Bone weary gratitude

 

Something hit me. Hard. Whatever it was (or is!), I went from 100 mph doing chores, cleaning dishes and getting charting done to about 5 mph as I crawled into bed at 9 pm and slept for about 12 hours. A fever and GI symptoms knocked me FLAT!

I have gardening to do, housecleaning to mow through, reading to finish and reviews to write, and absolutely none of them grab my attention. My pillow, electric blanket and bed are calling me…

I am emotionally and physically run down. But I am also blessed down to my toenails with the good things in my life. So what do you do when you know you need a quick re-start to get back on track again?

You. Rest.

I know. DUH. But that’s what I need to do. So today I slept almost all day. answered a few emails that couldn’t wait (about 2 out of 50) and followed my cats’ examples of getting into a good nap.

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I’m still tired. I’m still facing the problems and discouragements of yesterday. I’m still angry at the lies and collusion that appear to be rampant in our government. But I’m a little better rested than I was yesterday.

And maybe, just maybe, I can tackle my “do list” with more enthusiasm and grace.

Breathe. Even when it hurts. Just breathe. 

  
There is laundry to do. Dishes. Vacuuming. Dusting. Reading and studying. A book review (which really must get bumped up on my priority list!) The list is actually quite long, and just a wee bit annoying.

Being productive by striking things off my to do list was not what I needed to do this morning. Instead, I put on my gardening shoes, walked out into my muddy yard, and enjoyed some moments of beauty. The birds were singing their heads off. The violets were peeking out beside newly sprouted grass. And my grandmother’s peony bush shows the first signs of blossoms!

A week ago this area had snow showers. Today I don’t need a jacket, and I’m swatting at gnats.

The headlong, crazy rush of one week into the next is almost overwhelming. And while I have plenty more yardwork left to do, the most productive thing I did all morning was to sit on this bench, breathe, (and sneeze!) and hear the sound of God’s love deep in my heart.

Find a moment, grab a moment if necessary, and just breathe. Be. Beloved. 

  

NaBloPoMo: Holy Ground

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The light poured in to the sanctuary through the stained glass. Here, at the very back, the pews have been removed so that there’s free space for children to color and play. But today the floor was open and the glorious colors played on the tiles.

I thought of the old Woody Guthrie song…

Every spot on earth I traipse around
Every spot I walk it’s holy ground…

Yes, I’m dating myself…

If the pews had been there, I doubt I would have noticed the play of the colors. It was only in their absence that there was space for God to speak, God used the void to remind me of a never-ending, never-changing Presence.

Burned into my mind today is this image of power and presence and fire…

Every spot I walk it’s holy ground…

Not just in the holy moments of Calling and ministry, but in the mundane. When I’m getting groceries… when I stop to mail a package… when I’m waiting at a traffic light… when I clean the house and do laundry… when I spend time with family and friends…

Will it change the way I respond, and the way I answer? Yes Lord, let it be.

NaBloPoMo: Good-bye, Raincoat!

raincoatIt weathered four years of seminary and 5 years of ministry (including all-night on-call chaplain shifts.) It was stuffed in countless suitcases, overhead compartments, trunks and closets. It had been through the washer and dryer many times.

In short, it was not pristine. But it was a raincoat. And on this cold, blustery day, I needed it!

I started the day at a peaceful gathering of clergy and laity counter-protesting the crazy hate group that carries signs and proclaims judgment on the world.* We stood in the rain and mist, umbrellas and smiles everywhere. We laughed. We had coffee with the local police who showed up en masse. We offered each other encouragement. We were a loving, laughing presence of about 30 people, diverse in age, race, gender, and religion, while 4 angry white people stood with signs in front of a local high school.

After the protest, we all headed out our separate ways. I started with some paperwork at my office and then travelled around seeing patients and families and other clients.

I met up with one client at a local coffee shop. But I left this well-traveled coat behind! By the time I realized my mistake, I was headed to another appointment and, while frustrated, decided to hope it would be waiting for me when I looped back around.

It was not to be. No one had turned in a lost coat, according to the barista. I sighed, wrapped my colorful scarf around my neck and went on my way.

Grumble, mumble, grumble, snarl… Yeah, I felt pretty stupid. Fortunately my favorite gloves and cell phone were NOT left stuffed in the pockets as is my usual habit.

As I drove to my next appointment, I saw a figure, huddled over a grocery cart, with the hood of her coat pulled up over her head, her shoulders hunched, and looking very cold. And she was… wearing what looked like my coat!

Was it? Maybe. Maybe not.

With a sigh, I stopped at a discount department store and bought a raincoat. Not that fancy or expensive, but one that served my needs. I thanked God that I could afford to go get a new one when I left my old one behind for… someone who really needed it.

I write this from my warm home, an afghan on my shoulders and a cat competing for proper attention. I am indeed blessed.

* About that hate group? You know who they are. They hate a lot of things. And I won’t give them any press in my writing. It’s time they went away!!

NaBloPoMo: Day Off

Today’s prompt:

Monday day off or Friday day off… Discuss.

It’s not as easy as that for a chaplain…

My current chaplain schedule requires visits during the week (and charting many, many nights in the evenings). Saturdays are reserved as my usual day off, unless there is a church function or a funeral or wedding. (And many times, there is something on the calendar!)

I try to create space around my work days so that I get some rest physically and emotionally. Dealing with Death every day requires it. It’s about longevity in serving. A marathon, not a sprint.

His Name is John.

Recently, I wrote about the man who frequents an intersection on my daily commute. (See the blog post here…)

I saw him again today, and again reached into my lunch and handed him some food. Today it was two peeled oranges and a bagel with cream cheese. And I asked him, “what’s your name?”

He looked up, startled. “John,” he said.

“Well, John, I’ll be watching for you.”

He tilted his head, smiled, and said “thanks!” and moved on down the line of cars.

It’s a cold night here… please remember John and people like him who may not have a warm place to spend the night. I’m grateful for a furnace that works, a warm bed and safety.