Poems, Personal Stories, and Observations

Posts tagged ‘hope’

Changing Lightbulbs

I’m changing lightbulbs

Instead of cursing the darkness

Instead of cursing the lightbulb company

Instead of cursing someone who might have broken them

I’m changing lightbulbs

And thanking God that I could afford new ones

And thanking God that there will be more light

And thanking God for my husband who helped me

I’m changing lightbulbs

And hoping I can give some to those who don’t have any

And hoping there will be more light than darkness

And hoping that we can work together

I’m changing lightbulbs

Instead of sitting around

Instead of having a frown

Instead of getting down

Let there be light!

Mood Disorder?

First, a disclaimer: I am not a psychologist, and have no psychological training except a few college classes and one five-day workshop. However, I have been in and out of counseling/therapy since age 12 or 13 (I’m now 66), sometimes with a break of many years. So, any psychological terms I use will be my understanding of what they mean, as a layperson.

My main diagnosis through all these years has been mild to moderate depression, or dysthymia. If I understand correctly, dysthymia comes under a broader category called “mood disorders”.

There are many opinions about depression, including “Just pull yourself together,” “It’s because of your sins,” “It’s a lack of faith,” “It’s from ‘stinkin’ thinking’ (irrational, untrue, or unrealistic thinking),” and “It’s a chemical imbalance in your brain.” Of course, all of these can be true, or overlapping.

I am often (not always) in a state of low-grade melancholy, for whatever reasons, as noted above. I could even add the excuse of my cultural background, which is Hungarian. My parents grew up there and then emigrated to the United States. From what I have read, melancholy is a common characteristic among Hungarians. Again, this could be for many reasons. One of my theories is that Hungary, for hundreds of years, has been overrun by foreign powers and has been constantly at their mercy (if there was any mercy). At any rate, melancholy does seem to be common among Hungarians, indeed, many eastern Europeans.

But, today I would like to share a surprising recent occurrence for me, perhaps a small miracle. The other day, I was in the typical, mildly low, mood. Sometime around 5:30 p.m., it was like someone turned on a switch. I was happy! I felt loved, and worthwhile, like God, and some people, loved me! It was inexplicable! I repeat, it was literally like a switch was turned on in my mood. No longer the negative thoughts like “Nobody likes me,” “I’m evil (or at best, worthless),” “Things are going to turn out badly,” etc. Lest this sounds frightening to anyone, let me be clear; I sometimes have these thoughts, but I don’t give in to them. They are like attacks that happen periodically. I have found ways to combat them. I am not miserable anymore, as I was in younger days. I have the hope of Jesus Christ, which is what keeps me alive and functioning and purposeful. Speculating on where they come from could be another blog post.

Like any mood change, I cannot explain what happened. I’ve even had the opposite happen. I will be in a mildly low mood and plunge into a more severe depression. Happily, this happens less and less in my life.

What can I learn from this? I believe God is trying to tell me, “Don’t rely on how you FEEL. I am with you despite any moods, feelings, or thoughts. I never leave you. Do not base your worth on how you feel, or how others treat you.” Whether I feel happy, sad, or in between, I mustn’t take that as my major reality. My major reality is that God is present and will not abandon me. THIS IS THE REALITY, not what I FEEL!

Every Place

Every place

Has its ups and downs —

The smiles and the frowns,

The spooks and the clowns,

Disgraces or crowns.

You’ll find

Snakes or bugs,

Scorpions or slugs,

Crows or eagles,

Mosquitos or seagulls.

Every place

Has climate and weather,

The storms and the thunder,

Hurricanes or earthquakes,

Humidity or drought.

Every place

Has interesting neighbors

Who do you kind favors,

They help with their labors,

And pick up your papers.

Every place

Has frowning faces —

Won’t give you the time,

To judgment inclined,

Won’t lend you a dime.

Every place

Has pleasures and dangers —

Or are they both one?

Pleasure can be danger

If overdone.

Every life

Has its moments

Of goodness and closeness,

Of fear or of faith,

Of love or of hate.

O Lord,

Give me hope,

So with life I can cope —

To keep a deep peace

As my faith You increase.

What is Freedom?

Freedom is the grace to make good decisions, the power to do good. Freedom is being able to express your beliefs, while respecting others beliefs. Freedom is to receive forgiveness, to be released by the grace of God from the guilt of my wrongdoing, and to offer forgiveness to others. Freedom is receiving the grace to forgive my enemies, instead of living a life of resentment and blame. Freedom is letting go of the past, and having hope for the future. Freedom is appreciating those who have helped you have freedom. Gratitude increases freedom. Freedom is a great gift, and a great responsibility. Thank you, God, for the great gift of freedom.

Written July 3, 2021

If Not for the Bird Songs

If not for the bird songs

My mind would be lost

With all the changes

With all the strangeness 

If not for the fairy fireflies

I would have lost the wonder

My mind torn asunder

I would have gone under

If not for the thunder

I would make the blunder 

Of sinking in sadness

Being blind to the gladness 

If not for your smile

I would have dwelt a long while

In a pit of despair

Might have torn out my hair 

If not for your kindness

I’d live only in blindness

A desert of dryness

So listless and lifeless

If not for God’s comfort

My life would be forfeit

My joy would be dormant

My thoughts tending morbid 

O, the greatness of God

Who lifts up the lowly 

Who brightens our story

Let us give Him the glory!

