Everyday Spirituality

Posts tagged ‘life’

” Fester Within”

“Create in me a clean heart, O God.”

Until recently I never knew how literal and visual that verse could become.

I had the opportunity to hear a friend share at a retreat. She used a word I had not heard used in a long time. It is a word that creates a vivid visual…A visual that is not a pretty picture; a visual that makes you want to say, “Yuck”. The word conjures up disease, infection, distortion, and just plain ugliness.

FESTER:

To be or become an increasing source of irritation or poisoning…

to inflame or infect…to generate pus.

 You may be wondering where I am going with these two seemingly disconnected things. But you see they all make sense to me because I was letting something fester inside of my heart. Oh I was asking God to create a clean heart inside of me alright, but he just did not seem to be responding. At least not in a way I could discern. So suddenly when I heard my friend use the word “fester” I finally got it. I got the picture of what had been happening within my heart. God wanted me to cleanse my own heart and he used the word “fester” to get my attention. He wanted me to notice what was truly occurring within my heart and take action.

 I remember one time when my brother had a really bad festered boil the size of a ping pong ball on his leg. It was really nasty, swollen, throbbing, and burning with the fever of infection. The only way you can rid yourself of this type of infection is to open it up and clean out the pus. Well with that in mind my first visual was to go to the person with whom I was angry and literally squirt the pus that was festering within my heart all over him. Wow! How visual is that?

Once you get the pus out then and only then can the healing begin and the fester will gradually shrink. With time your skin will return to its normal healthy state. I wanted my heart returned to its normal healthy state.

 I knew that I had to get rid of the pus in my heart; the sooner the better now that God had gotten my attention. I contemplated for weeks on the best way to “create this clean heart” free from the pus that was accumulating. I knew symbolically I had to confront the person and scrape out the anger, hurt, disappointment, and pain. So I gathered up my courage and went to this person…we had a good talk and I scraped out the “fester” that been accumulating there.

Now the healing I longed for is in progress and my heart is gradually returning to its healthy state. This cleansing and healing has also brought a new feeling of “lightness” to my heart.

If there is anything “festering” deep within your heart I invite you to take the necessary steps to “create a clean heart” for yourself. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

I did this for myself not for the other person although, I think he too benefited from our discussion.

Celebrate all that you are and the potential within…remove the “fester” within your heart today!

Make it a “Lemonade” Day!

Advertisements

No Man Is an Island: a Celebration of Independence

Independence synonymous with Freedom.
Fourth of July, the birthday of America; is a day to celebrate our independence from Britain.
Thomas Jefferson, the third president, was the principal author of the Declaration of Independence written in 1776.
Many states have chosen to name a city Independence. Here are a few…Missouri, Kentucky, California, Ohio, Michigan, Texas, Kansas, and Oregon.
Independence is also the name of an interface for modifying the new i-phone.
Independence is the name of a Beer brewing company in Texas.
Did you know we have a select committee in Washington, on Energy Independence and Global Warming established in 2007? This group discusses America’s dependence on oil and global warming. As a country we are examining the challenges of our goal for energy independence. I suspect this task will be, “A Long and Winding Road” as Paul McCartney so named his popular 1970 melancholy ballad, the Beatles last #1 single.

We are always looking for ways to be more independent. Early in our childhood we get a taste of independence as soon as we are able to crawl. Soon after we begin to walk there is such joy at our new found independence, although wobbly at first. But with practice, help, and determination we are soon running in the joy of our independence…our freedom. When my youngest son learned to walk at nine months he was everywhere and so proud of what he could accomplish. I remember walking was just the beginning for Chris then came the climbing. He had no fear of heights and as I discovered one day as I witnessed him scaling up the brick fireplace mantel. He continues to clothe himself with independence in his adult life today.
As a young adult my grandmother would let me drive when we were away from busy traffic in Galveston. There were not many cars on the road in Jamaica Beach and I could drive… slowly. That’s the thing about driving we cannot wait to get behind the wheel…and then what? Driving is seen as arriving at independence when you are young. The funny thing is after you pass the driving test you really do not know how to go anywhere. It is so ironic. The places you are most familiar with suddenly take on a very different feel as you realize you really do not know the directions. Being a passenger looking out the window is not the same as being behind the wheel.
I think independence comes with its share of uncertainty and fear or perhaps we could say adventure.
Continuing with driving for a minute…I have witnessed the sadness of many seniors when they can no longer drive. It is often perceived as a profound loss of their independence. There is something about walking out the door, getting behind the wheel of your car, and driving yourself to where YOU want to go.
Denis Waitley, a popular American author, said,

“The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility

and the wings of independence. “

I too believe along with independence comes great responsibility. The first blossom of independence is to only think of yourself. But we live in a world where independence without responsibility causes many problems. Consider just the crime rate in our neighborhoods alone.

The truth is we are all dependent on one another…I am reminded of another old song…”No Man is an Island”.

So as we celebrate this Independence Day appreciate those around you and “Make it a Lemonade Day”!

Fresh Squeezed Inspiration

You do know that you have the power to choose? I don’t mean like choosing what to wear to work or when to eat. I mean choosing important things like what your reaction will be to any given situation.

 Since I seem to to fixated on lemonade these days, people have asked me about the lemon seeds.  You decide how to view the “seeds” in your life just as you choose the ingredients for your Lemonade Day.

 No two days are alike- you are the unique ingredient, the recipe developer.  How do you look at the “seeds” in your life? What do you consider the seeds to be. Is it an illness, an misunderstanding with your best friend, a lost job, a broken marriage, an addiction? I am sure you each could fill in the blank with many more things you think are seeds.

