The clock just struck midnight, and it is now officially the last day of 2017. In the past, I took the last days of the year to meditate and think about the future directions. This year, however, I’m doing something different. I’ve been thinking about what I’ve learned and how I’ve changed in the last twelve months.
Do you struggle with knowing what and how to pray in the midst of differing cultural values and world views? Sometimes, the shortest prayer is the most effective prayer.
I admit, I have a love / hate relationship with social media. I refresh my FB feeds constantly. I’m drawn to the latest top search items, the latest “trending” topics. Boy, it is not good for my emotional well being.
This morning, I found myself at that place again – feeling emotionally overwhelmed, and confused with so many conflicting thoughts shouting through my head. I wanted to… needed to pray and release some of that inner tension. In the midst of the chaos, all I could say was “Yes, Lord.”
Yes, Lord. We say yes.
Yes, Lord. We agree with You.
Yes, Lord. You alone are good and just.
Yes, Lord. You alone are righteous and kind.
We agree with You.
I agree with You.
Last week was the fall equinox, which marked the beginning of the fall season. The afternoon sun already started to take on an orange glow. I lived in the Pacific Northwest for a few years, and the seasonal changes there are especially prominent. As soon as October hits, all of the leaves turned into shades of red and started to fall. There and then I understood why the fall season was aptly named “fall.” The aroma of apple cider and cinnamon filled the air. Pumpkins appeared on every porch. I loved how the seasons were so clearly defined. It gave me a clear message that summer was over. It’s time to enjoy the apple harvest and get ready for winter.
Similarly, we also have seasons in our spiritual lives. There are “spring” seasons where new relationships and opportunities blossom. There are “winter” seasons where all outward growths seem to stop. However, even though we are very familiar with seasonal changes in the natural, most of us are not aware of how to adapt to the seasonal changes in the spiritual.
Recently, a relative passed away. He lived a long life, over 100 years old. Yet, when I went to his service, it still felt bittersweet. He wasn’t a close relative. Nevertheless, there’s something about a person’s passing that is sobering since it heightens one’s sense of mortality. Perhaps I knew the family too well, I ended up paying very close attention to my grieving friends more than the service itself. The dead was at peace, but the living was not.
There has been a flurry of discussions about femininity lately. Whether we realize it or not, we all deal with many cultural and social opinions on how we should behave as women. Growing up as a first generation immigrant in the San Francisco Bay Area, I was bombarded with conflicting expectations from all sides. East vs. West. Traditional vs. Modern. I felt like an “in-between” person in many ways, not quite belonging to any group. What does this mean for me as a woman? I felt confused and frustrated.
Well, I thought I can avoid burnout by praying with crafted prayers. I was wrong. Continue reading
We’re on the cusp of 2017. The changeover times have always been special. They are something akin to the “thin places.” Whether it’s the midnight hours or new year’s eve, there’s something about those moments that invites insight. On this last evening of 2016, for some reason, I’m in a nostalgic mood. Suddenly, I’m finding mementos of old friendships, and prayers and thoughts I’ve written down for friends in the past. Lord, what are you trying to show me?