Road Trip

By the time you read this post, I will be out of town on a buying trip for a few days. While I am sure God will not be silent, and that His Presence is everywhere, I am not certain about internet access or carving out time to post while in the company of others.

I plan to begin posting again just as soon as I return to my home computer, certainly by the middle of next week.

In the meantime, I leave you with these thoughts.

If you are one of my regular daily readers, thank you. I imagine I will have lots to say when I get to sit here again! Maybe these few days are a time to begin a new practice of listening for yourselves. If you don’t already, take the few minutes you might spend reading this blog over the next few days, and instead, write out your own gratitude list. If you already practice gratitude, you might spend this time doing what I have just begun again to do, and write out some affirmations to concentrate on during your day, especially if your day gets busy, or stressful. What are the three most loving, most affirming things you wish someone, Someone, would say to you? Those words that would make your heart sing, somehow convince you that all will be well, or that would give you the direction you need if you are contemplating a choice? Why not write those down, even if they seem as if they are “only” your words, your hopes. And then, look and listen. Look and listen right that minute, look and listen throughout the next day. Do you hear, do you feel, do you see evidence of those words coming back to you in another, deeper, gladder, Truer Voice? I can promise you this: you are more deeply loved than you can imagine. My prayer for you while I am away from my computer for a few days is that this little hiatus will provide you with a personal experience similar to my own, convincing you how wonderful, how beautiful, how sacred, and how special you are to God, and how very much you are loved.

Old Wells

Lord, You have talked to me a lot lately about water. Literally and metaphorically. How I need to drink more. How I need to be refreshed by the streams of Your Spirit flowing into and through my life. And I keep thinking the two are connected somehow. I don’t seem to get thirsty during the day so I don’t even think about drinking, staying hydrated. I need one of those computer watches (not really) where I set an alarm. What does that say about me, that I feel I need to set an alarm to remind myself to drink?

It says that you are overloaded. Also, you learned in grade school to go without water.

Oh, my gosh, I just had this memory, after gym class, going to the drinking fountain and I was so thirsty, and gulping down water, but a teacher stopped me, said I couldn’t or shouldn’t drink so fast. I forgot all about that. And the message I got, even if unintended, was not to drink period. And there truly wasn’t time. There was only one fountain for each hallway, and no time to stand in line and get a drink and make it back to class  on time. And since I brought my lunch, I learned to eat without drinking anything too. Well, well. Makes sense now. I am going to have to work at this.

Now let’s talk metaphorically. There have been times you have tried to draw clean, clear, soul-quenching water from other people’s wells, wells that in some cases were muddy or polluted, even poisoned. Those wells, unless they become capped and sunk new and fresh in a relationship with Me, are never going to give you the water you need. Never. You can carry shiny new buckets, you can buy longer, stronger ropes, you can persuade others to help you lower and raise the bucket–it doesn’t make any difference to the quality of what is in those inner wells. You can keep trying and keep being hurt and disappointed. You can give up and sit by the well and mourn there. Or you can choose a third way. You can purpose to pray for those wells, as you walk away toward the fresh-flowing Stream of My Love, through My Spirit, flowing not only directly into your soul but also flowing through so many others who delight to give you fresh water.

Receive from all the streams in your life, too many to count or name. And other than compassion and peace, give no more thought to the muddy, dry, polluted or poisoned wells that dot the landscape of your family or friends. You have many more streams in your life than wells. It is not your job to clean up or purify those wells. This is between each of them and Me, and it is something they each must decide and choose on their own. Frolic at the stream. Perhaps they will hear the joy and want what you have. But (and this is important, and this is also hard, I know) even if they don’t, don’t go back and try to draw water from there. Even if I send rain, as I have many times, rain showers of blessing, as long as their wells are polluted or poisoned, the rain is quickly assimilated into the polluted water that is how they think and feel, how they treat others and themselves, and the false ideas and opinions they have about Me.

Well-purifying is not your work, sweet one. Go to the stream. That is your source of receiving and giving. Go to the Flow.

Valentines and Ash Wednesday

The Calm I feel this morning is already a Gift of the Day. It’s a day of cards and flowers, chocolate and hearts. It’s Mama’s Homegoing Day. So what would You say today?

