In Memory of –
This is a strange holiday for me. It’s not strange in the sense that I don’t understand it or think it necessary but strange because I did not serve in the armed services nor lost a loved one while in military service. I don’t know what it’s like to charge up a hill with my unit, share foxholes with people who I depend on for my life, find the courage to carry out orders that put my life and others in danger and know not everyone is coming back from the mission. I don’t know what it is to get a knock on my door, a phone call, by servicemen or women to inform me a loved is not returning home. I can’t imagine the pain, heartache, loss, or pride that comes with Memorial Day.
I once served on a staff with a war veteran and we liked to talk politics, history, and war. He had seen action in the military while I sat in the safety of a university classroom. We’d have conversations about the justifications of war. I’d voice my opinion that Christians should follow Jesus’ example and be pacifists, opposed to all violence and then he’d tell me when and why I was wrong. I didn’t agree with everything he said about the military, nation-building, and protection but I was also humbled and silent as he spoke. I understood that he had served, put his life on the line for us to disagree and still be friends, still call ourselves by the same name; Americans.
“The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Blessings & Thank you,
Full of Junk –
Today is President’s Day. I wish I would’ve remembered that before this afternoon. The last few weeks have been rough weather wise. Cold, rainy, windy and our trash has piled up in the bin outside. Finally, today, it was dry enough to put the all the trash in the back of the truck and take it to the Refuse and Recycle Center. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to do it before meeting with some fathers today so it sat in the back of the truck until afternoon. My truck looked like Sanford and Son. After finishing up my appointments I headed to the dump. I was almost there and thankful to get rid of the trash. Then, to my disbelieving eyes, the gates were closed and it dawned on me; “President’s Day.” It was a holiday and county employees weren’t working today. My truck would stay loaded down until tomorrow. “Grrrr!” and “Sigh.”
“Don’t let what’s happening around you get inside you and weigh you down.” Easy sentence to write a hard sentence to live. We are surrounded by many negative things which can be like anchors to our spirits. Violence, injustice, racism, sexism, bigotry, and all sorts of evil that threaten to permeate our souls. We must be careful, watchful, mindful to not allow this corruption of creation to become a part of us, absorb us, soak up our existence and make us apart of what we should be fighting against.
Today was busy! I know for some it was a holiday but my schedule was stuffed! The day started early and it felt like a sprint to the end of it. I don’t mind busy days most of the time because it keeps the time moving and there’s no boredom to fight off.
On the other hand, my wife had a holiday. Today is Martin Luther King day and she was able to sleep in, keep her PJs on and enjoy a wonderful day of doing nothing, purposefully. She’s been incredibly busy since November of last year and a day home, without me!, and zilch on her schedule was what she needed.
There is a thin line between balancing a healthy life or action and inaction. Our chaotic world and its need for non-stop entertainment, to-do lists, places to go, things to experience, can set a pace where eventually we burn out, fall apart, or both. We need to know when to stop, take our foot off the gas and be still; not just emotionally and mentally but physically.
Knowing, sensing, its time for a break, a rest, a lazy day is an important sense to develop and put into practice.
Here’s an interesting info-pic about different traditions celebrated by varying cultures around the world at Christmas…
Traditions can be wonderful but they can also bring the heaviness of the past and a longing to live there.
I recently finished my Christmas day calls & texts to family and friends. Some are doing well and others have had a rough 2013. Family members and friends separated by varying circumstances including death, traditions once highly valued now gone, have a way of making this day dreadful instead of joyful. I spoke to someone this morning who began to cry while saying she would “be alright in a little bit.” I told her not to make this day anything other than what it was, a hard one, and if the mourning of what has been is needed to get to what is and what will be, then embrace this season of change.
Traditions are wonderful and should be cherished but when they change or cease, as all things do, maybe the gifts of acceptance and letting go is what we need to unwrap this year.blessings of peace, bdl
Over at HuffPo there is an interesting article with 20 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Your Eyes
The best that a human eye has been recorded to see is around 20/10.
