When I was a little girl my dad was in business for himself. He owned his own heating and air-conditioning business. When ever he got a service call, he would pick up his toolbox, load it in his work truck and head out. As a matter of course he would always make sure he replaced any tool that had gotten lost or worn out. No matter how small or how large. He knew each tool was needed in order to do his job properly. He also knew that if he had to stop and go purchase a tool, he lost time.
We must ask ourselves what is in our spiritual toolbox? Or do we even have a spiritual toolbox? Do we have the wrench to tighten our thoughts when they threaten to spill out even if it might not be the right thing to say? Do we have a spiritual screwdriver to tighten our anger when it becomes unhinged? Do we have that spiritual hammer to remind us that once the nail hole is in the fence it cannot be made whole? Do we have that spiritual oil cloth to wipe away the tears from the faces of others who are hurting? Do we have that small allen wrench to reach the small places?
Just like my dad, if he did not have all of his tools in his toolbox ready at the door, he could not do his job. We must always have our spiritual toolbox handy, ready to open and repair, or build those we meet. We must always be ready to take on the job at hand without having to go out and buy a tool.
The other day as I was scrolling through my social media, I came across a saying that really resonated with me. My mother used to ask me this question but in a different form. The question was “Why do you always insist on taking the hard road?” I was not wise enough to answer her well. However, I think now I can even though she is not with me any longer here on earth. The answer to the question is simply this, “Why do you assume I see two roads.”
As we are on our road of life, sometimes we must take a path that maybe we did not see coming to teach us a lesson that will not only help us, but it might be of benefit to someone else. Sure, that road may be filled with potholes, and danger or even a collision or two. But they are there for a reason.
I know as a child I was not the easiest child to raise. I had my own mind from the time I was a toddler. I always went my own path. I guess I felt like I needed to know things to experience first hand things in order to learn. Did I make bad decisions, did I fall on my face. You bet. Did I disappoint my parents, on more than one occasion. Did I fail myself, you bet I did. Did I disappoint my creator, I have forgotten the times I did. And yet, I learned, sometimes I had to fall in that pothole more than once. I credit my Scot/Irish ancestors with that mindset. But I learned, eventually. For those of you who know the person you see today, I was not always that person. I was shy, timid, felt unworthy, unloved and unaccepted. I would not speak up, nor would I voice an opinion. I felt I had nothing to offer. I strived to be all things to all people and in the end, I lost me. I felt that my words did not matter, that my worth did not matter and that no matter how much I strived, I would never matter. It took the hard road to show me that I mattered, if to no one else but God. I have been called harsh by some, even my own children in the past. Maybe am. I know that if I am asked, I will speak up. If I see someone running out into the road and a truck is on a Collison course with them, I will try to pull them back. That is my road.
The “hard road” has taught me how to make my past experiences a guidepost not a hitching post and that is okay.
The point is this. As humans maybe we only see one road, and maybe that is okay. Maybe our journey will help someone else on their journey down their hard road. What we must remember is that our Creator is always by our side. He always walks with us and we always have a way to get out of those potholes.
As 2018 draws to a close and once again we have a moment to reflect on the year that we will soon see in our rear view mirror, it is time to ask ourselves a question. Are we going to turn the page? Yes, turn the page. You see life is a book of sorts. Each day is a new chapter, a new phase a new beginning. The past is yesterday and the future is tomorrow.
What we have is today and if we don’t turn the page we get stuck in the past which affects our present and future. In fact, if we don’t turn the page we have neither present or future.
Things that happen in our life sometimes can and will create a void – a place where we get stuck because we dread the next page – we become afraid, or the prospect of turning the page is too painful, due to a loss or an illness.
The question we have to ask is this, How do we know how the story goes if we don’t turn the page. How do we know what is next if we don’t turn the page. The answer is simple we don’t know. We waste time that we could be using to shine by refusing to turn the page.
So, with all things of the past year in mind, all the tragedies, triumphs, successes and not so good successes, do not be afraid to turn the page.
“Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero” Which is translated, “seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the future” in other words, turn the page. You might be surprised.
When I was a child, I used to hear the adults talk about how wise so and so was. How anyone could go to them for advice and get it.
As I have grown older and maybe a bit wiser, I find myself being the one who people come to for sage advice. Not that I am filled with that much wisdom, there are too many roads yet to travel to be that wise. However, some of the knowledge I have gleaned on the roads of my life have given me a tad of wisdom. I will never be as wise as some of the adults I respected as that wee child. I will never have as much knowledge as those sagely wise men and women. But I have it filed away to pass along to the next generation.
