Everyday Spirituality

Posts tagged ‘God’

From a Distance

Musings on the word Distance

Last week I did not post here because I was out in the middle of ocean on a cruise.

We were quite a distance from land most of the time. My mother, her good friend, and my sister and her husband were also with us. It gave us more than just a few hours to be together. While we all live a short distance apart we do not spend that much time together. For my mother, who is a sharp eighty five, walking around the ship was quite a distance.

I began to ponder the word distance. Distant relationship…Distant learning…Distant loved ones…Distant hearts…Distant from God

And then of course Bette Midler’s popular song ‘From a Distance’ came to mind. I have been a long time fan of her so I knew this song well. I posted the lyrics on my scripture blog this week too.

distance measuring tape

 Distance…the amount of space between two things or people…the fact or condition of being apart…remoteness…there are some fifteen meanings for this word…mostly related to mathematics…reading down the list I stop at number ten…

A withholding of intimacy; alienation; coldness; disagreement; variance;  restraint; reserve.

Here are my musings as they randomly came to me so please do not try to make any real sense from their order. One thing I am sure of is that even in death ‘distance’ is of little consequence; if there remains the one constant…LOVE.

Long distance learning…

Long distance love affairs….

Long distance phone calls…

Better to watch some things from a distance…

Shortest distance between 2 points…a straight line…

Working from a distance…

From a distance the planet Earth looks like a giant marble…

distant-stars-and-cresent-moon

New Galaxies have been discovered in the distance…

In the distance the city skyline can be seen above the horizon…

In the distance the city lights form patterns in the darkness as observed from high above in the air…

In the distance lightning streaks across the stormy sky…

From a distance the moon appears to hang in the trees tops…

From a distance history becomes the ‘good ole days’…

From a distance things seem smaller…

From a distance a jet is but a speck in the blue sky…

From a distance a cruise ship is but a child’s toy in the immense ocean…

Not-so-distant%20tanker

The Wise Men followed the distant star to Bethlehem…

From a distance the ringing of the country church bells roll over the grassy hillside…

One can suffer from a numb distant heart…

The lonely often have a distant stare in their eyes…

On several occasions Jesus healed from a distance…

Only we can distance ourselves from God…

Distance never separates two hearts that really love…not even death…

The distant dance of sun and rain reflects the colors of the rainbow…

From a distance God can open our eyes, ears, and hearts…

Faith is often the catalyst for healing from a distance by Jesus…

Some people live their entire lives at a distance from everyone else.

Jesus transcended our entire concept of distance when he came down from heaven to live among us. From a distance God has every hair on our head counted. From a distance he watches over us. From a distance he is present.

From a distance he fills us with a desire to be in his presence.

I have come to believe that the word distance is not part of God’s vocabulary.

Only we humans experience this concept of Distance.

Distance exists in all directions around us…God alone fills the space.

with lovehttp://youtu.be/i5_YAj9lCQc

Evidence of Trust

There are times when I trust in myself, but more and more often I must trust in the Lord.

Today we live in a society where an attitude of trust is difficult to maintain. Some almost think it is naïve to trust. We are routinely misled and deceived by what we see, hear, and even taste. The medical environment is certainly not an area where we can place our trust.

I think maybe God is the only one you can completely trust. You can rely on him in every conceivable situation.

 

Printed on our money is the phrase ‘in God we trust’, but today I wonder what those words mean. We can hardly trust our government or the politicians of today to mean what they say. We are being led into the weary land of the skepticism.

In recent years we have came to the sad realization that we cannot trust our teachers, our ministers, or our law enforcement, to name just a few.

The headlines reveal things are not as they appear. 

Things are not as they should be.

So where do we turn? There is only one person to whom we can trust with total confidence and that is of course God. But even then we struggle, at least I have. I trust but with reservations. I want to completely trust but there is that sense of hesitation hanging over my head. It is hard to trust with your whole heart.

So many of those we meet are masters of deceit; which is precisely why God gives us so many reasons to trust him. And it is also why we need to be constantly reminded by God that we should trust him.

I have had several personal reminders myself from God concerning trust.

God says even in the midst of crashing waves, trembling earth quakes, loss of loved ones, distant travels even on a blue bus…you can trust me. I will take care of you. I will bless you. I will give you sufficient grace.

Trust seems to always be supported with scaffolding, ropes, and pulleys. We all want to trust but we need some tools of support to let ourselves trust. Trust precipitates more trust and more trust results in greater trust, and greater trust leads to deeper trust. With the greatest, deepest, and most reliable trust remaining with God.

