Drifting


Drifting along waiting for this freaking virus to be annihilated. Will that ever happen? I don’t know about you but I feel so very drained by it all. I am just so tired – mentally, spiritually, and physically. And empty – so empty. Yet, I know in my deepest being that we are not forgotten. We are not alone. When my strength is gone, I know I can rely on the Divine One to carry me through; to lift me up and provide the hope and encouragement I need. When I feel lost and alone; when I feel like I cannot go on, from out of nowhere this flickering wick is re-lit and the flame leaps high. Sometimes that comes in the form of human hands. Sometimes it comes during a walk-in nature. Sometimes it comes through the loving attention of family members or friends. Sometimes it is as simple as sitting and stroking my cat’s fur. Yes, it always comes, that strength and peace I need. So, I will rest here and wait knowing that I will be given all I need for this day and the next and the next….

May you be given whatever it is you may need today. And may you recognize the blessing when it comes. Be well. Be safe.

Mud and mosquitoes


Note to self, Never leave the trail, especially on a humid morning

Some days it just does not pay to go for a walk. It’s been raining here a lot this month. Rain is in the forecast again for every day this week. Enough already! But yesterday was beautiful and this morning dawned lovely and bright. So, I decided to make use of the nice weather while I could and went for a walk along the riverbank. I’d decided to go to a trail I haven’t walked in almost a year, but wanted to be near the river (that was a big mistake). I left the trail and climbed down the bank to walk along the shore of the river. That was fine and I made it without mishap. On the way back I once again climbed the bank up to the trail and fell in the muddy and very wet grass. The grass is very long there. I was soaked! Mud all over me! To make matters worst, the air was thick with humidity and the mosquitoes fierce. And just when I was almost to the top of the bank I fell again. Now my shoes were soaked as were my jeans. My hands and forearms covered in much and nowhere to rinse it off. Good times. And the nippers left many itchy spots. The best part of the morning was meeting Naya (her name means little sister), a husky cross. Her owner told me she is also part wolf. She came out of the woods just as I reached my car. What a sweet doggie, very friendly. I had a brief chat with her owner before climbing into my car to go home and shower. Silver linings. And my sweet Callie-cat was happy to welcome me home, despite the mud. Aw, unconditional love!

Have a nice, mud-free, day my friends. I am going to try to find something to take the itch away from these bites.

On “Holy Insecurity”


“This is the kingdom of God, the kingdom of danger and of risk, of eternal beginning and eternal becoming, of opened spirit and of deep realization, the kingdom of holy insecurity.” – Martin Burber

If there is one thing that is true about this Coronavirus, it is in this quote from Martin Buber. When the world is shaken to its core and all seems dark and dismal. When sickness and death surround us. When we hit rock bottom. It is then and only then we begin to realize our powerlessness. It is then we are opened to throw ourselves on the mercy of a higher intelligence, a merciful divinity. It is then we begin to search the mystery of the Divine One. For surely these days are filled with “holy insecurity”.

A little over a year ago I was in Edmonton with my husband. He was so sick I was convinced he could die, and probably would die. It was a time of great stress, great insecurity, and many questions and doubts. Yet, against all odds he made it. He survived. My weak faith became strengthened through these days only to be tested once again as the Coronavirus plagued the world.  Fear ruled for a while. Anxiety reigned supreme. But then, out of the darkness faith was once again reborn.

I live in Canada, but news of the horror presently taking place in the United States and around the world has me very concerned. Yet in these times of great suffering, death, and loss of every kind a quiet, still voice reassures me: we are not alone.

 As I sit with the mystery that is God, I am comforted. The world has seen other great plagues and during those times surely people felt insecure, anxious, afraid. Surely it was an opportunity to turn again, to become, to learn and live and come to greater understanding, insight and wisdom. People ask where is this God? Where is this love and mercy? And I think to myself: it is in the kind ministrations of health staff. It is in the compassion and care of family members and friends. Sometimes it is in the kindnesses extended by strangers. It is in the patience and endurance of people who, perhaps, do not share our convictions, opinions, or faith traditions. It is in the trust of a child and the wisdom in the eyes of the old. And, it is in abundance in nature.

I sit here and I pray: May the Divine One bring us all we need. May we know the comfort of loving hearts and hands. May we know justice, kindness, patience, friendship, and help in all our needs. May we be granted the gifts of trust and perseverance. May we sit with this “holy insecurity” knowing we are held in infinitely tender hands by an intelligence that is far greater than our human understanding.

Amen.

