Today, this is what I need to remember.
Today, this is what I need to remember.
I have spent the last several days thinking about Nelson Mandela and what he meant to the world. He was a beacon of peace, love, and light as he stepped away from his life in prison into a life of forgiveness and transformation. I’ve seen quotes and posted them. I’ve read stories and been touched. Today, I saw this tribute from a flashmob at a store in South Africa and I knew that this song tribute said all that I could not find the words for. And so I share this tribute and wish peace, love and forgiveness to this world he leaves behind.
Yesterday my Aunt Jean passed away. I didn’t see it coming, frankly. She’s been sick many times and with prayers from so many, she always had the grace of God behind her healing and pulled through. But yesterday was her “Going Home” day and our prayers were answered differently.
It was a tough day yesterday. I heard of 5 deaths, ranging from an infant, to a young man in his 20’s, to a girl battling cancer, to an expert in his field, and finally, sadly, to my Aunt. My heart was so heavy with that news.
Aunt Jean was actually my aunt in my birth family. At the age of 19 she recognized me out at the mall. I was shocked but as I grew to know her, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. She always had her eye out for me and my siblings who were placed in an orphanage years ago. She had the memory of an elephant – she could remember details and tell stories like no other. Although she hadn’t seen me since I was 3, she said she knew my eyes and that was it. I must admit, I wasn’t always emotionally ready for the heaping and mixing of birth family and adopted (what I call my “real” family). And through the years I bobbed and weaved in and out of Aunt Jean’s hugs. It didn’t really matter. She was steadfast. She was patient. She was faithful. And when, in my 40’s I was finally ready to be whole, she was waiting for me without hesitation. She shared pictures, and stories … and love. I will never forget her generous heart and her happy laugh. She was an angel to me in many ways. We used to fantasize about what it would have been like if she had been my birth mother instead of my Aunt. Those were fun little fantasies and I knew, there was something special in her that allowed her reach out through the turmoil and the years to recognize me.
My heart is heavy from this loss. There were still words and stories unspoken. But I count myself blessed for having been given the chance to get to know her. I got to cry with her, laugh with her, break bread with her, and pray with her. What could be better. And now, I know she is singing and dancing with the love of her life, Uncle Norbert, as they praise at Heaven’s throne. I love you Aunt Jean. As a fellow writer I wrote this simple little poem for you.
See you on the other side! Be BLESSED!
“The tears I shed are bittersweet,
And with hand to heart I pray.
That your joy in heaven be complete,
As we say good bye today.
The hole we feel as our lives go on,
Will only hurt a while.
I’ll keep my eyes on eternity’s gate,
Where I’ll once again see your smile.”
~ Barbara Bernard Miller
Today, like everyone else who has watched the videos and read the accounts of what happened in Boston, I am feeling so many things. First, I’m grateful that my friend Marie who was running the marathon is safe and on her way back home. Second, my heart is wrenched thinking of the pain the families of the dead are feeling, and the agony the injured are enduring. And then there’s what I feel for the soul of the person(s) who did this.
I wonder what black evil touched their lives and taught them to hate. What cloud of hatred is lingering over their lives to such a degree that they sought to hurt, maim, and destroy the lives of strangers. I cannot fathom the blackness that surrounds their hearts and heads.
So I will do what I know – I will focus on the love that came from those who ran to help those who were injured. There is never enough praise for the heroes who go where most of us would flee. I appreciate the love that strangers have offered to each other – be it a restaurant owner and their staff who provided free wifi, food and a safe place to wait for friends and family. Or generous residents who opened their doors so runners and their groups could find a safe place to sleep when they couldn’t get to their hotels. And I am praying in gratefulness to the man who carried a man who lost both legs. I will pray for those who feel pain, fear, and for those involved.
And I bring it home – I will hug those who I love more tightly. I will tell those I care for that they are precious to me a bit more overtly.
Yes, the stories that are coming out of Boston are painting the picture that I already know. Americans are generous, brave, trusting, and strong in the face of adversity. It is the backbone of why we are a great nation.
