Careful Aging Tip From Newfoundland

Has your spouse or significant other ever told you to be quiet ? My husband told me 45 years ago that he would appreciate it if I would not talk when he is driving. I agreed to his request. Driving a vehicle is very serious business, and driving is a tremendous responsibility which requires a driver’s full concentration ! We have always driven in silence, waiting to have conversations when we are not moving.

We walk around our little town, but sometimes need to drive to the city. Now that we are old, we still don’t talk while driving, but my husband also relies on me as a careful lookout, since we have moose here in Newfoundland, and they are huge ! Drivers need to be cautious, because the large animals cross the highways sometimes, especially in the morning.

As we get older, our reflexes slow somewhat. In four years my husband will need to take his driver’s license test again.

Let us pray for the grace to recognize the awesome responsibility of driving a vehicle and for protection while on the road.

Anti-Aging Tip From Newfoundland

Do you know what will age you faster than anything else ? Potions and lotions will not slow down aging for you if you are carrying around chronic anger, unforgiveness and bitterness. Holding on to a grudge is stressful and aging. Chronic anger stresses the body, and can cause a host of physical problems, including the development of heart disease. Anger is also visible on the face. Chronic anger will age us quickly.

I have experience with the nasty effects of anger.

Five years ago two priests were dismissed from our parish, and no one came to comfort the wounded and shocked parishioners, including me.

I was tremendously angry about the betrayal, and sought help from a spiritual director, who advised me to read and meditate on the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant, in Matthew 18: 23-35.

I read this passage many times, and still keep the bookmark in my Bible at that page. I realized that God expects us to forgive, no matter how grievously we have been wronged.

I began to pray that God would help me to forgive. I knew that I could not do this in my own strength.

Although secular gurus agree that forgiveness is necessary for the health of the soul, they maintain that humans can forgive through an act of willpower.

Genuine forgiveness; however, requires God’s help.

After praying for the ability to forgive for several years, I noticed one day that my spirit felt lighter, as I had forgiven the perpetrators ! I was able to pray that they would find their way to repentance.

When I looked in my mirror that day, I saw that my appearance had changed ! My eyes sparkled, the tension in my face was gone, and fine lines had softened. I had had a procedure, but it was not a cosmetic procedure, it was a spiritual procedure that released me from the heavy spiritual backpack of anger that I had been carrying around for several years.

Let us pray for the grace of being willing to forgive those who have hurt us. God will help us to forgive, when He sees that we are sincerely willing to do so.

The Housewife’s Path

How do you feel about going grocery shopping ?

Do you consider it a dreaded chore, a pleasurable experience, or somewhere in between ?

Most weekday mornings I walk to the orange grocery store near my house, carrying my red cloth shopping bags. I follow the same housewife’s path along the Atlantic Ocean that many generations of homemakers walked before me. The orange store has stood by the ocean since 1842.

In the past, women carried armloads of dried salted cod that their husbands had caught , and exchanged them at the merchant’s store for a few basic food stuffs and home supplies. Everything was done on the barter system, no money was exchanged.

The merchant’s store has changed ! An amazing variety of foods from around the world can be bought there now. There is organic olive oil from Spain in lovely dark glass bottles. We enjoy lemons from Spain, delicious chocolate from France, and many other international treats.

No music, thankfully, is playing in the store, so I can take my time browsing , and admiring all the food that God has provided .Yesterday I noticed that a fresh shipment of pears from South Africa had arrived. The nice store also has some chairs, so I can take a break from the exciting activity of food perusing.

I don’t use a shopping cart, but when my two cloth bags start to feel a bit heavy, I stop shopping because I know that I need to carry my groceries home.

Yesterday I purchased ingredients to make cream of mushroom soup. Fall is coming, and my cooking habits change with the seasons; cooler weather requires more comfort food.

A trip to the grocery store is always a time of prayer and thanksgiving for the bounty of food that God provides, even here, at the edge of North America.

God is good. Let us rejoice and be glad.

How’s Your Fruit Production ?

Do you enjoy grapes ?

These are Black Sapphire grapes. These non-genetically altered grapes originated in the Middle East, and are now grown in many countries. They are delightfully sweet, crunchy, and seedless. These arrived in rural Newfoundland from California.

Grapes are one of the foods that require careful washing before consumption. I soak them in a container of pure spring water, and then rinse them again, before carefully drying them.

