Just one word. The right word. The ebb and flow of one right word with its syllables, pronunciation, and perfect timing. It drops into a pool of water, and ripples through wave after wave until it returns to you, refreshing and uplifting. Like that of karma, the spiritual principle of cause and effect. Holy scriptures tell us, “Just as rain and snow descend from the skies and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth, doing their work of making things grow and blossom, producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry, so will the words that come out of my mouth not come back empty-handed. They’ll do the work I sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.”
I had an interview today for a half-time position desired with the local library. I am semi-retired. The income from this job I seek will assist with my daughter’s medical needs, treatments not covered by insurance. So, plenty of pressure. After answering their questions, the best I could, the managers asked if I had any questions for them. I hope my three questions were appropriate. An old proverb says, “Whoever speaks a word at an opportune time is like apples of gold on beds of silver.” I am feeling insecure about one question I asked the managers of the local library, whether it was appropriate during this interview. I asked about security at the library. Maybe the timing was not appropriate? I suppose because of my past experiences, this is a concern of mine. A person never quite gets over assault, extra vigilant anywhere she goes, even at the local library. Apparently, somebody else has been concerned about security at the library because I learned they have a security officer stationed there in the afternoons and evenings to deter possible crime.
The ebb and flow of one wrong word is like a boomerang cutting everything it touches. It abruptly comes back to you, can cut you like a knife. Hopefully this is not the case for my question asked at the interview, maybe not the best time and it may have costed my job offer. But wrong words spoken in gossip are a boomerang, cuts the heart and life of the people who hear the gossip, shredding the relationships of the victim as well as the gossipers. It destroys families, friends, and communities. Do not let your words haunt you, hang you, behead you. Choose words wisely. If an apology is necessary, make it right while you have today as there are no guarantees for tomorrow. Let the droplet of a kind word permeate into the souls of those hear it, and the refreshment of that word will return to you wave after wave after wave. The ebb and flow of one right word.
The state that this world and our nation is in is unsettling to say the least. I cannot remember a time in my lifetime where I felt and seen such unrest, differences, disrespect, and disharmony within families, organizations, communities, governments, and countries. Is it because I have lived 59 years now, or is it really that bad in comparison to other eras? In our American history, think of the upheaval that the Civil War caused hundreds of thousands of people’s lives. Our travels to Missouri historical sites and in the South remind my husband and I how far we have come from those years in the 1800’s. Or have we?
There is that song lyric that goes “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me” that keeps playing over and over again in my heart. I find myself humming the words in my mind and out loud these past few days. Mother Teresa explains, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” Holy Scriptures tell us,“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” ~ Romans 12:18. Am I at peace with the world God has placed around me, and myself? Are you at peace with your world, and yourself? Honestly, I am still working on this and in hopes and prayers for a brighter year in 2020.
The ladies group I have been involved with since late spring has been a source of tremendous mutual support. We pray for each other and talk through anything plaguing our minds. Much that we battle with someone else we know has battled with before. Why not talk about it, learn from each other? If trust and confidence is there amongst a community, then there is freedom from stereotypes and judgment. I cannot say that would be the case with any group of women, but it is with this one. Grace abounds.
I headed out the door late this morning, sunhat and eagerness to get to Long Row Lavender where we met for a lunch and walked amongst the lavender field today. Gorgeous September afternoon. We enjoyed a light luncheon of sandwiches, fresh fruit, and tea. Their iced lavender tea was delicious. Two of the ladies have young boys, so it was a party of four women and three boys under the age of 8. On our walk we noticed a couple of varieties of lavender as well as zinnias and sunflowers. The idea is to attract bees, and there were many. The sunflowers drooped loaded with seeds in their heads. Some spilled onto the ground. The children thought this was fascinating.
