Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Here and Now

photo from Shutterstock

In the next six months, Dick and I will both celebrate a major milestone in life—turning 65! Lately, our conversations center around both the future and the past. Words like retirement and remember, Medicare and Minister’s Life (an insurance company we once were under that covered medical costs 100%!!!), prepare and previously, until and used-to-be, intertwine.

On SacredSpace.ie I recently read an excerpt from Jesuits Telling Jokes by Nikolaas Sintobin, SJ that seems divinely apropos to Dick’s and my current lines of thinking. Here are my excerpts from their excerpt. :D

“Toward the end of his life, St. Ignatius of Loyola wrote that the thought of his own death, when he would be reunited with his Creator and Lord, brought him such intense joy it made him ‘melt into tears.’ At the same time, Ignatius was in love with life. He could find God in all things and serve him in every activity and event. There was no need to wait until after death to taste the joy of God’s presence.

St. Ignatius of Loyola warned against two possible pitfalls in one’s spiritual life: nostalgia for the past and needless dreaming about the future.

Reflecting back on specific moments of God’s presence—moments when we experienced peace and joy, vitality and trust, gives us the opportunity to adapt our lives now so that they’re more closely linked to the ways God has previously drawn us. But we can also get stuck in our own past and end up watching the same “film” over and over, effectively withdrawing from the only time that really exists — the present.

Likewise, Ignatius warned that we must not to let the future distract us from the great challenge that every person faces of living fully in the present moment, in the now. [While it is good to plan for and envision upcoming years,] we can be tempted to spend needless time day-dreaming [perhaps worrying] about a not-yet-existing future at the expense of real life.” We can miss the presence of God abundant today.

By seeking and finding God in all things, in each moment, we can consider our lives here and now as the precise place where we can already experience the fullness of God’s love—no need to cling to the past or wait for the future.  After all, “This is the day which the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!” Psalm 118:24

Lord, thank you for your sustaining presence in the past and for the promise of your constant companionship in the future. May I concentrate on fully recognizing you in today, and draw in all the goodness and love you offer in the present. Through Jesus our Lord, Amen.

May you, like me, be encouraged!
Pam

©2017 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Basking in Love

Watson
photo by Pam Williams

The Lord will take delight in you,
and in His love He will give you new life.
He will sing and be joyful over you.
Zephaniah 3:17b

As I sat with my tea and Bible, our cat Watson climbed up on my lap. He laid his paws on my arm, and butted his head under my chin. Hugging him close, I rubbed his furry forehead, murmuring my love. He purred his contentment. Snuggling in closer, he maneuvered himself so I could love on him more. It was a mutually delightful time.

As I pondered these precious moments, God whispered a thunderbolt of truth: That’s just a tiny measure of how much I love you, how much I want to be with you, how much I want to hold and treasure you.

What an awesome experience is ours for the taking! When we set aside the time to snuggle into God’s presence and lean into His love, we nurture a close relationship with the God of the Universe. Sacrificing a few moments of sleep, postponing a must-do task, and putting aside pesky distractions, we can close our eyes, take a few centering breaths, and allow our souls to connect with our Heavenly Father. We can open the Bible and bask in God’s whispers of love. And to think, God enjoys these moments even more than we do!

PRAYER: Thank you, Lord, for wanting to be close to me. Help me to take the time today to draw near to You. Amen.

Be encouraged!
Pam

©2017 Pamela D. Williams

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Downsizing

photo courtesy of BostonGlobe.com

Downsizing sixty years of accumulated “stuff” is challenging. This past week my siblings and I helped our mom move from seven + rooms in the home where she has lived since 1959 to a three-room apartment. It was the right decision, but it wasn’t easy.

While pictures, knick-knacks, kitchenware, and fabric appear on the surface to just be “stuff”, the memories associated with these material items evoke strong emotions just by handling them. Needless to say, sorting through it all is exhausting on more than just a physical level.

How do you leave behind the old glass bottles you and your sister had so much fun digging up from abandoned dumps forty years ago? Which of four water pitchers, each one with an interesting story, do you choose to keep? Where do you put all those holiday decorations, most of which were fashioned by children and grandchildren, when storage space is at a premium?

Through it all, my mom has been a trooper. She has made the tough decisions, sometimes with her hands on her hips in opposition to a roomful of family with other ideas. She has moved what she considers essential and maximized the limited space available in her new digs. I am very proud of her. She has juggled her options and done it all without alienating anyone—and without a trip to the ER. 😊

I hope when I am her age and faced with radical changes I will show the same courage, wisdom, fortitude, and grace. Your prayers for my mom as she continues to adjust, are greatly appreciated.

photo by Pam Williams


Be encouraged!
Pam

©2017 Pamela D. Williams