Which kid are you?

A parable of getting to the other side.

A parable of “out of the box” thinking and acting.

Let me tell you a story.

One day three kids were walking down the sidewalk.

As they approached Johnny’s house, all three saw the house and the fence around the house.

Johnny said “Let’s go to my house.”

Mary saw the house and the fence. She walked up and opened the gate.

Johnny saw his house. He studied the house and the fence. He then jumped over the fence.

Tommy saw the house and the fence. He sat thinking, looking around. He saw a big sledgehammer. He went, grabbed the sledgehammer and knocked the fence down.

A fourth kid watched from a distance. He studied the kids, looked at the fence and he decided to …

Which kid are you: Johnny, Mary, Tommy, or the fourth?

(Phillip F. Kapela, author)

Autumn leaves

Remember when we could burn autumn leaves?

Remember when we could smell burning autumn leaves?

Remember when would roll in autumn leaves?

Now we still revel in the color of autumn leaves.

And then there is a story which tells of a leaf named Freddie.

https://achievebalance.com/spirit/theleaf.htm

The circle and seasons of life continue.

For those who have succumbed to COVID their autumn has passed, as have them.

God’s healing hand

To our brothers and sisters who have contracted

and are suffering due to the Coronavirus Disease,

we pray that God’s healing hand may rest upon you.

To medical doctors, nurses and the supporting staff

who are in the frontline of the fight against COVID-19,

may the Good Lord sustain you and inspire you

to render your life-saving services with due care, love and compassion.

To all those who have lost their loved ones due to the Coronavirus outbreak,

we convey our deepest sympathies.

We pray that their souls, through God’s mercy, may rest in eternal peace.

We pray that God may grant all bereaved families his consolation and strengthen their faith and hope in Jesus Christ, the Risen Lord.

Amen.

Prayer adapted from the 2020 Easter Message of the Catholic Bishops of Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe

Previously before March and the march of the pandemic, our world was filled with hustle and bustle. 

We rewarded busyness as if always working, striving, and achieving were the true marks of a life well-lived. 

We elevated those who have given everything to gain success by always working and being and staying busy.

Now our world differs from the past — we have nowhere to drive.

Before to rest instead of work was to be lazy or selfish.

Now we have more time because we have no more long commutes.

Now while we may flood our time with ZOOM, we do not zoom through life as we did previously.

Solitude now invites us or forces us to be alone with others if we live in the same house with the.

Solitude is vital in our pursuit of deeper relationship with anyone.

 What would a marriage be if the couple only ever saw each other in large groups? 

What would a friendship be if you never spent time as just the two of you?

I miss regular time alone with my daughter and granddaughter, though we now make time to spend time with each other!

So, the conclusion and the connection:

  • If you live with others, spend time alone with each one, even if working from home, learning from home, offers both a challenge and opportunity.
  • Spend time alone creating — I am now writing in the quiet early in the morning.
  • Let’s learn to be alone and be alone with others! 
  • Enjoy the present of the present.

Enough

After watching with concerned interest and persistent care many press conferences and such since Mid March, I became aware that I had enough knowledge and irritation.

While taking a break from the public media and messaging challenges, such a decision also offers reprieve from much.

A wise person wrote in Proverbs 26:21 “Just as charcoal and wood keep a fire going, a quarrelsome person keeps an argument going” Quarrelsome persons and their banter only fuel the fire.

Such sessions tire and irritate.

When I found myself talking and even hollering at the TV, the realization that I had become a fool much like the persons on the screen.

The decision to take a break to focus on the positive persons and messages in my world meant that I didn’t add fuel to the fire.

By bellowing to the TV, I was going against a golden nugget of wisdom etched in eternity when the sage wrote in Proverbs 26:4 “Don’t answer fools when they speak foolishly, or you will be just like them”

I had become a fool.

Enough is enough!

The following prayer written by William Barclays about 50 years ago echoes perennial wisdom.

“O Father, give us the humility which realizes its ignorance, admits its mistakes, recognizes its need, welcomes advice, accepts rebuke.”

