In Which I Look to the Future…too much

I’m back at work after having a week (that’s 11 days including weekends and Thanksgiving!) free of the madness. No travel, just lots of rest, chilling out, regrouping and snuggling with the furbabies. A week free of stress helps me to love them again and not resent the daily round of feeding and scooping. But now that I’m back, it didn’t take long for me to succumb to the stress and anxiety. Vacation? What vacation? It’s all just a distant memory now and another one in the future to look forward to. And that really bugs me.

Loverboy (early 80’s rock band) sang the song “Working for the Weekend” about looking forward to the weekend romance that might occur.

One of my favorite shows was on the tube last week – Hoarding: Buried Alive – and it was focused on an older woman whose hoard was the usual ceiling-high mix of old food, clothes, trash, etc. She kept looking off wistfully in the distance, talking about the future and the happy times she would have with all her ‘treasures’.

My beloved grandmother used to say, “I can’t enjoy Sunday for thinking about Monday.”

What bugs me is that I tend to look to the future for the time when I am free of the shackles of today’s troubles. That could be considered hope and without hope the world would come crashing down.

But, perhaps I need to look a little closer to my now to be truly at peace. Peace and happiness and joy aren’t necessarily in the future. The future could be far worse than my present and where would that get me? Depressed and probably suicidal because I didn’t enjoy the time when I ‘had it so good’.

Why can’t I find joy and happiness and peace of mind Monday through Friday?
Why can’t I enjoy the things I have today, right now?
Why can’t I relish Sunday without even giving Monday a thought?

Maybe because I keep looking at my image in the mirror which magnifies the messiness of my life and all its woes. The thing about that mirror is if I move aside just a bit I also have a view of what was left behind and upon turning around, the mirror reflects what might be to come. Maybe I should just put the mirror down.

Jesus tells his disciples to think about the lilies growing around them. All they have to do is to grow and be beautiful, which is their nature. Those lilies are more glorious than the most important or famous or glamourous or beautiful person you can think of. They don’t work for beauty; they just are. He goes on to tell them that if God makes small, seemingly insignificant, flowers so beautiful today and faded tomorrow, how much more will He care for His children who have so little faith in Him? (Luke 12:27-28)

Why can’t I just be the beautiful child God made me? Oh, I can think of a million plus one reasons why not. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try.

Try to live in the now,
in this present moment,
in this present job,
in this present relationship,
in this now.

And, perhaps, this is where God’s Grace comes into play. The moments between the madness where I can take a breath and savor a cup of sweet Grace before plunging back in.

And when I’m ready to breath again, God will be there, waiting with His Grace, fresh and sweet, to strengthen my resolve to live and enjoy the now.

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In which I struggle with …

I started this blog entry weeks ago but had to set it aside. It contains an ugly truth about me – one that I haven’t wanted to ponder. But in an ongoing effort to clean the crap out of my heart, I’ve decided to finish the post – even though the work isn’t finished in me. But as in all addictions and obsessions, admitting the problem is always the first step.

The entry as I started it –

After a phone call I took today, I confirmed something I’ve suspected for a long time. I can be racist. Terrible, but true. Makes sense, really, when my Southern upbringing is concerning. But before anyone jumps to any conclusions, the racism I harbor is not toward African Americans but from other folks from other foreign shores, particularly those with heavy accents that are hard to understand.

And that was as far as I got. I couldn’t face it. I don’t have a racist bone or cell in my body! Or, so I thought.

My father was racist – not the white sheet kind, but the kind that is more pervasive I think, the kind that feels himself superior to anyone not a WASP; the kind that is magnanimous toward other ethnicities to their face but demonizes them behind their back.

The older generation of my extended family were racists. They were all born, reared and lived in the Deep South all their lives so racism was just life. I didn’t notice it when I was younger but as I grew into young adulthood, I grew weary and irritated by the liberal use of the “n-word” and the frequent derogatory comments. But my mother raised me well – I kept silent out of respect for my elders – at least for the most part. When I did voice my discomfort it fell on deaf ears.

So it’s curious to me why I should feel so surprised to find myself – dare I say it? – a racist. There, I’ve said it. Hello, my name is Sabina and I’m a racist.

So, where do I go from here? I struggle with tolerating people in general and now I have to deal with my thoughts and feelings of derision toward their race? I know I can’t ‘fix’ this. The roots of hate are too deep within my heart.

But God reminds me those rotting roots are not too deep for Him to touch and heal.

So for now, I can say I’m a recovering racist. Not wanting to be one, and working my way through the hatred that it might be transformed into love.  When I think those hateful thoughts or experience those superior feelings, I will pray for that person, their race that they might be blessed and know God and I will pray for forgiveness and ask God to heal that rotten root.  Asking God to bless someone I have learned to hate, even when I don’t feel a single ounce of love for them, is a step in the right direction. God can work with willingness. As long as I am willing to change and grow, I will change and grow. And I can thank and praise God for that small miracle.

I which I remember what really matters

I recently picked up a journal I’ve kept sporadically for the last 2 years and from glancing at the entries I find that all I really do is complain. And pray. About my complaints.

If I were God and obligated by Love and a promise  to listen to my complaints each day, I would have hung up the phone a long time ago and blocked the number so I would never have to listen to me moan and groan ever again.

Once again, I see it’s a good thing I’m not God.

When God promised to be always present, always loving, ever listening, never tiring of His children, did He mean children like me?

I try to remember to thank God each day for my blessings – if I can remember what they are. I try to rejoice and praise Him in the midst of everyday chaos – when I think about it. I try to pray every morning – when I’m not complaining about having to look after the animals, going to work and about work.

And God, in His gentle, loving way, reminds me He made me – warts and all. He doesn’t treat me the way I treat myself. To Him, I am His beloved child– beautiful inside and out, through and through; a part of Him and He of me.

He reminds me of His never ending Love – regardless of whether I have time or make time for Him or not. He tells me it makes no difference to Him what I do or do not do, He Loves me. The end. End of argument. He Loves me.

Anything I do to be closer to Him is for my benefit and wellbeing, not His. God is and always will be. My spiritual desire to respond to that Love helps me to love Him. He will Love whether I return that love or not.

Does it sound like I’m trying to convince myself? So what if I am?

Life with God is not easy but it’s a far sight better than the alternative. And being human, I will always need reminding of His Love in spite of myself, up until the moment I step over the threshold into His Glorious Presence.

And that’s okay. Because God doesn’t mind.

And He Loves me.

And that’s all that really matters.