In this strange time of pandemic, what brings you joy?
For my parents, it’s a walk and a visit with longtime friends. The walking started as rehab for Mom. In this time of social distancing, it’s grown into a (nearly) daily habit – good for body, mind, and spirit.
The gals stay on level ground. The guys take a longer loop. The dog would like to go with both but is forced to choose.
Posted in response to Nancy Merrill’s challenge “A Photo a Week Challenge: Joy.”
Emily, an Hospice Massage Therapist, was here today. With gentle touch she provided some relief from the deep bone pain (related to metastasized cancer) experienced by my best beloved.
At one point John looked at me and asked if I was going to take a picture. He then proceeded to tell her about my interest in photography. So what could I do but get the camera?!!
Emily’s tools are her hands. As such they have their own special insurance policy. After all, if something happens to her hands she’s out of a job!
+ + + + + + +
Later I looked at several scripture passages that mentioned hands. This one, a prayer, stood out to me:
“And now, Lord, look at their threats, and grant to your servants to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
Acts 4:29-30 NRSV
+ + + + + + +
p.s. When I started this post a week ago I thought about the simple act of holding a person’s hand – something we don’t do outside our homes in this era of COVID-19. Then I wondered about hands and healing in scripture. Before I knew it I needed to be taking care of other business. So, here it is a week later than intended with only a postscript added to complete it.
There are so many ways to take the Tuesday Photo Challenge of connect this week! I finally settled on a piece of jewelry. Every time I wear it – or even just see it – I am reminded of love and laughter and relationships that persist across time and place.
We were all together for Thanksgiving about eight years ago. Tanya had an empty bracelet chain for each female in the clan. And dozens and dozens of beads.
One by one Tanya handed each of us two or three specially chosen beads that said something about our connection, our interests, our family. She then instructed us to choose as many additional beads as we wanted to fill out our bracelets.
I picked glass beads based on my favorite color and how they would match the PROSTATE CANCER RIBBON bead Tanya had given me to honor my husband.
Those who know me will easily guess the meanings of some beads.
CROSS – I’m an ordained minister.
SIS – Tanya is my sister.
TEAPOT – My husband and I drink tea (not coffee).
BELLS – I have a bell collection.
The CAROLERS take me back to my childhood. We looked forward to Christmas caroling as a family every year. Dad would instigate it. Mom would have treats prepared (with help from the kids!). All five of us would go because it was a family thing. We would stop at friends’ homes, sing a carol or two, and invite them to join us. More often than not, they would drop what they’d been doing and go along. At the end of the evening everyone gathered around the fireplace at our house with mugs of hot chocolate and Christmas cookies in hand.
In this time of physical distancing, may you find ways to connect with others (a phone call? a text? an e-mail? a card?). And may you be reminded of love and laughter and relationships that persist across time and place.
After getting out the colored pencils on Sunday, we’ve used them everyday this week! So grateful to have found FREE RESOURCES to help us pray and learn and simply pass the time during this period of staying home for the good of all. Note: click on the name of the each organization below for more information.
It’s not just about being neat. It’s about being safe.
You must not insult a deaf person or put some obstacle in front of a blind person that would cause them to trip. Instead, fear your God; I am the Lord.
Leviticus 19:14, Common English Bible
I led a memorial service not so long ago for a man who became blind at the age of 18. He participated in programs at Iowa Commission for the Blind and quickly learned to read and write Braille. He also learned to cook, do laundry, keep house, get around on his own, be independent.
One day he arrived home to discover his mother had rearranged the furniture. She’d unwittingly designedan obstacle course which they quickly dubbed a “bear trap.”
Shoes by the front door are a bear trap. Throw rugs are bear traps. Moving the spices in the cupboard makes a different sort of bear trap, but a bear trap all the same.
Any obstacle that might trip one up is a bear trap.
The more I consider the verse from Leviticus (above), the more I think that it’s not just about the physical stuff that might block another’s way. It’s also about the obstacles we set up that, intentionally or not, make life more difficult for another.
Steer clear of bear traps, friends. Don’t set up obstacles that cause another to fall. And remove bear traps for others. It’s not only kind. It’s faithful.
