Reflections on a Life

Reflections on a Life

Monday, April 18, 2011


A lot of years ago there was a collection of post-apocalyptic movies with the main character 'Mad Max' played by a much younger Mel Gibson.  At the time, a phrase was used over and over again that I thought was just stupid - so stupid it was funny.  And I repeated it sometimes as proof that sometimes things were just inane.

That phrase? "Wherever you go, there you are."

Since those long-ago days I have done a lot more reading and even more 'questing' in the ways of the spirit and have since realized that this seemingly inane phrase is actually ancient spiritual wisdom that tells a profound and inescapable truth. 

Wherever you go, there you are

For a lot of the years of my life I thought that if I changed my address or my job or my relationship (or my weight or hair color or style or clothes, etc., etc., etc.,) then somehow everything would magically get better or more interesting or successful.  Not doing well in a class?  Drop it or change schools.  Job isn't going well, find another one.  Marriage not working out?  Just go, already!

But.  Wherever you go, there you are.

It didn't matter how far I ran or how many times I twisted and turned trying to get away from something or someone or to something (or someone) else, wherever 'I' went, there 'I', ultimately, still was. 

If I wanted something to change in my life I first had to change me. Transformation from the inside out, I began to understand, was the only true path to happiness.  So I set about getting the kind of help and mentoring and advice and wise teaching that hopefully would help me to become the person I actually wanted to take along on the trip, wherever it was I was going.  And, thank God, the teachers that came my way and the help I got made huge changes to my heart.

One example.... my husband and I had decided several years ago that our 'no divorce decrees, only death certificates' unofficial promise we made on our wedding day just wasn't working for us anymore and we decided that once the children were all graduated, we would 'move on' and call it finished.  I tearfully shared this news with my work team at the time.  When we made this decision, we had about 18 months of wait time before the kids were all out of the roost, and the idea of just spinning wheels for 18 months seemed like a total waste of a life, so I decided 'why not work on me' in the meantime. 

Thank God.  Because that made all the difference.  Instead of divorcing at 24 years of marriage, we will be celebrating 29 years soon.  When I announced to that same work group that we had just celebrated our 25th anniversary, the question was asked 'what did you do?'  And I answered, softly, 'I changed my heart.'  

Then my colleague restated his question 'No, Ruth, what did you DO for your anniversary?!' After laughing until the tears flowed - that being a classic Ruth moment - I let them know we went out for a lovely dinner.

So, transformation that resulted in a changed heart and a saved marriage.  And two very happy people.

Then, recently I heard a sermon on a Latin phrase that put a new and interesting twist on the previous phrase that I had come to respect and repeat to others.  This 'new' Latin phrase is:

at que non
Deus aderit

The translation is, simply, 'Bidden or not Bidden, God is present'.  And there I was with another epiphany, goosebumps-up-and-down-my-arm moment. 

Wherever I go, there You are!

In the air that I breath.  In the coming and going moments of every day and every night.  In my joy and in my sorrow.  In my victory and in my defeat.  In my proud moments as well as every one of my shameful moments.  In my private time and when I am surrounded by people - friendly or not.  Wherever I go, there YOU are!

And if I can't go anywhere without You, then You can't go anywhere without me. 

We are stuck with each other. 

My own, personal God.

My One, personal God.

And that is the ultimate transformation!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

So, How About a Picture?

It worked!  So, how about if I include a picture?

Technology is Wonderful!

My first raw experience with computers gave me the impression of more work and longer days.  The promise was for increased efficiency and more productivity, but the real draw for companies was the ability to hold people closer and expect quicker response and turn around. 

And then they gave out Blackberries, and 24/7 became a standard concept.  Remember when once upon a time, if someone got back to you within 24 hours on an email, you were impressed?  No, I don't, either.

And most everyone that knows me intimately has heard of my 'going postal' on a printer that was guilty only of requiring to be hand-fed paper one piece at a time.  Not really a problem when all you wanted was one copy at a time.  But I had to print a report that was 100 pages long.  I met my deadline and the printer met my office floor.  Several times. 

But I am discovering that technology CAN by my friend. 

Since social networking, I have regained a world of friends that were lost to me once upon a graduation almost 40 years ago.  (That number is positively scary and moderated only by the fact that I feel more alive now than I ever did once upon that time!) We have reconnected, rediscovered the joys of the town where we grew up, and started gathering with just the mention of someone coming in to town.  With this 'new' old group of friends I have found people interested in camping and sailing and dancing and making pancakes at 4:00 in the morning and canoeing and walking and just being together.

And then there is Facebook, which opened up the world even more - beyond high school classes - and into the wider world of global contacts.  At first my impression of Facebook was random updates going into the ether and wondering why, really, anyone would care? 

And then I learned that ministries come in all forms and can even be fitted in to 420 characters at a time. 

And now? I discover that I can write and email and post to my blog - which is my attempt to discipline myself into writing which will lead me eventually to me dream of writing a book.  How wonderful!  And this email is my first experiment with doing just that.

I hope it works.