As I re-read this post I know that I don’t have poignant words that will change the pain that is caused. But in expressing them I know I am adding one more drop of positive love into the universe. It is all I have.
Join me in sharing more positive words. Let us change the world with our focus on what is good and all that is love. Be blessed!
I believe that we are spiritual beings having a physical experience. Because I believe that, I am often able to step back and look for the spiritual lessons that life is presenting me. Not always in the moment, but usually sooner rather than later.
And that is where I stand today – wondering what lesson is showing up right now. I am infinitely aware that I am hearing of so very many people around me and connected to me in some way, even if only by a once-removed relationship, who are gravely ill or dying. The pace and quantity seem to be picking up at a severe rate. So does the pace of evil in the world. I’m sure this isn’t just happening to me, but I am ever so aware.
I vow that I will not let my mind wander and conjure up scary or silly scenarios. I will not allow superstition to cloud my view. I have faith in an all loving Creator and I will look to him to calm my trepidation. And I will pray. I pray for my friends who are battling cancer, and strange afflictions. I pray for those I know who have fallen to accidents. I pray for those I know who are facing the horrors of battle and war.
And I will pray for peace – the peace that surpasses all understanding. I invite you to pray with me and be blessed!
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
~ Matthew 18:20
“What you grow in the good times becomes your strength in the hard times.
Therefore, let us grow and let us share love, peace, charity, forgiveness, generosity, and hope.”
~ Barbara Bernard Miller
I posted this quote on my bulletin board at work today. There are so many people who are seeing the hard times coming or already swirling around their lives right now. I wanted to remind us all that we have some control over our situation. Perhaps not in what happens but certainly in what we put in our lives to prepare us to react to and cope with those situations.
And when I stand in good times and others do not, I hope I am conscious enough, aware enough, and courageous enough to step out of my joy to lend them a hand, a shoulder, a word of encouragement, or even a dollar or two – whatever I have that can ease the trouble. It’s so easy to forget sometimes that we aren’t alone, especially in the tough times. But the worst thing we can do is forget that we aren’t alone in the good times. That is when we can really make a difference.
Be a light in the world, and be blessed!
Sometimes it’s hard to make the world stop swirling and rushing at the speed of light in order to pause and to write. It’s been that way the last couple of days. It’s starting to look like the near future will be similar.
So, as you are rushing about your day, or leisurely enjoying a bit of rest and relaxation, I challenge you to find at least 3 things to be super thankful for. Just a momentary breath of gratitude can make all the difference in the stress our bodies release and the joy we get to keep.
Do it for yourself and for those who love you … and be blessed!
“End of Longing”
You appear, gradually moving forward.
The perspective of time is askew with
Regular movement appearing as slow motion.
Change is so rapid and adjustment is crawling.
No amount of anticipation allows you to draw closer.
Patience and perseverance are the order of the day.
I see you, and keep my eyes affixed
As you are the desire of my heart.
I have been in this place before.
Longing to move toward you with grace and speed.
My heart quickens at the fear that you will remain
Afar and fixed outside my grasp.
And yet, I know that even the sluggishness of time
Will pass and I will stand looking at you within reach.
Calm, and unshakable, your attraction grows stronger.
I pray the ticking of time makes it inevitable.
For me to have you and you to have me.
And contentment will settle in around us.
Wrapping us in the glow of knowing.
For you are the fulfillment of a promise.
I stand in awe wishing for that day in my future.
You are the prize of the game.
And then the realization crashes in around me.
All of this is just a figment of fancy.
There is no distance in this hall of mirrors.
Time neither rushes nor slows.
There is only the perception that you are distant.
In an instant I know that you are here.
You have been available to me in every moment.
I pushed you away in fear and anxiety.
I ignored you in the busyness of my day.
I shut out the call you made to my soul
Because distraction seemed so urgent.
And instead I chose longing over achieving.
This game called life created an illusion.
