Is it yes or no? Pet peeve here. What is it with people who nod their head no while they speak yes. Just as bad to nod head yes while speaking no. Am I to believe the words or the body language? And when some say, ”Yeah. No.” I want to holler “WHICH ONE IS IT?!?!”
Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ Anything more comes from the evil one.
Berman Study Bible Matthew 5:37
Granted, I understand this passage is about swearing, but can we also apply it to our everyday communication, please? The following is a quite clear communication.
If not you, then who? If not now, then when?
Hillel the Elder, first-century Jewish Scholar
Often those of us who are unhappy with life wind up asking “Why me?” Hillel would like to speak with those folks!
Watching The Chosen TV series one night the question popped into my consciousness. And then I pondered, “Why the crippled? Why the prostitute? Why the lepers? Why the sinners?” Before they met Jesus I think most of them realized they were not going to get what they wanted from life.
I am a more than a little tarnished by age. I have had a pretty wonderful life. The chronic pain plagues me more now than in the early years after diagnosis. So yes, at times I wonder “Why me?“
Without the chronic pain I would not have had so many avenues opened for me to share my faith. And then I remember that without these troubles I could never have related to all those I have prayed for who suffer.
If my Aunt Mary had not had Alzheimer’s disease I would never have related to these who care for people with that dreadful illness. If my parents had not died young, suffice it to say I would not have known how to relate to so many grieving people who have crossed my path.
There would have been no path to lead that Fibromyalgia support group. There would have been no opportunity to share my faith in the midst of suffering through this blog.
Have you ever been greeted by a 6 year old boy who is eager to see you? He greets you joyously by running to you, grabbing your legs, almost knocking you down. Are you eager to greet God that way?
That child does not sulk and wonder why you did not give him what he wanted for his birthday last year. He is just glad to see you.
Can you begin to approach the Lord in the same way? Michael W. Smith and his wife Debbie wrote these lyrics in 1982 based on Psalm 145:3. Use them as your theme for a few days and see if your heart is not lighter!
Great is the Lord He is holy and just By His power we trust In His love Great is the Lord He is faithful and true By His mercy He proves He is love
Great is the Lord And worthy of glory Great is the Lord And worthy of praise Great is the Lord Now lift up your voice Now lift up your voice Great is the Lord Great is the Lord
Four men below my hotel window in the “smoking area” are laughing. Then they spin their tale further and get to making each other laugh. You can tell they are tickled and beginning to cycle into a humor cyclone!
Then the story goes on and on. I can’t really hear what they are saying and the window does not open, but next thing you know I am laughing, too. I do not even know what I am laughing at!
Celebrate Life notes that “the same muscles are used in both laughing and crying. Both bring relief from tension when done aerobically, using muscles deep down in your belly.”
Do you remember the scene in Mary Poppins when the Uncle got them all laughing and they were floating off the ground? I would not be surprised to see these guys come past my second floor window at any moment.
Disney fandom says “Uncle Albert is a jolly, kind old man who lives in a small home in London. He is the uncle of Mary Poppins, and appears to have full knowledge of her abilities. He appears to suffer from an unnamed condition, triggered by laughter, where he floats into the air, a condition which Mary describes as “quite serious”. Bert reveals that his episodes are fairly common and that it “took three days to get him down” the last time it occurred. Though he loves having company, he becomes terribly sad whenever someone must leave.”
And while we are laughing, doubtless you remember the song “We’re so sorry, Uncle Albert.” Bob and I have been joking around with that anytime one of us says “Sorry.” Two minutes ought to do it on this one, unless you like or know anything about Admiral Halsey.
Wikipedia, the master of all firm knowledge, LOL states: Paul McCartney said “Uncle Albert” was based on his uncle. “He’s someone I recall fondly, and when the song was coming it was like a nostalgia thing.” He also stated that “I had an uncle – Albert Kendall – who was a lot of fun, and when I came to write ‘Uncle Albert’/‘Admiral Halsey’ it was loosely about addressing that older generation, half thinking, What would they think of the way my generation does things? That’s why I wrote the line ‘We’re so sorry, Uncle Albert.’” Paul also told an American journalist, “As for Admiral Halsey, he’s one of yours, an American admiral”, referring to Fleet Admiral William “Bull” Halsey (1882–1959). Paul has described the “Uncle Albert” section of the song as an apology from his generation to the older generation, and Admiral Halsey as an authoritarian figure who ought to be ignored.
Again reading Wikipedia, I cannot say we should ignore Admiral Halsey! “Halsey was made Naval commander of the South Pacific Area, and led the Allied forces over the course of the Battle for Guadalcanal (1942–1943) and the fighting up the Solomon chain (1942–1945). In 1943 he was made commander of the Third Fleet, the post he held through the rest of the war. He took part in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the largest naval battle of the Second World War and, by some criteria, the largest naval battle in history. He was promoted to fleet admiral in December 1945 and retired from active service in March 1947.” At this moment, I do not have easy access to my Dad’s navy records from WW2. He was a flag man on several ships. I wonder if he served under Admiral Halsey? Research for a future blog. That would be something! So I guess the song will remind me of something new, my Dad.
All I can say is keep laughing and apologize to Uncle Albert when things go astray!
One quote from a book, whose author and title I failed to note, reads, “There’s no use damming up sorrow,” he said. “The river of grief has its own course and its own pace. Tears are a gift from God. Sorrow can grieve over a loss and still be grateful for the time you had.”
I attended a funeral this week for a man who died at age 101. He was a man of wealth and a noted philanthropist. He caught Covid and could not fight it off.
I also spoke with a friend who has been diagnosed with a rare disease. There is no cure and her future is uncertain in regards to pain, suffering, side effects from strong medications, etc. We’re both reading “Celebrate Life: New Attitudes for Living with Chronic Illness.” We are on the chapters about grief as it arises with the diagnosis of chronic illness, and how to navigate through that grief.
The man who died had buried his wife after 66 years of marriage. My friend and I have both been married for 51 years. He knew grief. He also knew success.
My friend and I have both born and raised two children. All four are lively adults. We have known success. He and his wife bore four boys. All of them spoke at the funeral.
I wish he was here so I could ask him how he managed the rapids of aging and decline. He was a strong Christian. Was he able to lean upon the Lord during his dark times? I understand he exercised every single day until the last two weeks of his life. Had a personal trainer come to his house. I am far, far behind on that front!
Guess I best get up and get moving for a longer life and the best health I can obtain. Along with my friend I take many medications daily. Bob calls it “Better living through modern chemistry.” Indeed, I have outlived both of my parents.
Years ago Bob and I worked at The Children’s Home in Hamilton, Ohio. We were told to read Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s on entitled On Death and Dying. The children we worked with often went through these stages not only regarding their family of origin, but also the workers who came in and out of their lives. Kubler-Ross outlined five stages of grief. Some therapists have added a few more, but the basic five are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. The stages do not necessarily occur in that order. You do not necessarily experience the stages only once. The stages also apply to chronic illness patients.
We all know that none of us will get out of here alive, unless the Lord returns before our life ends. We will leave behind people who admire and love us. We will be left behind by others who die. Have we even thought about how to navigate that? Nope, I think most people live in a high state of denial, not even thinking about it until there is no choice.
Research shows that damming up sorrow is very bad for one’s health both physically and mentally. For a person with chronic illness damming up the sorrow can make the symptoms worse! “The river of grief has its own course.” Have you ever considered that tears can be a cleansing part of the river of grief? When was the last time you just let go and had a good cry? It can work wonders for all parts of you.
We change, we age, we diminish in our capacity to do the things we used to do. Can you be grateful for the strengths you have had, even if you must let them go? Can you rejoice in the goodness of living, even this day which is so unlike your days were years ago?
Sorrow, grief, loss and gratitude can exist side by side. Don’t try to dam them up. Be grateful for the life you have had thus far and look forward to the life you are still living.
Glorious sun and welcome warmth drew us to take Lucky to the dog park. Remember, this dog is basically a nose on legs!
The dog area has double gates so no critters can escape the confines. There were more folks than I’ve ever seen before going in and out of the double gates. The recent hard rains made the ground mushy. Really mushy! Mud and goo that made for some dirty dogs!
The dogs played fetch and some just followed the leader. As owners departed they would leave the fetch ball for the next player. Lucky just goes to sniff. She basically ignores the other canines.
Some owners pickup the droppings from their animal. Best watch out for ones that didn’t! Especially from the large dogs. Ick.
It was an hour of sunshine, fresh air, blue sky.
