Tag Archives: giving

Stay in love with God.

The last of the three simple rules?  Stay in love with God.  Sound dramatic?  Sure it does, because having that kind of connection with God, with a higher power, is that intense.  It is pure love, pure joy and trust and belief.  There is nothing quite like that.

My love of God comes from many sources.  Being aware of my surroundings, every moment, in the wind, the sun, the trees speaking to me.  It comes in the miracle of children, watching them grow, learn, enjoying their lives.  It comes through the power of prayer, when I do it silently, or out loud with my church community, and how intimately close I feel to God when I pray. 

It comes in the silence, when I am deep in my thoughts and processing this journey of life that I am on.  It comes when I help or reach out to others. 

God and His presence in my life is beauty and light and hope and redemption and pure acceptance.  Even when I feel doubtful, even when I am struggling a bit with my faith, even when times seem dark or I feel alone, I know that God is with me.  I trust more and more every day in His purpose for me. 

I will always stay in love with God. 

Advertisements

Parachutes

There are so many different things that I have learned over the years in my life.  How to say no.  How to let go.  How to feel connected to the people and world around me.  How to love myself and know that it is okay to put me first.  How to grieve; how to laugh. 

One of the hardest lessons for me in life has been being self-protective.  For me, to dive in to the water, head first, has always been how I have conducted the business of my life.  Now, that does not always have to be a bad thing.  But, what has made it challenging in the past, is that I have dove into the water not knowing how deep or shallow it is; I have gone head first into situations, saying “yes” before I ask any questions.  Giving fully of my time before I realize how far I will be overextended.  Giving of my heart, freely and willingly, before I know how much of myself I am sacrificing without getting it back.

In my present life, right now today at this moment, there are so many things different about those past scenarios.  First of all, I ask A LOT of questions now.  Even if I do say yes to a commitment of some sort, it is not without asking all of the vital questions:  how much, how long, when, where and how.  Some of those things are just aspects that can’t be known, but I have learned that I deserve to know what is in store for me, to the extent that I can know. 

I also state what it is that I want, firmly and definitively.  I have allowed myself to speak up, to say what I want with confidence and conviction, when in the past, I have considered what is best for the other persons involved, always before myself.  I don’t know that I put only myself first all of the time, but I at least keep myself in mind from the beginning of any new endeavor or situation.  I have invited my dreams back into my life; allowing myself the creative mind to imagine all of the possibilities.  If I can see it, I can be it.

With my heart, I have become more wise.  Not cautious.  Not guarded and wary as much as realistic and prepared, as much as I can be.  My heart has not only been broken in this life, it has been shattered, more than once I have to say.  I know that I will have many more hard falls in this life, because when you are learning and growing and adventuring, you are bound to have some mishaps.  This lesson was one of the most difficult for me to learn.  Not because I didn’t have many opportunities to learn it; rather, because I have never wanted my heart and soul to become hardened in order to protect myself.  My greatest fear about becoming more aware and self protective, is that it would create me into a cold, unapproachable person.  I have never wanted to be that way, so in my growth and change, I needed to be able to let the love in, but also, be safe from those that would want to take the love that I have to offer it, and treat it disrespectfully.

So, during my walking and wondering in the snow yesterday, I figured it out.  I used to be a person that would jump out of planes, or jump off of ledges, and hope that there was a cushion, a trampoline or safety net, that would break my fall.  Often, there was not.  Sure, I survived the jump, but not without damage.  And tears.  And complete heartache. 

So, I have since put on a parachute.

My parachute is my faith, my hope, and my self -love.  My parachute is multicolored and bright, and strong and sturdy and with me at all times.  I don’t have to stop jumping off ledges, or jumping out of planes.  I am just protected now.  And, I always have a safety net on the ground, just in case, which is my family,  my friends, my passion. 

So, I am always equipped to save myself, but just in case, I have others, people and values, that will break my fall.  This isn’t to say that I don’t feel afraid; for even with all of these protections in place, the fear of jumping into the unknown is present; in spite of that however, I also feel the thrill of jumping into my future, floating down into my destiny………..

Did you pack your parachute today?

It’s A Wonderful Life!

This movie of the same title is one of my most favorite movies of all time.  James Stewart.  Donna Reed.  The story of a man who feels like he has been ripped off, not gotten what he wanted most of his life, and doesn’t see the good that he has done, or that he has in his life.  It is only when he is shown the life that would have been, without his presence on this earth, that he realizes how important he has been to the world.  Until he realizes that he had a pretty wonderful life.

How many of us do such an inventory long before it is due to some tragedy, some loss, some hardship that we are facing?  Why do we wait to look at all of the blessings and beauty that we have, within us, before us, among us, when that recognition deserves to be brought to this very moment, right now, today?

Beats me……….

If you had to look back upon your existence, and count the number of people that you have encountered, whose lives you have touched in some way, would that number go to infinity?  Can you even possibly imagine how many others you have affected by your actions, your presence, your gifts, your service, your kindness and compassion?

Your Ubuntu?

Do you realize who you are to the world?  You are strong.  You are powerful.  You are magical.  You are loving, kind, resourceful, funny, timid, terrific, smart, witty, imaginative, encouraging, nurturing, demanding, faithful, honest, trusting, loyal, strong, emotional, fearless, fearful, joyful, exotic, unique, blessed.

You are all of those many things and so much more.  For every person that enters your life that you touch in some way, that influence then is carried on to those that they encounter. 

Did you ever really think about it in that way?  Imagine.  Imagine that the person with whom you chatted in line at the grocery store is so inspired by your kindness, that they smile a little more with their family that night; their family members go about their day with smiles on their faces, and gifts for those that they encounter.  And so it goes…..