Just as there truly is no separation, no distance, between us, between your spirit and My Spirit, there is also no separation between you and anyone you love who has stepped out of Time and into Eternity. Your Mother is not only aware of your past, and present in your now, she is also present to your future and your future fuller reunion.

God, when I look back, all I can feel is thank you–and how full they made my childhood, how much experience they crammed into stay-cations, local parks, a big yard to explore–and Mom especially, she really wanted a girly-girl but instead she got me, and how she went with that, eventually. Thank You.

Today is also about Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. A day we are supposed to be sad and fast and sacrifice.

I already sacrificed. Remember Nehemiah? The odd instructions he received: When the books of the Law had been found, and everyone began to mourn and wail and fast, focusing on guilt and shame, and I told him, no! Rejoice! Gather together! Feast! Celebrate! It has always been My Heart to have My People rejoicing rather than sorrowing.

So you can choose today to focus on Love as a positive force, a guiding and drawing purpose that brings you closer to others, or you can focus on Love as a negative force, demanding perfection and driving you further apart, leading to isolation. Which of those look like My view, My idea?

The positive uniting force, Lord.

That is right. Unfortunately, today, many will choose the rigors of ritual over the free and joyous expression of Love. The juxtaposition of Valentine’s–a day celebrated in what is called the secular culture, which is just everyday life, which I entered into in My humanity, and blessed with My presence–and Ash Wednesday–a day set aside for humiliation and shame–could not provide a more stark contrast. Choosing joy today, or any day, does not lessen your spiritual life, it heightens it. So I say to you and through you what I said through Nehemiah: This day is sacred, so rejoice!

Life Practices

Lord, I need, I want, to establish some working, sustainable pattern of affirmations. My mind is always telling myself, telling my body some version of reality. It is never really quiet. So why not make sure what it is saying, the story it’s choosing, is positive rather than negative. Right?

 

You do choose to a large extent what to read, what to watch, what to listen to, what to absorb and assimilate. And what you choose to bring in directly affects what comes out. It is not that reciting affirmations guarantees you a life free from challenge or difficulty or change. But reminding yourself of My Truths and Promises, and reminding yourself of your own strengths and capabilities can ease difficulties and make sure challenges and changes transform into positive possibilities.

The truth is, you would very quickly get bored if every single was same-same, with no growth–particularly if same-same narrowed your opportunities to both connect and be creative.

Some of my friends pooh-pooh affirmations. Others live by them.

Don’t look to your friends. Look within yourself. What has been the fruit in your life, both using them and ignoring them: You aren’t trying to replicate your friends’ experiences, no matter how wonderful. You need to craft your own. So I would ask you, what has worked best for you in your life.

Community gathering began to not work–I think maybe because by the time it didn’t work, I had abandoned some of my own private replenishing practices, and in each of the community gathering venues, I was expected to pour out, in greater or lesser amount, and my well was dry by then. Each of these had ceased to be places or times that replenished me, and eventually I had nothing left to give.

So don’t start there. Start where you are. Start here. Work with the truths you know and let more occur to you.

Ok, Lord, well, here is what I know. What I know for sure. I know “Thou art with me.” I know I can move through my day with ease and grace, and I can accomplish every task with ease. I lived that before; I know it is true. I know I have been, and can be again, in the right place at the right time. Led by You.

I know my life blesses others and that I am a magnet for peace and lovingkindness, from critters and birds to people. I know Your world is beautiful at its core, and abundant, with more than enough for everyone to thrive, including me. I know You have a fountain of creative ideas and inspirations. 

I know You are Jehovah-Rapha and I know You are Jehovah-Jireh. Lord My Healer, Lord My Provider. I know I can trust the ones I love to Your Love.

What part of any of that feels false? What part provokes stress or anxiety.

None of it, Lord.

So here is a Template of Truth for your days. Why don’t you print it out where you can see it? We shall add to it as we go. And do an Art Page around these themes. And write some lyrics to help you remember these truths. And come back and let’s talk some more tomorrow.

 

Off Duty

So, Lord, I think this new cloak of mine is going to take a lot of getting used to. I was just sitting here thinking I felt pretty good, had a decent day, because (drum roll) I got so much done! Sheesh. 

It’s not about doing versus not-doing. It is about with what attitude are you doing. How did you feel today, running your errands, doing your paperwork?