“Our wheelchairs are here for your usage and convenience.”
– Sign at the entrance to the Skyway to the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics from Parking Ramp 4.
Wheelchairs to the right (above) and to the left (below) as you enter the skyway from level 2 of parking ramp 4 at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics.
I’m always struck by the number of wheelchairs here. With an early morning appointment this week, they were still neatly lined up and ready to roll when we arrived.
Noticing how the arms of one wheelchair wrap around the one in front of it (see below), I thought of a hug. These particular chairs require a companion to transport the patient. It is a caring act – whether the designated companion is family, friend, or hospital employee.
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet;
– William Shakespeare, from Romeo and Juliet
My birth certificate, my driver’s license, and every legal document I’ve ever signed show my name is Teressa. But when I’m with family, I’m rarely called by that name.
“… you will call him Jesus … “
“… they will call him Emmanuel …”
from Matthew 1:21 & 23
Jesus is the name given to the baby whose birth Christians celebrate this time of year. But it’s not the only name he is called.
In the novels of The Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K. LeGuin each character has a name known and used by others. But each also has a “true name” known to very few.
The names we use for one another matter. They carry connections to particular people. They may recall a specific place (my Girl Scout camp counselor name was “Louie”). They might speak to a season of life (nicknames of athletes on a sports team).
Names can be used to build up or tear down, as an endearment or a taunting, for expressing affection or ridicule.
Beloved, may you be called by name today – a name that strengthens your spirit and brings a smile to your face. And may every name you use for another be a word of encouragement.
“Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are travelling the dark journey with us. Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind.”
– Henri Frederic Amiel (Swiss Philosopher, 1821 – 1881)
Last week did not go according to plan. Not that we had any specific plans. But instead of staying home, we dropped everything to go be with family. Short story: Mom fell. Brain bleeds, broken cheek bone, and lots of facial bruising.
The good news: she’s doing really, really well.
It could have been otherwise.
Now that we’re home and getting back to our regular routine, I’ve been thinking about a Commissioning/Benediction I’ve used at the end of many Worship services. Based on a quote (above) by Henri Frederic Amiel, it goes like this:
Life is short and we do not have much time to gladden the hearts of those who travel with us. So be swift to love, Make haste to be kind, And go in peace to love and serve the Lord.
~ ~ ~
It’s more than a flower picture, but since it is a flower I’m linking to Cee’s Flower of the Day Photo Challenge! Thank-you, Cee, for sharing beautiful flowers and encouraging the rest of us to do the same.
It’s been a week and a half since the observance of World Communion Sunday. Not all that long ago according to the calendar. But it feels ever so much longer. One of the days between then and now was set aside so my beloved could have an outpatient procedure. Complications meant spending the following five days in the hospital. Thankfully we’re home; John’s doing well; and I’ve had a chance to sleep and nap and sleep some more.
I thought I’d write about the communion part of World Communion when I took the pictures for this blog post. Maybe say something about remembering Christians around the globe, connected in the one body of Christ.
But since the six days at the hospital I’ve been thinking about the the world part. The medical school at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics attracts smart, kind, thoughtful people from across planet Earth. John and I delight in meeting, however briefly, persons with difficult (for us) to pronounce names. We are grateful beyond words for their expertise, their care, their commitment. Their presence reminds us that we are all connected in the precious journey of life.
Thanks be to God for the diversity and the gifts of the world’s peoples.
Saw a sparrow feeding a young – though 3x larger – cowbird this morning.
Thought: Wouldn’t it be grand if we fed whoever came our way?
Doesn’t matter how they got here. Whoever ‘they’ are. Wherever ‘here’ is.
Once upon a time I served as as associate pastor at a church that ran a food pantry and also administered an emergency fund. There were rules, of course, for both. The primary one used by the senior pastor was:
Error are on the side of generosity.
Those words have become a sort of mantra for me. Whether working with a Food Pantry Board or an outreach committee of a local church or just trying to figure out how to respond to an appeal for help, error are on the side of generosity.
Today, as I think about the immigrants at our borders, my pleading, my prayer: may we error on the side of generosity.