Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Be a Helping Miracle

(Reprinted from my Slices of My Life blog at http://slicesofmylife. Blogspot.com)

You know, I don’t have a problem with ambulatory people. In fact, a lot of my closest friends are ambulatory. They are all welcome to use the mugs and plates in the upper kitchen shelves that I cannot reach, but could you please check back in a couple days, after I’ve had time to run your dishes through the dishwasher, to make sure that someone tall enough to replace those dishes has stopped by and done so? Otherwise the counters get cluttered with dishes that are too high for me to put away. I never use them, which is why they’re up high. There’s this one cup on my counter that someone got down a couple months ago and it’s still down. It keeps getting moved around the counter, but it’s still down. I’m ready to put a post-it on it now, asking for anyone who’s able to put it back up where it belongs. I think it’s been washed three times now since it was actually used. It’s beginning to be a bit of a game. 🙀

So, my ambulatory friends, when you’re visiting your wheelchair-bound friends, it would be really great if you could offer to do a few of those little things that they cannot do or would take ten times longer for them to do. It would mean a lot to them and would help them immensely. They might not feel comfortable asking for your help. Thank goodness I have a couple of friends who do this already. I keep hoping I’m not going to wear them out.

Most of the time when I ask for help, I feel like an annoying, dripping faucet. I used to be the person who helped people all the time. Now I’m the one who has to have help a lot. It wears you down. I mean it truly makes your soul weary to have to ask for help all the time. 

Count your ability to walk effortlessly as the huge blessing it is. It’s devastating to lose that ability even for a short time. Yes, eventually you adjust, and if you have unlimited funds, you can customize things. Plus, your upper body, if that part of you still works, gets really strong. I now have killer biceps, whereas, in my biking days, I had killer quads, calves, and glutes. 

If you haven’t lived it or been with someone who has, you probably wouldn’t think about all the ways people in wheelchairs have to figure out again how to do basic things. I know when I used to ride my bike to work near Seattle, I was shocked at how many curbs weren’t wheelchair accessible. I was delighted when King County changed that and went all out to alter every corner so people in wheelchairs could go out without someone strong to get them up and down the curbs. I bet most ambulatory people didn’t even notice. I’m not sure if it was my prescience that made me notice things like that or what. 

On my mountain bike, I just jumped the unramped curbs. Try that in a wheelchair and you’ll end up doing a face plant and not be able to jump up and pretend it didn’t happen. No, you’ll just be lying there, possibly bleeding, waiting for help. Me, I just don’t go out much. It’s too hard and too dangerous most of the time. What do I do if my motorized wheelchair breaks down? I do have a manual one but have you ever wheeled yourself around in one of those for hours on end? I wheeled myself around in one for hours on end for a couple of years. They’re slow, so crossing a busy street is scary, and they can break down too. Try bending a wheel and see how far you get. 

Not trying here to whine or complain. Just hoping to open a few eyes. There are people all around you who are in compromised health. Don’t wait to be asked for help. Offer willingly and with a smile, and if they say no the first time, make sure they really don’t need help. They might just be hesitant about accepting assistance. If they are still in an angry stage, they might push you away, but don’t judge. They have been through a lot and might not be willing yet to forgive the world for their current state.

Try to be a blessing wherever you go. No matter what your current ability or disability. You do have something to offer. I can’t do everything I used to do, and what I can do may take a really long time now, but I can do some things again. More things than a couple years ago. Hopefully two years from now, I’ll be doing much, much more. 

For now, I can write and read and edit. I can speak and listen. I can even do some housework. No, I can’t clean my house from top to bottom. Especially can’t clean the top of the house. But I can do some things. I may not have the strength to do a lot every day, but I keep trying to do more and get better at it. Much like anything else in the world. Do what you can to help others. You never know when you’ll be the miracle someone else needed.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Behold, Something New

"Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43:19 (NASB)

The words of this verse were brought to my attention via the melody of a song written decades ago by an artist named Phil Keaggy. I have a lot of his old CDs, which were purchased to replace the LPs and cassettes that had worn out from excessive use. I had pretty much forgotten about these CDs because I hadn't played them for a very long time, as in decades. Probably three of them.

I was a bit surprised when this song entered my head and refused to give way. I have learned through past experience to stop and pay attention when this happens, for it invariably indicates that heaven is sending me an ethereal message, a true e-mail. So I stopped and listened to the words being floated through my brain via this melodic blast from the past.

Okay, so God is informing me that He's going to do something new and I need to be aware of this new thing. According to the passage, God is going to make a "roadway in the wilderness and rivers in the desert," at least metaphorically. I know that Spirit often uses the language of symbols, so I am not looking for a literal roadway in the wilderness or rivers in the desert. So now I need either to unlock  the symbology or I need to wait for God to reveal this new thing He is about to do in His own time.

