Tag Archives: depression

A Picture of Survival

Yesterday, we took this photo on a cell phone at Duff Park in Murrysville, PA. [I apologize for the low quality.]

I really wanted to share this because the image is a fantastic visual example of survival. Look carefully. The red square shows where the tree started. Perhaps some rocks gave way underneath it. Has that ever happened to you?

It seems that for some time the tree was pointed down, away from live-giving sunlight.

But what happened after years of struggle and persistence?

Growth. Survival. Resilience. Vigor. A Healthy (though precariously placed) Tree.

How can you survive when the bottom drops out? Grow up. ūüôā

"I will survive," said the tree.

My prayer of thanksgiving: God, thank you for this example and inspiration from your created world.

What are your reflections, thoughts, or comments?

Training for change: “The Show about Me” part III

conversation is not about you

I use the word “training” here, because if I used the word “discipline” it would be an immediate turn off. You may just click away in a huff or something. I’m tip toeing around for you this time.

Discipline has a “dirty word” feel to it now, right? We seem to associate it with pain for the sake of gain, or something too hard, or bothersome. Really, a disciple is a person in a training mode, learning, and absorbing things meant to improve him and his life.

This post is the third installment to deconstruct and renovate our lives that have taken on the “personal reality show” traits. This default setting we have to center our lives around our desires, wants, needs, and shortcomings, keep us stuck. Gone is the life-giving existence that comes from understanding that Reality is the realm of God‚ÄďIt’s not about us. We are invited into a richer, deeper Story that isn’t gained or lost with our successes or failures. God is the Star of the show, and it’s his Story. This is a life lived in the realm of peace/shalom. Lay your burdens down, friend.

You may have some ideas in mind of what life looks like once this changeover has been made. I’m hoping you’ll share your ideas about it. I’ll 5 ways a person lives out a greater Story, and maybe we can all learn something.

When you live the bigger Story…

1. You regularly  make and keep unlikely friends.

You don’t see people as tools for your own purposes, or to satisfy your desires and needs. No one is beneath you in the social strata, because you can well see that it’s not your story, but God’s. God’s Story includes all people, so you do too.

2. You regularly give to those who cannot repay you.

(Volunteer) Your actions stop being about personal gratification and getting ahead in some way. Giving freely punctuates this idea. You realize that generosity is life-giving in its own right, and it’s a win-win situation.

3. You shut up more, ask questions, and wait for the full answer.

Talking with people isn’t about saying something, being heard, or pitching some kind of agenda. It’s about the other person. You ask questions to know better, to understand better, and you give up the selfishness inherent in small story communication.

4. You stop self-promoting.

Making sure others see you in a certain light doesn’t balloon anymore as a thrust of your interactions. Sharing has nothing to do with making yourself look good, or impressing people. The self-centeredness is gutted from your words and actions, making life about something far bigger and better than you.

5. You listen.

In small stories we listen to get an edge. Sometimes what we call “listening” is really just pausing briefly out of some rudimentary convention, so that when we speak, we can be better heard (but only because we aren’t literally talking over someone). It boils down to merely “listening” for a chance to speak; but this is not genuine listening. When we listen, we change. The interaction makes us somehow different than we were before.

If you train with these 5 ways of interacting and seeing Reality in mind, it will give you no choice but to improve your life as you yield to a bigger Story.

Share your thoughts…

“1 foot in the grave and 3 feet on a banana peel”

Would this sign work for people too?

Sometimes we get awfully close to the brink. Maybe 94 steps. Could that take a day? A week? Two weeks?

What does it take to take a few steps back?

Rest? A new Perspective? A change?

In the movie Fantastic Mr. Fox, the euphemism “1 foot in the grave and 3 feet on a banana peel” was used to describe a fox in a precarious spot.

What we often don’t realize is that the “brink” is just the first of many.

When have you felt “at the brink”?

What was the result…or how did it turn out?

Powerful dramatic performance by amazing youth

My church’s youth drama club did this performance on Sunday. What a special youth group we have. ¬†. .Such a blessing. I watched it with a big lump in my throat. The journey may be hard, but Jesus and his love prevail.

Please post your reactions or responses.

Coping with Pain (The ironic strategy)

 

Why are we so often alone in our pain?

 

There is a terrible irony in the typical human’s response to pain.

Emotional, physical, or mental suffering is most often considered personal, or about one’s self, and so it is dealt with on one’s own.

A suffering person, ready to divulge their pain, may say, “This is hard to say out loud,” or “This is difficult to share with people I don’t know that well.” The pain has been internalized, and taken in, stewed.

We all do it. But now I ask “why?” Habit maybe, yet we do terrible jobs of healing ourselves. Our wounds fester and¬†putrefy.

Outside perspectives, and the gracious love of community offer healing we can never find alone.

I wonder if the broken-ness of this world makes us retract. Maybe a flight/flight instinct is at first to simply be self-preservative. In reality, we are not alone, our pain is not unique. But, the shock, and upset sends us into hiding, or a kind of “hunker¬†in the bunker” mode. The bitter stab, the disappointment, or the awfulness of suffering makes us fear, and mistrust, so we give ourselves no option but to withdraw, and go inward, taking the pain with us. It rarely finds a good exit. Then we lick our festering wounds, in solitude, even as we may curl back unnoticed, behind the dumpsters of the very hospital (a situation) that could being healing, comfort, and hope. Don’t we?

Could pain really be something different altogether, and we might just be misapprehending it far too much?

                         Could it be a way to lead us home?

                                       Is it a way to lead us into each others arms, once again?

Those who have been calmed and gained healing, find that healthy community is the surest way to growth, start invigoration, locate meaningful purpose, and heal hurts. How is it that so many of us suffer quietly, and alone, in the margins?

How very strange that together, we suffer alone! The irony is horribly striking. How awful too, I think, that we’ve also missed something big about others who suffer. We too often shoot our wounded, by condemnation or inattention. Or push them out, somehow, into further isolation. How coarse. How morbid. The God who welcomes the outcast, the wounded, the sick, and the sinner, mingles with them, pulls them in, and is close enough to touch their afflictions, and pass them bread.

Let us think of ways to come out of our own sufferings into the light and healing nature of community with others, God has provided. Beyond that, let us reach out to those isolated, or away from us‚Äďthose silently hurting. Let us understand that they will try to handle their pain themselves, but they cannot. We can kindly be there, to hear them, offer friendship, and love. But most of all, with or without words, reassure them that no one suffers alone, not any more.

Do you have comments about suffering or isolation?

Please contribute.

If you take this to heart, and do something about it, please share that with us. Thank you.

Faith (the biped Dog)

Faith is confidence in what has not yet been seen. If you don’t know something is impossible, faith can make the impossible possible. Don’t forget about Faith. Be encouraged and Don’t lose heart.

For more information about the inspirational and amazing Faith the Dog, who learned to walk like a human, click here.

Restlessness

Everlasting God,

In whom we live and move and have our being:

You have made us for yourself,

So that our hearts are restless until they rest in you.

‚ÄďAugustine of Hippo (Algeria/354-430)