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My Good Friday God

What kind of God are you, dying like that?
I want a real God, a “fix it “ God,
not one that gets himself crucified.
You’re just as helpless as the rest of us.
Here we are dying together.
What a weird way to save a world!

Such sorrow pierced your mother.
Yet, she didn’t run away.
She stayed there suffering too.
Was she filled with a mother’s self doubt?
“Could she have done anything?
Would it have made a difference?”

I watched my mother die by inches.
Her dignity destroyed
by fourteen years of Alzheimer’s.
I’ve seen my children make choices
that would cost them for years.
I could only ask, “Am I to blame?”

I listened to my friend whose mind
had become her enemy.
I heard her pain, yet could not help.
I hate being helpless, not good enough
or smart enough to help
even the ones I love the most.

Not long ago, you did miracles
even in my own small life.
Now I just see our brokenness.

You are a Good Friday God.

I think about the expectations
you gave your Apostles.
Only Judas got the picture.
How disillusioned he became.
He must have felt that you
were betraying them all.
Sometimes I’m just like Judas,
recognizing that we
are all sheep being shorne.
I’m even as cowardly
as Peter in asking
more or less, “Jesus who?”
But I know as well as John did
that your love is perfect.
That we need nothing more.
Even though like doubting Thomas
I fear a hard ending,
you are my Lord and my God,
my only God.
So I ask for grace to follow
though through the cross you call,
my Good Friday God.

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Grace Comes in our Helplessness and in the Present Moment

For me who naturally lives in the ideal land of possibilities, it takes both faith and perseverance to find grace when facing the harsh limits of human reality. I can only stand up to my inner Greek Chorus, that keeps me frighteningly aware of my frailties, by focusing on God who simply says over and over, “I love you.”

Some twenty-five years ago by the end of my mother’s fourteen years of dying by inches from Alzheimer’s, I really wasn’t strong enough to devote myself to holding her hand and sitting helplessly with her at the foot of her cross. It was partly because of my own emotional weakness, some because of selfishness, but ultimately because her suffering shook my faith in God.

Now, I’m being challenged once again to seek grace to live that out as my husband’s Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis progresses. Some personalities are naturally reasonably good at accepting reality, however harsh it may be. But I’ve always been a change agent, a problem solver,  a person that is good at finding alternative solutions.

Now, I know that there comes a time when that is not what we are able or even called to do, no matter how naturally good we are at it.
We are called to find grace in our weakness. But that is terrifying and only done by staying aware that though we are not good at this, God is and God is with us.

And grace comes only in the present moment.  That is where God meets us. And learning to live in the present moment is a whole new way of being in the world for many of us. Some of us live in the past, while others focus on the future.  I’ve always focused on the future with its infinite possibilities.  So my first challenge is to only ask where is God in this moment and reach for His hand. My second challenge is to accept that God isn’t asking me to solve anything, but to trust and stay with Him in the circumstances, like Mary at the foot of the cross of those we love most.

Let’s Hear it for the Delusion that We Can Bring Order out of Chaos

Well, you know how some cultures take their shoes off at the door? I am starting a new Elder American Custom: Take off your glasses at my door. I don’t wear my glasses at home much. This works for me, because I can’t see the dust bunnies, the odd dead bug or dollop of jelly on the floors. And since most of my friends are also at the stage of life that requires glasses to notice small stuff, this new custom should allow me to maintain my laissez faire attitude toward house work while not having to hide in total silence in a darkened apartment when someone knocks at my door.
But, today, I am doing what I always do when my life feels like it is spinning out of control with disasters lurking around every corner. I am cleaning out the cabinets and the fridge. This is not house work. This is about bringing order out of chaos. This is about restoring some of the delusion that I am in control of something, however unimportant, in my life.
I never learn. I was determined last week to have enough carb free food for us when I was going to be down from my knee surgery. Well, I didn’t take into consideration that when under stress, Julian and I eat only high carb junk food and baked goods or that Julian would be the one running to the store for the one or two things I forgot. So, today I am throwing out week old beautiful chicken salad, cream cheese with olives and pecans mix for sandwiches for Julian, and some leftover chile without beans for me. So sad. So stupid! I have eaten more carbs in the last week than in the last two months! And enjoyed every single crumb, even the ones off the counters.
Well, I am recovered after sitting down for a bit, so back to enforcing law and order in my cabinets. I found some seasonings which expired in 2012. Also, found some things that don’t expire until 2020. I figure that may well be beyond my own expiration date!
All prayers and caring thoughts gratefully appreciated for my husband, Julian, who is having a lung biopsy tomorrow and my youngest son, Tommy, the father of four daughters who is having heart tests today prior to possibly having to get a pace-maker.

He Is Our God and We Are His People: Let Us Come Together in Cyberspace to Give God Thanks and Praise

Wherever we lift our hearts to God together is church. He is our God and we are His people. He has called us to this moment as an oasis of grace. It can be a special time when we come to Him with open hungry hearts.
He calls us in many ways: Through the beauty of His creation, through the laughter of children, the kindness of strangers, the tenderness of those who love us, our memories of many moments of grace.
He even calls us through nature’s terrible destructive power, that reminds us how fragile and helpless we really are, like falling leaves swirling in the wind.
But thanks to Jesus Christ, we know that the smallest one of us has infinite value and is held in the palm of God’s hand.
And thanks to Jesus, we also know that even when we, His people, still sin, there is forgiveness.
And that when we experience suffering and even heartbreak, there is grace.
Thanks to Jesus Christ we know that death is just a doorway to eternal life.
And there is no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.
Let us join together wherever we are to give God thanksgiving and praise.