 

I must remind myself to trust each time doubts begin to stir within my heart. The feelings of turbulence are a clear reminder to recall the many times the Lord has taken care of me or my loved ones. Trusting God is so much easier than trusting anyone or anything else. You can count on God to never fool you, deceive you, or mislead you.

Scripture verses on trust:

Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD,

have never forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:10

…when I am afraid, in you I place my trust. Psalm 56:4

He shall not fear an ill report; his heart is steadfast,

trusting the LORD. Psalm 112:7

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,

on your own intelligence do not rely…Proverbs 3:5

I invite you to spend some time this week praying with these verses on trust.

Ask God to open your heart to his trust as you go about your daily life.

This is what I am seeking; to be open to God’s trust.

The Simple Life (Part 2)

The Simple life means you only carry the necessities with you. Could you live out of just one suitcase? I admit my makeup is considered a necessity for me. Okay, I am vain when it comes to my appearance.

So what else did I decide to be a necessity? 

My computer so that I can write no matter where I may be sleeping that night…my iPod, music for me is one of the greatest ways to keep inspired…my Magnificat for the prayers…the Kindle for reading.

When you go on vacation you also simplify your life,even if it is only for a couple weeks.

Just as when you are facing a terminal illness you decide that as long as your loved ones are nearby then you can endure much more.

As humans, we draw strength from our loved ones.

My husband and I are here to support one another no matter what life may bring including one bathroom and two feet of kitchen counter space.

Each night we fill our tiny juice tumblers with some of our boxed wine (yes, I did mean boxed wine) and toast to the end of another simple day.

The Simple Life can still be a Quality Life.

You can decide what your attitude will be with any hand dealt to you in life.

 

 

I certainly learned from my friend how important your attitude is especially when things are not going to your liking.

I will look for everything I can to make this a positive experience. 

Each new day we have the choice to make it the best day ever no matter what.

We have our love, our God, and as a friend recently reminded me…

we have our Guardian Angels.

Who knows we may come to prefer this Simple Life;

where two forks, two spoons, two burners,

and two feet of counter space may not be that bad after all.

Join me in celebration of the Simple things in life…

God, Family, and Friends.

May each of you be blessed,

as only God knows your real needs.

Do You Ever Feel Stripped?

Romans 8:28, 31 “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose…If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Throughout life we are stripped in many different situations. Daily we strip from our clothes in order to cleanse our body. Thus we have the sanitary reason for stripping. Whenever I make my annual gynecological visit stripping is also required. Thus we have the medical reason for stripping.

Refinishing furniture requires stripping off the old finish. A stripped screw can no longer function properly. And of course we have the whole adult entertainment industry where stripping is used to attract and tempt men and women.

There are other examples of stripping I could include, but I want to focus on feeling stripped as a result of a death. A stripping you cannot control; more on that a little later.

The idea here of feeling stripped is about loss; not of clothing but of emotional support. Since losing my friend I have felt stripped of her presence. It is like I do not have my complete wardrobe.

Looking into my ‘closet’ I am not able to find an acceptable substitute. I get dressed, but always something is missing. I feel things do not coordinate together. Something I highly valued has been stripped from my life.

Throughout our lives we are involuntary stripped of things we hold dear…material things….money…personal security…peace of mind…hopes…and dreams…health…the list could go on.

I know in my heart that it is more about how I react than to what I perceive is being stripped from me. This realization requires vigilance.

I often try to connect situations in my life with a familiar biblical story. When I think of being stripped I picture Jesus being stripped of his clothes. He chose to submit to this humiliating act allowing the soldiers to strip him and cast lots for his garments. No greater Love!

Without clothes you are naked and vulnerable to the external elements. Without clothes you lose some protection. There is nothing to cover your sensitive skin. The death of my close friend to me is much like being stripped.   I feel vulnerable.

Being stripped of your soul friend leaves you without familiar cover. Not that you can hide inside your clothing, but the friendship provides a safe place. Within friendship that which is less than perfect and hidden from others is accepted by your friend. Inside the clothing of friendship you are not preoccupied with what others think. You are accepted and loved for just being…you. You can actually be better at who you are.

Occasionally I have left home without something as simple as my earrings. It seems ridiculous, but I feel naked without earrings. I know it makes no sense. Earrings are a very small part of being dressed.

I feel stripped and vulnerable without my friend, but at the same time there is this sense of freedom. This sense of freedom almost makes me feel guilty. Freedom seems to contradict the loss and feelings of being stripped. A freedom from being stripped is the freedom from expectations.

Piet Mondrian

As we approach Lent I invite you to consider; what you can strip from your own life. During Lent we have the freedom to look at our lives and decide what we can strip away in order to have a closer relationship with the Lord.

