A New Day – A New You

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A New Day – A New You

 The following is a mediation on David Whyte’s poem, “What to Remember Upon Waking.”

 

We waken each morning, a new creation of God, a newborn crying for attention, carrying all the stresses from prior ages, prior thoughts.

This new creation opens our thoughts to our desires to be something we are not, or truly, deep down, do not want to be.

At one point in our lives our grandparents, then our parents, our spouses and loved ones, and then our children and grandchildren advise us with well-thought ideas, planning our lives for us, how to live according to these plans. We are judged by our loved ones, and by our deeds, based on such mundane concepts of productivity, earnings, or status. What we are born into, what others prepare for us, or what we accomplish means little, a very small outlook when we awaken with the limitations placed on us by others. It is no wonder that our lives are filled with stress, unhappiness, and dissatisfaction with these products of our being.

Our lives seem to be infinitely smaller that the tiniest grain of sand, trampled by hurried feet on the shores of life.

There is, however, another path to walk. Imagine shedding your clothing, your outer shell, walking naked down a forest path, noticing smells you never did before, hearing the cacophony of noises in the trees, and noticing the beauty of the forest all around. We can awaken to this new world, a new sunlight permeating our existence, absorbing what God places before us. This new creation opens us in a world of the beauty of God’s gifts.

What we see, hear, and touch passes from God into our inner core, our hearts, to enjoy in every, everlasting way. The love that God shares, as we awaken, can seep into our pores, offering a newly-created world filled with love, a love that surpasses the well-expressed intentions of our loved ones. We are newly created on these mornings each time the Sun rises, expressing a newness through an unharnessed expression of love, turning the tables on these thoughtful loved ones.

This gift of life, this opening of love, glorifies God and all of God’s creation, allowing us to share the brilliance of a new-rising Sun that welcomes all to the newness of a loving life.

 

 

Let Your Inner Light Shine

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Let Your Inner Light Shine

I remember a line from a prayer I heard, and I paraphrase: It is the simplest thing to comprehend, love your neighbor as you love yourself and discover how everything else will fall in line with what is real and true.

Along with this thought is the realization that we, as mortals, are not the final answer; there is a power greater than us that watches over us, not wanting to interfere in our abilities to do what is right to assure fraternal love and life. It is this love that allows us to venture into areas that are on thin ice. We want what is good for us and for what is good for the world; or should I way what God’s will is for both.

In a story written by Plato, Socrates says that in order for us to be healthy, in mind and body, we must first assure that the soul, or in my words, the spirit, is healthy. It’s that simple. We must settle ourselves in love, the love that God offers us, the love between us and God, the love between us and us. Without this love, this breakdown of antagonism between us and them, we cannot cure the spirit, or cure the soul, as Plato writes.

We may think that it would be a great deal easier to believe that if the world erupted around us, some savior will come down and offer, as evidence, the bloody scars in his side; and then set everything right again. This will not happen; we have free will as God proclaimed, and we must cure our own, before society can be re-aligned. We are strengthened by the presence of God on our side, but we must make the effort to strengthen our own spiritual selves to then strengthen society. We must give of ourselves, and then, give of ourselves, and then, give ourselves. We do not own the world; we all own the world. Until we realize that we are all equal in God’s eyes, and we are all blessed by His love, we will not have eternal peace.

We sometimes doubt that we can do this; but doubt is just a lack of faith, faith in ourselves, faith in others. Without this faith, we are not truly alive, not completely alive. The faith that is within us is strong; we must allow this faith to rise to the surface to live the way God wants us to live. We must allow our inner strengths to shine. As Jesus says in Matthew 5: we must let our inner light shine before all men, allowing them to see our good works, which glorifies our Father in heaven, our Father within ourselves.

Who knows how bright the light will be, if we allow our spiritual selves to shine.

God bless all my friends.

Love and Sharing Myself

samaritanLove and Sharing Myself

It is days like to day that convince me that I was made in God’s image of love and gracious charity. I am fortunate to be in a country where it is still free to live as I want, does as I want, and love as I want. This is a risky time for us, but I am sure that God will win the day. I had lunch today with a group of friends who are vegetarian in some way or another. I knew several people there, but I was welcomed as a beloved family member by all.

It is no wonder that I know that I, and all others, are created by a loving God who wants the best for all his children. I am one of those children, as are you. I love you, I respect you. I care not what religion you are, what political party you are, or what nationality you are. You are part of my family; this is all that matters. God took a great risk when he formed mankind. I must take a similar risk by loving all mankind.

I live for being in the kingdom of God. And, what is this Kingdom but the feeling inside us that we all belong to Him. We are family; we are loved; we love. Amen.

