Tag Archives: faith

The greatest of these

faith hope love

If I had to choose a favorite chapter from the New Testament it would be a tie between 1st Corinthians 13 – The Love Chapter – and John 14 – The Peace Chapter, or that’s how I think of it.

Everyone, Christian or not, knows 1st Corinthians 13, but just in case, here it is, English Standard Version:

The Way of Love

13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Sometimes teen-aged girls have this “puppies and flowers” view of love. It’s all about romance and prince charming and dreaming of a beautiful wedding day and practicing writing your married name over and over in the back of your biology notebook.

But we all know it’s more than that. Much more.

One little piece of advice we give to students when talking about the true meaning of love is this: Take 1st Corinthians 13:4-7 and replace the word “love” with the name of your “lover”. Does it still work?

4 Hubby is patient and kind; he does not envy or boast; he is not arrogant or rude. Hubby does not insist on his own way; he is not irritable or resentful;[b] 6 he does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Hubby bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

That is a tall order, and we all will fall short of that goal. But what a goal to aim for in our relationships, ALL relationships. Spouses, children, parents, friends, co-workers, enemies.? Are you serious?

Yes.

Put away childish things, like pride, arrogance, stubbornness, jealousy.

Practice Love.

So, what about John 14? It’s a long chapter, so I’m going to pull out the parts that give me peace.

14 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God;[a] believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?[b] And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

 12 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.  

There’s a lot in there.

We live in a world where “peace” is impossible to achieve on our own. We’re human, and we have issues, right? How many of us walk around every day with troubled hearts? America is walking around right now with a troubled heart. Division, anger, evil. How do we get past the trouble to find the peace? The answer in John 14 is this: believe in something outside yourself, something bigger than yourself, someONE bigger than yourself.

For Christians, that someONE is Jesus. I’m a Christian, so what does this mean for me? Look to Jesus.

OK.

That next scripture up there, about doing works greater than those Jesus did while on Earth. Are you serious? Jesus performed miracles every day. He changed water into wine (I like that one!), he walked on water, he healed the sick, raised the dead, cured lepers, and the list goes on to the very end of His earthly life, when He Himself was raised from the dead.

So, another tall order. And this one sounds impossible.

Many years ago I heard Tony Campolo speak on this very subject, and I love what he had to say about it. Can we mere mortals perform the same miracles as Jesus? Probably not, although miracles do happen every day. You might call them coincidences, kismet, karma. I choose to see them as events in which God participates but chooses to remain anonymous.

But what can WE do that might even come close? Tony tells the story of traveling to Southeast Asia. As he walked through the airport he was approached by several young girls offering him their “services”. Here’s what he did: he gathered up several of them, took them to his hotel….and ordered pizza and rented some Disney movies. For one night, those girls got to be children again. For one night, it was slumber party time. They laughed, ate pizza and popcorn, watched movies, and got to know each other as human beings instead of sex slaves. It was one night, just one night. But, for that one night, they experienced a miracle.

His story didn’t end there, but this is enough for me to make a point.

I wonder if any of those girls knew anything about 1st Corinthians 13. If they had ever heard the “Love Chapter”. My guess is that, even if they had, the experiences of their daily lives didn’t come anywhere close to that definition.

What a world we live in.

And so, what’s the point?

Maybe the point is this: if we take the definition of love and start applying it to our relationships, miracles might start happening. Broken people healed. Broken marriages restored. Broken families reunited.

And aren’t they miracles?

Finally, let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

Do not fear.

Sometimes bad things happen. Sometimes Humpty is so broken that there’s nothing to do except to sweep up the pieces and move on, and that can be scary.

Do not fear.

Sometimes the universe throws us a curveball.

Do not fear.

Sometimes we are asked to step way outside our comfort zone. Sometimes we’re pushed.

Do not fear.

Practice Love.

Receive Peace.

things I’ve learned from the lepers

(All indented quotes are from the writings of Mother Teresa.)

I try to give to the poor people for love what the rich could get for money. No, I wouldn’t touch a leper for a thousand pounds; yet I willingly cure him for the love of God.