Back to work


I am back at work and missing the extravagance of time to read your blog posts and respond in a timely manner to your kind comments on mine. The library is not yet open to the public and I don’t know yet when it will be. (If you didn’t know that’s where I work, at the local library.)  There is just a skeleton crew at work right now and I miss the staff who have yet to return. It’s nice to be able to see regular patrons, if only from the proscribed social distance. We are doing curbside pick up. Patrons order their books, movies, games, etc. online and come to the back door where they have to call in to let us know they are there to pick up their holds. Items are then checked out on their account and put in bags which are then placed on a table outside for them to retrieve. It’s interesting, but also strange being in a library empty of people, except for a few souls. I am grateful though that the director and powers that be are taking a very slow and careful approach to re-opening. There is a lot to consider and several changes are in the works to deal with this new ‘normal’.  Things will never be the same. Still, I am hopeful. I am also a bit nervous. But so far, so good. Life will, no doubt, look very different when all is said and done. Yet, there is much to be grateful for and many blessings to count as we navigate our way through these deep waters. Stay well my friends, and stay safe.

Topsy-turvy World


Since this pandemic struck the world has seemed to turn upside-down. But I think one of the silver linings is the enforced change in life itself. We cannot know what the future holds and this has caused us to take one day at a time. And that is not such a bad thing. Yes, it would be good to make plans again, especially for such things as weddings, vacations, and the like. Yet, living one day at a time has advantages too. We tend to savor the good things, knowing just how fragile life really is. And we become more courageous in our day to day living. As the pandemic continues to follow us like the proverbial dark cloud we begin to adjust. The fear loses its iron-clad grip, even as we continue physical distancing and health protocols. We’ve become more aware of all we’d previously taken for granted like the company of family and good friends; like the hugs from those dear to us; like the simple pleasures such as neighborhood gatherings; like the freedom of any social gatherings at all. We have taken so very much for granted.

 The pandemic came and forced us to really look at our lives and all the blessings we often overlook. What once seemed like a daily grind: the alarm clock going off in the morning; the drive, walk, or commute to work; the daily tasks wherever we might be employed, now all of it seems more like a daily blessing instead. At least, for those of us who were gainfully employed. Of course, there are many who were considered “essential workers” such as medical staff, delivery people, food processors or producers, grocery store workers, and more, who have worked tirelessly throughout these weeks of lock down So many of these people we have also taken for granted. When this is all over, and I fervently hope that day will come sooner rather than later, I hope we no longer take so much for granted. I hope we continue to take care of one another. I hope our eyes are fully opened to the magic and the mystery of this marvelous thing we call life.

Yes, animals do have souls


Callie-cat pressed against my leg enjoying a scratch

For centuries it has been debated whether or not pets have souls. I am an animal lover, always have been, always will be. Personally, I believe they do have souls (and humans are pretty arrogant to think that only we two-legged beings posses such a thing). I have a cat. You many or may not have seen some of my blog posts and photos of her. She is my comfort animal, often a source of great entertainment, and always my furry friend. Actually, she is more than a friend. She is family. I think most of us who are the parents of fur babies feel the same way. And, anyone who has been comforted and loved by any animal will likely agree that their love truly is unconditional. Much more so than human love with our biases, conditions, and selfish needs. So, how could you not believe animals possess something of the Divine?

 I truly do not understand people who do not really like animals. Yesterday I watched a dog and cat in the backyard. The cat had been shaved except for the head and yip of its tail. It’s a fairly new trend and I abhor it. No doubt its owner is trying to cut down on the amount of fur shed all over furniture and floors. See, to me, if you love animals you won’t mind putting up with the fur that seems to be everywhere. Callie-cat sheds a lot. At one point a woman I had rented an apartment from tried to convince me to have her shaved. You don’t want to know my response but it went something like, ‘when hell freezes over’ or ‘over my dead body’ or words to that effect. Honestly, I don’t remember what I said but I know it was a very emphatic ‘NO’. I love and respect her too much to ever submit her to that level of humiliation. I also don’t like cats and dogs dressed in those cute little outfits for much the same reason.

Cats and dogs, as well as other companion animals bring us so much love. In many ways they give us much more than we can ever hope to give them. Today is a sad day. My son and his wife had to take their little dog to the vet to make his final journey over the “rainbow bridge”. They are heart broken, even though they both know they have given him wonderful care his passing has left a huge hole that will take time to heal. Teather was a very sweet little dog with lots of personality, and more importantly lots of love he freely gave. He will be so missed. So, as I write this, I am seeing those large brown eyes gazing at each of us with pure love shining outward. Do animals have souls? I absolutely believe they do!