If we look; if we have the patience to examine the lives around us, we cannot help to see that all that separates us is evil; all that separates us causes suffering and darkness in our lives and can be and will overcome, but only if we succumb to the rule of Love; God’s Love.

I have recently become friends with several of the friends I went through high school with, while living in New Jersey. We do not agree on much; there are times when I read their posts on Facebook when I want to attack them with violent words; but I cannot do that. They have their thoughts and beliefs; I am mine. We must love and respect our differences. It is what family does.

I know that when God is in my heart, I am standing in a garden of love and beauty.

I stand with my friends; those I know, those I have yet to meet.

Have a beautiful beloved day – you deserve it.

You and Me: Us

Community

I often wonder if I am the only person who is tired of only hearing bad news on the news programs. The cable channels are obsessed with what the latest Trump tragedy is, and the local stations are obsessed with how many people have killed others in DC.

I am convinced that we, as a people, are ready for some good news. We have to remember that our lives and the fullness of them is by keeping our eternal union with God. We want to wake up in the morning and see all people as human beings; we are not of different races; God does not care what religion we practice; She also doesn’t care what gender we are; She sees us only as her children, equal in all respects. I also think that God wants us to see each other the same way.

In the Good Samaritan story, Jesus asks who proves to be the better neighbor. I try to be that neighbor, as we all should.

There is a lot of pressure in the news for us to turn back the clock and view people as Black, as alien, as queer (and I hate that word). These horrible memories and terms are meant to separate us, where God’s words unite us. God wants us to look toward the future and join hands in praise of Her and in praise of us. We are Her legacy: let’s not disappoint Her.

I received an email with a statement by Wangari Maathai, in which he wrote that the challenge (in our lifetime) is to restore the home to the tadpoles, giving the beauty of the world back to our children. We owe this to them. This means that we must control our waste, preserving natural beauty, and be respectful of those who live at the lower edges of our society. And, by respect, we cannot, must not, force them to do what they have rejected or been rejected by.

Some have been forced from society by those who think they do not conform, or, experiences, such as war, have left them empty, psychologically. Others have selected to reject society, because they cannot stomach what society is today.

In either case, we must respect their feelings, their experiences, and their desires: we must invite them to join, or rejoin, our renewed society. We cannot offer them a Garden of Eden (even if we could), but we can offer them the chance to be part of the greater family of humanity, just as God wants us to do. This, I feel, is the message of the Good Samaritan. The parable may be 2000+ years old, but its relevance is everlasting.

I pray that we join together, accept the word of God, and open a better world for the future.

Have a good day, friends – those I know and those I have yet to meet.

God bless!

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

arethaRespect

Love and respect go together; you cannot have one without the other. To respect, you must love; to love, you must respect.

I was a great fan of Aretha Franklin when I was young, and as with all things, I drifted away to other interests. I am now listening to more classical music that the soul voices, such as Aretha, Nina Simone, Etta James. I was thinking about powerful women for the last few weeks as I am reading Uppity Women, by Vicki León. (Just a note, I am reading this little by little to absorb the image and strength of these women).

Franklin wrote, we all require and want respect, man or woman, black or white. It’s our basic human right. As we think about words, such as these, we must accept that when God create man and woman, He created them as equals; according to the Bible, Adam and then Eve were created; I read and study the Bible, but I take many stories such as this as symbolic metaphors that we can learn from. . .with an open mind.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T. All I’m askin for is a little respect. What a powerful lyric of few words but monumental significance and importance. As a white male, I cannot complain about the life given me by God. However, there were times that I felt that I was not given the respect that I thought was missing. I almost used the word mine instead of missing, but that would have been too egotistical, and egotism must be addressed as a curse on society. It is what causes much of the stress and troubles in the world.

Even though I was in leadership positions many times, I felt diminished by those who should have been my peers. As an officer of the merchants’ division of the local chamber of commerce, when I was the owner of a photography store, I was ignored by larger, more wealthy storeowners, even though I was elected by them as a leader, sort of a servant leader, a puppet, because the other merchants did not want to do the day-to-day chores of leadership. When I was elected to my church executive council, I lacked a voice because I was only a retailer, not a banker or lawyer. When I returned to school and earned a Masters’ Degree in European history, which allowed me to be a teacher, my peers on the executive council still did not accept me as an equal. Maybe I was not rich enough for them; I don’t know. There were, however, one or two who did accept me, and together we forged ahead, especially when it came to helping and feeding the homeless. So, it was not all a lost program.