When we think about the lives that we have touched, and that have in turn, touched our own, or passed on what we have left with one another, can changing the world be that far away?

There are so many days and nights that I think about how vast and insurmountable the odds of the world seem to be; how do we begin to solve world hunger?  Homelessness?  HIV and AIDS?  War?  Poverty?  Child Abuse?

One person at a time, and that person passes it on, and so on, and so on, and so on……

We possess so much capacity for love and for change.  Why not combine the two?  By sharing of yourself, of your time, your talent, your gifts and your service, you show another person how much a human is capable of giving of themselves.  You send a message, you set an example.  And you instill the hope that we all might just do the same.  Is it really that impossible to envision that we could all make this happen?

George Bailey didn’t see just how many people he had helped and brought along with him on his journey through life, until he saw what the world would have looked like without him in it.  Don’t wait for that moment.  Show the world who you are and what you can offer right now.  Today.

Don’t wait. 

Feed the flame.

Our soul, our spirit within, to me is best represented by a fire, sometimes blazing, sometimes glowing embers.  But, just like a campfire outdoors, if a fire isn’t fed, it eventually will go out. 

So it is with our souls.  If we do not feed the spirit within, with whatever it is that stirs our soul the most- music, family, love, justice, compassion- then the flame goes out.  To me, when the flame goes out, that represents the ultimate feeling of hopelessness.  Where there is no hope, there is not even an ember remaining.

Many of us do have those embers within; the part of our spirit that we know is still there, but maybe we haven’t fed it in awhile.  Maybe we haven’t tried to get it going with that which will help it catch; if what feeds that fire is justice, and we have participated in activities that really don’t serve that, it is like putting wet wood on a fire; it may catch eventually, but it isn’t what we need to be blazing.  To best feed that fire within, we need to use tinder, dry wood that is aged and ready to burn, and to allow the flames to last once it catches.

It also doesn’t work well for our souls, if what we feed them with is newspaper on a fire.  Sure, the flame flares at first, high and warm.  But, it goes out quickly; there is no substance to it.  To feed our souls properly, we need to use that which has lasting power, and that which has substance to it.  Those pursuits that we have in terms of money, prestige, and notoriety don’t always last, and sometimes ring quite hollow in our souls, compared to those values and concepts that really feed us.

Now, even if we are able to feed our souls properly, and get that flame blazing with a lot of embers within it, storms will come.  The rain will fall.  Rain is never good for a fire; it is bound to dampen it somewhat.  Sometimes, it can even just about put our fire out.  Tragedy, setbacks, adversity, and hardship fall upon all of us.  But, even the most dampened of fires still smoulder a bit; still have within them a bit of heat, a small, determined ember to keep it alive enough until we are able to nourish it back to full flame once again.

This visual is one of the most powerful for me when it comes to thinking about what matters to me the most, what feeds me best in terms of what I feel and need within my soul, my spirit, my core.  The flame within me is best represented by love.  And what feeds that the most in terms of tinder is family, friends, justice, compassion, truth, the world……… When I deny myself that which I need to feed the flame, I feel it dying down within myself.  I grow cold inside.  I long for the warmth of the flames once again. 

I believe that we all have that within, and that we deserve to step back, go deep within, and see the condition of your soul.  Sort through the coals, and find the ember that lies there.

And don’t forget to feed it.

A hand to hold.

I have written about this before, my car rides in the morning taking my daughter to school.  As a matter of fact, I will probably post that one again, because I so enjoyed writing that account.  But, this morning I was reminded unknowingly of an aspect of those car rides that is so precious, it brings tears to my eyes in thinking of it. 

I continue to drive my daughter to school, but we have two days a week when that is our “routine”, the other days are bus riding days.  So, we both know that on Wednesdays and Fridays, we will be together for a bit of extra time for the morning.  On Wednesdays, the choice was very purposeful for both of us, because I work in the evenings, so it gives us some special time together before our busy days begin.  Fridays are just a good way to end the week, and look forward to our family time together on the weekends.

This morning, I was reminded of how many little, precious moments exist in those rides in the morning.  Even before we headed out today, she came with me to walk the dog, just wanting to walk along.  We talked the whole time.  She is doing some Christmas shopping tomorrow, for her parents, and she is SO excited; she has found the perfect gifts, and cannot wait to be able to go out purchasing.  The best part for her is the anticipation of giving them to us; her face lights up whenever we open something from her…… there is such love in that heart….

So, after the dog was walked, off we go to school.  Some of those car ride to school moments that have been imprinted on my memory are the fact that when I look in my rear view mirror, I see her smiling right back at me.  I love how she just chatters the whole way to school, about events coming up, activities for her school day, plans for the weekend…….. she hasn’t gotten tired of talking to me, not yet anyway.  I love that.  Every once in awhile, when I feel the love for her so immensely, I reach back from the front seat and hold my hand out, and she grabs it, holds it, every time.

That just sends me into orbit.   My kid loves me.  She absolutely adores me, as I do her.  And when we connect in that physical way, it reminds me that it is for keeps. 

We get excited if we get to go right to the drop off circle in front of the school in the morning, instead of driving all the way around in lines of traffic.  We chatter about the friends that are pulling up right behind us, so that she can walk in with them.  Then, just like clockwork, the drop off is always the same.

I pull up to the curb.  Put the car in park.  Unlock the doors and put down my driver’s side window.  And say goodbye, I love you, she loves me too. 

Then, she kisses me on the cheek, in front of the crossing guard and friends and parents and everything.

Then, every time, she pauses, just for a second, as she crosses in front of the car, looks back at me, and smiles with the most loving eyes that I have ever seen. 

I want for nothing, for I have it all, in those eyes, in that heart, with that love.