Thursday, December 30, 2004


The huge wave of the tsunami continues to sweep over us...a horror of tragedy, unspeakable loss, indescribable pain and fear. I've been watching and praying, praying and watching. Remember how Jesus wept over Jerusalem? If we believe that God grieves with us (and I do), how must God's heart be breaking now over such unspeakable pain his children are experiencing? If God loves us with a depth we can't even imagine, how intense must this horror be for him? I pray God brings us all peace and healing and enables us to bring light even into this darkness. Especially I pray for those precious ones having survived this nightmare who now face the days ahead having lost everything--everything--except perhaps the One who, knowingly or unknowingly, grieves with them. God, give us your grace and comfort. And we will do our best to dry your tears.

Friday, December 17, 2004

An Exercise in Futility

Well, my lesson this morning was not as warm and wonderful as yesterday's. Today what I learned had more to do with a battle of wills that I had no choice but to lose. It was outside my control. I was met with an insurmountable obstacle. And his name is Edgar:

I knew that the medicine I was trying to give Edgar would help his breath and make him easier to cuddle on these long winter evenings. I knew that the result (because Edgar loves nothing more in the world than to sit on your lap and have his ears scratched) would be worth the temporary angst brought about by taking and swallowing the liquid medicine. But Edgar was having none of it. And I mean none of it. We struggled for several minutes. I tried a dozen different ways. Each time Edgar flipped up and around, doing everything he could to dodge the medicine, to escape my embrace, to avoid my hands. I finally let out a totally exasperated "Aaaarrrrgggg!!!!" and put him back down on the floor, where he stood looking at me innocently (was that a victorious gleam in his eye?) and wondering when I'd be giving him his breakfast.

I like to start out my mornings with peace, solitude, prayer, quiet. Good feelings. Quiet time with God. But here I stood, in the kitchen, with my heart thumping in my chest and my blood coursing through my veins. I was mad. I'd been bested by a 15-pound Bichon Frise with the worst dog breath I've ever experienced. We call his condition "death breath" and he really needs this medication--otherwise, someday, somebody is going to melt or turn to stone when he breathes on them!

I'd run up against a wall that just wasn't going to move. I'd hit the limit of my ability to control the situation. Suddenly I felt a kinship with the friend whose teenager is totally ignoring her rules about curfew. I felt a stab of understanding for the friend whose father is being transformed by Alzheimer's, who often acts in a way no one else can anticipate or control. I understood the frustration of friends know with bosses who won't listen, spouses who won't forgive, parents who can't forget, bodies that won't heal, ideas that won't go away, addictions that can't be conquered, jobs that can't be found, and homes where peace just doesn't come.

God, please give us the grace to accept the things we cannot change and show us the next step you want us to take. Enable us to relax into your arms in those moments when we hit the wall of someone else's will or circumstances that are beyond our control. Show us what we can do to bring light into our dark times. And give us the courage to follow where you lead. We usually don't know why things are as they are, but we know--and claim--that you love us and know us and are with us in our struggle, and in our peace. The moments that we can't control can offer us jewels of wisdom. Helps us accept those jewels, dear God, and watch for you to show us how these moments can be transformed in your love.

(And please, God, would you do something about Edgar's breath?)

Love to you all today! :) k

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Small Things, Faithfully Done

This morning as I awoke I was still hearing the trailing end of a pleasant dream, in which a man's voice said, "Small things, faithfully done, make for a good life." I felt so peaceful when I awoke! Throughout the day, I began to notice small things I might have otherwise missed--getting breakfast for the boys, cuddling the dogs, feeding the cat, telling my husband I loved him, thinking good thoughts about the future, saying a quick prayer, feeling my heart respond to someone's sadness, caring so much and so deeply about so many things. Small things in our day, faithfully, faith-fully done, bring God into our hearts and through us, into our lives--and maybe that light will spill over into someone else's day.

So whether your tasks are big or small today, take heart! You're creating something good. :)

Friday, December 10, 2004

All of Who We Are

This morning wisdom is on my mind. Isn't it amazing to think that all our experiences--from our very earliest moments with our parents, to our most recent interaction with a stranger on the street--is teaching us what we need to know about life? As amazing and spiritual nerve endings, we receive and respond to every happening--internal and external--in our day. The amount of input and output is staggering. Think about it: each time you pet the dog, each time you look up from your work, each time you remember God, each time you forgive yourself, hope for something, feel a wave of sadness, laugh with a friend, you are contributing to the creation of life in this very day.

Wisdom comes pouring from us through all of who we are--through our gifts and our blind spots, from our painful past experiences as the moments that gave us the greatest joy. Miraculously, the wisdom born of the understanding that bubbles up from that still, small voice is available to us in every single moment and act of our lives. We only need to turn the volume of the world down a bit in order to hear it. Even--and maybe especially--in the midst of the rush of the holidays, the wisdom that radiates from all of who we are shines out of us like star atop a Christmas tree.

May you shine bright and proud, knowing that every moment of your life up to this very minute has prepared you to give all of who you are today. We are ready. We are grateful. Shine away! And watch God smile. :)