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Christ

Christ

I saw Christ today.

She was sitting at a table by herself in the fellowship hall of the church I attend.

I purchased the altar flowers in remembrance of my parent’s wedding anniversary—what would have been 67 years. Bright yellow Zinnias, deep red Carnations with lavender Asters completed the lovely arrangement which was a perfect blend of mine and my mother’s favorite colors.

Christ spoke to me as she was finishing her microwaved beef stew meal. She said her daughter’s favorite color was yellow and that she had died in the last year.

I could tell in her longing expression, she wanted one of the Zinnia’s but did not want to ask. I was going to give her one anyway. When I handed her the flower, I told her the bouquet was for my mom who had died. She asked how long ago my mother had passed and I said five years.

Thinking the moment had passed, I began to walk away. Christ was not finished with me, however. She called me back, “come here.” I did. She reached for my hand and I accepted hers.

Care-worn wrinkles adorned her face and hands, dirty fingernails and a weathered sweatshirt graced her frame along with garlands of bedraggled hair—I wondered about the life she had lived and was living.

Once our hands were clasped, she closed her eyes and began praying. Because I did not want to miss a moment of this sacred awareness, I kept mine open, watching and listening.

There was no “Gracious God” or “Heavenly Father” beginning. Her prayer was not punctuated with any “thee” or “thou.” No “we just ask,” no promises were made, no sin was mentioned nor forgiveness requested. In fact, the only thing she asked for was for God to bless me and that she, herself, had lost her mother in 2007. Some of her softly spoken words sounded like reverential mumbling. There wasn’t even an “amen” at the end; just a very gentle shake of my hand and her eyes opened.

A good-bye, a thank you—as I was leaving, I glanced back, she seemed lost in sweet memories staring at her flower.

No sermon, no invocation, no hymn that I heard that Sunday morning touched me as deeply as Christ did in that very brief, yet timeless instance.

I cried most of the way home—not sad tears, or happy tears—just tears of realization at how holy beautiful is Christ and how precious is all of Life.

Fertile Soil

Fertile Soil

“Mommy, I think my arm is broken.”

In my early thirties, I was single parenting three boys ages three, six and seven. We had just finished dinner, I may have had a load of laundry in the washer and one in the dryer, and I was washing dishes while my sons were playing on the slide in the side yard. After I finished the dishes, under “normal” conditions, the boys would have come in for baths while I folded laundry and prepped for bedtime. We might have played a video game or watched TV, then to bed with possibly a bedtime story, definitely prayers, followed by hugs and kisses and me singing the chorus of “Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight” by The Spaniels.

I ran a tight ship in order to keep things running like clockwork between daycare, school, working full-time, and the day-to-day challenges of raising three beautiful souls.

There was no window in the kitchen to see what happened prior to my middle son entering it with the monkey-wrenching news.

How it happened and what happened next, reads like a well-loved book in the annals of our family story telling over the last 30 years. Even now there is still some warmhearted debate regarding whether Matthew fell off the slide on his own, “by accident,” or whether his older brother, Christopher, pushed him.

To this day, I don’t know for sure who did what to whom, all I know is my frazzled brain in those moments did not know how to respond.

My gray matter literally went dark. I had nothing. Blank. Zilch. Nada.

After what felt like an eternity, I finally said, “well, just sit still on the couch for a minute …”

After that lackluster response, I went into the kitchen to evaluate just how much dinner mess was left on the table and take stock of the dishes remaining in the sink (I did not have an automatic dishwasher).

My mind is still not clear on what or how I got all three little boys into the van heading for the hospital. Nor do I remember the drive or going through the intake process in the emergency room with three little munchkins by my side.

The next detail I do recall is standing with the physician looking at the x-ray of Matthew’s arm—it was either the radius or the ulna which had a hairline fracture. While the doctor was in the middle of explaining his diagnosis and treatment, an extremely loud and obnoxious alarm sounded throughout the entire emergency room. Every. Single. Person. Heard it.

I frantically looked around for my other two sons. I think, but I am not entirely certain, that my oldest son was standing next to me but definitely not my youngest. Panic-stricken, I began searching for Michael. My outward appearance, while worried looking, did not convey the hair-on-fire, wildly-freaking-out, crazy bug-eyed mother on the inside.

I found him. In the bathroom. Door wide open. For everyone to see. One hand on his penis. The other hand on the emergency call string. He looked at me with a pouting lower lip and innocent three-year-old eyes and said, “I didn’t know what it was for Mommy.”

