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September 2016

In a recent dream I was to give a presentation on the stages of dying.  I planned to focus on the 5 stages  that Elizabeth Kubler-Ross had written about in her book On Death and Dying (c. 1969).  Those stages  she addressed were denial, anger, bargaining, depression (mourning about the dying process/loss) and acceptance.   I also planned to use the song “Teach me about Dying…and I’ll teach you to live” by Deanna Edwards from her cassette Peacebird (c. 1974).

When Dr. Kubler-Ross did her research on death and dying, the dying process wasn’t much researched or discussed.  Around that time Deanna Edwards was writing songs addressing similar issues.

Since then many others have written books and music about dying, mourning and losses.  We all experience many kinds of dyings and deaths in our lives:  leaving home, losing a job, loss of dreams, health, pet, friendship to mention a few.  Each of us deals with these dyings in our own individual way, based on our life’s experiences and our personalities.

On waking I wondered about this dream.  It didn’t seem that the presentation on stages of dying were so much about physical death as about situations that feel like dying or deaths in our daily lives.

I see these stages not so much like moving from preschool through high school, but more as a spiral.  When we are dealing with losses sometimes we may be in denial. Or we may  be in depression or mourning the loss, or perhaps in some part of acceptance.  Another time we may feel anger at the loss or attempt to do some bargaining,  later coming to a deeper level of acceptance.  How we cope with the losses is determined by how important each loss is to us and how we have dealt with life’s other struggles.

By acknowledging our feelings as we face our losses, we not only can learn about deaths  and losses in our daily lives but grow in awareness of what it means to live each day at a time.

Reflecting on the stages of dying can be helpful for by looking at each of the stages, we may see where we are in our process.

We don’t forget what was important but somehow by letting it go, and not wishing it was still there, we can move towards some kind of restoration or acceptance and find a new normal.

Our prayer may be brief.

Comforting One, as we face these dyings in our daily lives, help us grow in awareness of what it means to live.  Remind us to take each moment at a time and that you are with us.  Fill us with your peace as we go through these losses in our lives.  Amen.

 

September 25, 2016 0 comment
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I was sitting quietly one Saturday morning, listening to sounds around the apartment complex.

One neighbor’s air conditioner is buzzing.

Another’s dogs are barking, howling and whining.

Birds are chirping off and on.

Then I became aware of the whispering winds.

Their soothing sounds of the waving breeze reminded me of musical chant with the phrasing louder and softer, flowing gently.

I remembered the psalm verse, “You make the winds your messengers…” (Ps. 104:4)

The message I hear this day is that God is here in sound and beauty.

My beautiful cat was lounging comfortably on my legs.  She stretched out with her chin on my knee.

Suddenly we both were surprised by my cell phone ringing.  I thought it was off so I’d have a quiet day.  I let it ring.  My cat put her head back on my knee and we continued to listen and enjoy the whispering winds and chirping birds.  I thought of the wonderful gift of being able to hear.  I offered this prayer.

God of Whispering Winds,

I thank you for the gift of hearing.

I praise you for the gentle breezes and all the sounds of life.

You give us a new start each day.

Thank you for the gift of this morning.  Amen.

September 20, 2016 0 comment
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Chosen by a Kitten

After my first pet, a much loved cat, died, I spent some time grieving her death.  When I felt ready, I made many trips to different shelters looking for an older cat to adopt.

One morning I stopped in a new shelter and sat in a room with several cats and a 6 month old kitten whom I ignored.  The older cats all ignored me.

Miss K, as she was called jumped on my lap and contentedly curled up and let me pet her.  Intrigued and not really wanting a kitten, I left.  I went to a couple other shelters again.  I didn’t find the “right” cat.  None of the cats really interacted with me.  I thought about Miss K and how she had chosen me that morning.

Later that afternoon I decided to return to the first shelter, thinking that if Miss K was still there, I’d adopt her, even though she was only 6 months old.  Since she was so friendly and social, I was sure one of the many families visiting the shelter would have adopted her.  But when I returned, there she was!  She again quickly jumped on my lap. My heart went out to her.

I thought of how God chose us, and often leads us in unknown ways.  Scriptures on God choosing us that came to mind were from John and Ephesians.  We read in  John 15:16; “It was not you who chose me, it was I who chose you to go forth and bear fruit…” I John 3:2  “Dearly beloved, we are God’s children now…:”

Sometimes I forget God has chosen me and each one of us to go forth and bear fruit.  Going forth and bearing fruit might mean going out to others.  On the other hand, it might mean sitting and praying quietly as I gently pet my kitten.

This gives me the opportunity to reflect on Ephesians 1:4 “God chose us…before the word began, to be holy and blameless in God’s sight, to be full of love.”  Miss K chose me to give her a loving home and to love me in return.  Loving all of God’s creation, human and other, is another way of bearing fruit and sharing God’s love.

I invite you to explore how you are God’s chosen one bearing fruit and sharing God’s love.

September 5, 2016 0 comment
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