Monday, June 27, 2005

God Doesn't Have Any Grandchildren

Friday morning Cameron and I took Christopher to Interlochen for a six-week long camp in Composition. Interlochen is an amazing and wonderful place, filled with musicians and instructors from all over the world. I feel it is the opportunity of a lifetime (hopefully one of many) for Christopher. But instead of feeling joyful and excited for him, I am walking around like there's a big hole in my heart. My face is sad; I'm irritable; I'm barely listening to people. Last night at dinner people told stories and laughed and I felt like I was in a cloud, hardly able to hear them. I realized as I said goodbye to my mom, when she looked deep into my eyes and said, "You'll be all right," that I was grieving. I am grieving. Life doesn't feel right--my son is eight hours away and beyond my reach. The fact that it's a great blessing doesn't seem to take away the hurt.

I was praying in the shower, apologizing to God for being so ungrateful and grumpy. I asked to know what was causing me such pain. Suddenly a thought flashed in my head: I'm not trusting God with my children. My pain was coming from the side of my rational mind that tells me I'm the one who needs to smooth the way for my children; I keep them safe; I encourage them and calm their anxious moments. If I'm eight hours away, how can I do that? How can I know he's cared for? What happens if he gets scared or hurt or someone's mean to him?

I remembered the phrase "God doesn't have any grandchildren," which means that my son Christopher (and Cameron and Kelly) are all God's children, just as I am God's child. God is with them in the same way God is with me--right now, every moment, in full knowing of what is best for me. God is working to draw them into deeper relationship with Him just the same way He is working in my life. God isn't a generation removed from my children, dispensing grace and love and hope through me. God dispenses His own love and grace directly to each of us, every moment, in every thought and every breath.

I feel a little lighter now, knowing Whose job it really is to keep Christopher safe and fed and happy. It's the One Who Knows the number of hairs on our heads and knows when the smallest sparrow falls. Thank God.

Thursday, June 23, 2005


For the month of June, I've been filling in for the chaplain and running Spirituality groups for the adult and adolescent inpatients. I absolutely love it. I have met so many wondering people and we all talk about the spiritual values we share as humans--love, kindness, honesty, gratitude, acceptance, caring--no matter what our religious affiliations might be. It is a time of coming together in truth, gentleness, and sharing. Healing is happening right before our eyes. It's amazing what God can do when a few of us gather...

I found the following entry in a book called, "The Language of Letting Go," by Melody Beattie. Melody is a wonderful writer who writes about recovery issues (I think she is famous for a book called "Codependent No More," although I haven't read that one yet.) But I found this entry in her book yesterday and it washed over me like a cool drink of water on a hot day...I wanted to share it with you this morning in the hopes that it blesses you, too:

    Take time to celebrate. Celebrate your successes, your growth, your accomplishments. Celebrate you and who you are.

    For too long you have been hard on yourself. Others have spilled their negative energy--their attitudes, beliefs, pain--on you. It had nothing to do with you! All along, you have been a gift to yourself and to the Universe.

    You are a child of God. Beautiful, a delight, a joy. You do not have to try harder, be better, be perfect, or be anything you are not. Your beauty is in you, just as you are in each moment.

    Celebrate that.

    When you have a success, when you accomplish anything, enjoy it. Pause, reflect, rejoice. Too long you have listened to admonitions not to feel good about what you have done, lest you travel the downward road to arrogance.

    Celebration is a high form of praise, of gratitude to the Creator for the beauty of God's creation. To enjoy and celebrate the good does not mean that it will be taken from you. To celebrate is to delight in the gift, to show gratitude.

    Celebrate your relationships! Celebrate the lessons from the past and the love and warmth that is there today. Enjoy the beauty of others and their connection to you.

    Celebrate all that is in your life. Celebrate all that is good. Celebrate you!

May God help us to open our hearts fully to receive--and celebrate--all the many blessings we are given in this day! Amen. :) k

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

French Lessons

For some reason, I took eight years of French in school. Four years in elementary/middle school; and four years in high school. My plan was to go to France with my best friend Marie after graduation. But life intervened, and I moved to Muncie to manage a pet store and Marie married a computer programmer from Vietnam. Our freshman year in high school, Marie and I would do silly things like go to Casual Corner at the mall and speak French to each other (badly, I'm sure). The salesperson would come up and ask whether she could help us and Marie would explain that I was her cousin from France and didn't speak a word of English. She would use a horrible French-American accent (which probably sound more like New Orleans than anything) and we would dissolve in laughter after the poor unassuming salesperson walked away, completely convinced we had totally fooled her.

