Saturday, October 4, 2008

Looking and listening

I was reading an entry in The Life of Meaning recently. It was by a pastor who, at times, has had doubts in faith, but has always come back. He reports that in such times, he looks around and listens carefully. There is a lot of bad stuff out in the world.

Then another pastor, pastor Joe Holub, writes "Progressive Christianity often uses the term panentheism – that is the belief that everything in creation is in God. God is not a separate being living “out there” or “up there” beyond the circle of the sky, but God is all around. We and all creation are in God. As we relate to the world and the people around us, we relate to God. Respecting creation and people is to respect God. Exploiting creation and people is to exploit God. To experience God you need not begin looking any further than into the face of your neighbor, and if Matthew 25 means anything at all, the face of your neighbor that is suffering."

So I've been trying to look and listen lately, since so much of my life has seemed in turmoil. My mom has breast cancer--the outlook is good, but yet knowing she will have to go through chemo is not that fun. So that has been hard. And I think, what about the people who do not have health insurance at all, and don't have preventive screenings, and so would get caught at a point way past that where my mom is now. And I think of me, me, me. Am I allowed to do that, because it makes me feel guilty? I've struggled with a roller coaster of emotions, and this has affected my MS--stress just does that. Today my legs decided I needed to sit on the floor of the shower to shower--ok... And overall I've felt exhausted and completely distracted.

So I look around and listen. Communities are out there. They do not solve everything and they overlap. My mom has tons of friends--I never realized that--and they hav brought her meals, called her, etc. In a different world, I've been one of the ones organizing a disability awareness dinner and that will bring people from the general disability together to connect. At work, my boss tells me that I will go through emotions of anger, grief, and anything I can imagine. Church has its own community, and communities within that community, and those are supposed to reach out to a larger community. So I listen and that's what I see now--communities out there to help each other. That seems to fall in line with God being everywhere.

Before I read the entry in that book, I was doing my daughter Lori's laundry. I had it in her room and was folding her things. Suddenly, I did become both mad and sad in the same instance, crying and thinking that this isn't supposed to happen. We had a good system going. How could it all be thrown out of wack now? But God is all around--in comunities everywhere. I believe that I will still look and listen, as these communities serve to help society. And I hope to feel the presence of God someday soon.

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