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Catching Up

I took a little time off from work yesterday in an attempt to catch up on some personal things.  The grass growing season is in full swing.  Having been cut just four days before, it was already time for the next trim. The first round of edging was needed, along with some general clean-up.  As I was racing through the yard, I stopped to see how beautiful this little Bleeding Heart’s (Dicentra) pendulous flower sprays were.

Like all good things, these early spring blossoms will come and go.  Time keeps moving, and the next things to bloom are just forming their buds. It is good to be alive in springtime, and what a gift it is to have eyes that can see, noses that can smell the fragrance, ears that can hear the birds.  We are so blessed.

I am in the last days of my 34 week retreat based upon the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.  After cleaning up around the house and garden, I just sat for awhile in my back yard.  It’s a time for reflection.  As I was flipping through the pages of my journal that I’ve been keeping since I began the retreat, there were so many great thoughts, quotes, prayers that could/should be shared.  This one comes from a book entitled Spiritual Direction, written by Henri Nouwen,

Remember, you belong to God from eternity to eternity. You were loved by God before you were born, and you will be loved by God long after you die.

Your human lifetime, long or short, is only a part of your total life in God.  The length of time doesn’t matter.  Life is just an opportunity for you during a few years to say to God, “I love you too.”  (pg. 49)

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Running in the rain

There was lots of things to do this week, and I got most of them done.  Making it to the gym every other day didn’t happen, though.  I’m trying to be consistent, but sometimes life gets in the way, but I guess you know that.

To make up for it, I thought I’d squeeze in a good run this afternoon.  There were some clouds on the horizon, but it didn’t look too bad. I made it through about three quarters of my jog when this massive wind hit me, along with pelting rain.  I wasn’t paying much attention to the sky, and when I looked up, it was black, black, black.  I was getting drenched, but I was enjoying it.

The wind was so strong, a tree (bradford pear) snapped in half about twenty feet away from me.  I just kept running, laughing as I went.  Now, the funny thing is, in the past all this would have really bothered me.  I would have not been happy that I was getting soaked.  I would have started worrying when trees started coming down around me.  I most certainly wouldn’t have been laughing.

But, now, I’m not letting things get to me as much, especially things that are out of my control.  Getting upset or frustrated generally doesn’t solve the problem.  Remember the book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff?  Well, I guess there’s a lot of wisdom in that book from, when was it, the 90’s?

So, I think that needs to be my message for today:  Try to enjoy things a bit more, and don’t stress about every little thing.  Being stressed usually adds to the problem rather than eliminating it.

Years ago, I heard a cool little tidbit:  “On the day of your funeral, your in basket will still be full.”  It seems like there’s always too much to do, not enough time.  This weekend, enjoy the company of friends.  See a movie or take a drive.  Visit a park and see some nature.  Whatever it is you do, lighten up and have fun, even if it means taking a run in the rain.

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Psalm 46

Over the last week, I’ve been talking to a lot of people about Psalm 46, and it seems as though the comforting words found within it are bringing encouragement  to many folks.    Here’s the NAB translation:

God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress.

The LORD of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. Selah

Thus we do not fear, though earth be shaken and mountains quake to the depths of the sea,

Though its waters rage and foam and mountains totter at its surging.  The LORD of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. Selah

 Streams of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High.

God is in its midst; it shall not be shaken; God will help it at break of day.

Though nations rage and kingdoms totter, God’s voice thunders and the earth trembles.

The LORD of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. Selah

Come and see the works of the LORD, who has done fearsome deeds on earth;

Who stops wars to the ends of the earth, breaks the bow, splinters the spear, and burns the shields with fire;

Who says: “Be still and confess that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth.”

The LORD of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob. Selah

As I wrote in an earlier post, I think this psalm has important  relevance for us right now.  Nearly everyone I know is facing some type of struggle.  A few  are minor, but others are major and life changing.  The word epic comes to mind.  Anyone trying to overcome these difficulties in isolation is, I believe, almost sure to fail.  The Psalmist writes, not about me, but rather about our and us.  No doubt about it.  We are all in this together, and it’s time to realize how little we can accomplish by ourselves.  Together, and with God’s help and presence, we will do great things.  We have nothing to fear.

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Ah, St. Patrick’s Day.  To all the Irish, whether by heratige or desire, enjoy the day!  St. Patrick, pray for us.

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I’m embarking on a new adventure!  For the last eleven months, God has been doing some amazing new things with me.  It’s been a radical transformation of my body, mind, and spirit.  I want to share with anyone who will listen what’s happened to me, with the hope that maybe they will find some good advice and make some changes for themselves.