Even a kite did dips and races, reminding me of the vultures searching the nearby woods with dips and races, searching for a snack.
Kite photo extremely difficult to capture! Best r m dutina could pull off with iPhone. Vultures were too quick for me to even try!
… is a reminder on a post-it note that reads: Praise Splendor Marvelous Deeds Power Might Gratitude. Why? Because just like you, I am prone to forget the attributes of God.
Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and glory are in his sanctuary.
Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all peoples
Honor and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
Portions of Psalm 96 NRSV
You might not know that 1 Chronicles 16, when David placed the ark, is related to this psalm. He is also quoted in Psalm 105:1-15 and Psalm 106:1, 47-48.
What does this have to do with being a Christian in 2022? We don’t have a tent, no longer use an ark. What’s up then? I believe it is imperative that we continue to come into God’s presence declaring his praises. We are never to forget that he is not only worthy of our praise, but that all splendor resides with him. His marvelous deeds are not to be compared with the deeds of mere men. His power and might formed the heavens and our toenails. We are to live lives of gratitude for his mercy and grace daily extended to us.
… as he has become known to me. For years I have tried to live his practice … the practice of the presence of God. I first read it as a folder from the Upper Room. Their first copyright was 1950. The folder I own was its twenty-first printing. Brother Lawrence left no large writings of his own. What we have from the 1600s is mostly what others remember from conversations with him and a few letters. Harold Chadwick says in his extensive publication about Brother Lawrence “The Spiritual Maxims and the Letters appear to be the only writings of Brother Lawrence that we still have.”
After reading this booklet multiple times, teaching from the book published by Spire and endeavoring to live his ideas, I am still at it. Recently I was inspired to purchased the book through Audible. This wonderful app lets you buy books to listen to. What a great idea while walking this beagle in winter! So I am mining the prayers, quotes and ideas that are reminding me how simple and how simply difficult this practice is.
Years ago while teaching crochet at Hobby Lobby I met a woman named Charlene. She was amazing in her determination to crochet. She suffered several surgeries due to cancer. As soon as she would wake from anesthesia she would insist they give her the current crochet project. When she knew she was dying she asked me if I thought she was doing her Christian life correctly. She told me she talked to God all day long about everything and listened for His answers. At the time I had been trying to practice the presence of God for probably ten years. She was doing exactly what Brother Lawrence taught! What an inspiration.
Here is the story of Brother Lawrence’s conversion in 1666 from the Audible recording. “His conversion which took place when he was about 18 years old, was the result under God, of the mere sight in mid-winter of a dry and leafless tree and of the reflections it stirred respecting the change the coming spring would bring. From that time he grew imminently in the knowledge and love of God endeavoring constantly to walk as in His presence.” This being mid-winter, can you find a tree to ponder and reflect upon the changes God will bring about soon to that tree?
He was born Nicolas Herman. He worked as a cook in a monastery kitchen for 15 years. He was not highly educated. Can you imagine learning a way to be with God constantly, sharing your thoughts and teaching others this way, and having your method be important to folks 350 some years later?
He complains much of our blindness, and cries often that we are to be pitied who content ourselves with so little. God, says he, has infinite treasure to bestow, and we take up with a little sensible devotion, which passes in a moment. Blind as we are, we hinder God and stop the current of His graces. But when He finds a soul penetrated with a lively faith, He pours into it His graces and favors plentifully; there they flow like a torrent which, after being forcibly stopped against its ordinary course, when it has found a passage, spreads itself with impetuosity and abundance.
Brother Lawrence Fourth Letter
The letter goes on to encourage us to enter into ourselves and break down the banks that hinder this flow.
I have been trying to bring a few of his prayers to up-to-date, current English, changing Thee and Thou to our common You and Your usage. This was his prayer when he had to turn his attention to work in the kitchen. A filial trust means like a child with its parent. “That when he began his business, he said to God, with a filial trust in Him:
O my God, since You are with me, and I must now, in obedience to Your commands, apply my mind to these outward things, I beseech You to grant me the grace to continue in Your presence; and to this end do prosper me with Your assistance, receive all my works, and possess all my affections.
