Reflections On The Journey 

Subtitle

Meditations

Meeting God

Posted on August 11, 2019 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (0)

How will you meet God today?


It is no surprise that I don’t understand God. He is God, after all, and I am not! But there are parts of God that I CAN understand, and those are the parts that in my humanness I can recognize. Today I’d like to share with you how I meet God.


God is everywhere. God is in everything I can see, and in everything I cannot see. And every day I meet up with God in more ways than I can count.


Here are a few examples: In the morning I meet Him in the bright rays streaking in between the blinds. I feel Him in the warmth of the sun and the chill of the wind. God is present in each person I encounter throughout the day and in the vast marvels of creation. I believe He is even present in the things constructed by humans.


Since God surrounds me at all times, I constantly meet Him. However, I often fail to recognize Him.


I find it hard to meet God when things are not going the way that I planned – He can be a master of disguise! When I am watching my grandkids and the toddler is constantly saying “no!” in defiance and the older children are not doing what they were told, I get frustrated and don’t see God. When I don’t get recognition for a task I worked on really hard, I wonder why God seemed to let me down. And when I see shootings so often in public places, I wonder how I can meet God in the midst of this pain.


When I am in the midst of a trying situation, it helps me to think of something positive that might some out of the situation. In the examples I listed above, perhaps God is telling me I need to learn better patience with the children, or maybe I should work on humility. Or perhaps God is working somehow through the responders and the family members of the victims in a way that I can’t yet see.


It’s easy to say that I need to see God all the time, but it’s harder to actually do it. I may have to look very closely to see God in the crying baby, the homeless man on the street corner or the disheveled person ahead of me in the checkout line.


But I am working on being open to meeting God in everything, good and bad. He is many things! And I give thanks that He meets me in so many ways.


Do you think about your meetings with God? Perhaps you might choose to think about how you will act when you meet Him today. I encourage you to be on the lookout for God as you go about your activities. You could say hello and thank Him for everything He has given to you. You may be amazed at the blessings you will receive.


Today I have a gift for you – a poem I wrote about five years ago.


I Meet My God


I meet my God in prayer because I believe that He is everything.

I meet my Creator, who has given me life and instilled in me the deep desire to know Him more.

I meet my Parent, who feeds me with Word and Bread and shelters me from harm.

I meet my Confessor, who chastises me gently but offers healing love and consolation.

I meet my Teacher, who guides me on my spiritual journey and corrects my path.

I meet my Gardener, who nourishes me with the water of life and trims the weeds from my path.

I meet my Healer, who brushes away my tears and lifts me in my brokenness.

I meet my Friend, who converses with me and places a gentle arm around my shoulder.

I meet my Lover, who captivates me with His breathless love and gifts of grace.

I meet my Savior, who has given Himself fully for me no matter what I have done.

I meet my God in prayer because I will never stop seeking His love.


Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2019 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Mountains

Posted on May 27, 2019 at 7:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Have you had a mountain-top experience?


I recently returned from a trip to Colorado. My husband and I stayed at a mountain resort, and to get there we had to drive through the Rocky Mountains. It seemed each time we went up and over a pass, snow fell lightly or fog covered the road, and we had to be careful driving. But persistence allowed us to cross the pass and make it to our resort nestled among the hills.


We also drove up Pike’s Peak one day. We could only go as far as mile marker 16 due to snow and ice on the road above, but still it was quite the experience. The drive up was rather scary as we negotiated the tight switchbacks and passed other vehicles on the somewhat narrow road. But the day was sunny and we stopped a few times to admire the view. We were able to see for miles. With wind whipping briskly around us, we didn’t stay outside the car very long at our last stop (at 12,780 feet) – but long enough to throw a few snowballs and take some photos.


I have been fortunate to see and ascend many mountains over the years. I have been on mountains in several U.S. states and in Canada. On a trip to Nepal we were blessed to view the Himalayas, and I got to glimpse Mt. Everest from the plane. It is awe-inspiring to think of the forces of nature that created these earthen monuments. Millions of years and just-right conditions pushed up the rocks to create such magnificent formations.


Sometimes people talk of “mountain-top” experiences – experiences where their eyes were opened to something new and wondrous or something momentous occurred. The Bible is rife with these – think about Moses receiving the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai and Jesus’ Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor. You have probably heard many people talk about similar experiences in their own lives.


