Some Things Are Just Not Meant To Be

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I stumbled across this on my lawn a couple of days ago.  We had some winds the night before, and this little nest was probably knocked out of the tree that it was in.  It made me sad to think of all of the effort that the mama bird put into carefully constructing the nest, and then laying her egg(s).  Was she sitting on the egg when the wind was blowing?  Did she visit the nest after it was on the ground? Perhaps she wasn’t around the nest when it happened, only to fly back to find the spot where she had made her home no longer there.

I guess that the little life that was forming inside that egg just wasn’t meant to be.

Oh how I wish that I could have placed the nest back into the tree and the mama would just  go on as though nothing had changed.

Oh how I wish that I could change some of the pain that I’m feeling now as a result of a close friend’s betrayal.

Oh how I wish that I could close the doors to  hospitals because no one got sick anymore.

Oh how I wish that I could bring all peoples together so that we can see that there is far more that unites us than divides us.

Oh how I wish…..

But, some things are not meant to be – at least in this life – and so, we go on as best we can.  Mama bird continues to search for food in hopes that she will have the energy to build another nest, and those who work for cures and peace start another day of hope and prayer.

Today I will turn my ‘oh how I wish’ words into ‘oh hear my prayer’ words, and I will be at peace in the confidence that the One who can change things is always listening and loving and working for our good.

Very, very disturbing…

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“The chair asks that the House now observe a moment of silence in memory of the victims of the terrorist attack in Orlando,” Ryan said.

As he crossed his chest and bowed his head, most of the chamber followed suit.

But a handful of Democrats walked out. (Washington Post)

When I first heard this on the news this morning, I couldn’t believe my ears, so I looked it up.  Ok, so the intention was something like, ‘where’s the bill – gun legislation.’

Wow, we had better be careful….NOTHING, nothing is more powerful than prayer and to walk out when someone asks for a moment of silence, whatever the reason is really  rather arrogant and stupid.

Ok, so I understand that people are frustrated that gun laws are not tougher, but here is a question:

How do we know that in that moment of silence, someone’s heart could have been changed.

We are a very powerful and controlling people, but let’s not forget who really has the power to change things.

Perhaps a little more silence and prayer will yield greater results than all of our talking and debating.

I will be observing a moment of silence today for all of those involved with the Orlando tragedy, and for those who have hardened their hearts to the power of prayer!

“The natural man does not accept what is taught by the Spirit of God.  For him, that is absurdity.  He cannot come to know such teaching because it must be appraised in a spiritual way”
1 Corinthians 2:14.

The Lens Through Which We See

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We all know people who are so easy to label.  Sally, what a pessimist,  you never want her around because she brings everyone down.  Mark, truly a narcissist, can’t even have a conversation that isn’t centered around him. Doug, so happy-go-lucky, fun to have at parties, but no real substance there. And, Dawn, such a bully, never allowing anyone else to voice an opinion that differs from hers.

When we are quick to label and judge, everyone begins to take on the same form, much like the blurred blossoms in the picture.  Sure, the labels might be different, but that label  disguises the individual.

Sally the pessimist: so many previous hurts that she is afraid to hope anymore

Mark: projecting his ‘larger than life’ image to hide a real insecurity

Doug: afraid to go deep within because he fears what he will find

Dawn: fears anyone getting too close because they might discover her vulnerability

We must be aware of the lens through which we see.

 

 

Before and After

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Isn’t it amazing what we can do with a simple photo app?  The peony is from my garden, but I wanted to play.  I love watercolor and with a quick free download, my photo is now painter’s masterpiece!

Here is the original:

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It’s so easy to disguise ourselves.  In efforts to hide who we truly are, we often cover, enhance, change and distort ourselves. We change our looks, project false images, and keep others from getting too close.

Why are we afraid to expose our true selves?

Do we fear that we will not be loved?  Will others judge us? Will we be too vulnerable? 

Our true beauty shines when we are truly ourselves – no alterations.

Which is more beautiful – you decide:

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What is Eucharist?

(This post is a little longer than most, but these feelings run deep, so thanks for stopping by)

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Eucharist Mystery, Miracle, Magic

We have come so far in our understanding of Eucharist, or have we?

(deliberately did not use ‘the’ before the word Eucharist….poetic license)

I’d like to think that all the rules and regulations regarding consecrating and receiving Eucharist originated in our beliefs of its sacredness and holiness, but I’m not so sure anymore.  Each church, while trying to interpret that last night of Jesus’ life on earth, has developed their own code when it comes to defining and distributing Eucharist.

Only an ordained Priest, a common cup vs. individual cups, to touch or not to touch, a symbol, a memory,  a Body?  In most cases, a gathering of people are present, but is it the prayer of the people or the hands of a man that Consecrates?  Is it public participation or a spectator event?

I’ve heard it argued that we should only be allowed to receive on the tongue, that we are not worthy to touch Eucharist, and yet I think back to a Supper long ago where the bread was offered and passed hand to hand.  I think of the many times I have placed Eucharist into the hands of people, dirty innocent children’s hands, calloused working hands and hands that are wrinkled from a life lived.  As I see these hands come forth, open to receive, my mind flashes back to the many church bulletins that I’ve read stating the ‘correct’ way to receive…..never with dirty hands. I can’t imagine that Jesus’ hands or the hands of His Apostles were especially clean that night long ago, we certainly know that their feet weren’t!

And the table that they sat, community, Jesus among them, sharing, eating and drinking as one. One Body. Jesus not far off elevated in a sanctuary, removed from His people.