Was I patient with him? Did I scold him? Did I have him wash his hands? Did Matthew get a soft cast on his arm? Did we leave the ER casually or in a flurry? What was Christopher doing during all of this?

As the only driver’s-licensed person in our merry quartet, I know I must have driven home. Did they take baths? Did I finish washing the dishes and cleaning up the kitchen? Did the laundry get folded? Did I sing to them? Did I reassure Matthew that he would be fine? I have not the foggiest idea or remembrance.

Somehow, life went on.

Recently at my grandson’s little league baseball game, Matthew and I were talking about what the future holds and he said, “if you don’t mind some gentle ribbing …” and he preceded to retell his broken arm narrative.

I hanged my head whilst shaking it backing and forth.

Both of us laughing and smiling, yet with me still awash in regret I said, “I’m sorry.”

“You don’t need to apologize. You didn’t do anything wrong.”

“Well, I want it on the record that I apologized.”

“So noted. You were a single mom with three boys.”

More laughing.

And later at home, happy tears.

What a beautiful moment for this loving son to sow seeds of redemptive healing into his mother’s heavy heart by truly seeing her in that instant all those years ago.

Days later I was telling all of this to my cousin, John. I told him that the only metaphor I can think to compare my single parenting experience to is being at bat staring down dozens of pitchers all throwing 100-mph fast balls at me at the same time and not knowing which pitch to hit first.

I feel this way now as I watch the Republican lawmakers and governors behaving like middle school children. Governors Abbott and DeSantis must have failed General Science in sixth grade and never caught up; this is the only explanation I can comprehend to explain the ridiculous legislation they propose and sign into law concerning mask mandates, vaccines and abortion. And I am absolutely certain that Mitch McConnell and the radicalized Republicans must have failed Social Studies and Civics. Otherwise, why would they be holding Uncle Sam hostage?

I taught Middle School for 16 years. I am very familiar with the chaotic and nonsensical behavior of tweens and teens desperately trying to come to terms with their identity. They can be very sweet, kind and generous. Other times, and sometimes more often than not, they are snotty-nosed brats that could care less about anybody else but themselves, with blindingly selfish and arrogant thoughts, words and deeds. Here is where Mitch and his cohorts remain stuck.

Mixed into the chaos of our current political conundrum is climate change, with our magnificent planet in what seems like its final death throes. Not to mention the pandemonium of the pandemic, the unbridled greed of pretentious billionaires, unscrupulous power-hungry world leaders such as Putin, FORMER President Trump, and Xi Jinping, and the immeasurable and incomprehensible grief, pain and loss everywhere …

… somehow life goes on.

Yes, indeed! I tell you that unless a grain of wheat that falls to the ground dies, it stays just a grain; but if it dies, it produces a big harvest. John 12:24

Is Jesus pointing only to his own death and resurrection in this verse, or could there be something deeper? Literally speaking, how does a single grain of wheat produce a big harvest?

If our hearts are like soil (think the parable of the sower/soils), then maybe we are all planting seeds by how we respond to our circumstances.

Emotions can be chaotic, particularly pain, loss, grief, mourning, freaking out, feeling overwhelmed, but those feelings are not the ‘end of the world’ if I use the energy inherent within the chaos in a seed-sowing way. That may mean asking myself ‘what am I believing’, or sitting with the emotions and allowing them to be, breathing through, and/or acting on them to help others. Whatever it is, it is my choice. Succumbing to the malevolence (getting stuck or caught) is simply missing the mark. Yet, even missing the mark can compost the soil which is the beauty of free will.

I do not know when or how my son came to the life-giving realization that he did, or how long the seed had been sown before our conversation, but the soil was fertile and the harvest was produced.

All the chaos and craziness? It is just a bunch of manure to nurture what comes next.

I know this sounds rather harsh, but as we come closer to the end, or rather the beginning, the more resistant insanity and illusion will be to Truth.  This world will become even more lost and delusional.

“… For the present form of this world is passing away.”  1 Corinthians 7:31

Lack Nothing

Lack Nothing

Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand.  You guide me with your counsel and afterwards you receive me to glory.  Whom have I in heaven but you?  And with you, I lack nothing on earth.  My mind and body may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.  Psalm 73:23-26

Lack Nothing

Words of Wisdom

Be kind to yourself, no expectations, no resistance, just keeping company with what is… This is what I remind myself…  John Fridinger

Stupid

Stupid

Masked, I was sitting in a local diner with my Dad, waiting for our breakfast when I overheard the gentleman at the next table.  Late seventies or early eighties, this man was expressing his dismay at the current occupant of the White House telling him what to do.  Going so far as to compare President Biden to Hitler.    He further described to his friend how he doesn’t watch the News and he will not go to WalMart because they are now, once again, requiring employees and customers to wear masks.

