Category Archives: respect

Jesus and Picket Signs

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This morning I am sitting in my garden wondering about the righteous indignation I have been seeing. The picket signs, the yelling, the hate and judgment spilling from the mouths of “the righteous”.

I don’t recall Jesus ever carrying a picket sign. I began to think about the only times that I see Jesus outraged and angry was with hypocrites.

I see Jesus sitting with and loving people, I see him telling stories and inviting them to him. I see him moving through the masses with kindness while speaking truth with love. I see him feeding the hungry, healing the sick, I see him loving the sinner, which by the way is all of us. He calls us to himself gently and with unending love.

The picketing, the condemning to hell, not only turns my stomach it makes me extremity sad. It also makes me wonder, how pompous it must seem to Jesus. No one here on earth has the power to grant access to heaven or condemn to hell. How presumptuous to stand before another of God’s creations and pass such a judgment. Who do we think we are?

When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them,
“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7

Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye but
fail to notice the beam in your own eye? Matt 7:3 (Luke 6:42)

I for one have much in my own life that needs attention before I begin to judge another.

On the other side, while I may or may not support certain things I reserve the right to do so with out being called out. Religious freedom, civil freedom, like or not gives us all the right to have an opinion with out being labeled. We seem to forget that freedom of speech and thought applies to all, not to just who we agree with. To threaten to take away another’s right to live out their convictions is wrong and hypocritical no matter which side of the line you stand on.

This is a very rough collection of thoughts and I want to end here with this:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have
loved you, so you must love one another. John 13:34

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
 1 Cor 13:13

Rich (Stories from behind the cardboard signs)

Solitary

He was leaning on his bedroll, a small piece of cardboard folded up next to him.

I watched him from a distance.

I imagined him as a gentle person at peace with himself.

His face held a slight grin as he watched the sea.

The sea bird sitting next to him stayed for as long as I watched.

Homeless? Probably.

Poor? Not by the look on his face.

Stories from behind the Cardboard Signs

untitled-17Good Morning Eddie

Hello (He always looks surprised that I remember his name)

How was your New Year?

It was great!

Are you staying warm at night?

Yes ‘mam, I spent the night last night checking on my people.

Here is some chicken and napkins

Thanks ‘mam and God bless.

Sally (actually Sammie)

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I am going to imagine that her name is Sally, she looked like what I would imagine a Sally to look like.

I noticed her as I left the parking lot. She was sitting behind a cardboard sign, five or six white garbage bags all around her. She had on several layers of clothing, her face was dirty, and wore the wrinkles of a hard life. I started to drive by but decided to pull over. I got out of the car and dug out one of my beach blankets from the back. She had gotten to the car by that time. I grabbed a couple bags of hotel toiletries, I told her that I did not have money to give her but I had this blanket and these toiletries. Her eyes lit up, her whole face broke out in a toothless grin and she exclaimed “Soap!” She thanked me like I had handed her keys to a warm house and walked back to her spot on the sidewalk.

I know I posted this before but I have a follow up, I had not seen her for several weeks, and I had been wondering about her so when I saw her I stopped. I asked her if she needed anything in the way of toiletries, she wanted shampoo, I dug around in the bag and pulled out shampoo and a few other things. I asked her name and was surprised to find I was pretty close in my guess, her name is Sammie.

Cowboy

Stories from behind the cardboard sign part 3

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I stopped at a rest stop, he was sitting there with his cardboard sign and can. His face was lined with a million stories. He wore rough work clothes, worn work boots and a cowboy hat that had seen decades of use.

I summoned my courage to stop and talk to him. His face was compelling, it had a million stories in the wrinkles and crinkles, I wanted to hear at least one of them. I told him I did not have cash but I had some energy bars in the car, would he like a few? He looked up with hazy blue eyes that still had a twinkle to them, he said yes he would love them.

I sat next to him, handed him the bars and a bottle of water. He thanked me and told me that he was so ashamed to be sitting here asking for money, he had a small trailer to go home to, but he needed a medical procedure and he did not have the money for it. We chatted for a few minutes, he told me he rode in rodeos, worked as a cowboy on ranches, he said there is no retirement fund for those jobs. He reminisced for just a minute about how he loved that work.

I mentioned to him I was a photographer and that I would love to take his picture, he very politely declined. I told him was I understood, but in truth I was so disappointed, he had the most interesting face.  He told me he had done things in his past he did not want his face on that “web thing”. I told him I respected his privacy.

He questioned why I would want a picture of him, he was just an old wrinkled man. I explained about how his face drew me to him and how I thought he had many stories. He smiled shyly, and shook his head a little embarrassed.

He was well-spoken, shy, and a little ashamed, but he would not trade the “cowboy days” and would still be riding if he was able. I left him with a hand shake, and wishing I could hear more. I still check out that rest stop when I pass in hopes of seeing him again.

