Monday, August 27, 2012

Walk a Mile...

You've probably heard the phrase "walk a mile in my shoes", usually used by a person in a conversation when he or she is wanting to convey the thought that no one should judge another's actions, comments, or feelings...because you don't know what all has happened in another person's life to make them say what they say or do what they do. 

You may say to another "I know how you feel" or "I know what you're going through", but this statement can really be true only up to a point.  No one can know exactly...

For a concrete example or object lesson on what I mean, you can literally take the shoes off another person's feet, place them on your own, and walk a mile in them.  Now...perhaps you think they fit pretty well, but there's no way they fit exactly the same way they did on the original owner's feet...on you, they might be too long, too short, too wide, too narrow; the arch might be too high or low, or not hit the right spot on you; your foot might be thicker or thinner, also making the shoes too tight or too loose, causing blisters or making your toes or feet numb; if the shoes have been worn for very long, they might not be level on the sole and/or heel because their owner's feet tend to turn in or out when they walk, and this makes you "off-balance" and also causes foot and leg pain after you walk in them....etc., etc...., even though you think you know, and even though you may have gone through some similar circumstances or experiences, you can never know exactly what another person's life is like, how he/she has been affected, or the emotions and feelings they have.  

We all need to try to understand and not be quick to judge any person, or criticize or jump to conclusions regarding their life or lifestyle.  Take a good honest look at those who have "been there, done that" or who are currently going through a difficult situation, and learn from their experiences.  

Everyone needs the compassion, patience, understanding, mercy, strength, and support from those who are willing to try to "walk a mile in my shoes"...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Fools This Day?...

It's 4:30 a.m.  and I am wide awake, before daylight breaks the darkness, before the first sounds of the birds singing disrupt the silence of the waning nighttime hours.   My brain is switched to "on" and suddenly my mind begins to be flooded with the meaning of THIS day.  Not the foolishness and games of this "April Fools Day", but rather the awesome mind-boggling meaning of this special day, "Palm Sunday".   

"So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”  (John 12:13)  I start thinking about what Jesus might have been thinking and feeling as he prepared for his triumphal ride into the city of Jerusalem, knowing that the people did not really understand...could not understand.  They had been looking for and hoping for a powerful new leader, a military leader, a government ruler, to save them from the problems of their time.  They knew a little about Jesus and had heard about some of the miracles he had performed, but they did not truly know him.  They could not see that they had need of a more important kind of leader, someone to save them not just from their worldly problems, but to save them spiritually and for eternity.

How ironic that the anniversary of that day would this year coincide with another day that will be probably more recognized and celebrated by people all over the world...showing how truly foolish people are and showing that we really haven't learned much over the past 2,000 plus years.  "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are saved it is the power of God. For it is written: 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.'  Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?   For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." (1 Corinthians 1:18-25)
"God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty"   (1 Corinthians 1:27)
He showed us the way, gave us the answers, and still we search everywhere else, looking for our strength and power and importance in things and people and politics...and looking for a human leader who will save us, magically solve all our personal problems and those of society, and lead us into prosperity and goodness and make all things "right"...when he has already provided that, teaching us that we should not be so concerned with the natural things, the things of this world, but be more concerned about those things that will last forever.

"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God." (1 Corinthians 2:12)

( © Post and photos by C.J. - please do not copy)

Monday, March 26, 2012

No Mistake...

"Don’t mistake my silence for ignorance."

"Don’t mistake my calmness for acceptance."

"And most of all, don’t mistake my kindness for weakness.”   
                                                                                                    ~ Unknown

(Post and photo ©  by C.J. - please do not copy)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What? How?

Most folks in the "civilized" world are familiar with the objects in the above photograph.  And most people would not find the objects the least bit intimidating or frightening.  I've never had a problem with them...until yesterday.  You see, yesterday I was feeling a little "off" from the time I awoke and got out of bed.  I was a little unsteady on my feet, and I noticed I was having some difficulty keeping my thoughts together and I was having trouble making even the smallest decisions.  

After taking much longer than usual to make my bed, put a load of laundry in the washer, eat breakfast, and wash dishes, I knew I needed to get a shower and get dressed.  But I was a little leery of trying to stand long enough to finish my shower, so I decided it might be best if I just took a bath instead.  

Well, everything was going along okay and it actually felt good to soak for a few minutes after bathing.  The problem arose when I decided it was time for me to get out of the tub.  I sat and stared in front of me at those shiny silvery objects that are shown in the seemed like it was for an hour, although it was perhaps only four or five minutes.  As I sat and  stared, I became a little frightened as well as frustrated...because I could not remember what I needed to do in order to drain the water from the tub.  

