Constant Companion

We wrestle for the covers,
He’s trying to snuggle close and I’m just trying to not get pushed off of the bed.

He moves so close that the heat from his body warms me.
I’m reminded of the past; good memories of human contact and warmth.
We are not created to be alone.

Eventually, we move to wherever we find the most comfort for sleeping.
And we rest.
Readying ourselves for a new day of walking and playing. Tomorrow.

My constant loving companion, my dog and I.

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Pardon

Each morning, as I brush my teeth, I read the Prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi – “Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace.” Reading this through slowly each day has positively affected my life, as well as helping me brush those teeth for a good 2 minutes!

Today I was stopped, paused, stuck on one particular part of the prayer:
For it is in pardoning that one is pardoned…
This brings my mind immediately to the words attributed to Jesus as he taught the disciples to pray:
Forgive us our sin, as we forgive those who sin against us…
As I meditated on this throughout my day, I began to understand the difficulty, as well as the power, of forgiveness.

I’ve never believed that God dishes out only the amount of pardoning that we give to others – thank goodness! No, God loves us unconditionally. No matter what. I do believe that these words are a constant reminder of a way of living that involves pardoning/forgiveness/reconciliation. A way of living that totally runs counter to culture. A way of living that is downright difficult!
When we are in pain, we seem to be good at finding some way to avoid the transformation of our pain. When someone hurts us, we tend to fight back! It is so easy to point fingers and find blame. This behavior however, does nothing for our own transformation and release of pain. Another way we avoid dealing with our pain directly is to play the victim card, giving us a false sense of moral superiority and outrage. It becomes easier to point to someone being worse than you are rather than forgiving, letting go, surrendering, or even growing up. Both of these paths tend to keep the pain and violence going rather than leading to healing.

Jesus calls us to be transformed as we forgive! To have true healing of our pain as we pardon! I don’t know about you, but the need to fight or point blame always caused me more pain…so why in the world wouldn’t I want transformative healing of this consuming pain? It’s when I ask myself this question, that I truly want to seek healing that begins with me letting go and forgiving – not expecting or even ever receiving the “I’m sorry” from the other. Just giving to Christ all of the pain and hurt, and turning my heart, mind, and soul to forgiving the offender.

I wish I could say that this work was instantaneous but it isn’t. I’m a work in progress! But I can tell you without hesitation that it is truly in pardoning that I am pardoned. It is in forgiving, that I am forgiven. It is in doing the work that I am forever transformed.
pardon
May you begin to experience this healing as you practice pardoning and are transformed in the process.

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rebirthed

It sat there caught in the grate.
At first I thought it was a lizard.
Its surface of raised white intertwined with green the color of moss.
Upon retrieval, its leafiness became apparent.

Life and death were equal within it;
Cut off from its source, of course it would die.
But life was palatable in its texture.
Soft, pliable, unbreakable, colorful.

I shed no tear;
instead holding the life and death as one.
Knowing that all will return;
as everything is eventually rebirthed.

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true need

The plate of snacks is set before me.
The salted veggie sticks melt to mush in my mouth,
even the chewing is burdensome.
Hunger isn’t a feeling.
Not hunger of the stomach anyway;
my soul craving is palatable.
My head intellectually knows that this mushy, crunchy snack will not meet my true need.
My heart doesn’t seem to care.

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Hope

The twilight closes in.
Its numbness crushing.
I’m almost without.

A brief respite…
A breath? Wind?
It wafts in as Presence.

A flicker of Light…
Darting across the darkness
with the perspective of a firefly.

This is more
than a fleeting eclipse
within the tenebrosity.

It is more
than a pipe dream or wishful thinking.
It is the crown of my hope.

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Poem: When I Was Young

I enjoy many things. Writing poetry is something I’ve done here and there and enjoy, but just don’t seem to have enough time.

When I Was Young

When I was young
I laid in grass
with no worries about the bugs or worms.

When I was young
I spent time alone
watching the sky animals.

When I was young
I was fascinated by the ocean
with its awesomeness.

When I was young
Dog were smarter than humans
and showed more compassion.

When I was young
I noticed more
and pondered more.

When I was young
My dreams were huge;
my fears were minute.

When I was young
I worried about little;
I was grateful for much.

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Changes Are Coming…

Changes Are Coming….

“If you are in the midst of change and it’s hard, that doesn’t mean the change is bad. Change is usually hard. But it’s in the hard where God shows up.” – Sherry Surratt (http://www.todayschristianwoman.com/articles/2016/february/how-to-cope-with-change.html?start=2)

Try using the word “change” in a church and it’s like you’ve said a curse upon all that is. Over my 16 years in ministry, I’ve worked really hard to try to understand why. Everything changes. We have changes in the weather daily. Look in a mirror and you’ll see changes in your skin, hair, and even waistline! If we are honest, we cannot deny that change is an inevitable part of life.

Then why are we so resistant to it? My guess is that we’d rather be comfortable and change usually involves uncomfortableness.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen sweeping changes in technology, in medical and scientific discoveries, and more. And yet some things, sadly, don’t seem to change. Things like race relations, the push to engage in war, hate speech, divisions, lack of respect, shoot first and ask questions later. But the hope that I have is grounded in the fact that all things do change! Sometimes however, the changes seem to get worse before they get better.

Part of that problem, as I see it, is that we succumb to the negative forces much faster than we do positive forces. Plus, we tend to begin to believe that changing things is someone else’s problem to handle; that we have no say in these matters. What would happen if our community engaged in the difficult work toward making positive and life affirming changes in our town? In our faith communities? In our families? In our individual lives? What would happen if faithful people from all backgrounds came together and fostered conversations? What would happen if we claimed our voices to speak for those who can’t, to stand with those who have no one, or to tackle injustices together?

Newberg is a great town and I believe that this is a great place to start. I was approached the other day by someone from the Newberg Rotary about being a part of a “Random Acts of Kindness Day” that would get the whole town involved in kindness toward strangers! It’s these simple things that make a big difference – a difference in embracing our ever-changing landscape in a positive and productive way.

Attend peace and prayer vigils, but don’t stop there. Talk to your neighbors. Develop relationships with them. And claim your “superpower” for good so that humanity’s changes will lead to respect and love for all people.

 

Rev. Dr. Cathy Davis is the pastor at First United Methodist in Newberg, Oregon.

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