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Spirituality fulfills the Law: The Beatitudes

Sometimes when I reread something I have written in the past, I hear it and realize that I have been able to appropriate its truth in a new way since I wrote it. Sounds, and even seems to me, a bit weird, but it’s great when it happens. This post from some years ago is one of those that keeps on becoming more real in my life. a true blessing for me.

Laughter: Carbonated Grace

Spirituality is foreign to us, because it is paradoxical and few of us have had training in grasping paradox. We’re faced with the challenge of choosing to lose so we can win and die so we can live. And that takes grace rather than logic, morals, or ethics.
Opening to grace requires admitting we need it. And that’s the leap of faith that jump starts our spiritual journey.
The following are my paraphrases of the Beatitudes. I have translated the word “blessed” as meaning “open to grace.”     The originals are in Matthew 5:3-11
The Beatitudes
Graced are the poor in spirit for they are not filled with self-righteousness, so they are able to be open to God.
Graced are those that accept the pain of loss for they will find the Comforter’s joy within instead of settling for  pleasure to escape pain.
Graced are those who do not…

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Halloween Riot

I forgot to post my annual Halloween memory. Better late than never.

Laughter: Carbonated Grace

I taught first and second grade in a four room rural Catholic School. The principal was an elegant sister in the traditional Dominican white habit, which she gathered close around her whenever she entered my classroom. I was into nature and had pretty much filled my room with birds’ nests, rocks, weeds, feathers, fossils, pet insect-eating plants, and other dust catchers. This left little room for art supplies, which sort of spilled out of my “Fibber Magee’s Closet,” whenever I opened the doors. There was a small glass window in our door to the central hall and whenever the fire inspector came by, Sister would stand with her squared off headdress blocking the window and the fire inspector’s view of my room and closet.
On Fridays the parish priest would come after lunch and teach my class religion. Halloween fell on a Friday my first year there and since we…

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Are We Becoming Emotional Terrorists?

Americans are becoming emotional terrorists. We publish totally false information on social media without checking on it’s validity. That is slander. It’s immoral. We have degenerated from arguing logically on issues to name calling and ridiculous irrelevant criticism of any one remotely related to people we disagree with. We are shrinking to the level of moral gnats. And it not only accomplishes nothing positive, it alienates us from one another more deeply than ever before, since the civil war. We aren’t just targeting the politicians we disagree with, but one another. For me face book has been a wonderful source of information about friends and family, photos of grandchildren, connection to family living in other countries, and virtual travel to places I’ve never been. In the last two years I have been more home bound by both my own health issues and my husband’s than I have ever been in my life. The internet and face book have been a great blessing. But now, trying to wade through all the political posts, advertisements, and memes someone else chooses for me takes more time than I have to spend for finding the things I want to see or read. Perhaps we should set up our own face book pages as ones limited to one or more of the following: politics, or spirituality, or jokes, or cute animals or travel experiences, or mental health, or venting, or personal ones just relevant for family and friends. I really need to cut down on the vitriol I have to wade through on my face book page. At my stage of life, there are many serious personal challenges that I have to face each day. Some people may find an escape from personal struggles and our sense of the helplessness of individuals in our modern world through a vicious verbal war on politicians and the people who support them. I don’t. It just adds to my sense of helplessness and vulnerability. Discussions with accurate and comprehensive information are helpful. Writing our representatives to express and give logical support for our opinions on policy is a vital part of a democracy. Peaceful protests like those of Martin Luther King Jr. have been an effective part of the democratic process. But it’s beginning to look like we lost the patience, self control, and commitment needed for those some time ago.

L’authenticité – une valeur sûre et certaine…:-)

Empowerment

I do believe power corrupts. As far as I can see, Christianity died when Constantine made it the state religion. I’m getting to do my once a month sermon from the molehill tomorrow. I’m telling about trying to get my youngest son, at three years of age, to speak into a recorder to send a message to his Grandmother. He froze when faced with the microphone, so I encouraged him to start by saying who he was. He just looked more and more frustrated. Then he cried out, “I’m somebody! I’m somebody.” A universal cry of our hearts, I believe. Unfortunately it leads to all sorts of idols/addictions: The need to be right, righteous, rich, powerful,special, a winner, A moment that has stayed with me is when 4 first grade boys in a Special Olympics race were clustered together and almost to the finish line. Then, suddenly, one of them fell down. Simultaneously the other three all turned back to help him up. And they crossed the finish line together holding him up.
I’m 80 and I’m not there yet.

Dark Matter

I think now and then

that it would be best
if all of us could fall into
amnesia,

tumbling to the ground
without our past knowledge
of walking, talking, sleeping,
shouting, killing.

It would not be
glorious renewal —
I’m no Utopian.

Instead I see it as
a fitting end to things:

all of us helpless, seeing 
every other one of us
from ground level,
lying there uneasily
as if new born, waiting
in complete equality
for an explanation
that will never come.

We’ve lived
for generations
terrorized by
by dark claims of 
mastery from those
utterly in thrall
to a lie called history.