I’ve had some mountain-top experiences too. Last fall I was privileged to celebrate mass with my tour group on Mt. Tabor. Standing near the spot where Jesus and his disciples stood was a bit overwhelming. And several years ago I took a trip to Medjugorje and spent time on Apparition Hill and climbed Cross Mountain. In each of those places I felt God at work within me. It’s hard to explain exactly what transpired at each of those holy places, but on each mountain I became more connected with God, the Holy Spirit or Mary in some special way.


Although not all of us will be able to take trips that will lead us up a physical mountain during our lifetime, we each have times in our lives when we can have a mountain-top experience. Sometimes it may come when we struggle with something, and the way poses a challenge like a climb up a mountain. At some point in this journey we may learn something new that we would not have learned had we not gone through the challenge. Or you may have such an experience while at prayer.


Have you had a mountain-top experience? If so, I encourage you to spend a little time this week and recall that event – the circumstances around it, and what you learned from it. If you can’t remember one right now, it’s probable that God has something planned for you in the future - you may just need to wait for it!


My gift to you this week is a poem I wrote in Medjugorje while on Apparition Hill. I took a walk by myself one afternoon up the path of the Stations of The Cross, and the words came as I sat on a rock overlooking the rough path I had just journeyed. I hope you will find some blessing from it this week.


Apparition Hill

I climb the hill in the gray of the dawn.

The stony pathway is my journey in life.

Rough rocks protrude everywhere, the craggy, sharp points of sins.


I pick up one of the rocks, a burden from my past that I carry with me.

I will carry it now and feel its weight in my hand,

Pressing against my flesh as my failures press in on me.


The path of my life is not smooth nor easy.

The jagged rocks of my sins are everywhere,

And I fumble as I try to avoid them in the grayness of my soul.


I stumble and fall because I cannot see past my failures.

Yet I continue on, climbing ever higher,

Struggling through my pain and sorrows to reach you.


Wisps of light appear over the hill, and gradually the path becomes clearer.

The sad, painful story of my past is laid before me.

I pause at each station, catching my breath, reflecting on my life.


O Mary, you came here to call us to conversion.

Help me now to place my burdens at your feet.

May my sins be lifted from me by your gracious hands.


May your peace rush into my heart and envelop my soul with joy.

And when the time comes for me to descend this mountain,

May I live that joy and peace.


Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2019 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Breathe

Posted on May 20, 2019 at 1:40 PM Comments comments (0)

How often do you stop and just breathe?


Everyone of us breathes, all the time. We would not be alive if we didn’t breathe! Oxygen is needed for life. Yet breathing is something we seldom thing about, since the capacity to breathe is “hard-wired” into our bodies. God created that within us!


Whenever I get a cold, I become very aware of my breathing. It is challenging to struggle to get in enough air when my nasal passages are clogged or my lungs are congested. Fortunately I have a few tricks I use to help my breathing when this happens, and I am very grateful when I can breathe normally again! And I am currently dealing with a bout of bronchitis, and I have become very aware of how a person with asthma must feel trying to take in breaths.


People who meditate or wish to relax often focus on their breathing. They use voluntary breath control by inhalation, retention and exhalation which is performed quickly or slowly, depending on the need.


Singers too are usually quite conscious of their breathing. They need enough air to sustain their notes, and breath can also be used to impart texture to their voices. Taking deep breaths from the diaphragm is encouraged to develop strong breath techniques. This does not come naturally for me, so I must be very mindful of my breathing when I am singing.


I have found it very beneficial to stop periodically and just breathe. I don’t follow any particular meditation techniques, but I have found mindful breathing to be a good way to help me relax. I can also use my breathing to reconnect with God. One tool I use is on Christian radio - whenever I hear the song “Breathe” by Jonny Diaz I try to stop and focus on my breathing. The refrain goes like this: “Breathe, just breathe; Come and rest at my feet; And be, just be; Chaos calls but all you really need is to just breathe.” Yes, just breathe.


If you have not stopped to just breathe for a while, maybe you’d like to give it a try. It’s not hard, and you might find some real benefits and blessings from just breathing. Focusing on your breath can help you reconnect with God, too. If you need a little guidance in this, you may enjoy this reflection that I wrote this week.


