Saturday, May 28, 2011

I buried BUDDY yesterday...

Gratitude Journal 5-28-11
1. Buddy - great dog, wonderful pal - RIP - 1998-2011
2. Magnolia Manor West - nursing facility for grandma
3. Patient doctors who smooth the path and urge patience in their patients!
4. OPRAH's legacy to so many wounded through the years!
5. Friends...

"The Father has loved us so much that we are called children of God. And we really are His children" 1 John 3:1

The past two weeks have been a little more stressful than usual! My cell phone died, my home air-conditioning slowed down on some pretty hot days, and my heart was wounded in three significant ways. First, my grand-daughter (Harper) had to go into the hospital briefly for a biopsy. A small growth inside her left cheek was suspicious and now we wait. The doctor is good and her mom is resilient and we are all hopeful... but 'grandpa' couldn't be there.

Next, my mother-in-law (Grandma as I lovingly call her) had to be moved from the Assisted Living facility to Nursing Care after a week in the hospital. Heart rate, congestive heart failure, and one kidney all out of sync at one time. Not good... She is now discouraged and depressed (who wouldn't be) and Beth and I are cleaning out one small apartment and transferring her to an even smaller new 'home'.

And yesterday I buried BUDDY. He was a gift from our daughter back in 1998 when she was working with tornado victims in Birmingham. He was a true product of those storms back then and lived out his own storminess his whole life! We often laughed at his antics and described him as a poster pup for ADHD in dogs. He was a dalmatian-lab mix... black with white markings on his belly. Yesterday, when I went out to feed him I found him on his bed. It appeared he had just laid down and died. But it was unexpected!

So often death is unexpected. Whether we are talking about beloved pets or some old or young human brother and sister who has populated our lives.

Much has been said this week about OPRAH's leaving her T.V. program after 25 years. You either liked her or not. I happened to be one of her fans and I own that identity with pride! Although I rarely got to watch her show, on those occasions when I did I often was touched by her ability to 'connect the dots' in relationships. Tying us all together - red and yellow, black and white, old, young, rich and poor, gay and straight. AND she loved dogs too!

I sincerely do give gratitude this day! To the Mother/Father God who created us in an image of LOVE and HOPE and FREEDOM with the ability to be touched by deep moments of pain and times of incredible joy! A God who wanted us to know that we are not alone on this journey. A God who gave and continues to give us companions along our path - both human and the four-legged variety.

God THANK YOU for BUDDY. And Thank You for all the gifts over this ruff patch during these two weeks. While I am sure there will be even tougher times ahead, I am also confident in Your GRACE and LOVE and BLESSINGS of being one of YOUR kids.

Through Jesus

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mother's Day - and Mother/Father God

Gratitude Journal 5-5-11
1. Reflecting on the 'gifts received' through my own mom!
2. Openness to nurturing relationships found through the feminine
3. Incorporation of those gifts into my own experience and skill-set
4. Seeing motherhood grow in my daughter and daughter-in-law...
they are the greatest!
5. Thanks-giving for my wife and the gift she is to our children and to me!

I will make you into a new creation. I will create in you and in your people the New Jerusalem. But you must let me love you and let me wipe away the tears from your eyes.
Rev 21:4-5

My life journey has allowed me the gift of many 'mothers' along the way. First was my own biological mom. She was with me for over 60 years. Significant teachers played a meaningful role. Next came my wife who has walked beside me for over 44 years. I have been generously blessed to have her as mother of our two children and it is such a joy to share grand-parenthood with her!

My mother-in-law has been an unexpected gift too. In earlier years I never thought about her intersect with my life. Again, such a wonder...

I am most thankful that I have lived long enough to recognize the 'divine feminine' and see God manifest within the special women in my life. How shortsighted it would have been to only see God as masculine. I would have lost so many wonderful opportunities to experience the divine if I had only eyes to see one half of God.

(AND I don't want to limit God to just male/female either. For me, God is manifest throughout all of creation...)

When is the last time you have allowed God to touch you, nurture you, wipe away a tear, hold and comfort you... love you? Most times those are considered feminine traits. We don't often expect men to be nurturing or sensitive or comforting. And when we see men exhibit such traits, we believe it to be unusual.

Yet if we expand our image of the Holy One to be both Mother as well as Father we may experience a deeper richer relationship with the Divine.

This Mother's Day - as you give thanks for the women in your life - don't forget our Creator. Pause and rejoice in the fullness of your God.