Thursday, November 27, 2008
Angels In The Strangest Places
Dear and caring Linds at "Rocking Chair Reflections" sent me a note that she's been checking to see if I've done new posts. After a recent run of literary dryness, or perhaps worse, I wrote one last night, so I hurried to check it.

I have a habit that isn't a good one. When I do write I get in too much hurry, and then need to proof it more, and make corrections, and that's what I spent some time last night doing. Thought I saved it, but I must have deleted it instead.

You might have enjoyed at least parts of it, for I wrote about how grand it is to be an American, and why Thanksgiving is so important to us. Never mind that football and the huge parade, with Santa showing up at the end of it, takes up most of this great holiday, barely leaving time for our overstuffed bods to sleep it off some.

I mentioned things that parallel the 1929 depression with the one we're in now, and emphasized ways to help us through it. I ended this lost post by suggesting that a thankful attitude is the most important thing, and it is important. But as I reread what I'd written, I wouldn't be surprised, and would certainly understand, if most of you stopped reading it several paragraphs ago.

I will try to make up for all this verbal droning by sharing what took place today. Our country's Wall Street money market collapsed, sending huge corporations, and banks into meltdowns, and Jobs disappeared even more quickly because companies weren't doing well, and people out of work increased more quickly than laid off workers could comprehend the sudden pink slip that came with their last paycheck.

I am doing O.K, even though I'm between jobs right now. Had expected to make a big profit from selling this house in a few years, and The chances for that now do not look promising, with home values decreasing, and other investments also now worth less. and it will probably take longer for those values to get better.

A son of mine is barely surviving because he has serious back injuries, and other medical problems that prevent him from working almost all on his feet, He is waiting for results of a hearing that will decide whether he's approved for disability. He is doing what work he can. Is not lazy, does not expect anyone, especially his mother, to pay his way. But I do help all I can, and have my church praying for him, and other caring persons to intercede. It is hard to feel positive about this, for the review of it can go either way.

When I pray I ask God to help him have hope and patience, and that whoever makes the decision realizes how much he needs it. This morning before he and I and his son met other family members to share Thanksgiving, I prayed as usual, and found myself asking God to send someone to encourage not only my son, but also me.

A few hours later we all met at a buffet type place, and as soon as we got a table, I found a plate, and knife and fork, and headed straight to where they serve good meat; ham, roast beef, turkey, even steak. I wasn't sure where the line for it ended, and being in a holiday mood, was perhaps a little silly. Said something really stupid, or dumb to a lady standing nearby, that the line was so long I should have brought a book. I should mention here that when we arrived, I noticed more latinos than usual there, and then I noticed a young man who looked like he might be Latino, standing just ahead of me in the serving line. He appeared friendly and gracious, and when he heard my dumb comment, smiled and said I could go ahead of him in line. I didn't think I should do that, and declined, but he kept looking at me. There was just something about him I hardly know how to tell, so I groped for nicer comments, asked him how he liked eating there, and then I just popped out with "Where are you from?" He explained he was with a Christian Latino youth event in Denver, and mentioned the name of his church group, and asked mine, and I told him.

The line was long, so we talked more. I could tell his faith is important to him. He said he loved the church work he does, that he's a Youth Minister. I complemented him on that. Said it's nice to meet a young person who isn't doing awful things we read about in the paper.

By then he was close to being served, and wouldn't be in line anymore. I remembered what I asked God for this morning, so I touched the young man's arm, and said: "Would you pray for my son? Thinking when he was with his church group again, they would lift him up to our Lord. I didn't mention his needs, only that he needed prayer. He said he would, and I'm thinking, "Good", one more person, maybe more, will be praying for him.

By now the young man had meats on his plate, and thinking that was the end of our conversation. I thanked him for praying, and started back to my table, but he walked a little slower in front of me, and motioned to a quieter place to stand while people walked around us, maybe not even noticing. Somewhere between the meats in the grill, and the huge coffee makers waiting for us to drain them, he touched my shoulder and asked my son's name, and entreated God for him. Across the way I could see my son at our table, and I thought: "Right this moment someone is praying for you".

For a while I can believe he will soon no longer need to go to food banks, or collect thrown away rusty old stuff made of metal, that he now gets less money for, because its value is also affected by this Depression, that touches all levels of our society. But God still reigns. I know He does, because He sent a stranger He placed just ahead of me in the food line, who looked like a young Latino Christian man, but he may have been an angel, collecting messenges for God.

  posted at 5:50 PM  

Friday, November 07, 2008
Holding Up The Arm Of The Lady With The Lamp
For more than a few weeks I've worked hard, helping out at election headquarters. Between that and minimal housecleaning, and doing some nursing shifts, I'm not sure where I left off here.