The parable of scattered seeds came to mind. “A farmer was sowing grain in his fields. As he scattered the seed across the ground, some fell beside a path, and the birds came and ate it. And some fell on rocky soil where there was little depth of earth; the plants sprang up quickly enough in the shallow soil, but the hot sun soon scorched them and they withered and died, for they had so little root. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns choked out the tender blades. But some fell on good soil and produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as he had planted. If you have ears, listen!” ~ Matthew 13: 3- 9. What seeds am I sowing? Have I prepared my soil to be good? Am I watered in the Word of God and feeding my soul with His goodness? Today was a wonderful day, soaking in His creation and the blessing of friends.
Emotions and the mind do funny things sometimes. Emotions can see-saw like the playground equipment, up-down, up-down. Sometimes the mind plays its own games. Truths and lies come into the mind, and I remind myself what is the truth. And people play games, too. But to know the difference requires discernment. I ask God for that discernment and wisdom. And my trust, my anchor, my foundation is in Him and His Word.
I am reading the book The Daniel Plan, and the chapter on “Focus” resonates so profoundly. Taking care of the body and the mind is essential to going older gracefully. A healthy body and sound mind equals good mental health. Fill your mind with good seeds. Then let your practice of those good thoughts bring harmony to yourself and those God has placed in your life. Bloom where you are planted.
Philippians 4:8-9 The Message (MSG)
“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.”
I watch the snowflakes flutter softly from the gray clouds while the deceptive sun rays warm through the window. It is very cold outside this January Sunday. The way the song birds are feeding this afternoon, the flakes will grow in size, and accumulate to become a white cover. I suspect to see a pure white landscape by early morning. I love snow, the subtle uniqueness of each snowflake in contrast to the energy and excitement it generates. Our 13-year old Labrador prances in this white fluff, old bones and all.
Snow also reminds me of what Jesus has done with my sin, and yours. Isaiah 1:18 says “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…” and the Psalms tell me “… wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” There has to be a time to recognize sin for what it is, in order to be washed whiter than snow. Anger that is out of control is sin. Jealousy towards those seemingly more favored with a relationship, talent or possessions, unforgiveness towards another, disbelief in God’s promises, sex thoughts that linger beyond the marriage vow, impatience with the simple-minded, and using food, alcohol, uppers, downers, or whatever rather than listening and obeying God’s Word is sin. Anything that separates us from God is sin. Exam oneself. Take the time now … Today am I right with my God and His people?
Those gaps in life, my shortcomings and downfalls are bridged with Jesus. I can pray to God with confidence because of Jesus. Jesus, God’s Son is the only example of the life without sin. And the Gospel message “He who is without sin cast the first stone”, Jesus scolded the crowd surrounding a “sinful woman”. Jesus could have cast the stone, but He did not and does not. He chose to love. Have you been that woman feeling the stones hit with the gossip, rumors, lies, judgement, abandonment, assaults, or disassociation? Or are you the one throwing the self-righteous stone? For each, Jesus is there to make you “whiter than snow.” The saying “pure religion is love in action,” reminds me to smile at all people who cross my path no matter if they smile back, be faithful to the faithless, give without expecting in return. Be the one that goes beyond the dirt and finds the gold inside the unlovable. Be Jesus’ hands and heart to those placed in your life.
“There are two ways of spreading the light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it,” author Edith Wharton is quoted. Edith began to write poems, short stories, and novels as a child in the latter 1800’s. Her first published novel would not be until she reached age 40, as it was not acceptable for a societal woman to be active in writing during this era. Edith’s life reflected her love for humanity during the first World War, brave efforts made for her French friends. Days and years, maybe a dimly lit wick, but she persevered in those humane and writing works. Edith Wharton’s influence is seen in literature and the arts today, and she has been gone from earth since 1937.
“He will not break a broken branch or put out a little fire. He will be faithful to make everything fair,” the Bible verse encourages us in Isaiah 42:3. In today’s world when life seems totally unfair, there is this promise from the Old Testament. Do not put out your own light by living like life is unfair, slanted, short-changed. Stop the envious comparisons to your family member, curtail the jealous plans to out beautify or own more than the Jones, and live your life at peace with yourself , neighbor, and God. Be secure in God. Be thankful. “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine …” Be that candle, and reflect God’s love for you as a mirror to the community you have been placed in.