 

Author’s note:  I spoke with this man “Cowboy” last spring. Out of this conversation came the courage to actually do this project that has been in my head for years.

 

Skippidy doo da

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My birthday month has come to a close I have been thinking about the amazing gifts my husband has given to me, not just this last month but from the beginning of us.

I am loved with no expectations, and I have been from the very beginning. When we started dating I really did love my single life, I told him so. I told him that I did not want a serious relationship, I did not ever plan to marry again. He loved me anyway, gently and consistently. No pushing, no expectations, just there accepting me.

Freedom to be exactly me, my husband has loved me for who I am and has never tried to change me. That is such a gift. The next two gifts come in the same wrapping. Knowledge that I am enough. Finally coming to myself. I am 56 years old, I am finally comfortable in my own skin, and I have finally realized that I am who God created me to be. This man has shown me more about how God loves me that any other.

Because of the three gifts above I feel safe. Safe to try new things, to be exactly me, to feel what I feel, to say what I need to say. This is an incredible gift, I have rarely felt this in my life. I have always felt I needed to measure myself, whether real or imagined I did not feel safe enough to really be me.

I can totally invest myself (and $) into a thing that I want to try. Over these last 5 years I have tried so many new things, knitting, soap making, building with pallets, photography and running just to name a few. I have not heard once that I am investing too much. That I am spending too much time or money, nor have I heard one word when I have decided that this particular thing is not for me. He is my cheerleader through all of it.

I have learned to truly relax and to let things go, I don’t have to always be in motion. I don’t have to complete a project the same day I start it. I have learned patience and to pace myself. Gently he taught me these things. It is amazingly freeing and calming. He has taught me the value of total quiet, the peace and comfort of being able to sit next to a person in total silence in peace and not feel like the quiet needs to be filled.

Waking to snuggles every morning and falling to sleep with snuggles every night. This everyday occurrence helps me to let go of the day and readies me to start a new one. I cannot even begin to tell you what a wonderful gift this is.

Really the point of this post is to publicly thank my husband for being the amazing man he is. To thank him for all the amazing gifts he gives me not just for my birthday, but each and every day. They are far more valuable than any material thing.

Skippidy doo da thank you
Lord for makin’ him for me
And thank you for letting life turn out the way
That I always thought it could be

There once was a time, that I could not imagine
How it would feel to say I’m the happiest girl in the whole U.S.A.

Tim, I never thought it possible to grow more in love with time, I did not know that this existed, when you said five years ago that we would be amazing I had no idea. Life with you is amazing. Thank you for all you do for me, especially this time of year. Thank you for loving me as I am. Just when I think I could not possibly love you more, a new day dawns. I love you more than I can say.

a revelation . . .

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I usually post on Sunday mornings, in the quiet of my attic space. I have been torn about this weeks post, did I really want to write what has been on my heart this week? Am I really ready to write my feelings? I’m still not sure but here goes –

This week has been harrowing at work. Personnel issues, I dread these. I do not like confrontation. I run from it, hide from it, just thinking about it makes my stomach turn.

I have been struggling with a personnel issue for some time now. It came to a head (again) this week. I felt so defeated I considered finding another job. That is the running and hiding that I would rather do. I love my job, but I found myself this week getting physically ill at the thought of the confrontation I knew was ahead of me.

In talking to a co-worker, she likened my situation to that of an abused woman. I have to say, that was like a punch in the stomach. That conversation stopped me in my tracks. Many years ago, I told myself that I would never let any one treat me like that again. I spent too much time in my past beaten down verbally. I thought I had grown past that. I had vowed to not let myself be treated like that ever again. I vowed to only let myself be treated with respect. But here I was, beaten down, on the verge of tears, physically ill. Here I was again –

I chewed on this conversation for awhile, and came to the conclusion, I was letting a person treat me like less than I am, like a nothing. I had made excuses, when this happens it will get better, they have had such a rough time lately, it will get better soon and on and on. When I realized this I could not believe that I was letting any one talk to me like that. This was a person that I do not love, a person that is not  in my circle of friends, a person that I would not have any contact with outside of the work place. I am almost incredulous with myself. How did I let this happen? Why would I possibly let this person treat me like this? I still don’t really have an answer to this question, apparently I have still have some soul searching to do.

Friday morning, after some time in prayer, I pulled myself up by my bootstraps, walked tall, and made up my mind that avoidance was not the answer. I was only hurting myself, I do not deserve to be treated in this manner, by anyone.

I enter this new week, with resolve, that I will meet confrontation head on, with grace. I will not be defeated. I will see myself through God’s eyes, his child, precious to him. I will see myself through my husband’s eyes, loved.

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