Sunday, July 31, 2005

A Prayer and a Thought

Sitting with my journal in the early morning sunlight this morning, I felt the summer drawing to a close. School for me--my final year in seminary--begins tomorrow. In two weeks the boys go back to school; football, marching band, regular classes all commence. This morning is a deep reflective and grateful pause before the beginning of the busy--and abundant--harvest time. I looked back through my journal and found the following entry, dated July 1, 2005. I wanted to share it with you.

    Truly, O God, I give this day to You as best I can, my Father and maker of All There Is. You O Lord are the center of All, the center of Everything, the Light and Source and Being in which we share. Each blade of grass arises from you; each breeze returns to You, each sound is but a love whisper from Yourself to Yourself. This is truly, my Father's world.

    When I become fixated on seeking my own perfection, focus on the Father's perfection.
    When I begin to worry about my forgetfulness, remember how God never forgets.
    When I worry about my health, lean into God, who cannot be sick.
    When I start to thrash against my flaws, consider how Hashem has no flaws.

    When I relax, the world is good.
    When I am tight, the world is threatening.
    When I am hurting, the world is dark.
    When I am joyful, the world is bright.
    What, then, is the world?
    What, then, am I?

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Giving the Apple Back

I was talking with a wonderful friend over coffee this morning and the topic turned to the many ways in which we struggle with the idea of control in our lives. The idea that we can control life--if we just try hard enough, do the right things, play by the rules, and get a little bit of luck--seems to have something to do with that original bite of the apple from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Metaphorically I must take bites from a dozen apples every day! The temptation is always there to make the choice myself, to go my own way, rather than stop-look-pray-and-listen for God's leading on a particular decision or event. What I am learning--slowly, gradually--is to ask God about things before I rush off to do them my way. And when I do forget God (and I do more often than I wish I would), I don't run away and cover myself in fig leaves, but come back to God, apple in hand, showing him what I did and asking him to help me remember him first next time.

I wonder what the outcome of the Genesis story would have been if Adam and Eve could have trusted God enough to be honest with him and welcome him into the middle of their imperfections? I think God loves it when we do that. But if we're waiting to be perfect before we invite God in, we'll continue hiding and keeping him out. There's just no un-biting that apple. But we can notice--and be honest with ourselves and with God--when we do it. And that, faithfully done, sooner or later clears away all the blocks in our relationship with God--and maybe even with each other. :)

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Looking Up

This morning I was sitting out on the deck watching the ducks at the feeder. The smaller birds, sparrows and finches, were busy at the newly filled feeder, one on each perch. Three ducks stood below them, eagerly gathering the seeds the smaller birds dropped. I noticed that one of the three ducks had learned to look up--to watch the smaller birds and anticipate the falling seeds. It was a curious site, seeing this one duck who had figured out the mystery of the manna falling from the sky. The other two ducks never looked up at all...they didn't seem to care one way or another where the seed was coming from. They were totally focused on eating what was already there.

I found that I identify with the duck looking up...I'm always watching for God, always anticipating the blessing, always considering the source. The other ducks around me don't always understand that, and I guess it can get a bit tiresome if you're hungry. And sometimes I get a crick in my neck. :) But it's something about the way we're made--us odd ducks--and the older I get, the more I like it. :)

Friday, July 08, 2005

Wisdom from Mother Teresa

I'm reading the book There's a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem by Dr. Wayne Dyer right now, and I'm finding a lot in it that is helpful and rings true. He speaks a lot about the need to reconnect with God when the things of the world weigh us down. One section I read gave a series of proverbs given by Mother Teresa...I want to keep them in my heart and mind as I go through the day, and I thought I'd share them with you, too:

    People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

    If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

    If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies. Succeed anyway.

    If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you. Be honest and frank anyway.

    What you spend years building, someone may destroy overnight. Build anyway.

    If you find serenity and happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

    The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow. Do good anyway.

    Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough. Give the world the best you've got anyway.

    You see, in the final analysis, it is all between you and God;

    It was never between you and them anyway.

Isn't that wonderful? Words to hold on to...peace and blessings on your day! :)

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Oh God, Bring Peace

This morning we awake to news of violence against your children in London, O God. What a sad oneness we share with all those who know the sound and face of terror, who wander the streets in shock, who desperately search for loved ones. We can still feel the heat and ash from the terror of 9/11; our bodies have recorded the sounds of the sirens; our minds play, rewind, and play again images from that time. We ask you to enfold in a blanket of tender care and peace all those who have ever been touched by terror, Lord, because wherever in the world your children are attacked, we all hurt as one. Calm our fears and bring peace, we pray. Comfort the families and let them know your presence in a very real way. Sustain those responding to the emergency that their hearts and minds may be protected and kept clear so they know just what to do for your children.

This is not the life you'd planned for us, O God, when you created paradise and set it before us to name and nurture. You wanted to walk with us in true communion, laughing, sharing stories, loving, trusting, experiencing abundant joy and honoring our very lives by enjoying them fully with you. Enfold us all, O God, because we're suffering individually and as a world as our belief in the promise of Goodness and Mercy is shaken yet again. The darkness can cover it, but cannot put it out. Love wins, Lord. Peace reigns. We have your word that even now, in the smoke and tears and heartbreak, the kingdom of God is within us. Take our hands and help us find it, Lord, because just now the aftermath of unthinkable destruction is clouding our eyes.

May God be tenderly present in an unmistakable way with the people of London--and with us all--today.