Breathe


Be still and breathe.


Breathe in.

Take in a deep cleansing breath,

Push aside the world for a while.


Breathe out.

Let go of the distractions of life.

Release the tension pent up inside.


Breathe in the Spirit.

Let Him fill your being.

Let Him give you grace.


Breathe out your worries.

Drain the fears from your mind.

Give up your anxiety about something.


Breathe in Love.

Sense Love’s warmth enter and permeate your flesh.

Experience the sweet tingle of grace.


Breathe out.

Let the feelings of disquiet leave

Place your problems into God’s hands.


Breathe in.

Let God’s spirit infuse your soul.

Feel His calm inspire you.


Be still and breathe.


Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2019 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Journey

Posted on February 18, 2019 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (0)


How is your journey progressing?


Since my website is titled “Reflections on the Journey, it seems appropriate that I spend a little time talking about our journeys in life. I have to say I’ve had a pretty interesting journey so far! I am in my 63rd trip around the sun, and I have done many exciting things and visited lots of fantastic places. My journey has been filled with love, sorrow, joy, anger, frustration, and probably every other emotion that exists.


When I emerged from the warm womb in the early hours of that cold December morning so many years ago, I had no idea what awaited me. I grew, learned to walk and speak, attended school, and learned how to make friends. My world was happy and secure. I didn’t know that one day I would be faced with some difficult challenges, some of which would severely test my faith.


My journey has taken me on lovely lanes lined with the colorful blossoms of love. I have traveled dark, scary trails searching desperately for a light to lead me to safer roads. At times I found myself navigating frantic freeways, unsure of myself yet speeding along with the flow, and at the same time desperately searching for an off ramp. And I’ve enjoyed strolling the serene streets that marked the peaceful times.


I have been forced to clamber up steep hills of pain and I have selfishly skidded down sin’s slippery slopes. I’ve waded through murky waters of illness and fought my way through dark forests of the unknown. When I finally had the opportunity to emerge into the sweet fields of retirement, I felt I was able to take a breather and regroup before taking a new, easier pathway.


My journey will end someday, but I don’t know when that will be or what it will look like. God may ask me to face a long illness or take me quickly in an accident. Only He knows.


But I know that I need to make the most of my journey while I am on it. I may not be able to avoid the thunder and lightning, but I can put up an umbrella and slosh forward though the puddles. Fierce snowstorms might whirl around me and impede my path, but I can wrap myself in a thick coat of faith and trudge ahead anyway. And when I encounter others making their way on their journeys, I can lend them a hand to help them over the rocks blocking their route.


We cannot control what obstacles we will face on our journeys. Some of us will experience more challenging roads than others. There may be times when we can find a detour to help avoid some of the challenges, but other times we not have a choice except to slog through the muck and scale the boulders. And on our entire journey we can lean on friends and even more importantly, place our trust in God that He will lead us in the right direction.


How is your journey progressing? If you are in a sunlit pasture of calm, thank God for that! If you are facing dreary clouds that darken your path, maybe saying a few prayers will help. And if you are really mired down on a dark road filled with mud and rocks, maybe you need to reach out a hand to the others in your life. Wherever you are in your journey, know that you are not alone. God is beside you, even if it may be hard to see Him.


And one final thought - no matter where you are in your journey, I encourage you every once in a while to take a few moments to pause and savor wherever it is that you find yourself. Take a little time to reflect on where you are and what surrounds you, and then when it is time, move on.


My gift for you today is a piece I wrote some years ago. Its title is the one that inspired the title of my first book. May you find it inspiring as well.


Reflections on the Journey


The old, weathered bench beckoned to me as I walked along the trail. I gratefully sat down in contented silence. In every direction all I could see were trees - some tall, reaching out their branches trying to grasp the clouds; others bent and broken, fragments of their former majesty; still others tangled and forming a secret web.


Overhead, the thick canopy of the maples’ lush green and gold finery provided a welcome respite from the October sunlight. As I watched, the splendored leaves began to respond to the gentle prodding of the autumn breeze. Most moved freely, joyfully... yet a few resisted the creative change, until, finally, they reluctantly joined the others in their shimmering dance.


