Wednesday, September 19, 2018

lost innocence

what I found interesting was how, in a film done entirely in black and white, this girl's coat was colorized. Why? was it to pronounce the innocence in a world gone completely mad- and who it cost in lives?

A few nights ago, I had the chance to view the movie, "Schindler's List" once again. Not having seen it since 1995, I had forgotten many parts of it...and perhaps that is not such a good thing.

The forgetting, I mean.

As I watched it, I was once again taken aback by the horror of what happened, of how insidiously the collective ideology crept up on people until it was too late.
Enter Oskar Schindler.

By movie's end, he grieved over the fact that he could only save 1100 people. Only 1100. "This car," he said, "this car could have saved two more!" Pointing to his Nazi pin, he exclaimed that the gold in the pin could have helped one more! And on it went.

In the end, he saved 1100 people...and those people now have 6000 descendants.
Six thousand people today whose ancestors lived through a horror worse than anything we could ever imagine...

Or can we?

All one has to do is to watch the news, read a paper...witness how even TODAY people are put into separate cubicles. Race. Creed. Gender. Religion. Economic status. Age. Disability. And more.

As I tried to fall asleep that night, I cried and prayed. I prayed for forgiveness. Was there someone who I may have dissed for whatever reason? For color? Status? Even age-related? Then I prayed again for patience as well as wisdom to open my SEE who needs to be recognized!

My friend, we ALL need to be recognized! We ALL are children of God, no matter our color, our religion, our gender...we ALL need compassion! There are too many terrorists in the world today who are still tearing apart what God brought together. Too many people who think that it is OK to murder a baby and say it is legal through abortion. Too many people who say that putting poor people in a project is ok, so long as they have "housing." Too many people who thrive on greed and by doing so, destroy our environment. Too many who look the other way when children go missing due to sex trafficking, when opiod addicts lose control and overdose, too many who shield their eyes from pain and feel that so long as it hasn't happened to them, then all is well.

But because it happens to others, it does affect you...and me...and they...and them. We all feel pain, or at least we SHOULD. When we watch what has happened in past history, we must make every effort to keep it from happening again! Sure, there may not be gas chambers anymore, but many countries are still dealing with terrorists who think that mass shootings, bombings and using chemicals are the means to an end. There are still those who feel that putting the aged into homes and basically ignoring them has solved a problem. Too many children are going missing due to pedophiles and not enough attention has been put into resolving this issue. Too many people needing adequate health care at a time when insurance and pharmaceutical companies are padding their own pockets at the expense of those getting the care they need and cannot receive.

People say, "but, it's too big! What can I do?"

You don't have to help everyone, but to someone, you can be their everything. Start with becomes two, two becomes ten...and just as Oskar Schindler did, soon you will see the fruits of your service. You will understand that the difference you made will have grown to such magnitude.

History repeats itself. The bad things in history have happened just about making the good things in history resound with a fervor as well? Make good things happen today! Make them happen every day!


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

my sweet Lord!

today while walking my dogs, I pondered how we are told to listen for God's voice, as it is everywhere. "But to see You, Lord?" How I wished I could see His Face!

As I walked, I spotted a chrysalis, hanging by a tiny thread on a milkweed stem. Despite the strong gusty winds we had yesterday, there it was, going through its own metamorphosis. What laws of nature holds that tiny little shell to something also seemingly so fragile...and yet, life continues on for it!

 Soon I saw a tiny morning glory flower growing in a heap of weeds. Small and purple, it gave me a pause to smile as I continued on.

Completing my walk, I stopped in front of my own house just as the church bells in town pealed the 8 a.m. hour. Looking up, I then noticed a spectacular sight: sitting on the peak of my roof was a mourning dove, its body framed by rays of the sun that was just rising. It sat there, looking down at me as if it were a king on a throne. I then realized, I had seen God everywhere this morning! ~the culmination of which took my breath away! Walking past a statue of the Virgin Mary in my garden, I said a "hail, Mary" and gave thanks for a glorious new day!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

so much hurt for far too long!

Dear Catholic Church:

You are supposed to be the representation of Jesus in our world. From the day when Jesus called Peter "The Rock," you were supposed to lead BY EXAMPLE.

Some example you are! You are an example of greed! Yes! NINE BILLION dollars per year is given to you by those whom you are "supposed" to minister to. That makes you richer and more powerful than any entity on Earth. You have taken that trust and used it to make yourselves more powerful and able to hurt the weakest and most vulnerable within your midst, namely, our children. Then you played roulette and hid the guilty among you by moving them here and there, yet perpetuated a problem that is horrific beyond words! As Jesus said, "You HYPOCRITES!" telling people to confess their sins or else, risk hell, you have created hell on earth for so many for too long.

