conversations…

We converse with other people all the time…

Sometimes those conversations are long…sometimes short…

Sometimes they have great meaning and import…other times, not so much…

Many of them, we forget…

But then, there are those we will remember for the rest of our lives…

 

Me:  I love you, Mom…

Mom:  I love you more…

Me:  I love YOU more…

Mom:  I loved you first…

 

I really miss having that (almost daily) conversation with my mom…

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1/1/2016… Saturday? No… Friday…

…and  I didn’t even stay up super late last night (or early this morning) or “party” or get drunk or anything else that might explain why I thought today was Saturday…

Except…  maybe…

I don’t have to be at work today – unless my “work phone” rings (I am on call)…

And usually the mornings or days that are this peaceful are Saturdays…

This morning, as I peeled back the foil covering over the little yogurt container (of the yogurt I was going to eat), I saw on the underside of the foil top this quote from Oscar Wilde:

I adore simple pleasures.  They are the last refuge of the complex.

Simple pleasures…   What a thought…

What are some of the simple pleasures in my life?

  • A quiet, peaceful Saturday (or in today’s case, Friday) morning…where I can enjoy a cup (or two or three) of coffee, as I sit on my patio in my backyard…watching as my puppy is undoubtedly digging to China from underneath the shed in my backyard… I see occasional glimpses of her body as she passes the opening she created when she dug her way under the shed in the first place…
  • Watching my older dog, as he slowly meanders around the yard, and then returns to a cushion to lay down and rest…
  • Being able to sit in a chair on my back patio and drink coffee to begin with…
  • Feeling a light, cooling breeze on a warm, sunny day, as the new year begins… Well, ok…  I live in Florida…  warm, sunny days on January 1st are the norm…not the exception!!
  • Knowing that I am blessed by God, and that whatever comes in this new year, God will be with me… knowing that I will not ever be alone as I journey through and face the unknown future of this new year…

I think I will see how many more “simple pleasures” I can discover this year…

…in everything, give thanks…

How easy it is to rejoice and give thanks to God… when it is a beautiful day and the sun is out and the birds are singing and everything is going “your way” and “all is right with the world”…

But… how hard it is to rejoice and give thanks when that is not the case… during those times when life seems to be crashing in all around you and you feel as though you are engulfed and about to drown in one of the many storms that life can throw at you…

Rejoice and give thanks to God then???  Seriously???

Yet, that is what God’s word says we should do in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

But… when a child of ours has died… when we are struggling to make ends meet financially, and no matter what we do, it doesn’t seem to be working… when we or a loved one has just been diagnosed with stage four cancer, and nothing was wrong two weeks ago… when the love of our life has just died, and there is a hole in our heart deep enough and wide enough that someone could drive a mac truck through… when we have been betrayed by someone we have loved and trusted… when we have been the one who has hurt another or done something illegal or unethical or immoral, and now we have to face the consequences of our choices… when life just isn’t working out the way we think it should, and there doesn’t seem to be anything we can do about it…

In these times and so many others not mentioned…

How can we rejoice?  How can we give thanks?

Perhaps in those difficult and challenging times, we can find a way to rejoice and give thanks to God…  if we can understand that it is NOT God’s will that these circumstances be happening in our lives…  and if we can realize that we will not be rejoicing about or giving thanks FOR the circumstances that are happening in our lives…

But if we can remember that no matter where we are in life, and no matter what is happening in our lives, that God is there to love us and to give us strength and courage and that God will walk with us through every circumstance that happens in our lives… even the ones we cause through our own sinfulness…

If we can remember that, maybe then we can find a way to rejoice and give thanks…

So why am I thinking about this today?

Because… the day is beautiful… and the sun is out… and the birds are singing… and everything is going “my way”… and “all is right with the world”… and I just thought how easy it was to rejoice and give thanks to God…

lessons along the Way…

Every now and again, a friend or family member will ask, “Have you gotten ordained yet?” or “Are you ever going to get there?”

You see, I’ve been on this “journey” towards ordination for awhile now… and there have been many times along this path when I have asked myself the same question that some of my friends have asked:

Am I ever going to get there?

But God has been teaching me something through this journey… something that I think is very important…

Becoming ordained… adding the title of Reverend to my name… will not be “getting there”…

“Getting there” implies reaching a pinnacle, maybe even arriving at a point and time of privilege in one’s life… it might even suggest the end of a journey and a time when one can rest from their labors… One has “gotten there”… One has “arrived”…

But becoming ordained will mean none of this…

Because what God has been teaching me is that becoming ordained… adding the title of Reverend to my name… will not add privilege and rest…

Instead, ordination will add extra responsibility to my life… and my journey with the Lord will not end with ordination, but will continue, as I seek to follow the Lord and minister in the places and to the people where He calls and where He sends me…

It will be a high point for me when I am ordained… perhaps even a “mountain top” experience… but just as the Lord went back down the mountain after He was transfigured (Mark 9:2-9) and continued to minister to God’s people, I will wake up on the morning after ordination, and I will be called and sent to continue in ministry, even as I am doing now…

Ordination will come, but it is not a destination… rather, it will be a door to a new chapter in my life…

assumptions and criticisms…

Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity, nothing exceeds the criticisms made of the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed and well-fed.        ~Herman Melville