A Somewhat Incoherent and Rushed Amount of Thoughts on a Trip to a Stunningly Beautiful Part of the World

A Somewhat Incoherent and Rushed Amount of Thoughts on a Trip to a Stunningly Beautiful Part of the World

By Jane Tawel

May 3, 2022

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Here are some random thoughts on a recent trip I was privileged to take with my husband to Bryce and Zion National Parks in Utah, U.S.A. This was our second trip there and if you have never gotten to go, well, find a way. Go. Now if possible. Our trip was a celebration of my husband’s birthday, but it also turned out to be a retreat for our marriage and relationship, and a spiritual adventure for our souls.

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If you have never quite been able to believe in a Creator-Being, some call “God”, then you just might after visiting Bryce Canyon. And if you need to find solace, inspiration, and joy in putting one foot in front of the other, both literally and figuratively, then head to this area of amazing and incredible natural and glorious wonder. And if you want to learn about both the incredible creative Spirit that shapes towering red glowing rock formations and vast purple and yellow canyons, but that also shapes each human heart and lives within each human open to Spirit and Truth, a Quixotic and Incomprehensibly Wise Creative-Father that also shapes men and women into creative sources as well, then go to Bryce and Zion. You can just “be” there, which is the best, but you can also hear and read about the miracles of creation, both divine and human, that make this place a continual, evolving, and ancient as earth and native peoples – a story of glory and grace, determination and awesomeness, and practicality and natural magic.

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After a week of hikes and picnics, rest and play, Raoul and I drove the long day’s drive home and talked about our “take-aways”. Here are some of mine, in no particular order.

  • Sometimes you have to rest from trying to learn, in order to learn. Sometimes you have to play to let the hard work of relationship grow into something fruitful. And sometimes, you have to stop thinking, in order to understand – to understand others, to understand the Mystery many of us seek and call God, and to definitely, at times, understand oneself.
  • Forgiveness of others is hard, and forgiveness of oneself is even harder. The difficulty is why many of us never try to forgive and many of us never do it particularly well. True forgiveness means the annihilation of past judgments and the desire to avoid any future judgment.
  • Acceptance does not mean condoning, but it is better to remain silent about not condoning actions and let your voice speak loudly and lovingly of your acceptance of the person. It would be good to try each day to do this with myself. “Hello, dear Jane. I do not condone the fact you over-ate yesterday, nor do I condone the fact that you gossiped about that workmate or had that negative thought about that loved one. I do however, lovingly accept you – slightly chubbier, a little bit anxious and worried you – and I love that you are still seeking and going to try to do better today. I forgive you, Myself. I accept you myself. Jane ole Pal, Go out there and love!

  • There aren’t really any good words to describe Nature’s beauty. But I am so happy that people just have to keep trying to describe it anyway. There were a couple times I slightly embarrassed Raoul by bursting into the verses from the old hymn, “For the Beauty of the Earth.”  I sing this to myself some nights when I feel anxious about my kids, or the world, or myself. I sing it sometimes when I can to stop myself from cursing other reckless and naughty drivers on side streets and freeways. I sing it to myself sometimes when I feel God moved off far-away too long ago, and I keep wondering when She will return to save the planet and the people in Ukraine and all the angry people in America. But…. There was something about singing it to Raoul and me and the red rocks, and the impossibly- surviving trees hanging on cliffs, and the chipmunks that find enough food each day to scamper along the dusty trails, and the American antelopes, that aren’t antelopes at all but a unique deer-like creature that has had its own completely unique DNA since God said, “Let there be!” – and it all came into being. Which brings me to this:
  • It is good to be “becoming”. If even rocks are still changing under the glory weight of a God Who Is, then so can we be “becoming”. So am I still becoming. It is good to be alive and as long as there are rocks standing in Bryce Canyon and waters flowing in Zion, there is not only hope for our planet, there is hope for you and me.
  • Surely the Psalmist was right, when she wrote, “For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling place.” But it is good to tell oneself when returning to the ugliness of a city street or the boredom of a 9-5 job or the angst of a world gone headline-mad, or the fears for a child or loved one, that God also lives in us:

So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. (I John 4:16-19) 