This gift called peace that I have been craving.
Well, it is already mine.
And with a heavy sigh I allow the dream to end.
I breathe in the knowledge that this peace
Is not around me but in me.
There is nothing that is missing.
There is no action that is needed.
I settle in knowing that I have what I desire.
I mourn the wasting of my time.
I rejoice in the end of the struggle.
I am grateful for the sudden wisdom.
I am at peace.
~ Barbara Bernard Miller
Urging examination of the need for the things I see.
Why was it so important to possess just one more?
Could it have been to mask the hole deep inside my core?
The broken heart of my childhood from being sent away
Would not be mended by the woman I am, as I opened my hand to pay.
The rejection I felt from days gone by was the reality I knew inside
But it wasn’t things that was going to fix the wound that was gaping wide.
So I look to clear the clutter of my heart and of my home.
Knowing the space it will open up will allow my spirit to roam.
I won’t trip over object d’art or stash them out of sight.
I’ll release them one by one and then I’ll have room to see the light.
There’s no need to clear it all away for beauty has its place.
But one will do to please my eyes and not steal all my space.
And with the open crevices I’ll find some clear, clean air.
For now there’s room in heart and home for peace if I but dare.
~ Barbara Bernard Miller
I’ve seen a lot of things on the internet recently, either articles or postings, that seem to be drenched in fear and the need to spread it. I don’t know if people are just focusing on the negative to a point that they fear everything and anything, or if I’m just noticing it in contrast to how I live my life. Trust me, I am realistic and not living a Pollyanna life. I know there is economic crisis, corruption, wars, and evil in the hearts and acts of mankind.
But I also know there is goodness, justice, kindness, and love. I subscribe to focusing on and changing that which is in my power. For example, I have no way to stop the Illuminati from taking over the world (if it exists or if they haven’t already). I cannot tell or affect if aliens are on their way to attack, abduct, or destroy. Nor can I suddenly make religions and countries change their beliefs and interactions with each other. I cannot make politicians be honest or corrupt men change their hearts. And I surely can do nothing if the world is going to end in Dec. 2012 as so many predict and believe.
But I assure you, there is plenty that I can do that actually makes a difference. I can be kind to my neighbors. I can teach my children right from wrong. I can be generous with my time, talent, and treasure. I can encourage the sad and love the lonely. I can forgive those who hurt me and end grudges that I may carry. I can (and do) pray to God and trust in his love. I can make a difference in my life, in my friends’ and family’s lives, and I can influence those that I come in contact with every day.
I read once that there are 365 versions of “fear not” in the Bible – one for each day of the year. Since that book influences me and my life, I find comfort in the fact that there is enough hope and protection to cover my every day. And if I should fall victim to aliens, the Illuminati, or the other evils in the world that people spend their time and energy to purvey, well, I know who wins in the end.
In the meantime, let us pick up our hope and our faith. Let us act in ways that make the world we touch a better place. Let our light shine brighter than the darkness that surrounds. And let us be blessed!
After my lovely, solitary, and yet happy Valentine’s day yesterday, I realized something about myself. Oh, I’m probably just joining the ranks of many folks my age who are coming “into their own”. I realized that I am finally at peace with who I am in my life.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I have it all figured out or that my learning and growth is complete. No way – I love to (and need to) learn. I’m not saying all is sunshine and holidays. Nope – life has many ups and downs and I know I’ll experience many more of both. And I’m definitely not saying I’ve got the answers to my foibles and shortcomings, because I’m still working on those til my dying day. But I am finally at peace with this person I call me.
As a parent, I can look at my children and know that I did the best I could in every moment I’ve had raising them. Some were not stellar moments for me but it was the best I had to give at the time. Some stood out as the best of the best of me, which can only be attributed to the up raising I had by the wonderful family who adopted me, as well as the faith I have carried within. As I move dauntingly and quickly toward empty-nest status, I know I have done my job well and raised two human beings who have an appreciation for life and respect for others. They also are not perfect but they are good human beings. I have given them a moral foundation that they may or may not cling to, but I have provided it. I have scrimped and sacrificed so they could get the best education within my means. As my youngest is about to be 21, I am painfully aware that I have shifted roles from mommy to mom/friend. I’m okay with that.
