On the close of this July 4th weekend, I thought I’d post the following link that a dear long-time friend and Vietnam veteran shared. Enjoy, and God Bless America!! Melody
The amazing Dr. Joy Selak of Austin, Texas, a person whom I admire greatly, has a new book out called CeeGee’s Gift. The novel is getting rave reviews. In fact, it just won the Best Young Adult Fiction book for April 2019 by Many Books. Sure hope you’ll check it out. Happy Summer Reading! Melody
Recently I read the meditation posted below from the Henri Nouwen Society about the importance of solitude. The meditation spoke to me. Perhaps it will to you. May we all find our own true quiet centers.
|Solitude Creates Space for God|
|To live a Christian life means to live in the world without being of it. It is in solitude that this inner freedom can grow. Jesus went to a lonely place to pray, that is, to grow in the awareness that all the power he had was given to him; that all the words he spoke came from his Father; and that all the works he did were not really his but the works of the One who had sent him. In the lonely place Jesus was made free to fail.
A life without a lonely place, that is, a life without a quiet center, easily becomes destructive. When we cling to the results of our actions as our only way of self-identification, then we become possessive and defensive and tend to look at our fellow human beings more as enemies to be kept at a distance than as friends with whom we share the gifts of life.
In solitude we can slowly unmask the illusion of our possessiveness and discover in the center of our own self that we are not what we can conquer, but what is given to us. In solitude we can listen to the voice of him who spoke to us before we could speak a word, who healed us before we could make any gesture to help, who set us free long before we could free others, and who loved us long before we could give love to anyone. It is in this solitude that we discover that being is more important than having, and that we are worth more than the results of our efforts. In solitude we discover that our life is not a possession to be defended, but a gift to be shared. It’s there we recognize that the healing words we speak are not just our own, but are given to us; that the love we can express is part of a greater love; and the new life we bring forth is not a property to cling to, but a gift to be received.
Forgiveness and mercy are such important components of end-of-life times, in my opinion. This notion was reinforced to me by many of the terminally or chronically ill young people whom I interviewed for my book, Journeys of Heartache and Grace.
Along those lines, last week at our church service, I read a wonderful Prayer of Confession which spoke to me. Below is a part of that Prayer. May it speak to you, and may all your days in this New Year be full of forgiveness. Melody
O God we seek your mercy … yet we ourselves look for payback when we are wronged.
We think it ‘only fair’ and ‘what is right’ when we retaliate and use harsh words and withdraw from relationship.
The forgiveness you offer on our account is larger than we can comprehend, still we withhold forgiveness and carry the grudge over petty items.
We are eager to do your judging. And the worst: we conspire our inner thoughts to secure your forgiveness while avoiding honest repentance.
Forgive us for the sins we know in our hearts. Save us from the sins we hide.
God is full of compassion and mercy, slow to anger and has not dealt with us according to our sins. This gift of forgiveness makes us able, with the power of the Holy Spirit, to choose to forgive, renew and live again in right relationship with each other and with God. Amen.
Today is the first Sunday of Advent. May we all focus on the true principles of Advent: peace, hope, love, and joy. Many Advent blessings to all. Melody
Last week I attended a wonderfully informative seminar about end-of-life care as hosted by Hospice Austin and others. The seminar was designed to help facilitate conversations about the endings we want for our lives. Written materials were shared, including a document entitled Your Conversation Starter Kit. The resources are very helpful, and a comment was made that there are phone applications for storing signed Advance Care Directives on mobile phones. For more information, go to: The Conversation Project.
Last month I read a sad but wonderfully uplifting and poignant story in The Washington Post about a mom who was dying. This particular mom wrote letters to her four children to be read throughout their lives, long after her death. As we all know, talking about death and grief and loss is challenging. Articles like these help, I believe. Maybe it will speak to you as it did to me. I commend the author of the story, and most especially this amazing mom.