meaningofstrife

Seeing the best in life's challenges

Being Connected

Today I am really thankful for being connected to so many wonderful people in so many ways.

I haven’t yet told many people I am writing this blog….I’m a little shy and still unsure about it….but I told a friend from almost 25 years ago about it today, and got such a nice note back.  Made my day.

Another friend writes online (she is a beautiful writer, very talented), I have never met her, but today I took some of her advice to heart, and it was a huge help.  I felt like I was proactive about some things I needed to deal with, and it made my day so much better.  Thanks!

I have another online friend I met when I found out that we shared a mutual “experience” that wasn’t so good…..she posted a comment online today indicating she was kind of having a hard time.  I tried to provide some encouraging words, and I hope they helped.  At least she knows someone “out there” is thinking of her.

It makes me think about the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”.  We never know when we do small little (seemingly insignificant) things, what kind of impact they might have on others.  That little smile might just be the encouragement someone needed at that moment.  That kind word or gesture might make all the difference in the world.

I feel so fortunate to have so many people who play their parts so perfectly in my life, just by being who they are.

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Faith

Faith is accepting the idea that God is in control of everything, and that, under His control, life will unfold in a way that is best for everyone in the long run.

The purpose of life is to experience it and grow from it.  If you view life as a learning experience, absolutely nothing in life needs to be considered “bad”.   No position in life is any better or any worse than any other – each person is in the perfect place for that person.  All the challenges and sorrows are there for a purpose.  All the joys and blessings are there for a purpose.  It is hard to imagine, but each little occurrence that might affect just a few or hundreds or millions of people is just the perfect thing for all of them to experience in their own unique way.  Now THAT is amazing!

First, we have selfish thoughts.  We want things the way we want them, and if they’re not, we get frustrated and angry.  Our view of cause and effect is short-sighted, and gratification is immediate or else.  When events or other people are not participating in the way we want, we get mad.

Next, we figure out ways to influence and control situations.  We don’t want anything bad to happen to our children, so we try to build walls around them to protect them from anything remotely bad.  We learn how to market to others to convince them to buy from our company, attend our school, and we convince them that our way is good and the others are bad.  Eventually, though, we realize that we just can’t control everything.

If we are lucky, next, we let go.  We stop worrying.  We know that God will not give us anything we can’t handle.  We know there is always something to learn in every experience, that there is an opportunity to grow and understand.  We stop planning and start observing.  We go back and become like a child, and let God take care of things.

We’ve made life way too complicated, when it’s really very simple.

“Our purpose is to be just who we are.” — Zach Gill, The Water Song

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A Poem about being connected

Life is a puzzle

 

The pieces always changing

Forever rearranging

Each piece grows

Each one of us flows

Into the others

 

Love is the tie that binds us

Always reminds us

Are we ever gonna find us?

Fear is the shadow that blinds us

Let it go

 

You touch me in some small way

It might not happen every day

But where there’s love we’re bound

That “Perfect Fit” is found

Forever and timeless

 

We can change (it’s ok)

Forever rearrange

Constantly moving

Always grooving

Forever One

 

(Just a poem I wrote in about June of 2010.  Makes me think about the movie “I AM”.  The message is, we are all connected.  “Perfect Fit” is a Van Morrison song I like.)

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Do You Believe It?

This is a story from back when I was on the Children’s Sermon circuit at my church.  I don’t remember the first one I did, but I did get a good response and was asked to do them on a regular basis.  I got into a kind of routine when preparing for them.

I’m not sure how or why it went this way.  It was almost like a game I would play with myself.  I would just decide that God would help me come up with a good idea.  I would not let myself stress about what I was going to say.  I just trusted that it would come to me.

I would wait until the day before or so, take a look at what the scripture was for that week, open the Bible, read that, read whatever else seemed to jump out at me.  I would just see what popped into my head.

