A walk down memory lane

Good Evening, God!

This morning my wonderful husband Kit and I left home at 6:20 a.m. to get to the Toyota Service Center for my car’s 7:15 appointment. On the way home we stopped at Kaimana Beach for me to swim . . . and Yes, the giant school of little fish were there to greet me!  After my exercise time Kit suggested we stop at his old homestead.  Actually, I’m not sure leased land qualifies as homestead — but Kit’s family lived there from 1930 to 1942.

The walk down to the beach is so different now.  The big trees that shaded the walk are gone.  The old fences with greenery on both sides are gone.  The homes are gone too.  All that remain are the concrete remains of the World War II pill box. We chatted with a man – maybe in in his 60’s – who was going into the water to hunt octopuses.  Kit shared about living here when Pearl Harbor was bombed on December 7, 1941.  The man nodded and said . . . that was a long time ago.  We chattered on.  And wished each other a Happy Thanksgiving.

I was left with a sense of how impermanent things are.  But I also have a new awareness of just how precious the folks are who share our past. . . who remember the same things . . .with whom we can replay the times long gone.

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Posted in friends, memories, Perspective, relationships, stopping to see, time

Trees

Good Evening, God!

We parked next to this tree and as we returned from swimming I glimpsed it out the car window.  The tree seemed lit up. . . like I was seeing it for the first time.  And that brought to mind Psalm 1:3: That person is like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither . . .

Ah, we are like trees . . . planted in You . . . the Ground of our being.  The Bible is referring to those whose delight is in You.  But, I think You are always hoping that each of us will come closer and grow in our delight in You.  For me that is one of the many ways in which You pour out help.

In my mind Your help is limitless . . . endless . . . how else could You care for BILLIONS of us and countless creatures and billions of galaxies and so forth.  So for me it feels natural to ask for Your help.

And this morning, while saying grace I did ask for help for all of us present.  Afterwards, a dear friend remarked that those of us present really didn’t need help compared to most of the world’s people!  And that is certainly true!

My friend is an extraordinarily good and generous person. And I appreciated her observation.  It is good to be reminded that our needs are not to be compared to the refugees and homeless and abused.

So I am thinking, God, that in addition to the various way I seek Your help — I  need You to help me be more generous in giving and in caring.  And more grateful.

 

Posted in connecting

So great a Cloud of Witnesses

Good Evening, God!

My wonderful husband Kit was driving us home from church this morning when I saw these lovely clouds and snapped a photo.  The photo had several lights show up in it.  No doubt reflections of some kind.  But, they made me think about how there is far more “around” us than we realize.

Hebrews 12:1 says: Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us”.  Of course, four or five lights do not a cloud of witnesses reveal . . . but they make me think.

And it is good, God, for us to stretch our minds and hearts . . . and our imagination too.  That reminds me of how the English prosecutors told Joan of Arc that the voice of God she heard was only her imagination.  She looked at them (I like to think she was puzzled) and said, “How else would God speak to me?”

How indeed!

So, as I trundle off to bed . . . I am imagining loving beings . . . a cloud of witnesses . . . encouraging me.  And my dear friend JoNetta is surely among them.

 

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Posted in Being With, Blessing, encourage and comfort, Expand my Heart, imagining, Light, Light shining through, Possibilities

Queen Keopuolani

A portrait of Queen Keōpūolani done in 1816 by Louis Choris

Good Evening, God!

Today, for the first time I heard the story of how you used Queen Keōpūolani in 1819 to break with the Kapu system – the old religion of Hawaii — and welcome the Christian missionaries who came in 1820.  She was absolutely pivotal.  Because she was the child of the King of Hawaii and the Queen of Maui she had by birth tremendous “mana” or spiritual power.  This is not a concept we Westerners really grasp — the idea of inherent power due to bloodlines.  But, it made her the most powerful person in Hawaii, more powerful than her husband the king.  And, although King Kamehameha had other wives and other children — it was her sons who became kings following Kamehameha’s death in 1819.

