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prayer wars

prayer

Yesterday-

Dear Lord,

I give my life to you in complete submission – (so far, so good) -but I am so worried about what is happening in our country. Show me what you would have me do and Lord, give me some direction so that I can see where and what you would have me do –

 

Even as I am praying, I can hear Jesus’ words, “The wind blows where ever it pleases. You hear its sound, but cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.  So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” John 3:8

Submitting to His authority is not an easy thing. I admit that I am most submitted to God when I find myself backed into a corner with no other choices. It’s surprisingly easy to let God take the lead when you own hands are tied. But when we have choices in front of us, it’s difficult to wait on God to open a way for you. Rather than submit, we think we need to make the decision and then forge ahead hoping that we are in line with what God had planned for us. Truth be told, I often do this and God, just as often, has to correct my path to get me back on track. Thank God, literally, that He never lets me stray too far.

Today-

Dear Lord,

I give my life to you in complete submission – (so far, so good) – but I am struggling with everything that is happening.  Can you show me what you would have me do so that I can move ahead –

Even as I am praying, I can hear Jesus’ words, “Give us each day our daily bread” Luke 11:3

Oh yeah, He will give us what we need each day. We don’t need to worry about it or even ask for it. We want the plan to be laid out for us and forget to accept each day as the gift that it is.

Though my prayers are honest, there is a difference between honestly pouring out all your fears and doubts and worries to God and telling Him how you want those things fixed. We can and must talk with God about all our anxiety – He already knows what is troubling you! How comforting is it that we don’t have to put on our happy face for God but can talk with Him heart to Heart and soul to Soul, confident that He won’t push us away or laugh at our fears. Just know that whatever He has given you today, is exactly what you need even if you are not in a place to understand that need.

Anxiety levels have been high for me lately. I am trying to let God lead me but I keep trying to clutch at the strangest little things to maintain some type of control. Keeping lists is a great way to keep anxiety in check but I am finding myself making complex, ever evolving lists that are actually causing me more anxiety! When will I learn? If I ask God for anything, it should be for more faith as the apostles did (Luke 17:5).

Then I hear Jesus’ words, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27).” Jesus continues a bit further in this passage to tell his followers that the evil one who is in this world has no hold on Himself. He has already triumphed! But for those of us still in the midst of daily strife, it can become hard to see and that is when I panic. Only the peace of Christ can reach beyond my panic and release me from this prison cell.

So I pray again…

Dear Lord,

I give my life to you in complete submission – (so far, so good)– but I am still scared and worried. Hold me. Amen

pray 4

 


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As Summer Winds Down

end of summer

It’s a curious thing about getting older. Some concerns become more immediate while others are mercifully softened. Dreams that once seemed wildly out of reach have gracefully deflated a bit. Principles that I once felt were battle-worthy have softened and the thought of compromise no longer makes me gag. Goals that once were hard-set in concrete have become things that I am easily distracted from and rabbit trails are often preferable. Even grief has lost its ragged edges and I can think of my lost loved ones with a certain peace and sweet comfort.

Is it just the years passing by? One season of life giving way to the next, as August sunshine melts into September’s cool breezes?

I think it’s much bigger. I think I am coming to terms with a faith that has led me to a place where I  no longer have to be the center of my own universe. I can let the One who is bigger take His proper place in my life and everything else seems to fall into line behind Him.

If you look at the stories of people of faith in the Bible, you will see that they had no more faith than I- often less – but what faith they had was a cornerstone for their lives. In their stories we see peace, courage, love, joy and so much more that is given to them to by God. These virtues affected every decision that they made and were a gift from God to His people as they learned to trust Him.  Those same gifts are still offered to us today. We do not have to be more loving or more patient or wiser or stronger. We only have to learn to trust God and even that ability to trust comes from His hand as we bow at His feet in submission and prayer. And somewhere in all the everyday bustle, we find that we are able to give more and more of ourselves to God and let Him decide how and where to pour us out. We no longer have to be in on every decision or carry every burden singlehandedly. We can feel past pain and tears begin to fade and lose their power over us. Slowly we learn to use that most elusive of all gifts – we learn to live by faith.

