Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How Not to Be a Spirit Killer

With the economy, the weather, school having started, no Spring Break or holidays yet in sight, I noticed in the voices of those around me, a dullness, a sadness with no origin other than human nature.  In this season of ordinary time, it can be hard to summon the joyful way in which we are to live out every moment, waiting in "joyful hope."

This is not a call for Polly-Anna Enthusiasm about everything, or the equally shallow attempt to cheerleader up with people run through life as though loneliness, listlessness, suffering, hardship, economic troubles, sickness, anxiety and pain exist. 

This is a reminder that we are called to address those same scourges and sufferings in our lives and those around us, with the gifts supplied by the Holy Spirit.  We're not supposed to sit on the sideline and complain that things stink or it's hard or this hurts.  We're supposed to get up and make things better, easier, kinder, more beautiful, to wipe the faces and assist with the crosses that we encounter.  

How do we do this?

1) Pray.  We do not know the hidden pain held by every other person we encounter today, but all of them ache.  Every one of them holds something they do not share, which digs into their heart, pierces it, and makes them bleed.  Pray for them all.

2) Listen.  We live in a talking age.  We blog. We tweet.  We update our status and we email.  Actually giving someone face time and listening; that is a gift in this age when we all pretend that everything else is more important than anyone.  Stop multi-tasking and sit.  Be present. Listen. 

3) Help.  Make a bed.  Fix a snack.  Phone a friend.  Do something for someone other than yourself.  It's not make time for me time; it's time to make time for others. 

4) Create beauty deliberately.  Cut flowers and put them in a vase.  Add a bit of fresh herbs to the chicken dinner, or use a table cloth to make the evening just a touch more lush.  Change the sheets, paint a touch of the season into the day by scent, by color, by touch.   Lovely sounds, smells and sights are balm to the soul. 

5) Touch.  Give a hug, undeserved and unsolicited, to your children, a back rub to your spouse, and smile with your whole face. It will make a difference, even to the older ones.

6) Turn off machines.  I know the irony of blogging this, but turn off the TV, the radio, the computer, the phone.   Silence allows for better conversations.   It also eliminates sources of violence, anger, wrath, insults and agitation.

7) Play.  We forget to do this in our daily lives. The temptation to schedule ourselves into oblivion such that the weekend comes and goes and while we did the shopping, made it to the two birthday parties and dropped off the dry cleaning and got hair cuts, we don't play is a constant threat in today's hyper vigilant 24-7 update what you are doing world. 

8) Sleep.  Get 8 hours.  Decide this matters for everyone in your family.  It will make the world much less jagged if you aren't feeling ripped raw with fatigue.

9) Forgive.  We all hold things that turn our insides darker; hard words, forgotten acts, slights, imaginary and real, 1000 scourges assault us daily from the world at large via politics, the news, a neighbor, a friend, a bumper sticker, a blogger.  We can hold onto each of these cuts, or we can apply the greatest balm to the spirit known, seeking and giving forgiveness.  If Christ could forgive us on the cross, what exactly can we hold a grudge over that is greater than that? 

10) Serve.  In this world, somewhere is someone who needs a gift you have to offer, your enthusiasm, your humor, your good shoulder to cry on, your understanding face.  If you are a light to others, your spirit will be lighter as a result.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

balm... we both used that word in separate but similar contexts today - within minutes of each other.
And that is what you and your writings are to me, my friend.
Thank you...

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