We are a community

family treeI have mentioned before how as the members of your family grows through children growing and marrying and that life becomes more complicated instead of less. As you add more people to the circle there are more people to care about and worry about. Since I have been blessed to have loving children I frequently talk with them, and the girls especially, call for help and advice. I see this as what a mother is for. If I can’t share what have learned over the years what good is it? I am happy to offer love, support and anything else that is helpful. It is wonderful to be needed and loved.

The other side of the coin is that I am privy to the ups and downs of my family. As a mother and grandmother I can’t help but worry about problems and the outcomes. Over the years I have been blessed to learn coping skills to assuage my anxiety and have learned to count on prayer and God.

Having lived my life dependent on my faith for support I have often wondered what people who don’t have that support do in a crisis. Perhaps they are strong enough to count on themselves and find help from those around them. I hope this is the case as living without any support is an intolerable way to live.

community 2In writing this blog I have corresponded with those whose support system is limited and grieve about their circumstances. I hope that finding some support from those of us in this community helps to provide them with a sense of belonging. My compassion and love reaches out to them and makes me wish I could do more. We support each other.

I am grateful for this community and feel supported by it. I hope that others find that same support by linking with others who reach out. God Bless this community.

We must do something!

help meThe more I read or hear the more I realize how many people suffer with anxiety and depression. A recent post on Facebook told how it is showing up in children younger and younger. There is something so depressing about young children suffering so. It is hard enough that so many are suffering now but the thought that a new generation will be going down this path is unbearable.

It does make me wonder what has changed in the world to cause such an increase. What have we done?  Has it been the growing use of technology so that we don’t know how to talk to each other face to face? Has it been the disintegration of the family? Is it society and the decline of our moral base?

There can be so many reasons and no answers. The bigger question is what do we do to change it?

mental health

We have to offer help to the families who face this crisis. We have to call on those who do research to find out how to help. We must make the changes necessary in our culture to stop this epidemic. We have to make sure that there is no stigma attached to a diagnosis of anxiety and depression.

Lastly we must pray. Pray for all of us!

A miracle?

I recently ran across this quote: “I don’t believe in miracles because it’s been a long time since we’ve had any.” Joseph Heller

I disagree totally with that statement. I think their are miracles all the time we just don’t have the eyes to see them. We live in such a scientific world that there always seems to be an explanation for what could be called a miracle. Miracles are in the eye of the beholder. As a nurse I have seen patients with results that no doctor understood. I have heard some say “it was just a miracle.”

miracles

My favorite writer Madeleine L’Engle says that “a coincidence is a miracle in which God prefers to remain anonymous.” Someone recently said that Moses crossing the Red Sea was not a miracle but a tidal withdrawal followed by a surge. Again a scientific explanation. My question to them was why were the Israelites at that exact spot at that exact time.

There are so many things that happen each day that defy explanation. I choose to see them as miracles. And yes, they are still happening today.

Can you question?

what is god likeSometimes I wonder…. have we created God in our own image instead of the other way around. There are so many interpretations of God. Every group seems to have its own god. As a teen I visited a church with a friend and was upset by the wrathful image of God in that place. God was scary. Sin was paramount and love was not mentioned. I felt as if God was waiting for me to transgress so that I could be punished. This was certainly Dante’s kind of God with his various parts of hell.

Was this what they found in the same Bible that I was reading? I guess I spent more time in the New Testament. The various religious texts are there for all of us to read no matter our faith. However, I have discovered that interpretation is the key. Each of us can come up with an entirely different meaning for the same reading.

I have read parts of the Book of Mormon and the Koran and came to the same conclusion. The person reading will see it through their eyes or the eyes of a teacher. Each person also interprets things based on their life experiences. No two of us are alike. It certainly explains how different sects can arise reading the same material.

I have noticed that Buddha and Jesus seldom made things easy for us. Nor did the readings of Hinduism. True mystics seldom speak clear messages but want us to use our minds and our hearts to discern meaning. Jews use exploration of texts placed against thoughts through the ages to interpret scripture. This is sometimes called or related to Midrash. They are unafraid to question and debate over meaning. (see below for definition)

questionDo you take the word of scholars/teachers about meaning or do you absorb ideas and be willing to question? Questioning is not doubt. It is expanding your belief.

