Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Due to Circumstances Beyond My Control...

"The miracle of mindfulness in the savoring of the ordinary life is the lens unto the sacred."   Dolores Leckey, Seven Essentials of the Spiritual Journey
Due to circumstances beyond my control... generally speaking, most circumstance ARE beyond my control! I deactivated my Facebook account and my Pinterest account recently. I grew weary of the "drama" on FB and the accidental posting of my physical address (don't ask...). Most of you are aware of my previous long term employment, it's not a good idea to have your address posted for former incarcerated persons to find. I already had a former inmate send me a message on FB. I found that to be rather disconcerting and I ignored the message.

As far as Pinterest is concerned, I should have put all my pins under one heading, "Things I Love and Will Never Get Around to Doing". Yes, it was merely a collection of things that "caught" my eye and then I hoarded and herded them into cute and creative cyber files such as Creature Comforts for recipes. Believe it or not, I even had one for Minimalist pins! What? Hoarding pins for minimalist reasons? 

In all honesty, the first two weeks were like going through the "withdrawals" from these social media sites. What I can tell you is that I have gained some time back into my day! I often had kidded that "Do you suppose that on my death-bed God will return those wasted on-line hours to me?" No, that will not happen. I am tasked with making the most of my hours now, today, at this very point in my existence.

So, what am I doing with my "new" found time? I am reading an interesting book on my Kindle. It is entitled "Spotting the Sacred: Noticing God in the Most Unlikely Places" by Bruce Main. It was a free (yes, you read that correctly - F.R.E.E.) offering from Amazon! 

A quote that Main's wrote, is "French mathematician Blaise Pascal believed the greatest enemy not only to prayer but also of the whole spiritual life of a person was inattention, drowsiness, and complacency. Pascal called this inattention "the Gethsemane Sleep." 

The God-Life is present in the actions of ordinary people and he (Christ) used these God-present actions as illustrations for spiritual growth, and then challenged his listeners to digest these observations and use them as motivation for acting more God-like in the world.

How often do we notice successful persons yet fail to notice that behind that facade of confidence are often brokenness and dysfunction? The challenge is to retrain our eyes, our hearts, and our ears to view life differently and more deeply.

Theologian Frederick Buechner claims that Jesus possessed the ability to notice God's presence in the ordinary stuff of life. Beuchner wrote, "All his life long, wherever Jesus looked, he saw the world not in terms simply of brokeness . . . but in terms of the ultimate mystery of God's presence buried in it like a treasure buried in a field." He continued, "and sometimes even in the midst of our confused and broken relationship with ourselves, with each other, with God, we catch glimpses of that holiness and wholeness which, not matter how buried and unrecognized, are still part of who we are."

You see, I've been attempting to find grace every single day and to list it in my journal. Hence, the change to my header. That was also the challenge given to me at the beginning of this year. 

It is almost like being a child again and changing the game name from "Eye Spy" to "I Spy God" and then being keenly aware that it was, in fact, God who provided the divine opportunity! I no longer want to be in "the Gethsemane Sleep" and miss an appointment with my Creator or his creation.

I think paring down the computer social media was and is inline with the previous year's goal of minimizing. Along with this we've also eliminated the cost of cable television or satellite television. We are using an antenna for the purpose of watching local television. We are getting over 30 stations, and more than half of them are in Spanish. Not to worry. My favorite channel is PBS.

My favorite programs on Netflix appear to be those produced in Canada. There was a short run series called Alphas that I liked, and now there's Continuum that centers around time travel. Both of these are Canadian - thank you my brothers and sisters to the North! Most of the regular stations (CBS, NBC and ABC) all offer some of their programs online. We can connect the computer to the television and watch if we are so inclined.

The news has been problematic for me. Sometimes I declare a moratorium on the news due to its negative impact. I am so opposed to our involvement in the middle east. Hubs and I were just talking about it the other day. Syria, Iran and Iraq have all been in existence for a number of millenia. Our nation merely for over a couple of hundred years. How do we propose to be their peace keepers? It would be like a two year old telling his great, great grandfather how to live his life.

I mourn over seeing the cost of war to those whose lives are ravaged by it. My heart and soul hurt for the Syrians, the Israelis and the Palestinians and now those in Iraq and Iran being uprooted by I.S.I.S.

The current ebola crisis that is effecting west Africa. The national authorities of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia have activated their national emergency committees, prepared Ebola virus disease response plans and carried out needs assessments.

WHO's (World Health Organization) Regional Director for Africa, Luis Sambo, visited the affected countries from 21 to 25 July, meeting with political leaders, ministers of health, and other agencies. He stressed the need to "promote behavioural change while respecting cultural practices."

I only need to look to my state's southern border to see the influx of children, mere children who are seeking peace and less turmoil in their own lives. I mourn for their parents who send them on their way, not knowing the outcome - have their sons and daughters made it safely here? Only to be sent back to their native country by our government while some have died in transit.

My husband related this to me: A reporter was at a site where protesters were decrying the treatment of the child immigrants. The reporter asked the person he was interviewing, "How many children will you be taking into your home to care for until this crisis is remedied?" The interviewee turned and walked away from the camera. It is one thing to decry and protest, but entirely another to open one's home. Dear God, touch my heart and pierce my spirit, I pray!

The only thing I know for certain is there can be no peace without justice. And justice seems to be fleeting in the realms of our nation and in this world.

Within the past month the state of Arizona attempted to execute a death row inmate. It took nearly two hours for this Arizona death row inmate to die. Executioners injected him with 15 times the amount of a sedative and a painkiller that they originally intended to use. This is unacceptable and horrific. Frankly, this is causing me to review and reevaluate my stand on capital punishment and the incarceration of non-violent offenders. I've previously stated how opposed I am to the privatization of prisons. They are a "for profit" business that precludes the necessity to provide offenders with any type of training that would help them with skills to prevent recidivism.

Perhaps it is Bible study and the digestion of the book I am reading that is causing me to reflect upon my long held "beliefs". Reflecting upon our established beliefs in not a bad thing and it can lead to change, not unlike repentance.

Wishing you everyday grace,

Tamara

Proverbs 21:3  New American Standard Bible

To do righteousness and justice
Is desired by the Lord more than sacrifice.