What is Your Life Like?

What is Your Life Like?

I’ve heard that life is like a roller coaster with all the ups and downs. I’ve heard that life is a bowl of cherries with all the sweetness and a few pits! I’ve heard that life is like a river winding its way to a bigger body of water. And of course, life is like a school with all the lessons in life that we have to learn.  No matter what your comparison, all of our lives are comprised of ups and downs, sweetness and the pits. We all are on our way to that “bigger” destination having learned all the lessons in this life. So what can we take from comparisons? I think comparisons can put life in perspective. It shows that we may not be experiencing the same cruise, but we are all at sea. My favorite life comparison is called, “Life is Like a Train Ride.” I’m not sure where this piece originated, but this “unknown author” gives us a bigger picture, a growing appreciation and a deeper understanding of this measured time on earth, called life. Life is Like a Train Ride “At birth we boarded the train and met our parents, and we believe they will always travel on our side. However, at some station our parents will step down from the train, leaving us on this journey alone. As time goes by, other people will board the train; and they will be significant i.e. our siblings, friends, children, and even the love of your life. Many will step down and leave a permanent vacuum. Others will go so unnoticed that we don’t realize...
The “New Lent”

The “New Lent”

We are now in the Lenten season. For the Christian churches it is a time of retreat, renewal and rededication. Looking back at Lent when I was growing up, Lent was easy. Back when, this penitential season of Lent turned its focus from the “lesser material world”, the sins of the flesh, to concentrate on the “more valuable spiritual world” through prayer and fasting. The thinking being, that we had to deny ourselves the material delights to experience the higher calling of the spiritual world. Adults would not eat meat on Fridays, refrain from alcohol or give up cigarettes! Kids would give up candy, watching their favorite television program or refrain from fighting with their siblings. We denied ourselves these pleasures thinking that these deprivations were sure tickets to please our creator. In my Lenten readings and preparation, the intent of the Lenten season seems to be shifting.  We are shifting from deprivation to dedication, from the negative to a more positive approach. This is probably a good move since giving up the “delights” of this human world were not moving us closer to heaven. By the time we got there we would be hungry and grouchy anyway! Pope Francis has built upon the fasting of the past to bring us to the dedication of being the best version of ourselves. Here’s what he wrote: Fast from hurting words and say kind words. Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude. Fast from anger and be filled with patience. Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope. Fast from worries and trust in God. Fast from complaints and contemplate...
Make a Difference

Make a Difference

An old man was walking along the beach, when he noticed a little girl ahead of him picking up starfish that had been cast ashore by the storm the night before. The old man hurried to catch up to her, and asked what she was doing. “Rescuing starfish,” the young lady replied. “They’ll die if I leave them here when the sun comes out.” “But this beach goes on for miles,” argued the man, “ and there are millions of starfish stranded here. How can your effort make any difference?” The girl look intently at the starfish in her hand then threw it back to the safety of the sea and said, “It makes a difference for this one!” We would all like to make a difference. Usually we think that bigger is better but not necessarily. We are all called to make a difference no matter how small.  You are endowed with transformational powers. But using these transformative powers to take on the whole world may seem useless. But your divine love ripples throughout the world making a positive difference. “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. “ – Mother Teresa What do you see when you throw a pebble in the water – waves moving out to make rings, very small at first and then expanding outward and increasing until spreading across the water’s surface. Just consider of how one piece of information can affect the stock market. Or one tweet can send thousands of people in a dizzy! Knowing the power of one incident,...
Afternoons of Life

Afternoons of Life

“The majority of people perform well in a crisis and when the spotlight is on them; it’s on the Sunday afternoons of life, when nobody is looking, that the spirit falters.” (Alan Bennett’s autobiography) Don’t you agree that the “et cetera” parts of life, those flat places where there is noting of interest in sight and nothing exciting is on the horizon, brings a “why bother” and “what’s the use” attitude? Those are the times we have the least heart to pray, but those are the times when we need prayer the most.  Why? Because those are the days we are quiet, poised and in the “ready frame of mind” to see the world through God’s eyes. We “let go” and “let God.” That is where good prayer always starts, trusting God enough to let go and look through his yes – the eyes of a wise Father.  If we do that and if our hearts are open, we’ll begin to see what God sees and hope as God hopes. We will begin to want what God wants and do what God wants. That’s what praying in faith does inside us. It slowly reshapes our ideas and our perspectives to match God’s. Prayer slowly reshapes our values and our expectations of life to match God’s. God has so much to show us and teach us. We have so much to learn, so many new doors that need to be opened, and so many old ones that need to be closed permanently. If we are listening from the heart, we will change. Even the most gnarled parts of us will...
What, Married 50 Years?

What, Married 50 Years?

The celebrating couple mingled among the guests at their 50th wedding anniversary. One of the guests pulled the “groom” aside and asked,  “You make marriage look easy. Has it always been this easy?” The celebrant replied, “No, I even considered divorce and my wife did also.” The inquisitor pressed to understand, “Then how did you make it 50 years?” The response, “We never considered it at the same time.” Yes, life is tough. Our lives are roads paved with life lessons to be LEARNED by trail, and error.  We struggle with marriage, children, loss, illness, doubt and darkness. We get depressed, tired, fed up, impatient and ready to throw the towel in. But never forget that we are social beings who, as the Beatles lyrics remind us, “…I get by with a little help from my friends”. We need others to lift our spirits, listen to our problems, reassure our doubts and remind us of the important things in life that we may have forgotten. We forget who we really are and what is really important, what really matters in life, who our real friends are, who loves us and what we were made for. We are not walking this journey alone.  Not only are our friends, there for us, but also we must remember that the Lord walks at our side. The Lord walks with us as a partner and mentor who wants to see us succeed and who understands that it’s going to take us awhile. What more could we ask? How can we not be confident and hopeful and put all fears behind us. After all,...