Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Hope for Tomorrow

Look to this day!
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course
Lie all the verities and realities of your existence.
The bliss of growth,
The glory of action,
The splendour of achievement
Are but experiences of time.
For yesterday is but a dream
And tomorrow is only a vision;
And today well-lived, makes
yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well therefore to this day;
Such is the salutation to the ever-new dawn!

A student brought this poem to me yesterday because she thought it was beautiful and she wanted to give me some encouragement (I really do have a pretty amazing job, for all of my grumblings) as I make life decisions and struggle making them. I'm not doing well with life right now. I want to pull my head under the blankets and avoid all decision-making necessities. Do I go to grad school? Do I stay at my job? Is this what I want to do long term? Is it a reality that I may never get married and have a family of my own? Can I find a way to be at peace with God about that reality, because I certainly don't want to be at peace with it? Do I pick up my life and move to Texas or stay in Portland? I mean, my family and friends are here. I feel comfortable and safe here but I'm not happy here, nothing feels like it's working. I'm not doing my job as well as I could be. I'm not living my life the way I should be. I'm disappointed in myself.

I was having dinner at a friend's house last night and we were watching an Oprah from a couple of weeks ago when they were discussing "The Secret". One thing that I took away to ask myself is if I feel like I truly deserve to be happy, to have the things in life that I want, deserve to be treated well (including treating myself well) and whether or not I deserve to be loved (including loving myself). These are important questions to ask. I can't say that my answer to these questions is yes. Here is my problem. I'm not convinced that I deserve these things. I mean if I respond quickly (and with the right answer) I would say yes but if I reflect and take time to think about it I can't say yes to these questions. I haven't been treating myself very well. I have not taken time to give thanks to God for all of the blessings that he has given me. In my selfishness, I have looked mainly at my flaws and misfortunes, which compared to most people in the world, my misfortunes are laughable. A lot of what the teachers of "The Secret" was more new agey than I am interested in but the principles got me thinking about how I treat myself and made me think about the things that God wants us to get about ourselves. One of the teachers said that Jesus taught that the "Kingdom of God is within us" which gives us the power to live a full life. Now, I don't remember reading that anywhere but I get the idea. I mean technically, the kingdom is within us because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We have the power of change because we have God within us. He gives us the power. I am praying for a miracle and a change in my thinking. I need to be made over and renew my spirit. I'm tired of being tired. I've been working on my physical health and I thought taking these steps would help (and I think they have) but there is another piece to the puzzle that is missing. My spiritual health is weak at best and I can't continue functioning this way.

I covet your prayers. We all deserve the best life that we've been promised through Christ. Why am I not claiming this as mine too? I want others to claim it yet I forget to claim it daily for myself. This isn't how I was made to live.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Dr. Maya Angelou - In the Flesh

I had the pleasure of seeing, hearing, absorbing Dr. Maya Angelou last week with my friend Laketa (thanks to mom and dad for my Christmas present)! All I can say is that she is amazing and her two hours of speaking felt like 5 minutes (So I felt like I was shorted but I know she really did speak for two hours).

Dr. Angelou challenged us to think of the influence we each have. She suggested that our influence may be greater than we will ever realize. She told stories about her uncle who was crippled in a small town in Arkansas and his influence was felt across generations and in powerful places. She said that she runs into people, like the Mayor of Little Rock, or the State Senator who have been touched by the life of this man who would have never imagined this as a part of his story. We sell ourselves short too often. We need to have the courage to imagine the possibilities. Dr. Angelou challenged us to practice the virtue of courage because without courage, you cannot consistently practice any of the other virtues.

Good stuff...

The most fun part of the evening was going to the Heathman Hotel for coffee and dessert after and having Dr. Maya Angelou come in for dinner!!! Laketa tried to figure out a way to meet her. We are still arguing about this part of the evening because she got all crazy and weird. She says she would have been totally appropriate. I wanted us to leave her alone (because she shared stories about how she has had to stop traveling by airplane and train because people get all weird and start freaking out and poking her, etc). I thought Laketa was headed down that path. It was fun to see her in person up close, though. I am thankful that Laketa didn't orchestrate a "chance meeting".

Monday, February 12, 2007

Upcoming Interfaith Services

I have had a couple of requests to post the upcoming interfaith services after my last post on the prayer service for peace.


Sunday, February 18th 4:00-5:30pm
Topic: How Do We as People of Faith Protect Our Earth for Future Generations?
Location: Soka Gakkai International, 1895 SE Ankeny, Portland


Sunday, March 18th 4:00-5:30pm
Topic: How Do People of Faith Help Bring Peace to this World?
Location: First Unitarian Church, 1011 SW 12th, Portland


Sunday, April 15th 4:00-5:30pm
Topic: How Do We as People of Faith Support Religious Tolerance?
Location: Congregation Neveh Shalom, 2900 Peaceful Lane, Portland


Sunday, May 20th 4:00-6:00pm
Topic: How Do We as People of Faith Support Families?
Location: Muslim Education Trust, 10300 SW Scholls Ferry Rd, Tigard