Archive for November, 2013

Lasting Love

Posted: November 8, 2013 in World On The Edge

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I’m not certain what causes some marriages to last until death do us part, and others, only a few years or months.  I don’t think one couple is superior to another couple.  But when a marriage does last until the end, that marriage is indeed special.

In 1995, when my parents were celebrating their Fifty-third Anniversary, I gave them a CD of Vince Gill’s, LOOK AT US. Life was difficult for them by then. My father was very ill, and my mother was taking care of him when she wasn’t so well herself. But the song made both of them smile.

Since the day I played it for them, I hadn’t listened to the song until yesterday, eighteen years later. I made my husband listen. And both of us smiled. “Well, look at us!” he said. “I suppose it’s our song now.”

When love lasts, there’s more than a comfortable feeling. When love lasts, there’s something of the divine within it. I saw that something in my parents faces in 1995. And I hope my children will one day see it in ours.

Sinners

Posted: November 7, 2013 in World On The Edge

file000126098408If you’re a sinner, raise your hand.

Okay, mine is the first hand up.
I find comfort in the fact though, that there is no one on earth without sin. Each of us comes from a long line of sinners.

But think about this: How many of us have felt closer to God after repenting of a sin?

Maybe our sin brought us so low that there was no way but up. Or maybe we saw how we’d hurt someone we loved, and promised, “Never again.”

When God gave us Free Will,  He knew we would misuse it and sin. And of course, we did, and do.

Two classes of people make up the world: those who have found God, and those who are looking for Him – thirsting, hungering, seeking.   And the great sinners came closer to Him than the proud intellectuals!

Pride swells and inflates the ego. Gross sinners are depressed, deflated and empty. They, therefore, have room for God. God prefers a loving sinner to a loveless ‘saint’.

Love can be trained; pride cannot. The man who thinks that he knows will rarely find truth. The man who knows he is a miserable, unhappy sinner, like the woman at the well, is closer to peace, joy and salvation than he knows.”
― Fulton J. Sheen, Life of Christ

If we don’t recognize ourselves as real, honest-to-goodness sinners,  our chance of salvation is shaky at best—because we’ll never change what we won’t admit to.

Hard to Love

Posted: November 6, 2013 in World On The Edge

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And one of them, a doctor of the Law, putting him to the test, asked him, “Master, which is the great commandment in the Law?” Jesus said to him, “‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind.’ This is the greatest and the first commandment. And the second is like it, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:35-40)

We want to love others, but loving is hard.  Sometimes, we are devoid of any fluffy feeling. It all comes down to a decision we must make: I will love this person. I will give him, or her, respect. I will see God’s spirit in him. I may not like this person. But I’m called to love them, regardless. Because of my attempt to love, I am following the Greatest Commandment, and I become better, too.

Now, what about those who are trying to love me? Am I hard to love?

Am I sarcastic, vindictive, or mean to someone?  Do I cheat or lie to them? Do I ignore them, and put my own needs ahead of theirs? Does the person who’s trying to  love me have to walk on eggshells so as not to upset my sensitive nature?  How can I expect someone to love me if I have traits like these?

We can make it much easier for those who are trying to love us by taking a good, honest look at ourselves.  If we don’t like what we see, we must change it.

Divided Wings

Posted: November 5, 2013 in World On The Edge

Picture 007To say that our country is divided today is an understatement. People ask, “What is the right way to go?”

There are times when people disagree so severely that it seems they will never get together. This is sad, but it’s happened before, not only in our country, but in many of our own families–when no one agrees, when every one is rigid in his or her opinions, and each side draws a line in the sand saying, “I will not move.”

What lies beneath this divisiveness?

The conflict between two words: Pride and Arrogance
Pride says, “I am very important. This is what I’d like to do.”
Arrogance says, “But I am more important than you. So, you will do what I say.”

I think of the American Eagle,  the symbol of American Freedom. The Eagle has two wings. One wing cannot be more important than the other–or the bird will never leave the ground.  It’s entire purpose–the reason it was created–will be ruined.

Like the American Eagle, 0ur country can, and should, hold onto pride. But it cannot hold onto  arrogance and continue to fly.

Struggle

Posted: November 4, 2013 in World On The Edge

file0001136989626Most of us don’t like the connotation of the word, ‘struggle.’  It evokes thoughts of difficulty. We don’t like difficulties.

We don’t like bumpy roads that cause us to lose equilibrium.

We don’t like to climb mountains that exhaust our strength.

We don’t want to swim a channel that seems much too wide for our meager swimming abilities.

Except struggle increases our balance, our muscle, our talents.

Struggle is the fire that hardens the clay of our lives and turns an earthen vessel into something altogether unearthly.

Struggle can produce  people who are out of the ordinary, simply because they have had to work hard.

As parents, we don’t like to see our children struggle.  We want to relieve them of difficulty.  We like to ‘fix’ them. We want to save them from anything that hurts–even if they’ve concoted their own unsavory  situation.

We should let them know we are there for them. But I think there are times when we shouldn’t be too quick to ‘save’ them. We should allow them to ‘save’ themselves, to strengthen their wings from within. 

The moth in a cocoon struggles to get out of it, and by doing so,  it  grows stronger—strong enough to fly completely away from the cocoon that once tied and bound it.

Endings

Posted: November 1, 2013 in World On The Edge

file0001129878874Our lives are filled with endings.

Some we want.

And some we don’t.

After a particularly tiring week or day at work, we’re happy to have an ending. After an argument with a child or spouse, we’re happy for that to end, too. If we’ve had an unusually cold winter, or a dreary rainy and hot summer, we take a joyful breath when all that’s over.  If we’re cleaning out a closet, if we’re striving to complete a garden,  and certainly if we’re in labor with childbirth near, we want endings!

But we may not want an ending to that last bite of pecan pie, or the sight of a gorgeous sunset, or a night of celebration with our spouse. We may not want to put down that sweet, sleeping baby in our arms. We don’t want to reach the ending of  a wonderful song, or a great book, or a loving kiss.

Except endings come. We lose people who mean much to us. Maybe they simply leave, or maybe we we lose them to death.

Endings that come to us by death are the hardest to assimilate.   A parent, a spouse, a child, a friend, who are here with us on a given day, and the next day gone.

We grieve these endings.  They take a toll on the rest of our lives.

I have always believed that the veil between life and death is very thin.  I have always believed that death is another beginning–for each of us, and for our loved ones. I have felt an active connection with those who have left this world for another. I don’t believe they forget us anymore than we forget them. I ask for their prayers, and give them mine.  And I do have faith that I will see them again.