Monday, May 23, 2016

Being Helpful

The Mystery within...
I had the good fortune to have recently experienced some incredibly unhelpful individuals followed up a short time later by two incredibly helpful people.  The stark contrast between my two experiences makes me want to always be as helpful as I can toward the other.

My mission was to pick up some medical syringes for my son at his doctor's office within the hospital.  I was told there was nothing there for him and was dismissed.  I stood my ground and said,  “No, I know the package is here.”  The staff person looked around her narrow space and again told me there was nothing for him.  I still stood my ground.  She then found an envelope with his name on it, and said, “Oh, here it is.”  I said there should also be a box with medicine in it.  She again said,  “Well that’s not here for him.”  I would not give up.  Finally, a second woman said, “Let’s look in the back.” And they both disappeared and soon came back with the box of syringes.  But now the second woman was not going to let me leave with them because they needed to be refrigerated.  Fortunately, the box was already in my hand and I told her I would find a way to keep it cold.    

I went to the emergency room’s check in desk and explained to the two women there that my son was there getting a pick line inserted for intravenous feeding and I just picked up some medication for him that needs refrigeration.  I asked if they could please get me some ice to keep it cold since I did not know how long it would take for the pick line insertion.  With a kind, cheery voice, I was asked if I would like one or two bags of ice.  It was as if the sun came out after a prolonged absence.  Relief and deep gratitude coursed through me.  While I waited for one of the women to return with my ice, the other woman asked about the book I was carrying and told me she recently moved here and needed to get a library card.  And before I left I was asked if I had seen the notice on the desk that the following week a southbound detour would affect access to the hospital. Those two incredibly helpful women, who made me feel valued, who lightened my load, came to mind again this week as a return trip to the hospital was shortened by eight miles with an alternate detour route.

What if we all worked at being incredibly helpful to lighten another’s load and make them feel valued?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Incredible Journeys

The Mystery within . . . 
Life has kept me on my knees through some incredible journeys.  Learning has been the reward of these dark trips.  The superfluous is stripped away; the Mystery within becomes more known; and love of self and the other shines as the ultimate goal.

Some of my trips have been long and difficult.  Painful.  But the more I learn to strip away the superfluous, accept the pain, the closer I feel to the Mystery within, and the easier it is to love myself and the other.

What if we never journeyed on our knees?  What would we know?  How would we love?

Monday, May 9, 2016


The Mystery within...

Sometimes we just need to rest and not feel guilty.

What if we all rested guilt free when needed?

Monday, May 2, 2016

Uncomfortable Questions

The Mystery within...
It was refreshing for me to hear Patty Griffin tell how her patriarchal prejudices as a former Catholic were challenged with her singing of old gospel songs in her music video, “The Making of a Downtown Church.”  Her honesty brought my disquiet, my prejudice, with religious language out in the open.  I am grateful for its exposure.  Now I can ask the uncomfortable questions in how to ameliorate my prejudice.

In “God Never Hurries” I wrote:

"My fourth unit of Clinical Pastoral Experience helped make leaving a natural, easy step. What I learned so well in that unit was to respect where other people are in their relationship to God and their belief system. I knew then I could leave and respect those who chose to stay. That made it easier. Years of deep-seated resentments evaporated when I walked away—a welcome blessing. I knew work in pastoral care would go nowhere unless I adopted a religious affiliation, which I have chosen not to do. I told my fellow students that I would only work as a chaplain if I could claim an ecumenical affiliation. It was suggested I create one."

So much of the language of today’s Christianity is exclusionary that I find myself not even using the name of Jesus who was the total opposite of exclusionary.  So much goodness is overlooked within prejudice.

What if we all questioned our prejudices? 

Monday, April 25, 2016

A Writer's Duty

The Mystery within...
A National Public Radio program guest caught my ear on a “To the Best of Our Knowledge” broadcast titled "Depolarize Now!"   Elif Shafak, a Turkish writer, was one of four guests speaking on depolarizing.  Shafak highlighted the value of story telling in exposing people to the differences of others non-judgmentally, thereby helping to bring different people together.  She said it is a writer’s duty to ask questions but not provide answers.  It is up to our readers to answer the questions for themselves and ultimately lead each one of us to ask uncomfortable questions of ourselves.  She spoke of a cultural evolution in progress that invites us to empathy and understanding of the other.

The broadcast got me excited about a project I want to start soon--to list all the “What if…” questions that end each God Never Hurries post for the last three years by title and subject matter.  I then want to weave these posts together to create more questions we can ask ourselves that will bring us to more empathy, understanding and compassion for the other. 

What if we all learned how to ask uncomfortable questions of ourselves?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Goodness Within

The Mystery within...
During times of extreme stress or difficulty I have occasionally experienced a Caring Presence within--separate from myself—but yet a part of me.  Recently I have experienced something similar that I would call a brief invitation to a good cry.  It was fleeting but a comfort to know a good cry is within if I need it.

In a more distant past I am now recalling when the Goodness Within brought life giving acceptance and forgiveness of another when I felt overwhelmed with rejection.  I was having a hard time just functioning so I sat down and did some deep diaphragmatic breathing while saying a prayer I adapted from a former yoga class.

Lord, keep me protected.
Nourish and guide me in my life.
May I help create vitality among one another.
May there be no enmity among us.

When I got to the line, "May there be no enmity among us," my overwhelming feeling of rejection was replaced with a blessed sense of acceptance and forgiveness of the other.  It was a life changing moment that became a catalyst for changes I needed to make in how I lived my life.  Those changes allowed me to tell the tale of other life changing encounters with the Goodness Within in "God Never Hurries." 

From "God Never Hurries:"

"Be not afraid."

"Justice will be kind it will be done over a period of time."

"I hold your hand and all of you, know that we are one."

"Your father will forgive you."

What if we all trusted the Goodness Within to guide us through life changing encounters? 

Monday, April 11, 2016

No Control

The Mystery within...
Serious illness has recently revisited those I care most about and reminded me that I really have no control over what happens to another.  Accepting that fact has taken some of the edge off my angst.  I can pray for the return of health, make chicken soup, be available to help, and offer suggestions.  But I really have no control in the outcome.  Acceptance of that fact feels like grace.

I was grateful for my rain gear and rubber boots as my yellow lab Oliver and I took a break to walk to the woods in a gentle rain.  There, bright green moss covering some rocks is the first color to return to end winter's subdued landscape.  Upon closer inspection, tiny green shoots of new life are beginning to poke through the brown wet carpet of last year's leaves.   And I felt graced again when I realized that this simple pleasure is all I really need in my life to feel complete.

What if relinquishing all control is the way to peace?