Why?

My heart is heavy.  I know I’ve been quiet for a while, but with so much happening in the past 2 weeks, I had to write.  So much tragedy this month makes me wonder, why?

June 12, 2016, a man…ONE man shot and killed 49 people at a night club in Miami and injured many, many more.  So much hate.  A man that has a past…  was on an FBI watch list.  How did we fail so many people?  What can we do to share more love and block out the hate?  I don’t have the answers, but I wonder and I know if we somehow we are able to do this, it’s what is needed…more love and less hate in our world.

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June 14, 2016, a little boy is dragged from a Disney lagoon by an alligator and his with his family watching and his father was unable to save his child.  Again, so many are blaming this poor family’s parents.  Really?!?!  They just lost their son!!!  Where is your heart?  Parents share photos of their children in this same spot where the child was taken.  There were no signs warning of the wildlife, just “no swimming”(this has since been rectified), which this child was not doing.  Now, many of us familiar with Florida know that where there is fresh water, there is a risk of encountering reptiles and alligators.  I would think these folks were not, or we confident that Disney would take measures to ensure the safety of their guests (not knowing, this can be impossible).  These people were on a vacation, enjoying family time.  Happy time.  Now, they’re living a nightmare and I’m sure, hoping to wake up to find something different.  Please, less judgement, less hate and more love.

June 19th, a 17 month old drowned in a nearby town on Sunday, Father’s Day.  His mother found him and was the one who started CPR.  This was the family pool.  Celebrating Father’s Day, attending other children…the 17 month old was lost track of.  Tragic.  Heart breaking.

Also on June 19th, a 4 year old girl at a Swim and Racquet club also drowned in another nearby town Sunday, Father’s Day.

So much tragedy all around us.  So many stones to throw and so much blame to hand out.  BUT, there’s so much suffering already.  Can we not just love?  I don’t know any parent who is perfect.  I know more than not have been right there when our little loves have fallen or gotten hurt…when you lose sight for 2 seconds and suddenly your breath is taken away.  Why do so many people have to suffer, have to hurt?

Then I saw this posted on Facebook the other day and the tears just came. 16. Why does a 16 year old girl have to fight ovarian cancer? But look… in this tragedy, there is hope…there is light…there is love…

Resiliance.

Thank you for hearing me.  Thank you for reading what’s on my heart.  More love.  Less hate.  More tolerance.  Less judgement.  Lets help each other more and ignore each other less.

God’s Peace to you.

 

 

 

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Surprise!

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“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” ~Jeremiah 29: 11-13

Do you like surprises?  I generally like surprises, specially if they bring automatic joy.  Sometimes surprises bring uncertainty and shock.  That’s kind of what my Saturday was like. 

I got an email on Thursday afternoon that there would be an URGENT Executive Session of the Vestry this Saturday.  Now, I should preface that this is my third and final year on Vestry, and this has never happened before.  There was no other explanation, just a sense of urgency to be at the meeting.  I have to tell you, this left me with some anxiety regarding what this meeting would be about. 

I would like to tell you about my rector and priest at Church of the Holy Nativity, The Rev. Aimee Eyer-Delevett.  Yes, you can click on the link and her bio will appear, but that is not the same as hearing personal stories.  The first time I met Rev. Aimee in the Fall of 2007, I was trying sneak in to this little church that kept compelling me to “check it out” after I had moved to the area.  I tried to sneak in, but there is really no place to sneak in this church.  I did my best and sat in the middle near an elderly couple.  As the processional started, I noticed the priest was walking in, in sneakers.  Wow, I thought, this is a really casual church.  Now after the service, the lady next to me put her arm through mine and asked if I would have a cup of coffee with her. Now remember, I was trying to sneak in and sneak out…but who am I to tell sweet little Harriet, no?  Needless to say, I found myself sitting down to a cup of coffee.  As I sat people started sitting with me and introducing themselves and next thing I knew Adult Formation was starting.  (I can’t just get up and walk out in the middle of a “talk!”….I thought)  Well, so I stayed.  As I listened to the speaker, I realized she was familiar.  So I kept staring and staring until I placed her.  I had taken care of her before in the Cardiac ICU.  She looked great!  She was thriving!  Suddenly it dawned on me, connections, God brought me here.  I was already connected in so many ways to the body (the people) of this church.  Oh, and that strange priest that led the service in her sneakers…she was prepared for Crop Walk Sunday!  This was the beginning on my journey with CHN or Church of the Holy Nativity.

