Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sanctuary Spots

Psalm 8:1 1 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.

In my ongoing frenetic search for peace and serenity in my daily life, (what??) I do try to find “sanctuary spots” in which to breath, reflect and relish the moment. Stop laughing, I really do! Keep it up, and I will (with amazing serenity) ask you to lean closer to your computer screen so I can slap you!

Breathe… breathe…

Okay, as I was saying… I am learning (operative word here) to discover tiny escapes throughout my day in which to enjoy my everyday life (thank you, Joyce Meyer). Some days I’m like a little kid who finds a quarter on the sidewalk – yippee! A treasure! Other days I’m like the senior gentleman trolling the beach at 5:30 as he misses his mark on finding anything in the sand with his ever-present metal detector, grumbling to himself as he goes home frustrated and empty-handed.

But this morning…. ahhh… it was one of “those” moments. Dashing through my morning routine, I placidly began my commute. Did I say placidly? Hmmm… perhaps not the most accurate description, but I digress! I was on the road again (thank you, Willie Nelson). It must be closer to spring, because at long last I wasn’t driving in the black shadows of half past dark-thirty.

As I drove down the highway, my breath was taken away by the swirling colors of the rising sun. Blues, grays, hues of lavender, purple, peach and rose danced and entwined like silk ribbons on a warm breeze. It was as if God was surprising me with a morning gift, saying “Here, I made this just for you!” It truly was one of those magnificent moments. Brief, sweet, and wonderful.

My day is now in full-throttle mania, but I am smiling because that commuter memory is today’s “happy place” I can revisit again and again (thank you, God).

Monday, February 2, 2009


I am a woman who has survived her first colonoscopy. I deserve chocolate. I deserve flowers. I will deserve them again in March, because this one didn't "fly" and I have to have it done again. Imagine my joy! How will I sleep until then???

Last week, to cheer and support me, one of my friends sent me an article by one of my favorite writers, Dave Barry. On this auspicious occasion, it seems more than appropriate to share it with anyone reading here.



Psalm 37:5 (The Message) “Open up before God, keep nothing back…”

In my Psychology of Stress class this week, there was a quote from the Greek philosopher Epictetus, who wrote that death was a “common consequence of chronic perturbation”. I looked up the word perturbation, and found that it meant:

a. The state of being perturbed; agitation.
b. A small change in a physical system.
c. Physics & Astronomy Variation in a designated orbit, as of a planet, resulting from the influence of one or more external bodies.

Well today I’m a citizen of my own little perturbation nation. I feel agitated from the inside out, as if I took all my emotions and tossed them in the hard and fast agitation cycle of my washing machine. They just keep slopping and spilling and milling around, going nowhere.

Being “perturbed” does make a real change in your physical system. It makes you want to jump out of your skin, you either can’t sit still or you veg out in front of the boob tube like a zombie. Everyone is on your last nerve, and screeching their nails on the blackboard of your soul. Your brain doesn’t seem to function clearly, and you feel all jumbled up inside. You find all sorts of unhealthy, unsmart and negative ways to ease your stress instead of stopping and dealing with it effectively.

Most significantly, my orbit around the Son has been knocked off kilter – the last thing I feel like doing is praying or reading my Bible. I get mad at God (duh, see last statement about not thinking clearly), mad at myself, and I don’t want to be influenced by external bodies, either (like family or friends or for that matter anybody on earth). I just want to run away (off orbit) and hide.

My textbook says stress follows a predictable route, the “stress-response pathway”. Well, I don’t like being predictable, and I don’t like this pathway. I don’t like turning into a grumpy little gnome/hermit, as comfortable as that is for me. And I don’t want to run away from God. If I can’t find my peace in Him, how will I be able to deal with stress anyplace else? And certainly, the last thing I want on my gravestone is the phrase “Died of Chronic Perturbation”!

So, even though I don’t feel like it (at all), I will choose to sit with Him and talk with Him about this day and all that has transpired. I won’t put on any false fronts (like He would be fooled anyway), and I will be real with Him, crabbiness and all. I will seek His face, and His grace and comfort and mercy and guidance. Only then will my perturbation turn into inspiration, and hopefully someday, maturation.

Oh yeah, and I’ll remember to take a few deep breaths and count to ten, and try to find something funny in this day as well.