  • I couldn’t stop looking at what the world and nature– from the large towering impossibly colored rocks to the small, delicate flowering plants –what all reveal about a Mind, a Spirit that is beyond my comprehension and yet Who somehow created a planet that is not only perfect for life, but perfect for exploration and awe-inspiring and wonder. The Psalmist also wrote these lines that kept zinging through my head while in Utah:

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. …

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Dear fellow travelers: Today may be a day when like I, you get up and do the same old thing and feel the same old way– if not even a little achier or crankier or scared-er. And beauty may seem long past or remembered as a dream that you can’t quite bring to mind any more. Some days, or many days or most days –hope may seem to have hit a years’ long drought in the living waters department and God, well, He might truly be hiding out in places like Bryce or Zion because He doesn’t always seem to be on our speed dial any more. I know if I were God, right about now, I’d be taking a centuries long retreat to Zion and waiting to see if old Jane or the rest of the folks on the planet decide to stop warring and waging war and causing mayhem or just creating irritation in people they say they love. 

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And so perhaps the best thing to do is to realize – if you are reading this – you still have the miracle of your eyes, along with the miracle of your hands and thinking brain – “Look, See, for the Lord is Good to have given you eyes that can see and hands that can work and a brain that can remember and envision something new to create today, even if it is just to create a perfect cup of tea.

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Breathe deeply and mindfully, some might say that is all prayer is, and then realize today is yours to live as you choose. Choose now. Choose joy. Choose love.

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Finally, no matter where you are, there is a dandelion growing in a sidewalk crack to remind you that the Earth is full of life and hope and beauty. And as long as you can see a wish-flower or hear a bird or taste a drop of honey or smell the morning air or touch your very own hand to your face, then you can trust that God is good and you are good to go.

And as long as people keep trying to create word-pictures that express the beauty of God’s creation and the beauty of God’s love, and the beauty of an hour more to live, and the beauty of our love for each other – well –then no matter where I am, or where my day will take me, or how simplistic and ineffectual my words may be, then I can have the teensiest taste of hope and glory and trust that “God is on Her throne and all will be well with Her World.” 

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For the beauty of the earth,
for the glory of the skies,
for the love which from our birth
over and around us lies;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

2. For the beauty of each hour
of the day and of the night,
hill and vale, and tree and flower,
sun and moon, and stars of light;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

3. For the joy of ear and eye,
for the heart and mind’s delight,
for the mystic harmony,
linking sense to sound and sight;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

4. For the joy of human love,
brother, sister, parent, child,
friends on earth and friends above,
for all gentle thoughts and mild;
Lord of all, to thee we raise
this our hymn of grateful praise.

By Folliot S. Pierpont, 1835-1917

© Jane Tawel, 2022

Hope is the Thing with Tethers

Featherless biped-2” by rudygarns is marked with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

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Hope is the Thing with Tethers

By Jane Tawel

April 12, 2022

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And I realized I had no more hope, if indeed I had ever had any hope at all. And I realized that all my hope had been in me; in the holy trinity of Me, Myself, and I; and in my ability to convince God – to control God –with what I erroneously called “prayer”.  And hope fled like a frightened frail thing with no feathers. And reading newspapers and being aware of all the deaths we die, as we die in body or die in spirit or die from lack of meaning, made me want to live. To live! More than ever. But how can I – I who have spent a lifetime seeking God, claiming faith, working towards loving and being loved – how can I live without the third leg of the tripod that holds up the world? I could find the leg of the tripod called faith; it was rather wobbly but propped up. Love was throbbing in my heart and, oh it was better by the crucibles, a stronger steel,ever more trued and pure, but what good is my love without hope in The Love? What an ultimately weak  limb of our humanness is what we call our “love”. The Triune Tripod meant to remain forever as true Truth, as Who God is, and What Reality is – Faith, Hope, and Love – a cord of three strands that could not be broken could be seen for the poor frayed and burnt and weak two stringy strands it was in me. Without Hope, Faith was a sham; without Hope, Love was self-satisfaction, not Divine Intervention. I looked at any hope I had ever thought that I had held, and found it a wing-less bird, a dodo, extinct; hope was the thing that would never rise to fly, buried in the ground, resurrectionless.