text end of summer on beach

Most people feel nostalgic as the summer season winds down. For me, the end of summer is very difficult and that has not lessened with the passing of years. I mourn the loss of my mother 45 years ago and my first born son 24 years ago. The mourning is just as deep but hope thru Christ is deeper still. Where my grief once dropped me to my knees and darkness threatened to overpower me, it is now tempered with the love of Christ, the promises of the Heavenly Father and the sheer energy of the Holy Spirit. Though I still cry, I can also rejoice through those same tears. Not that grief still can’t sucker punch me as it is doing today but I am learning to walk by faith – and maybe even to run.

 

running on beach


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Perhaps … Reflections of Psalm 85

 

Love and faithfulness meet together;

Righteousness and peace kiss each other.

Faithfulness springs from the earth,

And righteousness looks down from Heaven.

The LORD will indeed give what is good,

And our land will yield its harvest.

Righteousness goes before him

And prepares the way for his steps.

Psalm 85:10-13

psalm-85-10-kiss

People are calling for peace while our country lives in a state of war. Fifty years after the Civil Rights movement of the 60’s revolutionized our world, we are distraught to see that we have forgotten what we were fighting for and racism has still not been dealt with or better, done away with. We cry out for justice and peace while pointing fingers and calling names. We demand that others agree with our viewpoint. If they disagree we label them as either monsters or idiots. We are so concerned with our being “right” that we forget to listen to what another is trying to say. We want togetherness yet we are farther apart than we ever were before. That division is most clearly seen in our hatred, anger and fear of each other.

And my heart is broken.

love during riots 2We call out, “Be kind, can’t we just be kind”? This is a good question, but I am afraid that it isn’t enough. At least, not for me. I am not a good enough person, unable to be kind all the time to all people. I am prone to anger and often react in hurt or fear rather than love. I am human and therefore subject to all the human inadequacy implied.

 

I love Psalm 85 for many reasons. It tells what a Christian perspective of life should be. It pulls together all the virtues that God calls us to exhibit in our daily lives and says. “This is what I am calling you to”. The words of this Psalm show what prayer should look like in times of crisis and yet, celebrate the promises of salvation that Christians should base their lives on.

When I cannot understand what I am seeing around me, I turn to God’s Words for an anchor of hope, faith and truth to help me through.

Love and faithfulness meet together

“Love” refers to all of its glorious forms. The love of God, how we love Him and how He loves us, the love between family, love of spouse, love of a child and love of friends are all included in that one magnificent word. And love creates faithfulness. Your heart will be truly aligned with that which you love.

love during riots 1

Righteousness and peace kiss each other

Let’s define righteousness as “being in a right relationship with God”. I was taught that a long time ago and have never found a better definition. It’s very different from how we generally define righteousness. Our society thinks of righteousness as being so certain of your position that you become arrogant in your thinking. But God always has a better definition for us. In biblical terms, righteousness means being in a loving relationship with God. It means admitting that you don’t know everything and desparately need God. It means allowing God to take leadership of your life. It means admitting that you are a sinner in need of forgiveness and accepting that Jesus’ death is enough to cover all that you have to repent of. When I am not fighting with God, but allowing Him to be in control, I am at peace. The storm may still be swirling around me, but inside I have a peace that no amount of hate can wipe away. And righteousness and peace do ‘kiss” – what a beautiful image!

Faithfulness springs forth from the earth

The need to be faithful is an earthly struggle. God simply is faithful but for us, faith is a gift given to us when we are in that right relationship with God and it will sustain us thru this earthly life.

And righteousness looks down from heaven

To be in a right relationship, or to be righteous, is a gift extended from God that will continue into eternity. In other words, we can have communion with God now and forever.

The LORD gives what is good, and our land will yield its harvest

The gifts that God gives us include His love, grace and mercy. He gives us the right to be forgiven and thus, included in His family as a cherished child of the King. What we do with those gifts determines what will be harvested. Although I have seen much beauty, we are currently experiencing frightening violence that should be a wake- up call. There is much work to be done in our own hearts and in our communities as we learn to love as God loves.

