Friday, November 30, 2012

And Mary's Kept These Things In Her Heart...

   When the Prophet at the temple told Mary that a sword would pierce her heart, that her Son would be the downfall of all Israel, the Gospel at that points says Mary held all these things in her heart.
   When Mary did this, how did she not get an ulcer? 
   As a mom, there are so many things I am concerned about with my kids as they grow older; finding jobs, finding a good spouse. Most of these things I pray about and put in God's hands. But you know, if you are a mom, sometimes the worries wake you up in the middle of the night no matter how hard you have tried to put them in God's hands. Seriously.
   Did Mary ever wake up worrying in the middle of the night? Did she ever get an upset stomach wondering if Jesus was okay wherever He was that night in some other town among people who were plotting against Him? Even though she was without sin, she was still a mom and would have been at least concerned about Him?
   Was she able to trust God so much that these things didn't bother her in the least? I have a long way to go as a mom. I try so very hard but maybe my personality gets in the way, that whole control freak thing. Maybe Mary was a very different type personality, one that didn't worry as much as I do. So as I sit here typing I keep trying to look to her to guide my mom ways, to emulate the way she could put everything in God's hands. Meanwhile, pass the Tums...


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Civility Week 48, Nov. 25, 2012

Wherever the Bible has been consistently applied it has dramatically changed the civilization and culture of those who have accepted its teaching. No other book has ever so dramatically changed the individual lives and society in general.  John Fl. Walvoord

   There is no mistaking, no matter what our media or portions of our government lead us to believe, Christianity has brought civilization to America.  Other belief systems and faiths may do that too, but I say Christianity first and foremost because one of the main tenets of our faith as Christians is to love one another.  We are called as Christians to first love each other, and then settle our differences. 

   The rules of a civilized nation depend upon this Christian tenet of loving each other and it’s this belief in this “rule” that creates a civilized society.  It’s what keeps us from lawlessness, it helps create rules that protect people, especially those who cannot protect themselves.

   A civilized society believes in putting others first. This is why our nation has always been so good about reaching out to help the poor, those hurt or displaced by tragedy or disaster. It’s Christianity that preaches and teaches protecting women and children, why Christian men put themselves between their families and danger, why a Christian mother will go to any length to protect her child.

   If you read or watch too much of the media, you would begin to worry about civilization in our country. But I would admonish you to take a closer look. Come to our church, our food pantry, our church services. We are a helping religion.  Christianity builds in each of us a want, no, a need to put others first, to want to help.  Rare is the case where you see someone shrink away from a task at hand when they see a true need. Look at the outpouring of helpful hands after natural disasters, the number of people who volunteer as firemen, who work as nurses, etc. 

   Christians have always been persecuted. If you look at their true nature you would have to scratch your head and wonder why, why do people make fun or despise Christian acting people? Are they worried about becoming too civilized?  Christianity is a wake up call to look inside ourselves, to not become selfish, self centered.  Is that what persecutors are afraid of? Looking inside themselves?

   So we are called to fight the good fight, keep the faith and be civil doing it!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Civility Week 47, Nov.19, 2012

Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness…I just hold it together in a civil way!  Anonymous

Ah…the year is winding down. Didn’t we just get started a few months ago? I’m taking a deep breath as we head into the Christmas season. And I don’t even mean the shopping. When you work in a church office, the only other season that rivals the Christmas season for crazy, busy, insanity is Easter week!

So in these final days of my Civility Project, I thought this quote was apropos.  Since I am still working hard on maintaining a certain level of civility towards all mankind, especially when reading about the lack of it in the news, and in politics, it’s enough to make you lose your nice self.

So when people think I’m being a pushover because I’m smiling, they just don’t know the whole story! Honestly I’m still working on the smiling part too.

But there are good people in the world.  Truly…they just don’t make it in the news or get their smiling faces splashed all over the internet because they are still being nice people.  I think the world would have been long gone before now if there still weren’t nice people in it. I always think of the reading where Abraham asks God if there are 50 righteous people in the city of Sodom will God not destroy it?

And he gets God down to ten people. So if God won’t destroy a town because even just ten good people are in it, that means I need to be at least one of the ten in my town. So keep going on the civility and smiles.

Wars have been in our history, bad governments, people doing stupid or horrible things. But God calls us to keep going on despite it all because He is always there. It’s us that do the leaving, the quitting, the complaining about how hard life is.  He truly made it easy for us to follow Him. It’s when we are tempted by the devil to give into selfishness that we mess up again.

