Tuesday, February 3, 2015

It's all in the way we view life.


I've been hesitating to write this post long enough. The week before Christmas 2014 was for my family a very difficult life experience. It was a time of giving of ourselves, receiving from others, hoping beyond hope, despairing when hope was failing us and so many emotions that I cannot put a name to. The week was advent week for the rest of the world around us, a time of expectant hopeful joy and celebration. For me and mine the advent week was a time of watching and waiting for the end of life as we know it for my mother. It began with a telephone call telling us that mom had had another stroke. She was in a comatose state, with her right side non functional. It would be for mom, as the doctor told us, her last. This one was going to end her life. How long the process would take was anyone's guess. We were versed in the progression that mom's life would take from then on. This was my first experience as a participant in the palliative care unit. The end of last year was a great learning experience for me. I was privy to the process we call dying.

What does one do? How does one begin to face the inevitable? My mother was on her death bed and there wasn't a single thing I could do to change the outcome. As we, her children and spouses rallied by her side there was a sort of transformation that took place in us. I noticed that there was little concern for the regular activities of daily life. There was a shift in our personal priorities. Mom became the focus of our attention for the rest of her life.

Mom regained consciousness and was aware of her surroundings and the people that were attending to her needs. I recall during one of my awake sessions with mom that I was doing for her what she had so lovingly done for me as a baby. Mom was totally dependent on others for her every need. What transpired in that room in the seven days before Christmas was for me a Christmas miracle.

I have spent time revisiting the events of that week and the many blessings that accompanied it. I for one have always considered such time as dying, but to my  surprise I witnessed mom living every moment of those last days. I saw her smiling at my sometimes stupid jokes, clapping hands to music and welcoming everyone who came into the room to pay her a visit. We reminisced those moments we had with mom over her life. I've come to the conclusion that she wasn't dying at all but living every moment until her last. She probably knew that her life was nearing an end, but I don't know that for sure.

That week before Christmas was a long hard week with tears and many heart wrenching moments as we tended to mom's needs. I think that the best way to express the experience of the week is to say that we walked mom home. She arrived safely at the door of her new home accompanied by those who considered her worth the effort to see her not alone in her final hours.

To my sisters and brother I am ever grateful for the accompaniment during what would have been a most painful time alone. To mom's brothers and sisters also go a heartfelt thank you for their time on mom's epic journey. As difficult as that week was I consider it a great experience.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Hell, What is hell?

Since my last entry I have been thinking about the image of God that has emerged for me in the past twenty odd years.
It occurred to me that the image of God I had in my youth carried with it a sinister side to it as well. That image of God would rather send me to hell than reconcile when I messed up. So what of this newer image? This image has God appear gentle, compassionate and loving, ready to do whatever it takes to reconcile humanity to Himself so that none should parish.

Let's, just for the sake of argument, look at a human being and consider what it would take for said human person to dis-own a child for whatever reason.

 I've put some thought into this and the outcome always seems to be the same. I'll use myself as an example. What would it take for me to permanently cast out one or more of my children to never ever have contact with them again? I couldn't come up with any scenario that would have me resort to that drastic an action. In every case I would eventually come to the point that I would have to try to reconcile with said child just so I could be in that child's life. I know that there are some people out there that have dis-owned family members and I'm not trying to justify, or make sense of their actions. I'm looking at what I might feel and do if presented with this scenario.

Now if I cannot consider a situation that would drive me to the total abandonment of my children, then why would I believe that the gentle, compassionate and totally loving God I've come to know consider total abandonment of any of His created human beings?

This thought comes from the New Testament writings; the Gospels, the epistles and the letters of the apostles. If God was willing to make Himself as one with humanity, suffering and dying the most degrading of death in order to reconcile humanity's sin, then I have to rethink the lessons of my youth!

With that thought in mind I'm not trying to say that there isn't a hell, all I'm saying is that God isn't the one who will put me there
That I believe will be something that will be of my own doing if I were to reject God and his affection for me. The earlier example I gave would follow in a similar fashion, that my child would have to reject me and my attempts at reconciliation. So therefore for me to be "in hell" would have to be of my own volition, I would have to reject all of God's attempts at reconciling with me so that I would spend all of eternity without the pleasure of eternal bliss in the presence of my Creator.
Now that I've read this post I see that it paints a very dark picture. I pray that no one resorts to owning it for them-self.

So there! That should get the thought processes moving.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

what does God look like?

I was reminded of a story about a Sunday school class asked to draw.
As the teacher walked around the room looking at the different artful enterprises she came to little Suzie.
Now little Suzie was fastidiously working at her drawing. The teacher asked Suzie what she was drawing, to which Suzie answered "I'm drawing a picture of God!" The teacher immediately corrected Suzie saying "Suzie no one knows what God looks like." And Suzie without looking up said "They will when I'm done."

That illustration is only one of what I believe are as many and varied as people are.

I read "The Shack" by William Paul Young last Summer. I'm not one for reading novels and fiction especially, but there was so much hype about it that I decided to buy and read "The Shack".

One of the things about the novel that caught my attention, and by no means the most important,was the description of God the author gave. A large beaming African-American woman would not be my first image of God for sure, but that's just me.

