The Soil

 

 

Have you ever rustled with the question: How did things get so bad? How did I get here? One day, long ago, I started thinking about the trajectory of the years gone by like a mirage. I caught myself talking to myself, and meditating about the things that had happened to me.  When I did that, I figured I best talk to God while I am talking to myself.

 

 

As I sat on my chair next to my computer, I realized as I review the events of my adult life, that I have suffered quite a bit of disappointments and hardships. I realized all those hardships had changed me, influenced me to become who I am today. Then another thought came to mind: “I wonder when was the moment that I changed.” That moment when my soul just hardened, and became disillusion or numbed?  I was thinking about my past, and how hard my first divorce was; yet I recovered beautifully.  After that, my second separation and divorced happened as I tried to rescue my kids from an abusive relationship, only to find myself alone now with four children struggling to survive without any support. My poverty and lack of support was significant, and it was at this point something in my soul changed. The soil in my soul got bitter. My child-like faith damaged, that hope for the future was no longer there. In a bitter-soil soul, is a ground that the Bible says it can defile many. I always wondered how that happened. As I think about it, I realize that  a bitter-soil soul is the perfect ground to grow hopelessness, cynicism, anger, and unbelief. While all of these things are growing, it makes it easier to grow sin, perhaps a little at first, and slowly you are being a bad influence on others, defiling many. There is that question again: How did I get to this place?

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Another day, in the blast of an atmosphere, with its’ blender of thoughts and things

mixing in. Another day holding on to hope and cheer like a comet that is bound for t

sky. Another day that goes by, blistering, agonizing but holding to it. To hope with it’s

higher standards, and its’ grips. Yes, In the morning, it seems possible, mesmerizing and

almost real. Hope, the lasting goal of all.

It is there, like an unreachable goal. But it is always there in the morning. High and

mighty, attainable. As the day goes by, it seems to be getting out of sight, and then, like a

ghost it vanishes. Fainted whispers to hold on to it grab at you saying: you can do it. it is

there, you can reach it. Into the night when you wonder as every spirit fades away, there

is got to be something- a shadow, a breeze, a wind.

A new morning with its arrivals, brings it back again, blasting new.  A cautious spirit that

refuses to go away. It is still there: never goes away.

 

 

 

 

A False Sense of Security

Intelligence without wisdom is a false net of security because it will fall eventually.Watching people operate at work, a thought occurred to me that would ensure everyone is treated with fairness. “Every job should be done under the umbrella of humanity.”With this I mean, not matter what job people do, it should never be out of the borders of compassion and common sense. The things we trust are like a paper crumpled after the wind comes. If all are taken out, we have nothing but a raw version of ourselves. Usually this happens when tragedy strikes and we lose things we have, but if we think about it, those things aren’t as valuable to lose in comparison to loosing ourselves buried by our things.

The Supernatural

Is it just me, or does life just seems an endless list of chores to complete? I start my morning calling out to God for a supernatural touch. Anything. But nothing seems to come. Today, I started thinking that maybe we live with the supernatural all the time. The fact that we can breathe and walk is a miracle within itself. We just don’t know it because we never stop doing it. It has become something we looked passed to experience new things. We are only aware of it when we stop doing it, and then the entire purpose of life becomes breathing well again. We have so many miracles every day. I can see the beautiful afternoon, and feel the breeze on my face; I can really be aware of it if I just look pass my daily problem or the next chore. We can’t see the miracle of our lives, if we are drowning into our thoughts, and problems. To appreciate how much we have, we can take a step back, and imagine you could not breathe very well, and someone has to take you to the bathroom, because you cannot walk. Your son asks you for your help, but all you can see is his lips moving, because you cannot hear.

Sometimes as a Christian, I remind myself to be thankful, because these are situations people live with every day, and somehow people who have no legs, manage a smile and a positive attitude!

I remember when I had to go to the hospital to stay with one of my sons when he was sick. It was a time when all I could do was wait, and help as much as I could. But it wasn’t Disneyland. I tried to be joyful anyway, while in the hospital, but I couldn’t help but think of how much time I had wasted on the outside, complaining about minor things, when I had my kids healthy, and could come and go as I pleased!

Maybe is not what we don’t have that we need to look at, but what we do have to start enjoying life.

