Surprise

“Jam yesterday, jam tomorrow, no am today” White Queen to Alice in “Alice In Wonderland.”

YET

“ I have done many wonderful things, and I have planned marvelous things for all of you.”

PSALM 40:5 CEV

You have received much from Me and you will continue to receive many wonderful things from me.

I love giving presents.

Just open your hands and hearts.

Sometimes the gifts are large but most often they are small.

Sometimes the presents are wrapped in glittery paper with fancy ribbons, but most often come wrapped in the daily newspaper or newsprint.

Look around at the gifts of everyday life, open the present of another day!

Savor the taste of a simple breakfast – fill in your favorite.

Delight and bask in the sun.

Be drenched in a gentle rain and jump in the puddles.

Play in the mud.

Always smile.

Continually listen.

I love giving presents.

And please remember and live out that as all My gifts are freely given, so freely give back to others!

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Gentle response

Lately, angry raised voices and violent actions have erupted.

Long time experiences of injustice have hurt the soul of many.

Reaction and response appear.

A reaction erupts — when someone screams, some scream back.

Then some raise their voice higher while others raise their voice higher.

And the situation keeps escalating.

And unchecked, many are hurt — especially the children when they see, hear, and feel the unbridled anger and rage of those older than them.

For the following challenges me. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1 NIV).

A gentle response challenges me to respond with gentleness rather than reacting with equal and escalating rage.

Gentleness can soften and deescalate anger and conflict.

How about this?!

https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2020/june/black-police-officer-educates-woke-white-protester-america-has-a-sin-problem?amp

A Modern Lament

A Modern Lament and Entreaty and Reminder and Prayer

On the one hand

I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;

I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. (Psalm 9:1)

On the other hand

YET

Where are your wonderful deeds

Here

Now

I am troubled when I see

What we have done.

Where are You God?

Oh how bad

Oh how brutal

Oh how bitter

Our world has become.

We are battering

We are beating

We are besieging our cities.

You are in heaven and

Here on earth

We deface

We destroy

We descend

Come from Your heavens

You who are All Powerful

Renew Your world

Rebuild Your world

Restore Our World

We have made a mess

And

Only You can bless

Only You can build

We seem powerless

To heal the hurt

We seem blind

To the see our sin

We seem deaf

To hear the hurt

We seem unable to speak

Words that will move hearts and

Change the course of our stupidity and sin.

Only You

Only Your Power

Only Your Presence

Will rebuild

Will restore

Will rebuild

We believe You are

Here with us

Oh

Show Your Presence

Oh

Show your Power

THEN

We will shout

We will scream

Your wonderful deeds

Here!

Now!

And now we say

And now we pray

And you tell us

“You shall love Me with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

This is how I cope

In this current

Craziness

Chaos

I read

I write

I reflect

And

Above all

I pray.

The Road To The Unknown

Carol and took a journey to a known favorite place — Door County Wisconsin.

However the exact location was unknown.

To travel safely on the journey to this unknown location, the reliable GPS voice and screen in my vehicle gave me prompt and precise directions — we got there!

We are now on the road to the unknown with this Corona conundrum!

More questions arise and seemingly propagate even more questions.

“When will…”

The paleontologist Teilhard de Chardin wrote on a letter to a young friend, offering left us counsel about exercising patience in the process of becoming who we really are and can be.

He said, “We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown … and yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability — and that it may take a very long time.”

Teilhard would later say, that being on the road to the unknown was part of the process of being on the way to becoming something new.

The old question “is the glass half full or half empty” can form the decision about hope of its lack for the future.

As for me, I am happy to just have a glass!

I enjoy a good drink — let’s fill in with whatever quenches our thirst in this current thirsty unknown.

Even Better — Now?

“No” we can’t go to birthday parties.

“No” we cannot hug those we love who live outside our homes, especially our grandkids and kids.

We did not like hearing “NO!” when we were younger and dislike it even more when situations force it on us.

Diminishing or even disappearing finances force to us decide “what do we really need?” rather than going shopping and buying buying buying until…

We dislike these times when things get stressful, deadlines are coming too fast, and expectations seem unreachable and “NO!” feels like a slap in the face or a punch in the gut.

YET and HOWEVER

Heat in our life burns off the stuff that’s tying us down.

A prophet Isaiah in 48:10 wrote centuries ago “refined in the furnace of suffering” (NLT).

It’s unlikely we will literally go through a fiery furnace in our life, but we will go through the furnace of suffering many, many times, as we are now.

It’s like silver and gold. When it’s heated up, all the impurities are burned off. Then, you’re left with 100 percent gold or silver.

If you ask a silversmith how to know when silver is pure, he’ll tell you it happens when you can see your reflection while looking into the cauldron.

This suffering may birth in our lives a need which is new and important to us.

“Spring burns” in a prairie near me burns away the dead growth so that the new growth may thrive!

Suffering now can cause us to THRIVE!

Just One — Stimulate

“Love” or “hate.”

“Careful” or “careless.”

“Wisely chosen” or “poorly chosen”

Reading the headlines of articles these days, it seems to me that we are a race of “either or” persons.