There’s a word for fear of eyes.
Eyes heal quickly.
It’s possible for your eyes to get sunburned.
It’s possible for your eyesight to get “better” with age.
Your eyeball is slightly smaller than a gumball.
The lens in your eye is about as big as an M&M candy.
Developing a cataract in your eye is kind of like developing a peanut in that “M&M.”
Having 20/20 vision isn’t the same thing as having “perfect” vision.
The length of your eye helps determine what kind of eyesight you have.
Your eyeballs get bigger as you grow up.
Reading this article I began to reflect upon other “truths” about eyes: they can be “windows to the soul,” “bigger than one’s stomach,” “pop out of one’s head,” “twinkle,” “located in the back of one’s head,” “cried out,” “roving” and “gleam.”
Our eyes can also be fixed… on money, reputation, power, fame, revenge, love, grace, kindness or (fill in the blank )__________.
“Let not your heart be prideful, your eyes fixed on raising yourself high. Do not occupy your mind with things always out of reach. Calm and quiet your soul, like a child lying on its mother’s breast. Be still and look to the One who is faithful.”
Where we fix our eyes, place our focus, determines our destination. Let’s make sure it’s where we need to go.
Most of us dare to believe that when the chips are down, the right situation presents itself, our inner hero will emerge.
Several years ago I worked as a staff volunteer and supplemented my income as the janitor of a large church which was composed of several buildings, including a couple of houses for small groups. I often arrived very early in the morning, before the sun came up, to clean.
The church didn’t have an alarm system and the thought of, “what if someone has broken in and I surprise them?” often creeped into my mind. Assuring myself that I would be able to handle it, the skittishness soon passed once a few lights were on and the sun appeared on the horizon.
One morning, entering into one of the campus houses by way of the garage, a cat jumped out from behind some storage and startled me. Actually, it scared the bejeebers out of me! I hollered, stumbled back, tripped and almost fell on the floor. I steadied myself, looked the cat in the eye, caught my breath, relaxed, and then had a good laugh thinking, “oh, you handled it alright!”
No matter how prepared we think we are sometimes life takes us by surprise and other times it scares the mess out of us. Unexpected events and circumstances can make us feel unable to handle the pressure and stress which often accompany anxious times. Mindfulness can give us the ability to still ourselves, look the threat in the eye, and know that fear might be our first response but it doesn’t have to be our only one.
It was the Nightmare After Christmas (from the New York Post).
A Manhattan woman claims in a lawsuit that she was toppled by a pile of rotting Christmas trees left out on a sidewalk.
Gwendolyn Deluca was strolling by 752 West End Ave. in January 2011 when she passed as many as 30 used Christmas trees left in “a large, unstable pile” on the sidewalk “without so much as a sign warning passers-by of the looming danger,” she charges in Manhattan Supreme Court papers filed last week against building management.
The stack of pines stood 5 feet high and “created severely dangerous” conditions for pedestrians, Deluca claims.
Deluca became a victim of the timber terror when the pile collapsed and “caused her leg to be trapped by Christmas tree(s),” tripping her on an already icy sidewalk and causing “permanent” injuries, according to court papers in which she accuses the building of negligence.
Deluca is seeking unspecified damages, and says the incident has left her unable to do “activities that she once so dearly loved,” including playing musical instruments and singing.
It doesn’t take long before the holidays threatens to topple us all and take from us “activities we once so dearly loved.”
A few weeks ago I posted the pic below on my facebook feed:
Some folks asked my why I didn’t like the holidays and my response was, “I love Advent, it’s Christmas I’m not so sure about…”
Advent is a time of peace, joy, waiting, silence, hope and light. Christmas has become something quite different in our culture. It seems to bring anxiety, grumpiness, impatience, loudness and despair to so many.
I encouraged my group Wednesday evening to take time to be still this last week of Advent as others are dashing about, look for light and not be blinded by the commercial glitz, keep your feet and don’t get toppled as we near the finish line.blessings, bdl