*

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Hope is the thing with tethers,

that lurks around the soul,

and seeks to bind, with tuneless words,

all lies to truth’s death-roll.

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It cheated in the nails He bore,

and by the cross He wore,

by hope’s abashed implausible

of life forever more.

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I hear no notes of hopeful song,

in all the world’s great wrongs.

The land is stranger every day,

and oceans warm and chill,

and faith and love are left to scream

while hope remains dead still.

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Perhaps, that’s how hope first appears,

to those, like I, who cannot hear?

Perhaps the Silence is the awe,

And that’s all hope is …..

somehow….

God.

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Oh, faith is trembling legs that walk,

through brambled narrow roads.

And love’s our chirping heart’s desire,

that gives our world a song.

But hope though naked, barren, void,

is  what we beings are,

it is the wind beneath all wings,

and when night ends, it is the Morning Star.

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I’m just a silly little bird,

and featherless alone.

It is a God of hope I seek,

a hope, that will lead home.

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Yes–

 hope’s the thing with feathers,

that perches in the soul,

and sings the tune without the words,

and never stops at all.

*

© Jane Tawel, 2022  (With eternal gratitude and admiration for the poetry of Emily Dickinson)

No More — And Yet…

By Jane Tawel

https://unsplash.com/photos/qi8LhjI8-nE

No More — And Yet…

By Jane Tawel

February 25, 2021

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There are no pictures any more

and yet we long to be seen.

We live inside our own closed doors,

and silently rage against the routine.

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There are no words we want to share

and work is just a grind.

And even those for whom we care

just often slip our minds.

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The lives of grey inanities

are revelatory — true.

We miss our shared humanity

and hopeful, bright worldview.

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The days go ever on and on

just one day like the other.

We long for plans to bank upon

and health that’s been recovered.

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But I have found in all of this

both listlessness and sorrow,

that I have changed my own wish-list

for better days tomorrow.

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I’ve learned to care more for my kin

and even those I don’t know.

I’ve found a greater love within

and hope that Love will grow and grow.

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I’m not encouraging deceit

on just how bad it’s been.

But neither is it utter defeat;

I think there’ve been some wins.

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So maybe take some time today

to focus on the “shoulds”,

of how to live in better ways,

to love and do more good.

*

For even while we’re stuck and scared

and feeling like we just don’t care,

as long as we have one last breath

we live in hope of fighting death.

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If I lose sight of The Sublime

I die inside, before my time.

So though imprisonment’s annoying,

Today I’ll choose to do some “joying”.

I’ll count the “no mores” with some regret,

Then cling like crazy to the “yet”!

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No more — and yet…. . . . . .

I have loved and been loved.

I have sung and danced.

I have listened and been heard.

I have won and lost and learned from both.

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I am hopeful in a new day.

I choose to look for joy in small things.

I fan the flames of faith to believe there is One Who cares for us.

I breathe out and in and feel the warmth of the blood that flows through me.

My heart still beats as evidence that life is anticipatory.

There are those whom I long to be with and those whom I hope to know better.

Wisdom and knowledge are waiting for me to discover them.

Goodness lives beyond place and time and Love is forever alive in the Universe.

This tiny taste, this small sound, this faint feeling, this sweet smell — 

are each and all worthy of my honored attention.

Taste and know that life is delicious.

And while I can still see anything, I can imagine everything.

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Friend, hope is here for the taking. No matter how dark it may feel, take hope in your hands today and make something — even something very small — but make something beautiful to light your way.

© Jane Tawel 2021

Be the Hope

by Jane Tawel

December 11, 2020

Some days it is hard to keep hope alive. That’s the best time to look for the miracles — especially the small ones. Today we celebrate the miracle of unlikely provisions; the miracle of light in darkness; the miracle of hope for the helpless even in the face of evil abuses of power.

Be the Light.

Be the Hope.

Happy Hanukkah!

Those who follow in The Way will always come out on the side of Good and live to celebrate salvation.

