Tag Archives: Spirituality

Getting Up The Next Day …

“It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.”

Vince Lombardi  As quoted in Into the Gauntlet (2010) pg. 181

Well, it might be a little about HOW you get up too …

In one of those little life coincidences, this quotation comes in the order the day after I learn of a dear friend’s cancer.   My thoughts over the past day have been much about how we deal with what life presents to us.

We will get knocked down … as sure as God made little green apples.

No surprises there.  Life has an apparent randomness to it and events happen without notice, without reason, and without checking first to see who deserves a better deal.

I hate this phrase, but it fits:   “It is what it is.”

Railing about the unfairness of something does little to address the reality.  Being upset may feel good for a while, but that gets old rather quickly.    Despair only leads down and that spiral does not end well.

So how to get back up when you are lying flat on your back with the wind knocked out of you?

Here’s one prescription from another dear friend and the husband:

“In the meantime we are focusing on healing prayer/meditation, right thinking, trusting God, and giving attention to the many avenues of health and support that are so very important. Thanks in advance for your love and care. It means so much in a time such as this.”

The simple faith, acceptance, and positive attitude I see in these words works for me.  If you are lying on the floor and struggling for breath over what life has handed you, maybe they will help you some as well.

Hurting and looking for comfort in the Heartland ….

John

“Help Me Help You, Rod …”

“God helps them that help themselves.”

Benjamin Franklin
This proverb, definitely spoken by Benjamin Franklin, yes, but also by others farther back in history. As a proverb, it is extremely hard to find first usage, but is this thought is definitely older than Franklin himself, who did popularize it somewhat for the United States.

Okay, let’s deconstruct this one a bit, shall we?

The Actors and Functions:

God, AKA Supreme Being

God is our representation of a higher being of various descriptions who provides the basic guidance for how we live our lives.   Whatever human incarnation of this higher power you believe in and follow will decide to some degree how you live your life.

The problem:  God forgot to include a universal decoder in the box, so we interpret what we think we see in what we perceive or wish God wants us to do.

NOTE:  The above sentiment is not from the Christian Bible, the Koran, the Talmud, or any other religious manuscript.  The gist of it does appear in many religious writings, to my understanding, but not the words.

Those Who Need Help

This would be all of us at some points in our lives.

I am often surprised how some use this to justify reducing or eliminating assistance programs, based on the idea that people in need should be helping themselves instead of receiving help.

I think this attitude misses the point.  Telling people to help themselves is not a bad thing.  In my opinion, we should always look for initiative and motivation from those we help.

When we provide help to those who passively accept it and who do not attempt to help themselves, we enable them to continue in their passive role and retard their growth toward self-reliance.

… Well, except for those on respirators or in comas, or stuck so deep in poverty that they have no resources to dig out with, or those in the grip of mental disease, or those displaced by cataclysmic natural or political events, or those who trusted an organization or a person with their life’s savings, or the victims of stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination, or …. well, you get the point.

Those Who Can Help

This would be all of us at some points in our lives.

What’s that, you say?   The passage only mentions God and those who are supposed to be helping themselves?  Hmmm … does this mean those of us who do not need help need not concern ourselves?  I’m guessing “No” here.

St. Theresa of Avila said it best:

Christ has no body now on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours, yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion is to look out to the earth, yours are the feet by which He is to go about doing good and yours are the hands by which He is to bless us now.

St Teresa of Avila

No hands but yours” ~ sounds like we all have work to do.  Similar injunctions exist in the major religions.

So, for the practical purpose of giving and receiving help, we are ALL on the hook.  Heck, you don’t even have to believe in a God to recognize the basic message here:

Help each other with compassion and love ~ it beats the alternative and makes everyone’s lives a little better.

Trying to figure out what to do in the Heartland ….

John

Who Do I Say I Am?

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” 

Teresa Calcutta  Where There Is Love, There Is God: A Path to Closer Union with God and Greater Love for Others (2010, pg.330)
 

Mother Teresa is one of our highest, if not THE standard for selfless giving and altruism.  Her life reflects a devotion to the needs of others which most of us cannot even imagine in our own.  She toiled beyond the “front lines” and ministered to people whose daily existence is almost unknown to us.

She is a true saint, even if the Church has not quite managed to finish the process of beatification.   Some things do not need the official seal to be so.

Another of her quotes is telling in how she ranks various things which we all use to identify ourselves:

By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to the world. As to my heart, I belong entirely to the Heart of Jesus.”  (Wikipedia)

It seems fitting to post this on Sunday, a holy day, in many religions.  Mother Teresa made a telling distinction between her formal religious identities, and her guiding values.  Some things transcend other things.  The order of listing is not incidental or accidental … the ordering is intentional and very thoughtful.

When our actions and our spiritual beliefs are in congruence, we are better equipped to lead lives of purpose.  If you are of a bent to look at the spiritual side of your existence,use her format to describe yourself.  I’ll go first:

By blood, I am Australian/English. By citizenship, an American. By faith, I am a Disciple.   As to my calling, I help others learn and grow. As to my heart, I am committed to equality, compassion, and justice.”

Not as easy to write as I had imagined toward the end.  This format is deceptively straightforward and there lies a snag.  To distill who you are from the obvious to that which you alone know is more difficult than we might like to think.

I might have to revisit periodically and update.  I cannot be Mother Teresa or emulate her life, but I need to look at what I can do in my own.

Now it’s your turn to think about who you are and what you are about… find a quiet place, some time and write it down … then reflect on what you have written.  

I have to get busy and make what I THINK I am into what I ACTUALLY am.

Considering how to live into my image of myself in the Heartland ….

John