Poor Mask!

19 Sep

There it was. Smashed flat in the parking lot.
I can just see someone running in mad circles,
hands above his head, and shouting “I can’t take it anymore!”
The poor guy had been on the edge all day. Too much
news, 105 degree heat again, the store was out of his
favorite yogurt, the sit-in-your-car line at the coffee
place was about 15. He was looking for any reason
to rip off his mask and yell: “I’ve had enough!”

And he did. There it was on the yellow line, an admission
that even the best plans can jump the rails. “Be Kind”.
Sounds easy. Not always. Life can deal some powerful
low blows, and when they come one after another
there is the temptation to stomp on your “Be Kind” mask
and scream at the person parked next to you.

But don’t.
You won’t feel any better.
All the thorns that caused the
temper tantrum will still be there when
you sit exhausted on the curb.
Before you let out the first bellow,
talk to yourself. Are other people having
the same experiences? Yes. Do you want your
neighbor to see you jumping up and down on a
helpless little mask? No. Would it be better to take
ten deep breaths and calm yourself? Probably.
Do you want to explain all this, in public, to the
law enforcement officer? Definitely not.

Sing a song. Hum a tune. Whistle. Pray.
Turn cartwheels. Whatever it takes.
It wasn’t your “Be Kind!” mask’s fault,
anyway. We’re all in the same lousy boat,
but we’ll find solid ground again.
In the meantime, be kind to your
“Be Kind!” mask. And to your neighbor.
And to yourself.

An Invitation

17 Sep

They say going to the center reveals much.
That’s where the goblins live,
and the dark memories,
and the buried bones.
But the center is also where hope resides,
that’s where freedom waits for a
courageous hand and
a brave heart.
The wonder of following The Way
and walking with the One who set The Way,
is that I don’t have to fathom the center
journey all by myself. I am accompanied
as I confront, console, and comfort
all I encounter.
It’s the same for you, too.
The journey to freedom.

Pathway To Light

10 Sep

If you want to climb a mountain, you always start at the bottom. And, sometimes, if you want to stand in The Light, you have to walk through the wilderness. The embers of yesterday are often painful, the scenery unpleasant. No one would choose to be there, except that’s where the pathway leads.

Do you think that standing on the summit is more awesome because the pathway runs through remnants and remembering? The pathway is not punishment, it is potential, it is possibility.

See all the footprints? Lots of people have traveled here before you. Don’t be afraid to make your own mark, to leave your footprints along the pilgrim passageway.

Look up. Press on. Focus on The Light.

Chipped Wing

8 Sep

My guess is that if you have a chip in your wing, it’s tricky to fly straight. Wind currents must feel different,

the wing-flap ratio would be altered, thrust potential would be reduced and there might be a tendancy

to always be, as in this guy’s case, in a constant left turn. A lot of us feel like we’re flying in circles.

If you have a rock in your shoe, you can take it out and walk on with a smile. But if you’re missing part

of your wing, you have to learn to live in ways that often challenge creativity, stamina, and courage.

Life isn’t easy.

But what are the options? Never fly again? Never try? Bees are meant to buzz around from one

sweet flower to the next, and human beings are meant to affirm their humanity,

even if… Even if…

Let nothing hold you back. Chip or no chip, you were designed to be you.

And you are at the top of the OK list.

Climb

4 Sep

It’s so much easier to go downhill. Little effort. Coast along. But for the joy of the descent, there

is no benefit. But, the uphill. Now there is where the blessing resides.

It is strenuous and literally breath-taking. Ah, but the view is spectacular.

Today, tackle the hard thing you’ve been avoiding.

Overcome. Don’t give in to it. If you put it off, it will be there tomorrow.

Maybe halfway up you will wonder if you can make it…but you

will. You are not alone. You are never alone.

Climb. Hum a tune as you go.

Moving

30 Aug

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve moved in my lifetime.
And here we go again. 
For twenty years the U.S. Navy helped me increase my
record, but I can’t blame the Navy for all of them.  
You’ve heard of “down-sizing”?  See what my closet looks like now?
Well, that’s not exactly true.  The rest of my wardrobe is in a 
blue plastic tub somewhere between here and there.

I probably sound like I’m complaining and grumping
about this move.  I am, but I do remember one basic tenet
of the Christian faith:  Christians have always been people 
on the move…trusting The Leading, following The Light,
not held down by anchors but liberated to be alive in
Christ.  The Way is the way.  

So, when the dust settles (literally and figuratively)
and I find my other pair of pants, I’ll let you know.
Press on!

 

Artwork of the Week

29 Aug

I’ve heard of wearing your heart on your sleeve, but never on your back. What an amazing piece of artwork!

This little creature is, indeed, little. No bigger than a fingernail but so amazingly beautiful. A dusty orange-red; hints of green in the distinctive patterns, and rich black to set it all off.

Sometimes the little things, almost invisible to the fast moving eye, are stunning in shape and color. Creation blesses all who take the time to look and see. I wonder how much passes us by because we are too preoccupied with schedules and responsibilities?

My encouragement to you is to be very intentional when you are walking your path each day. Nothing is common. Everything contributes to life’s wonder. Everything merits a word of grtatitude.

Traveling

29 Aug

O, those wonderful interstate highways!
So smooth. No sharp-edged potholes, signs
everywhere, white lines mark the boundaries,
blue signs for this and brown signs for that and
green signs to tell you how far to Hoboken.
Clearly defined lanes, stay between the lines.
Cruise control.

But some foolish people I know believe that
life begins when the paved road ends and you
suddenly find yourself maneuvering a gravel
road, or a rutted washboard dusty road. My
friend told me: “I like back roads and seldom
used roads.” “Why,” I asked. “Because they’re
fun, full of surprises, unexpected treasures.”

Her reply took me to an invitation Jesus made
long ago. “Come, follow The Way.” But he never
said The Way is a super highway, an eight-lane
Interstate Highway experience. Life really begins
when one leaves the smooth highway and discovers
the excitement and the challenge of traveling
The Way. It’s a bit like off-roading.
Fasten your seatbelt. It’s not always a smooth ride.

How Beautiful You Are

26 Aug

Be beautiful today!
You are. Don’t deny it.
Inside and out, you are a beautiful person.
So, today leave a trail of beauty everywhere you go.
Sing a song, write a poem, tell a joke, smile, help a neighbor,
be a presence.

Leave your mark on the world this good day.
You are a beautiful person.
Share it.

The Choice

24 Aug

At three o’clock on an Arizona August afternoon, this is what I think about. It works. I hear the surf rolling in, sound upon sound, repeating its invitation: don’t stop at ankle depth. Dive in. Refreshment is the reward for taking the plunge.

A sea bird flies very low over the water, looks directly at me, winks and calls out: Fly. Don’t just stand there. Renewal is the reward for attempting.

A friendly wind whispers in my ear…what are you wating for? Let me give you a little push. Relax. Risk it.

And then, in my mind picture, an old friend stands beside me. “Come on…I’ll go with you…follow me.” He takes several steps into the surf, looks back, extends his hand, smiles, and I know. I recognize my reluctance, the hesitancy that holds me back. It’s the choice.

Here or there. Dry or dripping wet. Safe, secure…ankle depth or all of me?

It’s the choice, isn’t it.

Always the choice.