Tag Archives: love

Bumps on the Journey

April 14, 2015

Every road in life, at some unknown juncture, has the potential for bumps. As I sit here literally bumping from pregnancy on the morn of my 33rd week, I can honestly say that life has given me a bunch of blessings and a few more bumps in the last year than I saw coming.

Now, I love cliffhangers, surprise twists and new experiences, so it’s safe to say that God loads me up on such things. I also know that being Scottish, tinged with reddish locks and an eldest makes my approach to life direct, independent and often feisty. Admissions aside, I’m finding that calm, spiritualism, support, understanding and joy are far more of what I seek to cultivate now than anything else.

I look at all the ways I express love to others—cooking, long listening sessions, playful banter, coffee or wine delivery, little notes of encouragement, concierge style question answering at odd hours, funny faces, virtual hugs, supportive advice (when requested), prayers, and trying every day to be a better me who is more Christ like.

This ride is not easy, nor is it filled with ticker tape parades, bouquets of flowers or constant attagirls. It’s rough, messy, painful and often draining . . . but it’s a gift. I need to chant that to myself every night and every morning, through marriage struggles, distance from loved ones and the physical trials of pregnancy.

Humbly, as you face your bumps, remember the following:

  1. What you say, do, show and share sets the tone for what you get back
  2. Starting from a place of love always leads to a better destination
  3. Hurtful words are often a cry for support from others, but don’t accept abuse
  4. You deserve a break, a quiet bath, a coffee escape, a movie or a moment away
  5. Surround yourself with those tuned to God, to love and to hope

I’m bumping with you, friends. For me, finding solid ground is as much about looking up in surrender as planting my feet firmly down.

Burn No More

December 3, 2014

I’m heartbroken over the senseless and unending “news” coverage about Ferguson. Shame on you media mongers for hiding behind free speech with your contempt, malicious ways and ill motives. May God have mercy on you.

I’m heartbroken for the grieving family who tragically lost their son, for the officer and his family, for the townspeople who lost homes and businesses to a wave of fiery rage, for the staggeringly high intraracial violence that occurs every day, and for those who would let perceived injustice fuel the flames of hatred and looting and pain and hurt on others.

1 John 2:9-11 NIV
“Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.”

Burn no more in your souls. Burn no more with words that act like accelerants. Burn no more into the cameras or crowds to cultivate harm. Burn no more for attention’s sake. Burn no more with selfish anger. Burn no more into the hearts of impressionable children. Burn no more to feed the gangs and thieves.

May healing begin. May grace fall on every spirit. May wisdom prevail. May compassion take root. May we all learn how to love again.

John 16:33 NIV
“‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.'”

I pray this, Jesus. Amen.

Reciprocal Compassion

April 3, 2014

I was scrolling my social media feed this morning and saw a post by one of the special needs organizations I follow. Unlike some of the images I have seen from them before, they were poking fun at how individuals outside the autism community ask questions that they feel are ignorant. I had to pause. Three things unsettled me:

  1. This organization’s mission is acceptance, yet the tone of the post was exclusionary.
  2. The page asks the world to be more understanding of disorders, yet they were criticizing someone for asking a question and also implying a level of ignorance in the asker.
  3. The group often celebrates individuality and touts open-mindedness, yet they were so quick to set up an us (we get it) vs. them (they don’t get it) scenario.

My only thought is . . . such a pity. Compassion is meant to be unconditional. That means that despite misunderstanding, difference or even naiveté, we are called to respond with tolerance.

As I have said before, tolerance is not setting yourself up to be a silent punching bag. However, it is definitely not compassionate to respond to people with something akin to, “Duh, I can’t believe you didn’t know that. How stupid are you?”

Instead of assuming, which gets everyone into trouble, try reaching out with love. For instance, here are some questions you can ask when you feel compelled to strike out to justify your position or retaliate with a snarky comment:

  • What was my interpretation of their view? Our reactions (e.g., wow that was silly, I can’t believe they said that, what a mean statement) are based on life-conditioned interpretations and it is important to recognize our own patterns. The trick is then to wipe away your emotional bias and see the statement as if it were on a page.
  • How can I see this person with loving eyes? Even when someone hurts us unknowingly, we tend to strike out to combat the pain. Before you act, think of what you could do to stop that wicked cycle in its tracks. Try looking at this individual as if they were a child and imagining how adorable, precocious, goofy or vulnerable they would be. Our adult selves are not far from those children.
  • What can you do to improve their understanding? Tolerance begins with you. Instead of assuming someone is ignorant or despicable, consider that they simply may not have good information and may be feeling awkward about the topic. Try humbling yourself, validating the individual and offering help, “That is one way to see it. Would you like to know more about what makes my child so amazing?”

Not everyone will be open, comfortable, ready or capable of accepting your compassion. That does not mean you should not offer it. More so, instead of the hurtful cycle of reciprocal criticism, you can shift into sparking cycles of reciprocal compassion. Imagine opening the eyes, minds and hearts of others . . . that’s a hopeful gift you can give the world.

One final thought. If you carry the burden of angry victim, you will be setting up a courtroom of judgment in your mind. In that room, you may play the role of judge (presiding), the prosecutor (accusing), the court reporter (rehashing), the bailiff (barricading) and the jury (dwelling). If you play all or even one, imagine the diverted energy you are investing.

Let go of the need to make the world see it your way or walk in your shoes. Each soul is busy enough just trying to walk in their own. The best you can do is enlighten with respect, respond with gentleness and offer abundant compassion.

10 Posts for 10 Years: #10

January 31, 2014

Today, only a few words are needed. Words like . . .

I miss you. I honor you. I realize you are proud of me. I will see you again. I am so lucky to know you. I respect all you gave. I could not ask for a better father. I love you. I hope to be like you.

IMG_2444

God bless and keep you.

Always your Ace,
Sara

10 Posts for 10 Years: #3

January 24, 2014

Hands clap, they hold, they pull, they reach. My father’s hands were one of his signature traits. I could rely on those hands for mechanical miracles, challenged them to creative building projects and watched them sign one of the most picturesque signatures I have ever seen.

My father’s hands . . . a larger than life, careworn pair. Calluses aplenty dotted his hands, with little grease-marred tendrils flowing from his palms up to his cuticles. Lava soap, Gojo and pumice stones all failed to work complete magical feats, yet small gaps of unreal youth wedged themselves into the mix.

The tops of his hands hand a trace, nearly imperceptible scattering of blond hair and a permanent watch imprint at the intersection of his left wrist. They found a way to peel apples in one continuous swoop—a tradition I now proudly uphold.

They moderated sibling confrontation, wielded a twisted old strip of leather, and ever-so-playfully clicked back and forth on the mouse to play Spider Solitaire. His nails were always cut painstakingly short.

When striking up a conversation or consulting with a client at his desk, he always leaned forward and crossed his arms—looping his hands over each forearm like an ancient guardian.

When sleeping in his chair in front of the TV at night, he would have them resting at first on his chest . . . and then later they would slip to the sides as he snored like a hibernating grizzly through the details of PBS, Discover or History, which I swear he absorbed in his sleep.

I will miss them walking me down the aisle someday. However, I smile at the memory of them playing banjo or cradling a rambunctious harmonica. This is for you, dad: