Are you familiar with the expression : ‘Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes’? The phrase reminds us of the importance of being empathetic with others, and not judging them.
Most of us will never need to literally walk in someone else’s shoes, but here , in our seaside town, too many people wear second- hand shoes. There is lots of poverty here, as there is everywhere, of course. Many people are materially or spiritually poor.
My friend Pam operates a second-hand shoe store in the basement of our public building. In a pink notebook, Pam has neatly recorded over 3,000 pairs of donated shoes that she has given away.
Recently Pam has secured a sponsor who provides some new running shoes in large adult sizes.
Children, however, like new shoes too, and before school starts I take in new children’s shoes to Pam’s, with the price tags still attached in case someone wishes to exchange them.
Let us pray for those who foolishly buy ‘designer’ shoes for thousands of dollars, for those who wear hand-me-down shoes, and for those who have no shoes at all. And let us give thanks for our own shoes.
About how many books would you say that you have in your current collection ? Writers are avid readers. We know the beauty and power of words.
When we left Ontario, we sold our house and gave away our possessions, including my collection of books. My husband was seriously ill with a heart condition at that time. Possessions had lost their appeal for us. We basically got in our vehicle, with a few personal items, and started driving East, looking for a home on the ocean.
We found our home, my husband got stronger in the fresh salt air, and had successful heart surgery two years ago.
I never did buy any more books. The two that I own, however, are my treasures. One is my Bible, and the other is a manual for Christian Mindfulness. It is called ‘ Jesus Calling’ by Sarah Young. It is a gift from my spiritual mentor, Anne.
On the inside cover , Anne wrote a Bible verse which is important for us if we wish to achieve the inner peace that Christ promises us. In Philippians 4:8, we are reminded to think about things that are true, honourable, just, pure, lovely, gracious and excellent. We remember also that we are always in the Lord’s presence.
We need the Lord’s help in focusing on these things, since our fallen human nature seems to want to automatically focus on negative things. Self-control is the ninth gift of the Holy Spirit mentioned in Galations 5. We need the Holy Spirit’s help to keep focusing on good things. For me, it helps to avoid watching television and movies. And, I stay away from people who constantly wish to discuss negative things. Negativity is contagious !
Although I only own two books, I read, and I am inspired by the authors whose writings I read on WordPress.com.
May the Lord continue to inspire us, and the words that we read and write.
Has anyone ever given you ‘The Silent Treatment ‘?
This occurs when someone is angry with you, but they won’t tell you why ! Perhaps you have also been tempted to give someone The Silent Treatment, instead of assertively telling them what they have done to offend you.
Giving someone The Silent Treatment , also called Stonewalling, is ineffective. It is a type of passive-aggressive behaviour, and can also be a form of emotional abuse. Please, assertively tell people when they have done something to offend you. Communicate carefully to resolve your differences. Relationships are precious !
I occasionally take entire days to spend in silence. My husband, however , knows that I do this because I love silence, and I become more sensitive to the Holy Spirit when I am silent. But I always tell him in advance when I am taking a silent day. He knows it is nothing personal !
On a recent silent day, in the garden, I noticed, in a corner , some daisies I had not planted. God had decided that those plants would grow in the rocky area. I thought of 1 Peter 1:24 :
‘All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord abides forever.’
Life is fleeting, and our friends and family are God’s gifts to us. Let us ask God for the grace to be effective communicators. Let us avoid giving others ‘ The Silent Treatment .’
Have you ever had the stressful experience of rushing to catch a connecting flight ?
A few years ago, a friend and I were on a flight from Venice to Rome that was greatly behind schedule. When we finally arrived in Rome , we had only about 20 minutes to catch a connecting flight to Toronto. We ‘assertively’ manoeuvred through the chaotic throngs of people at the airport , and got our boarding passes. We needed to get to ‘Gate H’, and quickly !
We worked as a team , concentrating on our urgent need to find that gate ! Our focus was intense, we refused to be distracted, and we arrived at ‘Gate H’ just in time for take-off to Toronto.
Later, we chuckled about the urgency we felt. For us, ‘Gate H’ , was symbolic of the entrance to heaven. As Christians, we need to stay intensely focused on reaching the narrow gate that leads to eternal life. Jesus describes it carefully in Matthew 7:13, saying that the gate is narrow, and few find it. We will not arrive there safely if we allow the noise and nonsense of the world to distract and discourage us.
Let us stay focused on God, and helping our neighbour. The journey to our eternal home is not at all a commitment of one hour per Sunday, as our ‘obligation’, to God, but rather it is an adventure of much joy and peace, and a full-time commitment of staying obedient to the Lord, and trusting Him, as we journey towards eternity. God expects us to encourage and strengthen our brothers and sisters along the way.
In the words of St. Catherine of Siena, whose home we visited in Italy : ‘All the way to heaven is heaven. ‘
How are you handling our increasingly stressful and volatile world ?
Secular gurus are telling us that mindfulness is the key to peace and joy. There is a major difference, however, between mindfulness traditions that focus on Buddhist and Hindu Traditions, and Christian Mindfulness. While non- Christian traditions urge mindfulness followers to focus on themselves, their thoughts, their emotions, their breath, etc. , Christian Mindfulness is focused on paying attention to God, through his grace to us in Jesus, in the present moment. It is important to pay attention to God in the present moment, for that is where He lives. And it is in the present moment, being constantly aware of God’s love for us, and our salvation through Christ, that the peace that Jesus offers his true followers is achieved.
The essence of Christian Mindfulness is found in the words of Jesus, in Matthew 22:37-39. Christian Mindfulness encourages us to focus on God’s presence with us in the present moment. As we focus on pleasing God, and our neighbour, we take our focus off of ourselves, and our sense of peace and joy increases. Practise the presence of God with you as the moments fly. You are his beloved.