Lent – Wednesday week 3

Just news.

Someone recently said to a group I was in, ‘This is not good news or bad news. It’s just news.’ We analyzed the situation and came up with a solution that improved the process. Without the situation occurring, the process would have remained as it was, creating more work and more problems possibly for a longer period of time.

Too often we assign a value to an event, and that value may affect how we approach the situation, how we handle it, and what we think of ourselves because of it.

When I read Eckhart Tolle’s book on life’s purpose, that was one of the things that struck me – how attaching meaning to an event can actually disable people. Things happen. Some bumper stickers assign a value to those things. But if we consider that it just is, and in many instances has little reason that makes sense, then we are free to consider it without the emotional baggage that otherwise would weigh upon us.

It may be why one person remains calm in a crisis while another falls apart. The one falling apart becomes too emotionally attached to the event rather than responding dispassionately. Life happens. When some accidents befell members of my family, others shared similar events from their lives, showing that this was not a unique situation, but one that many experience in life.

It just is.

As God is.

Lent – Tuesday week 3

You may have noticed that yesterday I did not set any goals for the week. We are too goal-oriented. Everything has to be compiled in a task list, prioritized, marked completed and filed away as we move on to accomplish another item on our list.

That’s not living, to me. When I first attended a workshop on using a planner, back in the late 80s, my initial reaction was one of aversion, or distaste.

I’m not that well-ordered a person, in terms of wanting my life to run like clockwork with every area planned to the smallest minutiae. Some people have that characteristic. I don’t.

So this Lent, I strive not to come out at the end and think, ‘look at all that I accomplished!’ It’s not a time for measurement, for answering questions like: Are you closer to God? Do you have a deeper faith? Were you ‘successful’ in what you wanted to do this time?

I do not want to measure something that’s linked to something unmeasurable. (God) Therefore, I will only consider that I experienced what I was supposed to experience during this time. I did what I did. That’s all.

Because it’s not a competition to be in a relationship.

Lent – Monday week 3

My sister gave the homily yesterday in her community. Last month I listened to a woman pastor give the homily at a Presbyterian/UCC church (though I don’t think it was called a homily).

When we shut out people and their views because we consider them unqualified by some arbitrary rule, then we limit ourselves. Rather than consider that the rules are limiting those shut out, consider that by making the rules you are making yourself smaller than you could be. You are stopping halfway up the ladder to self-fulfillment. You are leaving yourself incomplete.

The people shut out, though unable to express themselves in that arena, have not limited themselves. And in today’s society where information flows faster than Niagara falls, they cannot be limited. They only shine a glaring spotlight on those who belittle them.

Too often we think of labels that describe a person’s behavior, without realizing that if we are actually a soul inhabiting a physical presence, then even gender is a label. Think of someone then, not by their color, their capabilities, not even by their gender; rather, think of them only as being.

Just as God is, so is each one of us.


Dick Campbell – another small part of my life

An old neighbor and good friend of my parents, Dick Campbell, passed away on Jan 31 of this year. I played with several of his kids, worked with one of them, enjoyed pb and j sandwiches at their house, played basketball – they had the first backyard court I had ever seen – and was exposed to Mr. Campbell’s joyful sense of mischievousness and mirth.

I’ll always remember his deep, warm voice. And before there was any hint of a Homer Simpson, I learned about ‘pull my finger.’ He was fun, full of laughter, and always had a mental puzzle ready to try on the unsuspecting. He tripped me up once.

Mr. Campbell

As I’ve spent time reflecting on friends and neighbors and loved ones who’ve died, I’ve considered how each has affected my life, and how in some small way a part of them remains with me, remains in me. This morning I wondered, “Is not each of us a melting pot?” We are touched by so many people, influenced in tiny ways that may be imperceptible to others, that I think we become greater than the sum of the parts.

Yes, genetically I am a combination of the genes of two family lines, each rich in their own right. But environmentally, I’m a combination of so many different worlds, and the brush with each leaves a slight residue, an additional color on the palette of my existence.

I had not talked to Mr. Campbell in many years; too many to count. But that does not diminish his impact, nor my memory of him. My dominant memory is of walking into their house through the kitchen door and seeing him sitting in his chair in the living room, smiling. And I think he was thinking of saying something that would surprise me, or make me think.

I hear often how we want to gauge the success of our lives by how many people we ‘touch’ with what we are doing, humbly saying, “If but one…” Well, I don’t think that matters. If no one is touched by what I do, it is not important. What is important is that I’ve lived faithful to who I am. I think Mr. Campbell did that, and I’m grateful.

Note: This Lent, join me as I consider living faithful to a calling, a calling to be human and compassionate, to live as Christ called us to live. I am going to post every day during Lent, and you can also subscribe to my weekly reflections. The Lenten ones for this year are available today.


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