Posts Tagged With: courage
Our troubles are like a prescription written out specifically for us from the Great Physician. And lately I’ve been going through some painful troubles I wish He hadn’t prescribed for me! However, I know I must be strong enough to get through this, because it has happened. It has been prescribed.
I am incredibly thankful to have survived into my forties relatively pain-free. I did have two natural childbirths mind you, so that does put everything into perspective! But I have not broken a bone except my big toe when I was a teenager (that was painful). And I suffered through a bulging disc (decades ago, back when we called it a ‘slipped disc’). But I have mercifully escaped dental pain. Until now.
Biting something tiny and terribly hard right in the center of a molar that caused a crack in the tooth has led to a painful chain of events. Just breathing the cold air outside or sipping a hot cup of tea caused excruciating pain, and a throbbing ache that kept me from sleeping. I was relieved that my dentist referred me to a root-canal specialist. Then, a couple of days later I was very thankful to that office for rearranging some appointments with others who were not in pain so that they could work me in quickly.
When I arrived for my first-ever root-canal, I made the office staff laugh when I placed on the counter a jar wrapped with silk ribbon and filled with flowers, as I said “I’ll bet not everyone brings flowers to their root-canal appointments!”
I wanted to thank them for going out of their way to work me in quickly, and they loved it.
Fast forward through my meditating and silently reciting poetry to get myself through the four (yes four!) needles required to numb the area, then an hour of drilling and such (which I don’t mind – it’s needles that horrify me) only to have the dentist tell me the bad news: he found a crack at the tip of the root and the tooth cannot be saved.
My faith wavered and my spirits fell. I felt like my fear of dentists was only overcome by the urgent need to put an end to the pain, and now to face the imminent prospect of more appointments (with more needles!) to go through an extraction and future tooth implant procedure, and how long would it take to afford all that… well, I struggled to keep from crying as I drove the half hour trip home.
It can be incredibly challenging to feel joyful and filled with gratitude for life when we are in pain. And especially when our future is looming with images of more pain. Being immersed in a state of joy-filled gratitude is my normal state of being, and it felt lonely, cold, and sad to be in this bleak place, bereft of hope. However, as I do with the various climates of being, I allowed myself to feel miserable. I let the tears come, about the waste of money and the waste of my time and pain to end up with nothing. I let myself feel all my feelings. I postponed meetings and begged off supper duty for a couple of days as I rested, cried a bit, felt hopeless, and slept.
Today, three days after the procedure, I woke up feeling like my old self. I did my meditation prayer and felt rejuvenated. “Thank You God!” I said aloud cheerfully. Having spent time in the darkest of blues has made my return to the brightness of optimism and enthusiasm all that much brighter.
Balanced with this renewed brightness is an even greater empathy for those who are in pain. A grumpy person, a reckless driver in traffic, a stranger cursing in a store… who knows if these might be people enduring awful and persistent pain? It urges me to offer even greater patience, especially to those who don’t appear to deserve it for it might be those who need it the most.
Before I allow someone’s apparent lack of manners or social niceties to lower my energy or upset me in any way, what if I considered that they might be in pain? Could I forgive someone who snapped at me in a store, or cut me off in traffic if I knew they had an aching tooth, or a bulging disc? Could I remain at peace and send them loving white light?
Yes I could, and I can, and I will. I choose to remember my recent misery and allow this newfound empathy to help me shine my loving light to those seemingly unpleasant people who may cross my path. Thank You God for this essential prescription you recently wrote for me. It has brought me deeper empathy and an even greater capacity for love and forgiveness.
I won’t say that I will ever enjoy going to see dentists, but I’ll always remember to be thankful for the services they offer. And I might even bring flowers.
Each minute sweeter than before…
There is a blessing in the air…
The theme of March is the uncovering of faith and courage through the letting go of fear. We have a choice in how we react to the images in our minds. Patience, surrender and the faith that all things work for the best help form the foundation for deep peace of mind. ~Joan Borysenko
Four years ago today my mother passed away and left this physical experience. While my heart has felt leaden and heavy about losing her, this year I feel different. I feel a deep peace, even a flutter of joy for my mother and where she is now. I do not experience the same sadness I used to. While I don’t know what happens after we die, I do have a sense of intuition and belief in an afterlife. As a Native American funeral blessing shares, we were never born and we will never die. That part of us which is pure spirit is here always, and I seem to be feeling my mother’s joy.
The first of March is a beautiful day, and here in my part of the world the sky is bright blue and the birds are singing. The daylight hours are lengthening and the temperatures are warming. Having crossed the calendar from February to March, even the word itself sounds brighter… one crisp, joyful syllable to describe this bright and early month of the year, as well as the verb form of the word that describes moving forward with confidence and determination.
That’s how I see my Mom now. I see her as a determined soul who chose to march forward in her own destiny and into the unknown of the next level. I see her in a place free from pain and judgment, and surrounded by blissful peace and profoundly unconditional love. I believe she is with me and cheers on everything that brings me closer to the light and loving truth of my being.
Now I feel like celebrating this day. I feel like not only is a day of one’s birth to be joyfully acknowledged, but also their death as a transition through a new doorway. I celebrate that my mother is cradled in the embrace of God and as such is immersed in love. I symbolically release brightly coloured balloons for her, and play the upbeat music she loved. Today I will prepare some of the delicious food she taught me to make (like Corn Chowder and tender Pot Roast). And tonight in her honour I’ll enjoy a few games of crib with my husband.
