Archive for December, 2013

Remember When?

Posted: December 20, 2013 in World On The Edge

file0001286135514This will be my last post until after the first of the year, and I will miss our communication.  But I have lots of family coming for Christmas and New Years, so quite a bit of preparation on my agenda.

As people do, I’m remembering other Christmases because Christmases have the ability to track time for me,  and I’ll bet they do for you, too.  A year in time can change our lives.

Who was there at a  particular Christmas, who was not? What things went  right, or what went  wrong?   What was funny? What was sad? Our Christmases are filled with emotional memories.

I go back to my own childhood, and a rusty red swing on Christmas Eve–no shoes, it wasn’t cold enough for shoes that year.

I swung high as I could, nearly upside down, attempting to toe a high branch on a  huge live oak in the back yard of my aunt, uncle, and cousins house, across the street from mine—- dreaming of all the toys I’d find the next morning under the Christmas tree. So much excitement!  Imagination and anticipation do that.

How many of you ever actually saw Santa Claus when he visited your house ? You smile?  Well,  I’m certain I did on one particular Christmas Eve coming home from Midnight Mass— a flash of red just behind the chimney, the jingle of sleigh bells on a roof covered, not with snow, but pine straw.

We all have Christmas memories, some warm and delightful— and maybe others that we’d like to forget.  And we do have that power to forget, to overlook and move on from Christmases that did not produce feelings of joy.

Your worst Christmas?  Mine was the impending surgery of my middle daughter, three days after Christmas for a malignant brain tumor.  That Christmas began many years of worry, but it began something else, too—my real joy, my total appreciation of the family I was blessed with.  Remember the old song lyric—“You don’t know what you’ve got until you lose it?”

I think it’s good to Remember When— the good times and the bad, because we can learn from both.

This is a season that can fill us with strength, resolve, and a brand new lease on our lives.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you!

And to my husband, my five children, ten grandchildren, sister, cousins, and their families, too. We’ve made it through the good times and the not so good. So let’s Remember When with all the love we’ve got!

Mission?

Posted: December 19, 2013 in World On The Edge

file000370626123Do you know that you are here on this earth for a reason?

We were not created by mistake–not one of us.

We do indeed have a mission here.

Many might link ‘mission’ to their career, their job.

Yet many of us do not hold jobs or careers we feel are important enough to be called our ‘mission.’ Actually, a so-called important job has nothing to do with why we’re here.

In fact, I don’t believe we personally determine our mission. We’re part of a much bigger plan than our small thoughts can produce. The trick is to know that–to be open enough to allow ourselves to be used in whatever way God lays before us.

After all, God knows the bigger picture.

As parents, we see a bigger picture than our children do because we’ve had certain experiences that they haven’t had. We know of behaviors that won’t be good for them in the long run, so we present opportunities in which they might excell. We try to instill good character in our children, and though we may at times think we failed to do that, we hope that eventually our child will remember, and respond to our efforts.

Sadly though, if a child doesn’t come around, we sometimes give up.

God never gives up. His effort is always consistent. He wants us for Himself, but He also wants us to want Him. This is our ultimate mission–simply to want Him, to make a covenant with Him. So God hangs around for as long as it takes–waiting for us to “get it.”

He is always behind us, longing for us to fulfill the mission created for us, and waiting for us to turn to Him and say, “Here I am, Lord. I want to do your will.”

Destiny

Posted: December 18, 2013 in World On The Edge

the new babies 514_peWhen a child is born to us, we make plans. Our hearts lift when we consider who he or she might become, how he or she might influence the world.

This is common to parents in the moments of joy after the birth of their child.

We don’t consider that anything bad might happen to him or her. We see their lives shining and happy. Of course, realistically we know that won’t be the case.

I wonder what Mary and Joseph felt, don’t you?

Did they know the suffering that would befall their child?

Did they know the tremendous influence He would have?

Did they know the enormous offering He would make for humanity–His very self?

How could they possibly have known that? How can we possibly know what fate holds for our children?

But every night a child is born is a HOLY NIGHT. 

Every day a child comes into the world, the world itself is given another chance to expand in goodness. Because each of us holds that goodness within us, and the possibility of spreading it.

The Greatest Gift

Posted: December 17, 2013 in World On The Edge

file000523495543You know what I’m going to say. Everyone has heard it.

“Love is the greatest gift.”

We’ve heard it so much it’s become a platitude. We don’t really think about what the words mean–by now, they just sound good.

But those words hold a message for human kind. Those words hold the reason why we are here in the first place. We were created out of love. And we were created to reflect that love to others.

That our lovingness is a reflection of God, our creator, is a very personal thing. The way one person loves may be different from the way another is called to love. That’s because we are each unique, with uniquely positive capabilities and also uniquely negative flaws.

