Being sick

I don’t do “sick” well. To those of you who know me, that’s not really a surprise.

Intellectually I know  that rest is important…but somehow it hasn’t really gotten into my DNA. I WILL sleep at night (although I confess to being a bit of a night owl) and I do take a nap every day (required by living 35+ years with MS).

But when I get sick, taking time to rest and sleep seems such a waste. That gives me such great opportunities to catch up on my reading!

I have to really feel cruddy to just lay around.

Well, I’m there right now. I retire the end of this year…and there have been a couple of major events I’ve been involved in these last couple of months, figuring that once they were over I’d have (ie take time) to relax. I’d been pushing and pushing for quite a few months…I DID take one day completely off and was a little more relaxed the rest of last week…but not enough.

So I’m currently lounging in pajamas…been watching the World Series..and having a few books around me…and trying to listen to what my body is telling me now so that it doesn’t decide to get firmer with me. Been there, done that…and I really don’t want to visit the hospital any time soon!

I haven’t done a whole lot today…did a bit of website work, slept a lot…decided I’m not going to church tomorrow or work Monday…

Maybe after all these years I am finally learning some wisdom. Now where’s my book?!

Sing a new song!

This last weekend was intense and wonderful!

I attended the Community of Christ annual Peace Colloquy…which this year included the launch of the new denominational hymnal, Community of Christ Sings. And we sang!

The Peace Award was given to Reverend John Bell of the Iona Community in Scotland. You may be wondering what a hymn writer has to do with peace and justice issues…a lot! For one thing, we sing what we believe, and singing about peace and justice reminds us that that is part of our calling. Singing those sings remind us of issues that we would sometimes prefer to remain hidden–and this hymnal at times is very pointed about those issues…domestic violence, cruelty toward those who do not believe like we do, poverty, injustice, those dealing with addictions, those in prison…

In his presentations, Rev. Bell also used scripture that we would sometimes prefer to ignore to challenge us to live out what we say we believe.

We heard a wonderful concert by Emma’s Revolution, two women (with keyboard and percussion) who sing songs of justice and peacemaking. One of their songs that we had learned to love was “Peace, Salaam, Shalom”…written after 9/11. (It’s in the new hymnal.) We heard other songs of peace and justice…and while we may not agree with everything they sing, they are not afraid to take a stand for what they believe is right.

We shared in so many class/discussion sessions…of course, many of them including singing. SInging through the hymnal…singing on specific topics…singing old favorites and learning new songs that will become favorites.

We shared in worship…worship filled with music of all kinds–organ, vocal, small instrumental groups, drumming, piano, guitar–filled with wonderful messages of challenge to let this book move us forward into areas where we believe God is calling us.

And we sang!

The Psalmist several times called his people to sing a new song. Why? Because when we sing, what we sing gets deep into our souls. We remember it…we are more likely to live it.

And so…sing a new song!

Praise the Lord!
Sing to the Lord a new song,
his praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel be glad in its Maker;
let the children of Zion rejoice in their King.
Let them praise his name with dancing,
making melody to him with tambourine and lyre.
For the Lord takes pleasure in his people;
he adorns the humble with victory.
Let the faithful exult in glory;
let them sing for joy on their couches.
Praise the Lord!

Getting along

Right now I am not happy with our leaders–to put it mildly. When I see what’s going on–and hear some of the rhetoric–it feels like I’m back on an elementary school playground. “Mine!” “No, mine!” “These are my rules!” “If you don’t want to play my way, then you don’t need to play at all!”

Come on, folks!

What happened to civility? to the willingness to work together? Compromise is not a dirty word!

There was a time when individuals who had different perspectives and beliefs were still willing to listen to each other…to talk with each other…to find the overlapping circles where they could agree. But we seem to have lost that–both in “regular” society and definitely in Congress…and the country is the poorer for that.

I think we made what we thought was a wise decision when we decided on term limits for Congress, but I think it’s backfired. When members knew there was a good chance they could be working together for a number of years, there was the opportunity to get acquainted…to develop relationships that allowed working together to happen. But when folks realized they had only a limited number of years, then they knew they had to make their mark immediately–and in a way that would get attention…and that extremism is hurting us all.

At some point, we all have to learn how to get along again. That doesn’t mean that we’re going to have to give up our cherished beliefs. But it does mean being willing to listen and work with each other for the good of all.

Maybe we all need to go back to kindergarten:

Most of what I really need to know about how to live and what to do, and how to be, I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandbox at nursery school.

These are the things I learned:

Share everything.

Play fair.

Don’t hit people.

Put things back where you found them.

Clean up your own mess.

Don’t take things that aren’t yours.

Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.

Wash your hands before you eat.

Flush.

Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.

Live a balanced life.

Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.

Take a nap every afternoon.

When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands and stick together.

Be aware of wonder.

Remember the little seed in the plastic cup? The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that. Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the plastic cup — they all die. So do we.

And then remember the book about Dick and Jane and the first word you learned, the biggest word of all: look.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and sane living.

Think what a better world it would be if we all — the whole world — had cookies and milk about 3 o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankets for a nap. Or if we had a basic policy in our nation and other nations to always put things back where we found them and cleaned up our own messes. And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

~ Robert Fulghum ~