Monday, September 28, 2009

Mystic Monday: Out of the Mouths of Babes Edition

Today dear children we will take a detour of sorts from our visits with Christian Mystics to watch a short video about a young boy who understood the ineffable quality of the mystical One.

In later years Einstein wrote quite a bit on the fact that he rejected the anthropomorphication of God (creating God in our own image) but he did firmly believe in a higher power that was intimately involved in the intricate and ineffable design of the universe.

I see him as someone who had a mystical relationship with the creator, because of his scientific exploration. Perhaps he saw science as a way to explore the mysteries of God.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Audible you Might have Missed from Monday Night Football

Peyton Manning called an awesome audible Monday night that surprized most of the Colts organization . . .

He contacted Jim Irsay, the owner of the team and asked if his friend Tiger Woods could be granted a sidelines pass for the game against the Dolphins.

It turns out that Tiger wanted to see the game and because of his, well, notariety the best place for that to happen without him being swamped by fans screaming "Tiger, Tiger, Tiger Woods Y'all" (that has to get really old) was going to be from the Colts sidelines.

Good thing that Tiger had a golfing buddy who happened to have some suction with the team and could hook him up.

picture credit


Monday, September 21, 2009

It Has to Start Somewhere

I hate to admit it, but I am swiftly approaching that magic number birthday, when I will start to get all that wonderful mail from the old folks organizations. I hate to even mention it, but I will (gritting my teeth and closing my eyes)be 50 on my next birthday.

Wow, look at that, the world didn't even shift a bit, no portend of impending doom. I am just going to be officially one of those old people. I will no longer be able to call myself an "older young adult" and will have to start referring to myself as *gulp* "younger middle aged".

Anyway I have decided that I needed to do something momentous for my birthday. Something fitting the passage of time and something that will help me to feel like I am fully alive. Since I am much to sane to 1) jump out of a moving airplane, or 2) jump off of a stationary bridge, I decided that it would have to be something that would require all of my strength and determination. Some friends at the school where I volunteer are putting together a training team to run in the Indianapolis 500 Festival Mini Marathon, so I have decided to join them, only I have no illusions that I will be able to run 13.1 miles by then so I am planning to walk the mini. Mrangelmeg is being so supportive that he signed up to run in it so that we can be there together (we will see each other before it starts and then he will be waiting for hours after he finishes for me to cross the finish line, but that is the kind of supportive spouse I have.)

This race is one that has thousands of participants every year. It is a huge deal around here.

I started training with my initial three-mile walk today. I was hoping for a pace of 18 minutes per mile. What I accomplished was 16.34 minutes per mile! Tomorrow I rest and then I walk again on Wednesday and Thursday. I rest again on Friday and then my longest walks are on Saturdays. By ten weeks I should be up to 13 miles on Saturdays. Then I rest a week and start the whole process over again.

After three rounds of training I will be totally ready for the race. And a natural by-product of all that training will be that I should be in pretty awesome shape in time for my 50th birthday, and then mrangelmeg and my anniversary which is just a few months after my birthday. So my deciding to give myself this mini marathon for my birthday will have benefits that will enhance the rest of our lives.

And it all started with my looking into the inevitable abyss of AARP membership applications.

How cool is that?


Mystic Monday: Obedience Edition

Hello dear children.

Today we are going to go back and visit with our dear friend Dag Hammarskjold because he has something very important to say about obedience to God's will. I have been wrestling with this exact subject lately. When you have discerned that a certain path is God's will, must you follow that path as quickly as possible? How slowly can one dawdle and still be following the will of God? How long can one delay before it becomes disobedience to the will of God?

I have coined a new term for stepping out in faith even when one feels totally unprepared for what one sees up ahead: I call it moving forward in terrified obedience. God is in control, and must know what is going to happen better than I do, so I will go forth, but it sure doesn't look very promising on this path I am traveling.

Anyway our old pal Dag has something to say on this exact subject and I want to share it with all of you:

When the morning's freshness has been replaced by the weariness of midday, when the leg muscles quiver under the strain, the climb seems endless, and suddenly, nothing will go quite as you wish -- it is then that you must not hesitate.

Smart man, he. Trust in the Lord always and move forward, upward, whichever direction God is pointing.

No hesitation here, just ignore the sound of my knees knocking together with every step. I am sure they will stop soon enough.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

150 Days With the Psalms: Today is for Deacon John

So some of you may know that I am spending 150 days immersed in a study of the book of Psalms in the bible. Just last night my dear friend Deacon John Simmons posted a note on his blog about some disheartening news he just got from his Insurance Company denying the treatment option that his Dr.'s have decided upon for his best chance at treatment.
You can read about it here:

Then, when I got up this morning, the Psalm was # 28:

To You Lord I call,
My Rock, do not be deaf to me.
Do not drag me off with the wicked,
with those who do wrong,
Who speak peace to their neighbors
though evil is in their hearts.
Repay them for their deeds,
for the evil that they do.
For the work of their hands repay them;
give them what they deserve.
They pay no heed to the LORD'S works,
to the deeds of God's hands.

