Friday, September 13, 2019

Of wooden beams and closets...

"Remove the wooden beam from your own eye; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother's eye."
Luke 6:42

Oh yes, the wooden beam in our own eye...the beam that blinds us to our own shadow side, as Fr. Richard Rohr calls it. Our shadows--those parts of ourselves we don't like to acknowledge or show to company. In an effort to keep them hidden from others, we tend to lose track of them ourselves and talk ourselves into believing they aren't really part of us. But, opps, there they are! It has been said that the things we find fault with in others are the very wooden beams in our own eyes. So, if I find you judgmental and overly opinionated, that's my own shadow showing and I need to pay attention to THAT.  In myself. It may be easier to make acquaintance with our shadow sides if we remember that God loves us, shadows and all. We can't keep our shadows hidden from God...God can open that closet we have shoved everything in we don't want guests to see. And the lovely thing is, God loves everything in that closet, even if it may embarrass us. If we have a chance this beautiful weekend, let's sit down with Jesus and gently open that closet door. With love and forgiveness, Jesus can help us see and sort through what is in there. Love, heidi

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Always remember...

I bristle when I see posts that say "Never Forget" the events of 9/11. I prayerfully explored why earlier today as I walked, pondering the day.  I realized I tend to equate Never Forget with "Never forget what they did to us." Dwelling on the wrong that was done to us traps us there...in the negative, in the wrong. The hate wins if that is where we stay. But, conversely, if we remember the good that came from that wrong--the heros and heroines, the selfless acts of courage, the pulling together of neighbors and communities, the good wins. We learn that our compassionate and loving God forgives AND forgets our sins. That certainly would be an ambitious goal--to forget the wrong of the events of 9/11. But, as the years pile up behind us since that terrible day, can we move ahead in peace, understanding that to continue raging keeps the negative force alive?  Instead, let's remember the helpers, the first responders, the embracing love that scooped us all up in the aftermath of the hatred. Let's remember the good and decent people who were lost to their families and to those of us who didn't have the chance to know them. So, instead of saying Never Forget when it comes to 9/11, I'm going to say "Always Remember" instead. Always remember the helpers and the good.  Always remember that God loves us and can bring good from every tragedy. And always remember that we are to love each other, too, even those who hurt us.  Love, heidi

Thursday, September 5, 2019

In our hands...

"When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him."
Luke 5:11

Most likely our calls to follow Jesus were less dramatic than Jesus calling the fishermen, Simon Peter, James and John. Maybe our call was more gradual, predictable; becoming a wife, a mother, a teacher, a nurse, a builder of stuff. For Jesus calls us to follow him, but Jesus also called us to our lives--our daily, work-a-day lives, as well. Where else would we practice following Jesus, if not in our everyday lives? The first apostles left their working lives to follow Jesus, but, for most of us, we are called to follow Jesus through our working lives. Jesus calls on us to act in our daily environments and situations as Jesus, himself, would act...with love and compassion. Jesus did not wall himself off in the temple, day and night, praying. Jesus took his prayer out to the streets and among the people. He turned his prayer into action, serving all who needed him. Jesus fed, nourished, healed and cared for all who others may have cast aside or banished to the fringe. Following Jesus means we must do the same in our own time and space. Believing in Jesus is one thing--easy, really. Oh, I believe in Jesus, sure. But following Jesus to the very edge of ourselves is something else all together. From our very edge, we can let go of our own efforts and let God take over, using our hands and feet. Today, our (hopefully) last 90+ degree day in Boise, let's recognize that God's work in the world is in our hands. Let's take that to heart in our Thursday! Love, heidi

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Start a new habit!

"Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, as indeed you do."
Thessalonians 5:11

Hummm...not always do I build others up. Sometimes, I'm more concerned with building myself up. Making my own needs known, stating my own opinions. Remember me? I'm the one with a huge "purse of my own opinions" as St. Francis called it. Except mine's a footlocker, not a purse. I had a little realization, deep in the night when I couldn't sleep (again) and that is this: the only way I can change these things about myself is to let go of them, set them down and leave them. The best way to do that is to faithfully engage in some kind of contemplative prayer, like Centering Prayer, everyday. I have so much trouble with actually doing that, even though I know it's so helpful. It takes such discipline for me to sit myself down and turn my head off for a time. My head spins around like the little multi-color wheel on my MacBook when the system has stopped responding. And that's the whole point...the circle is going nowhere, like my head at that point, spinning, spinning, not responding. This is a new month, a new school year, a new season. It is an excellent time to adopt a new habit and build it into our day. For me, it's Centering Prayer--a gift of turning my spinning brain off, a couple of times per day. What about you? Are there any new habits you'd like to build into your day? Let's all begin together! And encourage each other, building one another up! Love, heidi

Monday, August 26, 2019

Hang on!

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give it to you. Let not your hearts be troubled..."
John 14:27

I've never been skydiving in my life (it's not even on my bucket list, if I had one), but from what I hear, it's quite an experience. You may go tandem at first, with an instructor strapped to your back to guide your movements and make sure the parachute opens--all that good stuff you want to happen. So, you have some reassurance all will go well; someone else is attached to you who knows just what to do.  You're just along for the ride...sort  of. I was thinking the other day of difficult or stressful times in our lives and I wondered if it would help if we could image God, in tandem with us (even strapped to us) just there to make sure we arrive safely on the ground (or through the difficult time). It seems helpful to me, but I like picturing God with me all the time, through good and difficult times. The strapped-to-my-back is a new image, but hey--I kind of like it. There's no getting away from God right there with me, hanging onto me, steering me through. It's a nice image. Today, as many are navigating new experiences and life-changing events in their lives, let's pray they can feel God, the Being of pure love, embracing them and holding them tight--all the way to their destination.  Love, heidi

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Take delight!

"Do you take delight in doing the will of God? Or do you find it too difficult?"
Pray-As-You-Go, 8/22/19

Depends on the day, really...Tuesday, I found it too difficult! Yesterday, it was a bit easier. I look at the will of God as doing whatever we do with love and for the glory of God. Whatever our station in life, whether we are working or retired, parents or empty-nesters, volunteering or whatever-we-do, if we do it with love and offering our activity to bring glory to God, that is God's will. Thomas Merton said our desire to please God, actually pleases God, so our intention is important. Our success may not matter as much as our intention. We encounter people each day and if we encounter them with love and compassion, that's God's will. And sometimes, let's face it, it can be difficult. And God understands that. Let's go through our late-August Thursday with the intention of encountering others with love...and let's take delight in that--for that is God's will! Love, heidi