Prayer before beginning work in his kitchen
One thing I especially like about his teachings is his ready recognition of his failure and then rapid moving back to the practice. “That when he had failed in his duty, he only confessed his fault, saying to God, I shall never do otherwise if You leave me to myself; it is You who must hinder my falling and mend what is amiss. That after this he gave himself no further uneasiness about it.” Simple. Can you do that?
“That he was very sensible of his faults, but not discouraged by them; that he confessed them to God, but did not plead against Him to excuse them. When he had so done, he peaceably resumed his usual practice of love and adoration.” Again, simple. Can you do that?
I was so prone to self-castigation that this simple method of recognition of my sins and faults and then rapidly returning to loving God was hard for me to accomplish. “Peaceably resumed his usual practice of love and adoration.”
One of my favorite, and likely my most quoted teachings is “That useless thoughts spoil all; that the mischief began there; but that we ought to reject them as soon as we perceived their impertinence to the matter at hand and return to our communion with God.”
Useless thoughts spoil everything and much mischief begins there.
Yeah, buddy! SO VERY TRUE.
Rapidly return to His presence when you realize you have lapsed. Don’t waste energy on your sins; confess and peacefully go back to His presence. Discuss with God everything all day about your life. It brings Him delight. When those useless thoughts pop up, and they will, learn to recognize them. We are taught in 2 Corinthians 10:5 to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ Jesus. My useless thoughts are usually recognizable after a time. When I realize another one has crept into my thinking, I spurn it. Taking it captive to Jesus I see in the light of Christ the evil it could do and I reject it.
Some say that Christianity is full of “thou shalt nots.” I say if you do the things instructed in the word you will not have time for useless nonsense. Father wants a relationship with us. Are you willing to give that a try?
I make notes as I read and come across things I want to use in this blog. When I go back to review them I often wish I had expounded with a few key words to prompt myself. Nevertheless, the quotes usually move me even if I do not recall the original impact they had upon me.
Many of my quotes come from Gratefulness.org. I get a daily thought from them. They draw from across faiths and races and countries to find the best ones to use. I am always amazed at the similarities among faiths and peoples irregardless of the differences!
When we trust our creativity we encounter a supreme kind of enjoyment – an amazement at the natural unfolding of life beyond our ordinary way of looking at things.
Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche
Like I was saying, an amazing unfolding of life beyond my ordinary way of looking at things!
In August of 2018 (as now) I was struggling to adjust to a loss of strength and stamina. Chronic pain has a way of draining you. What you took for granted yesterday may prove to be quicksand today. How to adapt to this ever-changing landscape? I was sent the following quote that day.
Loss makes artists of us all as we weave new patterns in the fabric of our lives.
Greta W. Crosby
Saw family doc about pain. I am okay with Tylenol dose I am taking. She has referred me to pain management doctor. I will try my best to keep weaving new patterns from the pain changes.
I think over again my small adventures, my fears, those small ones that seemed so big, all those vital things I had to get and to reach, and yet there is only one great thing: to live and see the great day that dawns, and the light that fills the world.
Old Inuit Song
What in your life is calling you, when all the noise is silenced, the meetings adjourned … the lists laid aside, and the wild iris blooms by itself in the dark forest … what still pulls on your soul?
That quote I noted as “Why I Write.” To capture my experiences with God in words, to try to tell you what life with the Trinity is like for me, that is what pulls on my soul. Ben Palpant teaches writers to “get comfortable with words like your fork.” After age 6 or so most of us don’t give much thought to how we use our fork. Just can we get it to our mouth? I want my words to get to your heart, your soul, your mind. I want words that will transport you to a deeper, richer place with holiness.
I also make notes as I notice things when we are driving around. “Low-lying black clouds were shifting in thick, grotesque shapes across a fat full moon.” Too bad I had no photo for that one! Perhaps reading it again you can make the photo in your mind?
How about driving home during a winter dusk I saw “Blood red sky through the trees. V8 juice with swizzle sticks.” Again, have to make your own picture in your mind.
While those across the street had total pavement showing, we had 3 inches of ice on our sidewalk to front door. The entire yard was frozen over this AM. Rough winter indeed!
These photos are from an evening walk February 5. Too bad I did not capture the lovely driveways on the sunny side!
Many have fallen on the ice, some more than once. Black ice, clear ice, I just hate ice. One fell and broke a rib. Another fell and bruised both hands, shattered her cell phone completely. PLEASE be careful out there Ohioans and others in this continuous winter weather warp.