Through the years, as you might imagine, I’ve gotten to know Rev. Aimee so much more and on a much deeper level.  Not only is she my priest, but she is also my friend.  She has listened to my hopes, my fears, my struggles and has been there for the joys.  She provided my husband and I marriage counseling before our marriage.  She married us.  She blessed my womb before my first IVF and embryo transfer (that so many knew nothing about), and anointed me with oil.  What is special about Rev. Aimee, is that not only did she listen to my joys, challenges and hurts, but she shared hers as well.  Most certainly not all of them, but there is a vulnerability and authenticity that just exudes from her spirit.

Saturday morning, I found out that Rev. Aimee will be taking leave from her position at CHN as rector.  October 26th will be her last day with us.  She received a call from All Saints by the Sea in Montecito, CA to be their rector and accepted the call.  This is the letter that just went out to the parish (CHN).  We are so sad, but also know that God is working through Rev. Aimee, and that in our sorrow there is also hope.  Hope for us at CHN, but also hope for those at All Saints by the Sea.  As I said to Rev. Aimee, “I can only wish for you to grow and share your leadership, love and compassion to those who need you.”  Godspeed my dear, dear friend.  Know that you will be taking a piece of my heart with you, just as you are leaving a piece of yours.

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Dying or Being Born?

Psalm 34:18

The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

I got a call the other day that my very dear friend.  Her mother-in-law is losing her battle with life, with Alzheimer’s.  No longer is it only her mind that is lost, but her body is failing now too.  How can we comfort those who have already lost so much, those for whom losing even more is imminent?  I found a poem written by Tim Garner who writes:

her-memory

Her Memory

The floor was her stage

when she moved to the music

now the floor, was her cage

mind and body arthritic

every decision she makes

made in hesitation

the words that once flowed

uttered in reservation

A mind full of memories

she can no longer grasp

like sand through the fingers

of hands that can’t clasp

color fades from her eyes

with the walls closing in

memories but ghosts

of things that had been

when the memory goes

time starts to slow

frustrated, confusion

it’s all they know

I question you God

what have you to gain

when the faith that we place

is rewarded in pain

When the weight of this life

drives our knees to the floor

do you lend us a hand

or pile on more

When I look in her face

does she know who I am

is the person I know

trapped deep within

When the disease gets a hold

the mourning begins

it’s death without dying

it’s loss without end.

~ Tim Garner

I wonder, is that how they’re feeling, those left behind?  If so, what about the lost, who can not express?  Where do we find healing?

Alzheimer’s Prayer

Father, free me from these walls

which imprison my mind.

Bring me from this place

into your arms and good grace.

Grant me wings to fly,

unto the sky with angels,

that from this horrid forgetfulness

I may emerge in heaven,

enter through the pearly gates,

stand by your side with

All who I ever loved

And be no more in this broken shell

where my masters are they who

know you nor me not.

Amen.

~ Terry Lynch

It occurs to me that in baptism we die to sin and are raised up to new life in Christ Jesus.  Isn’t it the same then, in death?  In liturgy we drape the coffin or urn in white, signaling the newly-baptized, new life with Christ Jesus.  Another birth.  This is our promise as Christians.  Death is not the end.

Revelation 7: 14-17

These are they who have come our of great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.  Therefore, they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them.  Never again will  they hunger; never again will they thirst.  The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat.  For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water.  And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

These are God’s promises to you, to me.  No longer will there be any pain, any suffering, or any tears.  He has cloaked those he loves with his great white light and gives them eternal life with him.  And one day, this light and life will guide you and me as well.  We will be with all of those whom we’ve loved in this life, in the next.