It may have been when I stayed in this small room several days, waiting for the furnace to be repaired. It wasn't bad, for I discovered it's much warmer, getting through winter either sitting here at the computer, or snuggling into a bed I made here from my old futon. I about lost count of all the covers on it, but then, whose counting!

This time of year is when I get more serious about self improvement, and learning new things, or sharpening what I may know about some. Reading three books may not sound like a lot, but compared to none, it's a good number. I started with Max Lucado's "Next Door Savior", then added "More Jesus, Less Religion" by Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton and am almost through one called "The Reflective Life". by Ken Gire. This last one gets into some, though not heavy Psychology, which makes it more appealing to me. Mostly, I really like how the three authors write.

In "The Reflective Life, the author engages the reader by leading him or me, carefully through how to apply his teaching. Keeping it as simple as I can, he encourages some pauses in our days, to read the moment, (See what's on the surface of things), then reflect on the moment, (see what's beneath the surface), and thirdly, (to respond to the moment). Moment, of course is understood to be whatever we notice or take in during our day. and responding is giving what we've seen a place to live in our heart.

I've been trying to pay attention more closely, for this sounds like good advice. It might get us out of our own little worlds for a while. But you know how busy we all seem to be, rushing around as fast as ever, and after all, have a lot going on.

I decided I needed to fight off cold weather doldrums. Felt some cabin fever closing in, and did what any smart woman would. Grabbed my shoes and my purse and drove to the nearest store. Needed hair coloring and a few other things, and wasted more time than either of my daughters' would, choosing some. It's a silly ritual I don't think I'll ever shake, that awful Great Depression soft shooing about the prices of everything.

Chose the middle price this time, and headed to a check out lane. On the way to the hair coloring I had noticed a special edition of Time magazine about the election, but didn't like the price. Good grief, it was almost as expensive as the hair coloring.

I am crazy about books, and looked at some new ones, then passed on them, but I really wanted that Time magazine. I did some fast aritimetic, hurried back and switched the hair coloring to the cheaper one, which would make the magazine about half price, and with that silent agony completed, hurried back to the check out line, stopping only to get my magazine.

It's kind of nutty to waste that much time picking out anything, then not want to stand in line a few minutes. Lines are where people who live alone get a chance to meet others, and today two customers were ahead of me. The first was a couple, who didn't have many items, and then there was a lady all by herself.

I'm bringing up the end of the line. The clerk rings up the couple's order. It's a black man and a white women and they look about in their early sixties. The line gets quiet while they figure out what they can leave off,
a package of wrapped cheese slices. The clerk sets them aside, and completes their order, but I call out to her, "It's O.K., I'll buy it". The couple
picks up their bags and are starting to leave, but I call out again, "It's allright, I'll pay for it". I didn't want to embarrass them, or call attention to myself. But I just thought it sad that they didn't have that small amount of money, or couldn't spend it for some cheese they wanted.

The clerk rang up the customer in between us, and I'm standing there, thinking, I'm paying more for a magazine I don't have to have, and they can't even pay for the cheap kind of cheese. You'd have thought I had done a really big thing. They thanked me over and over. My stuff was still on the counter, so I just stood there, holding my Time magazine, and when they thanked me again, I held up its picture of our new president, and smiled at them, as they both said "God bless you", as they were leaving.

I'm not expecting overnight fixes for so many huge problems with our country, and our people. I don't know if I'll ever stop doing my little depression era mental shuffle thing. But I think I understand more now what the book about reflective living is trying to teach me.

I walked to my car, and noticed that the store clerk had bagged my magazine separately, so it wouldn't get messed up. I turned up the volume of Springsteen's "Born In the U S A." Jimmy Buffet's Margaritiville, and Cheeseburger in Paradise didn't seem big enough exclamation points for me, for today. I boogied with the "Boss" singing all the way home.

In checking for phone messages, a new one was from another place I'd applied for a nursing job, and when I started to put my grocery receipt away, I noticed the clerk had given me a three dollars off coupon for more hair coloring. Then I remembered that the book about reflective living mentioned something about how Our Lord uses ordinary everyday things, to get us to listen to Him.

  posted at 8:22 PM  

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Name: Judith

Location: Colorado

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