As a Catholic and an ordained minister, I am not only appalled, I am ashamed. I pray for the healing of those whom you have harmed. Woe be to you, liars, you hypocrites! Your day will come when God will have an accounting with you! As for me, I mourn what could have been. I will continue to set the example that Jesus laid out for His followers. I will love and serve those whom I meet. I may make mistakes, I may stumble and fall...I stand before you, sinful and sorrowful. 

May God be with those who were harmed by this so called mighty entity. 

"Let the little children come to Me and do not try to harm them, for the Kingdom of Heaven is for such as these."

Thursday, August 16, 2018

a tale of two ladies

life has enough hurdles of its own, why must we add more to an already stress-filled day?

Lady number one, let's call her Dina, has a night time job cleaning a business. When she first began her job, she cleaned with a gusto noty seen there in many years. The place , although it had hired help who supposedly did the job before Dina, was neglected in many areas. Dina took on the responsibility as if it had been her own business.

Then came the notes from her boss: "You REALLY need to do 'this.'" "You didn't do 'that!'" Dina was crestfallen. She prided herself on a job well done. In fact, she thought she WAS doing  her best work as the business looked better than it had in a long time! As the notes began to pile up, her spirit dropped. Soon she became bitter. She began to hate her job. Now she did her normal routine, but didn't look for side jobs to do. It became her burden. She began to devise ways to get out of that job but, having signed a one year contract, began counting the days until her bid ran out instead. In reality, she cared less if the building went up in flames.

Lady number two, let's call her Donna. Donna has a part time job doing something that she loved. In fact, after many years away from this line of work, she was thrilled when the opportunity arose to get back into it. Like Dina, Donna also went above and beyond her required duties. Donna received many compliments from the boss. Donna then rose higher, both in self-esteem and in her sales. Her hard work shown like a beacon and people were noticing.  Donna looked forward to going to work and often stayed later to finish her duties.

What can we learn from these two women?

How about that what we say matters. How we are appreciated matters, also.

Words can make a person better--or bitter.

You may be Dina. You may be Donna. You may be neither, but you COULD be a hero to another person. We ALL can be a hero...just by offering someone a kind word, a smile, a hug. What you say is important. Instead of finding the negative, always seek the positive. For instance, instead of, "you left the keys out AND you forgot to lock the door!" how about: "oh my! I found the keys, they were in the unlocked door! I know your responsibilities are many and I really appreciate all that you do, but how about, next time, please remember to do a final checklist so that nothing is forgotten?" 

I have been a supervisor in many jobs. I also have been the underling. In only a few jobs where I was the underling did I enjoy my work, why? Because the supervisor ALWAYS let the employees know that without them, the business was a big fat nothing! In fact, I remember working for many supervisors who, because they could, treated the employees like trash. And it showed. The personnel were depressed, morose and did only what was required and nothing more! Where I was supervisor, I passed out compliments like water and worked side by side with my employees. Many were impressed and we all were one big team! And remember, there is no "I" in the word team!

Today, let's all use words of kindness, no matter if we are the boss, the employee or just meeting people for the first time. Life is so short, why waste it being spiteful or mean? be like Jesus--just be kind.


Friday, August 10, 2018

where does God speak to you?

the time it takes to make someone smile maybe infinitesimal to you--but to them, it is eternal...

I clean apartments for elderly folks here in my small town. In some, it is as if time has stood still: shoes are in the exact same spot they were before and what is even more sad is that the vacuum cleaner marks that I made in many rooms are still apparent a week or two later. These folks are waiting...waiting...waiting...for something to change the routine of their days. Where are their grown kids? Too busy to even stop in and say hi? Too far away? Too...something, I am sure.

As I cleaned, I told myself how much I hated, hated, hated cleaning the bathrooms! Ugh, it is probably THE worst aspect of the job that I have. As I swirled cleaner in the toilet, I could hear a small Voice in my head, a Voice that said, "what you do for the least of Me, you do for Me!" "Yeah, but Lord, TOILETS?" Again, I was reminded of how Jesus washed the feet of others. For me, washing toilets is probably the closest I will get to that.

Washing feet--washing toilets...both jobs come with less than sanitary conditions. However, I think that washing feet is even more personal, as one is getting close-up to the owner of those feet. Close enough to maybe also see tears of joy at having that physical contact, close enough also to maybe feel some sense of shame at where those feet have been. In our own lives, our feet have also trod places that I am sure Jesus would not have accompanied us to, yet He instructs us all to do this simple notice that though we are sinners, we are to love one another as He also loves us- no matter where we have been.