I've had different images of God ranging from a stern and nasty old man looking for a reason to can my butt (when I was a young person) to a number of very interesting personalities over the years since.
The different images of God that have populated my mind came as I changed and grew spiritually.

I would venture a guess that probably most if not all undergo such transformation of God images as a result of working on building a relationship with God.

I was reading another book last week ;Finding God in The Shack by Randal Rauser. On the subject of our formed images of God  the author was referring to the way a person sees and experiences care givers in our youth has an influence on how one perceives God (our image of God).

I am inclined to agree with the author  on that point since my first images of God were of a tyrannical being bent on exacting justice. The God I have come to know on this journey is a far cry from the God I was taught about. Scripture is full of just the opposite. How many times does God refrain from exacting his justice on an unrepentant populace? I didn't count it but I think you know what I mean, I hope.

And I must say I am much more comfortable with the later images.
This is just a thought that was going through my mind this morning and I decided that I would share it as my first offering on my return from a sojourn into the desert.

Thank you for your support in the past.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Look at what's been found!

A few weeks ago I was informed by a dear friend that she had run across my old blog. I went looking for it out of curiosity and what I found surprised me. As I read the entries in that blog I saw that I had entered into a desert both in my spiritual journey and my posts.

That was four years ago! Now I know that there are going to be times that I will be in that desert experience, but a four year stint is a bit of a stretch.

Actually after reading those lost blog entries I got an uplift from it. It's like I left a message to myself in a time capsule in case I got to what I might consider being lost in the smoke.

I went through every entry and the accompanying comments and I have resolved to begin my weekly posts once more. Who knows, perhaps this is one of those venues that God has placed at my disposal to serve his purpose. I also went through some of the blogs I had been following and I realized that I've been depriving myself of some great material.

I am considering a few subjects that might be of interest to others simply because they are what life is all about for all of us.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

What is being stuck?

Well I see that I haven't posted for five weeks now.
That was not my intention when I began this blog but it seems that I have developed writers block.
So with no post material in mind I am taking this time to offend a small minority that would have us believe that Christmas celebrations are bad for the population.
To all the wonderful people who have contributed to the encouragement of my writing I wish a blessed and happy Christmas celebration. Please take the time to pray for those who cannot allow God to settle in their heart even for a short while.
I continue to read and enjoy the many posts and even though I may not comment on them I do appreciate your talents and will continue to follow diligently in the new year.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Different art form

Since I last posted I seem to have gone to the desert, spiritually.
This isn't so rare for me. 

Every day I read the blogs I follow and this week I realized that all these are art related and full of great stuff.
Well since I can't seem to get into a reflective mode I started thinking of the art aspect of my life and so it led me to look through my picture albums. Here is what I consider an attempt at art of a different sort.


This motorcycle is the brainchild of a friend of mine, Dave and the collaboration of three friends Dave, Norman and myself on weekends to produce what Dave's imagination saw as the bike of his dreams.

It is a Honda front end married to a Volkswagen rear chassis. The metal work was done with the help of a four inch pipe and two "c" clamps on picnic table!
At each step of construction we tweaked the individual parts until he said; "that's exactly what I pictured in my mind."

The paint work was done by a young man starting out in the trade. As you may have guessed Dave, the owner is a fire fighter and proud to show it throughout his travels.
Dave did all the decorations and pinstripes.The bike has traveled across Canada and back and has accumulated over 70,000 kilometers over the past seven years.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Why me Lord?

I had some reflection time, with a little help from Fr.John, on this passage in Luke's gospel; 6:12-16.

It occurred to me that when Jesus chose His followers and took twelve as disciples, He made some rather eronious choices.

On first examination one sees that He has chosen out of all the people in His society the bottom of the barrel, in a manner of speaking.
Sinners, crooks, hotheads, cowards and whatever else we can call these misfits, were His first draft picks to lead the multitudes and teach His Good News legacy.

I'm not sure what others would think about this passage, but for me on first inspection it seems to make very little sense.
In today's world if you are looking for a good leader you go out and look for the smart ones, especially those who have good background references from past experience, before making your final decision.

I noticed also that throughout the Gospels Jesus did a lot of things differently than the norm of His day.

But back to the choices Jesus made.
I asked myself what possible reason could Jesus have had to make these choices, when He could have chosen from the educated and law abiding citizens in Jewish society.

And then the light went on.
If Jesus had chosen from the upper echelons of Jewish hierarchy Christianity would have died with Him on the cross.
And where would that have left us gentiles, the rest of the infidel pagan society outside of God's chosen people?

We would undoubtedly be living life without the knowledge of the loving God I have gotten to know.

In this case it seems that the best person for the job wasn't the one with the best qualifications after all.

And after considering the consequences of Jesus' choices I can rest confidently in the knowledge that if God calls me to service it is because I'm not necessarily the brightest bulb on the string, but I am the one that He chooses to light up that particular instant in the place I am at.

When I think about the gravity of the meaning of God calling me to serve in His fields I'm left scratching my head and asking; "Why me lord?", as many of His followers may have done after realizing what they were being asked.

And the answer is invariably always, because you're the one I need for the job! Now get-er-done!