Reflecting on tragedy and Hope

Like me, you probably enjoyed the month of June with all the sunshine but then our grass was turning brown unless we watered it often. Now each day is filled with rain and the Fox River will fill up again and the grass and plants will flourish. As part of nature, we too need the sun and the rain to grow. Where do we get the nourishment, we need for our lives? Pascal once said, “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of each man/woman which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only God the Creator.”

It often happens late at night in the quietness of our soul when we have time from a busy day to reflect on our lives and where we are heading next. Each of us is born for a purpose to make a difference in the world and to family, friends and those who pull at our heart strings. Right now, my heart strings go out to the victims of the building collapse in Miami-Dade. We may ask why? “Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered. “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, NO! But unless you repent, you too will also perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all of the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, NO! But unless you repent, you too will perish.” Luke 13:1-4

Our lives are but a vapor. “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. For you are just a vapor that appears for a little while, and then vanishes away.” James 4:14. But God through his word and through his son, gives us hope for each day while we inhabit planet Earth. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. Following him gives hope that whatever calamity comes, we can trust him to hold the future. Jesus understands calamity, he hung on a cross for our sins and paid the price for our eternal freedom. We can live without fear if we repent and follow the resurrected Christ.

So, as you reflect on your life, open your heart and ask God to show you He exists and has a purpose for your life. Then watch as He unveils the blindness you once experienced. He talks to you through nature, through life experiences and through his word. “The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; It has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold on me.” Martin Luther

Down on my knees

We had very few people on my last scheduled volunteer day at Good Shepherd Hospital. We began dismantling the vaccine clinic and bringing it back to its pre-clinic state as a conference/ educational center. One of the jobs was to remove the blue tape on the cement floor used to direct the patients to registration and to the vaccine clinic. Getting down on my knees was not too difficult for me since I stay active, walking, exercising and riding my bike. But my finger nails were really taking a beating while I continued pulling up the stubborn tape. I began conversing with a lovely volunteer named, Judy, who apologized for not helping due to physical restraints.  “No problem,” I said.  I enjoyed conversing with her about her daughter working in Norway and her mother in a nursing home. At one point, I said, “Well here I am on my knees; Is there anything I can pray about for you?”  “I pray all the time,” she said. And then our sweet fellowship began.   I told her as a kid in the Lutheran church, I had memorized prayers like the ‘Our Father’. I would try to say it at bedtime, but I always fell asleep before the end of the prayer. Then I’d feel guilty.  As a child, I only knew Jesus as an historical figure and not as someone who wanted to have a close relationship with me.  Now I understand how much he loves each of us and wants us to come to Him with everything. He has created an empathy in my heart for others like my new friend, Judy.  “How has prayer connected you to others and deepened your relationship?”

volunteered at the clinic from February to the end of May