Righteousness goes before him and prepares his steps

Perhaps all we need is to focus on our personal relationship with God. Where is God in my life right now? What I am still trying to control on my own? If God promises to prepare the way for me, why am I still struggling so much? And there it is – we mistake the external struggle with a sin-stained world for the internal struggle with giving God the control He uses to lay daily paths for each of us.

Perhaps if I tend to my relationship with God, He will tend to my peace. As we grow as Christ followers and grow into an understanding of true peace within, perhaps we will see peace beginning to affect the world around us. First with our family and friendships, then into our communities and around the world.

love during riots 3

Of course, none of this is possible without first bowing to Christ. Yes, I can promise to do better for my fellow man. I can promise to love more and hate less. But on my own, I will fail. I need Christ to teach me to love without limits, without expecting anything in return. This will never be perfected in my earthy state but every time I try to show true compassion, I am spreading a bit of that elusive kindness.

Perhaps that is how it starts.

love during riots 4


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Poppies and Parables

Looks magnificent, doesn’t it?97734621_10223213347861216_764086291255001088_o

The first few years that we lived in our house we were thrilled to see these poppies bloom and multiply each year on the side of our house along the driveway. I never planted them. They seeded themselves and returned each spring in vibrant color. I would see them growing along the side of my neighbor’s house and we believe that the easterly breezes would blow the seeds towards us where they would settle along a protected corner of the house, landing in the fertile soil of my little flower bed by the side porch door. My neighbors were not gardeners and probably didn’t even realize that the poppies were growing on the eastern side of their home. They never tended to them or tried to enrich the soil in anyway. Within a few years, their wild poppies died out but the seeds that had found their way into my gardens flourished. Soon we were the only house on the street with such beautiful poppies. That is, until a few years ago. The poppies started to die out and 2 years ago we only had a few spindly plants left. My husband believes that the grass fertilizer that he had spread near there may have killed them. He carefully cleaned the weeds out and build up the soil to give the malnourished poppies a chance to grow. Last year we had a few more poppies and now this year, there are even more blooming.

Seeds need good soil, sunlight and nutrients to grow. They need a farmer who is willing to care for them and protect them from encroaching weeds, drought or cold nights. They may sprout up quickly from a lucky breeze but that is no guarantee that they will bloom and thrive.

As an amateur gardener, I have always been partial to the stories that Jesus told about farming. In the parable of the sower (Matthew 13) Jesus drew a comparison to a seed growing in fertile soil with the Word of God finding a place and growing in a person’s heart.  In Jesus’ parable, the seed that was planted on hard soil was quickly snatched away. It never stood a chance. Some seed fell on rocky soil and wasn’t able to establish roots. It started to grow but soon withered and died. Seed planted among the weeds also died, unable to compete with the larger thorns. Only the seed that fell onto good soil sprouted and grew.poppies-field-of-poppies-blooming-poppies-flowers

 

I try to look honestly at my own heart. When I see an attitude of self-centeredness rearing its head, I know that my heart is becoming like that hard or rocky soil. God’s love will not grow within such a heart. When I manage to give priority to everything but God, I am allowing weeds and thorns to cover the good soil that God had cultivated over the years. I’ve found that the things that threaten my growth are not always easy to see. Weeds creep in when least expected and distractions can cause us to lose our focus on a daily basis. Since we live in a world in which evil prowls like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8), we must be constantly alert to any weakening of our relationship with God. We must pay attention to the strength and vigor of our prayer life. Look for joy in unexpected places and realize that God is speaking to you in that moment. Ask God to show you how to help others rather than helping yourself. In this way, we cherish and nuture the seeds of the kingdom of Heaven that God has planted inside a believer’s heart.

poppy

May we grow and bloom like vibrant poppies as we entrust our lives to the Master Gardener who watches over us more diligently than I do my own gardens. May He who controls the rain and the winds and sunshine, give us only what we need in each season of our lives. May the God of all the universe continue to choose our lowly stable of a heart to be His residence and may I dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

This is my prayer.