So, the scripture one week was about doubting Thomas, the story in John 20.  After the women find that Jesus’ body is gone from the tomb, the disciples go and see this for themselves.  Then Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene, and later to the disciples.  But Thomas is not there at the time, and he refuses to believe the others when they say that Jesus appeared to them.

Typical human behavior, right?  It’s hard enough to know what to believe sometimes in relatively simple daily circumstances.  What about situations that are totally outside of our normal experiences?  Other people, even those you trust, can tell you something, and you might want to believe them, but there are some things you just have to see for yourself.

So I have to regress and tell you about what we had going on at our house at the time.  A friend of ours lives in the country and has chickens.  We stopped by his house with the kids for a visit.  My friend took them to the henhouse, and let them pick some eggs.  My oldest, in typical fashion for him, asked if these eggs would hatch.  Without hesitation, our friend said, sure, when I was a kid, we would make our own incubator and hatch them.  The idea was planted.

So, we took those eggs home, and they sat on the kitchen counter for 4-5 days.  All the while, my son kept asking if we could try to hatch them.  He is a very persistent kid.  My husband finally bought an incubator, I bought the “Raising Chickens” book, and we got them set up.  We went through all the motions, but we never expected to actually hatch anything.

Well, right on time, we hatched a chick.  He lived in a bathroom for a while, then the mudroom, and later spent his days in the yard eating bugs.   Oh, and I should say, we live within the city limits.

An idea popped into my head – what’s more unbelievable to a kid at a City church, than a chicken trying to eat your cereal in the morning?  It sounds ridiculous.  So… I took a picture of that chicken next to my cereal bowl, with me in the same clothes I wore to church that day.

I told the kids we were going to play a game called “Do You Believe It?”  I would tell them something, and they would get to vote on whether they believed it or not.  I came up with some things that were easy to agree with, and some that were really silly.

THEN, I said, “A chicken tried to eat my cereal this morning, do you believe it?”  Of course they didn’t.  Then I said to them, well, I have witnesses – and I asked each of my kids individually if they believed it, and of course they said yes.  I asked the group again, and they still didn’t believe it.  THEN I pulled out the picture – and asked them again.  The point was made – even with a picture, this situation still seemed unbelievable.

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That picture was taped to the pastor’s door for a long time.  It was a funny and memorable children’s time!!

When I encounter something that seems unbelievable, I try to keep an open mind.  I could have a life-changing experience that is even hard for me to believe, I could know it to be “true” with every ounce of my being, but it may be all but impossible for even a close friend to believe it.  And I have to remember, that when someone tells me something that seems unbelievable, I can’t judge what they know to be true.

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Simplicity and Open-Heartedness

The following is something I found online back in 2006, I believe:

“The elder delivered a simple, direct message. He called for human beings to come together in support of life and light. Right now each person and group is going his or her own way. The elder … said there is hope if the people of the light can come together and unite in some way.

Reflecting on this, Mr. Barrios explained: “We live in a world of polarity: day and night, man and woman, positive and negative. Light and darkness need each other. They are a balance. Just now the dark side is very strong, and very clear about what they want. They have their vision and their priorities clearly held, and also their hierarchy …”

“On the light side everyone thinks they are the most important, that their own understandings, or their group’s understandings, are the key. There’s a diversity of cultures and opinions, so there is competition, diffusion, and no single focus.”

As Mr. Barrios sees it, the dark side works to block (oneness) through denial and materialism. It also works to destroy those who are working with the light to get the Earth to a higher level. They like the energy of the old, declining (world), the materialism. They do not want it to change.

They do not want (oneness). They want to stay at this level, and are afraid of the next level.

The dark power of the declining (world) cannot be destroyed or overpowered. It’s too strong and clear for that, and that is the wrong strategy. The dark can only be transformed when confronted with simplicity and open-heartedness. This is what leads to (oneness). “

A couple of years later, I found that Carlos Barrios published a book called The Book of Destiny.  It’s a really interesting book about the Mayan perspective on the world.

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