See that beautiful woman up there? Her name is Mimi, and she has leprosy. I’m the one in the purple t-shirt, and I’ve suffered from my own form of leprosy as well. I’ll explain in a minute.

Leprosy: as defined by the National Institutes of Health, also known as Hansen’s Disease.

Even those who never read the Bible know that it’s full of people with leprosy. The unclean, the untouchable, society’s outcasts, forgotten, ignored, or viciously and deliberately scorned, the “least of these.” There are all sorts of theories about what the word “leprosy” really means, as used in the Bible. Everything from mentally insane, emotionally disturbed, or merely unpopular to people forced to sit at the roadside and scream “Unclean!” to passers-by, people who were considered to be highly contagious, even before we as humankind knew what “contagious” really meant, or how pathogens and bacteria are transported from person to person. People described as being “covered in sores”.

For anyone who isn’t aware of it, leprosy still exists today. Statistics abound as to the number of new cases diagnosed every year. Look them up if you’re interested. Off the top of my head, I know that the number of diagnosed cases is rising in India every year. Ninety-five percent of the world’s population is immune; of the remaining population, those who contract the disease can be treated with antibiotics and are considered to be non-contagious after as little as two weeks of treatment.

Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a pill that will cure the perception that people with leprosy are “unclean”, and the practice of confining people with leprosy to controlled facilities to “protect the surrounding populations and communities from contagion” still occurs.

I have been blessed to have been allowed to visit a leprosorium on numerous occasions since my first visit to the Dominican Republic in 2000.

Yep, you read that right. BLESSED. Here are a few things I’ve learned from the residents of the Sisters of Mercy (Mother Teresa’s organization) leprosorium:

You’re never too old for a teddy bear. (Notice the beautiful hands holding the teddy bear.) Same is true about candy; go have that Snickers bar, or a Jolly Rancher.

Blindness doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t see, nor does deafness prohibit you from hearing.

If you can’t sing well, you can still sing loud.

If you can’t dance, it doesn’t matter. Dance anyway.

When someone loves you enough to throw a party in your honor, make every effort to attend. But if you can’t make it, and they really love you, they will bring the party to you.

Never, ever, underestimate the value of a simple touch.

Language barriers don’t always prohibit honest communication. Sometimes those barriers enhance honest communication.

There are people who still keep their word, no matter what. A Wake Forest student visited the leprosorium during spring break a few years back, and she made friends with one of the gentlemen residents. Although he was blind, he insisted on having a polaroid picture taken of himself, with his new friend. The picture was taken and placed in his hands. He then asked the student to place his fingers over her face, so he would know exactly where her face was in the picture, and he told her, “I will pray for you.” The following spring the student returned, and when he heard her voice he called out to her, saying “I prayed for you!” and showed her the picture. Her face was no longer visible, having been worn away by his touch as he held the photo as he prayed.

The beauty of a home is as much or more about the people who live there as it is about the materials by which it was constructed, or by the luxury of the furnishings within. Stuff is…..just stuff.

This is the doctor who takes care of the patients at the leprosorium. He’s worked there for 35 years, give or take. He knows a great deal about the symptoms, treatment, and care of patients with Hansen’s disease.  The thing about leprosy is that it damages peripheral nerves, effectively removing the patient’s ability to feel pain. A person with leprosy can get a speck of dust in his eye, and because he feels no pain, he does nothing to remove the irritation, thus damaging the cornea and potentially causing blindness. A person with leprosy can get a burn or a scrape on a hand or foot, and because she feels no pain, the smallest of injuries can become so infected and inflamed that permanent damage occurs. Sometimes the patient loses fingers or toes, or hands or feet…all because there is no pain to warn him of a problem. In other words, pain can be a blessing, an indication of something that needs attention, NOW!

Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work. 

The doctor also knows about that ‘other’ form of leprosy. He calls it ‘leprosy of the heart’. When we lose our ability to feel empathy for others, to be willing to walk in their shoes, to seek first to understand rather than to be understood, we become hardened; we don’t see the needs of those who surround us every day. I confess to struggling with this form of the disease.

The first time I visited the leprosorium, one of the first residents I met was Enrique. He LOVES Senor Jack, the American director of Mission Emanuel. He always had a smile for everyone he met. His ‘uniform’ always included a hat, most recently a Panama hat, and sunglasses.