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See You On The Other Side- hopefully soon!

quaratine

It’s been rainy and chilly for over a week as we slide into Week 6 of Covid-19 quarantine. Truth be told, I have no idea of what week it is but #6 sounds about right. Mental stability is questionable due to a prolonged lack of sunshine and fresh air so I probably should not be trying to write but let’s live dangerously.

I was at my local CVS the other day to pick up some vitamin supplements – a necessity- and blush – just thought I needed something new. I approached the check out counter.

quarantine 4

my husband and I preparing for a grocery trip.

One of the perks of the pharmacy having their own drive up window is that the store itself is very quiet. There was no line to wait on. Just walk right up to the appropriate six foot distance and place your items on the table that separates you and the cashier. She ignored the vitamins and reached for the blush. “Such a pretty shade!” she exclaimed. “Not that I can see what this will look like on you but I think it will compliment your skin nicely.” I laughed and returned. “Not that anyone will see it with this mask on.” We talked about the new lipstick that she had found and was currently wearing. She couldn’t lower her mask and I couldn’t see it but for those few brief moments, things seemed almost normal. We were talking about things that don’t amount to a hill of beans in the grand scheme of life and it felt great. Can anyone relate?

I’m tired of disinfecting light switches. I am sick of red and raw hands that no amount of lotion is helping. I am so bored walking around my block day after day. The neighbor’s dogs don’t bark anymore when I walk by. I don’t think they even notice.

I realize that there are many that have been living with enforced isolation due to chronic health conditions for a long time now. This has certainly deepened my understanding and hopefully, my compassion for others. And when we are finally on the other side of this quarantine, I hope that I remember these thoughts and act accordingly.

On a positive note, I love how society has slowed down and allowed us to connect on quaranine 3different levels. On my town FB page, I see people offering to trade puzzles and books. Others are sharing supplies of yeast and other baking ingredients. One friend gave us a loaf of the most delicious cinnamon bread which I have been enjoying with my breakfast all week. My husband even agreed to cut my hair – with my coaching – and we are still on speaking terms. I draw the line at doing the color at home, though. Messy, smelly and is tough on your arms if your hair is long. Definitely looking forward to some salon pampering when restrictions are lifted.

quarantine 2

There are good things happening all around us. You just need to adjust where you choose to focus. Think about how you can be a part of something good and then get off the couch and do it. (that last part is for me, but if it applies to you too – go for it!)

 

See you on the other (quarantine) side!

 

 

 


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Quarantine Time Can Be a Good Thing

introvert

As an introvert, I am finding it surprisingly easy to quarantine. I am home with my husband and son and we try to stay out of each other’s way. I am able to do my grocery shopping once a week and have a nice big backyard with some simple gardens and bird feeders set up. I enjoy trying my hand at nature photography. I am able to work from home. My church has set up a Zoom account for our small groups, Bible studies and Youth group to use. In my household, we are all working and so far, healthy. Even though the days are starting to melt together and I am getting far too attached to my bathrobe and slippers, it’s actually been going quite well.

Not that I don’t get lonely and miss my friends and co-workers. I would love to go out to dinner with the gang or just an impromptu trip to the store with suiting up with gloves and masks and trying to make it up and down the aisles without actually talking to anyone. But I’ve also been noticing some very subtle signs that God is showing me. Reminders that He is watching over us all.

For example- I always have a few paperbacks that I would pick up and save for vacation. Since we will not be able to go anywhere this summer and I find myself with time on my readinghands now, I started to read one. It was a very predictable, somewhat corny fictional novel. Certainly not winning any awards, yet, written with a gentleness that I found so comforting. As I wrap up my work day, which can be rather depressing these days, I’ve been curling up to read for a bit. This story was very sweet and the characters so likable that I found myself getting caught up in what, under any other circumstances, would have been a boring read for me. And I realized that I needed that sweet, predictable story to counteract the gloominess of the Covid-19 news that I am surrounded by.

cat-at-windowAnother example – lately my work has been very busy and I am working more hours than I would like. I was looking forward to afternoon walks and sitting on the deck with said book but the weather has not been cooperative. Way too chilly, windy and rainy for outdoor time to be enjoyable. So I have been able to keep working without resenting the time I am kept indoors.

