Never a dull moment!

That’s a saying from my childhood…from when our lives got rather hectic. “Never a dull moment!” Usually it was my mom who said that.

My dad’s favorite comment was “No rest for the wicked…and the righteous don’t need any.” He left it up to us to decide which category we were in at any particular moment.

I’m feeling a bit like I’d like a few dull moments…but it’s not going to happen any time soon.

We have:

  • a wedding this weekend–followed by approximately two weeks of our teenage grandson staying with us while his dad and stepmom are on their honeymoon;
  • doctor’s appointment for the groom-to-be on Friday to see if he is going to need surgery on his hip–which he injured helping some folks in our congregation move;
  • a move by my youngest brother and his husband halfway across the country–which came up a couple of weeks ago because of a job transfer;
  • dealing with some interesting financial questions related to housing;
  • major–and time-consuming projects at work that are on a tight schedule; and
  • continuing to deal with my mother and her rehab for her broken hip.

The last one is what precipitated my thinking back on this statement. She has always been independent, and so the loss of control that she is feeling while in rehab is challenging for everyone! I’m delighted that she’s wanting to do things on her own, but I’m also worried, because she is not able to keep in memory the fact that she’s not supposed to be getting up on her own. Nor does she remember that she’s there on doctor’s orders–not from her own choice.

This morning when I went to see her, I discovered her in a recliner down by the nurse’s station–where they can keep an eye on her. They also have a chair alarm on her wheelchair, and a bed alarm on the bed. The nurse’s comment was, “She’s a busy little lady!”

Oy vey! What all has she been up to that I’m not aware of??

I guess this is part of the spice of life. But can I put in my request for a few bland days?

“Where would we go?”

There’s a scripture that’s been resonating with me the last couple of days. It’s from the Gospel of John–found only there.

The disciples–not just the Twelve, but all of Jesus’ followers–have been struggling with some of Jesus’ sayings. Specifically his claim to be the Bread of Life and the way in John in which he seems to establish the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. Many of the disciples have found it to be a hard teaching and have difficulty understanding it.

Because it is so hard, many of the disciples turn back from following Jesus–leaving him and his call to them.

Jesus is disappointed (reading between the lines) but then turns to the twelve who are his closest followers and asks them if they want to leave him as well. Peter–the impetuous one–seems to speak for all of them when he says ” “Master, to whom would we go? You have the words of real life, eternal life. We’ve already committed ourselves, confident that you are the Holy One of God.” (The Message – John 6:61-69)

That’s the question that keeps coming to my mind.

There are some difficult issues in my faith denomination that we are trying to figure out how to deal with. Quite frankly, I don’t think we’re making wise decisions at all. It feels like we’re stalling…hoping that the issues (and the individuals who put faces on them) will just quietly go away. Some will, and I can’t blame them.

I’ve thought about it. But the question that keeps coming to my mind is Peter’s question: “Where would I go?”

This is the faith tradition that I grew up in…but more than that, it’s the one I have felt called to. And as much as I’m struggling–and hurting–I haven’t yet sensed God calling me anywhere else.

So I guess I’m stuck…or maybe my faith tradition is stuck with me. And if that’s the way it is, then maybe part of my call is to be a questioner…a challenger who wants us to live out what we say we believe.

It’s not easy…but at this point I don’t know where else to go.

Hypocrisy

I thought I knew what the definition of “hypocrisy” is…and I’m right. It’s defined as “the practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold
or possess; falseness.”

Its etymology–or background–is interesting. It comes from some Greek words that have to do with playing a part on a stage…in other words being an actor. An actor is someone who pretends to be someone he is not in real life–who puts on a role that is not really him (or her–hypocrites can be female as well).

Originally this word was neutral, but it’s come to carry very negative connotations and is not something I would like to be called.

Unfortunately, hypocrisy is not limited to individuals but can be found in institutions as well.

We’re well aware of its appearance in political campaigns! There have been ample evidences of individuals saying one thing–presenting themselves as upholders of some personal virtue–only to be found with feet of clay as emails/tweets/other forms of communication show them to be liars.

Sadly, churches are not immune.

I am aware that there are significant differences on how we read and interpret scriptures. And while I may not agree, I can respect those who are very clear on their statements of their beliefs.

What I struggle with are faith traditions that preach acceptance of all…worth of all…value of all–but whose practices say “Yes, unless you’re GLTB and/or in a committed relationship. Then you’re not welcome–in any way.”

I’m struggling with that on a personal level right now. Not because I’m GLTB. I’m very straight! But my faith tradition–which has been my foundation for all of my life–is sounding and feeling more and more hypocritical to me, and I find myself struggling. I want to be an agent for change–but how long can I stay and struggle and still feel like a person of integrity? When is enough enough?

I want words and actions to match. I know that this is probably not possible 100% of the time…but I don’t want to be an individual–or part of an institution–who puts on a role when it’s convenient and takes it off when it’s not.

5 seconds to change

Life can change so quickly… even as little as 5 seconds can create major life changes.

I’ve been reminded of that in a personal way this week. My 90-year-old mother fell and broke her hip. The fall didn’t take long…we’re not even sure how it happened. But the end result is that she’s currently in the hospital. Hip surgery yesterday–which went well. But we’re dealing with the consequences.

Although she’s been able to still live in her own apartment in an assisted living facility, she’s had some mental confusion. Right now, that confusion is much worse. I’m hoping that most of the new confusion is due to the drugs still in her system and that we’ll go back to the “normal” confusion rather than facing a “new” normal.

But it’s been a challenge–trying to keep her reminded that she broke a hip…she’s had hip surgery…and she can’t get out of bed without help from the medical staff. They’ve had to post a nurse in the room to keep her from trying to get up on her own. We don’t need another 5 second incident to create further life changes!

As challenging as this is, I’ve also been reminded in other ways of how quickly life can change in 5 seconds. In the last week or so, a toddler died in a swimming pool when his mother had her back turned for 5 seconds. I can’t begin to imagine the kind of anguish that mother feels.

5 seconds…such an incredibly short time–and yet so much can change in it.

Saving for a special occasion…?

This last week I was reminded of a story I read a number of years ago…in Reader’s Digest, I think.

A man was going through his wife’s underwear drawers, looking for just the right pieces of clothing. He came across a slip–actually more than “just” a slip. It was a beautiful–and expensive–piece of lingerie he had bought her several years previously…and had encouraged her to wear numerous times. Her response was that she was waiting for just the “right” day. With a voice made rough by tears, he pulled it out and said, “I suppose this is the ‘right’ day now.” And he put it into the bag of clothes he was taking to the funeral home–to dress his wife’s body in.

That story really hit me hard. I didn’t have an expensive piece of lingerie…but there were numerous things I had been saving. Saving for just the “right” time…and I swore to myself that I would never do that again. They were things to enjoy now.

I’ve done better…but I realized last week that I still have some elements of that attitude to deal with. There have been times when I’ve bought something at the grocery–something that I wanted to wait to eat when the timing was “right.” But in waiting for that perfect time, I’ve allowed the food to spoil–and wasted it. I was looking for something for lunch–found a couple of packages of canned chicken/cracker combination. I’ve enjoyed them before–but this one tasted awful! I looked for the expiration date–and it was “best used by 2007”!!

Saving is good…but only if done wisely. Too often I still find myself holding onto something for that “special” day–only to find that either it never comes…or it’s so far beyond the “best used by” date that it’s spoiled.

“Start living now. Stop saving the good china for that special occasion. Stop withholding your love until that special person materializes. Every day you are alive is a special occasion. Every minute, every breath, is a gift from God.” – Mary Manin Morrissey