Enrique died this week. I will miss him terribly.

But, borrowing from that other great bastion of wisdom, the script of “Men in Black”…he isn’t dead, he just went home.

We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do. -Mother Teresa

five things that should be logical, but aren’t

1. My little girl was home from school sick last Friday. There’s a nasty cold virus running around these parts and, of course, it jumped on her. She’s coughed until she can’t talk, blows her nose constantly. “Mom, where does all this stuff COME from??” So, last Friday evening we get the obligatory automated phone call from school informing us that our daughter was absent from 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th periods. REALLY??????

It annoys me to no end that I get phone calls from school because of the parents whose kids are enrolled in school, don’t show up, and the parents don’t really care where their kids are. It’s called annoying the innocent for the misdeeds of the guilty.

2. As part of the treatment for her cold and our ongoinging allergies, we must purchase sudafed on a fairly regular basis, and we require a higher dosage that is no longer available on the shelf. Therefore, I have to stand in line at the pharmacy counter, prove my identity to the Walmart cashier, sign a state government form indicating that I am NOT a methamphetamine user or dealer in order to purchase a maximum of two packages of sudafed for a total cost of four bucks. See 1. above re: annoying the innocent, or punishing the many because of the crimes of the few.

But I don’t have to prove my identity to vote. Someone else could show up, say she’s me, have her name marked on the roll as having voted and vote. Then when I show up to vote, the roll would indicate that I’ve already voted. Why is that? And why, if I think that showing an ID for proof of identity for voting registration purposes would help eliminate voter fraud, am I labeled a racist of all things??

3. As I mentioned, also 1. above, little girl is still coughing her head off. This morning I asked her if she could take some cough drops to school. Then I thought, I’ll bet she can’t take cough drops to school because they are considered “drugs” due to the zero-tolerance drug policy. Sure enough, she can’t take cough drops to school. Actually, she could, IF she gives them to the school nurse and then goes to the nurse’s office each time she needs a cough drop. Convenient. Zero-tolerance = “you mean I have to think about the situation and decide if it’s breaking policy or not? forget it. policy is applied the same to everyone. no thought required. YEAH!”

These are the same state educators who think it is proper to dispense birth-control pills to little girl, without my knowledge, or give her information on abortion, again without my knowledge.

I guess it makes sense. If I’m so stupid that I can’t dispense cough drops to her, or teach her how to recognize when she might benefit from the use of a cough drop, I supposed there’s no way on God’s green Earth I have the wits about me to teach her about sex in its appropriate context. Even more so in light of our family’s stance on the sanctity of ALL life.

4. I love watching football on weekends, but I’ve learned to turn the volume down. In five minutes Saturday afternoon a commentator used phrases, “football field”, “football game”, “football player”. DUH!!! Was the field going to immediately morph into, what, a baseball field, soccer field, polo field, corn field perhaps??? Was a flue player going to leap onto the field at some point, discounting the band at half-time? Do they even still have bands at half-time, or have we gone completely into gyrating “performers” who have wardrobe malfunctions and are paid millions of dollars to sing badly, make incoherent political statements and teach our children to use profanity in multiple languages and vernaculars?

Relate “football player” back to number 3. and our stance on pro-life vs. pro-choice. The life being terminated is not, nor will it ever be, a puppy or a hydra, no more than the football player will ever morph midway through the game into a shuffleboard player.

A nearby county, urban, has one of the highest infant mortality rates in our state. Our children were born in the large medical center there, the only one in the county with a birth center. The infant mortality rate there has always been higher than the state average and the state officials haven’t been able to determine why. Last week the paper published an article on the changes in the infant mortality rate over the years. The last sentence of the article said: “When parents lose a child to infant mortality, we all lose.”

A few days later a response appeared on the opinion page. The writer wondered why the same isn’t true of each child lost to abortion.

I wonder that too.

5. When I was in college I was really surprised to learn how much I hadn’t learned in high school. More specifically, with respect to the Russian revolution and the rewriting of Russian history after the revolution. Not only did I not realize that the Soviet government had rewritten parts of the Russian past in order to cast a more sinister light on the Czarist rule, I also could not understand how the people of Russia, the people who had lived through the revolution, could let such a thing happen. They knew the truth. The knew the truth was being distorted, and then obliterated. How could they let it happen? How could they just “forget”?