(c) Jane Tawel

Hope is Waiting

Hope is Waiting

By Jane Tawel

October 5, 2020

I needed reminding today that Hope is a gift. All I need to do is hold out my hands and accept it. But I must risk holding out my hand. I must for one moment forget, how many times that hand has been slapped away by disappointment, fear, anger, or pride. Only by forgetting the past moment, can I welcome this new moment of hope. I must remember that I cannot hold onto hope if my fists are closed or my hands are full of selfishness, greed, or vanity. I must remember how lovely it is to hold things lightly enough in one’s hands so that they can be filled with hope. Hope is a gift, but I must open myself up to accept it.

Hope is a gift, but I must listen for it, tune my heart to its sweetness. I must watch patiently for Hope to alight. I must keep my hands open for hope to remain. The minute I try to imprison hope, it will flee from me. Above all, I have to remember that there is plenty of hope to go around. Hope is strongest when it is shared.

Today, I was reminded of the long arc of hope by these artists and writers. I am thankful to them and history, both mine and the world’s, for reminding me that Hope is “the thing that perches in the soul, singing the tune without the words, never stopping at all”. Hope patiently waits for us to remember that it is powerful but meek, self-contained but kind, and that every love ever loved needs hope to help it survive.

Hope is that which inspires me to join the dreamers, believe in the goodness of other people, know that love is stronger than death. And as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminds us, while finite disappointment is real and hard, we must never lose hope, for Hope is infinite.

Keep Hope Alive. In fact, “live right under it”. ~~Jane

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” 
 ― Shel Silverstein

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.” 
 ― John Lennon

“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

 — Anne Frank

“The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.”

 — Barbara Kingsolver

“I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.”

 — Robert Fulghum

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

 — Anonymous

“You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep Spring from coming.”

 — Pablo Neruda

When the night is dark, may you still see how bright are the stars, Jane

© Jane Tawel 2020

Heroes and Fools All Under the Sun

REVELATION

“REVELATION” by Arnawitto is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

 

Heroes and Fools All Under the Sun

By Jane Tawel

July 29, 2020

 

 

There is nothing more foolish than continuing to try to change the mind of a fool or the heart of a hater.  Better to go ahead and change the world and let all benefit from it.  The fools and haters will never thank you for it, but you won’t need their thanks. Heroes don’t need the praise of fools any more than the Sun needs the earth in order to shine its light. World-changers don’t need the haters to love them, any more than the weeds and stones need to love the Sun in order for it to warm them.  As the Good Ones say, “The Sun shines on the good and the evil”. The Light illuminates The Path for those who will walk it and for those who will stand on the sidelines and look for any excuse to sit in the dark.  Just as the Sun does, we must let the light of truth and the warmth of love touch all, even those who will continue to prefer darkness and coldness.

 

Let your light shine and let your love warm. Do not fight or worry about those who refuse to step into the light or embrace the warmth.  World-changers don’t waste time trying to get fools and haters to believe that the world doesn’t revolve around them, any more than the Sun needs to convince us that She doesn’t revolve around the Earth. Each day, the Sun shines, whether a person believes in it or not.

The Sun will shine because it is created to shine. You are created to shine.

The Sun will warm because it is created to warm. You are created to warm.

And the Earth will continue to exist to revolve around the Light and Love of the Sun as long as there are Good people willing to keep their lamps full of the sacred oil of love and their lights burning bright, conspicuous and bold with the power of truth.

 

Be a Sun in the world today. Be the unsung, un-thanked Hero of this moment in the sun.

Be the light and even the fools will feel your power.

Be the warmth and you will find that even the haters will feel less cold.

 

Be the Light and do not let darkness delay you in your quest for a better world. And when you leave the fools and haters behind, you will find that there are many more heroes in our world than you ever dreamed there could be.

And the unsung heroes are the ones that will one day, receive the only thanks that truly matter in a better world where all will live in The Light of the Sun; the heroes of today will receive the thanks of the children of tomorrow.

 

Be of good cheer; have hope even in the darkness; shine your light; find joy in your journey; and rise to your very own task of being a light on The Way and a  hero to others today – Jane (P.S. And remember that all real superheroes wear masks. 🙂  )

(c) Jane Tawel 2020

eco ike: Mister Rogers on hero's | Hero quotes, Mr rogers quote ...

