Friday, March 30, 2007
Monday, March 26, 2007
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Monday, March 19, 2007
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Yesterday in hospice orientation we talked about the last hours of life. Talking about the final hours brought back recollections of the many people who I had the privilege to know during their dying process, and whose last hours and moments I shared. These have been holy and sacred experiences. We so often think of death as final, or as some step to a "final reward" as Christians. Since working with the dying, my perspective has broadened and my theology has changed. Death is really a transition to something we cannot imagine. God is surely there on the "other side" - and I believe that many who have been judged unworthy will be there as well. The lesson from Isaiah this past Sunday told us that "God's ways are above our ways." To me, that means we really limit God with our limited imaginations. We develop theology and rules, then stamp them with God's approval and begin to believe that we have clearly named God. Yet - God's ways are above our ways, and we cannot begin to fathom the mystery of that!! So, I like to believe that death is similar to the death we see every year in the earth cycle. I took this picture of the milkweed pod last fall. It's dead, but look at those seeds!! Those seeds represent life and will breed more milkweed pods in the spring. Our death has to be something like that - our physical bodies have died, but there's so much more to who we are. And, in the love and mystery of God - I believe that even though something ends, something new begins. None of us knows for sure what that something new is, but I believe from my work with the dying that there truly is something more that defies logic and brings peace and hope to those who are dying.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Thursday, March 8, 2007
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
Well, I'm not sure but I think the winter blahs have gotten ahold of me again. After a few days of sunshine and walking outside I thought I might have gotten past them. But, with the two major snowstorms and being inside most of the time I realize that they are still with me. I wish I could understand what causes them or why they seem to drain my spirit. I have no energy and no passion about anything. I struggled with writing a sermon, I struggle to make myself exercise, and I do my housework as if I am in slow motion. I know I have felt this to some degree every winter, but I wonder if it's worse for me when I'm not working. When I work, I tend to throw myself into work 150% and I seem to get energy at the same time I expend it. I have been enjoying being home, and I've been thrilled to have the time to read. But I tend to get so absorbed in my reading that seems compounded by my lethargy and I do even less than I should around the house! I know that this is often referred to as seasonal affective disorder, but I truly love what an astrologer I know has to say. She said it's really perfectly normal for our bodies to do this, that for thousands of years people lived in climates like ours and slowed down and stopped working during the winter. People gathered and grew food, prepared and stored it, and then hunkered down for the winter. They ate more dense food and tended to gain weight for winter. Our bodies are used to that for thousands of years - it's only been in the last couple of hundred years that we don't slow down and stop like before. We keep going no matter what and our "seasonal affective disorder" is labeled. She says that we're perfectly normal and our bodies are just working according to a very long tradition of resting in the dark time of winter. I liked her explanation and it made perfect sense to me. We don't stop. We wear ourselves out and don't get into the dormant period of winter that people's did for thousands of years. We push and push and push. No wonder we lack energy, no wonder we feel blue, no wonder we get depressed - we keep expecting ourselves to act like we always do when in reality winter is a time for hunkering down, going into the darkness and finding the gifts that are there for us. Course, when we get a taste of spring - it's difficult to go back into the darkness and hunker down!!
Sunday, March 4, 2007
I preached and presided at worship at the small Lutheran church we attend this morning, and I really didn't feel good about how it went. Many people commented positively and appreciated it, but I didn't feel I did as well as I could and that is always difficult. I struggled with writing a sermon for the Luke 13 text from the beginning, and I just didn't feel like I was capturing what I wanted to. Oh well, sometimes it just doesn't work out as well as I'd like - I just don't like to be preaching in someone else's pulpit when it happens! I led the "Tree of Life" service by Marty Haugen, and I've not presided at that service before. It was kind of a challenge. I will say though, I think it's a lovely service. The music is quite singable - Marty Haugen always does good music!!
Saturday, March 3, 2007
Friday, March 2, 2007
Inward Journey (3-17-04)
The road less traveled.
The journey inward,
Is the most difficult to make.
It is like entering a deep, dark forest
We are afraid of what we will encounter.
There may be bears or wolves,
Maybe a mountain lion lurks there.
Or possibly a gingerbread house
With a witch that feeds on children.
The soul journey can feel treacherous,
The path unknown and uncharted,
Can leave us feeling helpless and vulnerable
To the reality of our truths.
Winter calls us to this journey like no other season.
To risk this unknown path
Whether slippery, steep or boulder strewn.
To tread on with courage and adventure
To face our fears as we go deep in
Trusting the end of the path will come.
For the promise of the season assures us,
Out of dormancy new life will grow again.
This journey helps us die to the old
To emerge in our lives anew,
And winter is her siren.
I was thinking about why I get so contemplative during cold, dark days and I came across this writing I did a few years ago. I think when we settle down, settle in, we begin to go inward because all the distractions are gone for awhile. Winter is the best time for this, because we tend to stay in more - and sometimes we HAVE to stay in. I wrote this when I was doing a creative project for a class, which included photographs and poetry. I called the project "Befriending Winter" because I really don't much like winter! Since then I have been learning to appreciate winter for what it is and to value the change in seasons. Of course, this winter has been so very mild until now it hasn't been hard to appreciate! This was one of the poems I wrote back then, and I wish I knew how to post the picture that went with it. (Tall evergreens covered with snow and with steps to a path leading inward.) I really enjoyed that creative project and would like to do something like that again soon. But for now I spend a good deal of time in winter just letting my thoughts wander and contemplating life as it is. Today, after about a fourteen inch snowfall, I am feeling a little cabin fever again. Even getting out and shoveling takes the edge off the feeling of "stuckness" I get. Funny, I can stay home a week at a time and it never bothers me. What bothers me is the feeling I can't get out!! It seems to me that lent is a wonderful time for the inward journey - the ability to go into oneself with love and compassion and be honest about who we are, where we've been, and where we hope to go.