". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Leaving Sodom

Oh, yeah. I have this thing. It's called a blog. :-)

I do hope to get back to more regular posting soon. And I hope when I do you're all still here. But for today, in lieu of my own currently non-linear thinking, I'd like to share a few blog posts I recently read. They are similar in that they both address the question of difficult times and how to get through them. The first post is not Christian or even spiritual (except for the suggestion to read an Eckhart Tolle book--you can disregard that) but has what I think are solid strategies for surviving the rough stretches. My family has gone through one of those rough stretches recently, and it was prolonged, including the illnesses and deaths of my husband's parents and several other beloved people, my mother's injuries and illness, my husband's job loss, financial challenges, family separation necessitated by job change, and the pain of broken relationships. At one point in our journey a dear friend and wise woman told my husband, "Expect blessing." Her words have proven prophetic as these days I wake up and pinch myself at all the things that are going right. Sometimes I worry about what is coming. Surely these days aren't going to last forever. But what is the sense in worrying about that time in the future when life will take another downturn? I am trying to enjoy the blessings of today as I leave yesterday behind and refrain from obsessing about tomorrow. I found this article, entitled "Eight Things to Remember When Everything Goes Wrong," to have some excellent suggestions on how to do that. Thanks to my friend Melody for linking it. Here are a few key sentences:

"Sometimes life closes doors because it's time to move forward."
"Don't allow your scars to hold you hostage."
"Rarely do people do things because of you. They do things because of them."
"The best thing you can do is to keep going."
"Don't let a hard lesson harden your heart."

Now, that's all very well and good, isn't it? But how do you move forward when you feel paralyzed? How do you quit living in your scars? How do you keep going when you want to give up? How do you not put a fence around your heart in an effort to prevent its being injured again?

Short answer: you don't. You can't escape the past. You can't escape the bad things that have happened to you and the people who have wronged you. And you can't escape your own sin. But it's okay, because you don't have to. You don't have to rescue yourself because there is One who has already done so:

"In this fight we are far from alone. We did not leave Sodom on our own initiative, our own will-power. Christ climbed over the city walls to rescue us, and then climbed back over, carrying us upon his shoulders. He bore us up into the mountains, and now, and always, never leaves our side. He knows the past fires that still burn in our chest, so he never tires of dousing those flames with the waters of baptism, daily drenching us with that divine dew. Sodom’s foolish ways he roots out to replace with the wisdom that comes from above, speaking his word over and over into us, to create new hearts and new minds within us, fashioned after his own, heart and minds devoted to higher things." - Chad Bird 

Read the full post here.   

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