 

Vicissitudinal Hopes – a short poem

Vicissitudinal Hopes

A Poem

By Jane Tawel

May 6, 2020

hope_by_burythereckless-d6vz97y

Similarity breeds stagnation.

Longing for variation,

We risk brave adaptation,

and flip-flop dire causations

to beat the slippery slope.

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Vicissitudes sire transformations.

With some slight alterations,

We make real permutations,

In our most dire situations,

and learn to cope.

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Since first the World’s foundation,

And each soul’s true gestation,

We always find relation,

To Love and Love’s creations,

So hold fast to hope.

 

Stay brave. Keep loving. Be hopeful.  ~~ Jane

A Pick-Me-Up

A Pick-Me-Up for The Present Time

By Jane Tawel

 

IMPORTANT NOTE:  My poem below and this post are not meant any way to make light of people with ongoing depression.  It also is not at all meant to imply that people with depression or who are sad, should not seek help professionally, personally, from the experts, and from friends and family who love you.  This poem is merely an attempt on my part to address my own dealings with loss and sadness at the current time as I am having to deal with certain issues.

 

 

Perhaps because you are more isolated and alone, you too, need just a small reminder to look on the bright side of your life as soon as you are possibly able.  Perhaps you are feeling more vulnerable in yourself, or your relationships, or your beliefs. When the world seems dark, keep looking for the light. And if you can’t find the light yourself, follow the person with the flashlight or the candle.  Believe in your heroic ability to do what you need to do in such a time as this. And if you can’t believe in your own abilities, lean hard on and use without guilt, the gifts and guidance of those people who have suffered much and still managed to have big hearts and a lot of love for other people.

Image result for image tolkien frodo time

 

 

I often have felt, at least in my own culture, we lack the ability to truly grieve and truly angst.  We do need to go completely through the process of completely grieving or mourning the loss of something or someone, and that takes time, which we are seldom given enough of to do it all properly. If you are feeling down today for big or small reasons, or even for reasons that you can’t even put your finger on to explain what and why they are – let yourself feel sad. Let yourself feel down.  This too is part of the journey that leads to something and somewhere and sometimes Someone or someone. We can’t always succumb to fear of sadness in the same we can not always succumb to fear of viruses. Neither one is something we want, but neither will any of us remain unchanged by the reality of both in the human experience. Change can be good, even when painful. But as one of my favorite quotes, says, fear can be a super-power if you use it the right way. And so can sadness and even a manageable amount of depression.

Image result for dr who quote on fear

 

I am not recommending that you fast-forward to denial and I am not recommending that you skip ahead to self-medicate yourself with a false sense of happiness. It is not wrong to grieve or feel scared, or even to feel depressed, if you go through these things with the idea that it is for a greater purpose than wallowing in them. And if you make quite certain that you know somewhere inside your deepest self, that you are never meant to stay there in any of those things – not fear, not sorrow, and not depression.  You are meant to go on to that feeling that makes you know you are bigger than anything small enough to live inside you – virus or fear or depression. You are meant to believe that hope and all of those actions and that particular life that only you and you alone – that all of that can come out of suffering to be something better.

Believe that there are big good things waiting for you, and that those things are strong enough and plentiful enough to defeat the small bad things — big things like smiles and laughter, and kindness and trust, warm food and warm touches, and lovely smells and lovely sights, and sweet dreams and sweet words, and of course, there will be the biggest most powerful weapon against all the bad stuff, the greatest of all — Love.

We may have to wait, and we may not like waiting, but perhaps we should remember that it is better to be out here pacing in the waiting room, than in the metaphoric surgery or morgue. Waiting means there is time to learn and learning means there is hope, even perhaps, in life after the surgery or morgue. So if you are feeling helpless, imagine instead that there is something, someone  that needs your love. And love is worth waiting for.

Image result for image of quote by rainer maria rilke on waiting

You are the piece of coal today, that tomorrow can be a diamond.  You are cocooning today, so that tomorrow you can be the butterfly. You are feeling the gritty sand behind your tired, sick, sorrowful eyes right now, so that tomorrow your eyes can be clear, and you will become as transparently real and as beautiful as glass. Today’s grinding sand are tomorrow’s windows to a cleaner, brighter soul.