“Help us always to praise rather than to criticize, to sympathize rather than to discourage, to build rather than to destroy, and to think of people at their best rather than at their worst.”


Prayer

Prayer for Closeness with God in the Time of Social Distancing

Inspired by Jeremiah 23:23-24

God, you are the maker of heaven and earth. 

You created each and every one of us. 

There is nothing that you do not see. 

There is not a thought or feeling that we have that we can hide from you. 

You know all of our fears and all of our hopes. 

In light of this global pandemic, you are deeply acquainted with every plan that has been cancelled, every hope that has been deferred, every tear that has been shed, and every single life lost. 

Even though we are experiencing isolation, you are not distant from us. 

You are here.

God, the problems of the coronavirus are pervasive, affecting nearly every aspect of our daily lives. 

We sometimes give over to worry and fear. 

God, we ask you to continue to protect us. 

We specifically ask you to protect those who are most vulnerable among us—the elderly and the immunocompromised.

Amen.

https://www.hfny.org/blog/prayer-hope-during-covid-19 with revisions by P. Kapela

Pray with music in the background 

The rarest?

What is the rarest: bravery in battle, great intelligence, or moral courage?

This is not a trick question yet answering it or living it is.

Hemingway wrote in A Farewell to Arms in 1929 “Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality of those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change.”

Serenity supports a life of moral courage so that the choices which truly benefit others supports the honest person which Diogenes.

Thomas Paine wrote “Of more worth is one honest man to society, and in the sight of God, than all the crowned ruffians that ever lived.”

Bathe the world with a brilliant blaze of color

This time of year remains my favor.

Leaves change from their normal color to a blazing change.

Various shades of everyday green erupt into gold or orange or wine color red.

While I am not completed adept at understating much less explaining the chemistry of this change, I do know how to enjoy and relish this transformation!

The change occurs because of a radical change leading to the death of the leaf.

This radical change reminds me of the book Freddie The Leaf.

The beloved classic from New York Times bestselling author Leo Buscaglia that has helped thousands of children and adults come to grips with life and death–a warm, wonderfully wise, and strikingly simple story about a leaf named Freddie.

Read it and give it.

Treasures Of The Night.

The quietness of midnight after a long day with a cup of tea illuminates new insights and hidden treasures. This ends my day.

I discovered some years ago an evening prayer by Cardinal Newman. Here it is with some modification:

Thank you for supporting us all the day long, till the shades lengthen and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done. 

Then in Your mercy, give us a safe lodging, and a holy rest and peace at the last.”

“I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches hidden in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name” 

(Isaiah 45:3 NIV).

  • What treasures have we discovered in the darkness?
  • What riches would we like to discover?

Both And

Pain Now

When you become aware of pain in your body, instead of fighting it, ignoring it, shaming it, or numbing it, you might ask yourself, “What if I could learn to welcome what is about my body, right here and now?”

Instead of seeing pain as a nuisance, we can pay attention to it, understanding it as a gentle invitation to restoration.

Wiens, Steve. Shining like the Sun (p. 129). Fortress Press. Kindle Edition.

This morning I hurt, physically.

I hurt physically from last night’s fall from bed.

My back again hurts.

And while having an ice pack on my back relieves some of the pain there, my soul moans and says, “Not again!”

Just when a light emerges from the darkness like the morning sun creeps above the horizon because I fell out of bed and hit the dresser, the morning sun struggles to fight through the morning mist.

The hope of a pain free day must embrace the embrace the fog of pain in my back to live!

The most secure place — the bed — became the place for hurt!

So, how does this pain become an invitation to restoration?

 Will the pain in my back be my “thorn in the flesh” to keep me faithful and focused?

While the exercises and a steroid shot offer momentary relief, I now accept the fact that this lower back pain reminds and forces me to be faithful and focused!

Life will be sweet and bitter, a combination of joy and pain — bittersweet.

Move slowly, carefully, intentionally!