As a woman, I can look at my life and know that I have not always taken the high road or the right road. But I can say I’ve come 180 degrees from the flippant, self-conscious, insecure girl who made bad choices to fill the holes in her heart. I may still have some holes in my heart but I know I can’t fill them with men who do not appreciate or respect me. I cannot fill them with self-destructive self-talk or behaviors. I can only examine them, learn from them, and fill the rest of my life with things for which I have a passion. I know for certain that I will never turn my weaknesses into strengths but I can work to neutralize them. The holes – well, those are for God to fill. I’m okay with that.
As a friend, I know I’ve made a few cherished ones along my lifetime. They are precious and constant, no matter the distance of time or space. They are unconditional and truly genuine. On my end, I know that I am loyal and supportive. I may not always be perfect, or do the perfect thing, or say the perfect thing, or have the perfect memory. I can say that I am always true in my intention and love of those who I’m blessed to call mine. I’m okay with that.
As a Christian, I know that I have God in my life. In every up and down I’ve traveled through, I have never wavered in my knowledge that I am loved and I will be okay. As I like to say, God hasn’t abandoned me yet, I’m pretty sure he’s not going to start today. I have learned that it’s just fine for me to speak my faith. I don’t need to hide it. I don’t need to scream it. I can speak and show my faith without tearing down what others believe. I do not need to convince others of what I believe or know – I couldn’t if I tried. I simply need to live my faith and share my story. The rest is their journey. I’m okay with that.
I say all this, not because I have a perfect life. Haha, that is hysterical because I have a decidedly imperfect life. I make mistakes all the time and I chastise myself for them too. I know I’ll forgive myself but I won’t forget. I have troubles and strife that seem to shadow me to a point that is nearly unbearable. But in the end, I know that I am a survivor and not a victim. I have scratched and clawed myself to a level of integrity and faith that only trouble can guide me to. I know I’m an imperfect woman with a desire to improve all the time. I’m okay with that.
So, through it all and in it all, I am finally at peace with who I am. I pray you can be at peace … and be blessed too!
Today I saw this picture and brief note on Facebook. I have to say it stopped me in my tracks and I feel compelled to speak about it:
“Meet Landon. His father, Marine LCPL Carpenter, gave his life defending our country in Afghanistan
earlier this year, a month before his son was born. Baby Landon’s Mom wants his story to be known.
Take a moment to share this photo with your friends and reflect on the price of freedom.
Never forget the price of freedom.”
I don’t know Landon or his parents but I know the sadness that this image creates. As an American I am saddened by the memory of what started us down a path of war. The senseless killing of so many, many innocent people on that solemn day in 2001 has changed the world and a generation.
I am also deeply saddened by the loss of life that has commenced throughout the wars – both Iraq and Afghanistan. And frankly in a myriad of other places in the world where it might not be our men and women but people we don’t know. Families have suddenly lost fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, lovers and friends. I don’t condone the war – it makes my heart hurt to think about it. But I do support the troops. And their families. They fight so I don’t have to and I am eternally, and without words to explain, grateful.
I pray that this little child has the blessing of a strong man in his life to show him the way to manhood. I pray that his mother can find peace and solace in the arms of family. I pray that we never, ever forget the sacrifice his father made.
And I pray for us, as a society, to find a way to live without the need or desire to kill for the love of politics, religion, land, money, greed or power.
We cannot bring Landon’s daddy home but we can change this world through love, acceptance, and peace.
… If only we would.
This Memorial Day weekend let us pray for, honor and appreciate all those who have fought to defend our freedom. Let us reach out a hand of peace and reconciliation to our fellow man/woman in a gesture that honors what they were fighting for. Let us be peacemakers and peacekeepers. Be blessed!