Monday, December 31, 2012

A New Year of Light, Love, and Laughter

I have spent my adult lifetime purposely erasing all earthly images of Divinity from my mind. I had been taught so many false images of what God looks and sounds like, that I felt I needed to start over without physical images in order to accept the pure Spirit that I know lived in me before I was "taught" about God.

I opened my heart and soul as wide as I could and the pain that came pouring in, literally, brought me to my knees. I was awash with the living memories of all the false promises of faith, family, and forgiveness. Sometimes one at a time and sometimes in groups, the demons of my lifetime came back to taunt me: People who used my penitence to enter my soul and suck it dry for their own aggrandizement or physical pleasure, people who attempted to hide behind me while continuing to pursue pleasure at the expense of others and  themselves, people who sought to take away my joy because they apparently felt it took something from them.

Many of these people, all the while, proclaimed their Christian caring for me with no attention to what their actions were doing to my Spirit. I simply had to come back to my roots and face the fears from which I had run. I had to return to the Spirit of my six-year-old self and, once more, become open to comforting of the Baby Jesus inside myself. Nobody needed me to be the mother or the big sister to them. I could revisit my most vulnerable self in the warm glow of protection of my sacred spouse and my safest friendships. I am home in a way that I hadn't been in fifty-five years.

I looked to those whose visions of The Spirit seem to me most true. None of these are ivory tower academics or recognized as holy people or prophets. All of them are people who simply live life as an adventure. All of them are flesh and blood workers who will admit to their many failings as professionals, spouses, parents, and progeny. What they all have in common is humility and humor that they are willing to share with me and others.

How many times and how many crosses do each of us have to carry in this life? How many times are we brought to our knees in humility because we are powerless to "fix" ourselves, our spouses, our friends, our children, or our world? The people that I want to emulate are the ones who don't get angry with those who won't be "fixed" or at the world in general for making them feel weak.

The people that I want to emulate are the people who continue to be true to their best selves while holding out a hand and open heart to help others find their own Holy Spirits. I want to also emulate the people who never stop working at being their best selves and solving problems, while always aware that their wills are not necessarily what will happen. I want people in my life who understand the The Spirit is infinite and everlasting and that our lifetimes are meant to nurture the Holy Spirit in ourselves and in others and leave the world a bit better than we found it. It is not to "fix" everything that we see as wrong while we are here.

For these reasons, I have returned to my faithful friends who have known my soul since I was a child. We still recognize the innocent Holy Spirit in each other and love to play together in the safety of each other's friendship. Along the way, I have found other "playmates" who can still see the Spirit of innocence, wonder, and hope in their own souls and those of others; these too have become parts of my newly innocent soul. What could be more healing than that?

Today is the last day of 2012, a particularly challenging year for my husband. We are stronger in our combined Spirit than we have ever been. Tomorrow we begin again in the light, love, and laughter of each other and our friends, as we attempt to do every day. Mazel Tov and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Pursuit of Passionate Perfection

How foolish human beings have been in discouraging human passion;
Positive channeling, I hope, will become the new religious fashion.
There are no feelings given us that can't be used for good,
If we simply use our human sense, as we always should.

Passionate people have an extra spark that is Divine intensity;
Their passionate pursuits portend who they are meant to be.
Our job as parents is to help our children to define
The best use of the natural gifts to which they are inclined.

A child who can't for long sit still, may one day fight fires;
Another who tells great stories, may attract a product's buyers.
One who laughs much, may work with the ill, lightening the mood.
Even the rage of an abused child can be channeled for other's good.

Who will sing the songs of joy and pain that we all feel
If we silence the voices of those who can help us heal?
Who will chase the babies as they run from us in glee
If  we've killed the wind in the sails of the children who ran free?

Who will scare away bullies when the vulnerable are attacked
If we take away the honor in the righteous fighting back?
How many drugs are used putting our passions to sleep
Instead of channeling them into endeavors we need to keep?

I write because no one any longer wants to hear my voice;
But to keep my thoughts silent, I do not have that choice.
The dancer must express emotion with a twirl and a dip,
Or capsize under the weight like a too-fully laden ship.

The cook must cook, the quilter quilt, the singer continue to sing,
Not only for others' pleasure, but for the release it brings.
There are always people to be protected by those who fight;
Let us help to channel the rage that turns injustices into right.

