I recently worked on a jigsaw puzzle during this sheltering-in-place time. I wiled away the hours placing the pieces together. Despite being frustrated and mystified by the shades and shapes, the picture slowly emerged. It took patience, time, trial and error, but I did it!
As I worked away at the puzzle, I thought about my life and how over the years it too has slowly evolved despite my being bewildered and mystified at times. Some areas have come together easily; other areas are still messy and incomplete; and still other areas, although challenging, are beginning to take shape.
If there is one thing this global pandemic and sheltering at home situation has highlighted to me, it is the need for us as humans for community. These past several weeks is beginning to take its toll. I just want to go shopping and walk around my neighbourhood without mentally measuring the distance between me and others. I feel like I’m treating people like lepers. I want to rub shoulders with strangers, hug my mum and get on a plane and cling-hug my children and grandchildren.
I’ve often said that I could easily become a hermit with intermittent catch-ups with friends. ….Ha.Ha….. If anything these past few weeks has taught me is that the opposite, in fact, is true. I need people in my life with intermittent times of aloneness.
My main community involvement these days is my church family. And I’m missing the physical interaction of gathering together with the people I have developed relationships with over the past 10 years.
Online church is just not the same. I am thankful for technology which enables us to keep in contact, but I long for the connection of being face to face in the same room with people I have come to know and love.
Continue reading “Missing the Glorious Messy Human-ness of Church Community”
At the beginning of this year, my good friend wrote a poem and sent it to me saying she thought it was meant for me and to use it in any way I wanted to. Wendy Jarrott-Smith you are an inspiration and this poem has spoken to me personally and become a prayer I have prayed often this year.
It seemed appropriate at this moment in time, with re-visiting the Easter message and with confinement making us all reappraise our priorities, that I share it with you.
It’s timely message is an invitation to our God to help us clean up the clutter from our lives so that we may focus on the real life that comes to us from our Father God. It echoes the thoughts from my last blog about the challenges and opportunities of confinement.
She titled it Soul Sweep – a Prayer. May it speak deeply to your soul as it did mine. Continue reading “Reappraising priorities”
I read a meme recently reflecting about the confinement due to COVID-19 that said: “it’s like we’ve all been sent to our rooms to consider what we have done“.
I’m sure it was meant to be a humorous post, but there is a great opportunistic truth lurking in its content.
As children whenever we misbehaved our parents sent us to our rooms. The time alone was meant for us to assess our behaviour; to feel remorse and come out with a different attitude.
So while, over the weeks/months ahead, as we have to go through this time and are confined to our “rooms”, we have the opportunity to examine our hearts; our behaviour and lifestyles and emerge with a renewed perspective and adjusted values.
However while in our “rooms” we may have to guard against distracting ourselves, as we often did as children, by playing with our toys, whiling away the time, being angry and unrepentant. The majority of us have comfortable homes, with all the latest gadgets for entertainment – video games, Netflix, social media and hobbies to ‘play’ with. Toys that will, if we let them, keep us from facing the tough self-examination that confinement offers us.
I remember reading a children’s book over and over to our grandson when he was very little, called “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. The story relates the difficulties faced as the father and his children searched for a bear. Each obstacle they faced in their search was met with the stanza “We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it. Oh no! We’ve got to go through it!”
Right now, as inconvenient and hard as it is, there is no way around the confinement caused by the assault of this pandemic – we’ve got to go through it. So why don’t we take up the challenge and opportunity to take a good look at ourselves and our values in the light of what really matters. As everyone is saying – we can and we will get through this together – but let it be that we are better people because of the experience.
Continue reading “Confinement challenges and opportunities”
Fear is spreading its ugly tentacles right around the world once again. And hitting the panic button seems to be the response.
This particular time its coronavirus. In the past 20 years, there have been regular “scares” – things predicted to radically wipe out large percentages of humanity. I remember the panic of the Y2K bug at the turn of the century. This has been followed by bird flu and swine flu and Ebola virus to say nothing of the alarm from terror attacks and predicted economic downturns. Couple these with natural disasters and fear seems to be the thing that sits just below the surface of people’s lives.
It is actually fear that is killing us.
Yes, there is a cause for concern and precaution regarding coronavirus. However, the reaction is out of proportion and way over the top. Panic buying is out of control. Where can one buy toilet paper or hand sanitiser this past week?
Fear-based actions reveal the ugly heart of individuals as they trample over others in order to self-preserve.
I understand that people who have no belief in God and his goodness; people who have nowhere to place their faith except in themselves; have probable cause to fear and dread what may (or may not) happen in the world.
Scripture tells us that fear has torment. It also says that perfect love will cast out fear (1 John 4:18). God’s loving companionship, if we are experiencing it, will keep our hearts and minds at peace as we face the circumstances of life. Continue reading “That still place in a shaky world”
I was up early trying, once again, to navigate through my jumbled scribblings for an article I was writing. The deadline was looming and I felt the pressure with studies for the ladies group and the next blog waiting to be completed. Morning after morning I had worked hard to get these articles finished on time. And all the while, at the back of my mind, I knew it had been a couple of months since I had even looked at the book I’d started writing. Some days the words just don’t flow. Some days I wonder what I am doing!
The mountain threatened to defeat me. I felt that I had bitten off more than I could chew. And anyway there are others more capable writing similar messages and doing it better. The temptation to retire pen, paper and keyboard was very real.
“Lord, this mountain is too hard to climb?” I murmured as I put it all aside and pressed the button on my phone to listen to a daily devotional. The reading was from Mark 3:13-19. The voice started “Jesus went up the mountain and called to him those he wanted and they came to him.”
Hit the pause button right there…. Continue reading “Mountain too hard to climb? Feel like giving up?”
Welcome 2020 – a new year, a new decade, and for our family, a new baby born in mid-December.
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My thoughts turn daily to this newest granddaughter. Newly born and adopted, she has graced our daughter’s and son-in-law’s lives to create a family unit. She has also been welcomed into the circle of a large and loving extended family.
Birth and babies with their cuteness and sweet innocence bring such joy into our lives. The wonder and delight of a new life never gets old. Continue reading “New Year, New Decade, New Life”