Faith

Wonderful Music, prayerful images

Just listen and look, and let the monks lead you in prayer:

Guest Blog:

I belong to an email list of wonderful women who support and pray for each other. On that list is a woman we call “Theodora” She calls herself the “hippy hermit” and every so often posts a meditation on her life, her surroundings and her community. One of these really hit me in the heart, and with her permission, I post it here:

Knowing you have only x amount of time on this earth can change you in remarkable ways. Now this may happen when you are in your teens or twenties or later in life. You may have a bad accident and almost not make it, or an illness or go into the doctors and find out you got a mushy brain. Whatever the cause you will think on many things and make major decisions. I reckon, having gone through several of these events, that living in the end times means just plain living.

But for me it does make the sun shine brighter, makes me see more in this poor ol’ world that needs love and compassion. If I could donate blood, bone, or anything to help someone I would. But that decision was taken from me as I am not qualified to do so. But I am qualified to decide how to live daily. That becomes both physical and spiritual and is a blessing.

You see, not knowing that you will see the next day means that this day becomes an eternity for you. You set your house in order the best you can and then get on with life. You accept the truth that we are born and we die. The in-between is what Our Lord taught us how to live. You hope that those in your family and around you will understand any decision you make and know it is out of love for them and for yourself. Yes, love yourself. Not selfish love but love as Christ said. For we cannot love others if we don’t love ourselves. If I end up with tubes and such laying in a bed somewhere well, I ain’t gonna dwell on that now. I have done what I could to see that will not happen but we all know how well that goes. I pray I don’t get to be a mean, cranky person as I walk this path but who can say that will not happen.

One would hope that if such happens that those around me will remember that I really didn’t want to become this. We can live in fear of growing older and what is to come and we can live in fear of getting up and being hit by a car or wiped out in a storm. We can, but is that life? The older I get the more I love. Somehow it just comes with the game…the game of life. If I decide no more tests, no more possible cures then that is my free will given by God. If my Priest were to say I had to do this I would have to tell him no and lets the chips fall were they may. I will love him just the same but the decision is mine.

I will embrace all that is allotted to me and walk each day loving those around me. I won’t tell them what to do, how to do . Nope I will love them for who they are and thank the Lord I had another day with them. And when I can no longer do such, well, I ain’t gonna dwell on it. It just robs me of the gift I have been given. It means I threw away all that time I spent fearing things instead of living in the love Christ meant for me to do. So, no matter what your age, how you are physically or spiritually each day is what counts. I ain’t gonna spend my time on “Did she cover her head in Parish?” “Did she light the candles right?” “Does she wear pants in Church?” And a hundred more things that cause such fear.

I hit the delete button now when posts come in that degrade people, from the President down to those who speak and look different from the poster. I have even stopped being around those people when I can. They won’t change and I ain’t telling them to. They have free will and choice too.

Life is too precious, too wonderful to go around putting another of God’s children down in such ways. Nope, I will take this gift from Our Lord and try to use it the way He taught. I only ask that all remember that this is what I am trying to do.

You don’t have to agree with me or choose to do what I am doing. Just know this, we all live in the end times. I just found out how close me end is. LOL Now you ladies whom I really love so much…just love yourselves then you can love even the cranky ones which I may become. And hey, I may out-live my doctors and all them that say me time is limited.

And if I could give a part of me to help another see the sun shine another day I would. Even if a Bishop or Priest says it ain’t Christian to do so. I reckon it is like the fishes and loves…maybe the Lord would use my one fish to feed many.

* * * * * * * *

It’s Lent. And I’ve been thinking about our discplines during Lent – food abstention, more prayer, more spiritual and Bible reading, more giving of alms. Particularly the last – the giving of alms. Like most cities, my home town has its share of the homeless, the poor, the outcast and the marginalized. And I’ve been struggling for a long time about giving them money. I’m not going to go into all the arguments for and against, those have been done. What I finally realized was that God tells us to give alms. He doesn’t tell us to judge the actions of the people we give them to, or to dictate how they are to use them, or to decide whether they’re worthy or not.

I’m still not sure how I distinguish between a “real” beggar and one who earns $30,000 a year and drives a newer car than me and why one “should” be given alms and the other not. If someone is earning his living by begging, but has a ‘nice’ home and a good car, it seems there is some psychological and spiritual damage here as profound as mental illness or substance addiction. And it’s not up to me to decide which of those is the more ‘deserving’ of alms.

We’re just supposed to give. So I have been. Not much – quarters and loonies and whatever other small change I have in my pockets. And I now keep change in my coat pocket for just this. It’s too easy to say, “Oh, it’s too much trouble to dig into my purse or wallet” and not give. Which was my copout for a while.

And I’ve been mulling over my reactions to them, and my reactions to their reactions. My reactions to them? Shame, fear, embarassment. Shame because I don’t give, or give more;  fear because I could so easily have been like them, or even been them and only through God’s grace and mercy am I not; fear of their contempt, hatred, judgement of me. Embarassment because I have so much and they have so little – and I’m not necessarily talking material possessions or money here. I have the blessings of family, both blood and church; friends, who will be there through thick and thin; church and health, physical, emotional and mental. Many of them have few or none of those things.