There are those who think they're super-heroes in their fantasies;
These dreams can be turned toward treating and curing disease.
There is no passion that cannot be turned to the pursuit of perfection;
It is time that we squelch the fears that lead to The Spirit's rejection.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Passionate Perfection

When I was young there were rules for everything, from how to draw a tree to how to be me.
When I had children, the rules had been changed; a tree looked like what my child could see.
I learned to look at life through the lenses of my children and the children they brought home;
I felt that by allowing them such freedom of expression, they would not be tempted to roam.

As they grew and sprouted their own wings, I blessed the wind beneath them.
Our relationships evolved at this time, from parent and children to friends.
I was honored to be included in their circles of parenting communities;
The memories of these sacred times, will from my soul, never be freed.

There is nothing in life so sacred as to be trusted as a mother,
With whom is shared the care and nurturing of the child of another.
I am so very fortunate that the man with whom I now live
Had stored up so much fatherly love that he was happy to give.

There is a saying that the most precious gift a father can give a child
Is the love that protects mother's body and soul to feel safe from the wild.
I have had the privilege of helping mother many who aren't my own,
Through the grace of my loving husband sharing our peaceful home.

We are now a childless couple for the first time in our marriage;
This new way of living as a couple, we will not ever disparage.
Our children and grands are grown; our parents are all deceased
Our primary responsibilities to others have long-since ceased.

We have freedom to plan adventures without concern for others,
And enjoy each others' antics like carefree sisters and brothers.
While it is true that I still long for the sweetness of baby slobbers,
I wouldn't trade the memories we're making for any of the others.

This is the joy of having our lives led by our Holiest Spirits;
The Voice is free to whisper and shout until we are able to hear it.
Some hear the Voice in church, others walking in the woods;
We know that it is The Sacred when it leads us to share in good.

So paint me a purple tree, if this is what your soul sees;
Kick a speeding soccer ball as hard as you may please;
Twirl like a whirling dervish, if it helps you to express
Your passionate gratitude through which we are all blessed.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Throne in Her Home

I have probably offended some who believe it is sacrilege to have scripture next to a toilet.
Knowing my friend, she'll share Christianity wherever she can get anyone to quietly sit.
She seems to find joy in all the parts of the circles in life, probably even in defecation;
The beginnings, the middles, the end products are all opportunities for celebration.

This is a woman who talks to her plants and feeds them homemade compost.
All who are loved by her are sure that they are certainly loved the most.
She's a teacher with a sense of personal joy whenever any student "gets" it.
Who'd have ever thought that her serenity and my seeking would be a good fit?

Her faith is like breadcrumbs left along her life's circuitous path;
She always seems quite sure that we'll finally "get" it, at last.
Who else would have thought to leave theology next to "the throne?"
This is one of the ever-joyful surprises in visiting her home.

Why Did "God" Make Me?

While at friend's house, I observed next to her guest room toilet, a compilation of quotes from the writings of C.S. Lewis. I have never been able to get into C.S. Lewis, as his writings always seemed to me so out of touch with the world of dirty diapers and other realities in which sexual, physical beings live. I didn't have a lot of time to peruse his words of monkish wisdom, but I absorbed an entry where he contended that we are made, not to love God, but for God to love us. This is in direct opposition to what I was taught as a pre-Vatican II Roman Catholic kid.

The Roman Catholic Baltimore Catechism that I had to memorize before I could receive "The Body of Christ" in Holy Communion, stated unequivocally, "God made me to show His goodness, for me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to make me happy with Him in the next." How can these two diametrically opposed viewpoints both be called Christian?

Can any two interpretations of our mission on earth be more different? We want to believe that all "others" are not our neighbors or our "brothers", and yet we don't take the time to really know each other.  Perhaps we should stop and ask people their meaning of their "God" before we assume we're in agreement (or disagreement). Or even better, watch them to see how they exemplify their special gift of being made in God's image and we'll see who they see as their God.

I became interested in the definition of the word theology after reading this and speaking with her husband who has taught classes in the subject. This led me to research the many names by which people of different times and faiths refer to "God." In Judeo-Christian theology alone, there are hundreds of sacred names for "God." The Koran has ninety-nine names for the same Abrahamic Divine Being as Judeo-Christians worship. It seems obvious to me that The Divine appears differently to different people at different times. What I look for in others is responsible compassion; then I feel like I am looking into the face of Divine Light.

My friend has said that it makes her sad that she and I don't share a same language for our beliefs. She and I share our commitment to responsible compassion in action. Isn't this enough to make us sisters in The Spirit?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

After Christmas Crash

All the emotion stirred up by the condensed good-will of "The Holidays" is enough to make me crazy. I feel like there's an electric current constantly running through my heart and head, and no grounding of grandchildren to absorb the extra energy. Where does one put the love when there are no little ones to hold?

