Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Why Not

Over the years I’ve accumulated quite a collection of cross necklaces, cross bracelets, and even cross earrings. Each one is special and unique. Some are special because they were given to me by a loved one, and some are special because I wore them knowing that I needed the armor of Christ to get me through a certain situation. And I have two that are very special being they belonged to my mother (who now resides in Heaven.) They are all unique because they are all different in size, shape, and form. Much like our real crosses in life.

I guess I could have begun this essay by saying, “Over the years I’ve accumulated quite a collection of crosses to carry in life.” (Who hasn’t?) The real question is can we proclaim each one is special and unique.

What do we do with our crosses? Do we embrace them with grace and prayer? Pretend they aren’t part of us? Do we try to pawn them off on some other soul? Have we ever complained so much about them that everyone knows each and every detail of that cross we were chosen to bear?

St. John Vianney encourages, “Why not love our crosses, and make use of them to take us to heaven?”

We don’t have to look far for someone to help us carry our crosses. He’s already there nailed to the cross. As a disciple of Jesus, I know that I am called to something greater, something better than what this world has to offer.

I’ve read His words, “Do not be worried and upset,” Jesus told them. “Believe in God and believe also in me. There are many rooms in my Father's house, and I am going to prepare a place for you. I would not tell you this if it were not so. And after I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to myself, so that you will be where I am.” (John 14:1-3)

Over the years I’m coming to understand that this journey here on earth is more about where we are heading than where we’ve been. It's about finding salvation through Jesus.

“Why not love our crosses, and make use of them to take us to heaven?”
St. John Vianney

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Bloom Where You're Planted

Stay where you are – find your own Calcutta. Find the sick, the suffering, the lonely, right where you are – in your own homes and in your own families, in your workplaces and schools. (Blessed Mother Teresa)

Dig deep.

Plant seeds of love and hope.

Douse with tears from your joys and sorrows.

Work through the dry spells.

Remove any weeds of doubt.

Rearrange the rocks to create welcoming paths.

This is how our love grows and blossoms.

Never be afraid to love right where you are—today—now.

Find the sick, the suffering, the lonely – in your own homes and in your own families, in your workplaces and schools.

Someone needs you.

Dig deep.

Bloom where you're planted.

(Photo credit courtesy of Kelly Friedlander.)

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Traveling the Seas of Life

“The world’s thy ship and not thy home.”

This quote from St. Therese de Lisieux is one that I often print next to prayers offering my condolences in sympathy cards. It is also the quote I concentrate on as I question the whole life and death process here on earth.

Many of us will agree that planet earth is not our real destination, our real destination is to come; life on earth is just the means to get there.       
Like a sailor we all have tales of having had to brace many storms, and likewise we’ve experienced glorious sun rising moments.

Life happens, things occur out of control, we can’t stop or start over on our life journey, it is a continuous trip and many times storms come at us full force. We must learn to bear the storms we are faced with, grow from them, become stronger, better, more adapt to life and the lessons each and every day brings.

Hopefully during the stormy seasons in our lives the seas don’t twist us around too much, or if they do, somehow we can make our way back on the right course. Usually after a violent storm the weather turns to that of stillness. Nature changes from one extreme to another. Peace and calmness fill the air. Sometimes after we suffer through a personal storm we follow suit and are filled with soothing, serene, tranquil thoughts.

The Gospels are filled with references advising one to always be on guard, keep awake, and remain steadfast in faith. “The world’s thy ship and not thy home.” This heavenly quote from St. Therese reminds us to be sure home is where we are sailing.

The seas of life are quite a voyage, but nothing compared to the destination promised!


(Photo credit courtesy of Cullen O'Donnell)

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The Sins of Multitasking

Did I really have soup dripping down my chin? Yes, and although I’m not proud of this, I am admitting it is true. It happened because I was multitasking. I was trying to read while eating.

The soup incident made me realize how often we multitask. It made me question the pros and cons of multitasking. Listening to music and doing some stretching exercises is definitely a pro. Driving and texting is illegal and dangerous—and a terrible con.

This got me to thinking about the real sins of multitasking such as letting one’s mind wander during church services, or cleaning house while trying to say our daily prayers so we can feel good and boast to other busy friends that, “Yes, we pray every single day, no matter what.” We secretly tell ourselves that we are too busy for long drawn out prayer—we have work obligations, the kids, family issues, and the excuses become longer than our grocery list—which reminds me that somehow grocery shopping has to be crammed into our schedule too.

Soon enough, we begin to believe we really are too busy to fit in quiet time alone with our Lord every day.

“If we don’t maintain a quiet time each day, it’s not really because we are too busy; it’s because we do not feel it is important enough… Late nights kill the quiet time… Quiet time is not just a helpful idea, it is absolutely necessary to spiritual growth.”
George Sweeting

The weather is getting nice. New growth is everywhere. What’s stopping you from exploring spring with God? No multitasking. No specific addenda. No errands on the side.

Just you; your walking shoes, God, and nature. 

“Quiet time is not just a helpful idea, it is absolutely necessary to spiritual growth.”

(Photo credit courtesy of Cullen O'Donnell)


Wednesday, April 3, 2019

It Happens

It happened unexpectedly. The knife sliced my finger. It went in deep and with such a clean slit that I didn’t even realize I was cut until it started bleeding. And kept bleeding. (Should have had stitches bleeding.) It made me think of how people talk about getting backstabbed. Most will tell you that they had no idea it was about to happen. They’ll tell you of the hurt and pain and that the bleeding doesn’t stop for a long time.

Maybe you’ve had it happen to you. Maybe afterwards you wanted revenge. As a Christian I know revenge is wrong. Even though the knife cut deep and unexpectedly—I healed. Believe me when I say that you don’t need revenge to heal.

What you need is a Higher God; a Holy God who warns not to fall prey to lower gods such as retaliation and hate.

“God would die for your sin before He’d let you die in your sin. What do you do with such a Savior?”

I hope I never get to the point where I honor Him by pouring out revenge whenever I get hurt. I hope I’ll find courage to exalt Him with offerings of pardon and compassion.

Let’s face it—it happens; when it does what will you choose?

I think it’s best to have courage that will carry you through life’s trials and tribulations.

(Please note: Quotation by Max Lucado)

(Photo courtesy of Cullen O'Donnell)