you do. No one loves you enough to set limits for you.

safe child

I can see some changes in parenting recently and I hope that the changes are for the better. I so want to see children grow up loved and secure.