I thought that I had done so well this Christmas, limiting our gift giving to only those with whom we have an active relationship, and carefully spacing our events with downtime in between them. I felt good about seeing other families with starry-eyed children taking photos in front of the casino Christmas display. I was at peace with leaving our son's family gift on his stepmother's doorstep to be given to him and his family when he arrived at their family Christmas celebration. I vicariously enjoyed our daughter's family Christmas through facebook and phone calls. Richard and I are still in love. What could make for a better season of gratitude for our blessings?

It all came tumbling together during the day after. The friend I've had for longer than any other lost her next-door-neighbor to suicide by drug overdose on the day before Christmas Eve. His fiance lost her husband last April and is being put out of her home by her former step-daughter. My friend is a yoga instructor, which gives her a source of great inner peace, but the studio is closed for the holidays. We spent the morning comforting each other over a buffet breakfast. It is so nice to have somebody who has known our hearts since before we went to grade school.

On the way home from breakfast, I heard from my son's stepmother. She regaled me with what a wonderful Christmas her family had at her beautiful waterfront home, in front of her fireplace, with the many generations all together in celebration. I was thrilled for all of them and was salivating over her description of the Beef Wellington her oldest son had made. As an aside, she mentioned that my son's family gift from us was mistakenly given to somebody else. My visions of their surprise and joy when they were opening it were dashed.

The bulkhead began to crack in the car on the way to shop for tomatoes for Richard's sandwiches I fix him for lunch at his beloved PT boat. When Richard got home from the boat, I calmly explained the phone call from my son's stepmother, and my wonderful knight in shining armor simply went over to her house to retrieve the unwrapped gift. Meanwhile, I heard from my sister-in-law calling from Austria and a very good friend that I haven't seen in a couple of years who is coming to town in a week. My emotional boat had become overloaded and taking on too much water. I was quickly sinking. I had to bail out some of that ballast. By the time Richard returned, I simply couldn't stop sobbing.

Bless his compassionate heart, he re-wrapped and re-delivered the gift without a word about how unreasonable I was being. Love doesn't have a reason, and I wish people didn't save up so much for such a short, intense season.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

My Perception of Positive Power

A friend once told me, when I bemoaned being an eternal child of god because I want to be an adult of god, that this is not something for which one wishes. I do wish that all of us would strive for that, as I'm tired of all eternal children of anyone. Children simply follow or subvert their leaders; adults struggle with leaders to become part of the leadership team. In a broken world, we often look for heroes to rescue us; in my vision of "the earth as it is in heaven", we seek to become parts of a heroic team.

I am often amazed that so many act as if their god is too delicate to handle a good sparring session with a fully formed adult. When I thought my daughter was going to die, leaving behind two girls of god that my daughter had been so carefully grooming to be women of god, I was furious with her god. What the Hell was "he" thinking?! Maybe I should have been born male and Jewish because it seems to me that the rabbis of the Jewish scriptures freely wrestle with their god. My daughter only seemed sad.

I have been very angry with The Higher Power more times than I can count. I figure the The Higher Power has bigger "shoulders" than any person I've ever known, and can take my doubt and disapproval better than can any of my earthly loved ones. The Almighty will never go away and take the suppressed anger out on others more vulnerable. At least, this is the image I have of my Almighty Energy.

Some find fault with my inability to limit my manifestation of "god" to that of a male. I also don't see The Almighty as female. I see The Almighty as encompassing all things, male, female, and inert matter. I see The Almighty as The Eternal Energy that we have the ability to affect the course of, but not the final outcome, of  eternity. I choose to believe that the more adult my acceptance of responsibility for direction of the other energies I encounter, the more positive effect I have on the course of Eternity.

I choose to believe that the final outcome will be positive power, and that each of us has the ability to affect how long the path to get there takes.

Christmas Love and Laughter

What a wonderful Christmas we had with a dearest and oldest friend.
His wife was out-of town, though her spirit she did send.
He had said he'd have Christmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant.
I decided to be Ghost of Christmas Past, and our friend to haunt.

We spent Christmas Eve in his lovely B&B by the beach;
A restful night seems to be had by all and each.
Coffee in the morning discussing this and that,
While we were entertained by antics of their cats.

Then off to the casino buffet, where cocktails were free;
If I had known this, I would not have ordered tea.
Our friend ended up eating Chinese from the buffet;
This led to discussing our favorite movie for Christmas Day.

