Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Me Generation

In the past month, I have been fortunate enough to secure suitable part-time employment. The work is enjoyable and the environment is safe, clean, comfortable, and empowering. My fellow workers are especially nice. This new job, my first adventure into retail sales, is proving to be fun and rewarding. It's a pleasure to get up and go to work.
Because of what we sell, nearly all of our clients are senior citizens. One day last week, every one of my customers was well over the age of 90. It appears that when folks become nonagenarians, they WANT to tell you their age.
Many of our elderly clients are accompanied by their adult children, and these care-givers, most of them senior citizens themselves, are amazing. They open doors, adjust walkers, provide stability and gently offer advice to their parents. They are kind and caring. They are beyond generous, often paying for their parents' purchases. I have not heard one harsh or impatient comment from any of them.
Gee whiz. Wasn't our generation supposed to be the most selfish and "me" directed group of folks ever produced? We weren't going to look out for anyone but ourselves. Well, I'm not seeing it.
What I am seeing is heatwarming. I am truly blessed.

Oh Lord, giver of all that is good, thank you for the opportunity to serve. Bless all of those who honor their parents. Continue to guide and direct them.
Life throws us all kinds of challenges, and we know, with certainty, that You are there to help us.
We glorify Your name.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

..after all.

The world appears to reduce in size every day. With our pads, pods, notebooks and other electronic devices we have the ability to connect with our friends and family in an instant. We can tweet, skype and chat with anyone at anytime. We can talk, listen and view the entire planet, with the touch of a finger.
Odd as it may seem, however, the folks at this house still read a daily newspaper. There is just something about holding the printed version of the news and reading it at one's leisure that continues to appeal to us.
Yesterday, we noticed something new about our morning journal. My husband opened up the paper for a quick scan of yesterday's sports scores and it fell out of his hands. Then, I leaned over to grab the local news section from the coffee table and promptly dropped the front page.
The entire newspaper was smaller than usual. Our paper had shrunk! Overnight, the publisher of our local paper reduced the size of the newsprint by about 1.5 inches, on all sides.
Now, before you retort with a disgusted "so what", think about it. Besides causing old folks to bend over, what will this change do to people who use the newspaper to line their bird cages? What about when someone needs an makeshift umbrella, a paper sailboat or a "yankee doodle hat"? What am I going to use to protect the floor, the next time I start a painting project? Size does make a difference.
Walt was right. It really is a small, small world.

Holy Lord: The more the world changes, the more it stays the same. Help us adapt and embrace everything that comes our way. Be with us as we meet the challenges of our lives. We thank you for your steadfast love and presence.

*Oh, and I think the print is getting smaller by the day, too!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

"O'er all the way".

I've been bothered all week by a friend's recent post. His child is ill with a rare, although diagnosed disease. This boy, poked and prodded by numerous doctors and stinging from continuous blood draws, has complained, to his worried parents, that life is "just not fair". My heart reaches out to those young parents. Nothing is worse than not being able to "make it all better" for your kids. It's such a devastingly hopeless feeling.
But, haven't all of us witnessed the unfairness of life? If you've lived, you've felt it.
Years ago, when I first whined about the unfairness of life to my mother, she responded in the same way that all of us have, at one time or another. She simply said "Nancy, life isn't supposed to be fair."
Well, what kind of answer is that? Life is not fair when dozens of babies are gunned down in a public school. Life is not fair when drunk drivers cause accidents that hurt and kill innocent people. Heart attacks are not fair. Cancer isn't fair. None of those things are fair. Life just isn't fair.
But, why isn't life fair? God loved us enough to let his son die for our sins. Wasn't that enough? So, why aren't our lives perfect? Why do we have to suffer?
I don't profess to have the best answer, but I do know that God promised to help us survive the un-fairness of life. He does not prevent all of the fatal or near fatal illnesses and trials of life. But, we can KNOW that the one constant, in all of the bad and good stuff that happens, is the love of God for all his children. Life isn't fair...It's real.
"God will take care of you." He can't "make it all better" for us, but He can hold us in His arms and make it do-able.

Good and all knowing God. We know that you are there for all of us, no matter what happens. Help us to keep remembering the promise of your ending love. We thank you for our many blessings, and we hold strong to our faith in your unfailing power and grace.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Up from the Gravy and the Roast

Yesterday was Easter Sunday. Our church was filled to the brim with people of all ages. Children and adults were decked out in their Spring finery, on a glorious sun-filled morning. I don't think I have ever seen so many babies in one place! The Sanctuary was decorated with lilies, tulips, palms and daffodils. The music from the choir and the congregation was uplifting and thrilling.
But, Easter was different this year. The lead-up to this day of resurrection and joy was missing something really important.
Our week before Easter included coloring eggs, as usual. We attended Wednesday choir practice, Maundy Thursday Services and Good Friday Church. Everything was normal and regular. But, we skipped Palm Sunday.
 On Palm Sunday, the folks in our town woke up to a huge snow storm. The streets were covered and it was too dangerous to do much traveling. Fortunately, we were warned that the storm was coming, so many (over 500) city and rural churches cancelled services, as early as Saturday morning. We all ended up having to dig or be dug out, in order to go anywhere!
Well, I like to think that I am not a slave to tradition and routine, but I guess that I am. I missed the parading of the palms and the whole idea of Jesus' triumphant arrival in Jerusalem. The events of the past week were less dramatic to me, because we skipped Palm Sunday. Something was missing.

Dear Risen Lord: We have heard the story of Easter many, many times. The journey of Easter Week renews our faith and revitalizes our spirit. Thank you for coming to save us from our sins and sillyness. We glorify your name.