Archive for the ‘reflections’ Category

Generations   1 comment

Like waves overlapping as they wash in to the shore, so one generation is mingled with the next. It shares genetics, life experiences, a home, a past, and a last name. It’s difficult to separate one wave from the next when you watch the water at the beach. You can’t escape the waves by waiting for the gap between them because there isn’t really a gap. There’s just a low spot, and there is still always water around your ankles.

Like these waves, one generation is blended with the next.

Then, at the right moment, it must advance alone.

Advertisements

Posted August 30, 2017 by swanatbagend in reflections

Tagged with , ,

Live Now   Leave a comment

Live.

Live your life the best way you can.

Don’t spend most of your mental energy fixing it, making it conform to what you’ve been told it’s supposed to be.  Don’t always look to the future when you will have more energy or more time, after you get that promotion or get through that protocol or spend six months on that diet.

If you always look ahead to the goal, before you know it, you’ll be looking back on the last thirty years and wondering what happened.

Don’t wait to live it, because–

This is it.

Posted July 28, 2017 by swanatbagend in reflections

Stopping Time   Leave a comment

If only we could, we think.

If only we had the power to pause things right here, now, in this golden moment, when everything is perfect.

Haven’t you had moments like that?

I feel like, if I could just concentrate hard enough, just enjoy an afternoon fully enough, it would at least slow time down.  Or if I laugh louder when with friends, which is not hard to do, maybe that would make the evening be ten hours instead of just three.

It seems like it should be possible, but it never is.

I’ve tried a hundred times–but I never can.  Time only stops for a few seconds at a time, and it’s never me who stops it.  It always resumes and flows on toward the future.

What would it be like to be outside of time?

I guess, soon enough, we’ll know.

Posted July 11, 2017 by swanatbagend in reflections

Tagged with ,

Unsettled   Leave a comment

Is it just me or does everyone feel unsettled right now?

It is easy to feel that life will go on as usual indefinitely.  Indeed, it’s not possible to live assuming or predicting major change around every corner.  We are creatures of habit who thrive on routine–even those of us who score high on the Myers Briggs as adventurous need to know there is a home to come back to.

Right now, it just feels like the world is ready to turn upside down.

There are more refugees and displaced people than at any time since post-World War II.  I think of WWII as the epitome of displaced and unsettled.  It’s unsettling to hear that for 65 million people (as of June 2016, almost 1% of the world’s population) it is just like that, right now.

The political climate is uncertain.  It’s unknown what details of our lives in the US will be changed.  Will prices go up because of treaty and tariff wars?  Is the cost of health care going to go up or down?  One thing’s certain: I really hope the cost of prescription medications does not go any higher.

Life transitions are looming on the horizon for a couple of my children who either are adults or really close.  Major life transitions for me are only a few years away, as well.

Other long-term unknowns are making me realize that this life I live right here, right now, did not come with a guarantee.  Usually it rolls along in the expected manner.  But there was never any promise it would be safe.

I know I’m not alone in this sensation.

I just don’t like it.

 

Posted February 23, 2017 by swanatbagend in reflections

Tagged with , , ,

Broken   Leave a comment

What’s one of the most distressing events that can happen to a child?

That’s right.

Something they love gets broken.

And mom and dad cannot fix it.

I have memories of something lovely getting irreparably damaged, and how distressed and grieved that made me as a child.  We had Christmas ornaments of blown glass, colored globes surrounded by extremely thin spiraled wires.  Even the bracket at the top of the ornament was a work of art, all fine silver made of tiny detailed patterns.  When one of those broke, because they were already old by the time I was old enough to love them, it was painful.

That’s an ornament, a thing of beauty, but nonetheless just some heated and blown sand.

How much more distressing it is when things of more importance are broken.  And how distressing it is to find that one continues to break things on a regular basis.

It seems to be inescapable.  I once thought that if I just tried hard enough, I would always and only be a force for good in the world.  I thought that somehow I would have the ability and the will and the power to always do the right thing.  Knowledge was power, and I knew what was right.  It was my goal in life when I graduated from high school to love and be loved and be happy.  I had no idea how truly difficult that would be.

Despite my best efforts, I damage and destroy what is good.  How is it possible to be aware of the beauty, of the import, of the good in people and the world, and still be the cause of damage?

I realize that I too am broken, and that my brokenness damages others on a regular basis.