Though I'd requested that we spend the evening with his train,
We decided to watch "A Christmas Story" once again.
It was so much better watching with Richard and our friend
The laughter in their shared memories, I wished would never end.

Shared laughter is the greatest blessing shared among us;
It seems to take a very deep level of mutual trust.
We share memories that open our hearts to our childhoods.
How could this not put all friends in a sacred mood?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry F---ing Christmas

Dear Yvette,
If you think it appropriate, please send to Gail and the others, with or without my attached note from last year.  This moved me deeply when it came around on your blog last Christmas.
Love and best wishes

Dear Gayle,
Blessings on Bruce and all your family, from another military family who deeply appreciates his service, and all the others as well.
Mary Galbraith

Merry F---ing Christmas

From Bruce Nolan (the son of our group's Gayle) who was proudly serving our country while away from his own family on Christmas 2011 (He's safely home with his family now):

all across the world
in the mountains, deserts, plains, cities, and waters
of the Middle East,
in the Horn of Africa,
Northern Africa,
across Europe,
in remote outposts in the Pacific,
in the Caribbean,
across South America
even in the U.S. ...

Tonight, as Soldiers stand duty behind a machine gun,
Tonight, as Sailors stand watch on a bridge,
Tonight, as Airmen fly patrol in aircraft,
Tonight, as Marines ride in convoys,
Tonight, as Servicemembers, wherever we are,
one will turn to the other,
and say with all bitterness
Merry F---ing Christmas

Deep down,
we are thinking of our loved ones,
our friends,
our families,
those we don't even know,
that are home,
with friends,
in their house,
surrounded by comforts,
enjoying Holiday parties,
some will miss us dearly,
some only know who we are.
We miss them...
we also know that they can enjoy the comfort of home
because we are here.
Deployed, fighting, maintaining presence,
so that you can be home safe.
We are here, so you can be there.

And that makes us proud.
Proud to know that behind each of us,
is a country of grateful people,
who honor what we do.
Proud to know that behind each of us,
there is someone at home wishing we were there
but knowing we serve a higher purpose.
There may be those against us,
but there are so many more behind us.
They they can enjoy where they are
because we are here.

So tonight,
I say to you all,
from the bottom of my heart,
Merry f---ing Christmas.
And I mean it.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Holiday Hangover

I don't know how many people do it, party heartily for days on end;
I seem to have a happiness hangover after only two days with good friends.
My godchild crooned at House of Blues, while family and friends celebrated;
Then on we went to a party whose cheer can't be on the joy scale rated.

There were people we hadn't seen since the last the world was set to end;
This was when we all got together to party into the new millennium.
Our hostess admitted when the world ends, whatever our chances,
She plans to go out as she and her lover/husband share dances.

The next day I spent with my oldest of friends and her aged father;
It is such fun to assist her as she is the perfect caretaker/daughter.
We sit at her mother's table and share childhood memories;
Her father, like a favorite uncle, I never miss a chance to tease.

Richard joined us and made a fine salad to accompany our cooking;
This certainly beats the buffet that, for Christmas, we are booking.
A great part of the holidays spirit for me is sharing the preparation
Leading up to the family and friends coming together for celebration.

Sharing in a loved one's tasks is the way that I make friends;
I am honored when those I admire feel that I have skills to lend.
Sacred Sunday I spend with my husband remembering how we're blessed;
His quiet demeanor is what I need because I'm overly blessed, I confess.

Tomorrow we get up and go again, to lunch with a favorite family;
Then on to a Mississippi Gulf Coast casino, Holiday on Ice to see.
We'll wake up Christmas morning, waddle through a casino buffet.
Playing in our friend's train room will wrap up our Christmas Day.

I love merry making for the Christmas season, but I will be happy
When the pace of life doesn't include constant shared hilarity.
While it is nice to create memories, I like time to process;
I can only save the memories with time between to rest.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Happy Holy Days

The holiest time I can remember is when I knew about Baby Jesus, but knew nothing of his persecution and death. I was much more concerned about making poor Baby Jesus cry by my being bad than I have ever been about going to hell because my sins contribute to Jesus' need to die. Love for a vulnerable infant motivates many of us to do things that we never dreamed possible. Just ask any sleep-deprived parent.

I prefer the way religion is taught today to the shame that was the basis for all the old interpretations of the Bible. Who wouldn't want to be invited to a picnic with Jesus and his joyous bunch of Jews? Imagine how happy they must have all been to be told that they have a second chance, and a third, and a fourth to become permanent parts of the branches of this vibrant vine?