To swell our capabilities rather than pander to our flaws is hard. But we want to do this at Christmas, which is meant to be a holy time of year–a time to show our goodness.

But let’s not confine our goodness only to this beautiful season. Can we carry the true spirit of Christmas throughout the year to encourage all those people we love?

What Love Can Do

Posted: December 16, 2013 in World On The Edge

100_0330aThe word ‘Love’ has many connotations today.

“Oh, I love that dress!”

“I love the way he sings!’

“I love to dance, or eat pizza, or go shopping!’

On a more serious level, we say we love our spouse, our children, our parents, our friends.

But even deeper than that— what does it mean to love?

Love is an action. It is a choice we make. When we truly love , we do something beyond what we think we’re able to do, or maybe even beyond what we want to do.  Yet we do it anyway.

Many times you’ve heard, “Love can change the world.”  But we’re not in charge of the larger world, only the world in which we live and that may be a very small world for us—-the world of our family,  the place in which we work, or the interaction with the same people we see on a daily basis. So how do we love them?

As Mother Teresa said, “Never let anyone come  to you without coming away better and happier.”

There are indeed  people in our lives who always seem to make us feel better or happier, and we want to be around them because they are showing us love–a love similar to the love of God.

Some of us who try to develop our relationship with God,  find that we are happier, more secure, and even more loving after prayer, remembering that He gave us his son, Jesus, as the ultimate example of how to love.

In this season celebrating  Jesus’ birth,  we are busy, busy, busy. But let’s take a few minutes to thank God that we have something to be ‘busy’ with—that we have people we care for and people who care for us.

And then, let’s take the further step of also trying to become for those people, an example of how to love when–quite frankly–they are not being very lovable themselves. We may be surprised what that kind of unselfish love can do in our small and personal world.

Covering Up?

Posted: December 15, 2013 in World On The Edge

_DSC6301Most of us have things to hide.

We have secrets we don’t want people to know–the proverbial ‘skeletons’ in the closet.’

We have personas we want to protect.

We don’t want the truth about ourselves discovered. We don’t want our meanness, our selfishness, our betrayals, our insecurities, our addictions known.

But we can’t hide ourselves and our secrets from God. Yes, we can fool some people, but not Him.There is nothing He doesn’t know about us. There is nothing we can cover up that God won’t see.

And guess what? He loves us anyway! And there is  nothing we can do to keep Him from loving us.

Of course, there’s plenty WE can do to keep from loving HIM–and we do it all the time. It’s called sin, that thing no one wants to give a name to.

Sin is a turning away from God. But while we turn a way from Him, He remains beside us with open arms. I sometimes wonder how we think we can hide from that.

How can we go about creating havoc with our own lives when all it takes is a turn toward God?

Lest we forget, this is the time of year when we celebrate new life coming into the world.  It’s a time of gifting. Let’s give ourselves a gift and look at our lives a little differently.

And when we take that quick–all too brief– look at our lives, let’s try to see who’s in it with us.

Look for the one who never leaves us.  Look for the  one who knows all our undesirable warts and  all the secrets we try to hide, but loves us anyway.  Look to see  Him patiently waiting for us to notice  His presence.

Walk in Your Mocassins?

Posted: December 13, 2013 in World On The Edge

mocassins_smallMost of us are judgmental people, and quick to criticize another, especially if he or she comes from a different place, or thinks in ways that are opposite to ‘our’ ways.

An old Sioux Indian Prayer says, “Great Spirit, help me never to judge another until I have walked in his moccasins.”

My mother loved to quote that prayer. In fact, just a week or so ago when I was in Destin, my sister and I were discussing how our mother often reminded us to try to feel what another person was feeling.

Here’s a 45 second answer to what that is called:

But how often are we truly empathetic?

It’s not that we don’t have empathy for some situations. We cry in sad movies, we feel badly for people we read about who are going through tragedy. But sometimes those who are closest to us don’t get the same treatment.  I think we’re so close to them, we expect them to think and feel the same as we do, so we may not try to understand.

And then there are other times when the ‘politically correct’ sort of  empathy takes over— current positions that those in power  make us think we ‘ought’ to feel, or else we’re less than human, or at the very least inferior to what ‘they’ are.  I have to ask then— Is that sort of empathy contrived?

Not all of us come from the same place. Empathy means attempting to see what has happened in a person’s life that led him or her to be the person he projects to others.

But what has happened to a person in the past does not take away  responsibility for what he does in the present. Empathy goes just so far.

Still,  we must practice it. We must be less quick to criticize–that is unless we’re just ABSOLUTELY PERFECT ourselves.

Well, we know that’s not the case!

So…

First:  Let’s try on those other moccasins, and walk in them a bit.

Second:  If you want me to walk in YOUR moccasins, then you should try to walk in MINE as well.

In that way—and only in that way—we’ll never walk alone.