Sunday, December 18, 2011

Peace, Joy and Hope

My girlfriend sent me a text mid-afternoon asking if I wanted to go to an evening Christmas service tonight. I wasn't feeling up to it - just kind of depressed and feeling holiday bluesy. But I know that when I do get out and about that I end up feeling better so I agree to go. I am so glad I did. The music and service were powerful and wondrous.

The pastor spoke about the fragility of life. Widows know all about that. So on one hand, we're heads up on cherishing life and our loved ones. On the other hand, we also get the hard reality of how our lives can be altered in an instant. And at least in my case, that has left me at times, scared and paranoid. I guess you could call our first hand knowledge of death a blessing and a curse.

But I was glad the pastor spoke of this. There seems to be so much frantic rushing around right now. People out in their cars talking on cell phones, speeding to get to a store and reviewing their shopping lists are not paying attention to what this season is really about.

I was really struck by the pastor's mention of love - how God is so loving... And he added that that's pretty much the message here - being loved (by God), and then spreading joy and love to others. I felt somewhat ashamed comparing myself to God tonight. And how as a human, I fall way short at times of being more loving. Widowhood has resulted in some bitterness in my spirit. And I think the day-to-day grind and financial struggles sometimes overpower my desire to be a better person.

But I felt revitalized and hopeful by the words I heard tonight. The pastor spoke about how at this time of year we start reviewing the old year and planning for the one ahead. I was inspired to focus on the promise of what lies ahead and to be more mindful of this season's message which is love. And this can be translated to whatever religion or beliefs one has - that at our core, love is the force that drives us. And as I have come to believe since my husband's death - the reason we are all here in the first place.

Love + Kindness + Acceptance +Tolerance + Understanding + Compassion + Forgiveness = Peace, Joy and Hope!


  1. Thanks for sharing your evening with me. I haven't been to church in years after feeling I was getting 'should'ed to death instead of inspired. The equation you wrote at the end tells half of the story for me. Yes, when anchored in God and not myself I trust peace, joy, and hope is available in the middle of turbulence. Sometimes I stop whatever I'm doing and feast on God's love, just like filling my car's tank at a gas station. His love is unconditional high test.

    But I am adding other results to your equation. Love+Kindness+Acceptance+Tolerance+Understanding+Compassion+Forgiveness = searing pain, racking sobs, fear and longing, raw nerves, humility, asking forgiveness, helplessness without God, AND Peace, Joy and Hope. I like what Kahlil Gabran wrote: "The deeper that sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain".

    Because connections with people I've loved and needed have caused me searing pain I am fearful of reaching out again and losing. Yet it is my longing to love, rather than be loved, that requires expression. How I would love to be esteemed for what I offer in love! But recipients sometimes return my love and sometimes don't. I wish I could be bolder in loving anyway. Not for what it gets me, but for the sheer joy of giving. Oh well, progress, not perfection.

  2. Hoping you have a lovely Christmas with your sons and friends and that 2012 will be a much better year--for all of us!!!

  3. Flo - I struggle with being loving to those who have been unloving to me. Sometimes I just want to break ties with certain people but then I regroup and try to focus on the power of love. In the end, I keep at it rather than the easier way of giving up. Like you say, progress not perfection. Thanks for sharing your very profound thoughts - they made me think and that is good.