Jesus seemed to have a different slant on the ways of his creator. What happened to all the brilliant light of joy, love and breaking bread together that he left behind?

 I'd much prefer to daily have a birthday party for the innocent baby than to spend my life mourning over what he chose to do for us at the end of his short time on earth. I can't see Jesus smiling, except in the faces of those who feel loved by others. These should be the Christmas lights that we attempt to ignite with every communication we have with every human we encounter.

Happy Holy Days every day of the year, beginning with the birth of a baby born in poverty and shame, who still found it in his heart to love and laugh with all he met.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

An American Creed is What We Need

America's greatness is it's a melting pot,
Not only figuratively, but literally.
Our colors, our creeds, and our cuisines
Mirror what humanity is meant to be.

In the true America, we're encouraged
To share our ideas and recipes.
Neighbor to neighbor, we become one,
Exchanging successes and sympathies.

We cannot listen to the many fear-mongers
Who pretend that separation is what we need.
These great big voices are paid for
By corporations with their immense greed.

Corporations and crowds have no consciences;
People become swept up in fearful passion.
We'll not succeed in creating heaven on earth
Until community compassion comes into fashion.

Perhaps we should all take lessons from the Girl Scouts of America

The Girl Scout Promise (Paraphrased)
On my honor, I will try:To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the American Law.
The Girl Scout Law
I will do my best to behonest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
and torespect myself and others,
respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a neighbor to every American.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Holy in Humanity

Remember those bracelets with "What Would Jesus Do?"
Is the absolute answer known by even a few?
Should we ask ourselves, instead, how I would respond
If I saw Jesus' Spirit in people of whom I'm not fond?

What if Jesus was the beggar standing on the street?
Would I take him to a restaurant for a bite to eat?
Or would I combine my resources with the homeless inn,
Where he may find a shower, meal, and perhaps a friend?

Jesus carried the same burdens as we, being human;
He, too, drew comfort from being with his friends.
His example is of community seeking common good,
Looking past outward appearances, as we all could.

One thing that set Jesus apart in his life on earth
Was his bravery in standing for the soul's rebirth.
He insisted in seeing past the sin into the sinner's heart,
And inviting all he met to make a new start.

He left his Sacred Spirit to a group of three thousand,
Asking that they share his mission with all humans.
If we have the Holy Spirit in us, we will see
The same Spirit is in all of this earth's humanity.

It is unfortunate that so many hide behind drugs
Because they have no faith in the healing of hugs.
We may find The Holy Spirit in the eyes of pain,
If we continue looking for it again and again.

When a soul opens up, if only for a minute,
We may connect with The Spirit that's within it.
It is important that we relate to others face-to-face
To share The Holy Spirit with the whole human race.

Saints don't work alone, but with communities of others,
Combining their gifts with those of sisters and brothers.
They help hold each other onto the committed path,
Rotating their leaders from first position to last.

Even the strongest and swiftest need time to rest,
And the slowest need to strive to be their very best.
Our communities must include the weak and the strong;
On the path of Holiness, all of our gifts belong.

We are all called to be shepherds, not merely sheep;
Our connections to The Spirit run long and deep.
Celebration, not suffering, is the way to draw others in;
Success in sharing The Spirit makes the best of friends.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"Poor Pagans" and Happy Holy Days

Whether we are Christians, Jews, or Atheists, we are all in awe of the power of light. This is the season for celebrating the miracle of light coming to us out of the darkness. In this holy season, Christians celebrate, not only the light of the sun, but the lightening of the burdens on our Spirits from our ancestral inheritance. We are told that we are no longer slaves to the mistakes of our fathers and mothers and all who came before them. We have been given a new beacon of The Spirit to guide us in creating our own chosen paths in The Eternal Light. Eternal, freely given, Divine Light is the reason for the season.

In taking all the focus of our holy days off of their original "pagan" (actual meaning is country dweller) meanings, we have lost sight of our Divine connection to our earth. The country dwellers I know and love, while most proudly proclaim their Christian religion, are very aware and in awe of the cycles of nature. It is a tragedy of immense proportions that so many modern humans have never anxiously awaited the sunlight after a long period of darkness. So many have never sought relief from the heat while sitting on the cool grass in the shade of a tree. So many have never dipped cool, sweet water pouring directly out of the earth from a mountain spring.