Then I hear the president of Iran say that the Holocaust never happened.

I see what’s happening to our country, and I hear folks from all wavelengths of the political spectrum fret about how things could have gotten this bad when they, the very ones speaking, had their slimy fingers in the middle of the making of the mess.

And it starts to make sense.

on Christianity and intelligence

What’s the saying about the two topics you should never bring up in conversation being politics and religion?

1. We were watching ‘Blue Planet’ this weekend. Awesome photography. They were observing the behavior of large schools of small fish as predator fish attacked. The small fish schooled together in a tighter and tighter unit, making it easier for the predator fish to have a nice meal. The narration went something like this: “Scientists are unsure as to the reasons behind the evolution of this schooling behavior. It almost seems like the nervous system of the fish goes haywire, much like the crash of a computer.” Huh? How about this: The small fish school together so that the larger fish can eat and survive AND the small fish will also survive. Looks like a system design to me, and it’s a much simpler, more elegant solution. And what about Occam’s Razor? All things being equal, the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. Just a thought.

2. Sarah Palin is the Republican nominee for Vice President. Many pundits have asked the question “Will Hillary supporters go for Palin?” Here’s an answer I heard: “Well, Rufus, as you know, Ms. Palin does have an appeal with the evangelical crowd, but Hillary’s supporters, being by and large a more educated group of women, will be looking at the issues.” Excuse me?

Throughout history, many important discoveries in science and geography, many beautiful works of art and music, many great books……were created by people of faith, and were created, not in spite of their faith, but BECAUSE of their faith. We all know this. So, here’s the question to ask yourself: when and why did being a person of faith, more specifically, being a Christian, become synonomous with being less than intelligent?

This just scratches the surface of what’s going on in my head and heart these days.

Via Dolorosa

Lent: from darkness, through death and into resurrected life.

It’s a common theme that takes many forms, a metaphor for the Christian life as well as a metaphor for many of us who’ve lived through brokenness and now walk the path of healing.

Via Dolorosa, the way of suffering. Literally, the path that Jesus walked through Jerusalem from his condemnation to the place of his execution. We all walk the path of suffering during seasons of life. They are difficult steps to take. We’ve all worn these shoes at one time or another. And sometimes we tend to think that our own brand of suffering is worse than everyone elses. But it’s not.

 I have fibromyalgia, which means I have pain, almost daily. Research suggests that people with fibro experience pain differently, such that what feels like intense pain to me would more than likely go unnoticed to you. If I could magically hand my pain over to someone else for a moment, that person would probably want to know what all the fuss is about because, for him, there would be no pain. For this reason, many people, many medical professionals, deny the reality of fibromyalgia. I’ve dealt with doctors in the past who denied my pain, who told me that I didn’t hurt, as I sat there looking at them in tears from the pain of physical examination. I don’t care if you don’t understand my pain, or don’t believe I have pain. But please don’t tell me that I’m not feeling what I feel, because you, whoever you are, have no idea how I feel. You are not me.

Fibromyalgia has a red-headed stepchild called depression. Think about it. If you hurt all the time, you might possibly become depressed. It’s also possible that a person can be susceptible to depression and, as a result of the effects of depression, have pain. You want to know something? It doesn’t really matter which one came first, the depression or the chronic pain, when you’re living with both. However, it does matter which comes first if you are trying to prove disability to a judge. Depression is considered to be more disabilitating than chronic pain.

This is fascinating to me for the simple reason that our society tends to take a dim view of mental illness. Look at medical insurance coverage for mental illness compared to physical illness and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Try telling someone that you have a mental illness, like depression, and watch the reaction. There’s a stigma around mental illness that is unmistakable. It’s OK to take medication for pain if you need it, but anti-depressants? Aren’t they “mood enhancing” or “mood altering” drugs?? Sounds like LSD, doesn’t it?

Why am I ranting about this? Because it’s Lent. It’s time to take some of the stones off my back and lay them by the side of the road, build an Ebeneezer from them and make room to pick up some pebbles that are easier to carry.