I felt fairly relaxed for the most part, except once or twice, when I looked at the clock and felt that sense of being rushed, or rather, not moving fast enough myself. I did try to think all day long about what You said yesterday. I wasn’t sure how to switch gears exactly, but now that I think back, for the most part I wasn’t revved up. I made a list so I wouldn’t forget anything, and actually did all but one thing–I would have done that too but it was raining too hard at that point for that particular errand.

So you can actually balance your life with your work and your chores. You see? You were able to reach out briefly to friends today. You did your errands. You made real progress preparing for your upcoming buying trip. And you did it all with much less anxiety. You even got a little extra sleep this morning! You tried to remember to drink more water and you took bathroom breaks. I would say, for your first day, you were a great success wearing your new cloak!

Thanks, God. I do feel good tonight. I do. I even noodled around with a new lyric, sort of, in the car. And Kaylee was more affectionate, more playful, than she has been in a while. I could almost believe she sensed the change too.

Almost? You know how sensitive animals are. If such a change makes such a difference in her behavior in just one day, imagine the benefits that await you long-term.

You know, God, at one point this morning, I caught myself slipping into those old familiar thought patterns and I literally interrupted myself to say, no, today is going to be an incredible day!

And was it?

I am sitting here right now, feeling–and I do mean that word, feeling, I can feel Quiet, I can feel Calm. Peaceful. I am feeling at peace. I am feeling at peace with myself. That’s huge. And yes, I would have to label that as pretty incredible.

And what is happening to the earth?

Ha, God, You are so funny. It is spinning, spinning on its axis, revolving around the sun, keeping its place in the Universe. And all without me having to worry about it, ha! 

I Am not making fun of you. But it is helpful for you to see for yourself how playful and joyous this life can once again be, as long as you are focused on Being, on Being your best self. Sure, go, do–but from a center of being. And what did I promise you? That you will be even more productive, accomplish even more, and operate from a position of even more energy. So how do you feel physically?

I know bedtime is coming and I think I will sleep, but I don’t feel that same overarching fatigue I have been having. AND…this is incredible…although I planned to drink coffee in the afternoon, I didn’t. Somehow I didn’t need it. I got along just fine without it.

And you are not feeling exhausted now?

No. I’m not. I am actually feeling pretty good. Guess that will go down on my gratitude list tonight. Thank You, Lord.

Yes, I guess it will. Thank you–for receiving My peace. You know, I have called you to be a peacemaker, and a peacekeeper. And that begins with days like today, days when you are at peace first with yourself.

Cloak of Responsibility

Here is the best–and worst– part about old journals, Lord–busted, I’m busted. So a few days ago I was rejoicing over the growth I saw, looking back at pages from 15 years ago. Well I read a little further and I stumbled on an entry from mid-May that could have been written yesterday. Sure, the circumstances were different then–I was finishing up a later-in-life undergrad degree, studying for exams and preparing papers, but the stress responses, the fatigue, and my desperate, articulated on the page need for some time outside was identical. So writing that down, i think I see two things: this is not a new issue, a new problem and I think it dates all the way back to my school years; and second, the outdoors has been my safe soothing place for a long, long time.

So I really want to copy down here what I wrote there and then. Because I need to talk to You about this. I wish it could be once and for all. But maybe it can at least be for now. “In one sense I have no business doing anything but run this marathon called spring quarter (substitute, get open for season) but…I have a ton of buts. But I’m so tired. But I’m said. But my head is in a vice. But…but I want a break, not a big break–but some small break, some outside, outdoors break. Change focus. I deliberately am not going to write three pages, takes too long. Instead I’m going to shower and leave and go somewhere. Sounds rebellious just to write that down. Why should a morning beach walk or the Ridge be rebellious? Because duty has tons of tasks right here. When is a break ok? When I’m breaking? I don’t know.” WHEW! Yikes. May, 2003. 

I have a flood of memory. Being on call for work, in an era before cell phones, so that I didn’t dare even go to the beach for more than an hour even on the weekend “in case” I was called, called in to work or to answer a question or attend some meeting. Good grief. I remember unplugging the phone for a solid weekend and my roommate and I binge watching wonderful movies, Ghandi and Biko and I can’t recall what else. Something Native American but I don’t remember the title. I remember how I felt good and bad, doing that. I remember talking to the personnel director at the time, about all the extra work I was being expected to do after hours, but because my bosses were committee volunteers, I was told there was nothing I could do about it–and stay employed. Of course I did what I do. I stayed employed! It was seven years later and it took my mom’s illness before I finally left that job. But obviously I didn’t leave the mindset.

