Tuesday, November 25 2014
“At the root of all misery is unfulfilled desire.”
― Scott Hahn
Good morning, friends! Can you believe this weather??? 70 degrees??? Try to stay healthy, and enjoy the break!
A reading I experienced just this weekend related powerfully to today’s quote. I read of stress, which is closely related to misery. The article approached stress from the angle of expectations, which are closely related to desire. When desires, or expectations, are unmet, unfulfilled, or unreached, we are in an “un-“ position: unhappy, un-peaceful, un-joyful, un-restful. How do we un-tangle these “un-“ positions and find fulfillment? We appropriately manage our expectations and desires, if not completely eliminate them.
To suggest complete elimination of expectations and desires might seem downright “monk-ful” to you, but only because it is so unknown to you. Look at your life right now. If you are in an “un-“ position it is so likely because you see something unsatisfactory about life right now and you have set expectations and desires that are unmet. Maybe it’s work, or family, or friends, or health, or…. anything. But what if you looked at your life right now and said, “This is what is, and this is what I have, and if I want different I must begin working on it today, but I will not be unhappy with what is, because it is all I have and I am blessed.” Expectations and desires are gone, and comparisons with anyone else are eliminated, and “un-“ begins to fade away.
This Thanksgiving, be honest with yourself, and that is not to compare yourself, or demean yourself with expectations or desires, but to appreciate yourself as wonderful and blessed. Change your “un-“ to peaceful, happy, and whole this year. I wish for you just such a Thanksgiving, and to know that you are loved. Have a wonderful week.
Monday, November 17 2014
Remember that children, marriages, and gardens reflect the kind of care they get.
— H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Good morning friends! Did you survive the frigid weekend! What a crazy weather week it was last week. Kind of like life.
Around here in western North Carolina the leaves are showing their last bits of color (and boy! have they been beautiful this year) and are making the rapid fall to earth. When the wind blows it literally snows leaves. I’ve learned that fall leaves are a boon to my spring and summer garden. I collected a few bags of leaves from church to mix into my garden soil for a better harvest next year. Is that lesson kind of like life, too?
I wonder what kind of yield, quality and harvest I could expect if I treated my garden space with disrespect? Or my kids? Or my marriage? Or my health? Or my… anything? How about you? Do you expect to harvest good things in your life without taking care of the soil of your being?
In the early days of computer education this thought was called GIGO, garbage in, garbage out. In “My Fair Lady” it was asked if a silk purse could be fashioned from a sow’s ear. Yet every day our lives experiment with the reality of inputs and outputs. How are you taking care of yourself to ensure the good inputs you receive support the good outputs you seek?
I’ll bet there’s an area or two or ten of your life where you could step up your self care. Whatever it/they are, what’s holding you back? Will you make a commitment today for better self care? The one person sure to benefit is you! So get to it, a better you! I have faith you will do it! And have a great week.
3 John 1:2
Monday, November 10 2014
“I'd rather be encouraged by an ant to live than taught to doubt by fifty skeptics.”
Good morning, friends! I hope your morning is as beautiful a fall morning as mine is. The colors are everywhere!
I consider myself to be a pretty observant person; most of us think of ourselves that way. I like to observe nature, among other things. And in particular I like to observe spiders. Fascinating creatures, spiders are. Don’t be scared or squeamish; we’re just talking spiders, that’s all.
What I love about spiders are their webs. After a night of heavy dew I love to see the little spider webs all over the ground and bushes, just ready to catch the next meal. We also regularly have a collection of industrious spiders around the church who build the biggest, most elaborate webs between far flung structures. Whenever I see a web I stop and marvel for a moment at the ingenuity and effort of the spider. He or she would not be defeated.
In your life right now there are encouragers and discouragers; we all have them, and sometimes we all are them. Great things, simple things, beautiful things, challenging things, whatever they are they are simply next things, and I’ll bet you have next things inside you right now. Maybe it’s the next thing that will increase your happiness, or satisfaction, or peace, or security, or something else. Whatever it is, it’s the next thing that you seek. Or do you? Who’s winning in your life right now: the encouragers or the skeptics? One great encourager can propel you to greatness, and enough discouragement can destroy even the greatest dream. Is next in short order for you, or is next never for you?
Nobody tells the spider what he/she can or cannot do. The spider simply does it. Unfortunately you and I are not so free. We are influenced. How can you be influenced towards the next? How can I encourage you to live into the next? How can you release yourself to pursue the next? I’d love to observe that beauty, the next you. Find the encouragement, fight the discouragement, and live as only you can. Can you do that? I know you can! And I’ll pray for the next you seek while you work for it. Have a great week.
Tuesday, November 04 2014
“A man (person) does not have to be an angel to be a saint.”
― Albert Schweitzer
Happy Monday, friends! Did the time change catch you off guard today? I hope not!
Since yesterday was All Saints Sunday in many churches around the world I though it fitting to share this quote so true concerning saints. In the church I serve, on All Saints Sunday, we take time in the service to allow anyone to stand and share the name of a loved one who has died in the past year. It is one of my favorite worship moments each year and one of the most solemn experiences in worship. Yesterday nearly a score of names were shared as hearts were opened and love poured out. If you have lost a loved one or friend in the past year my heart is open to you.
In the many years of my pastoring I know one thing for sure: I have never, ever buried an angel. Leaving all metaphors aside I have buried many wonderful people, some people who lived their faith incredibly well, but never, ever an angel. Only flawed, imperfect humans.
At the best of funerals I see a gathering of love, not people. Hearts come together, open up, and love flows. Why? The reason is always the same in the best of funerals: the deceased person was a saint. They loved, shared, cared, helped, befriended, supported, remembered, and on and on. The work of a saint is that of true love. Is the work of true love for everyone? No; it’s hard work, thankless work, forgotten work. But if the saint has the commitment in the heart to be the spirit of true love, it will be missed by everyone in the end.
It didn’t take an angel. It didn’t take perfection. It only takes a desire to be love. Will you be love? It’s OK to be human, imperfect, flawed. Just through it all be love. I know you can; it’s right there in you! Be love this week, and feel the joy of it all!