Hope and a Future

candles
Candle Photo from MSN Clipart

These are trying times and no matter how this pandemic is touching you, there are times when you may feel like you’ve lost all hope. I know I’m not saying anything you already don’t know and aren’t experiencing – life isn’t normal these days.

Whether, it’s keeping social distancing with a neighbor or not having a job to go back to. These are the highs and lows with many layers in between – a roller coaster ride, with no end in sight, rising from one level of worry about paying bills to another dip if your spouse or parent gets sick. Sounds pretty grim but please read on.

I came across a scripture in a sample of a daily devotional I received in the mail last year and it struck a chord. I was feeling low at the time and it touched me deeply and comforted me. It seemed to be exactly what I needed to hear at the time.

The same passage popped up again a couple of Sundays ago in an evening TV series finale showing of “God Friended Me”. I noticed the mention of the same scripture and remembered how it affected me when I first read it. When something shows up again like this, even after a year, it gets my attention, especially in times like these. It reads like this:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Hope comes in many forms and this one may not particularly fit for you. You may wonder where’s the comfort in prosperity if your family is hungry and you don’t know how you’ll get the next meal. Or, the one you loved has just died and you couldn’t be there to say goodbye. It hurts and we feel in harm’s way when we’re in depths of despair when these events happen to us.

But, even in those darkest times a glimmer of hope can happen. May be just how the light cast shadows through a window or a passing gesture of someone walking down the street. It’s what catches our attention, grabs our heart for just a moment and we notice long enough to feel that feeling of hope that goes beyond our situation.

“Four Candles”

What’s different these days is that circumstances are forcing us to refocus. We’ve been locked down and staying home – only now recently going back to work, wearing masks when we go out in public, sanitizing groceries and goods we bring home and washing our hands. Before, we never gave any of that a second thought. We’d meet up with friends at a game or a restaurant and now that’s been all closed down, even airports have looked like ghost towns.

We have to rethink how to work, shop, cook, travel, entertain ourselves and communicate with each other. We have so much time on our hands it all seems so different and, no doubt, foreign. But, when circumstances dictate new routines a new reality appears. You may now notice things that weren’t on your radar before.

It’s like someone who has visited a friend once a week for many years and that friend is going out of town for a few weeks and asks them to house sit. Even though they’ve been in their house for years on weekly visits, there are things they come across while house sitting they never noticed before – a crack in the ceiling or a painting in the hallway. So, when their friend returns and they come for a visit, they won’t see their home in the same way they saw it before.

Even though life is different these days, maybe having to change our routines and refocus is a good thing. We’ll realize we can be more creative and do the same job in a different way and have more time. Once we settle down and move off our old ruts and out of our comfort zones, we may realize it’s nice and less stressful. We find ourselves breathing again with a space for hope. Maybe, in terms of this pandemic, we’ll no longer view things in gloomy black and white but in rainbows.

The “Rainbow Song” – A celebration of Nelson Mandela. “He didn’t dream in black and white, he saw a rainbow”.

I’ve always found that no matter what I’ve had to go through in my life, and no matter how devastating it was, there was always extra grace to match the circumstance. I believe this grace is being matched all over the world in every circumstance that’s being experienced in these times. Hope is for everyone no matter your belief.

When the pandemic has calmed down and we’ve discovered how to treat this coronavirus, life will seem to begin to return but it may look a lot different than it did before. We will have learned and experienced a new reality and ways of living we may not want to give up to go back to the way it was. We will have learned to function in a new way and enjoy it. The old way may no longer work for us.

Old jobs won’t be there anymore to go back to but new jobs will have cropped up to replace them. In reinventing ourselves we’ll have realized we moved onto something more efficient and better. But, more importantly we’ve touched something within that’s more important and noticed things about ourselves and life we never had time to realize before. Life has more meaning and depth.

Dr. Maya Angelou: “Be a Rainbow in Someone Else’s Cloud”

Dr. Maya Angelou: “Be A Rainbow In Someone Else’s Cloud”

Life is a gift and no matter how bad the coronavirus is realized in your life, there will be something different come out of it you will notice. Let it happen for you and hope will be in the center of it among many other things. God bless you and be safe and well.

Pat from the ‘ol kitchen table

A Gift of Love

Photography of night sky

Photo by Juan on Pexels.com

Christmas is almost here and family and friends are getting together. It’s a celebration of love all over the world. The gift to the world was a baby over 2,000 years ago and Christian faiths will bow their heads in holy worship to Jesus Christ, who came into the world to show us love. Others will pause to celebrate in their own private ways and different faiths knowing it’s a time to give and be more kind. The spirit of that gift of love is still felt today and alive centuries after for all.

Can you imagine how different the world was back then, when a man with his expectant wife traveled at night on foot and by donkey through narrow, dusty mountainous paths to get to the more populous town, Bethlehem? Government requirements were demanding, even back then. It didn’t matter that his wife was pregnant and they had to go far from home. He needed to find a safe place for his wife to give birth. Times became treacherous for them after and they had to flee for the safety of their newborn son.

We couldn’t be more worlds apart today than then and, yet, there’s much that is still the same. Still, there are those traveling on foot with their families to be safe and get to a better place. We all want to have what’s best for the ones we love, be warm, work, eat and enjoy our friends, family and watch our children grow as we get older. Not much on that has changed throughout time just the forms they come in.

Through all the commercialism and rushing around to get everything done, there’s magic and a different spirit at Christmas. I can feel it in the air and see it on the faces of people in the stores and streets. Of course, there’s more sparkle in the eyes of children as they burst with glee in anticipation of Santa.­

Christmas Tree Lights

Christmas Tree Lights © 2013 Pat Ruppel

No matter what someone may be going through, I feel grace and compassion in the attempts to love and feel loved, when it’s hard. It’s there and especially strong at Christmas. People are helping people with love. It fills my heart with hope that it will always be there.

Merry Christmas to all of you and God Bless in the New Year!

Pat from the ol’ kitchen table

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Acknowledgements: Photo by Juan on Pexels.com at https: more...

Where Is God’s Perfection?

Roof and Beer Bottle Photo - © Jim Ruppel 8-26-2012

Roof and Beer Bottle Photo – © Jim Ruppel 8-26-2012

There is a man who walked this earth over 2,000 years ago. He was God’s man ― a child, a Son and a brother ― just as we are today. He came to show us many things. We have created religions, built churches and established holidays in his honor in an attempt to follow his path. His name is Jesus and in the Christian faith we celebrate his life, death and resurrection this weekend through Easter.

Though we have come a long way over 2,000 years, humanity still struggles with the very same issues Jesus taught about and demonstrated. I may look at what’s going on in our world today and be tempted to think maybe his lessons and sacrifice were lost on us. But, I can’t, because I know too many times there are deeper lessons that can only be discovered when our hearts are ready and our eyes are open to truly see. I think that time is upon us.  Continue reading

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Acknowledgements: The Shaya Story by waynedyerfan on Yo more...