We tend to forget that words are powerful. We forget that the knowledge we acquire during our journey only becomes wisdom when it is shared. For years I struggled with my faith. I struggled with the knowledge that I would never be good enough to get into God’s Kingdom on my own. I looked around me and saw others who appeared to be so much better than me.
A very wise woman told me that none of us are good enough. We enter the Kingdom by the grace of God. We all are fallible, we all struggle, and we all fail. However, if we walk the path, hold on to our faith and understand that God is in complete control, that he understands the big picture and he knows use better than we know ourselves, then we can be assured of the destination.
As human beings we should never stop gaining knowledge to pass on as wisdom. Even a child has a bit of wisdom in their minds, we just have to take the time to listen.
There is always someone who needs what we can offer. There is always someone who needs our particular knowledge to help them on their journey.
The greatest gift besides the Good News we can give others is the wisdom of God’s grace. The wisdom that his love covers us like a warm blanket. The wisdom that we are secure in the knowledge of his grace and that when we step off the path we can return. We can be embraced, and we can see the destination ahead.
The other day I was mindlessly watching a movie and there was a line from that movie that stuck in my head. The line goes like this, “Life is an occasion, rise to it.”
That line hit me like a thunderbolt. The more I thought about it the more it made sense to me.
Life is an occasion. Webster defines the word occasion as “A particular time or instance of an event.” That is exactly what our life is. A Particular time or instance of an event.
Once that event ends it never comes around again. It can be recalled to a certain extent in memories from others, however, that either fades with time or becomes embellished as facts dim with the re-telling.
As I thought about this statement, it hit me why don’t I rise to that event, why don’t I make my event count? Sure, I am grieving for my husband and my other family members, sure I am sad; however, my life is an occasion, it is an event, time to rise to it.
Then I went one step further and thought about those around me and how I could share that statement and challenge each of them to rise to the occasion. To challenge them to do things they have thought about doing but were afraid to do for whatever reason. Because FEAR is only False Evidence that Appears Real.
There was a time I was afraid to put myself out there. There was a time I would have never walked into a new congregation by myself. When I was told I was too stupid to write, I almost didn’t. But you see, Life is an occasion, rise to it means exactly that. We have no idea what we will find when we do. The things we can accomplish, the joy we bring others or to ourselves. The love we can radiate around us and the encouragement we give others just by rising to the occasion.
I am sure many of us have asked ourselves, “I wonder if….” I asked myself that question far too many times to count, and the epiphany I learned is this, if we don’t ask the question, we never know the answer.
Life is an occasion, rise to it. Ask those questions, then go and out and do those things that you always wondered if you could do. Dare to attend that event. Dare to make it happen. Rise to the occasion. Make a statement. Use those talents that you have been blessed with and have never tapped into. I think you will not only surprise yourself, you will find that you encourage others to rise to the occasion as well. All it takes it that first step.
Life is an occasion – Rise to it!!!!
Grief and Loss those two words are such small words and yet, they are such powerful words. Loss is that thing that happens when we lose something precious to us. Be is a job, a thing or someone. Grief is that thing we do after the loss.
Grief is that lingering ache in our heart, that sadness that fills our soul with pain as we wonder how we will ever get through it. Grief has no time line. While there is a process that process has its own ending.
Grief creates other emotions that some find they cannot deal with. People in their circle cannot understand how those emotions dance around like a mad tap dancer, moving first one way than another. The loved ones just want that person to move on – there is no moving on. There is only moving forward.
Some on you might ask, “How do I move forward? How do I fill the void in my heart and life? ”
First of all there is no filling that void, there will always be a hole. Once that tapestry of your life is ripped it can not be repaired, however, the tapestry can be added to.
When we allow God to be our guide and truly understand that he knows our loss and our grief better than we ever could. When we lean on him for our comfort and strength and know that he holds us in his hands, then and only then can we heal.
In Psalms 147:3 ” He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” God understands, he sent his only son to die for us. He willingly gave him up to a death that no man should ever have to suffer. He was in such grief that he had to turn his back. And yet, he tells us that he will heal us as the brokenhearted and he will bind our wounds.
We are told In Psalms 34:18 “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” What a beautiful thought, when the entire world leaves us and goes back to their own lives, God is near to us, he saves our crushed spirit. He listens when we repeat our pain over and over again. When we beg to understand the why of it all. He listens. And if we allow it he comforts us and saves us in our darkest hour.
Grief and loss is a natural phenomenon it is a part of life. However, it does not have to consume us nor does it have to destroy us. It does not have to become who we are, just what we do for a season.