Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Don't Worry 'Bout It


And so we begin week five of Lent. Our minister in church this past Sunday related the old testament story of Ezekiel and the valley of the dry bones (Ezekiel 37:1-14, if you want to read this interesting story). He also read the passage from John 11, in which Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. He invited us to read these fantastic stories as-is, if we desire. But he encouraged us to not get lost in the plausibility, but look for the deeper meaning-- the one in which God makes us new, breathing his very life into us.

I'm taking a little impromptu trip to visit my mom this week in Pittsburgh. I spoke with her several weeks ago; she was feeling blue. She hasn't been feeling well and a good friend of hers, a 91-year-old man, has been diagnosed with cancer. At 91, there's really no viable treatment for him. She turns 81 on Friday, and it seemed to me a little birthday cheer was in order, so I called her and said I was flying out for her birthday. Her happy response was all I needed to hear to make the last-minute plans and arrangements worth the effort. 

At 81 every pain and illness brings questions of mortality to her mind. I try to imagine her mindset, what it's like to know that life ahead of her is limited. Of course, the truth is, it's limited for all of us and none of us knows how much longer we have. Last week, a missing student from the college where my husband works was found, passed away, in his car. He was just in his early 20s. 

I don't mean to be a downer here. In fact, hang with me, I'm bringing this to a broader point. 

The Buddhists place a lot of emphasis on living in the awareness of the moment, to cease the stories we create about our experiences and just be in the moment; be aware. Too often our minds race ahead to what is going to (or might) happen next or create content about what is happening now. The stories, rather than the fact of the moment, becomes our truth. It deprives us of peace. Jesus tells us not to worry about what we're going to eat or drink or our clothing or what will happen tomorrow. Tomorrow has enough of its own worries. In other words, find peace and joy in this very moment. Let tomorrow take care of itself, and Lord willing, it will. 

This was the very message I needed to hear this week. In the midst of self-esteem issues beating me up, the plans of traveling to Pittsburgh, my mom's health, my daughter's upcoming graduation, my son moving on in his life, all I really need to do is let God breathe life in me. Today. This moment.




32 comments:

  1. Amen, Julie --- the life that the Lord Himself gave to us in absolute abundance!!! Have a wonderful visit with your mom. It's going to be a special day!

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    1. Thanks for the good wishes. I'm enjoying hanging out with her (and it's a bit warmer here too!)

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  2. It is important to just breathe...I find recognizing all the amazing blessings He gives me helps to live in the moments. Recognizing them and returning thanks allows me to live! Have a wonderful trip visiting your mom. I'm sure it is much needed mama/daughter time.

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  3. Good thoughts for sharing this morning. Thank you.

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  4. so sweet of you to spend your mom's birthday with her! She's definitely going to need some cheering up. :) Safe travels and happy visit!

    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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    1. Thanks Nutschell-- we're enjoying each other's company

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  5. Great thoughts. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. may your moment, and the next, and next...be grand

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    1. Helps with the "be in the moment" to be outside, don't you think?

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  7. As I get older, I think about mortality more....but like you I realize that it's not necessarily aging that we have to worry about. Anything can happen on any day. But today is good, and that's a blessing.

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    1. Yes-- and that's exactly the focus I try to maintain.

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  8. Nice mix of Christian and Buddhist philosophy. You sound like a truly wise woman:) I just gave up sweets for Lent, perhaps more for health than religious purposes;)

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    1. Oh Mark, far far from wise. I'm usually searching. I've tried to give up sugar-based foods as well. I've been more or less successful.

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  9. This was a message I needed to hear also. I'm looking forward to Easter, being in church with my family, and giving all the work some real rest. Glad you're also doing well. That was very sweet of you to fly out and see your mother for her birthday. Congrats on your daughter's graduation and your son's independence! So much to celebrate. I wish you all well! :)

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    1. I'm enjoying my time with Mom and my brother and his wife came out, so that's made it a very celebratory visit. Yes, so many wonderful things going on.

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  10. Oh Julie… I love your perspective on life. You've got it together. Good luck with your travels. Huge hugs. <3

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  11. "Julie Luek" has been included in the A Sunday Drive for this week. Be assured that I hope this helps to point even more new visitors in your direction.

    http://asthecrackerheadcrumbles.blogspot.com/2014/04/a-sunday-drive_13.html

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  13. I'm glad that your visit with your mom is going well, and that other family members are also with you. I'm sure that your presence is the best birthday present she could ask for. Your mom is lucky to have you!

    Julie

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    1. We've had a very nice visit, Julie. Thank you.

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  14. Julie, have a wonderful visit with your mom! That definitely sounds like the best birthday gift she could receive....a visit from her dear daughter! (P.S. I was in Pittsburgh a few years ago, for only a couple of days, but I loved all the bridges and the area we visited around the universities!)

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    1. It's been a very nice visit. My brother and his sweet wife were able to come by too, which made it all the more special. I LOVE Pittsburgh-- it's probably my favorite US city.

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  15. I may not be Christian - but the message crosses all lines. Yes, sometimes we have to stop looking forward and look at the here and now. I forget often, my friend, you aren't alone. Then ... something tiny happens ... and I remember to savor the time I'm living ...

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    1. I'm glad it spoke to you too, Tonya. That's been my intention. Even though Christianity is my framework, I think the things I think about aren't confined to that paradigm.

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  16. Let tomorrow take care of itself. That's something I need to remember. I tend to worry.

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    1. Yes, that's a good way of putting it!

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  17. Like that thought by the Budhists. Think and be aware of the present.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by. Yes, there are many good thoughts in that religion!

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