No, I haven't suffered a traumatic brain, I don't have Alzheimer's disease (as far as I know), I didn't have a stroke, etc.  I was having an acute attack of my brain "short-circuiting", something that happens to me fairly frequently as a result of having MS (multiple sclerosis).  These particular episodes usually don't last very long, but I do have some permanent long-term as well as some short-term memory loss.  The attacks can occur at any time, but tend to be more frequent if I am fatigued, emotionally or mentally stressed, too hot, too cold, or have any type of illness going on.  This is just one of the many symptoms I have with this cursed disease.  

Why am I telling you this?  Because I want to help you understand what is happening to me...why I am constantly keeping lists or a journal, why I sometimes seem to be staring blankly into space, why it sometimes takes me longer than you think it should to answer a question or complete a simple task, why I say "no" or "not now", or "I can't" a lot more often than I used to.  On the outside I may look "fine", but on the inside I am often a "tangled mess of misfirings and disconnected electrical impulses".

So, if you can accept me as I am with all the changes that are now happening and doubtless will continue to take place (unless there is a miraculous cure), I welcome you into my life.  If not...if it frightens you or it's too much for you to bother with or handle...then you will probably become suddenly silent, quickly disappear, walk out, or just slowly back away as many others have already done.  Either way, I thank you for listening to me. 

( © Post and photo by C.J. - please do not copy)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I Remind Myself...

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
(Original prayer attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr)

My current brief version:  "Lord, please help me to graciously accept that over which I have absolutely no power to change; the courage, wisdom, strength, and patience to help change what needs and can be changed by what I say or do...and please consider, Lord, that I have already learned, quite often the hard way, the difference between these two.  Amen!"

(Post and photo ©  by C.J. - please do not copy)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Joy, Peace, and Contentment...

People are constantly looking for real joy, peace, and contentment....but most are looking in the wrong places. Money cannot buy these things. They cannot be found in a bottle of alcohol, a handful of pills, or a mixture of toxic chemicals.  They are also absent in gambling casinos, profane movies, or pornography. Multiple sexual partners, extramarital affairs, and perverse or deviant behavior are void of them. Any of these things might provide a moment of perceived pleasure, but the stuff of real joy, peace, and contentment only comes when that special place in your heart and core of your being is occupied by Jesus Christ. It's "His room" and no one else and nothing else can fill it and make you complete and give you a joy and peace that surpasses all human understanding, in the face of any adversity, than inviting Him in to live with you daily, to walk with you, guide you, and be your constant companion....All you need to do is ask.  ~ C.J.

"The joy of the Lord is my strength."

( © Post and photo by C. J. - please do not copy)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Collector of Tears

Does anyone not cry?

I do a lot of my crying while I'm in the shower.  Why?  So no one will see my tears, hear my sobs, and know how much I am hurting, I suppose.  Perhaps because in the past my tears, and the reasons for them in the first place, have gone unnoticed or at least unacknowledged, making me want to hide my feelings and emotions and put up invisible walls for protection and self-preservation.  

But there is One who always sees, always hears, always knows...and He cares. Psalm 8:56 even suggests that he collects all the tears I shed, whether in joy or in sorrow, and keeps them in a special bottle (or 'lachrymatory' for you wordsmiths).  I have no idea how He would separate my tears from all that water in the shower, but I am sure that would be a very small task for Him!  

I was just thinking...if our tears are this important to Him, should our own hearts not be touched and we ourselves not be affected and moved to action by the tears of others when we see them?

Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me.  Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O thou  most High.  What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.  In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.  Every day they wrest my words: all their thoughts are against me for evil.  They gather themselves together, they hide themselves, they mark my steps, when they wait for my soul.  Shall they escape by iniquity? in thine anger cast down the people, O God.  Thou tellest my wanderings: PUT THOU MY TEARS INTO THY BOTTLE:  are they not in thy book?  When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me.  In God will I praise his word: in the LORD will I praise his word.  In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me.  Thy vows are upon me, O God: I will render praises unto thee.  For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I  may walk  before God in the light of the living?    (Psalm 56 KJV)

( © Post by C.J. - please do not copy)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

For Me and You...

"Live, don't just exist...make the most of the time you are given...choose to have a positive outlook and attitude...take nothing and no one in your life for granted...don't dwell on situations over which you have no control...hold no grudges and let go of past hurts...don't hesitate to ask for, receive, and give your love and appreciation at every opportunity, expecting nothing in silly when the urge hits you...laugh, sing, and dance...and be good to yourself..." ~C.J.

A video I shot during a surprise encounter with a large number of butterflies in May 2011.

( © Post and video by C.J. - please do not copy)