I felt my heart beating strongly, rhythmically, in tandem with the softly swaying branches. The wind’s persistent whisper kissed my cheeks, and I felt a gentle stirring within my chest; something that touched my soul quite lightly yet unmistakably. I felt suspended in spiritual contentment, and I prayed.


A distant cawing punctuated my repose, and I began to focus on other small sounds about me. The twittering of a lonesome bird and the rustling of leaves left behind by a scampering squirrel were heightened by my new sense of awareness.


The autumn breeze picked up, and brusquely registered as a cold sting on my flushed cheek. My hands, though nestled in my jacket pockets, had started becoming numb, so reluctantly I got up to move forward on my journey.


My feet brushed crisply through the crumpled leaves that lined the trail. A fragrant pine tree off to one side captured my attention, and I smiled, marveling at its intricate leaves, resembling fine blades of grass meticulously braided by the angels. Hundreds of miniature pine cones, looking like delicate brown rosebuds, were cradled in the splendid branches. I sensed the hand of God.


A broken, withered leaf fell onto my hand. What unseen trials had caused the myriad of holes and ragged edges on this leaf, silencing whatever remnant it had of its former life? It had fallen, unnoticed by the world, but the loving, caring eye of God had seen. And so had I.


Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2019 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Courage

Posted on February 4, 2019 at 8:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Do you have the courage to go on?


One of my favorite movies is “The Wizard of Oz.” Every time I watch it I laugh at the cowardly lion who is fearful of everything, even his own tail! He desires courage, as many of us do.


I don’t have to face dangerous things too often, thank goodness. But sometimes we humans are faced with problems that seem insurmountable, and it’s hard to find the courage to persevere. Some of these issues are minor in the grand scheme of things, like when I face writer’s block while working on my next project. Other problems, though, can be quite serious. It might be the struggle to conceive a child, facing the fight with an addiction, or having to live with an incurable physical illness. When faced with such a situation, it may take all that one has to find the courage to not give up.


Like many of you, I have dealt with serious challenges in my life which required courage to go on. Going through my divorce years ago was a tough one. Some days all I could do was just numbly get up, drop the boys at daycare and go to work. And not too long ago, I sat beside my husband for several months as he struggled with depression, watching and waiting, uncertain what the future would bring. And I know many people struggle daily with losses and illnesses and the emotional strain is so great.


It saddens me when someone is unable to get the help they need and they sink into numbness or succumb to the problem. Yet it gladdens me when I know those who dig deep instead for the courage to hang on, somehow finding humor in their situation or at least making every effort to continue forward.


Courage is needed to get through the tough times, but sometimes courage is hard to come by. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do for people who are wrestling to find courage. I do pray for them, and I try to reach out to those stuck at home or in the hospital. But it can be so hard to know what to say to encourage them. Will a visit from me give them courage to persevere, or just remind them that I am able to get around while they cannot?


Napoleon Bonaparte is quoted as saying “Courage isn't having the strength to go on - it is going on when you don't have strength.” I think that may be the key. Even if we don’t feel like it, we go on. Courage to go on can come in the form of a hand that continues to hold yours as long as it takes to get through the situation. Courage to go on can come from prayer – your own and the prayers of others who intercede with God for help.


And courage comes from within, even when we don’t know it. Courage requires us to rearrange our disorganized thinking. It requires us to examine our core and our heart and not look for something from the outside to change us. The cowardly lion in The Wizard of Oz found that out… when he wanted to help his friends, that’s when he found the courage to stand up to the witch.


Several years ago I wrote a poem for a friend who is dealing with MS – a disease which has robbed her body of most ability to function. Yet she goes on with courage each day. If you or a loved one is struggling with something right now, and perhaps you could use some courage, maybe this poem will bless you.


The Grace of Courage


I've marveled so for many years;

I've never seen such faith!

A gentle soul, a quiet heart

Who's filled with God's sweet grace.


You've suffered so throughout the years,

You've come to know such pain,

A constant battle you must face

Through so many days of rain.


It must be often hard to pray,

You wonder, why, God, why?

Why let me suffer day by day?

I cannot help but cry.


But somehow, deep within your soul,

You noticed through your tears

That Someone sweet was standing by

To calm each of your fears.


