Monthly Archives: July 2024

Rejoice

A Prayer For World Peace

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Phil. 4:4

We pray that we may learn the peace that comes with forgiving and the strength we gain in loving; that we may take nothing for granted in this life; that we may learn to see and understand with our hearts; that we may learn to rejoice in our being. We pray for these things with humility.

Rejoicing in what is, finding joy in the messy here and now that I do not and cannot control, is an impossible task if I require all things to align with my own wants and needs. Joy is a response to seeing the world as the amazing place that it is; it is not accomplished so much as it is glimpsed and fallen into. I can’t make it happen, I can only accept that it can arise wherever I am, in whatever circumstances I find myself.

Every time I take a walk on Barnumville Road, I rejoice in the beauty of the mountain in front of me, the hydrangeas across the way, and the birds flying all around. I didn’t create any of these, and I have no part in their flourishing. Yet, whether I am happy, sad, tired, satisfied, or hurting, they bring me joy. I can’t earn that joy, and I can’t take credit for it: I can only pray to God to be aware of it, regardless of my own condition and the condition of the road I’m walking.

Seeing

Heartsight

The saying is that love is blind, and there’s some truth to that. Love blinds us to imperfections and red flags, and allows us to dismiss warning signs we would be wise to heed. But it’s nothing in comparison to the blindness that comes from lack of love. What we do not love, we do not cherish. What we do not cherish, we are willing to neglect or use for our own purposes.

It is with the heart’s eyes that we understand the intrinsic value of the life around us, in its many forms.

Nothing For Granted

When I was a child, a neighbor I knew told me that she’d almost married a man who became a wealthy, prominent politician. Instead, she chose another man who didn’t achieve great wealth or fame. Although she never said it aloud, it was clear to me that she regretted her choice.

As I grew older, she spoke of this choice many times. It wasn’t until I was fifteen or so that I thought through the implications of such a choice: three children that would not be born, extended family that she would never know, decades of experiences she wouldn’t have, the love winding through all of it never to be. She would never have her life particulars had she not made the choice she did.

There’s a precious uniqueness to the life that comes from our choices. Had she made a different choice, she may have had more money and social standing, she may have had a happier marriage – she may even have had children she would love fiercely. But she wouldn’t have the ones that her life had brought. Would she really be willing to wish them out of existence, or did she take it for granted that they would somehow, impossibly, be given even if different life choices were made?

Would I be willing to lose the holy what is, with all its complexity, for an unknown what is not? Would you?

Picking A Fight

Why don’t you pick on someone your own size?

That question came up every so often in the neighborhood, usually spoken by an older sibling. Picking a fight with someone who didn’t have a fighting chance wasn’t something the kids in the neighborhood accepted; the bully faced a crowd rather than a single, smaller victim.

How would you like it if…

someone hit you…someone didn’t take care of you…you were forced to fight or carry heavy loads without rest…the people around you treated you like garbage?

Bullying and cruelty end when we put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. Empathy, compassion, action: these come only when we can see value in the lives of others – especially in the lives of those with fur, feathers, and fins.