God, Great Creator, Your own Name is I Am. Not I Do. How can You help me?

SO much in your culture, your schooling, your family, your past employment, and even the example set by your husband extols and rewards work, effort, productivity. You have been well trained, trained to perform. But life is not a circus, and you are not a trick pony. Nor are you a racehorse. Nor are you destined to plod, plod along pulling a plow. When you picture a horse, what image comes to mind first?

Running free. Running over the plains. Running by the sea. 

Freedom to Be, that is what comes first. Essence of Horse, yes? So what is Essence of Eve? That is what I want you to ask yourself, tonight and in the morning and in the days ahead. I will give you a hint–it is not what you think. It is not what first comes to mind. Your gifts, your talents, and yes your working life, these are outpourings in particular channels of an inner life. I want you to think less about the channels and more about the spring, more about the river. I want you to think more about the Essence. More about Being. Not about Being Efficient. Not about Being Organized. Not about Being Productive or Being Successful. Not even about Being Faithful, which you translate into productivity and effort, into doing and away from merely being.

Eve means Life. “Mother of all Living” — which you have chuckled over, adopting stray cats, calling yourself Mama. You have chuckled and donned a mantle of great and grave responsibility. Once before I asked you for a cloak, to give Me the cloak you were wearing. Do you remember?

Lord, how can I forget? Of course I remember. “I clutched my grief to my body like a robe/said it is all that is mine I have left/but I threw it down at Your feet and turned to go/cold, alone, bereft”

And what happened next, in your vision, in your lyric?

You led me to the beach. You wrapped a new warm something around my shoulders. You began to heal that broken place inside.

Somewhere along the way, you abandoned the cloak I gave you, and you wove for yourself a new one–this mantle of responsibility. It is neither keeping you warm nor keeping you dry. And I want you to do what I asked you to do years ago. Give Me your mantle. Give Me your sense of weighty responsibility, that feeling you have that so much depends on you and your effort, from your family’s health and safety to the health and safety of friends, to the success of your business and every artist whose work you so lovingly steward. Can you do that? Can you trust Me with your mantle, one more time?

Gosh God, there is blood and sweat and tears on this shawl. I don’t mean to be dramatic but there are a lot of years woven into these threads. Does this mean all that work, all that effort did not count?

No, little one. What it means is that you are trying to fit into a garment that was never meant for you. What I have for you to wear is a mystical, magical coat. It will grow as you grow. Its threads shimmer and gleam in moonlight and sunlight. It is soft and gentle to the touch yet the sharpest arrows of accusation cannot penetrate its weave. This is My Weaving, and I have spent all your life preparing it for you, for this moment. For the moment you are willing to let go, and begin to Be. Live into your name, live into your loves, live into your life. Give Me your heavy mantle. Slip on your new coat. Here is its first secret: see its color change as you tap deeply into the Essence of who you are, who I have made and called you to be.

One more thing. You can’t easily hide in this coat. This is not a camouflage garment. You will be both more conspicuous and more free, wearing it. You want to see how you look? Your reflection pool will be found first in the eyes of those closest to you, from animals to people you love who love you back.

Lord, what are You going to do with my old cloak, the one I just took off?

Give that cloak no more thought. I Am going to light a fire, to warm your winter and help light your way. This is not the sort of garment to hand down to anyone else, you know. And it had gotten way too heavy to wear in warmer weather, and your busier season. You would have fallen, trying to bear it.  How does your new coat feel?

It, it feels lightweight. And oh my goodness, I just moved my neck and it is moving more freely, less stiff, less pain.

The lightness in your spirit will translate directly into lightness for your bones, and energy for your body and mind. And paradoxically, into more restful sleep as well. So sleep tight, little one. Snuggle into your coat. Let Me teach you about restful labor, and energizing rest.