It would be fitting, 
even at such cost, if
they were freed long enough
from that spell
to know how it felt not to be
empowered.

To see the world as it is,
from the ground up.

To squirm.

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To my mother & daughters: “Sorry about…you know… the world.” #Mother’sDay Apology #SundayBlogShare #humor

Barb Taub

To my parents and my kids— “I’m SO sorry about the whole world. Except for chocolate. And coffee, of course. “

For the past year, I have done very little work on my current writing projects. We bought a house, and for the first time I felt like I understood my mother.

Mother had her first five children in six years. Someone asked her about that childless year in the middle. “That was the year,” explained Mother, “we bought the house.” The Year Of The House included but was not limited to:

  • My brother falling into the hole being dug for the new basement bathroom (one broken collarbone)
  • My attempt to slide down a bannister which stopped halfway down the stairs even though I didn’t (stitches in chin)
  • My brother running his arm through the wringer-washer (skin grafts)
  • My sister releasing the handbrake on their first new car (totalled—the car, not the…

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The Attack of the Centipede or I Am Never Going to Sleep Again

After falling and breaking my shoulder last year, I now sleep with a light on. Tonight about midnight, when I got back from my first trip to check out the plumbing, what to my horrified eyes did appear, but a sizable centipede crawling right over my head. Too short to reach it and too arthritic to climb, I was afraid to swat at it and have it fall possibly under, or even worse, into my bed.

Keeping one eye on it as it began to start down the wall, I grabbed a file folder to carry it out. Then cringing and gritting my teeth as it turned heading higher and more out of my reach, I woke up my husband for help. While he groggily tried to wake up, I turned back to do battle. As I pulled my bed with its nest of pillows and covers away from the wall, the centipede started back down. Holding my breath, I managed to lure it onto the folder. .
While considering my options, toilet or disposal, it raced on its hundred legs toward my hand. I screamed. Loudly! Then tried to think what I would tell the police if a neighbor called 911. “But officer, it was a centipede attack!”
But my hero arose and took the cardboard folder in time. I cheered quietly as he hurried with it toward the front door, then groaned as it took a dive to the floor.

A floor the same color as our centipede escapee.

Since neither of us had on our glasses or shoes, we tiptoed gingerly bending as low as we could. When wounded or killed, this kind of centipede gets its revenge. It stinks up the house. And if it’s just scared, it has tiny teeth that can bite. We would never have found it if it had stayed still. But as it raced to hide, it ran onto the folder. I grabbed the door and it was  thrown out of sight.

As I whispered “Hooray,” I thought my husband was taking a bow. But at our age, it’s easier to bend than get back upright. Once helped back to bed, he fell quickly to sleep.
But as I looked at my bed, I thought of its mate and that centipedes travel mostly at night.

Now as I type, I imagine things tickling my legs and my back.  And shudder as I imagine a hundred little feet and tiny teeth that can bite. So, my plan now is to stay up all night.

Home Again and Cancer Free

Amazing grace! They were able to do the least invasive surgery. The surgeon is sure they got all the cancer. And we are home two days after the surgery. The first day was difficult, but he was much better the second and really good today. He will need to have check-ups every three months to catch any possible return of cancer, but the doctor was very optimistic. Thanks be to God and to all the kind people who cared and prayed in their own way. I feel so blessed.

The Dance of Grace or The Force and Jesus

I know this is inadequate, but it is the best I can do to express my understanding of our relationship to God, Jesus, and one another. I so wish I could do this better.

Laughter: Carbonated Grace

I often talk like I see God as sort of a powerful, benevolent Santa Claus. But actually, my pitifully limited human comprehension is probably more like Star Wars’ the Force outside and within us.

So, as a great fan of Jesus, how do I understand his description of God as Abba, ‘Daddy,’ and his frequent conversations with Him? And what is the role Jesus plays in all this?
First, I think Jesus ‘Got’ God. And tried to communicate to us that the creative force behind the universe was not only still alive and involved doing  the creating thing all around us, but also still nurturing an unfinished universe and unfinished humanity from the inside out.

All of the universe, including humanity, is one. And the Whole (God) is greater than the sum of the parts.  Whatever this creative force that we call God is, it is “on our side,” because…

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God is in the Timing: Part 2, The Testing. (Read Sign of Hope the previous post first.)

Remembering the blessings in a time of suffering..

Laughter: Carbonated Grace

That evening after the doctor’s appointment, Tommy’s fever broke. His eyes sparkled and he was his funny independent little self again.
“Everybody start looking for pots and vases,” I said cheerfully, as I organized the older children and my husband into a treasure hunt for containers for the daffodils. We found dozens in diverse sizes and appearance and brought all the beautiful golden blooms inside the house. Everywhere you looked, it was Easter. Everywhere you looked there was the love of God and hope for the future.
The year continued with Tommy still succumbing to frequent illnesses, but I clung to my sign of hope, believing that God would heal him without surgery. Tommy turned four in November and a week before Christmas I took him to the heart specialist for his yearly tests. I had been told in the beginning, that sometimes these heart valve defects closed on their…

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