You cling to Him with fragile hope,

You cry inside His arms,

He wraps you close beside His breast

And shelters you from harms.


Though from your pain you're not released,

Still struggling day to day,

A smile can touch your lips and soul

Because you've found His Way.


For He has given you a grace

Of courage, steady and true,

To patiently bear whatever He gives

Until He says it's through.


Yes, you, my friend, are very blessed

Though you may question how;

God graciously has granted you

The grace of courage for now.


One final note: Proverbs 28:1 says “Have a STRONG and COURAGEOUS day!”


Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2019 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

The Rainbow Bridge

Posted on November 26, 2018 at 8:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Have you ever lost a beloved pet?


I had a tough day last Tuesday - my cat Sugar passed over to the Rainbow Bridge. If you aren’t aware, the term “Rainbow Bridge” comes from a lovely poem (author unknown) that imagines what it is like when a beloved pet dies.


Even though I knew Sugar was old (we estimate she was 18 in human years), and her time was probably coming, it still hit me hard. She was the pet I had owned the longest and so she had provided me with the most comfort over the years. Although she had her “moments” (like throwing up on the carpet an hour before company arrived), over all she was a beloved companion.


In her younger years, Sugar loved to chase a feather attached to a springy piece of wire. A catnip mouse could provide hours of entertainment. We had some real mice at our old house, and she dispatched most of them for us. As she got older, she spent less time playing and more time sleeping. Her sense of smell seemed to diminish, and she developed arthritis and cataracts so sometimes it took her a while to find the treat I tossed onto the floor.


Sugar knew that a suitcase meant I was going to be gone for a while. She would sit beside it and give me that “look” and meow. When I returned from my trip, she would loudly meow at me for the longest time, at first scolding me for leaving her, and then thanking me for coming back. She wouldn’t be angry very long, for as soon as I sat down, she would be up in my lap purring.


Our little cat could sit on someone’s lap for hours. Whenever I was on the couch, she was there. If my laptop was occupying HER spot, she would wedge herself between my body and the laptop to let me know that SHE was more important than the PC. Often, I had to forcibly extract her from my legs in order to get up!


When I wasn’t on the couch, Sugar would occupy another of her favorite spots: the back of the couch in front of the picture window, the seat of the rocking chair, or right beside the pillow on my bed. On the days when I was ill, she would lie beside me in bed keeping watch. Sugar had a good “motor” too – the louder her purr, the more contented she was. And why pay for an exfoliation treatment when Sugar would do it with her rough tongue for free?


Our pets can provide us with much love and companionship. They may encourage to get more exercise or calm us when we are facing anxiety. And the loss of a pet affects each person differently. For some it is not a big deal, while for others it may seem like their whole world has collapsed. I guess I fall in between these extremes… Sugar certainly was an important part of my life, and there is now a tiny hole in my heart. I will miss her.


If you have lost a beloved pet, I send my sympathies to you. I hope that you are blessed with fond memories of the love that he or she brought into your home. Always keep a special place in your heart for your pet. My gift to you today is that lovely poem, “The Rainbow Bridge.”


The Rainbow Bridge - Author Unknown


There is a bridge connecting Heaven and Earth.

It is called the Rainbow Bridge because of all its beautiful colors.

Just this side of the Rainbow Bridge there is a land of meadows,

hills and valleys with lush green grass.

When a beloved pet dies, the pet goes to this place.

There is always food and water and warm spring weather.

The old and frail animals are young again.

Those who were sick, hurt or in pain are made whole again.

There is only one thing missing,

they are not with their special person who loved them so much on earth.

So each day they run and play until the day comes

when one suddenly stops playing and looks up!

The nose twitches! The ears are up!

The eyes are staring and this one runs from the group!

You have been seen and when you and your special friend meet,

you take him in your arms and hug him.

He licks and kisses your face again and again -

and you look once more into the eyes of your best friend and trusting pet.

Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together never again to be apart.


Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2018 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Gethsemane

Posted on November 19, 2018 at 6:35 AM Comments comments (0)

What is your Gethsemane?


Do you know about the Garden of Gethsemane? Gethsemane is in Jerusalem, on the Mount of Olives. It is the place where Jesus went after celebrating the Passover with His disciples, and where Jesus agonized deeply about what He would soon experience. Although Jesus took three of His closest friends along, they provided little in the way of moral support. Perhaps they were sleepy from the cups of wine, or maybe they were just tired from the full day they had experienced. Whatever the reason, they could not stay awake with Jesus.