Prayer for Racial Reconciliation

Lord, you made every human being in Your image.
Each person, no matter their color, economic status, or anything else,
Is precious in Your eyes.
Each person contains within them a spark of the divine.
Yet, we fail to see this.  We fail miserably.
Many of those in power do not share their power,
Sometimes the rich do not share their wealth.
Or, even “good people” are unaware of the suffering of others.
The poor and the weak often despise themselves,
Not realizing their great value and worth.

Our nation is deeply wounded.
The wound is hundreds of years old.
Anger and frustration boil beneath the surface.
And yet, and yet,
When You change hearts, something new can happen.

Give us new eyes, new hearts.
If we have material wealth, let us share it with others.
If we have gifts of encouragement, of education,
Let us use them to lift others up.
If we are poor, weak, or feel powerless,
Let us not succumb to fear, discouragement, or despair.

Let us see others with Your eyes,
Not the eyes of corrupted man,
Who looks only at ways to bolster his weak ego.
Not the eyes that look only at the surface,
At outward appearance, possessions, or achievements,
But eyes that see Your beauty and goodness in each person.

Give us the courage to reach out to those who seem different from us,
And to accept their friendly overtures.
Heal our fears, worries, anxieties.
Challenge our prejudices, faulty beliefs, and hatreds.

Let those who stir up hatred of people be thwarted.
Let those who have been injured find the grace to eventually forgive,
For an unforgiving heart injures only itself.
Let justice be done for them.

We thank you for Your mercy to fallen mankind.
For without Your mercy, there is no hope.

Amen.

Wondrous Soap!

What a wondrous thing is soap;
Without it, much harder to cope.
Semmelweis and then Lister,
Two docs in the mixture –
Their ideas now medical fixture.

Our doctors must be antiseptic,
For the rest of us, too, it’s effective.
Wash off those darn germs,
The doctors affirm –
It kills viruses; we can confirm.

Viruses, bacteria – invisible;
Unseen enemies — incorrigible.
But don’t panic or fear,
Solutions are near.
Let us hope for horizons to clear.

Thank God for the Fleas

When my parents were World War II refugees, they lived in various Displaced Persons camps run by the U.S. and other Allies. Sometimes it would be so cold that there was frost on the INSIDE walls of their “accommodations”.   (I don’t know exactly what their living quarters were like,)  At some point in there, my older brother (a baby!), one paternal uncle, and my paternal grandmother also lived in the same camp(s). At least they had shelter!  Traumatic as it all was, thank you Allies (and, ultimately, God), for keeping my family alive!  Others, as you know, suffered considerably more: in concentration camps, in battles on land, sea, and sky, and elsewhere.

LIFE IS A GIFT! And, I’m so grateful to live in a home with heat and hot water.

Corrie ten Boom was in a concentration camp during World War II, because her family had hidden Jews in their home.  She decided to take seriously the Scripture, “… give thanks in all circumstances …” (1 Thessalonians 5:18), so she gave thanks for the fleas in her barracks.  Sooner or later, she learned that the guards would avoid her barracks as much as possible, because of the fleas.  In that way they did not get as much abuse as they might have.  Perhaps most of us are not as faith-filled as Corrie ten Boom, but there is certainly a lesson to learn from her.

War is probably horrific for everyone touched by it, but perhaps it’s appropriate to also remember the positives.

Why do some (or perhaps all of us) encounter great trials and tribulations?  I propose a few reasons here, several or all of which could occur together:

  1. We are being tested by God.  It can be an opportunity for growth, to trust in Him more.
  2. We are being chastised by God.  ” … for the Lord disciplines those whom He loves, and chastises every child whom He accepts.” (Hebrews 12:6).  This is a good thing, because it shows that God loves us enough to correct us.
  3. We are suffering for our own or other people’s poor choices.  We make bad decisions, or others take out their frustrations on us.
  4. It’s just part of the fallen human condition.  Because of original sin, we all suffer consequences such as illness, accidents, death, etc.

No matter the reason, we must trust that God is with us through these difficulties.  I don’t see any other reason to hope.

 

 

 

All the Difference

One life, Jesus’ life … has made all the difference.  Because of Him, we can have light instead of darkness, hope instead of despair, forgiveness instead of condemnation.

He was born in poverty, not riches. He was born without fame or popularity.  He was born to teach us how to give, not grab.

You, too, can make a difference by loving your neighbor and forgiving your enemies.

Cling to the Cross

Cling to the cross
And trust its might power.
Remember what He did for you
In every minute, hour.

Focus on Him
And keep your eyes above.
Let earthly cares now fall away,
And drink His cup of love.

Take up your cross;
With grace your burdens bear.
Let not your cross bring bitterness —
Have hope, and don’t despair.

Carry your cross,
And one day there will be
A glorious crown, a shining light;
Make love your destiny.

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