We can ask ourselves these questions, “What am I hiding behind?

What is compromising my acceptance of God’s plan for me?”

“What am I clutching onto for dear life?”

Like St. Paul I often do not know how to pray as I ought; especially when I feel stripped, vulnerable and sometimes even deserted by God.

Beside the Beloved

This beautiful youtube video spoke just what I needed to hear last night.

The Beloved is here beside me speaking in a gentle whisper. Be still and you too will hear; the God who loves you is in the gentle breeze. God is not in the raging fire…God is not in the trembling of the earthquake…

These verses from the book of Kings have always been a reminder to me. A reminder to be aware of the slightest inkling of the presence of God. He surrounds us, without restricting or binding us, with his presence.

1 Kings 19:11-13 

 The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”

   Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

   Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”


Restless…Body, Mind, and Soul

This has been a difficult few days. Sitting…waiting…just “Be-ing” in the moment and yet at the same time feeling restless. Where is this restlessness coming from? I watch my friend tossing and turning in her hospital bed. She cannot get comfortable too many tubes too many interruptions… vital signs. Even the slightest move…even in slow motion takes every ounce of energy from her frail body. I try to help, but where do I place my hands to not cause her more discomfort?  Sometimes even the next breath takes all of her energy.

I look into her eyes. I feel her frustration and pain? I speak to her in gentle kind loving words…how is this? Is your head comfortable on the pillow? I gently bring the covers up around her shoulders…trying to keep out the cold air. She is so cold. I wish I could warm her with the very breath from my own body.

When I was little I remember having little ribbon streamers attached to the end of my bicycle handle bars. When you rode fast into the wind the streamers would blow and twirl around. It was so much fun!

We did not have air condition when I was little so a fan in every room was the norm. You could tie thin ribbons on the grill of the fan. Once you turned on the fan the ribbons would blow out from the grill and ripple in the wind.

I was just across the hall from my friend in her home. She has finally gone into a deep restful sleep. I am tossing and turning…restless… I cannot get into a comfortable position.

Then it happened; as my body settled down my mind entered into this restless state. Memories, but not like a movie or a scrapbook page. These memories came as ribbon streamers. Each ribbon a different color bearing the written account of a time we’ve had together. I could clearly see the printed words some larger than others…some written in bold type.  

The ribbons were blowing, swirling, dancing perhaps in my mind. Swirling as if some undetected source was generating a breeze in my head keeping the streamers in constant motion…restless…

Eventually we are both taken into sleep…taken away from our own uncomfortable restlessness of body and mind.

I wonder, if this restlessness is part of the dying process…is this restlessness a symptom of our resistance to surrender? Sleep became the salve for her restlessness and eventually for mine too.

St. Augustine says, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in God.”

I know in my heart that God has a plan…we just need to be patient within our restlessness…more than once Jesus calmed the restless waters…speaking words of peace…Be not afraid, for I am with you. The familiar music drifts into my heart”…I go before you always…”

How do you handle restlessness in your life?

 

 

Just a Little More Time…

Our Father who art in heaven…Thy will be done…

Serenity Prayer…God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.

These next few blog posts may not have beautiful pictures or sweet music from you tube for you to enjoy. Instead there will only be words from my grief stricken heart.

There have been a few times in my life when I may have wanted to “play God”…when our first born son was dying of malnutrition and needed intestinal surgery to save his life…when my beloved grandmother was dying of lung cancer and would not get to know and love my children…when my daddy, only sixty-four, needed a heart transplant but could not last long enough…when my mother in law died from breast cancer only having a few short years with her grandsons.

Today I find myself once again in a place where if I could for a moment “play God” I would heal my dear friend from her cancer and restore her body to its healthy state. But I know …  “…Thy will be done…” I know this in my head and I can say the prayers, but in my heart I do so want things to be different I do so want her to be healed. I know I am not in a unique situation, but right now today what matters is getting through to tomorrow.

Sometimes I feel like I am in a tug of war. My head is pulling in one direction and my heart is pulling just as hard in the opposite direction. I know in my head what my faith has taught me about going to a better place when you die, but my heart does not want to let go. I want to hold her close to me ever so gently; and then I can so vividly picture Jesus also wanting to hold her close to himself.

“Just a little more time, Dear Jesus, just a little more time.”  I pray.

Last night my husband and I were watching this darling 10 year old singing In the Arms of an Angel.Her voice was as beautiful as an angel itself. I began to think about heaven. If we can make such beautiful music here on earth how much more beautiful must heavenly music be. There must be music in heaven; how could there not be?

“Just a little more time, Dear Jesus, just a little more time.”  I plead.

“Just a little more time”…….

to be continued…