Tumbling Down The Well

Lord, I know what is most important to You is not work. It’s relationship. So what can I do? I feel like I’m side-stepping this problem; no matter how I have tried, I can’t seem to resolve this. I have tried to address symptoms but the underlying drivenness remains. And I do see this, really, as a deficit of character, not as an asset–at least at its current level. Maybe it could be an asset in moderation. So can I, dare I, ask You to help? The only way I can think of to truly make amends is to a)work less and b)quit manifesting anxiety and I am not there, in my own strength.

You can ask Me to remove anything and everything that separates you from My best for you. Do you think this state of being is My best? Do you view this way of being as a gift from Me? Do you think I can help you get everything done? Do you think I can protect you without your having to be hyper-vigilant, like that tv show you watched a while back, about the veteran?

Lord, are You saying I have some kind of post-traumatic stress disorder? That’s ridiculous! That’s for victims of trauma, like soldiers or the abused or hurricane victims, or 9-11, right?

2011 was your personal, private, 9-11. The twin towers were Pete’s cancer and Patrick’s death–both sudden, life-never-the-same attacks from outside yourself on your normal everyday life.

God, I’m sobbing now. You say that and bang, I’m sobbing, getting my paper wet. What do I do? What do I do?

You start by being honest. You start by asking for help. You don’t try to hide it, from yourself, from Me, from others.

Lord, I’m really embarrassed. And I’m really ashamed. Shouldn’t this relationship I have with You be enough?

It is because of our connection that you are still functioning at all. You opted to stay strong and power through that time, but you are like a car that is stuck in 4th gear now. You can’t shift. You can’t down-shift, you can’t put it in neutral for more than a few minutes at a time–like here, or walking outside–and even then, your inner motor is revving, just waiting to kick into overdrive again. It’s why you can’t settle. Why you are so restless. Why you don’t make music. Why all of a sudden you struggle to write. Why you can’t remember. You’re on overdrive and on auto-pilot. You’re trying to multitask mentally, juggle all these different must-do’s and need-to’s and shoulds. You’ve gone beyond overload. You’re like a power plant that has been running too long at peak capacity and the whole thing is in danger of shutting down.

Lord, that is my fear, though, that the grid will go down, so to speak. In my life. It is the same fear family members have, I guess. They go around angry. Me, I’m just so afraid…and then this past fall, with Pete…and the other day, with Pete…I feel like I can’t let down my guard for one second. I feel like, if I take a break, take a walk, take a breather, that is the very moment he will need me, and I won’t be right there. So. That is my fear.

I know. And yet, when you stop and think, you realize you are not afraid of Me, and you do trust Me. So you feel confused, too.

Yes, that is true.

These are all symptoms. Sometimes symptoms must increase so the diagnosis can be made, so the condition can be identified and treated.

And You are saying I need professional help? Since I can’t handle this?

Eve, Eve. You did handle this. That is what you are not seeing. You did. You do. You came through like a trooper–but you are still stuck in “like a trooper” mode. That is the problem. You are waiting, 24/7, for the shoe to drop. For the next sudden attack on your life. That’s the problem.

Yes, well. Isn’t that obvious? I mean, hello, isn’t that where we are? Where he is, and where I am? Isn’t that where the whole world is, at some point?

So let Me play this back for you. You are saying the best response to aging is to move into a crisis mode with greater anxiety and less joy, just so you can be prepared for an eventual inevitable disaster? And that is the best I can offer humans for their latter years? And that is the most humans can expect of themselves, each other, and Me? Is that really what you think, or believe?

Well, when You put it that way…

No–you put it that way. You put it that way every time you make a choice to operate from a perspective that says, everything around you is falling apart and it is your responsibility to keep all the pieces together and in play. But everything around you is not falling apart, for one thing, and it is not your responsibility to hold everything together, as I have told you before. It is your responsibility to do what?

To live each day connected to You, and in love. In love with You, in love with Pete, in love with this beautiful, messy world and my beautiful, messy life.

And what part of love, of lovingkindness does the puzzle piece of your stress and anxiety, your fear and drivenness fit?

Lord, it doesn’t. It doesn’t fit the puzzle at all. It is the wrong size and the wrong shape and the wrong color. And it has rough, sharp edges. 

