bouyed by His whisper

Pain is the great teacher. I woke before dawn with this thought.
Joy, happiness, are what we take and do not question. They are beyond question, maybe.
A matter of being. But pain forces us to think, and to make connections, to sort out what is what, to discover what has been happening to cause it. And, curiously enough, pain draws us to other human beings in a significant way, whereas joy or happiness to some extent, isolates.
May Sarton

As physical beings we do not like pain. Nor do we like to be sad or angry or frustrated. But perhaps if we were to take a different look at pain or other negative feelings, we might be able to grow from it.

Pain is a part of being human; no one goes through life without experiencing pain – whether physical, emotional or psychological. No one escapes the villain Pain. If someone says they have never been hurt or in pain or disappointed or lost, they are either lying or, more likely, in denial. Or maybe they chose to forget. Whatever – it doesn’t matter what type of pain you’ve felt – it’s what you do with it that makes the difference.

What to do with pain? Physical has the potential to be the easiest – if there is medication for it; if not, that is a whole other issue. Emotional and psychological pain,  there are also man-made solutions for those. From experience I think the best course of action is a combination of God and man when it comes to pain.

I have learned that sometimes I have to sit with pain, allow it flow over me, to wash through me, to rise up and threaten to drown me; I have felt it lapping at my waist then chest trying to pull me under; I have felt it snapping at my heels as I have walked long this path I trod. And when it seems the darkest, when it seems I can’t take any more pain, I remember the Light of Love and pray as best I can for relief. Sometimes it comes; sometimes it doesn’t. But I am buoyed by the whisper of God in my head and heart. And sometimes, that is all I need.

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you are never so far gone

You’re never too broken that you can’t be fixed,
but you can’t be fixed unless you’re ready to be repaired.
– Abhishek Tiwari

God can accomplish miracles – yes, even this age of scientific and widespread skepticism – God can and does work miracles. Perhaps we don’t see them because we don’t want to see them. Or perhaps we don’t see them because we don’t need to be shown outright because our brains, having been so evolved, wouldn’t believe it anyway and we would come up with a scientific and reasonable explanation. In times past perhaps the human brain wasn’t as advanced as ours is today and those folks needed to see before they would believe.

Now, in this day and age, we have thousands of years of history to prove God’s Existence through miracles – if we would only have faith. When skeptics say ‘prove it’, I say I can’t. It is a matter of faith. And if you have no faith then pray for faith. A bit of a conundrum.

Anyway, for those who believe in a Higher Being (and even those who don’t), you are never so far gone, so deep in the gutter, so lost in the woods that you are lost forever. If you want to be found, you will be. If you want to have a miracle of God in your life then you will have one. You must be willing to receive, you must want to receive and you must believe you will receive. And the biggest caveat of all, you must be willing to accept the form in which God chooses to work that miracle for you.

If, in your heart of hearts, you hate someone of another color, then God may use a person of that color to reach out to you. If, in your heart of hearts you hate a person of a different sexuality, creed, religion, or whatever, then God may use what you hate to reach out to you with Love. And, if in your hate you refuse to see God in that person, you will miss your miracle.

If you want to be healed, you will be – maybe just not in the way you want or by the method you choose. Are you willing to accept that possibility?

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forgiveness is a continual work

(on going to a convalescent home) I have been going there for four years now. I don’t even really look forward to it, but I keep going back for reasons I do not quite understand. Perhaps I am subconsciously hoping it will help me get into the Junior League someday. Still, the moment I walk in and smell those old people again, and find them parked in the hallways like so many cars abandoned by the side of the road, I start begging God not to let me end up like this. But God is not a short order cook, and these people were once my age. I bet they used to beg God not to let them end up as they have….and I struggled to find meaning in their bleak existence. What finally helped was an image from a medieval monk, Brother Lawrence, who saw all of us as trees in winter, with little to give, stripped of leaves and color and growth, whom God loves unconditionally anyway. My priest friend Margaret, who works with the aged and who shared this image with me, wanted me to see that even though these old people are no longer useful in any traditional meaning of the word, they are to be loved unconditionally, like trees in the winter. – Anne Lamott, Bird By Bird, Some Instructions on Writing and Life

When it is time for the winter of my life, I hope to move through it without any regrets, grudges and old angers. I hope to not be bitter when I am parked in the nursing home hallway like a car on the side of the road. I hope to be joyous even if I am an invalid and have to have someone else take care of my personal needs. I hope to be spending my last days anticipating my Home-going and looking forward to see my Heavenly Parent.

The only way to have those things come to pass is for me to forgive. And let go. And remind myself that I have forgiven and let go each time the old pain surfaces, until, finally, there is no more pain to surface. I am beginning to believe that forgiveness is not a onetime deal, even for the same incident. If the pain goes deep – really deep – we’re talking inner self deep – then forgiveness is a continual work. Like the proverbial onion, there are many layers to hurt and pain and with each one peeled off and cast aside, there is always a new one underneath until we eventually reach the core.

With that in mind, I understand that it is okay to forgive someone for hurting me and when something else surfaces that is a painful reminder of the original hurt, I tell myself “I have forgiven that person and I choose to do so again.”
All pain and hurt is relative to the person experiencing it. In other words, what is painful to me is not necessarily painful to another. The deepest pain is the hardest to heal and forgive. Someone else might see my struggle as futile and repetitious just as I might see their struggle and wonder why it is taking them so long to forgive. We all need to be mindful of how we approach another person’s healing process. God is ever patient; so must we be with ourselves and others.

Help me, O Lord, as I pull back another layer of pain in order to forgive.

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