 

 

The more sand has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.      Jean Paul

 

Grieve and moan, angst and hide out for a bit, but take care of yourself. Let yourself hope even if you can’t feel it yet. Let yourself love something, even if it is something small or inanimate, even if it can’t love you back.  I have been loving the actors on old Netflix TV series who make me laugh, even though they will never love me back.  I have been loving the sound of the birds outside my window, the smell of cinnamon raisin toast and coffee, and the dredged-up memories of wonderful times I have shared with people I love.

Let yourself own your feelings for now, but realize you have only checked out those feelings for the time being. Like a book from the library that you don’t enjoy, return it as fast as possible and find another reading on life that can make you smile and feel hopeful again. Seek and find the very best parts of YOU, and of others, and seek some modicum of joy wherever and whenever you can, in those people and things around you.

 

Image result for image on  quotes on joy

 

*******At the end of this post, as in some of my past posts, I will share several links that you can text or call if your depression has reached such lows that you do not want to live any more. Please skip ahead to those links if you are feeling that way right now.

 

Please know that you are an important part of the lives that surround you and even if you don’t feel it right now, there is help and there is a way out of this and a way forward.  Don’t give up.

 

 

 

A Poetic Pick-Me-Up

By Jane Tawel

March 17, 2020

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I can’t stay sad for long,

It isn’t in my nature.

Unless I have done wrong,

To creature or Creator,

I’ll find the brightest side,

And let that be my guide,

To muddle on,

A smile to don,

And not stay down for long.

*

If I’m not in the right,

I’ll muster all my might,

To ask to be forgiven,

And then get back to livin’.

So, if I have hurt you,

Then please, just tell me true,

And also what to do,

To change your point of view.

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But if I’m blue because,

The universe seems flawed,

And I am sad inside,

I’ll let Love be my guide.

I’ll cry or rant or rave,

 But soon, I will be brave,

Enough to see the glass

More full– and greener grass.

Because when all is over,

I’d rather be in clover,

Than sitting on my bum,

And feeling mad or glum.

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For a little while I gave up,

And then my mind, I made up,

To find the strength to burrow,

My way towards tomorrow.

There’s light and love just round the bend,

So, I will let my sore heart mend,

And find some joy in living

And then get back to giving,

Myself the right to heal awhile,

And find some peace, and find a smile.

*

 

 I hope that if you’re weary,

And like I, maybe teary,

That you won’t give up either.

Just give yourself a breather,

From worrying or angst-ing,

Or in sor-row ensconcing.

I’m here for you, and you for me.

And surely, we can both agree,

That if we really need each other,

Our grief and woes, they will not smother,

The best in you and best in me,

And that is what humanity,

Can do, and live, and hope, and be.

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With just a little happiness,

And trying to look on the best,

I think we’ll overcome the rest

Of what has made us feel depressed.

And letting go our pains and woes,

And seeing how this next bit goes,

We might to joy and peace succumb,

And our depressions overcome.

*

So, I will hope, but I won’t rush it,

And even when life’s lost its luster,

I’ll trust and love and faith I’ll muster

For if I shine just one more smile,

Then I’ll feel happier in a while.

Yes, happiness can be a plan,

To counteract and to demand,

That I care for my heart and soul,

And make some joy my greater goal.

Yes, I can cry and I can grieve,

But I am meant for joie de vivre.

*

Tomorrow I may mourn again,

And feel more sorrow and more pain,

But now, I’ll store fear on a shelf,

And take good care of my wee self.

I’ll find a smile, and do my part,

To heal my mind, soul, bones, and heart.

*

For life is good and love is long,

and hope can never do us wrong.

For fear is small and passing’s strife,

So, grasp at love, and re-love life.

 

*

 

Don’t ever be afraid or ashamed to get help with serious feelings of sadness or depression. The links below are to services that are available 24/7. Your call or text will be anonymous, and free.

 

Be brave enough to think you matter enough to someone to find hope in your journey.  You are worthy of another day here with us. Believe it.

Quotes image of Joy is a decision, a really brave one, about how you are going to respond to life.