I’m not yet able to look in the eye the people to whom I give alms. I don’t know why – some of the above, but maybe more fear – of judgement, of condemnation, of scorn. Of seeing a human being who has the same emotions I do, had and still has hopes and dreams, and could probably crack a really good joke when they’re feeling good. Who is loved by God just as much as I am, and who has a guardian angel just the same as I do. Yet I am always thanked and often given a blessing or wished a nice day. And that makes me ashamed. They are people, they are God’s lost children, and really, not very different from me, in spite of whatever it was that put them on the street, begging for their meal or their high or their next bottle. I’m spiritually broken, I’m in the hospital too – that’s what church is. Why can’t I remember that? Why can’t I remember that by giving alms, I may have entertained angels, and that what I do to the least of these I do to my Saviour, and love them as I love Him? I keep telling myself that, as I approach them, and as I walk away, but it still doesn’t make me feel better. And I hate the glow of self-satisfaction when I do it.

So I will keep giving alms, and I will keep trying to look them in the face, and see a person there, and remember that before God, they are my equal, and I am the worst of sinners. May God bless us and keep us both.

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4 comments on “Faith

  1. Donna Farley says:

    Yes, always, always the conflicted feelings about all this!

    My Lenten thing this year is turning every day, every walk, into a small pilgrimage. Where am I going, and what is my intent? Whether it’s going to the park or to the grocery store, the goal is to find Christ…which means, among other things remembering each and every human I meet is an icon-made-without-hands. Golly!

  2. Suzanne says:

    Beautiful thoughts, Bev, expressed with an honesty and forthrightness seldom encountered. I love especially your last paragraph.

  3. […] Post on Faith Page I have a guest blogger on my faith page – she’s not actually a blogger, but posts meditations by email every so often, and […]

  4. Matthew says:

    Bev,

    In view of your recent guest post I thought I should share this poem by Steve Sauve, an Ottawa slam poet who recently died. He battled with cancer for a long time; this poem was written in 2005 after a remission.

    It’s called “Heart”.
    ————————-
    I almost died last year;
    spent over three months in the hospital
    in which time they had to repair my heart twice.
    It was by far the most horrible experience of my life;
    some of my fellow poets have been urging me
    to write a poem capturing these events,
    a serious piece about mortality,
    but I don’t want to write a poem that brings everybody down.
    See, the reason most of my poems are comedic
    is not that it’s all I’m capable of writing;
    it’s that i want to use my time on stage to uplift people.
    If you walk out of here with a smile
    then I feel like, in some tiny way
    I’ve improved the quality of your life
    and that means more to me
    than winning some competition ever could.
    So if i’m going to write a serious poem,
    it’s sure as fuck not going to be about pain and suffering.

    Know what tomorrow is?
    Tomorrow is the one year anniversary (This was performed at the Slam semi-finals in 2005)
    of the day I got out of the hospital.
    They may have carried me in on a stretcher
    but I walked out on my own two goddamn feet
    stronger and wiser from the experience.

    I’ve heard it said that you should like your life
    as if each day might be your last.
    What the fuck kind of morbid bullshit is that?
    Now, I’ve got a two foot scar down the middle of my chest
    that says I probably know more about these matters than you,
    so take it from me:
    the secret of life is to live every day
    as if it were your first.

    When every day is your first,
    you free yourself from all the cynicism you’ve built up over the years.

    You allow yourself to see beauty in all its forms
    and trust me, it’s fucking everywhere!
    From the hurried commuter pausing to hold a door open for a stranger to the room full of people who spent ten dollars on a Friday night to see a poetry show;
    that’s beautiful.

    Every day I awake to the sun hitting my face for the first time.
    I breathe my first breath and it’s intoxicating!
    Every day, I walk out into a world where no one has ever judged me;
    I look up at the sky and remember how fascinating clouds are,
    and every day, someone will be the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.

    When every day is your first, love has never let you down; you’ve never been rejected or abused,
    and you realized that love has got to be
    the most ridiculous fucking thing to be afraid of that there is.

    I’m not afraid anymore.
    Death tried to take me and I kicked its ass;
    I’ll be damned if love is gonna finish me off.

    Once you allow yourself to love and be loved,
    to love who you are – because hey, we’ve already covered this; you’re all beautiful –
    it’s like flipping a switch:
    everything changes instantly.
    It changes from a matter of “if”
    to a matter of time.

    See, love is a commodity that’s in constant demand
    and there’s an infinite supply;
    all you’ve gotta do is learn how to manage it.

    I’m sure to some of you this sounds like preachy nonsense
    that you’ll immediately dismiss:
    “oh shit, Steve’s gone all new age-y on us”
    but if you take nothing else away from this poem
    then at least take this:
    don’t run from love
    and smile.
    You’re so beautiful when you smile.

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