Time

We think that we can measure time in hours, minutes and seconds, but think again….why is it that when we are doing something that we wonderfully enjoy, time goes by so quickly and when we are doing something that we labor through, time seems eternal.

Time…can it really be measured?

Questions without answers

From the time that we begin to speak, we start asking questions.  We want answers, we want to understand, we want to learn.  In school we are encouraged to ask questions, we’ve all heard from our teachers and parents, ‘if you don’t ask, how will you know?’  And so, we ask….and we know.

As we get older, our questions become deeper and more complex.  We ask ‘why’,  and sometimes we have an answer, and sometimes we don’t.  There are so many questions that just don’t have answers, at least answers that make any sense to us.  We want to understand but the answer, if there is one, seems far beyond our level of comprehension, at least in this world.

When the children ask questions we sometimes tell them that they have to wait until they are older before they can understand.  Their little minds simply cannot understand the complexity of the answer, but we know that in time they will mature and be able to comprehend the answer.  Perhaps it is the same for us.  Perhaps in this world our minds are limited to this world’s dimensions.  Maybe our minds are like the minds of a child when compared to the thoughts of our God.  ‘My ways are not your ways’ Scripture tells us.  And so, our questions remained unanswered and our understanding is not to be.  Our knowledge is limited and our reasoning incomplete.  But, the questions are essential….we must continue to ask…and we must be confident that there are answers….We must be at peace with our questions without answers.

Oh, the things that we do to ourselves…..

Trees, animals, humans….it isn’t a stretch to see how we are different.  We have been blessed with an intellect, being created in the image and likeness of God.  What a gift!  To be wired like our creator…and yet….what do we do with that?  Each of us unique with talents and a personality that has never been before and never will be.  We should celebrate our ‘me’ each day.  But then the question becomes….why am I not satisfied with the ‘me’ that I am?

A tree is a tree, it will never be a flower, it will never be a mountain.  It stands tall and lifts its branches in gratitude to the heavens.  A dog is happy being a dog, no matter how we try to make our dogs ‘human’ they are still dogs.  We can dress them up, bathe them in perfumed baths, and give them foo-foo names, but let them loose in a yard with a squirrel and you will see…..they are still dogs.

We are God’s children,  and yet, there are so many times when that is not enough.  We are so hard on ourselves.  Our physical bodies are never quite right, we beat ourselves up for not doing enough or eating the wrong foods.  We want to be more like someone else, some hero that we have deemed ‘more together’.  We want to be smarter or funnier, are we ever just content?

It’s time that we celebrate who we are.  It’s time that we become who we were created to be.  It’s time to celebrate ‘me’, just as I am with my uniqueness, my gifts and my talents.  Because it is only when we become at peace with who we are at this moment, that we can then grow into the fullness of the ‘me’ that God created.

When someone speaks your name

It’s funny that your name was given to you by your parents but before too long it becomes something that identifies you and it becomes your own.  Even little babies respond to their names.  When someone says our name it can mean so much to us.  We all know what it feels like when a loved one speaks your name so gently, or when someone you respect learns who you are and calls you by name.  We know how it stings when we have disappointed someone and they say our name with sadness, or when we are called out in anger.  When we hear our name we stop and pay attention.

I think of Someone who called Mary by name on the day of His Resurrection.  The tomb at daybreak must have been so silent, so sad, so lonely.  She came to do her work, she came because of her great  love.  She spoke, He spoke and there was no recognition in her voice until…….until He spoke her name.  He called her with such tenderness and such love that she immediately knew who He was.  Imagine  how she must have felt, looking at Him who spoke her name.

Each moment of every day He calls our names.  If you become quiet enough you can hear your name in the gentle breeze, in the silence of a butterfly’s wings, in the song of the birds, in the stars that light the heavens.  Your name is echoed throughout the universe for all time.  He calls your name…..listen and adore.