I’m playing the piano again Sunday, a piece entitled, you guessed it, Via Dolorosa. My daddy loved this particular piece and I don’t believe he ever heard me play it before, but there’s a first time for everything and I know he’ll be listening.

And I’ll still be walking my path.

Definitions

I am not defined by what I am not.

I read those words late one night last fall. They screamed at me from the page of the book, Velvet Elvis, by Rob Bell.

Rob Bell is the founder of Mars Hill Church in somewhere-or-other Michigan, I think. He has a series of short videos called Nooma, and he’s written some books. Evidently he’s somewhat controversial in the Christian community because of some of his post-modern church rhetoric. If I knew the definition of “post-modern church rhetoric” I’d explain it to you, but I don’t. Here’s what I do know: this book spoke to me, like it knew my name, the specific circumstances occurring in my life at the time I started reading it, put it down, and then picked it back up months later. It wasn’t like the generic way a daily horoscope talks to a person either. I started reading this book last summer and then put it down. For weeks. Then during one of my all-night pain benders the thought came to me, “Go finish reading Velvet Elvis.” I picked the book up and read:

Without pain, we don’t change, do we?

Get it? Pain caused me to go back to the book at the point I’d left it weeks earlier, when I really wasn’t doing the fibromyalgia flare….sounds like a dance, don’t it? I think I like that, in a warped sort of way. Living with fibro is like dancing with the devil. It waltzes into your life one day, grabs you by the arms and spins you like a top, relentlessly. The dance goes for hours, days, weeks and then….disappears, if you’re lucky. And when you’re not looking it crashes into your world again to take you for another spin. At some point you start getting a little bit jumpy (Starman movie quote there) wondering when it’s leaving, if it’s leaving, or when or from what direction it will return.

So anyway, I’m reading along and Elvis hits me between the eyes again.

I am not defined by what I am not.

It’s a new year and time for new definitions. I look at my life, at the people in my life, and wonder about some of them. Specifically I wonder about the ones who like to define me by what I am not, as in “I am not a vocal soloist” or “I am not a housekeeper, good, bad or otherwise.” And I wonder about the ones who will preface their definition of who I am with “Do you want the truth?” when I wander into a conversation and innocently ask a question or make a comment about something that might not even be directly associated with me. I’ve learned to duck when I hear the words “Do you want the truth?” because I know that, no matter what my answer is, I’m going to get it and it’s going to hurt.

I know this sounds confusing. Try living it.

Jesus met the woman at the well in the heat of the day. She was there, alone, because she was a shunned woman, a Samaritan with loose morals. It would have been within his rights as a man in Jewish society to define her by what she was not, acceptable company for himself or any other upstanding Jewish man. He didn’t do that. Somehow he made her see truth without beating her over the head with it. So much so that she was excited to tell her friends to “come and meet a man who told me everything I ever did.”

I’ve done some stuff. We’ve all done stuff. There are only 2 people who know everything I ever did, and I’m one of them. He’s the other one. It sounds totally different when I hear Him say, quietly, “Do you want the truth?” when I’m so used to hearing it so loudly and with such searing accusation, occasionally from someone else, but more often than not from inside my own head.

I am not defined by what I am not.

The truth hurts.

Without pain, we don’t change, do we?

Come and meet a man who told me everything I ever did.

Not everything I ever did wrong, or everything I never did, or everything I could have done better, should have done differently, better not do again.

I look at my life, the good and the bad, the stuff that hurts or is embarrassing to admit, the mountains and the valleys. It’s all true.

And, good or bad, it’s all good.

Thanksgiving, again

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, again.

We used to go to the beach for Thanksgiving, husband, kids, mom and dad. We’d rent a house and either cook a meal or order one from Food Lion. The last time we went to the beach for Thanksgiving was in 2003, and we took the flu with us. We all had it at one point or another during the week, except for Daddy. He was healthy the whole week, while the rest of us took turns with the fever, chills, headaches, etc. Daddy was looking at real estate magazines, and I think he and Mama might have actually considered selling out and moving to the beach. Since we were all sick, we went out for Thanksgiving dinner, to the buffet at the Lucky Fisherman. We all left the beach a day early because we were sick.

