Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Offer It Up?

The Mystery within...
From God Never Hurries:  ‘Offer it up’ was a phrase I was taught early and reverted to throughout my life.  Now I wonder how many times I avoided addressing serious problems with those words?

* * *

Offering it up can be an evasive strategy to not address real problems.  But this weekend, as I walked the narrow winding path in the woods that gives me solace, I was reminded all truth is paradoxical, both/and, and so I did offer up a hurt and disappointment I was having a hard time shaking and it brought me real relief.

And that led me to the question of powerlessness and power, which is being addressed this week in Richard Rohr’s Center for Action and Contemplation’s daily online meditations exploring the spirituality of Bill Wilson’s twelve-step program for alcoholics.  The deep paradoxical truth offered so far is the need to admit our powerlessness before we can realize our own individual power—the spirituality of imperfection—how we learn to love one another and ourselves.     

What if we all pondered the paradoxical nature of offering it up?

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?