Monday, October 29, 2012

A Miracle

from  Here if you Need Me,  A True Story by Kate Braestrup

From Jesus, ten lepers receive a cure. "And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. He prostrated himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him."

                        Were not ten made clean? Yes. Ten were made clean.
                         But only one received a miracle.

A miracle is not defined by an event. A miracle is defined by gratitude.


All ten lepers were made clean; all ten went on to live whatever new life was afforded them thereby. We can be confident that all ten suffered other wounds, for life is wounding, and that all ten died, for life is also terminal. All ten have long since gone to dust and story. Sometimes the miracle is a life restored, but the restoration is always temporary. At other times, maybe most of the time, a miracle can only be the resurreciton of love beside the unchanged fact of death.

...As a mother, I pray for miracles of the most ordinary kind on their (my children's) behalf: I want their hearts to keep beating. I want them to live.

But then, a grateful heart beats in a world of miracles. If I could only speak one prayer for you, my children, it would be that your hearts would not only beat but grow ever greater in gratitude, that your lives, however long they prove to be and no matter how they end, continue to bring you miracles in abundance.

This and That

I've been putting off writing because I couldn't pull my thoughts together on any one subject, and so I've decided rather to write a little about a lot of things. Maybe that's just my ADHD showing up (which I've never been diagnosed with, but it works as a reason for my behaviour rather frequently).

1. Life is fleeting and temporal. The day after my last blog entry saw my sister-in-law have her life changed in an instant. She was a pedestrian on her way to work. She ended up in the hospital with numerous life threatening injuries after being hit by a half ton truck. By now, she is on her way to recovery, but it will involve a long process of physio, surgeries, and bedrest. Oh how quickly her life changed, as well as life for her family. Made me stop and think.

2. Hellbound? is a movie that many people have gone to see, but I have not. I can't believe the uproar that it has caused. Do I agree with all the viewpoints presented by the different people who have discussed it? Absolutely not. Do I know with absolute certainty that the viewpoint that I have is the right one? No. But that's okay. I do know who holds my future, and I do know that my job here on earth is NOT to argue about future possible torment, but rather be salt and light towards the love of Jesus for people in the here and now. Come on people, what people believe about what will or will not happen after death will not change what DOES happen after death and Jesus was pretty clear about what his job for us on earth is. Rather ironically, I read this quote today "A factual description of the afterlife is someone no one living is qualified to offer. Yet, the Christian feels compelled to speak of that which is beyond words." (Here if You Need Me, by Kate Braestrup, p. 127)

3. Self-discipline is not my forte. In just about every other area of my goals for this year I am doing okay. However, self-discipline in the area of eating is not working. I am working out regularly, but that's never been an issue for me. I have always liked physical activity, so maybe I have never had to watch what I eat before, but this midlife stage of life is creeping up on me rather fast and some of the side effects have been weight gain. I am trying to gain courage and motivation for this by looking at my friend who is quitting smoking. She is my age and has had struggled with this for many years. She has quit, for up to 12 years only to be hit with the urge too strong to resist one day and started up again. So I am joining her on this self-discipline journey. May we both be successful!

4. Parenting young adults is hard work...or maybe that's exactly my problem. I still think I need to do work to parent them. I want their lives to be free of stress and problems. I want to fix all their issues. I need to cut some apron strings, I think, and give them room to grow. Oh boy...not so easy to do when growth invariably involves pain.

5. I love my church. This week my love stems from the intentional way we are trying to learn from our neighbours. I was going to use the term "reaching out", but that assumes that we are the ones who are in power or in the position of strength. We have a lot to learn from our neighbours. May we be open to it.

6. I love my job. Teaching Kindergarten and Grade 1 students has got to be one of the most rewarding stages of formal education. They are learning so much and are eager to share it with everyone around them. I am so fortunate to have a job like that. I feel sorry for the rest of you!

....I thought there was more, but I've run out of steam. Maybe I'll think of them at 3 a.m. again and write it down on a piece of note paper for next time. Until, love and laugh!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

100 workouts

So I've made it to 100 workouts at Curves. That's quite a few...and yet not very many. It all depends on perspective. And today I had an interesting perspective while working out. Curves is much like "church." Let me tell you a few ways I felt that way today.

You are welcomed by name when you walk in.
You are welcomed as you are....fat, skinny, fit, flabby, tired, energetic...
There's music playing...always... sometimes even songs I sing on Sunday (just at 3 times the tempo to keep you working hard!)
Everyone's welcome to just do the circuit, but there's more if you want. There's more workout options (eliptical, treadmill), a tanning bed, vibration machines, etc.
You can delve deeper into the Curves "philosophy" if you want and do the diet, the workout regiment, mentoring, weight loss and measurement protocol....but only if you want to. I am never pushed to do it.

I find Curves a safe place to be, but also one that challenges me to do better because I am trying to do more than just work out. I want to be fit and healthy. That means that sometimes Curves is a bit awkward for me, as I have to weigh in and get measured regularly and those numbers don't lie.

Can you see the comparisons to church? Is church like that for you, too?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Power of Words

A very sad story is in the news today. A young girl from the lower mainland has committed suicide, shortly after making a you tube video about the bullying abuse she had suffered over the past few years. The bullying, although it did include some physical altercations, was mainly through the power of words, especially using social media.

Unfortunately, many of the comments following the video continue the abusive tone and I can see why she figured life just wasn't worth it anymore, if even the video she made to help others like herself was used as a catalyst for further mockery.

The you tube video is well worth watching. Here's the link:

This makes me stop and think. How do I use words? Do the people around me (my husband, my children, my students, the cashier) find my words uplifting or destructive? Do I give hope and joy to others or do I cut them down. I do have a sharp, satirical wit at times; could it be construed as hurtful?

My deliberate living will have to include careful speech. "May the words of my acceptable in your sight, oh God."

Monday, October 1, 2012

Why Church?

After writing my last entry, I thought people might wonder if I thought church was important, seeing as Aunt Sue is a great inspiration to me, but has never had any use for church. So, just to set the record straight, here's a list of why I think church is VERY important and why I can't imagine life without it. I do think people miss out who think they can do without church. Church is made up of very imperfect, hypocritical people, but as my devotional reading this morning said, "The imperfections and frailties of human beings...who preach and teach are not shortcomings to be deplored; they are protection from yet another distraction to worshiping and serving God himself. There was saying in the early church that the best bishop was a bad bishop--that way, there was no danger of substituting him for the living God." (Eugene Peterson)

It's easy for me to write this today, as we just had a great weekend going away with our church to a camp where meals were made for us, dishes done for us, and we had no pressure to get anything done. I, however, had already started this list last week, so it's not just because I have "warm-fuzzies" about my church that I am putting my thoughts down in this blog now.

I really don't know why, but I started to think about things that start with the letter "C" that make church vital for me. They are below in no particular order.

Church is important because:
           - it reminds me that I must have Compassion for people across the street and around the world.
           - it is the body of Christ in flesh, right here, right now
           - this body Cares for me and my family
           - it Centres me, gives me time to focus, to breathe, to reflect
           - it is used by God to Correct me when I'm wrong
           - we have Communion together, remembering the life and sacrifice of our Saviour
           - it gives me Contact and Conversation with others different from myself
           - it is a Community to help raise our children (it takes a village)
           - it Challenges me to live out my Christian faith every day, not just Sunday
           - it provides many instances of Comic release...we laugh at ourselves.
           - and, as my son said as he saw me making this list, ... we get to go to Camp!

And that is my incomplete list. What would you add?