That happened once before, on a trip to the beach for Thanksgiving. We had rented a different house. Mama and Daddy left for the beach before we did, because hubby and I both had to work. When we got to there on Tuesday, Daddy wasn’t feeling very well and he got worse as the week progressed. We cooked Thanksgiving dinner. On Friday morning, I got up to find Mama and Daddy packed and leaving, heading straight for home and the hospital. We thought then that we’d had our last Thanksgiving together. I remember Mama asking me to take a lot of pictures that year, just in case. After they left for the hospital, I felt so lost and confused. We went to a local gift shop and I bought a Christmas present for Daddy, a tide clock for the Cape Fear River inlet, so he’d always know when the tides were at the beach, even when he was home. I think I was gambling that as long as he had the tide clock he wouldn’t leave, and I guess it worked for a couple of years at least.

Daddy died 3 weeks before Thanksgiving in 2004. On the Friday before Thanksgiving my baby boy came home from school and said that someone had found a suicide note in his 4th period desk and he had been questioned about it, but that he hadn’t written it. The following Monday he admitted that he had written it, and my emotions kicked into overdrive. I called my next-door neighbor to ask her about finding a counselor for him and in the process I became completely unglued. My last 2 grandparents had died, both of my in-laws had died, my father had died, and my son had written a suicide note.

And I broke.

My neighbor asked me to let her take me to the emergency room. Husband was two hours away, at a job site. Mom was two hours away, at her home. I didn’t know what to do, and I couldn’t stop crying. So we went to the hospital. I walked in the emergency room door and the first person I saw, the volunteer working the sign-in desk, was a man from our church. A man who has, and continues to remind me of Daddy. I knew I was in the right place. I spent the afternoon in the ER. Bill, the man from church, came and checked on me several times. My friend Lori, the Parish Nurse from our church, came. (Yes, I belong to a Baptist church w/ a Parish Nurse on staff. Interesting, huh?) My neighbor brought me a teddy bear that travels with me whenever I go on trips now. My husband met the kids at home and took care of them, and we all decided that I should probably stay in the psych hospital.

Only there were no beds available.

So my neighbor had to take me to another hospital in a larger city. I was checked in about midnight, went through a modified strip search, had all of my belongings searched for anything I could use to hurt myself, like the string from my sweatpants. I was allowed to keep the teddy bear, some paper and a pen. I spent the next 3 days at that hospital, and was released on Thanksgiving Day. My mom had taken the kids to her house, so husband and I spent the day doing nothing, just trying to understand what had happened and maybe what was going to happen next.

Now it’s 3 years later, and we’re still trying to understand what’s going to happen next. I don’t work any more, and know that I will never be able to work at the technical level I did before all of this happened. There was long term disability income, but only for 24 months so it’s gone now. We’re trying to stay afloat while a lawyer and the Social Security Administration try to decide what to do with me. There are things that have happened during these past 3 years that I have been able to experience only because of being broken. Good things. Other peoples’ lives that have been changed, for the better, because I was broken. Things can never be the way they were, and I wouldn’t want them to be.

Last night we watched the movie “Evan Almighty”. I remember when “Bruce Almighty” came out, and I saw the trailer for it and thought it would be blasphemous and swore I’d never see it. Then husband and son saw it at the $2.00 theater, and husband told me about it. Yes, it’s childish and silly and vulgar at times, but I like it. “Evan” was milder than “Bruce” and I like it better. The scene where God talks to Evan’s wife in the restaurant resonated with me. If you pray for patience, does God give you patience, or the opportunity to practice patience? If you pray for courage, does God give you courage, or the opportunity to be courageous? If you pray for a closer family….well, you get the idea.

So, what opportunities have made themselves known during these past 5 years? Patience? Yes. Courage? Yes. Togetherness? Yes. Trust? Most definitely, yes.

But I think the biggest opportunity has been…to be thankful for what we have and who we have in our lives.

Because tomorrow something or someone I thought I had might not be here.

It’s the opportunity to be thankful for……today.

Yep, it’s Thanksgiving again. And to those who are part of this life I have, I say “Thanks.”

Blessed BE.

C.