Hate In The Time Of Corona

Cindi Gale

Me.

Me, who hears your anger.

Me, who hears your dogma and certainty and outrage.

Me, who watches as you assign blame for this nation’s devolution.

Me, who sees the objects of your wrath:  the people with names and faces and value in God’s eyes; the people you used to care about, but have dehumanized now. They are …

Me.

Me, who reads the articles and watches the videos you share. Propaganda pieces created by people that you think are your peers, your tribe, your team.

Me, who knows that propaganda machine doesn’t care about me and they don’t care about you. That giant, cruel machine is effective and determined to divide, to incite rage, to invent targets, and justify the incited anger at those targets,. It seeks to ruin and slander and win and destroy innocent lives.

Me, who reads your posts and articles and watches the videos you…

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Whatever Is Lovely

I attended a seminar last week. It was about economics, but the best part to me was the speaker’s view of the world at large. He was hopeful. Positive. Inspiring. He credited his father with guiding him at a young age to” be a student of the good.”

The speaker added, “The world is full of doom and gloom. News outlets cater to people’s craving for it; people want to see and hear it.”

“Not me,” I said to my dinner partner, “I hate doom and gloom.” But of course our speaker was right, we all know “bad news sells” — just note what editors select for headlines.

The speaker lingered on a single slide of his power point presentation, a diagram of a “smart contact lens”. He asked, “Have you heard of them? No? Because they have not been covered in the news. I googled ‘innovative technology’ in my search for ‘good’. These contact lenses are here, in the development stage. With them, we may soon be able to see through walls and see in the dark.”

He closed with a challenge, our “homework assignment”:  “I want you to intentionally look for good news in a world full of bad news. Be a student of the good.”

I guess I’ve been doing that, subconsciously, for a long while. It has been a self-preservation response to having been slowly and insidiously overwhelmed with “bad” in the past. I assume balms are different for each of us, as unique as are our fingerprints.

For me, the outdoors consistently soothes my soul. Feeling crisp air. Turning my face to the sun, wind or water. Breathing in the aromas of rain or freshly-cut grass. Soaking in beautiful vistas or sunsets. Capturing that beauty with my camera. I revisit “the good” pictures on days that are gray and unlovely.

“Be a student of the good.”

For me, the joy of others is “good.” Witnessing people and animals engrossed in play or displaying unique abilities makes my heart a little lighter. It’s a privilege to make someone’s favorite thing happen. Their happiness reaches beyond them. There is something contagious about even taking a dog I’m attached to swimming: to him it is heaven; to me it is … well, I guess it’s heaven for me, too.

I savor meaningful conversations with friends who share the same interests and passions. I enjoy being with people I know very, very well … that ease of playing board games, or working side by side, or sharing meals, or traveling. It’s with those people that it’s not work to do even the mundane of life together. I like meeting new people too — the more unlike me, the more I am intrigued by what they think, what they value, what they like to do.

These are are the simple things, the easy things to see and do. The good is there, but often we are so overwhelmed by the truly awful things of this world that we must be intentional. We must search for “good”. Our speaker found innovative technology was his “good”. Your “good” will be something unique to you. You have much control over what consumes your heart and mind. Rather than be overtaken with the bad stuff of life, be “a student of the good”.

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

A Time For Everything

Cindi Gale

Ecclesiastes 3

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be…

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When Darkness Comes

Cindi Gale

river strong current for blog, I will carry you. I will sustain you. I will rescue you.

” … I am he,
I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you
and I will carry you;
I will sustain you
and I will rescue you.”
Isaiah 46:4

For years I have been drawn to Johnny Cash’s cover of “Bridge Over Troubled Waters”. Maybe it is his rich, deep voice. Maybe it is the sincerity in which he sings. I don’t hear Cash, I hear God speaking the lyrics to me.
Listen. Hear his heart. Hear his promise. Believe it – He will do it.

“Bridge Over Troubled Water”

When you’re weary, feeling small,
When tears are in your eyes
I will dry them all
I’m on your side
When times get rough
And friends just can’t be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

When you’re down and out

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Learning About People

Cindi Gale

“When people show you who they are, believe them.” … When a person let’s you know … they say, “I told you I was unkind. So now why are you angry?” – Maya Angelou

I suppose Maya Angelou’s question is a rhetorical one, but I’m going to answer it anyway, because God knows I’ve spent countless hours over decades trying to understand how twisted relationships happen.

“Why don’t you believe them the first time they show you, or tell you, who they are?”

Because…

  • You very much want them to be better than they are at any given point in time.
  • You are optimistic they can be.
  • You are committed to the relationship, and don’t give up on your commitments that easily.
  • You aren’t ready to give up on what COULD be, if only some crucial corrections are made.
  • You know this person CAN be good, you’ve seen them act…

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Moving Up

Cindi Gale

Two years ago today, my stepfather died. He was 91 years old. He married my mom in 1991 after my dad and his wife died of similar cancers. He was the only grandfather my two sons and most of their cousins will ever remember.

I woke before 5:00 that morning. I had an appointment for a tech to come from our cable company between 8 and 10:00. I had waited two weeks for that appointment. Still, to wait till after the appointment to arrive at the hospital, where Vern had been since a massive hemorrhagic stroke just five days prior, felt “too late”. So I cancelled the appointment and left the house before dawn.

