Dealing with change

September 11, 2015

Looking for God in the Mundane

By Tom Steagald
 

Blog-Meme-6-3-2015_Pastor-Heart

“Where do you live?” The question came off-the-cuff, from a newer member of our congregation just making small talk with his new pastor at an end-of-summer cookout.  A simple interrogative, and with a number and street name, the exchange ended. But it got me to thinking about Allan Watts’s observation that the deepest, most complex questions of existence are in fact the simplest: Who are you? Where are you going? What do you think? Each can be answered matter-of-factly, and all can be pondered at great depth.

Likewise, “Where do you live?” An address is just geography.

The deeper truth is that I, and every pastor I know, lives at the intersection of Tragic, Delicious, and Tedious Streets. I am thinking of a recent day, a not untypical day in the pastoral life. … read

 
August 13, 2015

I Feel Like Marty McFly …

By Tom Steagald
 

Without the DeLorean

 

I feel a bit like a time traveler — Marty McFly without the DeLorean (think Back to the Future)—with one foot in the past and one in the present. Only, I guess I need a third foot, because part of me is also already in the future.

Perhaps it is always so, for all of us: the past and the future converging in the present: the future flowering from today’s roots, themselves proof of yesterday’s seeds. But deeper than that, at least for me, at least right now.

… read

 
July 23, 2015

When Passion Makes a Move

By Jo Kadlecek
 

Lap Pool author photoSunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia—July 10, 2015—I’ve just come back from the pool. The sky was creamy blue, the birds noisy, and the sun warm on my back. Laps have never felt so good as they do here, especially on this otherwise typical day in . . . winter.

Swimming in an outdoor Olympic-size pool has been one of many perks since my husband and I relocated from Boston’s North Shore in March. It’s July now—summer back in Massachusetts, but “winter” down under—and I’ll be honest: the move to Oz surprised me when we first felt the pull, and it surprises me still each day I walk out the door. Or jump in the pool on “chilly” 60-degree days.

wooded path author picOn the way to the aquatic center, for instance, I ride my bicycle past white-barked gum trees where koalas have been spotted and kookaburras laugh on the branches. Pink galahs and green parrots sing and swoop over blooming poinsettias and banksia trees. And like the uncanny creatures and locale, I have learned that even passion—and its many forms I first explored in Woman Overboard—looks different here.

It’s slower, for one. Daily life, that is, and that affects each subheading of living well. Vocation, for instance, is happily less frantic—but odd when you’re writing while most editors you know are sound asleep on the other side of the world and the sun is shining through your office window. Art here has more browns and greens and ocean blues that you can barely find language for.

Romance, too, is kinder, and even, well, older, as I see in my elderly in-laws, who celebrate 51 years of marriage next week and who are the primary reason we came. How can their last chapter be filled with less suffering and more joy? How can we help? A meatloaf or key lime pie with limes my sister-in-law grew in her backyard? A drive to the hospital?

It’s all the messy and marvelous stuff of passion relocated.

And Jesus. Yes, of course, he’s here too, evident in the worship of the local Anglican church we attend, alive in the faces of its members who’ve also jumped overboard, diving in fully to live out their faith and their callings in their own unique ways. With Aussie accents and fish and chips. With offers of friendship and “G’day!” With hospitality and sacrifice that point me back to the passion of our Lord, making the move easier, softer, warmer.

Even on “winter” days.


Jo Kadlecek, author and adventurer

Jo Kadlecek, author and adventurer

Jo Kadlecek is the author of Woman Overboard: How Passion Saved My Life. She and her husband, Chris Gilbert, moved from Massachusetts to Noosa Heads, in Queensland, Australia, in March 2015, where they continue to pursue a passionate life. For more information on Jo, visit her website at www.lampostmedia.com or follow her new journey in Australia through her blog “A Sun Burnt Faith,” asunburntfaith.wordpress.com.

 
May 28, 2015

Disability from a 1st-Person Perspective

By Upper Room Books
 

Rear view of woman with Zimmer frame walking in hospital corridor

Strange, isn’t it, that we really don’t realize some things about life until we experience them? Most of my life I have worked with people who have disabilities — either they are in wheelchairs, use walkers, or have other restrictions. But yesterday it hit me full force. I participated in a hospice memorial service. Since I could not process down the aisle with a walker, I had to sit by myself in the choir. It gave me a new perspective. The words “Stand, if you are able,” which we often hear in church, struck me, as I was not able to stand. So I said my piece sitting down!

My neuropathy has progressed to the point that I am totally reliant on my walker. When I leave my neurologist’s office, his last words to me are: “Don’t fall!” Yeah, right.

As I reflected on being handicapped, I rewrote the words of Jesus to Peter about being old [see John 21:18]: “When you were young, you went wherever you wanted; but when you are old, you can only go where your wife drives you or where your walker takes you.”

Waiting for the service (and wondering if the audience expected me to sing a solo), I thought of the amazing courage of Franklin D. Roosevelt, and how his legs failed him from polio. How he was restricted by those braces on his legs! He was a profile of courage.

People have been kind and gracious to me. If I had sung a solo, it would have been, “I walked today where Jesus walked,” but I go there in my mind.

I live in the hope that someday, in the next life, I will “mount up with wings like eagles, [I will] run and not be weary, [I will] walk, and not [fall]” (paraphrase of Isaiah 40:31).

_______

This article, originally titled “Handicapped: On the Other Side,” first appeared in Richard Morgan’s blog on March 23, 2015 and is used by the author’s permission.


 

Richard Morgan

Richard L. Morgan

Richard L. Morgan is the author of At the Edge of Life: Conversations When Death Is NearSettling In: My First Year in a Retirement Community, Remembering Your Story: Creating Your Own Spiritual Biography, and several other books on aging. He is the coauthor (with Jane Marie Thibault) of the award-winning Pilgrimage into the Last Third of Life: 7 Gateways to Spiritual Growth and No Act of Love Is Ever Wasted: The Spirituality of Caring for Persons with Dementia. Richard is a retired pastor and hospice chaplain. He stays busy providing pastoral care for persons with dementia in his senior living community, writing, marketing, and providing consultations for churches studying his books. For more information about Richard, including his blog, “View from 80,” visit his website: richardmorganauthor.com.

 
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