Reflections on a Life

Reflections on a Life

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Light of the World

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” - John 8:12

I love Christmas.  I love the music and the decorations and the food and the general sense of joy and hope that  surrounds everything and everyone.  It’s the lights that I think I love the most.  

All year long I see traffic lights and street lights and the headlights and tail lights of cars.  But when fall turns into winter, those lights magically look like Christmas to me.  And the last things I want to take down  when the season is ‘over’  are those lights.  

And the real beauty of those lights is that they never go out.  They might not be lighting The Plaza or my home or my tree, and the traffic lights might start looking like normal cars again, but they stay lit in the world… and in my heart.  

Because the birth and the life…. and the death… of the man who is the reason for those lights have changed the world - and my heart - forever.  And, I pray, that even when things appear dark,  I remember to follow the Light of the World.

Thank you, baby Jesus.  

Published in God in the Life of Our Members, Pine Ridge Presbyterian Church, January 2018

Being the Prayer

We do not know how to pray as we should. But the Spirit himself speaks to God for us, even begs God for us. The Spirit speaks to God with deep feelings that words cannot explain.          Romans 8:26

I’m reading Why Not Be a Mystic? and love it because the chapters are short and sweet and make me stop and think deeply about what has been said.  Sometimes I write comments and questions in the margins that I want to discuss with my small group, The Mystics.  Occasionally my soul does a happy dance about something that I read that just thrills me.

When this scripture was tied to the thought that prayers don’t need to be ‘laundry lists’ of names and events and needs and hopes and that the best prayers are little more than simply being present with God, in every breath, and allowing the Spirit to pray in me, I was rocked!  What a relief!

There are so many things that are in my heart regarding the people I love and the world we live in.  I worried I was leaving someone or something out.  What a blessing to know God hears my petitions with every beat of my heart, with every breath I take no matter where I am. We are a living prayer.

Published in God in the Life of Our Members, Pine Ridge Presbyterian Church, September 2017

The Peace of God

And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

I'm sitting here, looking at my sweet, confused right-now-very-angry mother and wondering at the twists and turns that life throws us all at any given moment. She's safe. She's well cared for. She's actually relatively healthy, but life has thrown her and everyone who cares for her the regrettable twist of dementia that keeps her constantly lost in time and space. And often scared and angry. 

Who can blame her?

My heart consistently breaks for this once-competent, independent woman who now depends on the kindness of everyday strangers to do everything for her. And other than loving her and trying to be her memory and her one unchanging constant, there isn't one thing I can do to change her situation. 

And to be unhappy about things I can't change is as pointless as being unhappy about the things I can. 

So. I continue to pray for that peace that transcends understanding, continue to be constantly grateful for loving caretakers and friends, and sit here thankful that I still have this remarkable woman in my life teaching me lessons of faith and grace and love. 

Always love. 

Published in God in the Life of Our Members, Pine Ridge Presbyterian Church, May 2017

Love Never Fails

I Corinthians 4-8  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 

I’ve been thinking an awful lot about love lately.  Partly because that’s what I think about a lot, anyway.  But mostly because of the contentiousness that is in the air and has been for months.  

And, I guess to be frank, I’ve been noticing and feeling a lot more of the opposite of love.  It looks and sounds like hate, but I think it’s really just fear in disguise.  

Fear of change.  Fear of things and people that are different than we are.  Fear of losing a way of living, working, playing and even worshiping. Fear of what might happen with the coming new year, whether close to home or reaching out to the country and the world.  

it’s really easy to be afraid.

And then today during a service dedicated to love and the inevitable loss that comes with life, I’m reminded of the beautiful words that talk about what love is.  And isn’t.  And I’m called to remember that my faith statement is just this simple.  I believe in love. 

Because Love Never Fails.    

Published for God in the Life of Our Members, Pine Ridge Presbyterian Church, November 2016

The Promise is Peace

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.

So, so many things to be troubled about in the world swirling around us from Nice to Dallas to Baton Rouge to our own homes.  Senseless acts of violence, tragic accidents.  It is so very difficult, sometimes, to not let a heart be broken - crushed even - with the events that come crashing down around us seemingly every day.

And.  The promise is peace.  The promise is that love conquers all.  The promise is that, although every day along with the exquisitely beautiful, when the world gives us the very bitterest of lemons, with the right frame of mind sweetness can come.  

Peace can come.

And it starts right here, in me, with my heart.  I ask for peace. I pray for peace. And the only way to make it happen is to be that peace. 

Oh, Lord of love, abide in me.  Guide my every word and act and step.  May I be an instrument of your peace here, now, with every being I encounter.  And with you, I will not be afraid.  I will live this life out loud, on purpose and in love.   

Published for God in the Life of Our Members, Pine Ridge Presbyterian Church, July 2016