I’m not saying that I never do anything right.  Like you, I work hard to be a good friend, a good parent, a person whose heart is attuned to God so that I can spread the love around.  I want to love others well.  Most of the time, I do a pretty decent job.

But, some of the time my brokenness rises to the top, and that is what other people get from me.

Thank God that he has made peace with me and covered me with his righteousness.  I was far away from him.  I am still farther than I want to be.  However, my distance and brokenness does not stop him from pulling me closer.  Because of Christ, he has brought me into his presence and I stand before him redeemed.  He is transforming me.

He is transforming me, and it starts right here, from the point of my acknowledgement that I am broken.

Posted February 8, 2017 by swanatbagend in reality, reflections, relationships

Tagged with , ,

A Snow Day   1 comment

It’s the first snow day of the year for all the schools in our area.  As I write, an attractive snow of large flakes is coming peacefully down, but I wouldn’t say roads and grass are covered.  It’s pretty, but not anything more at this point.  It’s 2 p.m.–an hour or so left to go in the regular school day, and road conditions don’t concern me yet.  Earlier the roads were treated, and either a bit damp or dry, no slick spots that I saw.

I’m sure kids all over our area are longing for it to really open up and dump out the expected one to three inches.  I would be too if I were in their snow boots.

Honestly, I don’t know much about the challenges of traveling to school in bad weather since we homeschool.  When it snows, we can have both sledding and hot chocolate and our school day.  On snowy days I don’t want to go anywhere anyway, so I always hope earnestly that it won’t be snowing hard on a day when we have an appointment that does not cancel for snow.  Usually, we don’t have to venture out, so I don’t truly know what it’s like to have to deal with weather delays and worries when riding a bus route or picking children up from school.

So all that said, I still don’t think that languidly falling flakes are a reason to cancel school.  Don’t get me wrong; if there’s blowing snow, freezing rain, ice or power outages–that definitely warrants school closings.

Where I live, that doesn’t seem to be the case.  When it snows or snow is forecast, school is closed.

I’m told that it is both a safety and liability issue for the school districts who have to make this difficult call.

Here is what I don’t understand.  It doesn’t really matter if there is just an inch of snow forecast, or if there is a winter storm warning and blizzard force winds.  Most businesses and most offices and most factories and most hospitals, most of the time, don’t stop for anything.

So when school stops, the parents have to figure out what to do for their children and have to take time off work, just because it snowed.  Or they have to leave their children at home alone.

And if it is truly horrible weather, the children get to stay home, but the parents must brave the roads.

Why are the children protected from any potential danger, but their parents are not?  Why must business continue no matter the cost, while education is dropped immediately at the mere prediction of snow?

Why are children so priceless that any amount of snow must keep them at home, safe, but their parents must continue to venture out or pay the cost of lost wages or vacation days?  Why are children worth more than their parents in our culture?  If it’s worth staying home, why can’t we all stay home?

Posted January 5, 2017 by swanatbagend in reflections

Tagged with , ,

Being Present   1 comment

We hear a lot lately about unplugging ourselves from electronic devices and being present.

All very true.  We need more time unplugged and present.

Not sure why it’s so hard to do–do we really think that being connected 24/7 is going to save us/the world/our job/our relationships/our financial stability/etc.?

Apparently so.  It’s very difficult to stay present, instead of drifting off into mulling over the past, getting one more task completed or fretting over the future.

But, something I’ve noticed when road tripping is that traveling in a vehicle means that you are in the vehicle driving it, there in the present moment.  You can’t really do anything else major while driving.  You can’t text.  You can’t read a book or the paper.  You can’t write things down while hurtling along the interstate at seventy-five miles an hour.

I think staying focused in the moment of safely piloting your car actually allows your mind more free range.  At least that’s been my experience.

You may not like being present with your fellow passengers, but you are.  Captive audience, so to speak.  Or if you’re alone, you have the road ahead, and your mind’s your own.

There’s a stretch of interstate across Kansas that I just love for this reason.  It takes free range to new heights–or actually distances.  Passing through the Flint Hills region gives you opportunity to experience the mind rest you can’t get when you are working on four or five different things at home or in the office.  There’s the distant vista in front of you, the road a thin thread miles away, open sky all around you, and just being present within you.

 

Posted March 3, 2016 by swanatbagend in reflections

Tagged with ,