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Monday, December 30, 2013


"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable; if there is anything excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things." Philippians 4:8

I'm writing this post for my beloved sister Jane, who doesn't know it, but kept me from hiding under the covers today.

I've been in a bad place for a few days now. It started when I learned of the untimely death of a friend's young husband just two days before her birthday. The day before, a woman at church lost her husband suddenly. To top it all off, another friend just buried his sister after a murder-suicide. This is the THIRD family I know personally who have lost loved ones to violent crime - all within two years.

I'm beginning to think I'm a lightning rod for foul play.

In addition, my precious nephew Josh is on his way to Fort Benning to begin a three-year hitch in the military. It's essentially the beginning of his adulthood, the fulfillment of a dream he's had since he could talk. I'm not even his mother, but having a hard time of it. Feeling the empty nest syndrome, just as I did many years ago when his oldest sister left for college. When my son and visiting sister both went out last night, I could hardly stand the emptiness in the house (something I often cherish). 

So I tried to remove my mind from sorrowful thoughts through entertainment. I viewed two fact-based movies, both of which contained bittersweet elements. In my current state of mind, I'm dwelling on the heartbreak the characters experienced, rather than their joys. 

There is a healthy middle ground between empathizing with others' losses and wallowing in their misery. As a young girl, I found myself almost going through grief when friends did. When the mother of a high school friend died suddenly, I felt very bereft for some time. This might have been understandable if I had enjoyed a deep relationship with the woman, but I only knew her peripherally. My friendship was with her daughter, whose pain should not have overwhelmed me as it did. To counter this tendency, I learned to steel myself against heartbreak that was not my own; I could almost turn off the sadness of others, go beyond it back into my own life. Perhaps it's a positive sign that I'm returning to a more compassionate state of being, but I dare not let the sufferings of others engulf me as they once did. That is neither healthy nor productive.

I recall years ago when my own life was in a shambles and I had been trying in vain to find comfort. I made phone call after phone call, seeking consolation from every strong shoulder that came to mind. Exhausted, I wondered why my hours of yammering hadn't netted the relief I had prayed for. A voice spoke to me in my anguish, suggesting I call someone whose weak shoulders I might be able to shore up. As I obeyed, some of my own heartache began - ever so slightly - to ease.

All of which leads me back to my dear sister's entrance into my room this morning. I was frankly using the covers like a bomb shelter, trying vainly to deflect agony and pretending I would feel better if I allowed my mind to dissolve into unneeded sleep (which experience has taught me usually has quite the opposite effect). Jane interrupted my contemplated cop-out to ask me to pray for something that's been troubling her, and as we raised our worries to heaven, Philippians 4:8 began to take shape. We surely can't avoid pain, our own or others'. It finds us, as evidenced by my fruitless attempts yesterday to escape it. Yet, we can do something with the pain, rather than running from it.

Sure enough, as I was typing that last paragraph, the phone rang with a call from another dear soul who's also hurting on behalf of others. Together we laid our burdens before the great healer, who alone can bring solace both to those who grieve, and to those whose task is to help others grieve.

For more like this, check out: Morsels for Meditation...: Grief 2

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Clipped Wings Part 2

Upon reading my post from December 8, my friend Rene` offered the following feedback:

Rene` claims the reason for clipping a bird's wings is to restrict its natural tendency to fly away. The goal is to protect rather than confine the creature, and this necessitates restraining its wayward impulses. Wing-clipping also serves to bond the pet to its owner, on whom it is dependent due to its decreased flight ability.

My friend's insights are borne out by the above-referenced link from Winged Wisdom Pet Bird Magazine. According to this source, wings can be clipped in such a way as to allow the bird a bit of lift to remain "bird-like," but not so much as to afford an indoor pet access to dangers such as hot stoves or ceiling fans. The creature is born with the ability to fly and the tendency to explore, but at times these two instincts can work against each other, resulting in disaster.

These concepts shed light on why our heavenly Father may find it necessary to constrain His children, whose doings are often as unpredictable and foolhardy as any fowl's. While we have many inborn abilities, our judgment is sin-skewed, rendering us vulnerable to myriad unforeseen perils. However, when we accept the limits our loving Owner places on us, we can reach heights hitherto unimaginable.

"But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

For more like this, check out: Morsels for Meditation...: Clipped Wings

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Clipped Wings

I am "grounded" today. Snow is keeping me from carrying out the plans on my agenda, so here I sit.

The Lord has used weather to "clip my wings," for today at least.

I'm feeling grumpy and grouchy, mostly because of control issues that I refuse to release. Saying the serenity prayer, catching up on Scripture reading, resting in God (and in bed) will all help to alleviate the stress.

It's just possible that God has grounded me in order to ground me.

"The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore."  Psalm 121:8

For more like this, check out: Morsels for Meditation...: Clipped Wings Part 2