Archives for category: gratitude

Now we come to the setting of the sun

This morning has been one of  “Facebook Connection with God.” Surprisingly, my Facebook experience this morning felt like getting hug after hug rather than being bombarded by negativity. The first, and perhaps biggest “hug”  I encountered was a post about the forgiveness ceremony at Standing Rock. This event is proof that after centuries of hurt by working together reconciliation and purposeful building of community can help us heal as a nation. It gives me hope that this united effort will continue to heal our nation and block negativity.

Another hug was a video of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra playing and children singing “Christmas Canon.”  This particular piece of music has always comforted my spirit,  and,  as I listened, I realized God was hugging me again.

A third hug was a posted contemplative prayer article that supported my efforts in practicing contemplative prayer. In a kind way the article reminded me how important it is for me to practice growing closer to God in purposeful moments when I quiet my mind and let Him fill the silence with His Love. If it had yelled “Practice, practice, practice!” at me I would not have bothered to read it

These past months have been full of nation-wide negativity and ugliness. On a personal level I fought a long battle with bronchitis and asthma, and I won. Truthfully, although all the medical intervention was integral in my recovery, so was the support and prayers of my friends. I could have easily ended up in the hospital as many of my friends have with this particular strain of bronchitis. Not doing so was a huge “hug from God.”

The biggest “hug” happened this past weekend. I began experiencing abdominal pain about 10 AM Saturday morning, and it seemed to worsen all day.  I tried to convince myself I was having a stomach ache as a result of the new antibiotic I was  taking. When I got home from a local craft show, I got out the antibiotic’s  pharmacy print out, and found, much to my dismay, that if your stomach hurt when taking this medication you needed to call your doctor. On a Saturday night, that meant calling my doctor’s “service.” The doctor I talked to was an angel from God. He helped me realize what I was describing was more than what is usually expected as a side effect of this medication, and when I explained my history of multiple partial bowel obstructions, he suggested I consider visiting an emergency room. He did a good job of breaking through my denial—- I drove myself to a local ER.

While there I got the usual IV, EKG, blood draws, and CAT scan. Based on what the CAT scan showed the ER doctor determined that my “dysfunctional colon” had started backing things up into my small intestine as it has many times before.  “Backing up” and the pain it causes are  generally the first symptoms associated with developing partial or total bowel obstruction. I was lucky—– the doctor decided he could treat me there in the ER with a humongous soap suds enema rather than having to send me by ambulance to Barnes Jewish in St. Louis. Now, in case something as old fashioned and “low tech” as an invasive enema sounds like torture to you rather than a positive outcome, I can tell you from personal experience an hour or so of intense discomfort is much more positive than having a NG  tube forced down your throat into your stomach, a catheter put in your bladder, and spending a week or so in the hospital with the threat of possible surgery hanging over you.

This positive ER experience outcome was intensified by the fact that the nurses who took care of me had been my students in the past, they both recognized me, and they both gave me excellent care. Sometimes it pays to have previously been a professor in a small town. By 4 AM I finally was able to go home and go to bed.

I’ve been able to rest a few days now, slowly building back to almost my normal activity level, and this morning when I was trolling Facebook to find a daily  bible verse and prayer for my church’s Face book page, I encountered the hugs spoken of earlier. Finding all those positive postings got  me to thinking about all the ways God has been kind to me these past few weeks and how grateful I am.

Thanks for letting my mind wander on about hugs.

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Now we come to the setting of the sun

If I have to hear the “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercial one more time I’ll scream. Only I can’t, my “scream machine” (throat, lungs, breathing) is on the blink, and it is all I can do to breathe in and out—–and sometimes that is a challenge. I remember when I used  to laugh at this commercial. However, I don’t find it amusing anymore as it is getting harder and harder for me “to get up.” Just bending over to feed the dogs is a challenge to my current malfunctioning breathing system.

But, ’tis the season to be grateful—–so let me get off the “pity pot” and just be grateful that I can breathe between coughing bouts and that my asthma wheezing is subsiding. And, having been ill for a week, I think I am most grateful for good old fashioned Amoxicillin with Kleenex running a close second. I am grateful my dogs no longer jump and run when I sneeze or cough. They have been desensitized.

I have found being this ill for a week has brought my emotions “to the top”—-I am easily irritated, I have no patience, and, at times, I find myself crying like a frustrated two year old. No longer is my attention fixated on the implications of our recently past election…..having to fight to breathe has a way of putting things into the proper perspective. I  have to focus on the present moment and what I can and cannot do. If I have to moan and groan to get more air in or out, it is OK in the moment. I have to admit that in the midst of coughing spasms when I am fighting to breathe and tears are rolling down my face I am intensely grateful I am not out in public. Ego and pride have not left me yet. However, it is time for me to put my self-focused attention aside.

To all of you out there who are engaged in Thanksgiving, I wish you good times, loving fellowship, and the ability to remember what you are grateful for in each moment and not just during grace before the big family meal. I shout out a loud “Thank you!” to Creator and ask him to keep those who:

  • are traveling
  • are standing vigil to protect sacred lands and water
  • are surrounded by pain, death, war
  • are in need of sanctuary;
  • are hungry
  • have no place to call home who are our peace officers
  • are in military service
  • serve as our health care givers
  • have lost loved ones
  • are and will be guiding our country

in His care not only on Thanksgiving Day but on all days.  May we all realize we are connected as one human family with all of Creation and Creator himself, and may this realization guide us in relating to each other with love and compassion. Amen.

fall-tree

This will be short today; at least I think it will, but I never really know once I begin writing. Today I noticed the color in the leaves, the partial and/or total absence of leaves clothing some trees, and the leaves already fallen on the ground. I found myself thanking God for the beautiful colors, and then I let my mind “free flow” around the topic of trees, leaves, and seasons.

Of course, I immediately identified with the trees that were “half clothed” with leaves who had already lost a good number of their leaves. For a few minutes I actually started thinking of myself as a tree. I realized I could be grateful for all the leaves [experiences] with which I have been gifted throughout my life. I can be disappointed because I am not the “brightest colored” or most beautiful fall tree, or I can accept the beauty of my own self just as I am who does not have to be like or better than any other tree.  I am also grateful for my leaves that have already fallen and the lessons they left imprinted on my soul. I can fret and worry about which “leaf” I am going to lose next—–will it be my hearing, my eyesight, my memory,  or my mobility? Would it be the death of those near me? Then I realized if I focused all my energy on what I have to lose in the future I would totally miss the gifts inherent in  my present moment.

I began to consider the inevitability of what it is going to be like when I lose all my leaves and stand naked before my Creator. That is how I came into this world, and it is how I will go out. I realize that winter doesn’t have to mean death; the coming of spring may furnish me with a “leaf and joy refill.”  But at this moment, in this moment, I am grateful for existing as an elder evolving tree only partially clothed in leaves. I am even comfortable with the realization that if death comes I will join my Creator and my body will go back to the earth.

I have spent a lot of time working on acceptance, and this practice has often brought me peace of mind I would not otherwise have. I am also feeling a lot of joy as I let myself accept the place and friends my life’s journey has brought me to, and I am enjoying the fruit of the lessons learned from the mistakes I made on the way to getting here.

So, in closing, today’s blog is actually a pre-Thanksgiving giving of thanks to my Creator and a testament to my growing trust of where my Creator is taking me.