As I clean the grapes, I pray for the farm workers who have grown them and harvested them. These grapes were likely harvested by Mexican migrant workers, who are expected to work quickly, under harsh conditions. We know how God feels about migrants. Jesus, Mary and Joseph fled persecution by King Herod, and sought refuge in Egypt.

As I dried the grapes, I also thought of the spiritual fruit that is produced in our lives, when we are obedient to the Lord, trusting in him, and allowing the Holy Spirit to work through us.

Paul describes the fruit of the Holy Spirit as : love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. ( Galatians 5:22).

Hopefully, we are all showing increased spiritual fruit production every day. I notice that self-control is the last fruit listed. I wonder if this is because it is the fruit that requires the most time to develop. This, for me, seems to be the slowest-growing spiritual fruit.

Let us pray for the Body of Christ, that we continue in spiritual fruit production, and thus attract others to follow the Lord.

A Prayer For Limes

Have you ever felt unnoticed ? It is an unnerving feeling.

I was standing on the porch of a favourite local establishment, ‘East Coast Glow’, holding a paper bag containing my purchase of Avocado and Lime lotion. It is a natural product, containing locally sourced iceberg water, and avocados and limes from Mexico.

I noticed five people walking towards the door of the store, and I smiled at them, to welcome them to this fine establishment. They; however, did not acknowledge me or even look at me.

Quickly I realized that they were tourists to our quaint and friendly fishing town. It is likely that they came from a larger centre far away, where strangers usually do not look at each other or make eye contact. I remember that feeling. When I was a student in Toronto, I remember feeling afraid sometimes if strangers were friendly and smiling at me.

Not so in our welcoming town ! It is unheard of that two rural Newfoundlanders would ignore each other while passing on the street. Everyone greets their neighbour here, and will usually make a comment about the weather too.

Similarly, God notices us, and is concerned about every detail of our lives. I am aware of the Lord’s constant presence with me as I live each day ; this reminds me to always strive to live my life in a manner that is pleasing to God, and my neighbour.

As I left the store, I prayed for the people who had ignored me, and also for the unknown workers who had laboured hard to grow and pick the avocados and limes grown in Mexico.

A Prayer For Feet

Do you give your feet the respect that they deserve ?

Researchers tell us that by the time the average adult reaches the age of 65, they will have walked the equivalent of 75,000 miles, or 120,700 km. That is the equivalent of three trips around the world !

References to feet abound in the Bible. Biblical hosts brought their guests water to wash their feet.

Mary of Bethany anointed our Lord’s feet with Nard perfume, and dried them with her hair.

Jesus, as Divine Servant, washed the feet of his disciples on the night he was betrayed.

Carrying for our feet is important at any age. Healthy , happy feet will contribute greatly to our sense of well-being as we increase in years.

My husband and I have a small area of meticulously maintained lawn in our seaside garden, which we maintain to help us with ‘foot therapy.’ Of course, it is free of chemicals.

In Romans 10: 14-15, Paul describes the feet of Christians as ‘beautiful, since they share the good news of the gospel wherever they go.

Without a Camera

Have you ever regretted not taking photos during an important experience ?

I brought my digital camera on my pilgrimage to Israel, but did not bring home any photos.

When I arrived in the Holy Land, I knew that photographing things would distract me from paying close attention to each magnificent passing moment.

The country is a colourful explosion of growing things- cotton, banana trees, and a plentitude of other fruits and vegetables. A photograph could not capture the full beauty of the fact that the words of Isaiah are true, the desert is indeed blooming !

I knew a photo wouldn’t help me remember the magnificent smell of flowers everywhere. In particular I smelled orange blossoms ( Neroli). It is the smell of holiness.

A camera could not help me to remember the smooth feel of the water from the river Jordan on my legs as we stood to renew our baptismal promises.

Neither would it capture the sounds of peaceful cooing doves, and the ancient revived Hebrew language being spoken.

I needed to be completely focused on the moment, not distracted, to enjoy the feeling of wonder and humility while kneeling at the Lord’s birthplace in Bethlehem. Luckily there are many posted photos of Israel to help me refresh my memories.

On the plane ride home, I thanked God for the opportunity of having walked where Jesus walked. The Holy Spirit then reminded me that it was even more important to live as Jesus had lived.