Difference leads to disagreement to disparagement to division to disruption to a death..

All suffer and none benefit.

YET

In physics one little pebble can cause a landslide.

In courts one simple point can win a case.

In relationships two simple words “I’m sorry” or “you’re forgiven” can turn the tide.

Such actions can stimulate. A stimulus can change things.

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, the noun stimulus means “something that causes something else to happen, develop, or become more active, something that causes a change or a reaction.”

As Paul wrote centuries to a divided and disheartened community in Rome “Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24 nasb

Most automobiles are equipped with a catalytic converter, which transforms dangerous pollutants into less harmful compounds. The secret to this device is the catalyst it contains. This substance makes that chemical transformation possible.

Our words of comfort, wisdom, care and … can be that catalyst.

A ray of sunlight brightens a face, causing a smile to grow; warms a plant, causing it to grow.

Lament In This Time

Lament as a verb and noun exactly expresses, for me and many, our response to our current situation.

While working in Baton Rouge at LSU I discovered both the joy and sorrow, the lament and the alleluia from two sources — Preservation Hall in New Orleans and our kitchen in the student center at LSU. Both of the human sources were African American male and females.

Jazz was the song of faith, life, and so much more. Now I listen to jazz.

The following piece I discovered sometime back.

Blues and Jazz: Lament and Improvisation

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Todays meditation is drawn from Barbara Holmes book Joy Unspeakable: Contemplative Practices of the Black Church. 

She explores the blues—a musical form developed in the Deep South by African Americans in the late 19th century—and jazz—originating in New Orleans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries—as authentic expressions of life. In addition to reading her words, I invite you to listen (and perhaps dance?) to B. B. King or Miles Davis as a contemplative practice.

Like the familiar laments in Psalms, blues artists forthrightly engaged the issues in life that the church would not discuss—such as sexuality, theodicy, and the unabated despair of the people. The lyrics were straightforward and sometimes raunchy, but they captured the life experiences of the listeners. While gospel music promised peace in the hereafter and the promise of God’s presence, the blues became public theology, communal inquiry, and a critique of the church. . . .

The contemplative moment comes as the cause of the blues is considered within the broader context of God’s inexplicable absence or startling intervention. Under every stanza is the silent and unspoken question,“How long, oh Lord, how long will your people continue to suffer?” . . .

No one thinks for one moment that when B. B. King sang, he was saying all that there was to be said about the subject. . . . One or two lines hold the portal open for listeners to mentally supply the rest. This is the contemplative turn. . . . Smoky nightclubs and juke joints become the spaces for contemplation that attends to the details of daily life and the potential for its enrichment and ultimate fulfillment. . . .

Jazz is a way of being in the world, a willingness to break away from rhetorical comfort zones and language hierarchies. When you know that you are “between a rock and a hard place,” then you must respond creatively to the situation. Jazz is the musical version of the communal response to displacement. This is not a black thing; the majority of Americans today are displaced in one way or another. However, the displacement of the African diaspora was sealed by skin color as a permanent social exile. Some amelioration of that exile has only now begun, but only because of the genius of the community for creativity and improvisation upon the main themes of oppression and marginalization.

The improvisational motif in jazz music refers to the spontaneous creation of melodic innovations that diverge and meld with the main tune. . . . When the contributions of the individual improvisations soar, the contemplative potential increases. For in the midst of unthinkable rhythmic and tonal combinations, we also hear the impossible being brought within our reach.

When Miles Davis blows the cacophony that can barely be contained by the word song, we come closest to the unimaginable, the potential of the future, and the source of our being.

One of the iconic and exhilarating expression I experienced occurred in New Orleans after a funeral Mass and internment and the following happened.

Phillip Kapela

www.wisdomgarden.blog

Keep Your Fork

In our current times when we wonder about the next.. day, week, month, year, and such.

How do you react and then respond to the phrase “the best is yet to come?”

The following appeared in the Chicago Tribune on August 12th, 2000 in the Ann Landers column.

Dear Ann Landers:

Several readers, as well as some family members, sent me this same piece. Some said they got it off the Internet. It has been attributed to Roger William Thomas.

It is indeed a heartwarmer, and I am printing it with pleasure: Keep Your

Fork

A woman was diagnosed with a terminal illness and given three months to live. She asked her pastor to come to her home to discuss her final wishes. She told him which songs she wanted sung at her funeral, and what scriptures to read, and which outfit she wanted to be buried in.

Then she said, “One more thing. I want to be buried with a fork in my hand.”

The pastor was surprised. The woman explained, “In all my years of attending church socials and potluck dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, `Keep your fork.’ It was my favorite time, because I knew something better was coming, like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie — something wonderful. So, I want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and wonder, ‘What’s with the fork?’ Then, I want you to tell them, `Keep your fork, because the best is yet to come.”‘

The pastor’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he bid the woman goodbye. He realized that she had a better grasp of heaven than he did, and knew something better was coming.

At the funeral, when people asked him why she was holding a fork, the pastor told them of the conversation he’d had with the woman before she died. He said he could not stop thinking about the fork, and knew they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it, either. He was right.

Keep your fork. The best is yet to come!