I want you to live “as if.” Some people counsel to live as if you are dying, as if life is shrinking and diminishing and you have to cram as much as you can into every moment. I don’t want you to do that. I don’t want you to live as though nothing matters and there is no purpose either. I want you to live a third way. I want you to live AS IF this day, every day, is the best day of your life so far. And then get up tomorrow and do that again. Just purpose in your heart, wow, this day is going to be incredible! Then let’s color in what incredible looks and feels like for you. It is different for everyone. For you, it does include both time to reflect and time to create, time to be with those you love and time to be alone, time at the Page with Me and time noticing the natural world. Incredible for you includes beauty in many forms. Words in many genres. Music. Laughter. The affection of furry critters. You’ve tumbled once again down a deep well of grief and you need to climb toward the light. Miraculously, nothing is really broken–yet. And there is a ladder leading up. So let’s climb out together, shall we?

Gentleness

The past few days, I either haven’t had my usual morning time, or the entries have been specific and personal and not something intended for sharing with a wider audience. Often after my usual here’s-what-is-going-on-with-me, and here-is-what-the-weather-is, and here-is-what-I-plan-to-do-today I will write, Oh, Lord, what would You say? So Lord, what would You say? What would You tell those reading this?

Tell them I love them. Tell them to trust their senses–in their own way, each is very sensitive. Tell them, this isn’t meant to be so hard. There are lots of reasons why it’s become so–individual reasons and cultural reasons–but My intention all along was to be and stay connected, like holding hands. Sometimes you need a little squeeze, for reassurance. Sometimes you need a strong, steady grip for support. Sometimes you need a massage, stretching out each finger, for release, or for healing. Sometimes you need those hands to gently take over a load, a burden, you weren’t meant to carry at all, just take that load, put it down somewhere, and knead the knotted, gnarled knuckles back into suppleness.

If I could breathe one word into the human heart, that one word would be “gentleness.” People have twisted “God is love” into horrible, punishing circumstances and called it Me, called it My intent, My will. How about, God is Gentleness? Or, God is Tenderness? Maybe that provides a better picture. Maybe folks would trust themselves, trust joining their lives, to One Whose Name is Gentleness.

Seedlings

Lord, thank You for growth. I just spent a few minutes reading this time of year from 15 years ago, and then 14 years ago. Fifteen years ago, I was still sick with pneumonia, gaining strength very slowly, and full of the same sorts of questions and drivenness I still sometimes am prey to. Fourteen years ago, Pete’s second sister, who had been ill for only a few weeks, died and that set off a whole storm of emotion, within and around us. What I realized, reading, is how my morning journaling times have changed. Now, I know to listen for Your Voice, Your input. Then, I craved it but I didn’t often stop long enough to hear You. But it was that practice, of taking that time in the morning, writing down everything I thought and felt for 30 minutes or so, that planted the seeds that eventually grew into the relationship I have with You now.

Yes, you were full then–full of grief, full of fatigue, full of fear about health in general, full of questions about your future. You needed to become emptier so that I could fill you with Myself.

I loved You then, as I love You now. But I think I had forgotten how much You love me, love us. And how personal Your Love is, how You really do enter into a relationship with us–if we will, with You. I had moved into focusing on social justice, on causes for peace in the human world and the natural world. I had zeal, and I had faith…but believing in something, even Someone, isn’t the same as nurturing a relationship with that person. 

You are a parent yourself. How do you feel when you hear from your son, or one of the grandkids, out of the blue, for no particular reason?

The feeling is joy, God. Big time joy.

You gladden My own heart with your attention, and with your commitment to staying open to My Presence. What would you say is your dominant emotion these days?

I guess I would have to say gratitude. Or maybe lovingkindness, although I can’t say I am always loving, especially when I am over-tired.

And what did you read as your dominant emotion in those journals from so long ago?

Gosh, God, sorrow, I guess. I was trying so hard to keep going, but there wasn’t any joy anywhere, really. I checked items off the must-get-done list, so there were flashes of satisfaction in tasks completed. There was genuine joy in the trip west to receive my college diploma, the degree Daddy’s life insurance paid for. His last gift.

So what do you think was the difference-maker?

