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Archive for the ‘The Purpose of Relationship’ Category

Thank you Kathleen Parker for this quote:

“In George Washington’s proclamation of 1789, Thanksgiving was designated as a time of duty “to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor … a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

A small part of my family gathered with my husband and I for a whole week of simply enjoying being together. I prepared the meal and it was truly the absolutely worst Thanksgiving dinner ever. So much for an Organic free range turkey. Yuck. But my family loved me anyway. Their presence meant the world to me. Much better than Christmas presents. Gratitude filled our home and it remains.

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“Helping, fixing, and serving represent three different ways of seeing life. When you help, you see life as weak. When you fix, you see life as broken. When you serve, you see life as whole. Fixing and helping may be the work of the ego, and service the work of the soul.”

– Rachel Naomi Remen from,
A Time for Listening and Caring

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I have a confession to make. I am naturally a very judgmental person. Not in the usual ways one might think of but rather in any given situation, I know exactly how things ought to be. Sounds ridiculous I know but I am a natural born fixer. You’ve heard the saying “if you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail?”. Well, if one is a fixer, everything looks like it needs fixing. This is quite an exhausting way to live. One would think that having a chronic, energy sapping illness would have cured me of this “dis-ease” but no. Now I still see most things as needing fixing but know I can no longer attempt the fix. To counteract this foible of mine, I have been intentionally looking at others as beautiful creations of God, perfect just as they are. This has proved quite delightful.

Today, I went to my gym for my own improvement. I do a series of water exercises. As I came to the pool, I asked the gentleman in one lane “Can I share this lane?”. He smiled as he said “Of course!”. Immediately I heard my Grandmother’s voice in my head saying “May I not can I”! As soon as I crossed paths with the gentleman I apologized and said “I should have said may I”. It turned out he was a retired grammar teacher! What are the chances? I think this little joke on me is a reminder to see myself as also beautiful and just as I am meant to be, for purposes beyond my need to know.

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One of my favorite people in the world is my daughter. This quote is a part of her e-mail signature:

“One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.”
Abraham Maslow

Wise words. Somedays I’d much rather cocoon.

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“The the Lord God said, “it is not good that the man should be alone” Genesis 2:18

This quote is from the second version of the creation story found in the first two chapters of Genesis. This silliness in the US of attempting to require the teaching of Creationism in our public schools seems to me to entirely miss the point. Since there are two different stories right from the very beginning of the Bible, it seems to me that a literal interpretation of scripture distracts one from the deeper truths. The Bible is not a book of science but a window to the living Word of God.

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I hadn’t attended church for three weeks. Our church is about 45 minutes away. A chronic illness keeps me grounded: some days my physical well-being is dis-ordered by this and I am reminded that I can’t always choose what to do. Other days, I’m just plain too tired or perhaps it’s just an excuse to stay in bed. Regardless, today we gathered with our community of faith to begin the Advent season.

I didn’t want to go. Exhausted after the Thanksgiving celebration (in which I reveled in the presence of my two children), sleeping in sounded good to me. No could do. I was the guest preacher for the day while our pastor was away on a cruise with his wife.

I’m still exhausted but I’m glad I was there. The hour set aside to gather and sing and pray and just be in God’s presence was certainly worth the drive! Our church is far from perfect. I didn’t even like the hymns we sang (and I had picked them out!). We messed up the call to worship reading. Babies were crying and people were coughing. But it was church and it was a joy to me. Why church?

It’s the people for me. The people are beautiful in all their variety and neuroses. I feel like I belong with them because I can be myself, with all my neuroses and imperfections. Although there may not even be one person there who might understand what it means to practice a mystical christiainity, I’m welcome and appreciated. These are people with whom I can laugh and cry, remember and dream. With all the problems that come with any group of human beings trying to be organized together, with all the times there are misunderstandings and immature acting out, these are still people with whom I belong. I’m thankful for that. It’s worth the trip. It’s worth the effort. It’s worthy of my respect.

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It was my first visit to yet another health care professional. If I counted up the miles, money and minutes spent trying to pull out of this strangle hold of the weird symptoms call Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) , I.d probably be depressed. But I.m not. I.m actually pretty happy most of the time.
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