Monthly Archives: January 2022

Demonizing our Enemies

I am an admirer of Rabbi Rami Shapiro’s understanding of humanity and religion. What he wrote on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is appropriate for our political divisions here. He gathered signatures from rabbis and imams in the Nashville area on the following:

“We, the undersigned, do not share a common vision for the Middle East. We do not agree politically, religiously, theologically, or philosophically. We are on different sides of a many-sided conflict that threatens the physical, emotional, and spiritual well being of all of us. What we do share, however, is a deep concern that our differences not alienate us from one another. When dealing with the complexities and competing narratives surrounding the conflict, it is all too easy for us to demonize “the other,” whether that “other” be a Muslim, Christian, or Jew. …………We are not writing to propose a solution to our differences, but to stand together against the demonization of those who propose solutions to which we are opposed. Passion for one view is no excuse for lack of compassion for those who hold very different views……………We can decry the rhetoric and actions of one side or the other without demonizing all Jews, Muslims, Christians, Arabs, Israelis or Palestinians. We may never find common ground, but we can stand together against the tendency within ourselves and our respective communities to deny the humanity of the other and in so doing lose our own humanity as well.”

Christians listen to these words. If Jewish and Muslim Americans can see the difference between disagreeing and demonizing and commit to avoiding the latter, can’t we who call Jesus, Lord, do the same. Pray for the grace to love those you consider your enemies as Jesus commanded all his followers to do. Jesus traded hate and power for Love. He calls us to do the same.

My Journey

What Did I Want to be When I Grew Up

I wanted to be loved. That seemed like enough. I know. I know. Need is not love. And yes, I was a bottomless pit of needs and wants. And now, I know no one can fill all of anyone’s needs, never-the-less wants. But my husband of sixty years tried his best, because he loved me. And the greatest gift he gave me was in his last years when he was very ill. He needed me. And with the grace of God, I learned to love.

The Fruit of Love

Feeling the tender softness of the gift beneath the golden skin, then tasting that moist sweetness and savoring its delight is exquisite pleasure. But cherishing the one we love more than our own ecstasy frees love to flow though us until we melt together now as one. And suddenly, we find ourselves at one with all God’s Glory.

My Sign of Hope

I’m breathless from struggling up the hill. A rope dangles before me, taunting, tempting, “You’re too old. Eighty-four is ancient. Your shoulder hurts. Your memory leaks. You’re worn out from the effort it takes to just keep on. Where will it get you? You’re not going to climb me, old woman.”

My shoulders slump. I know I can’t climb this rope. I stare at it and sigh. Maybe it could be a noose. I tie it in a loop. Why not give up? Who am I now? Why am I? Invisible, unheard, trapped in the ugly faded soundproof coffin of old age.

As I stare into the cloudy sky a memory comes. Swinging, floating long ago. Starting slow, swinging low, but keeping on until I touched the sky. I laugh and stretch the loop into a swing. Here I go. Starting slow. I feel a breeze teasing my hair. Climbing higher. Spirits lifting. A sunburst ignites a field of golden daffodils below. Daffodils, my sign of Hope.

What Do I Want Now?

I hunger to discover the inner silent me, the self that doesn’t dance for applause. I long to free my torn and scattered self from being tossed helplessly by the winds of constant irresistible distractions. To recognize and accept my new limits and be grateful for the graces freely given by the God who knew me then and now. I need so desperately to be silent, open, focused on listening to find my center where hope and the God of Love live.

Deep Listening

Everything is God’s Music The Reveille of my morning coffee The Silent Night of snowdrifts and stars The morning Medley of gold and violet flowers The Love Songs and personalities of birds at feeders The exuberant Ode to Joy of my youngest two great-grandchildren The Arpeggio of love of four sons, a daughter, spouses and their children The Just as I Am courage and perseverance of grandchildren with challenges The Symphony of classes that feed my hunger for understanding of life and humanity The Amazing Grace of sometimes hearing the Spirit singing through my imperfect writing