Archive | July 2015

EQUAL, HONORABLE STANDING

This is from a blurb about a workshop on singlehood:
As you participate in this workshop, you will experience:
•Fresh and bold teaching to confront deep-rooted issues that prevent you from relationship

 

So single people have deep rooted issues that keep them from relationships.  More so than those who marry?  Hmmm, what does the 60+% divorce rate say about that?  Singles don’t have close relationships?  Marriage is the only form of such closeness??
I think we might need to work on our concept of intimacy; perhaps broaden it a little.

 

•Learning to love yourself so that you will allow others to love you

 

Singles don’t love themselves, eh?  They’re going to have a miserable time living alone if that’s the case!
Marrieds do?  How many people are wed because they can’t stand to be alone, even if that means enduring an unhappy relationship?

 

•Opportunities to practice sharing and being vulnerable within the safety of a small group

Hopefully, singles are already in a family or community that loves them and create safety for sharing, regardless of relationship status.
Okay, we do need to work on that one, but that’s a different article.

 

•Hope for an amazing marriage and preparation for that significant person the Lord has for you

Not everyone marries.  That in no way means that God plays favorites.  Singlehood and marriage are both real and valid walks of life.
To singles:  Start by building a solid, loving friendship with yourself.  You are an equal and a whole person, relationship status notwithstanding.  After that, decide what fits you.  If you want a marriage, go for it; if however, you find that you are happy single, relax and enjoy life.

 

To marrieds:  First, develop that same solid, loving relationship with yourself.  You can’t give what you don’t have.  Then, build a happy home with your spouse.  Know that marriage is a choice and on equal footing with singlehood.
To all:  Please stop comparing yourselves and others.  Marrieds, please refrain from characterizing singles and the quality of their lives.  Singles, show the same respect to those who marry.
The bottom line, after all, is equality, love and honor.

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AUTHENTICITY

“An encore career is work in the second half of life that combines continued income, greater personal meaning, and social impact. These jobs are paid positions often in public interest fields, such as education, the environment, health, the government sector, social services, and other nonprofits.”  -Wikipedia

 

As Baby Boomers entered their late 50’s or 60’s, the whole field of “encore careers” was born.  It’s a powerful idea that fits with human development.  It seems that we spend the first half of our lives proving that we are capable and gaining our sense of self worht from this doing.  By the time we reach 35 or 40, we are beginning to change perspective, mostly because we have “been there and done that.”  We have discovered that all the doing in the world doesn’t address the deeper need for meaning and value that cries out within our souls.

 

By the time we approach our 50’s, we are usually more inwardly motivated.  We are ready to make a statement that expresses our hearts, instead of trying to get approval or join the latest fad.

 

I say, this authenticity that seems to come with maturity needs to be applied to all aspects of living:  Relationships, work, spiritual life, play, hobbies and self care.  I also believe that anyone at any age can apply the principle of being true to who you are, knowing that you will develop and refine it as you heal and grow.

 

Because people stay in the work force longer, they tend to change careers several times.  Be encouraged as you walk through this.  I think the primary reason is that our inner world governs our outer one:  AS you discover more about who you are, what you like or don’t like, you might find that your work activity and environment need to change.  Go for it!  Don’t be afraid to take an entry level position:  Learning and building new skills are part of the adventure.

 

Another powerful factor in career development is finding the right mix of commitment to a job and time for a satisfying personal life.  Again, this may facilitate a career change or two.  There is no shame in this:  You are much more than what you do.

 

Perhaps the most basic truth behind “encore” careers…or relationships play, hobbies and self care is that who we are trumps what we do.  Words and actions are merely the reflections of our inner person.  I am not entirely convinced that this applies to the second half of life alone; it is simply more recognized by then.

 

I myself continue to explore and wrestle with my own direction and choices.  I find myself asking  new questions.  Instead of exploring “encore careers,” I am seeking ways to live more authentically.  This begins inwardly.  It is alive, fluid and multi-faceted.  It is part of the journey on which I have been my whole life and won’t end until I go home to Heaven.