Jesus knew what was going to happen. He even asked the Father if the suffering could be avoided, and there in the garden He anguished about it. But Jesus’ human friends were not able to help him. So Jesus prayed alone in the garden, a garden filled with olive trees.


I just returned from a trip to the Holy Land in Israel. While on this pilgrimage I walked in a portion of the land that made up the Garden of Gethsemane at the time of Jesus. Huge olive trees stood in the garden behind wrought iron fencing. Our guide explained that some of these trees are estimated to be over 2,500 years old. The photo on this post is one of those old trees. I stared at the trees. Did Jesus walk amidst these trees? Did he touch their trunks on the way to the rock where he spent his hour of agony?


At that moment, I wondered what would have happened if it had been me with Jesus in the garden that night. Could I have kept watch for one hour? Would I, like the disciples, have fallen asleep? I probably would have been just like Peter, James and John. I know that there have been many times when I failed to keep watch with friends who were anguishing.


With the others in my group, I walked into the church that now stands beside the garden. In the center of this church is a large rock, possibly the one where Jesus prayed. We were here for an hour of Adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament. I spent that one hour in prayer, watching and waiting with Jesus. Although hundreds of others were there in that church, I felt like I was alone with Jesus, just Him and I. In this short hour, I asked for forgiveness for the many times when I had fallen asleep. And I cried - a lot. When the hour was complete, I was drained but I also had a sense of peace. I had been able to be with Jesus, fully present for one hour.


I believe we all go through Gethsemane moments once in a while. Sometimes we are the disciples, and sometimes we may be in the place of Jesus. Are you experiencing a Gethsemane moment? If you have a friend who needs you to you keep watch with her, please do so if you can. Spend an hour with Jesus in Adoration, or even just sitting in a chapel. I pray you will be as blessed as I was in that my special hour in the Garden.


And if you are the one who needs her friends to keep watch, let me know and I will pray with you. Know that Jesus is there, and that He will always be beside you.


Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2018 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Reach Out

Posted on October 8, 2018 at 7:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Have you reached out to someone lately?


I admit it - I am so busy! Yes, I am “retired”, but still I must take care of household tasks and errands, I need to meet the needs of my immediate family, and I must fulfill my volunteer commitments. Sometimes several days can go by and I find that I have not talked to any of my friends. I look back and wonder: just what was it that took so much of my time that I didn’t have time to reach out to someone?


There are many people I could reach out to. My aunt lives by herself in a small town eight time zones away. Several of our neighbors are elderly and live alone, and I have a few friends who are going through some difficult times. Plus I have many friends and relatives whom I have not connected with for months.


As I sat down to write this week’s meditation, I felt ashamed that I have not done a better job of reaching out. Are the things I am spending my time on so important that I can’t take time for my friends and relatives? Apparently far too often that seems to be the case. And that saddens me. I wonder how many of you are in this same boat?


The good news is: I have become aware that this is happening. For any change to occur in my life, I first need to become aware that the problem exists. Now that I am aware that I am not reaching out as often as I could or should – what’s next?


I think I will start with writing a letter to my aunt. I have written to her before, but not very consistently. Perhaps it would be good for me to put a reminder on my calendar to write to her once a month. And I guess it can’t hurt to set up a reminder to email or call some of my friends and relatives, too!


As for my neighbors – hmm. My introverted nature makes it a bit hard for me to just walk up to a neighbor whom I don’t know well to say hello… but maybe I could try it. I could start by visiting just one neighbor this week.


Why is it important to reach out? People need contact with other people. Some folks may not reach out themselves because they don’t want to bother others. Others may not have the physical ability to get out. Yet I would place a good bet that these folks would love for someone to write, call or drop in.


Do you know of someone who you could reach out to? Perhaps this week you could connect with someone you haven’t talked to for a while – maybe by sending them an email or giving them a call.


My gift to you this week is a poem I wrote inspired by the Second Joyful Mystery of the Rosary. May you be blessed in reaching out this week!


The Visitor


She sat alone by the window, waiting, for what?