I know gratitude as a practice helped, as I have shared over and over with folks. It really did change my life. But the real difference-maker, Lord, was You–this connection, like right now, knowing I can reach out with my mind, my thought, and You are here, right here. That changes everything in real time. Anytime I do get discouraged now, if I can just remember, I am not alone, You are here, God-with-us as a fact, it flips some switch in my consciousness. I mean, I can still be tired, or stiff and achy as I am tonight, or overloaded with more tasks than hours to do them, but I take just one breath thinking about You, about the immensity of the proposition that the God of the Universe is interested in us, in me, in this moment of what we call Time, and I smile, I can’t help it. It’s as if I am privy to the world’s greatest secret, only it is not a secret at all. It is hidden in plain sight, like the song says, Open the eyes of my heart. I just can’t get over all those pages from 2003 and 2004, and how different my journal reads now. Thank You.

I told you the other day, I want you to try to fast-forward in your thinking 20 or 25 years, as if you were as old as Pete is now, and what would be on your gratitude list from those years you have not lived yet. Why do you think I asked that?

I didn’t know–and I couldn’t come up with much. I mean, I couldn’t foresee anything in particular to add to a list. 

You just looked back at a snapshot of your life from 15 years ago. You are marveling most at your own growth in those years, your spiritual growth. Do you think your growing years are complete? What if I told you even more growth is coming, good growth, wonderful growth, and that you will look back at these conversations and marvel at how much closer You and I had grown during your 60’s and 70’s? What if you will look back with the same incredulity you are now experiencing, looking back, because our relationship will grow even stronger and deeper?

Lord, is that even possible? Is that what You are saying?

You are thinking of your life in Me now as a forest, in comparison with the tiny seedling it once was. I tell you, you will look back at these years and see a small grove in comparison to the mighty sequoias this connection, your connection with Me, your connection to this world you so love, will become. Mark My Words. So much growth awaits you. So rejoice in every day, every week, every month, and every year. Here is a little foretaste, a hint–this past summer, you were able to quit picking your fingers. No longer is that a stress response, after nearly 60 years. Now imagine no stress triggers, because you are essentially immune to them. Imagine no fear triggers, because they are no longer a part of your inner emotional or spiritual lexicon. You will grow into this life, just as you have grown into the woman you are now. And for every inch of growth, listen for Me saying, You are My daughter, I love You, and I Am so proud of you.

Workmanship

Lord, I need, I want, to talk to You about work. I feel guilty when I am not working, and I feel guilty when I am working, like right now. Like sitting here at the computer since dinner, working on images for a potential special order. I was out of the house all day, working and I have been at it all evening, working. And Pete is watching TV by himself. So I want to go join him, in a few minutes–and then, I am going to feel guilty that I am not finishing this task at hand. I swear, sometimes I need to be two people. Or more.

You don’t need to swear. And you don’t need to apologize. And you don’t need to feel guilty–about either choice. The fact is, if you WERE two people, both of you would be feeling guilty! You would think, gosh I could get double the work done if only both of me were working!

Oh, Lord, You know me so well. I reckon it’s true.

Your worth is not based on your work. Your worth, your value, is based in the fact that I Who Am says, Behold, you are. Behold, you live. Behold, you love. Behold, I love you. Behold, you are worthy. The ego looks for reasons and comparisons. But the truth is, you are worthy because I Am Love and I Choose you–all of you. No one of you is more or less worthy than another.

You are My Workmanship, all of you. Do you remember what the word “workmanship” is in the Greek?

Lord, I do! I do remember. It is related to the word poetry.

Yes, you are My Poem, My lyric, My Word expressed in flesh, in personality, in gifts, in foibles. All of you, My Volume of exquisite poetry, My Workmanship. My Masterpiece, My Masterwork.

You who are artists refer to what you do in the collective as “the work.” Folks also speak of their jobs, how they earn their livelihoods as work. Labor of any kind has come to be called work, whether it pays or not. But when you switch gears and begin to think of workmanship, that is a different sort of question. What kind of life are you building? You need to build a balanced life. You need to build a life of rhythm, rhyme, alliteration, metaphor, analogy, with sweeping themes and grand ideals. You need to build the kind of life that, were it read or chanted, would bring vistas of delight and bold hopes and resolve into the hearts of the hearers or readers. Don’t undervalue your complete life. Do enjoy your work–but not at the expense of the whole poem. Don’t try to force a stilted rhyme or rhythm. You know how to craft a lyric. Let the melody and harmony lead the dance and suggest the rhythm of the words–of the work, of your life.

Gosh, God, I never, not once, thought of life like poetry. Thank You. That helps me.