Were there rules that first night? Was there any kind of screening  to determine who was worthy to receive?  The only One who could sit in judgement didn’t. He sat with them. He sat, hands outstretched, offering and inviting with the simple words, “Take and Eat..”  Were they in a state of grace, no sin?  I think not!  Eucharist was offered to saint and sinner, dirty hands and all. And could they touch it?  You bet!  They could experience Eucharist with all of their senses in the presence of the God-Man who is the Source. Perhaps that is the true Mystery.

I have to believe that it is because of our reverence that we have come so far from that First Eucharist, but have we lost its true meaning in all the sterility?

Although I’m not quite ready to abandon all ‘church’ interpretations of Eucharist, I am most certainly ready to expand its definition.

And so, here is my expanded version of Eucharist.  First some background: My mom is in a nursing home.  Even though it’s been over a year now, each time I walk up the steps to visit her, I cringe as I think of who lives exists behind the doors. I don’t think I will ever get used to the faces of the residents of the home, at least I hope I don’t.  I want their images to be ever before me, those who look at you but are no longer able to reach out and share their world with you because they now live in a world that we don’t have access to.  Their world, in-between, so to speak.  And yet, each one has a story…..memories of lives that are long gone and exist only in momentary flashes.

This is where my mom lives.  I am so grateful that she still knows me, but sometimes I wish that she would remember less.  She remembers my dad who passed last year as she laments over her loneliness. She suffers in silence, her words are few, but her eyes scream of the desire to go home. To rest in her eternal home.

Last week I took her outside to get a bit of sun and some fresh air.  We were enjoying the mottled blue sky and the sound of the baby birds squawking for food from their mothers, when a loud motorcycle pulled into the parking lot. The man sat on his bike for a few minutes and I wondered if he just pulled off the road for a bit of a respite, but before long the engine silenced and he headed for the entrance steps.  We glanced over to see a balding middle-aged man in jeans and a short sleeved shirt which allowed the tattoos on his arms to show.   As he ascended the steps, he glanced over to us and with a wave said, “Hello Marie” (my mom’s name).  I gave her a startled look and asked her who he was.  She smiled her Cheshire Cat – I’ve got a secret smile and raised her eyebrows.  She wasn’t going to give me any more information and so I thought that he was, perhaps, one of the workers or aides.

It was lunchtime and so we went back inside to the small cafeteria.  I wheeled her up to the table and sat beside her.  It wasn’t long before the man entered pushed a wheelchair up to our table.  The woman sitting in the chair was mumbling in Italian and I could see that there was not much dialogue between them.  It was his mother.

As we waited for the food, the man began to talk to my mother.  He took out his iPhone and played some Italian songs.  He said, “You know this song, right Marie?”  My mother nodded.  The food came and he gently and carefully fed his mother, one tiny spoonful at a time.  I could tell that this was something that he did very often.  I truly believe that his patience and compassion was more sustenance than anything on the lunch plate.  I smiled as the tears came to my eyes…..this motorcycle, tattooed man across the table from me was Incarnation.

This is Eucharist!  As is the uneducated aide who sits beside the woman who cannot lift her head from her chest.  I watch as the aide gently parts her lips so that some of the mush that is disguised as lunch nourishes this woman.

I hear the aide who argues with the nurse making the rounds, “Don’t tell me what to do with this woman, she is my patient, I know her and her needs come before any artificial schedule.”  This is Eucharist!

So, let the theologians and the scholars debate and deliberate.  I don’t want to live in that world anymore.  I don’t want answers…..there aren’t any real answers anyway.  My eyes have been opened to Eucharist.  Dirty, broken, and shared.  Eucharist – oh yes, we can certainly touch it, embrace it, devour it and love it.  Eucharist is not something kept in a Tabernacle, Eucharist is the Love which is.

Holding On….Letting Go

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Grant me the wisdom to know when to let go….

The courage to say goodbye….

and the serenity to live in this moment…

Sometimes we get so absorbed in something that we lose our balance.  It could be a project that we are working on, a book that we are obsessed with, or in my case, a job that I have had for the past 15 years.  Oh, it was good work, a ministry really, but slowly it took over my life, like a slow growing vine, until it became me, or I became ‘it.’

no more…goodbye….

Pruning has begun and I like what I am beginning to see.  It is in the separation, the pain, and the loss that the light which has been shielded  can now break through.  At first the light is blinding and I long for the darkness again, but along with the light comes the warmth and healing.  Like a chick breaking out of its shell, I will now regain my balance, embrace the light and soon I will be dancing again!

Gratitude

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I can’t tell you how many times I have taught children and their parents a simplified version of the Examin.  I suggest that at the end of  each day, they take  a few minutes to reflect on their day and find a couple of things to be grateful for and then take a moment to ask God for something.  It seems doable, a prayer that can be shared as a family, and yet simple enough for even the youngest children.  I know how popular it is, and am aware of how long it has been used by so many.

The only thing that was missing for me, was the power of this simple prayer!  It wasn’t until I started taking a few minutes of reflection that I began to see the miracles hidden within it.  Each day is filled with these miracles, not bread-to-wine miracles, but small ones gifted to us through the smile of a stranger, a hug from a child, or a glance of understanding from a friend.  These are the moments that so easily get lost in the busy-ness of our days, and yet, these are the very same moments that reflect heaven.

It is only in the quiet and stillness of the last minutes of the day that these special memories come to the forefront of my mind.  And, it is in the recollection of these moments, when I lift my eyes in gratitude, that I find the peace to settle in for a restful night’s sleep.

 

 

 

Sometimes there are no words!

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So….today a second grade girl approached me and said, 

“I like your necklace!”

 I said, “Thanks!”

She said, “Do you want to know what my motto is?”

I said, “Your motto???  Sure”

She said, “This is my motto:  TOO MUCH BLING????  NO SUCH THING!!!

Absolute truth, I promise!  

I think I have a new motto, and….I definitely have some shopping to do!!!