Resilience: Studying with the Masters

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A family gathering in 2012 to celebrate my Dad’s 80th birthday

Resilience – is it nature, nurture, practice or all of that?

I’ll get right to the sum of my tiny bit of research: I think it’s mostly “all,” but a person is generously helped along life’s path when their FOO (family of origin) provides a lot of love and support and models resilience and positivity, especially when hard times come. The emotional atmosphere around us as we grow is either life-giving or toxic; the latter can be overcome, but sometimes we overcompensate. Oh, humanity.

What struck me the most about those I interviewed was their sense of surprise at being a target of my inquiry into what I see as near super-human strength in them.

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Sunday Prayer – March 18, 2018

Good and gracious God –

We can feel Spring approaching. The branches are budding, flowers blooming. Winter may not leave easily, but we stir, feeling renewal is close at hand. We are reassured by this constancy of familiar change, recognizing – in awesome wonder – that you have built a pattern of rest and restoration, of sleep and rebirth into the very fabric of our universe.

In a similar way, we recognize this language of branch and vine – which we will ponder today – represents a deeper, broader truth. We pray for the wisdom, courage and faith to be rooted more deeply in you, the source of all we are and all we have. We pray that we might open ourselves – in ever increasing trust – to the ways it pleases you to come into our lives: as Truth, to be spoken; as Life, to be lived; as Light and Love, to be shared; as Joy, to be given; as Peace, to be spread*; as Sacrifice, to be offered among our relatives and friends, among our neighbors and all people. We pray that for ourselves and those we love as individuals, and we pray this for our congregation as a whole.

If some here this morning are dry and brittle, disconnected, blinded to your presence – please work, Holy Spirit, even more powerfully in and through this fellowship that we might all see you at work and be encouraged to a deeper trust and faith. We are reminded, in Jeremiah, that God promised – even after their exile – to build the nation of Israel up once more. God says “If you stay here, I will build you up and not tear you down; I will plant you and not uproot you.” Give us the courage to stay in this place, Lord, and be changed.


*portions of the preceding part of this sentence were drawn from something I read on the internet and then could not find again. If someone finds the author of the original text (mine is similar but not exactly the same), please let me know.

The Hole in the Middle of Normal

(Written in early March)

I have on a hooded black sweatshirt, emblazoned with the word ATOMS across the chest; black sweatpants that say “NSSC” (North Springfield Swim Club) down the side. There is a slight bleach stain on the front pocket of the sweatshirt.

Mark’s sweatshirt. Mark’s sweatpants. He was often careless with bleach cleaner when I asked him to scrub down his bathroom.

It’s 9:45pm.

Steve is at the office (tax season); Sarah is at a rehearsal (she’s helping coach a local high school’s winter guard). The dishes are washed; coffeemaker primed for tomorrow morning. I’ve started another load of laundry, opened the mail (threw most of it away). Fed the cat, cleaned his 3 (yes, he is that special) litter boxes. We need to do our tax return at some point, so I finally finished downloading a bunch of bank transactions to Quicken and I need to sort through and categorize them.

Yee-ha. Livin’ the life.

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Pausing for Savasana


So, there is a thing you do in yoga, toward the end of your workout (is that apt? “workout”…for yoga?), called Savasana. Our yoga instructor – the same cranky Jeff from spin class (but not so cranky any more…perhaps because of yoga) – calls it the “upload,” where you take what your body has experienced in the class and let it filter into your brain.  I just looked it up, and another name for Savasana is “corpse pose.” Hmm. Not sure actual corpses do a lot of thinking, much less uploading, but okay. That’s sort of how you look in Savasana — completely relaxed and boneless, lying on your back, on your mat, legs and arms spread and loose.

(BTW, that is not me, up there. Just in case you were wondering. I’m curious about that tattoo on her shoulder, though, and I am realizing I miss my ribcage. Menopause: bite me.

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