Hoping for something, to get out of her rut.

Alone in her sadness, her pain and her grief,

A tear trickled softly, down onto her cheek.


The days dragged so slowly, alone in her room,

The endless of nothing surrounded like gloom.

Her children had scattered, her husband long dead,

Another gray morning she’d so come to dread.


A sigh crossed her lips as she sank in the chair,

Awaiting another long day in despair.

She dozed for a while then woke with a start,

A knock on the door sent a fear in her heart.


Cautiously rising, she peered through the dew;

A face with a smile appeared in her view.

She paused with a frown, hesitating to act,

Then something compelled her to unlock the latch.


A flicker of memory flashed through her mind,

An old friend… from church? Someone who was kind.

She peeked through the door at a generous grin,

A smile of her own started now to begin.


The woman was bearing a pyx in a sack,

And this week’s copy from the bulletin rack.

“I’ve come for a visit,” she said with a shrug,

And opened her arms wide to give her a hug.


Her heart leaped with joy at this visit profound.

Her eyes filled with tears as the two friends sat down.

They chatted ‘bout nothing and yet everything,

She listened and talked, to each word she did cling.


Though the visit was brief when you looked at the clock,

For her it seemed as if all time had been stopped.

She felt like she mattered again in this life;

She gained newfound strength to face her inner strife.


When time for goodbyes came she shed a hot tear,

But one of great joy as the message was clear.

I’m not all alone, though I thought so today,

For Jesus – He came in my visitor today.


Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2018 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Why?

Posted on September 17, 2018 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Why do “bad” things happen?


“Why” is one of those words that is hard and painful. Why did he commit suicide? Why couldn’t I have prevented it? Why do things like this happen? We question, cry and rage using the word “why.” We use it when we sit discouraged at the bedside of a suffering loved one or weep at the graveside of a dear friend.


We are challenged by this word – how can there be a God when tragedies happen? Does God want us to be unhappy? Is He punishing us for our sins? Did he cause our suffering, perhaps for “some greater purpose?”


It’s easy to think these things when we experience the difficulties in life. But God does want us to be happy. He does not punish us on earth for our sins (although that may happen on the judgement day!). And I don’t believe he causes our suffering. I don’t think a loving God would deliberately hurt us.


What I do believe is that as human beings, we are naturally inclined to be sinful. We do things that hurt others, both intentionally and unintentionally. We live in an imperfect world with natural laws, and sometimes tragedies just happen.


I believe that God is part of every moment in my life, both the good and the bad. It also seems to be true that in my suffering, God’s goodness births a new good in me. I can name a few of my life’s difficulties which have transformed me in beautiful ways. It took time, but God sustained me and brought me to a deeper life within Him through many of these events, although this doesn’t mean that God sent the suffering specifically so I would grow. I believe ultimately God WILL fix all things…. but in His timing, not ours.


So how DO I respond when a tragedy comes my way and I want to shout “Why?” Good question, and my answer may not be your answer. My response is something like this: “Ok, God. This “situation” is happening. I don’t like it, and you are going to hear a lot from me about it! Yes, I will be angry, and I will ask WHY. I want you to fix this or undo it! If you can give me an answer, I would really appreciate it. But even if you don’t answer me in a way I can feel, I still will be praying to You about this. If it seems that fixing the situation or undoing it is not possible, grant me the help I need to get me through this situation. God, please grant me the grace to deal with this WHY.”


Today I include for you a poem I wrote many years ago for a friend who asked “why” when her son committed suicide. I hope you will find some meaning in it.


Why?


My soul is aching, crying, Lord;

I just received the sorrowing word.

A mistake! It must be a mistake!

He was just here, we spoke, we ate;

And now we find him there so still;

A sob chokes up; Is this Your will?


My son is gone! Oh God, but why?

All I can do now is cry.

My heart is torn; my being bursts

With deep despair for all the hurts.

Why him, Oh God, why him? I cry.

I cry until my soul is dry.


I pour my soul out on my hand,

I stretch it out and scan the land

Searching for an answer there;

I find it not, and wonder where

I’ll find the answer to my plea?

Over the hills, under the sea?


My soul has sunk to lowest depth

My heart is broken, wrenched; I’ve wept

For days and cannot see the sun,

For I have lost a dear, loved one.