In loving memory of “Teather” – photo by his mama, Paula Hopkins

A very sad state of affairs: the persecution of the media


“All of us who professionally use the mass media are the shapers of society. We can vulgerize that society. We can brutalize it. Or we can help lift it onto a higher level. ” – William Bembech

“The media’s power is frail. Without the people’s support, it can be shut off with the ease of turning a light switch. ” –  Corazon Aquino  


I just finished reading a story about how journalists have been targeted by both police and protesters as they tried to report on the news surrounding the backlash following the murder of George Floyd and so many others. I guess the war on media initiated and pounded home by the so-called “leader of the free world” has come home to roost. The sad thing is, even if the Donald loses the election (and I fervently hope he does), the repercussions will continue for years into the future. The thing is it is this same media that helps protect the freedoms we all enjoy. That is not to say there are no sensationalists in the media – of course there are. And, this is not to say that media is squeaky clean or completely innocent of some of the charges against them. No business or industry is without its shadow side. However, without media how would the public ever know the real story? Unlike social media, credible journalists, for the most part, are held to very strict rules regarding reporting on stories. They have to fact check. They also have to tell both sides of any story, and hopefully without their own biases coloring it.

However, the story I just read reports on injuries suffered by journalists over this past weekend. Stories of journalists being pepper sprayed; of a journalist who is now blind in one eye after being struck by a rubber bullet shot by police; of another being shot in the throat by another officer. As if that is not enough, protestors are also attacking the men and women whose job it is to tell their story.

Most journalists work very hard and long hours for very little pay. Why would they do that, you may ask. Perhaps it is because they believe in democracy, in the right of the public to know what politicians and captains of industry are doing that is helpful, or not, as the case may be.

In recent conversations with family members and friends the point has been made that media is sensationalizing the story. Are they? And why? It’s true that bad news sells. We are all fascinated by the drama that human beings become entangled with. And we want to know what’s happening in our world. And, we want to trust that what we are reading or watching is true, and a lot of that depends upon credible journalists doing their job. Unfortunately, too often, telling the story comes at a great cost, sometimes the very life of the journalist is the price paid.

“Journalism will kill you, but it will keep you alive while you’re at it.” – Horace Greeley

Looking through the magnifying glass and it’s not pretty


I have been kicking around this old world for a long time and seen changes that, unfortunately, are not good. I remember the focus placed on discerning one’s “calling” or vocation. I was raised Catholic, which will explain that, I guess. I have always worked with the public. It has been a joy and an honor to serve people in many capacities. I don’t feel it’s been a vocation per se, but I have enjoyed life, even with all its challenges and tribulations. Serving the public felt like I was leading a life of meaning, in ways that have fed my spirituality and nourished my soul. It feels good to help others. If I make someone’s day a little bit easier in any way that is a wonderful thing and by and large I have found people to be good, decent, and absolutely wonderful.

But reading news of racial strife, of the systemic murder of people of color; of poor leadership in governments around the world (if you can even call it leadership) makes me shudder. There is so much pain, so much injustice, and this pandemic is acting like a huge magnifying glass forcing us to see that which we would prefer not to see. Ignorance may be bliss for the privileged and the powerful, but for the victims of poverty and want it is not bliss but a horrific and painful reality. And it makes me wonder if the idea of service, of the golden rule, has been plunged into the whirlpool of dark eddies that seem to have enveloped our world.

In these times of terrific upheaval, of economic uncertainty, of a future shrouded in fear of the unknown, it can be so easy to throw in the towel. It is tempting to turn one’s back and fall into the temptation of self preservation. But the lessons I learned in childhood, the experiences I have had, all have kept me rooted in the idea that service is an honor and helping one another is a blessing and a deep, deep joy. I hasten to add service does not equal bending one’s neck to be stepped upon, nor does it mean having to live life like some kind of joyless martyr. No, not at all! I will not be swayed by the evil behaviors of the few. I will not bend to fear or abuse of power. I will stand with the one who is indeed powerful by whatever name you may attach to a higher power. I will stand with those who have always been chained in poverty and injustice. And if I can do anything at all to help break those chains I will!

Cravings


Craving

Craving peace and serenity

Craving joy

Craving answers and more

Craving most of all

Your divine presence, Creator of all

In these days of constant confusion

Of upheaval, illness, and the death of so many

Of a future shadowed and murky

“Days of wine and roses” so misspent

And misguided

Forgive our addiction to the temporal

To pleasures that cannot and will not ever last

Fill us now with your peace

Cool our cravings for that which never satisfy

That vanish like mists in the hot sun

Let us be filled with the peace only you can give

Bless us now with the sweet serenity

We can only know with you

And let our worries blow away

Like dandelion seeds on the wind

This I ask of you

Divine One