Saturday, August 11, 2012

Through No Fault...

This morning I was readying my bike for much anticipated ride. As I hoisted the bike to my shoulder to begin preparations, I heard a "Thud". My bar end mirror just fell off the handlebars. Try as I may to reinsert it, it would not stay put! Somehow, somewhere a piece must have broken or simply fallen off.

Now I must say that this mirror wasn't expensive and doesn't owe me anything. I have had it for fifteen years or more. Yet I found myself annoyed that it had broken. I wish I could tell you as well that it broke because I was riding so much and constantly adjusting it...but I cannot.

So I looked in vain for something that probably fell off, who knows where and really not knowing what I was looking for. Finally I gave up and realized I wasn't going to find it and will most likely never know why this happened.

Our lives seem to follow this parallel. Stuff happens and we may never know why. We can look (and often times we do) for answers and reasons but most of the time they remain hidden. One day we will understand but definitely not today!

Romans 8:28

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

grace and peace...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Not the Sum of Our Thoughts

"I have realized that thoughts - the inner stuff that flows downstream with us - matter. They matter because, unless we are careful, they sweep away our true selves." (Mary Margaret Funk Into the Depths: "A Journey of Loss and Vocation")

Each day as we arise we begin the process of making choices. What will we wear. What we will eat. Where we will go. What we will do. What we will buy.
One of the most important decisions we will make is what we will think. Meg Funk nails it when she says that "thoughts matter". (Also evidenced by her book of the same title.) We can be literally swept away by our thoughts.
So what are we to do about the multitude of thoughts that plague us?

Meg Funk offers this sage wisdom from the same book quoted above: "When I watch these feelings arise, and try to do so without inner commentary, most of them simply dissolve and go away."

As a patient and caregiver both G and I are in the battle of thoughts. With downright scary procedures looming ahead for him, we both face challenges in paying attention to our thoughts. It is a constant process.

Just Google the "number of thoughts per day" and you will get a range from 15000 - 50,000. Even on the low side at 15,000 it is still a very large number of thoughts for a 24 hour period.

It is impossible to just shut off our minds. But we can pay attention and notice our thoughts and refuse to make a full feature length film about them.

grace and peace...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Cricket Harmony

As I drove home from work in the early evening I opened the windows and turned off the radio. When I came to a stop on a country road the stillness of late summer was palpable. But what really caught my ear was the sound of the crickets. Crickets in the cornfield chirping a beautiful melody in the early evening stillness and I almost missed it.

'A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn't to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn't in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn't in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper. When Elijah heard the quiet voice, he muffled his face with his great cloak, went to the mouth of the cave, and stood there. A quiet voice asked, "So Elijah, now tell me, what are you doing here?"' (I Kings 19:13)

Often times the pace of life moves so quickly we miss the small things...the sacred embedded in the ordinary. We miss the beautiful embedded in the common. We miss the quiet voice of God found in the gentle and quiet whisper.

grace and peace....

Monday, August 6, 2012


One of the by products of illness is tears. Tears of anger. Tears of sorrow. Tears of joy. Tears of relief.

We've seen a lot of tears during the Olympics. Tears of anger. Tears of sorrow. Tears of joy. Tears of relief.

I find it interesting that two very separate life events, illness and the Olympics are marked by tears.

Out of curiosity I took a look at what Wikipedia had to say about crying.

"According to a study of over 300 adults, on average, men cry once every month; women cry at least five times per month...

According to the German Society of Ophthalmology, which has collated different scientific studies on crying, women cry on average between 30 and 64 times a year, and men cry on average between 6 and 17 times per year.
Men tend to cry for between two and four minutes, and women cry for about six minutes..."

One day though, there will be no more sad tears. No more tears of anger, sorrow. What a day that will be!

"...and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)

grace and peace....

photo credit:

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Telling the Story

From the moment we are born and until we take our last breath we write our life story. But sometimes our story can feel as though it is stuck in a loop that plays and rewinds and plays and rewinds and... Sometimes it seems like all we are is one small segment of our story.

In his Art of Letting Go CD, Franciscan priest Richrd Rohr said, "Because the hurts of life are so great, you cannot let go of the pain on your own. At that point, you need to draw from a Larger Source." He goes on to say that "...forgiveness is changing your egoic investment in your own painful story—which too often has become your ticket, and sometimes your very identity."

I have to admit that these words made me step back and ask if this painful part of my story (this chapter as a caregiver to a spouse with cancer) was becoming my identity.

Those who know and love us are interested in our story. But there is a danger when telling our story feeds our ego. There is a danger when we "become" the painful story that we repeat over and over. We are more than just this moment in time. We must let go.

For sure Richard's words are true. We cannot let go of these painful chapters in our story on our own. We must draw from Christ the strength needed to separate who we are from what we are enduring.

grace and peace...

Friday, August 3, 2012

Shades of Grey

It is a blessing to live in a climate that has multiple months of grey....grey clouds and grey skies. Living in grey forces out the subtle side of beauty. Beauty that would be missed if one didn't make the effort to see it. It really comes down to a choice. Languish in the "grey-ness" or seek something good and beautiful.

Don't say, "Why were things better in the good old days?" It isn't wise to ask that kind of question. (Ecclesiastes 7:10)

Likewise it is easy to say that our lives used to be "less grey" or better...better before sickness...better before divorce...better before children (ha!)...better before a layoff...

In the "grey" moments of life what do we see? What good and beautiful thing is to be found in the murky soup we sometimes call life?

grace and peace...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Let Go!

I am blessed to have a wise friend in my life who by the grace of God knew I needed a little encouragement and accountability in order to restore a regular time of silent prayer back into the rhythm of my life. His offer meant making a choice. Deliberately setting aside time once a week to meet with other souls to share our experiences with prayer meant rearranging my priorities and letting go of some things.

It meant letting go of excuses as to why I couldn't do this. It meant letting go of the reluctance to be with people I had never met before. It meant letting go of ego that did its best to say, "You don't really need this".

All I had to do was let go and show up. I realized how parched and thirsty I was. I realized how my soul longed for a quiet place to rest in God's presence. I realized that what I had been longing for, what I had been struggling to articulate, was the desire to know God in a deeper and more intimate way.

"Here's what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won't be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace." (Matthew 6:7)

grace and peace...