How amazing that this kind woman — called the mother of the people — was in the proper position to influence so many key events.  Actually, God, it seems as if she could better be said to have determined the outcomes.  It was due to her influence . . . her presence with her son, King Kamehameha II, that saw the transition made with a minimum of violence.

After hearing this story this morning — masterfully told by Kaipo’i Kelling — I marveled that I had never heard of this powerful and influential queen before.  She needs to be lifted up!

To me, God, she is a reminder that all things are possible to You and with You.

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Posted in God's Provision, Help me to see, power and peace and gentleness

Enchanted by a large school of small fish

Good Evening, God!

How amazing are Your Creatures!  This morning I got back in the water to do my exercises. As I swim along I mostly stare at the sand and odd bits of coral.  I was in a relaxed state when a school like this came right at me!  Yikes!  It takes a nanosecond or two to recognize and then welcome the oncoming traffic.  Once again, the joy of BEING WITH them bubbled up and over.  My Laughing sounded funny coming out a snorkel but laugh I did.

Then I relaxed into flowing with them and before long I found myself in the center of a Ring of Fish.  They swam around me — maybe two or three feet away from me.  Around and around as I circled around too . . . gazing at them.  Then I would speed up and swim AT them.  I  enjoyed being in their midst for a moment or two before they swam past me.  This went on for several minutes. I was mesmerized. . .

At one point I thought about how folks pay money to swim with dolphins and even sharks.  And, I can see that would be wonderful..  But, my joy meter had hit the top with these little fish.  I’m not sure I could enjoy even dolphins more than I enjoyed this.

You provide so many moments of beauty and delight during our days.  And, were it not for light pollution the starry sky would astound us nightly.  How good it is to pause and wallow in delight.

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Posted in appreciation, beauty, delight, Enchantment, gratitude

Turning my prayer life right side up


Father Keating

Good Evening, God!

What an amazing retreat!  I went to be trained as a presenter.  They asked for help . . . and I thought . . . why not?  Well, to be honest, this is a very full time and there were a number of good reasons for “why NOT”.  But, I’ve been enjoying the good work of others for years and it felt like time to give back.  Of course, I was the one who was blessed by the retreat.  In going over the talks well enough to present them I rediscovered so much.  I was like being given the give of Centering Prayer all over again!

But the best surprise was when I read this sentence from Father Keating’s book Open Mind, Open Heart: “Contemplative prayer is the world in which God can do anything.”

I believe that is true, God.  But it had been true for me as a theological truth.  Somehow when I read it at the retreat it became a visceral truth.  And, as I rolled that truth around in my mind and heart I heard myself asking You God, “Since that is true, why is our world such a mess?”  And on that question I went to bed and off to sleep.

This morning I felt as if You replied by saying something to the effect that . . . Perhaps if folks didn’t make plans and then ask me to bless them . . . but rather came to Me first to hear if I had plans . . . and then sought My help in each small step . . . things might be better.  

WOW!  It felt as if You had just turned my prayer life right side up!

 

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Posted in asking for help for myself, Centering Prayer, connecting, Possibilities, Prayer, praying, Rethinking, setting my life in context, Silence, solitude and silence

Walking a free-form labyrinth

Good Evening, God!

Imagine my delight, God, when I was lead by a dear friend up to the the labyrinth at the Saint Anthony’s Retreat Center.  My delight was compounded by finding it was a “free-form” labyrinth.  It wandered in among the trees in a clearly marked path . . . but not with a clearly observable pattern.  Indeed, no pattern at all.

How much more like our journey through life is that!  Doubling back and then back again . . . I often think, as I make a mistake yet again . . . haven’t I been here before?

With an ordinary labyrinth you can see at the beginning where you are going to end up, And you can see the pending loops and the doubling back places.  That is comforting.  But not like my life.  This morning’s wandering through the trees was much more reminiscent of my life.  I suppose they constructed the labyrinth that way because they were fitting into the space available.  And again, God, that reminds me of my life!

I’m smiling, God.  What fun to feel the comparisons and to feel Your Presence here at the retreat on Centering Prayer.

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Posted in delight, Enjoyment, Inner Journeys, Labyrinth, layer upon layer, learning, letting the Holy Spirit flow through us

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