It’s been another week filled with work and homework, and life and stuff. Some excitement, lots of regular moments, and a bit more worry and sadness than I’d like, but nothing out of the ordinary. There’s some Big Scary Stuff™ going on that I’m not ready to blog about publicly quite yet. I want to put some distance between it and me before I open up about it online.
In the meantime, I’m doing my best to keep everything in perspective. Taking a few minutes everyday to be quiet and contemplative helps. A lot.
Whether we characterize ourselves as rich or poor, the fact remains that often it is not we who own our possessions, but our possessions that own us. Our worries over what we have or don’t have can be chronic and debilitating.
C. K. Robertson (Tuesday, March 13)
I remember reading something similar to this many years ago, along the lines of “the more possessions one has, the more one has to work to maintain them.” I don’t claim to be poor, by any measure. I’m quite fortunate in my living situation. And while I’ve had a bit of car trouble of late, it’s nothing I can’t afford to repair. But other than that, I’ve made it a point over the years to NOT accumulate much in the way of possessions. I’m not much of one for fancy things.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t have desires. There’s always something I want. My Pinterest page should be some clue about that. But they’re generally not things one can just purchase. Instead, they’re experiences, or events. Or things I wish I had time to create for myself.
And that’s just it. The one thing I wish I had more of is time. Time to write. Time to read. Time to spend in the garden. Time to cook up all the delicious recipes I find. Time to play all the fun games, visit all my friends, watch all the great movies and shows I keep hearing about.
Perhaps this is what the holy life is really all about. We borrow hope and faith when we run low, we borrow joy and steadfastness when they seem absent, we borrow love and compassion when we are in the midst of struggle. As we borrow from the Divine Bank, an amazing thing begins to happen. We start to have more hope and faith, more joy and steadfastness, more love and compassion than we need. Then, as I do with my extra chicken eggs, we are free to share with those around us. God will multiply what we share and we may just find that there is enough for everyone.
Brian Sellers-Petersen (Wednesday, March 14)
Yes, this. In my world, this is the meaning of love. Love gives when there is need, and asks when there is a deficit. We support each other. We don’t keep tally. But we do keep lines of communication open. When I’m stressed, Eric picks up the slack. When he’s busy, I do. We believe that “it all comes out in the wash.” We meet each other 60-60, so there’s always enough overlap to cover any surprise shortage.
Peter moves towards his fear, forgetting for a moment that he can’t walk on it, he has to move through it. He moves through it, even in the dark, even in the cold, and even with doubt pulling him under. He moves toward the Lord in faith for a beautiful and graceful moment, and we get a vision of how we can be healed. By moving through our fear toward love itself, even when we feel like we may sink, we are close enough to feel God’s loving hand holding us up.
Becca Stevens (Thursday, March 15)
Faith is what keeps me going these days. Faith that as long as I keep putting one foot in front of the other, I’ll actually keep making forward progress. Even if it’s a tiny step. Even if I’m not sure it’s in the right direction, or if I can make it the whole way, or even if I’ll know what to do when I get there.
And, sometimes, during the step, instead of being afraid, I actually convince myself that I’m actually brave, and I feel myself stand a bit taller, reach a bit further, and surprise the hell out of myself.
Many of us seem to believe that we are responsible for everything in our lives—including healing. We live in a do-it-yourself culture where people take pride in mastering their lives without help or assistance. We think that if we don’t do it ourselves, it won’t get done, or it won’t get done right. If that describes you and you are in need of healing, then you’re in trouble.
As Christians, we believe that God is the great healer and that God’s dream for everyone is physical, spiritual and emotional healing and wholeness. When you next pray, bring your deepest need for healing to the One who created you, loves you and holds you close.
Gay Clark Jennings (Friday, March 16)
I’ve shared my story regarding my bout with mild depression and seeking help. I’m not opposed to asking for help when I need it. Sure, sometimes I have trouble asking for a hug or a helping hand until I’m already upset. But on the Big Scary Stuff™ I have no trouble sending up a prayer, reaching out for friends, and asking for support.
That “God’s dream for everyone is physical, spiritual and emotional healing and wholeness” resonates deeply with me. The three are so closely tied together, you cannot address them separately.
An holistic approach to health that embraces the need for both spiritual and physical transformation is an extremely effective way to eradicate infectious diseases. Integrated holistic strategies that equip and empower communities to find effective and lasting solutions to their problems—through the combination of disease prevention, economic enterprise and social and spiritual renewal—are some of the most effective ways to bring healing.
Christine Sine (Saturday, March 17)
Building on the previous day’s lesson, addressing the need for holistic healing in all things, this lesson shows that not only is it our responsibility to offer medical technology to those in need, but we also need to offer empowerment and understanding, compassion and support. It isn’t just about putting a well-placed bandage on a wound, but addressing the infection, as well as figuring out how the wound was caused and what could be done to prevent future wounds of the same sort.
Frankly, this lesson brought to mind the controversy around the Kony 2012 story. While on the surface, the original video seemed reasonable, upon a more critical viewing, and listening to those who will be affected, it became clear to me that there were integral components missing. A holistic approach would be one that considered all the effects and asked all the right questions. It would be one that felt like it was empowering the Ugandans to help themselves, rather than stepping in to fix a problem that may not even exist for them any longer.
The raised serpent is a symbol for healing because it represents the temptation that we must face and work through before we can be healed. We must raise up that which is causing us to die, so we can see and acknowledge it; only then can we change and turn toward healing.
Eric H. F. Law (Sunday, March 18)
We cannot repair what we do not admit is broken. Going without alcohol for Lent has not been terribly difficult, but I have had my moments of wanting to numb my brain. Usually on my more tiring days. But I haven’t given in at all. I’ve been learning how to spend time with my anxiety and worry — acknowledge them, give them room to be, and then show them the door.
It’s not that I don’t still believe in the restorative ability of a well-timed cocktail. But just like any crutch, it shouldn’t become the sole means of support. Just an aid when needed.
We know little about Joseph. Most of our information come from the first chapters of Matthew. What we do learn about his story brings to life the adage “Life is what happens instead of what we plan.”
Another adage that Joseph might have liked: “When we make plans, God laughs.” But it’s a loving laughter that listens for the direction of God’s spirit in our lives, moving us and our broken world toward wholeness.
Jay Sidebotham (Monday, March 19, Feast Day of St. Joseph)
This is where faith comes in, again. We have to have faith that it will all work out the way it should. A friend recently posted an inspirational quote, “Whether or not it’s clear to you, the Universe is unfolding as it should.”