Be Strong - Fear Not...
Sunday, October 07, 2012
Here I sit by the fireplace which has been running constantly for the past 5 days, with an occasional blast of heat from the furnace. Our lows are in the low 20s and our highs are a terrific 48-52. And because I live in farm country where the farmers pray constantly to the Snow Gods because we really do need the moisture, we aren't allowed to complain about snowy, wintery weather out-loud - but I'm doing plenty of disgruntled murmuring/grumbling within the safety of my own house.
But, and this is the important part, my whole life is, thankfully, not consumed with grumbling. I teach a weekly class for single adults, and while the lessons are intended to teach a spiritual/religious concept, I always like to include something that we all can relate to in our "here-and-now" lives. So the outlined lesson was based on the theme of writings from Isaiah - where it talks about 'turning the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers". My intent was to expand that thought so that we might find more joy in who and where we, as individuals are; and how to better deal with and appreciate others around us. To do this, I gave a 'take-home' reminder to the class members with these quotations on it:
1. Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places, where other people may see nothing at all
2. Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit - talk about your joys.
3. The Rotary Club Four-Way test of the things we think, say, or do:
1. Is it the truth?
2. Is it fair to all concerned?
3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
4. Strengthen ye the weak hands and confirm the feeble knees. Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, Fear not. (Isaiah 35:3-4)
And since that lesson, I've been more aware of what I say to myself and also to others, and how I say it - also more aware of what others say to me and whether or not I am unnecessarily offended by their words. Then yesterday, one of our church leaders talked about how life really isn't a race and that we are all doing more and more 'things' that take our precious time, and often prevent us from enjoying our lives, our families, our friends, the earth's beauty and ... stuff like that. And now some of us Sparkers are embarking on a 100 day journey where I'm sure we'll be expected to do some heavy-duty thinking about what we do and why we do it. Of course the 100 day journey will be diet/exercise focused, but I suspect that often we'll want to examine how and why we think what we think. And I'm pretty sure that the daily "mini-lessons" that we'll be exploring will be intended to "strengthen our weak hands and confirm our feeble knees and calm our fearful hearts so that we will learn to be strong and fear not" - and finally conquer this devilish weight problem that we've had for so very long - and to increase our love for ourselves.
Now I know this is getting pretty heavy reading, and I don't mean to be preachy - but one of the reasons I'm excited about the 100 day journey is because I know if I will take a few minutes each day and give time and energy to me, about me, for me - that I will re-learn, and understand better, why it is that I do what I do when I know better.
In the midst of all of this 'soul-searching', my friend and I went to visit another friend in a rehabilitation/nursing home. When I saw those little old ladies sitting in their chairs, bundled up in crocheted afghans or fluffy comforters - many of them holding life-size baby dolls while others were totally on another planet and here in body only - it had such a powerful impact on me about life. It almost made me want to decide to be my own best friend and be more gentle with myself and my success/failures. In fact, this past week has almost taken the 'grumbling' right out of me.
In a very real way, I think when we post to and for one another, we are very much following the advice of Isaiah to Strengthen the weak hands and Confirm the feeble knees and we say to each other, Be Strong - Fear Not. And that's what I want to say to all of us today - be strong, do the best we can, with what we have, where we are. The scale is still going to be up and down and all over the place - we still might have trouble finding/making the time to exercise our minds/bodies - and we may find ourselves striving all of our days to reach our self-imposed goals. One of the things I want to convince myself of is that Happiness is not the destination, it is the Journey - and each of us must find the journey that is right for us.
Weight - well, I think I've lost a pound this week. My mini-goal for October is to lose 5 pounds and I'm down 3 - surely if I don't go crazy and lose all of my senses, I have at least a bright hope of losing 2 more by Oct. 31? I'm doing a modified (some days it is REALLY modified) version of the Eat to Live plan and can see how that way of eating could be a lifetime plan for me. So here's to one more week of salads, raw vegetables, cooked vegs - especially dark green ones, beans or lentils daily, little or no dairy, little or no meat - except for occasional chicken or fish - and for sure try to hide from the diet coke and candy bars. Too bad there isn't a diet based on only those two things - I'm sure it would be perfect for me!!
Time to put more wood in the fireplace - so I leave all of us with this message: Be Strong, Fear Not, and let's all take time for ourselves this week, even if it is only 5 minutes here or there! I only hope I can take my own advice!!