LAUGH EACH DAY

Have you laughed at least once today?  Have you found one tiny reason to smile?
It’s amazing how even the slightest chuckle will lift our heavy spirit and help us to find new perspective.  Laughter relieves pain, lowers blood pressure, knocks the depression monster down to size…and just makes us feel good all ’round!
I have not read any of the reports myself, but I hear that there have been studies to show that people who laugh recover from serious illness more quickly than those who remain somber.  I have been told that this includes people with such things as cancer.  Hmm, it certainly can’t hurt, right?
I remember a presentation at a continuing ed workshop I attended years ago.  A therapist was sharing stories about groups she facilitated for survivors of sexual abuse.  One game she had participants play was, “Haha.”  She would have them lie on the floor so that each person’s head was resting on someone’s stomach; then she would start with one “ha.”   The next person had to add a “ha”, making “haha.”  Then the next one added yet another, until the whole group was laughing.  Her point was that people who go through trauma often lose the ability to laugh and need to learn how, all over again.
Hope and joy are the keys:  When we know that we can expect good things in life; that we are precious and loved completely apart from circumstances, we can laugh.
Steve Backlund, of Global Legacy wrote a book called, “Let’s Just Laugh At That.”  He identifies lies that we tend to believe; then, you guessed it, he says to laugh at them:  It takes their power away.  I think there is truth to this.  Lies only have an impact when we give them serious attention; laughing communicates that they simply aren’t that potent.
Sometimes, the hardest things are the ones we need to laugh about most.  Perhaps we don’t really laugh at them so much as in spite of them or as a declaration over them.  We may only succeed at a hint of a smile at first; yet if we can look to hope and joy, we will be able to lift our heads, put a spring in our step…

 

and laugh.

JAM SESSION

Apricots, pineapple, pectin, sugar…
A summer afternoon, not too hot, with a nice breeze;
Favorite music or sounds drifting in through open windows;
Fourteen little jars full of sunshine now sit on the stove.
Soon they will sit on the shelf with others,
Made from cherries, raspberries and pure enjoyment,
Ready to greet and cheer on a cold winter morning;
Comforting pleasure mixes with butter on crisp toast.

flames

Fireworks-WS-BGR-20241

Yesterday morning, I was thinking about John and people like him, who have severe illnesses.  There is one thing that is very different for them:  Most of us have no idea about the length of our lives; they pretty much know theirs will be shorter.
As I considered this, this word came to me:
There are different kinds of flames.  Some burn for a long time.  They usually exude warmth,and softer light.  Then there are flames that burn very brightly:  Fireworks, for example,  They show off their pretty colors and shapes; then they’re gone.
John was a bright flame.  He impacted hundreds of people in his 23 years of life.
What kind of flame are you?  Do you burn more slowly, warming, giving comfort and energy?  Are you a brighter sort?
There are different kinds of fire for a reason.  We need the soft, comforting ones; the moderate kinds and the bright flames that really get our attention.  We may not know the number of our days, but we can be the very best flames possible, burning according to the ways in which we are designed.

May each of us live with purpose; may we embrace our unique expressions and bring our light to the world.

JOHN HENDRIK

This song is dedicated to my nephew and Godson, John Hendrik, who went home to Jesus today.  He was 23.

John had a disease called Epidermalysis Bullosa, which caused him constant pain because of his ever-present wounds.  I believe that Jesus gave John the choice to stay or go with Him.  John chose to go home, where he no longer struggles.  Now he is free and healthy.

 

Eternity

by Brian Doerkson

 

I will be Yours
You will be mine
Together in eternity
Our hearts of love will be entwined
Together in eternity
Forever in eternity
No more tears of pain in our eyes
No more fear or shame
For we will be with You
Yes, we will be with you.
No more tears;
No more pain;
No more fear;
No more shame…

 

Nothing will come between us when we come home.

We will worship, we will worship You forever.

 

I love you, John.