It amazes me how often God comes to me when I am doing these humble chores. 

Even in the cleaning of toilets.

For that, I say, Thank you, Lord, for reminding me of Your Love. Thank you, thank you!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

what work of mercy will be your pet project today?

Mother Teresa made it her mission to help those as well as to be a quiet source of inspiration for others. Can we do any less? Should we do even more?

Last week I was asked to partake in a prayer service at a local assisted living facility. As I gazed at the eyes upon me, I noticed a room full of people with canes,with walkers, all gathered to hear what I had to say.

I felt so small and insignificant at that time! I thought of what it must have been like during Jesus' time as well, of those who assembled to listen to what He had to say. How would it affect them? More important, did they take His message and then apply it to their own lives?

I was thinking then about the works of mercy, both spiritual as well as corporal. Being Catholic, we had those drilled into us as a part of our Catechism, however, it can apply to all of us.

What are the works of mercy, you ask? They are: feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick, visiting those imprisoned, burying the dead and caring for creation. Those are the corporal works. Then there are: instructing the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, admonish the sinner, bearing patiently those who wrong us, forgive offenses, comfort the afflicted, pray for the living and the dead and to contemplate God's creation. (this is what I do at 3 a.m. when I cannot fall back to sleep!)

Whew, quite the list, eh?

Look it over. This is where I wish we did not have the division in "religion," for we are all God's children. One cannot look this over and claim that because they are Methodist or Lutheran, that it doesn't apply to them, as it is a "Catholic" rule. Really though? Feeding the hungry? Forgiving others? That goes across the spectrum and I truly believe that if we had more of that, there would be less hurt and hate in our world. Our WORLD! From a distance, our world is a beautiful place, but up close, we do have our work cut out for us!

 Lately, there has been so much division, all due to political beliefs. There again, we go back to what Jesus instructed, of how He is NOT of this world. I take refuge in that. "Thy Kingdom come," THY Kingdom, not some political leader who, at this point, is in it for the power and control and NOT because they truly want to see peace in their land. God's Kingdom, the God who loves us unconditionally, who is ever present, the Alpha and the Omega. "I am the Way...and the Truth...and the Life."

Today (and everyday) take one work of mercy and try it out! Even if it is just to offer a prayer for another, you have done something wondrous! You have chosen to take that step to make your corner of the world beautiful. To offer forgiveness, to comfort those who need  comfort. To visit someone who literally is "imprisoned" in a nursing home due to the physical limitations that they have...the list grows, it is endless! You won't be bored, this I assure you, if you just pick one particular mercy and follow through with it daily. And if all of us would do that? Every corner would truly be a wonderful place indeed!

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

how do you perceive others?

would you be caught by others helping someone such as this...or do you walk away, embarrassed to be seen doing so? "For whatsoever you do for others, you do for Me!" ~Jesus

I have a song going through me head lately, a line says, "love your curves and all your edges, love your perfect imperfections..."
It is so beautiful and it made me think of those who are, to me, perfect. In fact, how can they be imperfect if, to me, I see nothing but beauty?

Something to think about indeed! In today's society, where people diet themselves sick because they see nothing but fat, where women feel tied to a make-up bag and mirror, where "selfies" rule social media, God forbid if we have any blemishes! Let's hide those flaws we think make us unworthy to be around other people, right?

When I was in school, I always sought out those who were by themselves. It didn't take long for me to wonder why they weren't liked by others, as to me, they were perfect! Caring, supportive and more, we had fun and shared many happy times.

So what exactly is the definition of "perfect?" Is it those clothes, that car you drive? How about working your life away just to have that "something" that makes you seem better than others in the eyes of all whom you may meet?

When I first met my husband, he had nothing. An old beater of a pickup truck, no job due to the economy, but was trying every day to find one, few possessions but a heart as big as anything! I fell in love almost immediately. He had nothing to impress me with materially and that was OK by me! I had met so many others who arrogantly showed off their possessions. What they lacked was a sincere joy in just being who they were. To hold up anything else as a measure of your worth only lasts as long as that job, that car, the huge house or bank account will allow.

 As Scripture says, "rust and moth" will soon take over, rendering that prize useless. You can't take "it" with you, whatever that "it" may be. But your character? Now there is a treasure that you should maintain. That is your ticket to heaven. As the saying goes, "it does not matter how big your house was, what car you drove, what job you had or the size of your bank account. What mattered is who you were to a child (or to anyone, actually!)

The rest of that song says, "all of me, I give my all to you..." MY all...everything I have is yours, the good and the bad. Will you love another unconditionally, as the song says? How do you perceive others?