When I moved to a new home in Virginia, from New Jersey, I was met as a professional, a professor at a local college. I then felt the respect that a Doctor of Literature should have. I earned it, even though I was then 66 years old. Jesus said in the Bible that a prophet is not respected in his home village; that’s because people remember as just a carpenter, or me as just a small-time retailer. First impressions and first images are impossible to forget.

I know that this has been about my self-imposed image, but I am getting to the point of this meditation. As a white male, I had to fight for every atom of respect. But, as a white male, people were able to see me for what I had attained.

In the case of a woman, or a person of color, o a person who looks different that the dominant, white-male society, the image never changes; you are always viewed as a woman, or a person of color. Something different, something to be questioned, or to be looked down upon. I feel shame for being a part of a society that is so narrow-minded, even though I have always opened my heart to all people.

This is why Aretha, Nina, and Etta are important voices. They let us know that our society is not a wonderful Cinderella dream; it is a violent, closed, bigoted society that does not allow for others to be equal. This is shameful; this is not what God intended. In God’s eyes we are equal; in God’s eyes we are all his children, equal in every respect. This means that we are all brothers and sisters to each other, sharing the same Love give us by god. Sharing the same R-E-S-P-E-C-T. given by God. All She (God) is askin for is a little respect.

I love you all, my brothers and sisters, and I pray that your day is as blessed as mine.

  

The Value of Life

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The Value of Life

I ask myself what parts of life are the most valuable. Of course, I have to put my love of God and my love of family on the top of the list. But I also love all my friends, those I have met and those I have yet to meet. To me, there is nothing more important in this life than the lives and welfare of the people I share this planet with. We all deserve to live as we see fit, pray as we want, and marry as we want. Unfortunately, there are those in the world who want to exercise their own wishes over others. These are the powerful and the rich, who think that just because they are wealthy, they can decide our fates.

 Only God decides our fates. She is with us always and takes care of us when we most need it, not when we think we want it. There is a significant difference in these meanings. As I look around me, is see that the most precious things of life are near at hand, without money and without price. Each of us has the whole wealth of the universe at our very doors.… This wealth is our family, friends, and others we love.

 How we choose to react to this is nothing that we can avoid. We must try to help others; we must try to bring love and comfort into lives that are very dissimilar to our own. How we help others, we are also helping ourselves. I am lucky enough to be relatively comfortable. I am not rich by any means; I sometimes wish I could win the lottery, but money is not important. It’s how I feel about myself that in the long run is what counts.

 I do not remain silent on these issues because if we are silent we are ultimately powerless. I try to use my position to assist others. I pray that I can be one of those people who selflessly give my gifts to others. I am a prayer minister at my church. I know that there are people that devalue prayer, but I can feel the difference in people when they know that they are prayed for by someone. I share my gifts as I can, because I believe in life. People who are suffering at the hands of others are lacking a life of freedom and security. I pray that we as humans will look at others and raise our voices and lend our hands to help raise the level of our neighbors.

 There are those who have little and give it all; I am reminded of the woman in the Bible who gave only two cents, but that is all she had. She is a believer in life and the bounty of life, and her coffer is never empty, because her heart is always full.

 I pray that I can be as worthy.

 

 

Self-built Boxes

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Self-built Boxes

 Boxes; we are consistently building boxes that limit our thinking, our meditations, and the way we accept others. When we think we know exactly what we are doing, who we love, who will love us, why we are here, what our ultimate mission is, and, more importantly, we ignore our personal angel. Yes, I believe we all have a personal angel. Some may call this the Holy Spirit of the living Christ. I call this entity an angel of the Lord, one who guides us in our lives and supports us in our travails. My angel is a part of God.

 My angel has been with me, whether I have recognized her presence or not. She is always with me. As a messenger from God, she stretches out her arms, embracing me, giving me hope, giving me promise. She is God asking me to stretch out to Him, or Her, if you prefer. Because she is with me always, I know that I am loved, and I know that because I am loves, I can offer my love to all whom I meet throughout my days, regardless of who they are or what they look like. I try to recognize the angel that is within them; I know she is there, even if the person I meet is not aware of her.

 With this angel, I am able to allow God’s love to be the pattern for my life. I try to avoid, even though I am not always successful, to rid my self of self-love, which is the cause of all evil in the world, an evil that suffocates all good in the world. With God’s love, I can afford to love with extravagance. I can see the love in others, even if they are having what we call a miserable day. And, believe me, I do have had those miserable days, which causes me to lose the love-perspective of my life. I am not a saint, but I can use a saint as a role model.

 I pray that all of my friends, those I know, and those I have yet to meet, can allow God’s love, through their personal angels, to be a pattern for their lives.

 Have a blessed day.

 Lame Deer, a Sioux medicine man, once wrote, “A man’s life is short. Make yours a worthy one.”

 Russ