We have lost our connection to the earth. If we were to nurse a calf from gestation to adulthood, looking into his or her trusting eyes, would we not comfort him as we poured out the bull's life blood to give our families food? Would we not honor every drop of milk provided by the swollen udders of the crying cow? Would we not be in awe of the cycle that turns light, dirt, water and seed into grass, and finally into meat and milk? We've lost this with industrial agriculture. At least Kosher killing is purported to be humane.

I miss my my "pagan" friends when we're away from them. They have brought me back to the true meaning of life and Divinity. They have introduced me to the rich smell of a barn filled with garden-enriching manure, and the joy of a hand-hewn wood fire embracing me with warmth and light, as we break the depression of darkness of winter in each other's homes. They have allowed me to participate in the gathering of eggs from under their house-pet hens, and the fun of fertilizing a garden with what we scraped out of the hen's house.

We've watched them fell trees, mill their own lumber, and build houses with their own hands. We've walked the two hundred steps to the spring to bring back to the house a day's drinking water. Our "pagan" friends have shared secrets of waiting and preservation of today's good for tough times that are bound to come. They have regenerated my belief that life's greatest blessing is shared work in an environment that honors the natural cycles of nature, including each other. They have shared the immense faith it takes to keep working and patiently waiting.

I miss the sweet, cold water that comes out of our mountain ground and the eyes of the alpacas grazing at the bend in the road. I miss the dappled, weak winter light filtering through the immense hardwood trees. I miss the daily miracle of wood fires burning in our homes.Mostly, I miss the love and laughter than lightens all of our loads as we take life as it comes, good and bad, and make the most of it.

"Pagan" life isn't for sissies, and it is certainly not for those without The Holy Spirit to help them turn pain and pressure into production and light into life. Divinity is on this sweet, sad, sunny, stormy earth, in every morsel of creation. We simply need to learn to look for The Spirit and honor The Holy in all Their manifestations.

What is worship other than honor and awe in the Great Goodness that many call "God?" Perhaps the people we were taught to call "the poor pagans" weren't really worshiping many gods in all of nature; perhaps they were simply worshiping the Divine in each of the various manifestations in nature. Perhaps they aren't so "poor" as long as they can live off the land and The Light. What is wealth other than the ability to take a productive part in the miracles of life? City Christians have a lot to learn from the "poor pagans."

Jesus seems to have lived and died in honor of this life-style; this is why I consider him the Christ that I continue to attempt to emulate, usually with spotty success. I do celebrate his birth and life because I believe my soul would be dead without the love of others who walk in his example. Mostly, I celebrate the light of love than his Holy Spirit and those who follow his lead leave on earth to light the loads of others.

Happy Holy Days, whatever you may call your particular days of awe in the miracles of life-giving light that surround us on this earth.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Claims to Christianity

We are told that there are 2.1 billion Christians in the world, making Christianity the world's largest religion. But how many of these "Christians" were brought to The Annointed's way by The Spirit and how many of them by fear of the sword?

Gayle wrote in her blog today about the 3,000 devout Jews who were gifted with assurance of the fire of The Holy Spirit on the Jewish holy day of Pentecost. They went forth and spread the joy that they had received with this graced group. 3,000 people on fire with joy and compassion for others would be a powerful force, but given the size of the world, it would take a long time for the new Fruits of Their Spirits to spread to all corners.

As seems to be the case with all groups since the dawn of humanity, competition set in. There became a contest to claim the conversion of the most souls. This competition was made greater by the conquering  of the Muslim world, at the point of a sword, for "Christ." I don't believe these were true conversions because they were not conversions by The Holy Spirit that moves from one to another, bringing joy. They were false conversions by fear.

We have continued to "claim" souls for "Christ," using methods that Jesus himself condemned during the hours before his own death. We must stop the race to bring others around to our ways in our own small lifetimes. We must strengthen our own resolve and faith to be able to continue to walk in The Spirit and hold ourselves and children fast to our beliefs, even if the world around us rejects us as "odd."

Only by reclaiming "Christianity" as a people of peaceful passion and compassion will we continue to "Be fruitful and multiply" the fire of The Holy Spirit for our generation and all that follow us. All who live in the light of The Holy Spirit are parts of the true Annointed One (The Christ), which I believe is actually all the people of The Spirit. "I am the vine, you are the branches" applies to all of these people from the beginning of time, no matter what "religion" they claim, or that has claimed them.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Civilized Society

The greatest tragedy in safety being breached in schools and churches is the destruction of the temples that we hold up as standards for protection of our society's innocent and vulnerable. Many children have nobody else to love them and make them feel that they are individually special.