God will tear them down, never to be rebuilt.
Blessed be the LORD, who has heard the sound of my pleading.
The LORD is my strength and my shield,
in whom my heart trusted and found help.
So my heart rejoices; with my song I praise my God
LORD, you are the strength of your people,
the saving refuge of your anointed king.
Save your people, bless your inheritance;
feed and sustain them forever!

One of my reflection books talked specifically about those who are dealing with Cancer in reference to this psalm. and Of course when I read it, my thoughts immediately went to John and his troubling news from the Insurance Company, who only see the cost of the treatment in dollar signs and not in the loss of his quality or length of life.

The reflection book also had this to add:

Cancer is so limited--
It cannot cripple love,
It cannot shatter hope,
It cannot corrode faith,
It cannot kill friendship,
It cannot suppress memories,
It cannot silence outrage,
It cannot invade the soul,
It cannot steal eternal life,
It cannot conquer the Spirit.
"What Cancer Cannot Do" The Senior Times

My dear friend John, We must not forget that ultimately this corporation is not the one who is control of your life, but our loving heavenly Father is in control. God will make a way where there is no way.

As the psalmist says: My heart rejoices, with my song I praise my God. Lord you are the strength of your people!

Let God be our strength as we wait for God to make the way we cannot yet see .


Monday, September 14, 2009

Mystic Monday: Again Blessed Hermit Susan

I spent the summer in the desert, did I tell you this story already? It was HOT! I went there to support mrangelmeg who had to go there for work, and because it happened to be the California desert so it was a bit of a vacation, but along with the vacation-y parts of the trip came the discomfort of the HOT sun and the HOT wind and the dust, and did I mention the heat?

Anyway, as I spent my three and a half weeks in the desert I got to thinking about the desert fathers and mothers that we have been talking about on these Mystic Mondays. They lived in the desert and they didn't have the modern conveniences like central air conditioning and automobiles and trains to make travel so convenient as they moved through the desert.

So, today I want to share some wisdom from one of these desert mothers:Blessed Hermit Susan

From the time Susan was a little child in Persia she had dreams of going off and being a hermit. She so wanted to travel to the land of the desert mystics but her family kept her from doing so because of her age; at the time she first asked she was only eight years old. A few years later she ran away, joined a caravan of women and found her way out into the desert. She stayed with them for a long time but when they were ready to return she slipped away and remained in the desert.

She joined a monastic order but she longed for the solitude of a cave away from everyone and every distraction. She found just such a cave and moved herself there and eventually lived out the remainder of her life in that type of seclusion out in the desert, away from all human companionship and distraction. For her, this was what God was calling her to do. (Swan, Laura The Forgotten Desert Mothers, 2001 Paulist Press , p100)

God is probably not calling any of us to give up everyone we know and love and move out into a cave in the desert, but God often calls upon us to do things that others might not understand; like take a lower paying job because the hours are better for the family, or the stress level is better for our health.

How many of us would be willing to give up everything if that is what we know in our hearts is what God is calling us to do? How many of us are willing to live a life of total submission to God's will? Especially when others don't understand what or why we were doing what we were doing?


Sunday, September 13, 2009

On Suffering

If the Lord should give you power to raise the dead, He would give much less than He does when he bestows suffering. By miracles you would make yourself debtor to Him, while by suffering He may become debtor to you. And even if sufferings had no other reward than being able to bear something for that God who loves you, is not this a great reward and a sufficient remuneration? Whoever loves, understands what I say. - Saint John Chrysostom (347-407)

Suffering is a topic that we, especially in this country don't like to think about or experience. We do everything we can to avoid suffering, from self medication to avoidance to all manner of odd practices. What we have forgotten I think is that suffering is gift.

God sends suffering into our lives for a reason. If we look at it that way then it should change how we encounter the trials and tribulations in our lives. I don't mean that we should all go out looking for pain or living with pain when we do have the ability to medically take the pain away, but we should not look upon suffering as something to be avoided at all costs.

Old St John Chrysostom was wise in that way. There are great rewards for those who learn from the gift of suffering that God sends.

What have you learned from the suffering in your life?

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Sorry for the Silence

I realized this week that I have been in relative Blog Silence lately and I apologize. The new school schedules for the girls have been quite hectic, and I am just now finding my rhythm.

There has also been something going on in my spiritual life that I don't quite know how or even whether I should share yet, so I am "pondering it in my heart" and trying to discern what and or how I should share this part of my spiritual journey with you, my faithful readers. Suffice it to say that God has been sharing something very special with me. in a way that I have yet to find a way to describe. For a writer this has caused me no end of dispair, because I would love to share withyou the joy of my newest journey, but words fail.

I fullly intend to continue the Mystic Monday posts beginning next Monday, and hoppefully will be able to post at least three times a week now that our school schedule is a little more setlled into a regular pattern and I am used to it.