Something to Ponder …
It has been quite an interesting week in the Norris household. My husband, myself, even Arapahoe and Xian have been shown such kindness, generosity, and genuine love that, when I’ve paused to think about the outpouring, it has brought tears to my eyes.
Joining us at the hospital Monday morning. Praying with us for a successful surgery. Waiting with me through surgery, conversation with the surgeon, and recovery, until we could see for ourselves that all was good.
Buying lunch during surgery. Buying “the best” burgers and fries for a late night supper in ICU. Rising early with me to walk the girls before going back to the hospital. Helping me process. Making lunch after coming home from the hospital. Helping with other household chores and mowing the lawn.
Holding us in prayer … by email, text, voice mail, and Facebook. Sending love and positive thoughts … with cards, flowers, phone calls, and a cuddly stuffed puppy delivered to ICU.
We will wait for up to two weeks for biopsy results. But that is okay. We prefer to have as precise a diagnosis as possible. In the meantime, we will attempt to catch up on our sleep, Mr. Pat will heal from his surgery, and we will share with others, as best we can, the same love, kindness, and generosity shown to us in our time of need.
In his book Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer: An Approach to Life in Fullness, Brother David Steindl-Rast writes: The greatest gift one can give is thanksgiving. In giving gifts, we give what we can spare, but in giving thanks we give ourselves. One who says “Thank You” to another really says, “We belong together.”
To all who have shown us your care and concern … and not just this past week … we say Thank You to God for you. I could be wrong, but I take it that you love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and that you are loving your neighbor as yourself. (Luke 10:27, CEB)
Oh, yes. We belong together. Grace and peace … --Pastor Pat
Something to Ponder …
No more yard sales for a while. Yay! We had our last one … mark my words … last weekend. And it will be a LONG WHILE before we have another. As anyone who has ever been involved in a garage sale or yard sale can attest, they are a lot of work!
There’s all the work that goes into getting ready for the sale. During the sale, there’s the hurry up and wait, catching up with neighbors, and getting to know new friends … which is tons of fun for me. And afterwards, there’s the work of donating or disposing of items that didn’t find new homes with bargain shoppers.
I’m not telling you anything new, am I? You know this from your own experience with farmers’ markets, church bazaars, concession stands, auctions, and the like. The same is true with putting up buildings or fences, painting barns, decks, or fences, decorating for prom or another festivity, preparing for and cleaning up after, well, anything. The work is on the front end. And the back end. But the middle … that’s where the fun is. The joy. The good stuff.
But what if God didn’t intend for us to think of work as punishment or a chore, but simply as an essential part of who we are?
That book of sacred writings that we read from sometimes says: In the beginning, God created. Creating creation was certainly work, don’t you think? And it must have been hard work at that! Yet, at each stage of the process … early, middle, end … God said it was good. Throughout God’s work of creating all of heaven and earth, God delighted in all of the work!
That sacred text also says: God created humankind in God’s image. Which I take to mean, not that we look like God, but that we have attributes and characteristics of God. We can create like God. Work like God. Find joy in the work God calls us to.
Divine Worker, you called Adam and Eve to work in the garden. They partnered with you so that all creation might flourish. May we hear your call to all varieties of work. May we see all aspects of work as meaningful, purposeful, and joyful. Grace and peace … --Pastor Pat
Something to Ponder …
For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been settling into a new morning routine. Oh, I’ve tried different options over the last couple of months, but nothing has seemed to stick. Nothing has felt quite right. It could be that I had been spoiled. Oh, yes, that’s likely the case.
For the two and a half years prior to me moving back home, each morning that I was in Schuyler I would rise early so I could join my Benedictine brothers for 6 AM prayer. I would drive four short miles up the hill for 30 minutes or so of prayer at the Mission House chapel, then pray-walk over to Saint Benedict Center and around the lake four times before driving back down the hill to start my day.
To be honest, quite often I was thankful that my prayer partners all sat in the row ahead of me … so they might not notice I had literally rolled out of bed and thrown on clothes because of hitting the snooze button too many times.
Routines. Patterns. Habits. We all have them I suppose. Those things we do, the actions we perform, that help keep us in balance. That provide stability in the uncertainty of our lives.
Meeting with others for early morning prayer has done that for me. I need to connect with the Divine regularly, and deeply, to grow spiritually. I need to set aside time to receive as well as to give. And I need others to hold me accountable to do that.
And so, now, when I rise in the morning … typically between 5 and 6, without an alarm … I close the bedroom door, make some hot tea, and let Arapahoe and Xian in (quietly, so they don’t wake up Papa).
By the time they have greeted and wiggled all over me, then run down the hall to check the bedroom door, I have my mug of tea in hand, and we are ready to settle down in the living room. I, in my recliner with a book. My accountability partners, pretending to sleep until I have gotten my spiritual food for the day. Then it’s out the door for our prayer-walk. And you know what? I think this is gonna stick.
Routines. Rituals. Rhythms. I pray that you have found yours. Grace and peace … --Pastor Pat
Something to Ponder …
Labor Day weekend. What does it mean to you? Last weekend of summer? First Husker football game? A long weekend to reconnect with family? Or long-time friends?
Maybe you have reserved this weekend for a project that takes more than a day to complete. Or maybe you’ll do some binge watching of your favorite TV shows or movies. Or settle in with a good book you’ve been dying to read.
In the past, Labor Day weekend has been all of the above to the Norris family, at one time or another. Except for binge watching. I’m not much for being inside if I can be outside enjoying the last bit of summer.
The United Methodist Book of Worship provides this information about Labor Day. This day of rest and relaxation honoring all who work originated in 1882 in New York City with a parade organized by a machinist and a carpenter.
Also provided is this prayer offered by Reinhold Niebuhr:
O God, you have bound us together in this life.
Give us grace to understand how our lives depend
On the courage, the industry, the honesty,
And the integrity of all who labor.
May we be mindful of their needs, grateful for their faithfulness,
And faithful in our responsibilities to them;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Hmmm. This reminds me that all people are called by God to work. At different tasks. With different gifts. To help creation flourish. (I’ll say more about this in a couple weeks.)
Lord, help us make time for a bit of rest and relaxation from our labors … while at the same time remembering those who work to provide us with what we feel we cannot live without. Maybe we will be moved to lift a toast. Or say a prayer. Or seek justice for oppressed workers. Or make a donation in someone’s honor. Or help a neighbor just for the fun of it. Amen. Grace and peace … --Pastor Pat