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Encouragement for the Journey 29/01/2012

Encouragement for the Journey

Greetings fellow traveller,

Last week I attended the funeral of a ministry colleague who died aged 58 following his battle with cancer. After the service I went for a coffee at the Shore City shopping mall. I needed space to reflect on the service, there I noticed a young woman in a wheel chair, it appeared she could not speak or feed herself for she was being fed through a tube by her care giver. There sitting just a few feet from this woman where young people of her own age laughing, texting and joking together. After attending the funeral and watching this scene unfold before me, I was left with lots of questions and very few answers. Yes, life at times is unfair and unjust.

Whenever I attend or officiate at a funeral or see someone being cared for (as that young woman was), I inevitably ask myself questions. This activity helps to re – focus my life; it is like my own personal Global Positioning System. On this particular occasion I asked: Is the life I live, my life, am I living a life true to myself, or am I seeking to measure up to the expectations of others? Am I seeking to make a difference for good in the lives of others by how I live my life? Am I carrying excess baggage from the past, which I can jettison to enjoy living in this present moment?

To ask ourselves a question ensures we are personally challenged to continue on the journey of life, with openness and creativity, this offers personal growth and healing. The very action of asking questions produces an opportunity for new life and energy to flow into our lives. What a gift we have been given?

I am reminded of that wonderful story told by Martin Buber (Jewish Philosopher): “When I die and go to the world to come, they will not ask me, Zusya, why were you not Moses? They will ask me: Zusya, why were you not Zusya?’ (Rabbi Zusya of Hanipol)

I leave you with a poem from Langston Hughes (1902–1967) Dreams

Hold fast to dreams

For if dreams die

Life is a broken-winged bird

That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams

For when dreams go

Life is a barren field

Frozen with snow.

 Keeping asking the questions ………..

Meanwhile Peace

Alf

 

January 30, 2012 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey – 19/01/12

Greetings fellow traveller,

The Carterton ballooning tragedy has indeed touched each of us in different ways. For Fleur and me it brought back memories of our ballooning experience. For my 60th birthday, Fleur treated me to a dawn balloon ride over the red sands of Central Australia. I recall travelling in the Outback, it was the cool of the early morning, the air in the four wheel drive heavy with expectation. Upon arriving at our lift off location, we helped to unfold the balloon, received some safety instructions, then the balloon slowly inflated, the flames of the gas burner lit up our faces. Once the balloon was inflated, we climbed aboard, and slowly rose into the dark sky. The flight was truly a magical awe inspiring experience.

What struck me about the Carterton tragedy was how one moment the pilot and passengers would be enjoying the experience, perhaps taking photographs, talking and pointing out what they could see, and then suddenly everything changed. No warning given, in the blink of an eye, disaster struck. For the families and friends of those who died, everything has changed; nothing will ever be the same. No one in his or her wildest dreams and fantasies would ever have predicated what happened in the sky above a Wairarapa paddock, on that early Saturday morning balloon ride. It was unpredictable.

We may say that we are the master or mistresses of our own destiny, now in one sense, that is very true; we make decisions about many things and then take responsibility for the consequences of such decisions made. Sometimes, just sometimes, the unpredictable happens, and our lives and the lives of others close to us, become irrevocably changed forever. No one knows when such unpredictable happenings occur, but it raises the question, how then shall we live.

At our service on News Years Day, when asked about our hopes and dreams for the year, a number expressed, to be happy. To be happy is not a once for all state of mind, it is appreciating and being truly present and enjoying the many experiences of our lives, which might appear to be insignificant, yet are pregnant with beauty and wonder.

In the midst of our happy moments, the unpredictable occurs, we can never fully prepare for it, yet in its wake, we slowly learn once more to embrace life, which will be different than before.

For me, in this mystery of our lives, God is… in all that we experience God is present. No more or less, for God has no why. That is the mystery of our faith.

May all who mourn and grieve because of the Carterton ballooning tragedy find strength and courage in ways beyond their understanding and imagination, in a God, who is …..

Meanwhile Peace

Alf

January 18, 2012 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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Encouragement for the Journey – 01/01/12

Greetings Fellow Traveller,

‘Life is not a problem to be solved But, a mystery to be lived’ – Anon

Today is New Years’ Day; traditionally it is a time for New Year’s resolutions, making changes, charting new ways of being and responding to life. On my I pad this week I found an article in the Huffington Post (On line Newspaper) on the 5 Spiritual Practices of Ageing Well by a Buddhist Writer Lewis Richmond. I want to use his five headings which are: Gratitude, Generosity, Reframing, Curiosity and Flexibility.

Gratitude:

It is surprising how our mood changes when we become grateful for our lives. Meister Eckhart has a delightful quote: ‘if we could only say one prayer it would be thank you.’ Often we take for granted that which is familiar and present, take for example, water and electricity, for people in Christchurch this is always not so. Gratitude is being thankful for what is.

Generosity:

No matter our age, we can still be generous, not speaking here of money, rather offering simple acts of kindness, a phone call, a letter, or giving of our time and that word of encouragement. When we are generous, we discover that the world does not revolve around us; there are others also on the journey of life. Who needs a call or visit from you?

Reframing:

How are we looking at our life, is it through negative spectacles or through positive spectacles which always offer us opportunities for hope and life. When things happen to us and they do, we can choose to explore different ways of giving meaning to those events, which change the negative to the positive.

Curiosity:

In our aging we can may become narrow in focus, we have our interests and close friends, and it becomes increasingly more difficult to start new interests and friendships. However, when we adopt a curiosity spirit we realise there are other ways of seeing and doing, we become open to wonder and mystery.

Flexibility:

Have you heard the expression: ‘I am too old to change.’ It we accept this, it is like having our feet in concrete shoes, we become unable to move and slowly stagnate. When we are flexible, we develop an openness to discover, to appreciate wonder and mystery, and our life become interesting and alive.

May the coming year offer you moments to live the mystery of life.

Meanwhile Peace

Alf

January 1, 2012 in Ministry Team's Blog by

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