Let’s remember that there’s no need to collapse into deep sadness when we lose a loved one, except of course for the fact that we miss them, but that’s about ourselves. As far as how they are doing… they are pain-free and at peace. And that is most definitely worth celebrating with love!
It was a tragic event that happened before I was born, but it was a time that must be remembered and prevented from ever happening again. This post is my torch… my bringing of light to a dark, dark place in history. May our knowledge enlighten and raise our understanding of the pressure we must still exert to obtain and maintain equality for all to enjoy peace on earth.
James, Andrew, and Michael ~ You will always be remembered.
James Earl “J.E.” Chaney (May 30, 1943 – June 21, 1964)
Andrew Goodman (November 23, 1943, – June 21, 1964)
Michael Henry Schwerner (November 6, 1939 – June 21, 1964)
In 1964, civil rights activist Andrew Goodman volunteered along with fellow activist Mickey Schwerner to work on the “Freedom Summer” project of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) to register blacks to vote in Mississippi.
Having protested U.S. President Lyndon Johnson’s presence at the opening of that year’s World’s Fair, Goodman left New York to train and develop civil rights strategies at Western College for Women (now part of Miami University) in Oxford, Ohio.
In mid-June, Goodman joined Schwerner in Meridian, Mississippi, where the latter was designated head of the field office. They worked on registering blacks in rural areas to vote. Michael Schwerner had been working closely with an assistant in the office and fellow civil rights activist James Chaney.
Chaney had previously participated in the 1962 Freedom Rides as well as other non-violent demonstrations. He organized voter education classes, introduced CORE workers to local church leaders, helped them get around the counties, and acted as a liaison with other CORE members.
On the morning of June 21, 1964, the three men set out for Philadelphia, Neshoba County, where they were to investigate the recent burning of Mount Zion Methodist Church, a black church that had agreed to be a site for education and voter registration. On their return to Meridian, the three men were stopped and arrested by Deputy Sheriff Cecil Price for allegedly speeding. The trio were taken to the jail in Neshoba County where Chaney was booked for speeding, while Schwerner and Goodman were booked “for investigation”. After Chaney was fined $20, the three were released and told to leave the county. Sheriff Price followed them on State Route 69 to the county line, then turned around at approximately 10:30 p.m. On their way back to Meridian the three young men were stopped on a remote rural road by two carloads of KKK members who approached their car and killed all three men.
~A tall stained glass window in Sage Chapel at Cornell University honors the memory of James, Andrew and Michael.
~A memorial at the Mt. Nebo Baptist Church commemorates the three civil rights activists.
~A plaque near Riverside Boulevard at 70th Street in New York City commemorates the three men.
~The sacrifice of the murders contributed to Congressional passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, federal legislation to enforce social justice and constitutional rights.
~In 1998 the James Earl Chaney Foundation was set up by his brother Ben Chaney in his honor to promote the work of civil rights and social justice.
Representation in media:
~The band Flobots’ song, “Same Thing,” asks to bring back Chaney.
~Meridian, a novel by Alice Walker, portrayed issues of the civil rights era.
~Phil Ochs wrote his song, “Here’s to the State of Mississippi”, about these events and other violations of civil rights that took place in that state.
~Tom Paxton included the tribute song, “Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney”, on his 1965 album, Ain’t That News.
~In the novel Song of Susannah by Stephen King, Susannah Dean reminisces about her time in Mississippi as a civil rights activist. She thinks about making love to James Chaney and singing the song “Man of Constant Sorrow”.
~The murders were depicted by Norman Rockwell in an illustration titled Southern Justice (Murder in Mississippi) published in Look in June 1965. (See my previous post)
~Richard Farina’s song “Michael, Andrew and James” performed with Mimi Farina, was included in their first Vanguard album, Celebrations for a Grey Day, released in 1965.
~Simon and Garfunkel’s song “He Was My Brother” was dedicated to Andrew Goodman who was their friend and a classmate of Simon’s at Queens College.
Reference source: Wikipedia
“O, be swift to love! Make haste to be kind.”
~ Henri F. Amiel
The legend of St. Valentine goes back to the early days of Christianity when Christians were being persecuted by the Romans. One Christian, Valentinus, was tried as a heretic and sentenced to death. In prison, Valentinus befriended a guard who respected his wisdom, and soon the guard brought his seven-year-old blind daughter Julia, to Valentinus for lessons.
Daily, the two talked of important things, and Julia developed a deep love and respect for her mentor. One day Julia asked him, “Valentinus, do you think I will ever be able to see?”
Valentinus thought for a moment and answered, “With love in your heart and belief in God, anything is possible, Julia.”
At that moment, Julia was overtaken with a flash of light, and suddenly her eyesight was restored. “Valentinus, I can see!” the child shouted.
“Praise be to God,” he humbly answered.
The next day when Julia came to visit Valentinus, he was gone. He had been taken to his execution. Julia found this note:
My Dear Julia,
Although we shall never see each other again, know that I will always love you. You are very dear to me. I will stay unseen by your side, and I will live in your heart. I believe in you.
Be a true valentine by reminding your beloved ones that they are unlimited. Inspire them to trust their heart’s wisdom, and miracles will occur.
And if you are your own valentine, remember that all the love you need is within you, just as you are, right where you are.
~I pray to remind my loved ones of their highest potential~
Today’s post sourced from A Deep Breath of Life, by Alan Cohen, a favorite author.
He writes, “Consider this book a hand to hold as you scale the mountain of your destiny. In just a few minutes each day, you can step back from your worldly activity and draw in a deep breath of spiritual renewal.”
This cherished book filled with ‘daily inspiration for heart-centered living’ brightens every one of my days.