In Our Losses . . .

I’m awakening to news of increasing tensions on the Ukraine/Russia border, a second winter storming approaching our area within a week, continuing political unrest within our country, and updates on more hospitalizations and deaths among people I know or have been asked to lift in prayer. The challenges continue as life as we knew it is still gone two years after it went missing. Many people are really struggling with losses, especially of loved ones. A scripture – Isaiah 57:1-2 – that I read today on one of my devotion sites speaks directly to those questions we have when struggling with the heartache of losing someone.

I have actually had the thought over the past couple of years that I’m glad the family members who I’ve lost over the years are not alive to see what is happening to our country and the world. I am relieved that they are at peace with the Lord. For those walking day by day under heavy loads of grief, I hope my thoughts, these verses, help. God bless.

A Good Word For You Today (from someone else)

Another year, more challenges. I would like to encourage you as you tackle today with all it brings, and can do no better than share this story by Elizabeth Gilbert. Read it, do it, and bring help to those you meet. So many need so much, but you never know what a small gesture can do. God bless.

“Some years ago, I was stuck on a crosstown bus in New York City during rush hour. Traffic was barely moving. The bus was filled with cold, tired people who were deeply irritated with one another, with the world itself. Two men barked at each other about a shove that might or might not have been intentional. A pregnant woman got on, and nobody offered her a seat. Rage was in the air; no mercy would be found here.

But as the bus approached Seventh Avenue, the driver got on the intercom.”Folks,” he said, “I know you have had a rough day and you are frustrated. I can’t do anything about the weather or traffic, but here is what I can do. As each one of you gets off the bus, I will reach out my hand to you. As you walk by, drop your troubles into the palm of my hand, okay? Don’t take your problems home to your families tonight, just leave them with me. My route goes right by the Hudson River, and when I drive by there later, I will open the window and throw your troubles in the water.”
It was as if a spell had lifted. Everyone burst out laughing. Faces gleamed with surprised delight. People who had been pretending for the past hour not to notice each other’s existence were suddenly grinning at each other like, is this guy serious?
Oh, he was serious.

At the next stop, just as promised, the driver reached out his hand, palm up, and waited. One by one, all the exiting commuters placed their hand just above his and mimed the gesture of dropping something into his palm. Some people laughed as they did this, some teared up but everyone did it. The driver repeated the same lovely ritual at the next stop, too. And the next. All the way to the river.

We live in a hard world, my friends. Sometimes it is extra difficult to be a human being. Sometimes you have a bad day. Sometimes you have a bad day that lasts for several years. You struggle and fail. You lose jobs, money, friends, faith, and love. You witness horrible events unfolding in the news, and you become fearful and withdrawn. There are times when everything seems cloaked in darkness. You long for the light but don’t know where to find it.
But what if you are the light? What if you are the very agent of illumination that a dark situation begs for?. That’s what this bus driver taught me, that anyone can be the light, at any moment. This guy wasn’t some big power player. He wasn’t a spiritual leader. He wasn’t some media-savvy influencer. He was a bus driver, one of society’s most invisible workers. But he possessed real power, and he used it beautifully for our benefit.

When life feels especially grim, or when I feel particularly powerless in the face of the world’s troubles, I think of this man and ask myself, What can I do, right now, to be the light? Of course, I can’t personally end all wars, or solve global warming, or transform vexing people into entirely different creatures. I definitely can’t control traffic. But I do have some influence on everyone I brush up against, even if we never speak or learn each other’s name.

No matter who you are, or where you are, or how mundane or tough your situation may seem, I believe you can illuminate your world. In fact, I believe this is the only way the world will ever be illuminated, one bright act of grace at a time, all the way to the river.”

The World Needs Light

Look around – your neighbor, those at your workplace, drivers on the roadway – the world, they all need light. There is too much darkness in the world today.

In this season of giving, focus on the most wonderful gift ever given: the Christ child. Jesus came for you, your family, that neighbor, co-worker, and driver. He is the Light that can cast out the darkness of this world and save us for eternity. His very birth was announced by a brilliant star, the light in the darkness that led the wise men and startled the shepherds.

Be that light that is so needed. It is demonstrated by love, caring, compassion. Merry Christmas

This entry was posted on December 19, 2021. 1 Comment

Can You Hear the Bells?

I discover the best “stuff” on social media sometimes. A friend just posted a Casting Crowns rendition of a Christmas Carol that I hadn’t heard before. I know, where have I been?

The lyrics were so poignant, and the arrangement really blessed me. After listening, I had to consider whether or not I have been listening for the “bells,” for the peace, the positive, in all the negativity that seemingly surrounds this world.

It was good to be reminded to do that, not just on Christmas day, but every day. As you listen, I hope you are blessed as well.

This entry was posted on December 8, 2021. 1 Comment

Day by Day

Turkeys are in the freezer case at the grocery store and the end caps on the aisles showcase stuffing and gravy. It must be Thanksgiving time.

Somehow we are nearing the end of the calendar year. Has anyone else experienced the year flying by? Have we remembered to pray for our nation, our neighbors, and our family?

my small church has been very busy with food pantry give-aways, preparing Thanksgiving baskets for the needy, and Operation Christmas Child (OCC) shoebox collection. It’s a blessed but tiring time for workers. So in some ways, life goes on even in this challenging time. I choose to focus on the positives and serve my Lord by serving others. I invite you to join me, day by day..

Happy Thanksgiving to you all – count your blessings.