 

 

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BELIEVE YOU ARE SUICIDAL TO CALL OR TEXT THESE NUMBERS.  YOU JUST NEED TO KNOW YOU WOULD LIKE SOME HELP WITH LIVING TODAY.  

PLEASE SHARE THIS WITH ANYONE YOU THINK COULD USE A HELPING HAND TODAY ALONG WITH YOUR OWN.

 

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/   CALL 1-800-273-8255

 

You can also text the Crisis Text Line:

USA: Text HOME to 741741

UK: Text 85258

CANADA: Text 686868

 

Or

24/7 Crisis Hotline: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Network
http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
1-800-273-TALK (8255) (Veterans, press 1)

Crisis Text Line
Text TALK to 741-741 to text with a trained crisis counselor from the Crisis Text Line for free, 24/7

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changing to a Precise Center

Hi Friends, I hope you will take a bit of time to read my latest on Medium.com.  I have shared the friend link with you here, so you can access it without impacting how many other free stories you can read on Medium.  Just click on my name in the picture below.  This is a longer read about making small changes, including my change from wearing a cross to a Tree of Life necklace, and my changing-up my need to hang on to a hurtful past in order to have a more hopeful future.  Here’s to Hope that makes us hum and smile more.  Peace,  Jane

View at Medium.com

Hope is Not Now – an essay by Jane Tawel

Hot-Milk-and-Honey-Drink-3-e1534191191487

 

Hope is Not for Now

By Jane Tawel

March 23, 2019

We mistake all kinds of things for things they are not, because the only gods we have left are ourselves. We mistake religion for humanism; we mistake God for personal best buddy; and we mistake faith for self-empowerment.  And then there is our mistaken idea that somehow we should and can “choose” hope in order to be happy. We mistake hope for happiness.

 

I started out this morning, thinking about the world, thinking about myself, thinking about God, just like I do most mornings.  And I thought about things I’ve been thinking and writing and reading lately and I said to myself, “Self, you need to write a happy, hopeful little story that will cheer people up.”  And I drank my first cup of coffee with that determination until I read the headlines, read some Facebook posts, read a couple blogs I follow, re-read part of my own blog, and read the Bible.  The headlines assured me that there was hope the bad guys would be caught and punished, but I’ve been alive long enough and know enough history to know that won’t really happen until Christ comes again. Dashed hopes for justice are a part of being human if you live long enough.  A Facebook post by a friend of a friend asked for prayer about his suicidal thoughts. In the past year, I have personally known three young people who committed suicide because they just couldn’t believe there was hope for them. A blogger I follow talked about her childhood and sad memories of a father she never knew. I have my own sad memories of my childhood which no matter how old I am, can be rubbed raw by the hopelessness of ever changing the past.  My own most recent blog is about the decay of morality, truth, and gospel in people who claim to know God. I love, love, love people who claim to know God and yet in my current place and time, I feel a sense of terror at what so many of them are basing their future hope on. And the Bible passage I read this morning, from what we erroneously call the “Old” Testament assured me that I am nothing more than dust, a passing breeze on the winds of Time. And I realize how often I have let ego and desire lead me into a false and unbiblical sense of hopefulness that I am someone whom God might want to hang out with forever.  So I let our old dogs out into the yard and made my second cup of coffee. I take light milk and honey in my coffee, please.

 

I sat down feeling helpless and hopeless. Helpless to help fellow travelers across the world who suffer for belief, suffer for their faith, or who just plain suffer because they feel too much of the dark deep things that humans feel.  I sat down hopeless that I can be part of any real change, see any real change, not just in others, but in myself.  I look back over a life that has included so many, many whole days of pointlessness, and so many days I was filled with and following sin. Sin – hurting others, selfish talk and action, greed and coveting and lying – those sins God hates most; stealing, murder in my heart, lust – all of it.  And I am at a loss to tell stories of hope, because in the light of the reality of who I am, who we are; in the light of Now is the darkness of the real state of being of Forever and Never.