When we look into the eyes of those who truly love us, we see a reflection of our own souls. Each one of us is "special" in the eyes of those who love us. This is not necessarily the look in the eyes of those who find us fascinating or fun, but in the eyes of those who really know us with all our weaknesses and wonders and fully love us from the inside out.

It was in third grade that I first felt special, not simply one of a pesky brood of nine. My teacher, Mrs. Bourgeois hand wrote on my report card that I was "sweet". I had never been called "sweet" before; I began to try very hard to live up to her belief in me. The teachers in my life were my emotional and spiritual salvation. All children are vulnerable, and so are their teachers and caregivers, by the act of putting the children in their care before themselves.

There are many in our society who have such injured or deadened souls that they are incapable of compassion. Some were born drug addicted or otherwise unloved before birth; some have had their souls destroyed by violence or neglect; some have deadened themselves with drugs. We cannot "cure" these people, as their capacity for loving and being loved is dead. We can only seek to contain them. We must protect the innocent from their wrath.

The mark of a civilized society, in my opinion, is how the strong band together to protect the vulnerable. It seems to me that we need less grandpas on the golf courses and more men in our school yards to keep our children and teachers from becoming prey.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

This Little Light

Always remember that the light of a person's life, no matter how short that life, burns forever in the souls of all that were touched by that person. We should never seek "closure" on memories of our beloveds; our memories are their eternal light that we will pass on to others. Even children that die before birth, when joyfully anticipated, create an eternal spark in the parents that will never be extinguished.

I believe that the tragedy in our civilization is the rush to put aside pain because it makes those seeing it feel helpless in its face. How often do we tell people to simply "go on" with their grief instead of holding them in our arms while they weep?

When my mother-in-law was dying, nobody would admit we were losing her physical self. All the platitudes in the world about her being in a better place when she died did nothing to fill the empty spots where her large loving arms had enfolded me, where her great laughter had filled my ears, where my eyes had connected with her huge heart. I even missed the smell of her when she woke up to go to work.

How much greater the pain must be when we lose a person who was once actually a part of our own bodies.These are the physical wounds that nobody seems to see or feel. Our arms, eyes, noses, and ears are hurting. Only our memories can salve the pain.

When I'm walking in my garden of memories, I can feel, taste, touch, hear, and see my loved ones. The greatest thing a friend can do when I'm in grief is to walk through my memories with me, no matter how many times I revisit the same site. How lonely it is to forever walk in one's memories alone.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Fully Functional Families

A friend in Coker Creek has Alzheimer's disease and mixes her present with her past. She's cared for by a combination of family members and visiting home health professionals, and obviously feels and is greatly loved. When I visit with her at her mother's home, she asks about her long-deceased daddy, insisting that she's seen him that very morning and has even played jokes on him.

She doesn't know that her sister with whom she lives is a relative, and believes that her mother is her granny. She seems happy in her child's world. How much more peaceful this must be than attempting to understand the changes that have transpired in her seventy-six years on earth. We are told that we should all have faith like that of a child. Maybe it comes from having loving family and friends with great faith and fun to share.

Another friend has a middle-aged son with schizophrenia, a genetic condition that must be carefully medicated for him to be functional. His mother is diligent in arranging for his medical care. She lost her husband a few years ago, and her son has become the man of her home. Between he and his nephew, whom his mother also raised, the two men manage to carry on the good neighbor traditions and values that were handed down from their patriarch. My friend provides home, hearth, and humor. They all seem to be greatly blessed.

A friend, who has since moved away from Coker Creek, has a grown son with Down's Syndrome.  Her husband's work has transferred the family many times to many places. When she and her family moved into Coker Creek, she told me that they had never been made more welcome by any community. Even though the only family they had in the area was their church family, they were never without respite care for themselves and their son.

It's a joy to be among people who have their lives paced in such a way as to be able to care for their friends and family members who are, in some manner, infirm. Where are we all racing in our efforts to "get ahead?" What values are being preserved in the anonymous masses of isolated citizens in most of our cities? Were humans really meant to be warehoused and watched over by police instead of being brought up in closely committed communities?

We disrespect those who care for, feed, and teach our young and infirm by paying them wages that we would not accept. Is there any compensation great enough for the absorption of another's Sacred Spirit? This is what those who care for others with love are sharing. Even saints need food, clothing, and shelter for themselves and their families. They should not have to beg for fair compensation because we don't want to admit our great need for them. We seek to make them vulnerable by underpaying them, when it would be to our benefit to do all we can to empower them.

