Milestones

Milestones

Birthdays, anniversaries, 16 years old, 21 years old and 65 years old – all act as milestones of important events as we journey down this road of life. Each of these special junctures is observed with joy and special celebrations.  But what about our spiritual journey? What are the milestones along that developmental road? How do we know that we are making progress in our spiritual lives? One sign of spiritual growth is a shift in our thinking. When something happens to us instead of asking, “Why is this happening to me,” we look at it from another point of view asking, “What am I suppose to learn here?” We move from a self-centered plan of life to one that God has designed for us. We put aside our wants to what God intends. We move from Darkness to Light– We can be wandering  aimlessly in the dark, unaware of our true purpose on this earth wondering how/why this hardship came to me. We must turn to the light of acceptance and awareness of God’s plan in our lives – no matter what that is. We move from victim to warrior– We grow from seeing ourselves as a suffering victim of circumstances, to a warrior ready to battle whatever dark force may be at work. We give the control button to God, accepting his Plan rather than our own. (Isn’t that what we pray in the Our Father  – “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”) We loosen our grip on the circumstances of life and give way to the flow of life. We can believe and live...
Never Too Late

Never Too Late

“You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.” C. S. Lewis Time is a precious commodity! And we are never too old! No excuses! No matter how old we are it is never too late to begin anew. God gives us time and abilities to invest wisely. There’s a lot about every one of us that is very right. There are parts of us that are so good and so true that we just “glow in the dark.” And we need to take delight in all that goodness that we and God have built together. But at the same time we need to look at the part of us that have gotten stuck and frozen, the parts of us that are like the old preacher repeating the same old words. We make the same old mistakes or stumble on the same rock on the road every time we pass. Whether we are young or old, the Lord is calling each of us to let go of the parts of us that don’t work, let go of the parts that are stuck in the mud, and let go of the parts of us that are lifeless and stuck in the quicksand of routine. Let go of it all and let God take over and show the way. It is the way to freedom and life. Remember: Never too late for a positive day. Never too late to learn. Never too late, no matter how far you are down the road, to turn around. Never too late to identify and problem and solve it! Never...
Keeping a Happy Heart

Keeping a Happy Heart

“It’s not that optimism solves all of life’s problems; it is just that it can sometimes make the difference between coping and collapsing.” – Lucy Macdonald Remember the small magazine, “Reader’s Digest”? That publication had a section called “Laughter is the Best Medicine” containing all the absurdities of life; the ridiculous, the irrational, the illogical and the most downright silly. As I live through the years, I realize the wisdom in this section….looking at the lighter side of life can turn our beliefs around to give us new perceptions and novel ideas. Laughter works as the antidote for fear, separation, conflict and hurt.  Things that divide people no longer have power when laughter helps us drop old perceptions, prejudices and grievances. We can shift our thinking to promote hope and a new resolve when we drop the heavy burden of taking ourselves so seriously. Laughter is God’s welcoming Spirit at work in a troubled world. This spirit reminds us that we are part of a whole, living in togetherness rather than isolation. It promotes love, not fear and hope rather than despair. Alan Watts, an English philosopher and expert in comparative religions, stated, “The whole art of life is knowing how to transform anxiety into laughter.” This transformation starts with facing our fears and the missteps we make. Instead of succumbing to their negativity, we need to find the smile in our foibles and those of others. Similar to finding the good in each day, we must find the optimism in each event. Let’s spend less time judging and fault finding in ourselves and our neighbors and more time...
Have a Good Day?

Have a Good Day?

As we run about our busy schedule we casually greet people, “Hi”, “Good to see you”, “Have a good day” or some upbeat message to acknowledge them or brighten someone’s day. But as we all know, life is tough and the “good” is sometimes not that apparent. But it is important to remember this: Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day. But how do we find the good in each and every day when bad things do happen  – to good people – all the time? Our answer is lurking in what was common knowledge in Jesus’ time, namely that shepherds and their sheep knew each other well and were bonded closely.  And when the shepherd called, the sheep heard a familiar voice they knew they could trust so they didn’t hang back. That’s the key for us – the bond of trust that helps us hear God’s voice from the inside, no matter what is going on outside; the bond of trust that helps us hear all he is saying to us – words of comfort, congratulations or challenge. Developing that bond of trust tells us that it’s safe to believe and to act on what he tells us because experience has taught us that he loves us even more than we love ourselves. With that bond of trust we have the confidence and the energy to overcome our natural and legitimate fears of all sorts, and it gives us hope to take the risks we have to take to become our best selves. We feel loved knowing that God is reaching out...
The Message of Notre Dame

The Message of Notre Dame

Millions of people sat glued to their televisions heartbroken watching Notre Dame cathedral aflame. As a symbol of Western civilization, the structure served as a reminder of man’s journey to his creator, through art, relics, religious services and the history of its mere survival of the structure through the centuries. Five days later over a billion dollars were pledged by donors from all over the world, all religions, all regions and all races to rebuild the Parisian icon to its former glory. There is always hope. What a fitting example of the message of this week’s spiritual celebrations of Passover and Easter. No matter how many years we may suffer in captivity, there is always hope for release. No matter how we may “die”, there is always hope of resurrection. There is always hope. The book of Ecclesiastes reminds us, “To every thing there is a season, a time to every purpose under heaven.” Just living day to day we witness these “seasons”… The Calm always follows the Storm. The Light always follows the Darkness. Spring always follows Winter. And Easer always follows Good Friday. There is always hope.  Let us take this message of hope and remember that it is not over yet. All is not in vain. God didn’t make us for pain and suffering, for sadness and dying, but for life – enjoying this life and the exciting, eternal life. So as we celebrate these religious holidays, let us bring hearts of hope as we pray verses of Psalm 118, a hymn of Thanksgiving: “…I was hard pressed and was falling, but the Lord helped me....