There’s a spirit of renewal in the air for our bloggers. Some of it is chosen, and other parts are forced. Some is welcome, other things much less so. Near the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, our writers are finding all kinds of other reformations in their own lives.
Rebecca at Desert Sojourn is working on reshaping her responses to the hateful things she reads in public conversation. Social media, the airwaves, and the comments section offer a stream of meanness, without a desire to understand each other. She is viewing her responses as a form of spiritual discipline. “A recent spiritual discipline I have engaged is resisting the urge to respond immediately to things that I read on-line, especially when negatively triggered by the words or visuals. Beyond restraining my fingers from firing off, I am understanding that my thoughts must be equally tempered.”
Michelle Torigan is praying about the ways grief remakes our lives. Mourning a recent loss, and contemplating the ways grief changes the most ordinary days, she prays: “And I am reminded again that grief is always a lifelong journey. Completion of this process doesn’t happen here. It’s not a destination. Overcoming it will never happen. There is nothing to win, and I will not get a medal when surviving.”
Moving starts a new chapter of our lives, bringing an odd mixture of anticipation, anger and sadness into our days. At Soul Story Writer, Linda Anderson-Little is thinking about how her upcoming move will recreate her life. She’s seeking “emotional sobriety” in this time, determined to welcome the range of feelings and experience each one, instead of numbing them with Netflix or shopping. “Yet when we allow ourselves to just experience them, those feelings often dissipate more quickly. I still find this surprising. I’m afraid if I actually feel them, my emotions will be erupting all day, getting bigger and never going away. But what really happens is the opposite: When I just have a good cry, express my fear and anxiety surrounding these changes to a trusted friend, yell at God in the shower, and say “thank you” for the beauty (that I will miss) in the backyard, the intensity passes and I am freed to move on to the next task (and the feeling it will evoke)!”
Ready to remake today? Elaine at The Edge offers us this inspiration:
SMILE *** Often; THINK **** Positively
GIVE *** Thanks; LAUGH *** Loudly
LOVE *** Others; DREAM *** Big
And Jan Edmiston at A Church for Starving Artists is giving out Play Dough to Trick-or-Treaters, and thinking about how the tiny tubs are a good image for a church on the move. “We find ourselves constantly reforming who we are as the Church – not because God’s message changes but because we are changing, now more than ever. What used to be true (the earth was flat) shifted (the earth was round) and it’s still shifting (the earth is egg-shaped and threatens to be scrambled by nuclear war.) Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy. On my best days, I find deep joy in neon-colored Play-Doh, in the color combinations and the smell and the feel. I love the little container with the snap on lid. If only things were this simple.” But because it’s not, “Let’s continue to reform the Church for the love of God and for the sake of the world God made. It’s a world in trouble, but we have the power to change it.”
What is shifting in your life these days, forming and re-forming? What are you re-creating, willingly or unwillingly? We would love to hear your experiences in the comments section below.
Mary Austin is the pastor of Westminster Church of Detroit, a diverse Presbyterian church. She is trying to reshape herself into someone who has good physical balance through Pilates, and finding that one kind of balance leads to others. She blogs from time to time at Stained Glass in the City.