I know that these are not particularly exciting examples of God’s love for us. It would be a lot more fun if I had some crazy, miraculous story to share. But this is it and for me, it is more than enough. I share these things to say that I am finding God in every detail of my day and it is wonderfully comforting during these stressful times. I know that He has always been there, but right now, I am in need of these reminders. As life has slowed down, I am becoming more and more aware of His hands in the moments of my everyday life. Unfortunately, as fears creep in – so do doubts. I don’t need to hear the latest death counts or how many people have tested positive. I know that numbers are frighteningly high. I need to know that my Savior is right here with me during this quarantine. I need to be reminded that the eyes that are on the sparrow are on me too. And God has obliged my fears and doubts by showing me His control of even the mundane details of my days. Like which book to pick on an overcrowded bookshelf.

Thank you, Lord, that when we are scared, you are watching us and orchestrating those tiny details that we don’t even notice. Thank you that You are our strong tower in times of weakness, the wing underneath which we can shelter, the Father who protects His children. I am fearful and feeling weak, in need of protection more than ever these days. Yet You are not disappointed in me. In fact, You have gone to great lengths to show me that You are right here for me and always will be. I ask protection over our brave frontline heroes and all those who have had their lives turned upside down with this pandemic. I ask for healing for those who are suffering and comfort for those who are mourning. But most of all, I ask for You,

Your presence,

Your love and grace over our world.

Thank you El Shaddaisky 1


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Good Friday Thoughts

cross crown of thorns

Imagine that you are a contemporary of Jesus. You are 12 years old. You and your extended family are making the pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. As the Passover ends and the family prepares to return home, no one notices that Jesus is not with his family. Maybe they assume that he is playing with you but you haven’t seen him all day and assume that he is with his parents. The next day his parents return to the city and find him in the temple. When they ask him what he is doing, he answers:

 Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” 

 Luke 2:49

None of you understood his words, but Jesus knew exactly what he was saying. A more literal translation would be that he must “be about his Father’s things”. And that meant a plan of salvation for the world. But you didn’t know that then.

But Jesus- even at the tender age of 12 – knew and grew up into that plan anyway.

Imagine that you are one of those traveling with Jesus through the Judean countryside. You listen intently to his stories and sometimes they make sense to you. Then he says something like this and you hope you are not understanding it correctly.

 Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled.  He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him;  they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”

 Luke 18:31-33

Jesus knew what was awaiting Him and still He pressed on.

Jesus has called you together for a Passover dinner, but this one is not like any of the Passovers that you have celebrated before. You might not even notice when Jesus says to Judas:

As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.

So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.”

John 13:27

Jesus knew what Judas would do, yet He sent him anyway.

 

Imagine if you will, that you are in the court of Pilate and witness this exchange between the two men.

 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

“What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.

John 18:37-38

Jesus is the truth but Pilate wasn’t listening, so Jesus let the trial play out, knowing the conclusion to come.

The soldiers led Jesus away. You’ve heard the stories of what soldiers do to condemned prisoners.

They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him,  and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said.

Matthew 27:28-29

Did anyone remember the mention of thorns for the Scriptures. In Genesis 3, they are a sign of sinfulness and the curse that God has put upon the world. Now Jesus wears the sins of the world as a crown.

cross-and-crown-of-thorns

Jesus knew the price of our sins – He will pay it anyway.

And then, the cross. You are among the crowds and hear His words. At that moment, it all comes together in your mind and you realize what has just happened.

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

John 19:30

Even the guards watching said, “Surely he was the Son of God”.

 

Jesus knew the road ahead and walked it anyway. He did it for you and me and all humanity. He followed the plan laid out long for Golgotha, long before Pilate’s court, long before a sleepy town of Bethlehem played host to a King in a stable. Jesus knew all along what we can only glimpse at and He did it anyway. His job now finished, He voluntarily surrenders Himself to it. His choice, His work, His life breathed out for us.

