Saturday, May 29, 2010

Sudden tragedies

Lately I have heard several stories of sudden tragic events touching my friends. Several have happened at work. A young woman's fiance was killed in a car accident, and she's pregnant, now going to have their child all alone. Another co-worker's father looked a little off one day, she encouraged him to go to the doctor, and two weeks later he was dead of a cancer that had spread so far there was basically nothing they could do.

Another friend at work has two sons who play LaCrosse. The older one's coach was a young man in his 20's who my friend had told me about, how he was doing a good job and was enthusiastic about the sport. The day before yesterday her son came home and said he'd heard his coach had been in a strange accident. It turned out he was home alone lifting weights in his garage and his father came home and found him with the weights across his throat, not breathing. They got him breathing again with CPR and my friend and her son visited him in the hospital but that night he died.

Yet another friend's daughter is going through a very hard time. A year or so ago she was pregnant with her second child and they discovered the baby's kidneys were not developing. They knew that if the baby lived to term, he would only live a few hours at most. Most people would get an abortion with this news but my friend's daughter did not feel she could do that. She trusted in God and the baby was born and did live only a few hours. She and her husband got through it because of their strong faith and all the support, love and prayers from their families and friends. The doctors said that they know 4 possible reasons this kidney problem could occur and only one is hereditary. Their first child, a girl, was perfectly normal. They got pregnant again and recently had an ultrasound. It looks like one kidney is not developing. So now they are praying the other kidney does develop and this child will be all right.

I can only imagine how the people affected by all these events are feeling. I have all of them on my prayer list. Life is so fragile.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

"God has not called me to be successful. He has called me to be faithful."

That's a quote from Mother Teresa while caring for a dying man. Brad's sermon today was part of his Living Free series on the fruit of the Spirit. Today was "faithfulness."

I love it when Brad uses examples from C.S. Lewis. Today he talked about the scene in The Last Battle where the dwarves don't see the beauty around them in new Narnia, and when they have a feast from Aslan they complain that they're eating dried cow dung. I love the imagery and theology of the The Last Battle.

Alex led a reading, too, from The Message, Galatians 5.16-26. As we were following along, he said to look for things that seemed significant to us. I noted the phrase "life of the Spirit." After the Festival of Faith & Writing I told myself I was going to try to live more a life of letters -- of writing and reading. I hope that will be more a life of the Spirit, too.

I also highlighted this: "That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives." I like that, "far more interesting things to do with our lives." Good thing to remember when comparing myself to others more talented, or beautiful, or successful, or whatever. I have far more interesting things to do with my life!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My voice

I read this article, "Mom's Voice Packs Soothing Power," and it made me think of my mom, especially the photo in the article. When Mom was helping me with Cori when she was just born, she told me that she would whisper "I love you" to us kids as infants because she thought even in their sleep they would feel loved and safe by hearing that. Isn't that sweet? I did it, too. And here's this article saying my mom was probably right.

It also made me think of how someone at work once told me I had a calming influence -- and that was because of my role as an IT Manager. I do notice that everyone is very relieved to see me when they're having IT issues. I remember once driving to our San Francisco office because they were down. When I walked in the door, there was a cry of, "Mavis!" I thought to myself, "Little do they know I have no idea what's wrong or if I'll be able to fix it." But it's nice to create that feeling in others anyway.

I'm sure people in other professions have the same experience. When you're stranded on the side of the road and the mechanic shows up. When the doctor or nurse walks in the door. It's a beautiful thing.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happily ever after

Today Brad did a sermon on patience, part of his "Living Free: Fruit of the Spirit" series. In one part he said that, if we think of ourselves as characters in a story, God is telling us that the denouement of the story is, we will live happily ever after in eternity.

Good one.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Excellent day

Today was a great day. Our good friends who had moved to Denver are now relocating back in the Bay Area and we couldn't be happier.

We met them this morning in Los Gatos. We had breakfast there at Gilley's, then walked around the Domus and Napa Style store, two stores I love to browse. Then we headed up to the Santa Cruz mountains for some wine tasting. The second winery we went to, David Bruce, had the best wines. We bought some there and then came home and had a delicious steak dinner, with Mexican Train to follow.

When Randy prayed before the meal and said thanks for the return of our friends, I said, "Yeah, Amen." We are so very glad they're back.

I've been trying to write down 3 things I'm thankful for every day, and yesterday I already wrote about these friends and another couple who often come to Sinaloa with us. Both are old friends we've known a long time. Makes me think of a song I learned, I believe, in Brownies, "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other's gold." I'm thankful for my gold friends -- and how blessed am I that I have many more than these!

Our son Zach is on a cave rescue trip for his fireman training class. I'm praying for his safety. And I hope he enjoys it, too.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Is it true? Four questions.

I read about this in the "O" magazine. Believe it or not, that's a good magazine. I'm not a big fan of the Oprah show - and I'm not home when it's on anyway - but I like the magazine. There's some good writing in there. When it comes each month, I look forward to sitting in my library and reading it from beginning to end. It's like a treat for myself.

So, anyway, this article was about a therapist of a kind, actually a "spiritual mentor," who helps people by having them ask 4 questions about whatever is bothering them. Here they are:
  1. Is it true?
  2. Can you absolutely know it's true?
  3. How do you react when you believe this thought?
  4. Who would you be without the thought?
And at the end you are supposed to come up with a turnaround thought, that is as true or truer.

I tried it the other night with a thought that had been bugging me for a couple weeks. I wrote down the thing bothering me, then I wrote each question and my answer. In this case I felt I could not absolutely know it was true, but the most helpful thing was answering the 3rd and 4th questions. When I really thought about how I reacted, I could see right there that it made me feel rotten. And answering the 4th question I imagined how good it'd feel if I didn't feel that way.

I decided I'd be so much better off without this thinking that was bothering me that I should push it away. Of course I'd already told myself that before. Then I asked myself how much it really mattered even if it were true. The negative thought was a feeling that someone didn't like me (I have a tiny problem with wanting everyone to like me, always). I wrote about a bunch of people who do like me, and love me. After making a pretty long list, I wrote, "All these people think you are precious and loveable. You are damn precious!" That made me laugh.

It's not like "problem solved," but it definitely helped. When the thought starts creeping in again, I say, "You are damn precious," and it makes me smile every time.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

A Beautiful Act

This morning I sat at Starbucks and watched a mom put her little son into a car seat. How beautiful, really.

The little boy was an incredibly cute chunk of a guy, toddling along beside his mom, chattering away, oblivious to everything, walking to his personal drummer. Mom had to pull him gently toward the car, then stand to block him from walking off to who knows where while she opened the door. She had to set her coffee on the ground and put her purse on the car floor, then pick him up -- he continued to babble away --, twist her body into the car in order to get him situated in his car seat, then retrieve her coffee, get herself in the car and they were off.

I was struck by the sweetness of it. The baby completely oblivious but so incredibly cherished. The mother so matter-of-factly performing this act of love. I thought of Luke & Des performing that same act over and over every day, of Patti and Charlie doing the same, and parents or caretakers everywhere.

I can't say it occurred to me until now but I guess I could compare this to God's love for us. We're toddling around, often oblivious, ready to head off in the wrong direction, and God is walking beside us, guiding and directing our steps. Thank God for his love.

But while I was sitting there watching it, I just felt the sweetness of it, and if I'd have let myself, I'd have cried. Silly me.