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Posts Tagged ‘Life changes’

There seems to be a marked increase in the number of diagnosed cases of diabetes among my circle of friends and acquaintances. Most of these newly diabetic men and women are Type II, meaning they will have to adjust to a balance of medications that help the body to use the insulin it still produces, along with changes in diet and exercise. It is not a diagnosis to be taken lightly. Several of my friends have been diagnosed as Type I, like me, meaning their bodies no longer produce insulin and they will have to adjust to daily injections of insulin (I wear an insulin pump), close monitoring of their blood glucose levels and real changes to diet and exercise. Whether Type I or Type II, this diagnosis most often results in a psychological, physical, and spiritual shift that translates into something akin to a west cost earthquake.

I recall the day I was first diagnosed, the day my doctor handed me a meter to test my blood sugar and told me (my words) I was now on manual drive instead automatic. Everything I ate and everything I did was going to effect my blood sugar and my way of navigating through each and every day.  I finally had some insight into what was going on with my body. The blurry vision, fatigue, confusion and feeling of panic was grounded in a very real response to high blood sugars. I recall that day. I felt as though I had been handed a death sentence, not that I was going to literally die. I had more of an identity death. The ‘body ‘part of mind-body-spirit had betrayed me.

You may be wondering what this has to do with a blog site dedicated to spiritual formation. Simply put, everything related to mind and body has a profound influence on all things spiritual. Issues of faith, trust, health, core values, vocation, even family and community flow in and through our spiritual selves. And so, I began a darker journey of trying to re-assemble myself, testing assumptions about   what was and was not possible for my future.  Part of my process included creating a short video entitled “Food and Faith.” which you are welcome to view.carrycross2

It is easy enough to accept tragedy, chronic illness, loss and other personal  assaults as a ‘cross to bear’, as if we have been personally targeted to be pressed  down by some God directed lesson, as if suffering is the only way to carry a cross.  But here is another perspective. Matthew 16:24 was the gospel text on Sunday. Then Jesus told his disciples, “If  anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” I must have read this scripture a hundred times and only just realized the distinction between picking something up and setting something down. Just maybe I should change my focus from carrying the burden of ‘my cross’, setting it down, freeing myself, mind-body-spirit, to more fully follow the lead of the Cross Bearer. 

Just as managing chronic illness is a daily business, so is the daily choice we have to put on Christ, to self identify with the Cross Bearer, to live sacramentally and rooted in the One who calls us by name and to lift high the cross of Hope and Love that is ours as Easter people. I will continue to journey through this season of Lent, remembering the call God has placed on my life, resetting my intention to remain focused on the light of Christ even as our world dwells in shadow. I will continue to journey with others, finding strength in community and our mutual commitment to a life of Christian faith.11046726_1013784178650220_298275671874258863_o

 

 

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In my small part of the world spring has arrived. Everywhere there are signs of emerging buds, and the sweet songs of returning birds. The nighttime hum of the nearby marsh assures me that temperatures are rising.  I feel lighter. I feel alive. I want to scatter seeds and participate in the cycle of renewal; to encourage and nurture life in all its forms. I am filled with the presence of God in all I see and touch and smell and hope. IMAG0898 Not only is it springtime, it is also Eastertide, the fifty days that follow Easter. It is a season ripe with reflections on the resurrection story, rich with the power and possibilities for Christians to live as resurrection people. Incarnate God has come to dwell among us and within us; to save us and restore us to God’s self; to kindle within us a renewed compassion for the other; to forgive; to love, to invite us again to live as God intended. Praise be given to God. And yet, it seems, in my small part of the world humanity has failed once again. Daily, there are signs of emerging hatred and distrust, violence and threats of violence, tragic loss of life, loss of security and economic stability. We ask the ‘who, what and why’ of it.  We view the stranger with eyes narrowed.  All too soon the lightness that is supposed to be the mark of our faith in Christ is cast into deep shadow.  We question how it is that we can journey with those who suffer when we are, ourselves, overwhelmed and weighed down with our neighbor’s grief. It is hard to live as resurrection people. Still, the Incarnate God dwells among us and within us and invites us to turn and return to God. We are invited to lay our burdens down, to find refuge and rest in the One who weeps with us in our suffering and holds us close amidst our frailties and doubts.  Our desire to feel compassion and consider forgiveness is the first step in our turning, once again, to God.  We choose to participate in the healing that must come, to participate as agents of God’s love until we are no longer afraid to offer compassion and forgiveness to the stranger. It is possible to once again feel the presence of God in all we see and touch and smell and hope.

 Pray, dear Lord, let your Spirit pour over me. Flush headlines and unholy habits from my heart. Unwelcome maladies, they clutch and cling, sending me to my knees. Anoint these lesions and loosen their hold. Place healing balm on unrelenting wounds. Wrap your servant in cloths of righteousness and bring me to rest in your house of Holiness. In your time, lift me from your bed of blessing. Raise me to my feet to carry good news and hope, to become your messenger of healing and servant of all.

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It has been weeks since my last post; weeks filled with change, loss, transformation, growth, dreaming, packing, letting go, taking on, being empty and being filled. In other words, life!

One child is moving away with her family; family I see weekly and will miss terribly. One child is preparing for his wedding next month. He already lives far away and I miss him like crazy. My husband and I have been blessed to have such wonderful children, now adults, and we can’t imagine enough new ways to fill up the spaces they leave behind as they grow their own families.

A dear friend has moved away. Many clergy colleagues are reappointed to preach in new pulpits to new congregations. Their ever expanding circles of grace continue to flow and overlap and return. I pray for them all even as I know I will not see them again anytime soon. In other words, life! Mine is a life rich with relationships and love, admiration and joy, struggle and resilience, mending and breaking.

I find strength and solace when I get really quiet and listen to the sounds of the lake. Gentle breezes carry the call of the loons and the screech of young eagles in the nest, the soft sound of a fisherman’s cast, a fish jumping, a squirrel’s chatter. The light on the water is ever changing. The color of pine and blueberry scrub fill my morning and today it is enough.

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