 In making fresh homemade lemonade I would certainly discard the seeds without giving them a second thought, but without the seeds there would be no lemon. Without the lemon there could be no lemonade. What do you do with the seeds in your life? As we all know, a seed when planted can bring forth new life. One small seed contains an abundance of life. One small lemon seed can grow into a tree producing many more lemons and seeds. Perhaps we need to closely examine the seeds in our life and open ourselves up to their potential for more. Sometimes we unknowingly collect these seeds in our life and carry them around as extra baggage never realizing their hidden beauty. Maybe we live under the weight of our lemon seeds because we never realized that we could use them for new lemon trees. New lemon trees producing bright yellow lemons waiting to release their juice for refreshing lemonade. Imagine how different your life could be IF you planted more of your lemon seeds. Imagine the vast grove of lemon trees you could personally be responsible for as the planter of your seeds.

I challenge you to risk considering what your lemon seeds could produce if you just let them. Slicing lemons for my “Sassy” water gives me a chance to appreciate the possibilities of my “lemon seeds”. The possibility of what might be.

Make It a Lemonade Day! Squeeze out every drop of flavor!

Sharon for Faith Twins

Fresh Squeezed Inspiration

My sister and I are on a health kick to minimize our mid section…our tummy. Part of our daily preparations consist in making this special drink…well it’s just water. Ok maybe not just “water”. This water right from the faucet is doctored up with some lemon, cucumbers, ginger root, and 12 mint leaves. After letting this concotion infuse the water overnight and you have a refreshing tasty drink. The editor-in-chief of Prevention’s Flat Belly Diet book calls this “Sassy” water. The idea is to remind you that things are going to be different when you begin this new eating plan.

So every night as I am preparing my pitcher of “Sassy” water I slice one fresh lemon. I seem to see metaphors with so many routine , everyday tasks. So what can you do with a lemon metaphor?  Lemons are brilliant yellow; a color that is happy, bright, vibrant. Why do think happy faces are yellow? It’s the color of happiness. 

How many natural yellow things can you think of? Sometimes an artist will use yellow to depict the rays of sunshine. I feel happier on a sunny day. How about you?

A lemon has quite a few seeds for such a small piece of fruit, a thick textured outer covering, inside the pulp sections divided by membranes, and not to mention the juice. A versatile yellow fruit that fits snugly in the palm of your hand.

These individual sections contained within a lemon remind me of all the different rolls of my life…woman, daughter, sister, wife, daughter in law, aunt, sister in law, friend, neighbor, teacher, writer, lover.  The lemon I cut tonight had 12 sections..wow…I am one of 12 children. All of these rolls are a part of who I am just as the sections are part of the lemon. The seeds are scattered throughout the sections of the lemon. The seeds of my life are also scattered throughout, not isolated to any one section.

Living in the south where it can get very hot; a tall glass of lemonade can be a welcome refreshment. While we have instant lemonade drink mix today nothing can compare to the flavor of fresh homemade lemonade.

In order to make lemonade you must squeeze and rip up the inside of the lemon. Then and only then can you release what you are seeking…the juice. The lemon juice alone does not by itself make the refreshing drink we can enjoy.  You must add water and some sort of sweetener like sugar.

Certainly when you are making fresh lemonade the seeds and most of the pulp are discarded. In order to make fresh lemonade in our daily lives we too must discard the seeds and much of the pulp. I’ve found that it can take great courage to discard the seeds and then the pulp of our lives. Many times I have been reluctant to discard just the seeds in my life not to mention the pulp. How blind and unaware I have been of the wonderful “lemonade” I could make with my life if only I could let go of the seeds. Those things not necessary for “lemonade”, but held on to, are hard to find.

Sometimes God makes the ultimate lemonade with our life by bringing us home to Him. Bringing us home to share in the eternal Glory with all those who have gone before us. Taking care of all the seeds of our life and transforming our very pulp into more than we could ever imagine. I wonder if we will see color in heaven.

Other times we are challenged with the task of taking the lemons including the seeds and making our own lemonade. Cutting the lemon and painfully squeezing out the precious juice. Making our own lemonade is not just for ourselves but to refresh those around us too. I hope that I have been lemonade for others without my knowledge. The anonymous refreshing lemonade!

Only you know how to make it a “lemonade day”.

I look forward to hearing your comments and stories about making it a “lemonade day”.

Sharon

Faith Twins

The Balance Beam

This week with the Olympics in full swing it has made me think about my life. It is inspiring to hear about how hard the athletes train every day. They are vivid examples of perseverance; never giving up in spite of difficulty and or opposition. Without the ability,, drive and desire to persevere not one of those athletes would have made it to the Olympics. They model for all of us what it means to focus and live in the now. What it means to want something so bad that you can almost taste it. They bring to life the reality of the mantra ‘Believe in yourself’. It’s easy to believe in yourself when things are going well, but when things are falling apart it is much harder. What in my life am I that dedicated to? What do I give 110 percent to in my life? 

 Sometimes I feel like I am walking on a Balance Beam the balance beam of life. A creation in my own imagination, since I am no certainly no gymnast.  Life is like walking on a balance beam… As long as you stay focused you can keep your feet landing firmly on the beam, but if you loose focus you can find yourself on the floor. A number of balance checks can shake or even shatter your confidence and break your concentration.  There are so many things in life that can shatter your focus; illness, spouses, the work place, children to name just a few.

Life on the Beam requires perseverance, focus, believing, and living in the present.