This makes it all the more difficult to know who or what to follow and is not for everyone. Questioning can be scary and rock our belief system. It can make you doubt your belief but can move you to a deeper faith. It is not for the faint of heart but it can be rewarding. When I ask questions I grow and end up with a stronger connection to my faith.

I suspect that I mostly see readings through the eyes of love. Living with compassion and love toward others is my benchmark. That doesn’t mean that I can do it all the time but that is my goal.

 

(Midrash is an interpretive act, seeking the answers to religious questions (both practical and theological) by plumbing the meaning of the words of the Torah. (In the Bible, the root d-r-sh is used to mean inquiring into any matter, including occasionally to seek out God’s word.) Midrash responds to contemporary problems and crafts new stories, making connections between new Jewish realities and the unchanging biblical text.)

God weeps

There are many kinds of Christians. We are divided into so many denominations that I don’t think I could come close to naming them all. Even amongst denominations there is dissension. Most religions have people who see their faith in different ways. As a Christian it is interesting to me how we can spend as much time being upset about other Christians than we are about other faiths. We are busy telling others what they are doing wrong.

kim

We know from history that there have been many wars fought over religion. It is sad that our perception of God can divide us so. Most faiths have  extremists. It is certainly true of Christianity and it is obvious to us in Islam. Interestingly enough some of the ideas of Muslim and Christian extremists and the same. I don’t know that I have ever met a Buddhist extremist but I guess it is possible. How much damage is done in the name of religion.

God must weep over our ignorance and obstinance. We want to force our ideas on others. After all, what we believe has to be right! Why can’t we accept that we don’t all think alike or believe the same things?

god weeps(side note: I have just discovered that spell check doesn’t know the words amongst and obstinance)

We will never have peace in the world as long as we want everyone to think that same. We are not robots. God created us to be individuals.

Find your sacred space

overloadThe fast paced world that we inhabit is hard to navigate. There are so many things that we no longer do. Just sitting on a porch in the evening and rocking back and forth is so calming. Time to rest, greet neighbors and feel the breeze. No sounds except crickets and the wind in the trees. Heaven.

Instead we enclose ourselves in our homes avoiding silence and simple thoughts with electronic noise. Continuing to clutter our already overloaded minds so simple thought is overwritten. I wonder if this era in time will be known as the over-stressed era?

So many of us suffer from the results of this lifestyle. We have irritable bowel, high blood pressure, acid reflux, depression, anxiety and a host of auto-immune disorders. We were not created to live this way. The rise in emotional and mental disorders in frightening. Our inability to grasp why this is happening and acceptance of our mental stress is appalling. Mental disability still has its stigma. If we are going to survive without either killing each other, committing suicide or staying forever in the darkest of places something has to change. We are in the midst of an epidemic.

sacred spaceEach of us must start by finding that quiet space where peace can be found. A sacred space. Whether it is found in meditation, prayer, nature or wherever our safety lies we have to make a beginning. Things can be changed one person at a time, one day at a time, one life at a time.

For me the safe space is prayer and meditation. My peace comes from the Lord. But if I turn away from him there is no peace. It is up to each of us. Seek sacred space.

Isaiah 55:6
Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near;

Wait for the light

Advent is my  favorite church season. Waiting for a birth is so full of promise. Advent arrives in the darkest part of the year. Light is waning. Many places are cold. Darkness rules and we are waiting…..waiting for light. We hope, we yearn for light to break through. Many times we are wallowing in the darkness of our own soul. We cannot see any light at all. We feel the dark close in around us and there seems to be no hope. Seeking light we want to escape our own minds but find no escape for the mind is strong and holds us in its sway.

We have to reach outside of ourselves, away from the thoughts that hold us in thrall. Light is dawning without and will banish the thoughts. Light will draw us out and open the doors of the mind and set us free. Wait, wait. The light comes.

candle2We listen to the promises from Isaiah 59:9- 60:1

we wait for light, and lo! there is darkness; and for brightness, but we walk in gloom.
Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
Yet, for now, we are still in the darkness. But the promise is there. Wait, wait for the light.