A SIMMERING CULTURE

Have you ever wonder what happened to our society? How did we go from what it seemed a completely different world in the 1930s 40s and 50s to where we are today? Culture changes like a sauce thickens under a boiling fire: slowly and under the right conditions. Trends are important to watch because they contain the ingredients to changing culture.  It is interesting to observe how trends affect the way people do things, and how it will change the way they will do things in the future. Of course some trends will take and others won’t. I am talking about those trends that take into people’s habits.

We are in world in which people read small amounts of information through social media, small articles which actually fit a fast pace society. We want quick nice thoughts and solutions that actually helps us. There is nothing wrong with this, at least people are reading! However we should watch out for diluted and water down information and insight.

In the past, people meditated more over larger amounts of information and insights producing perhaps better results. What happens when we don’t meditate upon what we read? I doesn’t get process. There is something about reading something and let it simmer a while; then we come up with conclusions and solutions which can help our lives. It is similar to when we eat something, and there is a process of digestion which leads to nutrition, when our bodies take it a-part. In the same way, in the world of words, they need to be process by our brains, mind and spirit in order to take advantage of all that they have to offer. When there is no time to mediate, we don’t take apart the good and the bad of what we read, bringing sloppy results, as oppose to going through a process of thinking that leads to taking the good of what we read and discarding the bad, and ending up with great insight to help our lives.

There is something precious that we miss in our world of information in a hurried up society. Now that information is at our fingertips, we can get if fast, however some of its riches might be missing as the nutrients get lost in a microwave meal. We need to go back to a slower process of boiling what we read, even if it takes longer because the taste will be better in the end, and it will leave us more satisfied.

Perseverance

I remember very vividly attending my cousins party when I was a child, and playing a game in which all the children were lined up and had to blow air in through a straw in order to keep a paper from falling at the other end of the straw. The funny thing is you couldn’t see the other kids. You could only see straight ahead while blowing as hard as you could you had to walk back and forth. I walked and walked, and blew and blew. I couldn’t see what was the status of my opponents.

For some reason, I thought everyone had finished the game, and I had lost, so I stopped. To my surprised, I found out there was only one contestant left, other than me. if I would’ve kept going I would have been the winner, but because I stopped the other kid got a huge price, and I lost.

In life we find circumstances just like this one.  We are trying hard, but we can’t see how what we are doing is impacting others or what difference does it make. Sometimes we are doing a good thing, but we stop because we think we are defeated already. I remembered the disappointment I felt when I saw the other girl get that huge colorful building set, that I would’ve died to have. It gets me thinking about how we need to persevere in our Christian walk, and parenting. We can feel discouraged because we don’t see the results or we feel we are all alone. It seems that our journey keeps going in an never ending run around, but in the end there is a huge price waiting for us.

In the spiritual realm, we cannot see what is around us but we are call to persevere ahead. Our Christian walk is very similar to this game because you have to look only ahead to make it. If you stir to the right or to the left you can loose focus and be distracted.

It is a game of focusing primarily, and we can get “out of the road,” if we look either way. Yet it is so easy to look to the left or right. Christ kept his focus by thinking on one thing: “The price ahead of Him.”

FINDING YOUR VOICE

 

 

As I was sitting in a restaurant while waiting for my son to come out of the wrestling match event, in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, I had a lot of time to just look around.  I observed other people across my table, and I thought of the waste of precious quality time couples were allowing by looking at their phone devices while seating across each other. As these couples got up to leave, they looked like they had accomplished a business deal over the phone, and not like they had a good time with each other.  It has been said that these devices have us so engrossed that people are trampling over things because they use it while walking, among other things. Not only is our digital age taking us to the emergency room with preventable injuries, but is taking us away from the ability to connect with one another and one’s self.

I was so busy at one point in my life, managing work and single parenting to four kids, that I lost touch with who I was.  My life consisted in a series of tasks to fulfill every minute of the day, until the day was over.  There was never a time to reflect and relax. The consequence? –When I stopped working and my car broke down, I was forced to just sit and think, and wasn’t sure who I was anymore.  There are so many voices out there, that they can shut out your own.