Remember what He did. Know who He is. Honor Him as your King. Love Him as your Saviour.

cross 1

 

 


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Beauty Within

different heart

Within every tragedy, lies great beauty

Seriously, have you noticed how everyone, from large corporations to small children are stepping up to help during the COVID-19 pandemic? From a country that only a few weeks before was divided over deep political lines, we are now working together for a common goal. I have seen heart-warming stories of factories being refitted to produce ventilators and PPE (personal protection equipment). Crafters are making fabric face masks to donate to local hospitals and craft stores are starting to donate the supplies. Truckers and grocery store workers are putting in long hours and exposing themselves to potential infections to ensure that goods are available. NBA players have put down their basketballs and picked up their pens to write checks for the arena workers now unemployed. Musicians, actors and writers are going on line to entertain those of us stuck at home during this time of quarantine. Distilleries are making hand sanitizer. I saw that stores like Home Depot were donating masks and gyms that have been forced to close are donating antiseptic wipes to hospitals. Even kids, can help out. A recent “ChalkTheWalk” campaign had kids writing and drawing inspirational messages on their sidewalks to cheer those out walking in their neighborhood. Adults responded by placing Teddy bears in their windows so that parents can take their kids on a neighborhood “bear hunt”. They get exercise, fresh air and the challenge of counting how many bears they can find in their neighbor’s windows.

mr rogers

Mr. Roger’s once said that his mother told him to look for the helpers in a bad situation. They are always there. We are seeing that played out today in so many ways as everyday people step up with creative ways to serve and encourage each other. Just this morning, I saw a Facebook post in my town inviting everyone to step outside at 7pm and make some noise – clap, cheer, ring a bell – to show appreciation for those brave souls on the front lines – health care workers, police, EMT, fire, grocery and restaurant workers, truckers and so many more who are keeping us going.

I wish it was always like this but sadly, the human heart can be a dark place.heart and arrow

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”

Jeremiah 17:9

We need only look at the paper goods aisle in the local grocery store to see the depths we can sink to. Stores now have to place ration amounts on paper goods. Registers are keyed to only ring up one paper good item per order at my local store.

Empty_supermarket_shelves_before_Hurricane_Sandy,_Montgomery,_NY

If we hold the Bible to be true – and I do – then how can we explain the outpouring of love that we are currently experiencing?

I love the chorus of the song “Grace tells another story” by Mercy Me.mercy me

“We’ve been told that the heart is just too far gone to save,

But Grace tells us another story”

And that is the answer – not my graciousness, though. Notice the word grace is spelled with a capital G. It is God’s grace that saves us from ourselves. God always offers a second chance, and a third and a fourth…

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”

2 Corinthians 12:9

The human race is capable of great love and compassion because we have been made in the image of a loving and compassionate God. Unfortunately, it usually takes a tragedy of some type to bring out the best in us. Though we may be weak and fallible, God’s grace is always available and His love is unending. He is waiting for us to turn to Him. The key is to stay turned to Him even after this crisis passes. Don’t forget the prayers you pray this month when you are back at work and school as this time of quarantine ends. We will come out of this stronger and hopefully kinder than before. The only true tragedy would be if we forget everything that we are learning over the next few weeks. Fortunately, He is a God of second chances and only asks for our love in return.

grace changes everything

 

 


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Covid 19 and the last bunch of bananas

Empty_supermarket_shelves_before_Hurricane_Sandy,_Montgomery,_NY

I spent last Friday morning packing up my desk in preparation to work remotely. It was very surreal as we dismantled phones and computers that would be needed for an extended work from home experiment. The president would be addressing the nation that afternoon and I wanted to hear what he had to say, so I hurried through my grocery shopping. Even with all the panic buying that has been happening, this local store was relatively calm, though busy. Shelves were emptying fast and people were starting to show the strain. Most would not look me in the eye. If they did, I was met with a sheepish grin and a shoulder shrug. I moved to the meat department to see what was left. There were six small steaks and a young man jumped in front of me and grabbed them all. Then he glanced at me and put one back. I guess that was his idea of sharing. I turned toward the aisles. First up was pasta. I found a few stray cans of sauce and a few boxes. There were eight boxes of spaghetti and a woman was grabbing quickly and throwing them in her cart. Again, she looked at me and then put one back. No one was talking. Everyone was focused on their mission and everything felt strange.

“Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

John 8:7

I didn’t want to become a judgmental stone-thrower but these two incidents really rubbed me the wrong way. In all fairness, I don’t know what may be happening in other’s homes. Maybe steak guy had an anemic wife who needed red meat more than I did. What if pasta lady’s kid was going through his spaghetti and peanut butter stage? Kids can be tough with things like that, especially when they are under stress like we all are these days. Whatever, I was now on edge as I headed towards the check out.

There was a gentleman behind me with a few items in his hands. I let him get in front of me. I would do my good deed. When it was my turn, I loaded everything on the belt. I had quite a bit of produce, anything that I felt would last in the refridgerator for a few weeks. As the cashier was ringing up the last items, he lifted a bunch of bananas to be weighed. An elderly lady behind said, “You found bananas? There weren’t any left when I looked.” The cashier had already put them in the bag and had moved on. I turned to the lady and said, “Well, that little bunch (and they were little) was the last bunch”. We both smiled and she said that she had found other produce and was happy with that.

I share this to show how easily this can happen to all of us. Here I was complaining about others taking the last on the shelf and yet when I took the last banana, I didn’t offer to split that bunch with her. How quickly I had fallen from my moral high horse. I am so ashamed and embarrassed at my behavior, but that’s how subtly panic can affect you.

So remember to give each other a break as the weeks go by. Relearn to share again like when we had to share our favorite color crayon in kindergarten. It’s the same principle.

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Share the crayon, split that last bunch of bananas, cast no stones and above all, wash your hands. We’ll get through this together even though from our separate homes.

Be well, my friends.


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Happy birthday to me!!!

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Today is my birthday – a milestone birthday. One of those birthdays that you are both excited about and dread it’s coming at the same time. This is the big 6-0 birthday and I find myself both looking forward and becoming retrospective.

On the plus side, many grocery stores offer a senior discount on Tuesdays and the local craft store often has 60 and over coupons that I can finally use. I no longer have to worry about forgetting people’s names because as a member of the grey brigade, I am allowed to forget and no one gets too uptight about it. People will make excuses for you and finally start to accept you as you are. You’ll hear yourself described as “colorful” or “she’s led such an interesting life”, for the same things that made you an irresponsible dreamer forty years ago. Funny how things balance out.

On the other hand, there are those gray hairs and wrinkles and when the doctor asks me where does it hurt, I have to write out a list to read so I don’t forget all the bizarre places that are aching.

20191026_111930I don’t remember where I read it (I’m old, you know, deal with it), but someone wrote about loving the colors of fall because the leaves age so beautifully. I really need to hear that because in today’s society, it’s so easy to get caught up in a youth culture that fears aging.

While I may not find the grays, the wrinkles and the extra pounds physically beautiful, I’m realizing that the lessons I am learning have a different beauty all their own. A beauty that is spiritual. A beauty that stands outside of time.

I have learned, and am still learning, patience. I have found many things that are worth waiting for – like taking time to develop relationships,72042305_10220759514636919_8985923704743526400_o

making time for long walks,

or waking up in time to see a sunrise and still slowing down enough to enjoy the sunset of the same day.

I am developing an empathy and compassion that is much wider than that of my self-centered youth and springs from patience.

I am walking with a faith that has become a quiet bedrock to base my life upon, but also, a springboard for action when needed.

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A birthday prayer – Thank you Lord, for calling me to yourself. I would not have chosen the paths that you laid for me, but looking back, I can see that your hand of guidance was always with me. So, Lord, let me live my senior years with the vividness of fall leaves on a crisp autumn day. Let me enjoy the gentle breezes as much as the strong gusts of winds and not question where they send me. Let me live with a vibrancy and beauty that is deeper than the rich green of my early spring ever was.

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