Stupid is as stupid does.

Miriam-Webster.com defines stupid as: slow of mind, given to unintelligent decisions or acts, acting in an unintelligent or careless manner, lacking intelligence or reason, dulled in feeling or sensation, marked by or resulting from unreasoned thinking or acting.

Careless manner … dulled in feeling or sensation … marked by or resulting from unreasoned thinking …

I would say these definitions explain the thoughts, words and actions of DeSantis, Abbott, other Republican lawmakers/leaders, and anybody that voted for, votes for or supports them in any way, shape or form.

Angry? You bet!

A great many people are sick and dying because of the actions or lack thereof of stupid people. A great many people will not get vaccinated or wear masks because of the self-absorbed and maladroit leadership of stupid people.

I am constantly confounded by the absurd diatribe that erupts from the mouths of DeSantis, Abbott, McConnell, Greene, Cruz, Carlson, Graham, Hawley, et al, like volcanic vomit. My mind reels wondering how seemingly well-educated individuals can be so mind-boggling, idiotically stupid.

Threatening to defund school systems and not pay school superintendents over mask mandates?  My God, DeSantis, how ludicrous, not to mention stupid!

The health and safety of children are at stake; and so these kinds of mindless and unreasonable decisions break my heart.

I have five grandchildren, two of whom will be headed back to school in three weeks—one in sixth grade and one in second grade—and I am highly distraught and concerned for their health and welfare; for all the children’s health and well-being. My grandchildren will be masked—their parents are not stupid—it is the stupid parents and stupid leaders that concern me.

You know the ones … those like the parents in Idaho that had a mask burning party in March of this year. Or those who say it takes away their freedom and civil rights, or that it is discriminatory, or those who believe the outright, bold face, blatant, sinister lies of the aforementioned bigwigs.

What is it going to take, before people wake up and realize how stupid they have been to remain unmasked?

Stupid people did not wear masks when the elderly got sick and died due to COVID-19. They did not wear masks when the middle-aged began to die. They are not wearing masks now that young folks are dying, with 615,000+ and counting now dead here in the US. Are they waiting for children to get sick and die in greater numbers before they wear masks and get vaccinated?

According to the CDC, “unintentional injuries—such as those caused by burns, drowning, falls, poisoning and road traffic—are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality among children in the United States.”

Let’s be clear, children’s deaths due to COVID are occurring as a result of people’s intentional behavior, due to the folks who are stubbornly and intentionally continuing to remain unmasked.

This, among other things in this insane world that is deeply lost in so many extreme beliefs in separation, makes me absolutely sick at heart.

Please do not waste your breath telling me about my lack of faith or that I am not a Christian or that I should just pray.  I trust God, I am a follower of the Way, and I do pray.

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar. For if a person does not love his brother, whom he has seen, then he cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 1 John 4:20

The fact of the matter is every time you look into someone’s eyes, you are seeing God whether you believe it or not. Or if you prefer:

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

To be fair, I have done and do stupid things–more than I would care to profess. If we are honest with ourselves and will humbly admit it, the vast majority of us do stupid stuff. If we didn’t, our human world would not be in the predicament it is in— dying in so many ways now.

This stupidity is a result of believing the BIG LIE. No, not the lie that Trump won the 2020 election. I’m talking about the lie in Genesis 3:4-5 …

The serpent said to the woman, “It is not true that you will surely die; because God knows that on the day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

… THAT big lie.

We took the bait—hook, line, and sinker—and have been believing ever since in the illusion that we are separate from Eternal Love. Even though later in the same chapter, God proved the illusion false by asking, “where are you?”

Until and as we stop seeing and acting out of unconscious belief, we cannot know how our action and activity can become different; or to borrow some of Albert Einstein’s words, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

For more on this, please read Charles Eisenstein’s article;  but be prepared for the ‘twisties.’

I know some people have legitimate reasons for not wearing masks, such as claustrophobia, anxiety, Legionnaire’s disease, interactions with lip readers (WebMD).

I also know that getting the vaccine is a personal choice and that there are some various mitigating factors. I hate needles and the possible side effects of the vaccine did frighten me. Ultimately, I decided the reasons for getting the vaccine far outweighed the reasons not to.

That being said, the very least all of us can do is wear the stupid mask …

… and make sure it covers your nose!