In order for this to be a "new thing," it will have to be something that hasn't occurred before, at least in my life since the message was sent to me. Of course, the message could have been sent to Joel Osteen as well since he recently put a different translation of the same verse on a bookmark and sent it to a gazillion people. Ahem. Coincidence? I think not. This is not a common verse, bandied about by people in football stadiums, as is the case with John 3:16. I read his mailer, and it didn't even mentioned the verse on the bookmark.  His message seemed to be more about God not being done working on us or through us. His word of encouragement felt more like a confirmation of the ethereal message that had already reached me via that old Phil Keaggy song. The real tell will be if the message is reiterated again in a way that is personal to me. You may think that God doesn't send personal messages to humans, but that is exactly what God does do in our lives, if we're paying attention.

I know some people don't believe in God, much less a God who has a personal interest in our lives. All I can say is that my experience tells me otherwise. I'm not a Christian mystic, who believes in angels, because it is a cool concept. I believe in God and angels because my life experience confirms their existence. You may think me a fool to believe in a personal God who dispatches angels to help and protect us on our life journeys, but I would have to be a fool not to believe after all that I have seen and heard. I have no need to convince you that I am right and you are wrong. Each of us has our own life experiences and our own interpretations of those life experiences. Who am I to judge your conclusions? I  think we each have to work this out on our own. We may argue cerebral concepts, but it's futile to argue against life experiences.

What new thing is God going to do in my life? I have no clue. My job right now is to pay attention, to watch for heaven's next move. Rest assured that I am on high alert, waiting for that other rather large shoe to drop. I'm awake in the midst of these dark times, but I am not merely awake. I am awake and watching with a purpose. I'm not merely experiencing metaphysical insomnia. I have already received word about what I need to be doing while I wait and watch, but that is another blog to be written another day. Namaste!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Duck, Duck, Goose!

Okay, so this blog should really be entitled "The Power of Music" or something like that. However, the title I gave it is more likely to get attention if only to see what kind of nonsense I'm up to today. This blog is about our feathered friends. It is a true story about a day I rode my bike to a nearby pond with a mini guitar I could carry easily on my back while I rode. When I arrived at my destination, I sat down next to the pond to relax and commune with nature for a bit. I didn't bring any food with me, and I had no agenda except to enjoy a pleasant day off work. What I didn't expect is that it would turn into an impromptu concert in the wild.

When I first sat down, I watched the ducks, geese, and a few swans paddling around the pond, as carefree as could be. They were no more interested in me that they were in the clouds drifting overhead in the blue sky. In a few seconds, all that would change. I pulled out my little guitar and starting playing and singing some of the songs I wrote long ago. I immediately noticed a change in the pond activity. All the waterfowl in the pond (and there were dozens of them), paddled over and formed an audience in a half circle in front of me. They stayed there until I stopped playing and singing after about a half hour. Then the crowd dispersed as suddenly as it gathered. All my feathered friends went about their business once again. I was in awe of the moment because it felt so holy. That's the only word I can find to describe it. It was so clear in that moment, that we were all one. We were all God's creatures. Every last one of us.

Although the birds didn't join in and sing with me (they didn't know the words, of course), they did enjoy the concert. I can honestly say that it was best concert I've ever given. None of my fans have ever sat in more rapt attention. They weren't listening to the words, since I doubt they spoke human, but for a time my music became a language we all shared--the ducks, the geese, the swans, and me.

Friday, February 23, 2018

God is a Mighty Dragon! Wait...what?!?

"God is a mighty dragon!" said no theologian ever. Yet in Psalm 18:7 and 8, the Psalmist David (also known as King David), describes God in terms that seem very dragon-like. You'll never hear anyone preach on the dragon-ness of God. That's nowhere included in the study of theology. Still, there is this one psalm that describes God in terms that could have been used when JRR Tolkien was writing about Smaug, the dragon that terrorized men, hobbits, and dwarves (sic) alike on the mountainside and at Lake Town.

Those of you who follow my Facebook posts may have encountered my post for today on this very subject, but just in case you didn't, I'll share it here.

"Okay, I need to apologize in advance to those of you who think that God has no sense of humor because you’re going to take offense at this post. I am of the mindset that there is a lot of laughing that goes on in the divine realm. If humans are “created in the image of God,” then God has to have a sense of humor. So, there’s my lengthy, apologetic preface to my post. On to the actual post...
This morning, I was reading in the book of Psalms. Maybe you’ve heard of it. It’s in the Old Testament portion of the Bible. The Psalmist David (also known as King David), was describing God after one of his military victories. He writes: “Then the earth shook and quaked, and the foundations of mountains were trembling and were shaken, because He was angry. Smoke went out of his nostrils, and fire from His mouth devoured; coals were kindled by it.”
I had to stop and giggle because all I could see in my head was Smaug, the dragon, from JRR Tolkien’s book, The Hobbit. I suspect the angels were giggling right there with me over the picture in my head. I think there is such a thing as divine humor and hopefully you’ll take this post in that vein and refrain from lambasting me for finding it funny.
Now, please, have a blessed day.