There are only two voices one must hear to be whole: Your voice and Jesus’ voice. You can’t hear God’s voice unless you quiet your spirit.  I practiced that this morning.  I came to a place where I had to fight the “tyranny of the urgent,” and the “I must get busy, so I feel like I accomplished something today.” I just prayed, read my Bible, and meditated.  Time was going by, however, as I was doing “nothing,” at the end, I felt that I accomplished much.  You see, I looked inside to find what was there.  I found some empty places, which helped me to pray in that direction, I talked to God, asked for his guidance, and wholeness. I waited for an answer; I asked for wholeness again, and God responded.  At the end of that time, I felt ready to do what I was supposed to do, not just busy work, but I went directly to what the Lord was leading me to do.  Sometimes we may think we are gaining time by rushing, but in the end we waste it.

Not only we waste time, but we drown God’s voice and our own.  In the midst of so many voices, in the world which surrounds us, we can lose our own voice. Our voice is that small inner self that tells us who we are, what we like, how do we act, what we believe in.  The world now is a blend of rushing through meaningless activities, and fierce competition with the entire world through the internet.  It is no longer a competition localized to where one lives, no! Now we have to compete with people all over the world who for a cheaper price, can do what you do and perhaps better.”  The busier we are, and the more wired up we are, the less connected we are with ourselves and the world that surrounds us.  Annie Dillard, in her meditation “Presence over Productivity,” wrote:

 “How we spend our days, is of course how we spend our lives; and nowhere do we fail at the art of presence most miserably and most tragically than in urban life-in the city high on the cult of productivity, where we float past each other, past buildings and trees and the little boy in the purple pants, past life itself, cut off from the breathing of the world by iPhone ear buds, and solipsism.”

I am not saying that we have to stop and look at every tree on our path, but we should slow down and “smell the roses,” by doing this we will bring a more harmonious flow, wrapping our activities within our lives, and not our lives unto activities.

It was during the time I stayed home, and I heard silence for a great part of the day, that I got in touch again with who I was according to the truth of God.  The media, and especially “others” tell us who are, and how are we supposed to be.  If we are only drilled that all the time, we tend to lose focus on who we really are, and of our own voice.

The best way to find our own voice is to shut off the others.  Shutting the T.V, internet and phone devices for a while, as well as eliminating  too much busyness, can do wonders to bring balance and clarity to your own voice.  Even Jesus had to do this, and He didn’t have the internet, TV or a smart phone! It is imperative that we find the “solo” moments to look inside, and just think.  Can you imagine Jesus having thousands of followers on Facebook?  I like Facebook, I just don’t think that Jesus is looking for that kind of followers.  In general, whether you follow people or you are being followed on Facebook, Twitter, or other, it just means that you like what that person is saying or selling.  You are not really following that person, and it leaves you disconnected as a human being. With so many people asking to follow them in social media, is it any wonder that we are drowning into so many voices?

We can start by seeing what is around us.  Alexandra Horowitz in her book: “On Looking,” Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes, one of the best psychology books of 2013, explains that the art of “seeing” can be learned. She emphasizes that we have learned to disregard many things in order to concentrate on producing, in our goal-oriented society.

“It asks what is relevant right now, and gears us up to notice only that.  But while this might make us more efficient in our goal-oriented day to day; it also makes us inhabit a largely unlived- and unremembered life, day in and day out.”

I started thinking about how much I had been missing in my life, by living it too fast.  I started looking around my environment.  I looked up my ceiling in my bedroom, and realized that I had never “really looked” at the pretty patterns.  I had been living at my house for almost a year, and I never noticed the pretty engraved flowers and the design that the ceiling in my bedroom had! I knew then, that the reason why I had never “really looked” is because every night when I laid down, and I am “looking at the ceiling,” I had been thinking about something else.  We look at things, and people, but our mind is somewhere else!  We glance at the world, like zombies! We can intentionally choose what we pay attention to, in the pursuit of really living life knowing your voice, and God’s voice leading you.

We can’t shut off the digital age completely, but we can withdraw from it to find what your voice and God’s voice is saying. Making time to be still is essential for finding our own voice and God’s.  Many times our world wrap us up with many “must do activities,” however, if we learn to let go of some things, sit quietly (not thinking about what one must do), and really look at the world that surrounds us; we will find ourselves, and connect with God and others.  We will find that life will be so much more richly lived than we had ever expected.