Lessons to learn

Every day offers us opportunities to grow and learn if we nurture the attitude of a child.  Each experience, every exchange with another, each glance at nature provides us with a message.  I think that the first step in the learning process is to be able to step out of the ‘me’.  In other words, put my own feelings and reactions aside and try to look with objective eyes.  What can I learn from this?  What does this tell me about myself?  How can I grow?  I believe that if we try to look at life this way, things may begin to make more sense.  Our bumps and bruises will still occur but perhaps now we can use them to further our progress on our journeys.  You know the old saying, ‘when life gives you lemons….make lemonade’.  Well, think about it, lemonade is a wonderful, refreshing drink but it still needs some ‘sweetening’ and it takes work to make.  Think of all the squeezing of the lemons that is involved.   Life is a wonderful teacher to the student who chooses to sit and learn its lessons in the world classroom.

Words we know the meaning of…..or do we?

Today begins with a challenge…There are many words that are so common to us, words that we use all of the time, words that we are comfortable with, words that I think have meanings far beyond what we think them to be.  For example, the word obedience.  Obedience has come to have somewhat of a negative meaning, especially when speaking of marriage vows.  Of course we still want our children to ‘obey’ but we adults shutter when we think of promising to obey.  After all, we are free, aren’t we?  And there’s another word, freedom.  Is freedom really being able to do whatever I want whenever I want?  Sounds to me like that is not freedom at all, it is being a slave to one’s wants and passions.

I think that my favorite one is judgement.  We know right from wrong, even sometimes make up our own rules, we define it.  And, when someone steps outside of our neat little box, we judge them.  One more is surrender.  Surrender?  Why that is surely a sign of weakness…..or is it?

When you look to the Bible, the source of all true Wisdom, the words obedience, freedom, judgement and surrender take on an entirely new meaning.  Obedience and surrender bring about true freedom…..and God’s judgments and decisions rock our safe little boxes. 

Perhaps today is a good day to spend some quiet time rethinking our definitions of these words.  Perhaps today it’s time to ‘step out of our boxes’.

Going deep

I sit and I reflect…inside of me is an entire spectrum of emotions.  I see a life filled with experiences that have shaped me into who I am.  I see feelings that I’d like to share and those that I hold close to my heart.  I see words never spoken and deeds never done.  I see reasons and justifications, sorrow, pain and suffering.  I am complex and I am deep.

Sometimes I think of others as one dimensional.  I am quick to judge a comment or an action.  I try to hold them accountable for a single word or comment.  Today I must remember that others I meet have layers of depth like me.  I must try to look below the surface and beyond the words.  I must remember to go deep.

Rain

The weather has been warm and dry, so dry that the grass is dying and the flowers are wilting.  Everyone begins to speak of rain, we need rain, it hasnt’ rained in a while, the lawns are dry, we need some rain.  It begins to rain and within the first few minutes or hours, we begin to complain about the rain.  We hate rainy days, what an inconvenience this rain is.  It’s dark and dreary, when will this rain ever end?  What does it say about us?

It’s commical really when we can sit back and observe ourselves from afar.  It reminds me of the Exodus…..why did you bring us out of Egypt?  We want food…..not more manna, we’re sick of manna.  We are a silly bunch, aren’t we?

Makes you wonder…..isn’t it wonderful that we have a God who makes the ‘big’ decisions in our lives?  Trusting ourselves is a bit risky.  We think that we know what we need for ourselves…and we think that we also know what others need.  I don’t doubt that our wants and needs come from a good place inside of us, but we are flawed and a bit fickle.  And so, as this day begins, I look to the heavens and am confident that the one who knows me better than I know myself and the one who loves me totally and unconditionally will be making the ‘big’ decisions today!

Feeding your wolf inside

One of my favorite stories comes from an old Indian Legend:

A Cherokee Legend

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

So much in life we can control with our attitudes and outlooks.  Sometimes it is so easy to be kind and humble, but other times it is such a struggle, especially when we know that we are right.  Each new day presents us with the decision….’which wolf will I feed today?’  The ironic part is that when we feed our ‘me’ wolf, it leads to arrogance, pride, suffering and lonliness.  Being ‘right’ all the time can isolate you from others who are and admit they are flawed.  Humility leads to unity.  As I attempt to feed my ‘good wolf’ today, I find others who struggle to do the same.  In the unity and solidarity with my companions on this journey I find that we not only feed our own ‘good wolves’ but we can begin to feed each other’s.