Monday, February 22, 2016

Holy rest

Ahhhhh---rest---sleep.   Speaking from a worn out body that has been through some really rough times these past few years, I am so grateful for the blessing of rest.  Let me tell you, I am the queen of naps, rest, downtime get the idea!  Every single day, this body spends anywhere from minimal to moderate time (or more) in the horizontal position.  There are times when I colllapse onto the couch or bed in hopes of a peaceful rest or sleep only to find that they both elude me.  Ugh. 

While my chronically exhausted body just doesn't have sustained stamina due to my health issues, my emotional and spiritual sides desire rest as well.  I call it Holy rest.  When I am calm and peaceful interiorly, then I am not as burdened or anxious about what may be happening exteriorly.  I feel many of us could benefit from this, too.  We all carry burdens of some sort, and we all get weary and need rest.  

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."   (Matthew 11:28)

Thankfully as I compose this blog entry today, I found both physical rest as well as Holy rest which, for me, means peace.  I spent most of the day up in my bed due to an unfortunate migraine that had to be dealt with, but I was able to quiet my inner self through relaxation, breathing, and prayer, and I even drifted off into a pain-free slumber eventually (with the help of meds, of course).  Instead of my usual "hissy fit" over the blasted migraine ruining my plans and all the mess that ensues, I just accepted it and dealt with it in a peaceful manner.  By surrendering and trusting that God will totally care for me, I can fall into this Holy rest.  Believe me, this is YEARS in the making, my friends.  God is gracing me with a better attitude and the virtue of patience.  

I find that most people feel that rest is only for the weak and that many feel guilty about pursing it and giving it a proper place in their lives.  Do you give yourself permission to FIND and ENJOY rest; or do you push yourself to the brink before you realize that you actually need it?  

My writing today will be a brief one as I am still fuzzy and very wiped out from both the migraine and my meds.  However, I invite you to pause and think about how you might arrive at some Holy rest in your life.  See what method works for you.  Maybe it is prayer, meditation, reading, knitting, painting, coloring, walking in a favorite quiet spot or even just observing and taking in Mother Nature's beauty for a little while longer.

Our Creator carefully formed us to have and enjoy rest.  It is so refreshing and necessary while we climb our different landscapes and enter into the next season of our lives.  Rest helps us gather a new perspective and, perhaps, gain a more positive outlook even in the midst of our tiring circumstances. 

As we search and find our inner peace and quiet, let's then see if we can offer a small part of that to those around us.  It could help soften the loud and busy world. 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

My own Super Bowl

While millions of viewers eagerly tune into the Super Bowl each year, "some" of us do not.  I will publicly just put it out there that I am one of those who fit into the "do not watch" category,  I actually never took a liking to football at all.  I think it is so rough and tough,  and I hate to see how men run around and tackle each other and players always, always, always get hurt.  UGH.  This is just not at all appealing to me.  That being said, I am not personally against anyone who loves to watch.  

Even though the game is on because my dear hubby is watching, I am beside him writing my blog instead.  So, in keeping with the theme of Super Bowl Sunday, I thought I would write about my own game, of sorts.  It is my way of not feeling left out.  

My Super Bowl participation on many days feels like an endless cycle of rough and tough plays that even with the best strategic plans in motion, I feel knocked to the ground and hurt.  I am played out physically, emotionally, and even spiritually.  The two teams who always play the game are Me vs. the big M.  It is quite the showdown at times, and believe me, the half-time show can get loud and rowdy as well!  (Hmmm, that sounds familiar).  

What I hate the most are the inevitable over times.  These darn things just drag out the whole big mess and make the game seem endless.  My over times can go on for days at a time.  Where the heck are the referees to bring things under control??   Seemingly, they are nowhere to be found.  Boo.  

Then comes all the Super Bowl food.  What is up with that?  Tons of unhealthy food and lots of beer except for the people who like you to believe they are actually preparing "healthy" snacks---yea, right.  Participating in my Super Bowl, I can say for sure I am not enjoying unhealthy snacks, beer, or otherwise.  No way.  The only thing I may get out of the dining experience is the joy of using paper plates because I am too sick and tired to use real dishes. 

One thing I can pretty much say for sure is the fact that all my dear loved ones root for me to win, hands down!  They hate to see how I feel and look after being tackled and beaten up for days and weeks at a time.  It is no party for my husband to watch.  He is always involved in the clean up in some capacity and somehow he patiently does so time and time again.  

Well, as I compose this blog entry, I do not know who will win Super Bowl 50.  I do not even know how wonderful and inspiring the half time show will be (or not), but I do know that at the present moment, I am NOT playing in my own game.  Nope, not tonight!  I ate some chicken wings and a little chili and a healthy, green salad.  Yes, I did!  But I am only drinking water and tea.  No beer for me.   Drinking ginger-ale usually means something else...

My friends, by the time you read this, Super Bowl 50 will be a game of the past, and I hope it was a great experience for all those who watched.  For me, I am planning some new game strategies to help better prepare for more wins.   

Out of the darkness and into the Light

As February comes upon us, usually here in Connecticut, it is a dark and dreary month.  However, this has not been the case.  I feel pleasantly amused and upbeat by the beautiful, sunny days with gorgeous sunrises and spectacular clear sunsets.  My overall mood is brighter and sunnier as well.  Nature's light is definitely good for one's soul.

Upon reflection about my upbeat mood and general singing and dancing about the house on some days, I realize it is not ONLY the Winter weather that has me joyful.  Nope, it is my ability to wake up and show up for my life once again.  These past few weeks have been a most treasured break from the annoying, relentless and unwanted guest who constantly barges his way in to ruin my plans. I  have told  him on no uncertain terms to "get lost" and "stay lost"!!   

Although my days are still carefully ordered by many limitations and my routine is quiet and simple, I am finding the ordinary to be quite extraordinary.  Truly.  The oppressive darkness of barely functioning most days with severe pain and feeling so groggy from the numerous meds has slowly been giving way to receiving and living in some light.  Let me tell you, it is AMAZING.  

The joy I feel while moving with greater ease, attending to house chores, cooking, baking, talking a little on the phone and holding conversations that MOSTLY make sense, is AMAZING.  Feeling like my tiny, baby steps are actually moving me forward is nothing short of AMAZING, either.  My body, mind, and spirit are being filled with a new energy and a new Light.  I feel as though I am entering a new season even though my chronic illness remains. 

My year of YES is taking off, and I am seeing the light ahead of me. I wish to become the best version of myself even while I traverse the stormy seas of my daily challenges.  Although I grieve a lot for the old me in many ways, I am trying to be positive about discovering a new me!  This year I do not want to focus on what I "can't do" but instead what I "can do".  I know it sounds simple, but it isn't always easy to put into practice when I experience my difficult to manage days.  

My dear friends, I want to offer you hope that through your struggles, you can live in the light if you keep searching for it.  I promise.   It just takes time and lots and lots of patience.  

I cannot begin to even attempt this change of attitude on my own.  It is only by the grace of God that sustains and strengthens me.  This Holy and penitential season of Lent provides me the perfect opportunity to concentrate on living in and shining Christ's Light.  I feel the Holy Spirit asking me to practice some laughter and levity as well as meditating on the way of the cross in preparation for Easter.  

"The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."   (John 1:5)