In helping try to take care of my dad who is now home recuperating from surgery and facing the road ahead dealing with cancer, I have felt a range of emotions…including guilt and inadequacy that I am not doing enough because I live over an hour away and work full-time two hours away and can’t be there more with he and my mom. I am trying to find some level of acceptance that I, like the rest of my family, am doing the best I can…whether it be asking the right questions with the doctors (the reporter in me) to making a joke (the kid in me) to cooking a meal (the wannabe chef in me)…I have come to find that we all have our roles to play and they may change over time but I just need to keep asking God for guidance and strength – as I do in any area of my life. As I’ve probably written here before, I believe God does have a job for each of us to do on this earth – small and large – and our journey here in large part is finding out what it is and then doing it to the best of our abilities with His help. And we know from all of the characters in the Bible (Moses, David, Peter…the list goes on) that He doesn’t pick the biggest, best or brightest for each job, but the ones who tend to rely on Him…which should give us comfort when we do feel frustrated and inadequate. In this past Sunday’s Mass readings, St. Paul reminds us of this: “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it. Some people God has designated in the church to be, first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; then, mighty deeds; then gifts of healing, assistance, administration, and varieties of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work mighty deeds? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret?” (1 Cor 12:12-30) Definitely questions to ponder. I hope that as I continue to write my novels based on stories in the Old Testament of the Bible I continue to just do my job…and leave the rest up to Him!
Monthly Archives: January 2016
“A large crowd followed and pressed around him. And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, ‘Who touched my clothes?’ ‘You see the people crowding against you,’ his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it. Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth. He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering’.” (Mark 5:24). I love this story of faith and healing found in three of the Gospels, especially today as my heart is heavy with the knowledge that my father has inoperable cancer. According to Bible scholars, the unnamed woman had to travel on foot for 30 miles to reach Jesus after hearing he had cured many people of their illnesses. She was desperate–she was considered “unclean” and was isolated for 12 years because of her bleeding, and yet had the audacity to touch Jesus’ cloak. As they say desperate times call for desperate measures. St. Paul tells us also that we have to pray bold prayers. I am hoping to take a trip to meet someone who may help my book be made into a movie…this person seems “untouchable” and it’s a huge long shot and the trip for me is taking a big risk (financially) and yet I feel like I need to be like the woman, reaching out in hopes to touch a miracle. And I hope my dad will hold onto his faith and that all of those who love him will keep praying bold prayers for his healing. I believe miracles happen every day.
Some of my close friends and family members are dealing with depression at this time of year and I find it hard to know what to say to comfort them. I have dealt with bouts of depression in my life and have even taken medication for it at a really dark time in the past, but as life has moved forward and I have grown closer to knowing God and His Will for me I have kept focused on dreams and goals that don’t leave too much time for getting depressed. Still, winter brings less light and, if you live in a cold region (which I do), less outdoor activity, it’s easy to start feeling a little blue…and for some, clinically depressed. Now I’m not a doctor and would never argue with medical advice (I’m a firm believer God and science work beautifully together.) But outside of that, I think the answers to battling depression are in the Bible. First, just reading the Bible takes you outside yourself and your boredom. Second, it offers practical advice and comfort: we see over and over how people suffer and then rise above with God’s help (a good example is the Book of Job or Hebrews 11); we are reminded to fight depression so it doesn’t allow Satan’s lies to enter our hearts (Hebrews 12); we are reminded we have a purpose and God won’t let us down (Romans 8:28); and we are told by Jesus many times in the Gospels not to fear or be anxious (Matt 6:34). Yesterday, feeling frustrated with someone I love who has depression, I looked up to the sky to see the most beautiful sight, one that I had never seen before…a beautiful, full rainbow with a flock of seagulls dancing through it, the sun shining on them so that they looked like big fireflies or fireworks bursting out of the rainbow. It was like nothing I had ever seen before and I was so mesmerized I forgot to take a picture! But it reminded me that God is full of surprises and if we keep our eyes turned to Him and His Word, we can feel joy.
God gave us, human beings, dominion over all the animals when He created man (and woman)…and with that comes a big responsibility to care for His creatures. I was sad today to lose my “best friend,” our dog Shirley who we adopted at 9 weeks old and who would have turned 13 this coming Valentine’s Day. She died peacefully in our home in my arms and I thank God for allowing my family and I all of the wonderful times with such a loving, gentle dog. It makes me sad to think of all of the equally loving dogs that never find a good home, or are kept by humans who aren’t so responsible, kind or loving. The Bible even says “The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.” (Prov. 12:10) I’m sure God looks down on those who take good care of pets as doing good (and will punish those who don’t). And I hope (as the movie goes) all dogs go to heaven!