Parched and lifeless I lay here

With but the merest hint of tear.


Then, halting, raise my hand up high,

And one last time my heart does cry;

I ask once more: Why take him now?

Why place Your mark upon his brow?

He had so much and now he’s gone;

I loved him so; he was my son!


And what about his heart, his soul?

How can I know he’s reached the goal

Of life with You with heaven’s best?

And how can I, still here, know rest?

Then, quietly, a voice I hear,

First a whisper, then louder, near;


I hear the Spirit of God within,

I hear Him say: I know your pain,

For I, too, had a Son on earth,

And I, too, lost that Son to death.

But look at Him - He paid the price

So you and yours can all rejoice!


That when you die you’ll come to Me,

And ever more at peace will be.

Your loss is real, your grieving true,

But thus it is; My love for you.

Be still, My child, and grieve no more

Your son is with Mine evermore!


My heart stands still; I grasp my soul;

My son is healed and now is whole!

He’s there with God and Jesus too,

With all the saints; his pain is through!

And while my heart still aches at times,

The peace I sought at last is mine.


If at any time this week you want to ask “why” of God, I hope you will think a little bit about the words in this reflection. May you find the grace to deal with your “why” and be blessed by God’s response.


Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2018 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Two Roads

Posted on August 27, 2018 at 7:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Two Roads 8/27/18


Which road will you take?


This past week my husband and I spent a little time up on the North Shore. For those of you not from Minnesota, that’s the stretch alongside Lake Superior on Highway 61 from Duluth north to the Canadian border. On one beautiful, sunny day, we filled our time with several drives on dirt-lined roadbeds and hikes over stony hills and well-worn paths. Some of the roads and trails led to nothing except more of the same (seemingly endless trail through trees), but others led to gorgeous views of the enormous Lake Superior (also called Gitchee Gami), smaller pristine lakes, wildlife and wild flowers.


Several times on our hikes we came to divergent paths – usually the wider one was the way we wanted to go – to get to some special observation deck or lovely waterfall. And yet, I often felt a tug to take the other, narrower path, partly out of curiosity and partly for the adventure. But I didn’t take that smaller path – given our timeline to see the “big things” I opted to forgo those other pathways.


In the evening as I was sitting in the hot tub reflecting on our day (and easing my sore leg muscles!) I was reminded of a poem I first came across in high school: “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. Since I hadn’t read it in quite a while, I pulled it up on my computer. Here it is:


“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;


Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,


And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.


I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”


That poem holds a lot of meaning for me. How many times in my life have I come across two divergent roads – two ways in which I could go? I guess it was every time I had to make a big decision, and probably also when I made the small decisions. Looking back, I think I probably mostly took those “well worn” roads where many others had travelled before me.


What would my life have been like after college had I not taken the easy road and safety of a job in my hometown but instead took the one I was offered on the east coast where I knew no one? What if we had chosen a different home in a different community than the familiar one we live in now? Oh, so many times I have taken the road well-travelled!


Yet I can think of a few times when I have taken the road “less travelled.” I’d have to say that one of these is my journey of faith. It’s getting harder to be a Catholic Christian these days – many people are moving over to the easier road of what some might call “blasé” Christianity, or to the path of no religion at all. But I am going to stay on this road, even though it might be narrower, steeper and sometimes even lonelier. This road has led to some wonderful discoveries that I would not have found on an easier path – including the many discoveries about my ability to be strong in the face of challenges.


We all have choices to make. In the words of Joshua 24: “Choose you this day whom you will serve… as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” The Gospel of John 6 tells us that the Bread of Life teachings were difficult for people to understand and accept, and many chose to leave, taking the familiar path they knew. Jesus then asked his twelve “Do you also want to leave?” Peter answered “Master, to whom shall we go?” The faithful disciples stayed on that narrow, less-travelled path to walk with Jesus. It may be difficult, but I will try my best to continue my journey on this road too.


What crossroads are you facing in your life? If you need to make a choice about which road to take, I encourage you to reflect on it and pray about it. Only you can decide which path you will take, but perhaps you will want to consider the words in Mr. Frost’s poem. Sometimes taking the road less travelled will make all the difference.


May you be blessed on whatever road you take!


Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2018 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net