So when I say I forgive you for pulling out in front of my car, flipping me off because you are angry about something,  I can be civil about it.  It doesn’t mean I’m weak…in fact it means I’m strong, strong enough to resist the urge to lash out at your lack of manners or sense of fairness. I am strong because I believe in a God of forgiveness and if He can forgive all my mess ups, I have to try to forgive yours too!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Shout Out! Happy 30th Anniversary Honey!!!

Civility Week 46, November 12, 2012

 All of civility depends on being able to contain the rage of individuals.
Joshua Lederberg

Maybe contain is a strong word; keep at bay, reduce to a minimum, reduce, because at any one moment in this world there are things that cause us to lose our cool, and yes, maybe even have some rage in our lives. There are times when it seems impossible to expect all of humanity to not be raging at something, especially when wars are going on, the weather has caused a multitude of problems as well as other human beings not acting so, well, human. 

The thing to remember, in working on our civility, is that trying counts. None of us is perfect. We don’t have to be perfect. We leave that to God. But we are asked to try to be better people, to work on being civil toward each other.

 I can’t help but think, that as a Catholic, reading and listening to the scriptures, that we are supposed to be focusing on that whole LOVE thing. Not the free love of sex with whomever, whenever, but the love of looking and listening to the world and knowing we are still on a journey to something better, that this is life is not all there is. 

We’re always being told that we need fame, fortune and we need it now. It is so easy to get sucked up in that pursuit. But I was listening to a Rascal Flatts tune last night called, “Mayberry” and it reminded me too of days not long ago when life was slower, stores weren’t open on Sunday, you could sit outside and listen to the crickets and not be interrupted by the sound of loud leaf blowers, lawn mowers or your neighbor’s car stereo.

Containing our rage or even just reducing it comes about by finding peace in our lives, having the strength to love everyone, and knowing that with all the bad things going on in our world, there is a better world we will enter someday. Look through your history books, people were always managing through horrible wars, leaders who went control crazy, people who made slaves of each other or debased them, hedonistic living. There were still people living with love and carrying on the spiritual aspects of life and helping others learn it.

Trying to be civil means holding on to that peace and happiness of knowing that God is always there. We always have Him to turn to even if elections don’t turn out the way we want or bad people abound and scare us, nature gets really crazy and destroys things.

Sometimes it’s remembering to be simple. To sit on your front porch and wave to people, sipping on an ice cold Cherry Coke, calling neighbors by their first name. Thanks Rascal Flatts!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Civility Week 45, November 5, 2012 Civility In Small Packages

Hebrews 13: 2   And do not forget to show entertain strangers, for by doing so some people have entertained angels without knowing it.

   Today, driving down a busy street, I had to slow down when I saw a car pulling out of a local hospital parking lot. The car had plenty of room before I approached, but even then I had to slow down because the driver was really being cautious.  Remembering my 45 weeks of practicing civility I slowed down without a heavy sigh, even though I was late picking up my daughter from her college class. I thought, here is a perfect opportunity to practice what I have been preaching. See it takes me a really long time to do this civility thing and I still have to remind myself that this should not be a big thing, but something that just happens all the time. But I digress.
   Anyway, the car moved on and I could see a man driving and someone else in the passenger seat. They didn’t quite drive at the speed limit and I found myself wondering if the passenger inside this car had just had surgery, a long stay in the hospital, or whatever since the driver was obviously being very careful in his driving manners.
   Then I saw it. A little upside down U-shaped handle in the back seat. Hmmm, it’s been a long time since I’ve had an infant car seat in my vehicle, but that certainly looked like the top of one. As we stopped at a light, I got close enough to see there was younger man driving the car, and a woman sitting in the back seat. They were talking animatedly about something or someone. I knew for sure then, they were bringing their baby home from the hospital, probably for the first time! There is something that new parents give off, a kind of happy force field even outside a car and says, “Hey, we have good news! A brand new baby in our car and boy are we nervous.”  As they approached the next intersection, the car slowed down and very carefully and made a right turn. I began to laugh as I recognized the over cautiousness of a brand new dad.  It brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful sight.
   Silently I congratulated this new family, going home for the first time all together. What joy they would experience in their small family now and all the firsts that a brand new baby brings. I wished them happiness and civility in their lives as they grow their family and teach their child about the world. God bless them!