Friday, March 28, 2008


Tragedy broke into my world like an intruder yesterday morning. Suddenly what once was, is no more. I have lost something precious to me, and my heart cowers, bruised behind my ribs. I wonder why God allowed this to happen, but I don't ask because deep inside I think I know.

This tragedy is not about the death of a loved one, or the loss of a pet, although we have lost two of our furry family in the last seven months. It is about a mistake, an accident that can't be undone. The story that led up to this loss began before Christmas when I received a card, and later a small packet from my first step-mother. My father has been married many times and this was from wife #2 who had been part of my life for over 10 years, very difficult years. With the card she wrote a touching letter telling me how much she loved my sister and I, and she also sent a picture of us holding two life size dolls-- classic 1950's. My husband loved the picture so much he made a copy of it and we hung it on our Christmas tree. In the packet were more treasures; pictures of my step-sisters and me as teens, a special one of me, on the beach, that I didn't think existed anymore. There were pictures of her grandchildren, and her over the past few decades and with two of her favorite girlfriends; both who have died, one tragically. Also she enclosed some of her creative writing, beautifully composed, and hand written.

After Christmas I put the card and packet into a Christmas basket with all the Christmas cards we received. I don't throw them out because I like to go through them one more time and pray for everyone who sent them. Then I sort through them and keep the artistic ones, the handmade ones, and those with special meaning in tubs filled with Christmas ornaments. This year I didn't get around to it until Easter, when I finally put the basket into my home office on top of a pile of boxes. Every time I walked into the office I promised myself I'd sit down to sort and pray. Yesterday morning as I went in there to get my purse before leaving for work, I glanced at the basket and it was empty. Empty? Frozen to the spot, I stared at the empty basket my mind reeling with questions, had I sorted through it already and put things somewhere else and didn't remember? Anxious, I cried out to my husband as it became clear what had happened. I tried to push the thought away, but it was no use because I remembered waking up to the sound of the trash collectors at 5:30 that morning! He came running into the room, his face registering shock as I held the empty basket up to him, pleading "Please tell me you didn't through the cards away!" We both let out a cry; feeling as if we'd been socked in the stomach. I told him what had been in the basket and he apologized over and over, trying to explain why he thought it was trash. I knew. I had put the Christmas basket where I had temporarily put a small trash basket. It didn't help things that the night before I had been complaining about how much unwanted mail came from people wanting donations sending address labels, gifts, trinkets etc... He thought I had sorted through the junk mail and left it there to be thrown out. And then there is the fact that my office is "Paper Paradise," piles of unfinished projects spilling onto every surface.

We tried to work through our feelings on the 30 minute commute to the salon, pausing for a moment of silence as we passed the dump that now housed my precious mementos. "Maybe we could stop and look through the trash? I know how I tied the bag." He said hopefully. Yeah right, the black bag that looks just like all the others, and what am I supposed to tell my client? Shaking my head sadly, I assured him I forgave him, and we went back discussing all the would haves-should haves.

I'm coming to some realizations as I reflect on this: one is that it's not about the possessions, although it hurts to lose them. I believe that God cares about what I care about and He understands when I hurt. It is about my attitude about the loss. Can I grieve without giving into depression and hopelessness? Can I allow myself to feel my feelings, get angry but not bitter? Can I be mad and not take it out on anyone or anything?

Late at night I toss and turn, reliving the shock of it all, and I know that this will continue to happen at unguarded odd moments. Then I think about all the people who have lost everything in recent fires, floods, hurricanes, and feeling their loss I pray for them. Loss does that, it brings you into the brotherhood of suffering.

One more thought comes to me as I read Matthew 6:19-21, and Jesus speaks to me as He did to his disciples long ago "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." And I am confident that even though my mementos are in the landfill; my memories of my loved ones will be with me in heaven.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Happy Easter

When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men to myself, says the Lord. John 12:32
photo from Fransican Mission Associates PO Box 598 Mount Vernon, NY 10551-0598

Monday, March 17, 2008

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14

In my quiet time this morning as I read Psalm 27, I remembered the many times when I felt discouraged. So discouraged that I wanted to die, I was a child the first time I felt this hopeless and it increased as I went through my teens and twenties. No matter what I tried I just couldn't get away from feeling desperate. I'm happy now that my prayers for death weren't answered. Today no matter how hard things are I know that God is in control and that He loves me. He loves you too. I want to share with you something He revealed to me a few years ago.

This is the way of life, everyday is a story. You walk through time unaware that in this moment history is made. History is made more precious because you are in it-a participant in life.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Monday, March 3, 2008

Reflections on the Cross

Easter is early this year. It is time for all Christians to reflect on the cross, and it's meaning in our life. The cross is our common denominator, whether we view our cross as Catholics meditating on the Crucifix, or as Protestants rejoicing in the empty cross of Jesus the risen one. Easter is the time of year when we most clearly hear Jesus say "pick up your cross and follow me." Our cross is the one perfectly suited for us, it reminds us that we need God. Our cross is the one carried by Jesus to the foot of the throne in Heaven.

The cross is a thumbtack on the bulletin board of life, placed there by the hand of God to remind us of His love for us. The past culminates at the cross, and the present is determined by our response to it's meaning in our life.

I read somewhere that wearing a cross would be like the French wearing a guillotine around their necks. That would be true if we only viewed the cross as an instrument of torture and death, but as Christians the cross has redemptive power. It is for us an instrument of healing just like the pole with the bronze snake was for the Israelites that followed Moses through the wilderness, we look on it remembering that Jesus was lifted up on it and died so that we can live. read Numbers 21: 4-9..... Today I thank Jesus for my cross, the one he helps me carry.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Springs First Bloom

Five Finger Prayer

Ijust received this in an email. I had never heard this before. This is beautiful and it is surely worth making the 5 finger prayer a part of our lives.

1. Your thumb is nearest you. So begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you. They are the easiest to remember. To pray for our loved ones is, as C. S. Lewis once said, a 'sweet duty.'

2. The next finger is the pointing finger. Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal. This includes teachers, doctors, and ministers. They need support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction. Keep them in your prayers.

3. The next finger is the tallest finger. It reminds us of our leaders. Pray for the president, leaders in business and industry, and administrators. These people shape our nation and guide public opinion. They need God's guidance.

4. The fourth finger is our ring finger. Surprising to many is the fact that this is our weakest finger, as any piano teacher will testify. It should remind us to pray for those who are weak, in trouble or in pain. They need your prayers day and night. You cannot pray too much for them.

5. And lastly comes our little finger - the smallest finger of all, which is where we should place ourselves in relation to God and others. As the Bible says, 'The least shall be the greatest among you.' Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself. By the time you have prayed for the other four groups, your own needs will be put into proper perspective and you will be able to pray for yourself more effectively.