Monday, February 6, 2017

I must be progressing. Oh, I still wiped away a few tears, but I bet a few of you did too if you watched last night's Super Bowl LI. Watching President Bush and Barbara wheeled out on the field for the coin toss, an aging quarterback's eyes glisten with victory, and young, hard-working athletes lined up to kiss their Lombardi Trophy...well, I admit, it made me misty-eyed. 
But this year I didn't cry my eyes out because of my broken heart. Oh sure, I missed watching the game with Rob, but I actually enjoyed it alone this year. Alone is not always it has been in the recent past. 
Lady Gaga! I'm not a big fan and could not even name one of her songs, but I know enough about her career to recognize the evolution. I thoroughly enjoyed her half-time performance; she showed the world a newfound maturity with her toned-down image, yet, she hasn't lost an ounce of her creative expression. I believed her when she reminded us, pointing to the heavens,  that we are "one nation under God." The girl's got some moxie, for sure...lots of courage! It got me to thinking; do we need courage to change or does courage come from the change? 
Three years ago, I skipped the Super Bowl all together. Too painful without Rob at my side, but the next two years, I eased back into it as well as the other things that made us happy as a couple. Yes, it took some "moxie" and seemed unlikely to ever bring back joy, but I set my mind on recapturing the good parts of our life, albeit solo.
Last night wasn't a party, but an evening filled with contentment. I loved the patriotism, the spirit of family and my hometown, catching myself smiling a lot!  I munched on delicious homemade nacho dip and chips, occasionally chatted online with family and cheered like crazy for the best comeback in Super Bowl history. 
You know, I think I'm making a comeback as well...

Thursday, February 2, 2017

I care deeply about current politics, but I love my country and its people far too much to enter into futile dialogue any longer. I've tried to have thoughtful conversations about policy, listening to the concerns of both sides of our divided country. I've attempted to be the voice of reason, but to no avail. Too many people, even those close to me, refuse to listen to any argument that differs from theirs. And no one, on either side, likes to be "preached at."  Social media is no longer my friend; I don't want to sit on the sidelines and watch good people war with their words or the opinions of talking heads. It grieves me to see God cheapened by our sarcasm and hate talk.  I even find myself dreading family and church gatherings; the tension is just too great!
 I personally believe that most of us just don't have a handle on all of the facts. Each issue is complicated and cannot be solved with a knee-jerk solution or a hard ideology. True wisdom understands this; true wisdom humbles our response.
Have I given up? Will I crawl under the covers for the next four years?  Of course, not! I just will not publicly discuss politics any longer! Instead...

I will offer kindness and prayer.
I suppose to many I sound like Pollyanna, but I'm actually more concerned with God's opinion of me. 
This morning I spent time digesting a passage from Proverbs 16.
 The wise are known for their understanding, and pleasant words are persuasive.
 Discretion is a life-giving fountain to those who possess it, but discipline is wasted on fools. 
 From a wise mind comes wise speech; the words of the wise are persuasive. 
 Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. 
 There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death. 
 It is good for workers to have an appetite; an empty stomach drives them on. 
 Scoundrels create trouble; their words are a destructive blaze. 
 A troublemaker plants seeds of strife; gossip separates the best of friends. 
 Violent people mislead their companions, leading them down a harmful path. 
 With narrowed eyes, people plot evil; with a smirk, they plan their mischief. 
 Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life. 
Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city.
 We may throw the dice, but the LORD determines how they fall. 21-33 NLT

Look at how many times our speech is addressed and look at the last verse; the LORD is still in control! I don't believe that scripture discourages our freedom of speech, but instead, reminds us that we should recognize the responsibility that comes with freedom. So...
I will speak kind words.
If they are not life-giving and healthy to the body of humanity, I'll remain silent and... 
During the last administration, I studied Paul's letters to young Timothy. I was not in the practice of daily praying for our leaders, but the first three verses in 1Timothy 2 completely changed that.
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, NIV
It's pretty simple; if it pleases God, just do it! It's pretty hard to hate someone for whom you pray each day. Prayer changes our hearts, even for our enemies. And most importantly, I believe prayer changes even the direst of situations.
I know this isn't articulate or earth-shaking, but something I needed to write down as a contract with myself. Replace politics with kindness and prayer.  That's all, folks...