So that's about the extent of my French ability--lots of invested time and study energy for very little gain...a dream that was never realized and an embarrassing memory of how cool I wasn't in high school. :) But this morning, I woke up thinking about the phrase avec pleasure (not sure I spelled that right), but it means, of course "with pleasure." The thought was, when we're doing something, why not do it avec pleasure? Isn't that the essence of joy, of gratitude? What about the phrase, "It's my pleasure," when someone says "thank you." Do we mean it when we say that? I want to. I want to think more about pleasure, enjoyment, life abundant. I think it honors God. And it makes the sun shine brighter.

Hey, maybe French class gave me something after all. :)

Monday, June 20, 2005

One Perfectly Enjoyable Moment

This morning as I was driving along a beautiful road with overhanging trees and filtered sunlight, I thought about what it would feel like to be so in tune with our lives that we experienced perfect enjoyment of even a single moment. Somewhere deep inside I believe that our sacred appreciation of a day, or a moment, or a hug, or an experience honors God in a way a thousand wordy prayers cannot. I have this feeling that if we were able to feel--even for the slightest instant--completely full, completely happy, completely at peace, completely whole--it would be all we would need to fill our lives with divine bliss forever. I'm not going to work too hard to find that sense of enjoyment because I think the effort drives it has to emerge naturally, simply, like a rosebud opening. But I'm going to hold on to the idea that it's possible, that it will dawn on us suddenly like a rainbow in the clouds, grace of the highest order, reflecting God's smile deep within our souls for all eternity.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

A Meditation on Success

You, O God, are continually about the business of creation. A bird sings, a sky lightens, a breeze lifts, leaves rustle, a world awakens, fresh and new. I breathe in the sweet world you've given us for yet another day and feel uplifted and renewed; I join with you in celebrating its Goodness. What more than this, O God, do we need for a successful day? To breathe in the wonder and gift of each new person who crosses our path; to embrace and give thanks for the moments--no matter what emotions they carry--that lead us still closer to you. Instead of running out into the world chasing plans and ideas that might ultimately prove Good, perhaps success lies in simply allowing ourselves to shine like the candles we are, burning forth in gratitude and hope, lighting the way for each other while expressing your Divine Principle, your saving grace. We participate in your on-going creation by being the loving beings through which you bring light into the darkness. Help us, O God, to recognize we are a continuing, contributing part of your creation and to relax into the knowing that our attunement with you is the only real success we ever need. Amen.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Help When We Need It

My dad told me a story about something mysterious that happened when I was born in a hospital in Decatur, Illinois in the early 60s. My mom had been very sick and she went into labor six weeks early. When I arrived, no one expected me to live because my lungs were full of fluid and I was unable to breathe on my own. My dad was working in Chicago at the time and remembers the phone call he received from my grandmother: Instead of saying “You have a baby daughter,” she said, “You’d better make funeral arrangements.”

When my father arrived in Decatur the next morning, he didn’t know what he would find at the hospital. To his surprise, the nurse led him to the nursery window, where he could look in and see me in an incubator—tiny, red, but still alive. The nurse told him that she’d heard that a young intern had sat beside my bed all night long, squeezing a bulb aspirator that manually inflated my tiny lungs until they were strong and dry enough to begin taking over on their own. When morning arrived, the young intern disappeared without a word—and no one on the floor knew who he was, where he came from, or where he went.

I have noticed throughout my life that in every sad, scary, or tragic circumstance, there are always people—some might say, angels—who are there to help us in one form or another. A person has just the answer we need when we’re trying to figure out how to solve a big problem. Just when we give up trying to find directions to a place we’re trying to find, we discover the road we’ve been looking for. In a moment when we’re feeling hopeless and discouraged, a friend shows up with something that lifts our spirits. We get messages of hope in songs, in prayers, in smiles, in sunrises.

It reminds me of a story I heard a long time ago in which a father and daughter are sitting on the front porch when the little girl hears the sound of a siren not far away. She looks worried and says to her dad, “I hate to hear that sound—I know it means somebody is hurt somewhere.” Her dad thought for a moment and then hugged her tight. “It might mean they are hurting right this moment,” he said, “but it also means help is on the way.”

My hope for us today is that we remember that help is all around us in the moments we need it most, and that even when we’re hurt, sick, frightened, or confused help is on the way.