Vern’s breathing had changed the day before. There had been a code. Not a Code Blue, because he didn’t want that, or any desperate measures, but the equivalent of it for patients like him. The Rapid…

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Boundaries

When angst and inner turmoil accompanies interactions with a person over an extended time period, it is time to reflect. And listen for guidance. Sometimes the answer is distancing yourself from the person, with the following benefits:

Proverbs 22: 10 Remove the mocker and conflict disappears;
    judgment and shame also stop.

If you’ve been forced to remove someone that you had hoped to have in your life, I offer my sympathy. You have suffered a loss. It is one to grieve.

For those still in the midst of the process, it is not easy to determine who is allowed near your heart and soul, and who is not. Should you expel a person from your inner circle? Does the relationship work as long as it is casual and somewhat distant? Should you leave them in your rearview mirror forever?

Should you set boundaries? Should those boundaries be permanent? Or temporary? What has to happen in them for you to consider moving the boundary line you intend to set?

Only you can answer those questions.

It is rarely simple, especially the nearer the relationship, the greater the social pressure, the longer your status-quo, and the more you have to lose.

If you are the one who is the wrongdoer: thief, abuser, user, deceiver, betrayer, mocker, judger, or shamer …

It is you who forced the boundaries that you must now accept. Let it be a wake-up call. A new beginning. A time to reflect. A time to take ownership of what you did that forced the change in the relationship. A time to change the destructive behaviors you impose on others.

If you acknowledge wronging others without cause, even if just to yourself, know that inner change cannot be done in a day. It takes significant time to unveil and consciously undo habits. On the hopeful side, if you genuinely and permanently change, recovery of the relationships you damaged may be possible.

Renewal of a relationship is yours to make possible, but not yours to force. Nor yours to manipulate.

That decision belongs to the victim of your wrongdoing.

When and if the time comes that you police your own behaviors, and never again betray and harm the other person …

Perhaps they will allow you back in.

Even if they give you another chance, don’t expect to have what you want in a day. You must earn their trust. That may take years, especially if you have done this to them before. If you have cycled gaining their trust only to destroy it again, the length of time it took for you to repeat the cycle is the minimum length of time they must be guarded with you.

It is the right of every person to determine the amount of wrongdoing they can tolerate. Your victim is the one who gets to set their terms, not you the wrongdoer. If they set terms that you are unwilling to meet, then once again the burden of blame falls on you. To save themselves, they may be forced to:

Proverbs 22: 10 Remove the mocker and conflict disappears;
    judgment and shame also stop.

To All Destroyers

From the world stage to the home front, this truth has been, is now, and will always be true.

Proverbs 22: Those who sow injustice will harvest evil;
    the rod of their fury will come to an end.

It’s common for those who choose pride, power, greed and destruction to justify themselves. They call their victims the wrongdoers. They market their story so that those who know no better, or those who are undiscerning, will believe it.

Their followers are easily ignited to fury. They arm themselves with words or weapons, and unleash more evil on their common target.

Those who sow injustice have their moment to feel grandiose, untouchable, and invincible. They convince themselves they are in the right. They convince fools that they are in the right.

They rule with iron fists for a day.

But the story does not end there.

God has never been, is not now, and will never be fooled. His word will be the last word:

Proverbs 22: Those who sow injustice will harvest evil;
    the rod of their fur
y will come to an end.

When The Time Is Right

If there was a camera that could capture near and far views of your lifetime, you could zoom out and see the value of your life experiences. You could examine a time of your life that you were restricted, suffering, or failing, and see how that painful time produced qualities for success later.

We don’t recognize the value of frustration when we’re in it. The best we can do is trust that God has our best interests in mind. If we stay committed to letting God have our lives for his purposes, we can be sure that he will release us when the time is right.

I can imagine God’s hand holding us back despite our anxiety, impatience, and confusion. He does so to set us up for long-term success. But God doesn’t kill the heart and aspiration to eventually go forward — that drive is needed to surge ahead when he removes his restraining hand, and says “Now, the time is right. Go.”

Your release is ahead. You will see your life make sense when God places you in the position he is preparing for you. What is in your heart will not be snuffed out — it will be fanned into flames when the time is right.

When your position is ready, God will make sense of your life by promoting you to that position.

What frustrates you now, will make sense then.

What you view as failure now, will make sense later.

Until then, God is causing your character, abilities, and desires to develop and grow. Your heart will continue to fill with God-approved aspirations. When he removes his restraining hand and allows you to move forward without hindrance, your aspirations will direct you according to God’s intent.

“13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

Philippians 2:13 (NIV)

You have within you the heart to do what God has planned for you to do.

You have within you the abilities to do what God has planned for you to do.

So don’t fret the frustrations. He hasn’t removed his restraining hand yet. When he takes his hand away, you will be free to burst forth in a spirited release of all that is within you.

 

“6 For promotion comes neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the desert.

But God is the judge; he puts down one and sets up another.”

 Psalm 75:6-7 (Jubilee Bible 2000, JUB)