 

So I just put down all my reading and I looked up. And out. The vestiges of last night’s dew clung to the morning cheery grass and the dew pounced in on my doggies’ paws and I laughed with them instead of scolding them.  A floor is easily mopped.  The sun trickled through the filmy clouds’ filter in the same rhythm as my coffee trickled into my carafe and both waited to warm me, body and soul. The pan was still soaking in the sink, with a few strings of cabbage and cheese clinging to the sides of the now still soapy sea of dish water. The strings of leftovers played like strings of violins on my heart, reminding me that last night my son was home to join us for dinner and I made one of his favorite dishes. Because I could. Because I have enough money, enough strength, my hands still function despite early arthritic throbs, and I have time.  And there it is. Time. And if you have time to look around, then you have time for hope.

 

Time is what we have had, have now (if we’re lucky) but biblically it is what we will no longer have in The Kingdom of God.  And Hope? Well, how does hope fit into a future with no future, so to speak? Hope is one of The Big Three, that the entire Word of God assures us will last outside of Time, will last forever, and is part of God’s True World. Hope is one of the things we were created to Be, not have.  As it says, “So now faith, hope, and love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”  The Psalmist says “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You.”  And in Hebrews, it says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”  Isn’t it interesting that every single one of these verses uses the world “now”.  The reason hope is so tricky, so ephemeral, so fleeting, so ultimately unsatisfying is because of our imprisonment in Time, because hope can not exist, except fleetingly, in our constant “now-ness”. The proverb says that “hope deferred makes the heart sick” and it is so easy for others to impact our hopefulness and defer our quest for it.

 

Hope is not happiness, but rather hope is unhappiness with the ways things are now completely infused with the faith that the “Now” was never what God intended for us. Hope is the current tossed and turning belief that the “Then” will be something even more beautiful, lovely, true, and wholly wonderful than we can know or even imagine.  Hope is, as Dickinson writes, “the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the song without the words and never stops at all.”  And though we can’t always hear Hope’s tune and we can’t always sing hope’s song to those in need of it; we can take our Time and as Isaiah said, “wait for the Lord; who shall renew our little birds of hope and give them wings like eagles”.

 

Sometimes in the noisy outskirts of Los Angeles, I have a difficult time hearing the birds.  But it is usually, frankly, because I am too busy, too preoccupied, too stressed, or thinking behind me or ahead of me, to listen. It is also because I am primarily a visual learner, I find my strength and major happinesses in what I see, whether around me or on the page of a book.   The thing about hope though is that, as Paul wrote to the Romans, “Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”

 

The three things that remain are faith, hope and love. Love needs me to see others as I see myself and use my hands to care for them.  Faith needs me to speak to my Heavenly Father and honor Him with my words, speaking of faith to others who need it.  And Hope? Hope needs me to listen.  Hope is the thing that listens – to the birds of the air, the children in the next room, the music of the spheres, and the ticking of the clocks.  Most of all, Hope needs me to listen for the still, small voice of the Creator Parent Who has hope for me yet; to listen to The One Who has hope for the world, and Who Is The Hope of the Universe.

 

And now I confess I will go make myself my third cup of dark coffee with milk and honey.  There was once a man named Moses who felt hopeless to change his sinful past in light of a Holy God.  Moses felt hopeless about his present life since he had few skills and no real community of friends and family.  And Moses’ hope for the future, well, what is the future for a nomad with no place, no people, no plan? And then old Moses started listening to God. And listening to the cries of God’s people.  And what Moses heard God say is, “I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey”.  Milk and honey. Flowing. When Moses asked God, “Who shall I tell people you are.” God said, tell them that I AM. I AM outside Time and therefore, outside hopelessness. I Am Hope. Hope flowing backwards through your past, today in your present, and hope flowing like a river of milk and honey toward your future.

 

And so I get up. And hear the little chirps outside my back door. And hear my husband breathing in the next room. And listen to the tap, tap, tap of my fingers on the keys. And listen to the scratching of ears by my old dogs. And hear the sound of my next deep breath. And I stand up in the Now of Uncertainty with the hope of one more delicious cup of coffee with milk and honey. And I pray with faith and love of The Lord, that my hope will be not in anything – not in me, not in them, not any other gods – but only in He Who is Hope. And I listen for the still small sound of I AM. And I accept my calling, not to seek hope, not to require hope, not to expect nor see hope, but to Be Hope. Because Hope is one of the things I am which will never die. Hope is not Now. Hope is Forever.