Adam and Eve refused to admit that they needed the Elder of Their Community's guidance, and Cain refused to admit her could share in full community with his brother. We continue to deny that we need the faith and family of those who came before and know our needs, as well as committed community, in order to develop fully functional families and souls. When will we ever learn?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Faith-Filled Friends

A friend and I were once talking about how people handle death and dying issues. I mentioned that people of faith seem to handle death better than those without strong beliefs. His answer was, "People of faith believe that whatever happens, they will be okay."  I guess that really sums up the way people of faith approach all of life. How wonderful it is to watch people who walk in the glow of their God. How much better it is for me when they invite me to walk along with them.

I believe that building faith is like building a fire. An ember can glow for years without burning out, and is always available to help generate fire when called upon with breath and substance to create light. I am blessed by having many people in my life who live lives aglow with the Divine Light given to humanity as a special gift. While their own lights may often be silently burning embers, the energy generated when any two get together blazes with a glorious faith-fire.

While south Louisiana seems to always be burning with wild, passionate faith and fantasy, the faith in Coker Creek seems to be more of a patiently waiting warmth. It is pure joy for me to touch these quietly passionate people and have all of our joy join together in celebration and sharing of our gifts. Sometimes I feel like we're all Tinker Bells touching others with our magic wands, and bringing all we touch to light up with laughter and other signs of love.

While it is wonderful to have faithful friends, the rewards are so much greater when they are also faith-filled friends. The bonds that are formed when we share our faith-based feelings live on in others even after the deaths of our earthly bodies. On our last trip to Coker Creek, I reassured Mountain Mama that she'd never be dead as long as I live because I am making a point of absorbing as much of her Sacred Spirit as I can while she's alive. She has touched so many lives in her ninety-three years that I suspect, like the mother of Jesus, all generations will call her blessed.

I just hope that I don't cause her to feel that I'm sucking out her soul. I like to think that Richard brings her some comfort and I bring her some joy. I hope our friendship creates a positive energy that will outlive all of us.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Appalachian Artists

Where does one begin with describing a bit of heaven on earth? Our recent visit to Coker Creek was filled with more Divine moments than I can count, and not only because most of the people there are so religious.

I firmly believe that all the arts come from a depth in our spirits that we cannot express any way but through our artistic endeavors. I also believe that all of us have some art in our souls, and that anything that brings others to a peaceful or painful plane in our consciousness is art. For this reason, I have spent most of my adult life pursuing artists of one medium or another. I have sought to bask in the depths of their spirits.

It is a great honor to me when artistic friends ask for my participation in their art, even if it is simply planning a party for a showing of their works. I have been privileged to name, publish, promote, and purchase some of the artistic expressions of many talented people. My life-long dream has been to host an artists' salon for the energy that I feel creating a scared space with their combined sensibilities. The recent visit to Our Tennessee Mountain Home came close to realization of that dream, if only for a couple of days.

My second book of Our Tennessee Mountain Home blog entries is in print, and a new friend has moved her old gallery to a new location in Coker Creek. As is my usual speed, I took the opportunity to sign Richard up for some work for a friend.

My new friend Stephanie is creating a working co-op gallery for Appalachian artists, including weavers. I signed Richard on with Ralph, the builder of many of the weaving looms in Coker Creek, to help this happen in her gallery space. I then enlisted Jack to do a dual book signing with me. This led to Ralph's songbird wife Wanda, and her cousin Shirley, singing at an open house where Wanda could also promote her new CD. Mary brought in Don's wood burning work, and The Monroe County Buzz covered it all. We had a wonderful time.

I later spent an entire afternoon with a great group of artists working together as Mountain Pine Needlers, the Coker Creek chapter of Quilts for Kids. The co-chairs Bonnie Soucy, Donna Powers, and Delight House (called collectively by me Bonnie PowerHouse) lead this talented bunch of beauties in creating quilts for kids in crisis. Many of these women are multi-talented artists who have also declared interest in participating in Stephanie's "salon."

Visions of Josie's wearable objects de art, Mary making stained glass, Mountain Mama and her friends Esther and Edna weaving away the winter doldrums, Judy, Judi, and Judy painting perfect pictures, Don wood burning, and Robert and Mark making bows are dancing through my head. Maybe Donna, and Anita will give quilting classes. Perhaps Bonnie will teach us to replicate her purses and Tina will weave baskets. MarySue is making me some custom ornaments.We even have our own policeman Adam to keep us all feeling safe, as long as we can convince Eda to keep us in cookies to feed him.

Even without snow, Coker Creek was my version of a winter wonderland.