I am Home

For background on this story please read Silverstrands.org Mar 3, 2017

Between then and now (April 16, 2017) this dog has been transported to my home where she “was” to stay “temporarily” but…

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(Story through Molly’s eyes)

It’s taken a few weeks for the one who inherited me to claim me as her own. I have belonged to her legally, ever since my first owner’s will was processed. Yet, there has been a lot of pondering.

We have all been sad and that makes it hard to make decisions. The final decision has to be made by the writer of this blog. She kept turning the words of her dying friend over in her mind, “Find a good home for my baby”. The baby she was referring to was me.

As you know from reading the blog of March 3, 2017, I have been a consistent love sponge. My quest has not been easy. I overheard this writer on the phone one day as she said, “All this dog needs is someone to love her. It doesn’t matter who it is. This dog just needs 25 hour attention from someone”.

Well, I knew she believed that but I have been relentless in convincing her that it is not just love I need, but her love.

Today, on Resurrection Day, the barrier came down. My legal owner has chosen to be my owner. As we walked today she told me that I had a new address and to my jump up and down shivering delight it was the same as hers.

I am not staying here until she finds a good home. I AM home!!!!

 

(Story through writer’s eyes)

As I look into the eyes of this precious ball of white fur, as I feel her press her body against my back in the night, as I find her waiting at whatever door I come in with her little tail wagging with all it’s might, I recognize that the only way I have of loving my friend, who died, is loving the animals she left.

Which is not a very hard assignment.

So, I can check one more thing off my list. “Where will this little dog be placed?” This is no longer a question. This little dog belongs to me.

I am glad I made the decision on Easter. I am hesitant to make any comparison to the death and Resurrection of Jesus, but I am aware today that the curtain than was rent on Friday gives me a new definition of home.

I want to more fully realize how unrelenting God is in convincing me that He doesn’t just generally love, He loves me personally.

And with the inauguration of the Kingdom I have a new address.

Thank you, Jesus for making a way for me to look into your eyes and say, “I am home”.

 

 

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Packaged So it Will Not Break

After a trip to sort the possessions of my friend, who recently died, I returned home and realized I had forgotten one precious item. It is interesting to learn what becomes important when the one who is most important dies.

Looking for a way to recover this item, I called the agent who would be doing the estate sale and told her there was one thing that I really wanted but had left behind. I described the item, which was a fragile glass cylinder containing remnants from my trip to Africa in 2003. I had brought these remnants home at the request of this friend. Remembering how important they were to her and how carefully she had created this canister melded the memory of this friend with the memory of this object and it became essential that it be recovered.

The estate sale agent assured me she would look for it. Before long, she called and said she had found it and taken it to a UPS store that would ship it to me.

Receiving the phone call from the UPS agent, who was calling for my credit card number, I asked him if he thought this item could be shipped without it breaking.

With confidence he said, “I have packaged it so that it will not break”.

 Yesterday a huge box was delivered from UPS. I opened it to find an arms length of packing peanuts protecting this glass cylinder that was also wrapped in multiple layers of bubble wrap secured by packing tape.

It was no surprise to extract my precious memoriam totally intact.

As I reflected on this experience, I was reminded again of God’s grace to me.

By sealing me with His Holy Spirit, I am packaged so that I will not break.

I may at times feel forgotten. I may travel on a journey with many starts and stops, many incidents of rough handling by those who do not recognize my fragility.

But, I will arrive at my destination intact.

I am a package belonging to Our Lord Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit I will be delivered into the arms of Our Heavenly Father.

I am packaged so that I will not break.

 

 

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That One Wants to Live

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I was looking up the number to call the Garden Center when I remembered that my friend (86 y/o) who worked at this Garden Center would have the wisdom I needed.

This friend is mentally quicker than most of my younger friends. I love to find a reason to call her because I always find her delightful.

After the usual catch up that an infrequent conversation requires, I told her the reason for my call.

I had purchased two bamboo plants from the Garden Center where she worked prior to her retirement. I explained to her that I had been told I could put them in water or potting soil and the results would be the same.

So, I secured one in a bed of rocks and filled the tube with water. The other I secured in a bed of rocks but filled the vase with potting soil. (OK, Let’s be honest. When I asked my husband to water the plants while I was gone for an extended time, I forgot to tell him about these bamboos.)

So now, I am home and the bamboo in water is thriving, but the one in potting soil looks dead.

Yet, there is a green crown on the top of the “dead” stalk and when I pulled the stalk out of the soil I found roots.

Hearing this story my friend initially said we could try an experiment and cut the stalk close to the leaves but when she heard the stalk had roots her tone changed to optimism. “Oh, if this plant has roots it wants to live”. She went on to instruct that I wash the roots well and remove all the dead leaves from the stalk. She then said to get rid of all the soil, rinse the rocks, secure the stalk in the clean rocks, fill the vase with water and pray over it.

I told her I would do these things and then call and let her know what happened. She said, “Please do”.

As I observe this plant, I wonder how many people I meet who look like they aren’t going to make it. I pray that I remember to check and see if they have roots. I pray that I watch for evidence of green life. I ask for wisdom to help them rinse off that which is choking their growth. I want them to have access to both a strong foundation and living water.

I trust that when I look like this hopeless plant someone will do these things for me.

May we recognize “That One Wants to Live”!

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Encountering Jesus on the Street

On my journey to know God more intimately I am working on spending the day in ongoing conversation with Him. This morning I said, “I’m not getting out of bed until you say something to me”. My tone was not demanding, but rather playful. I knew He would understand.

I waited in silence for quite a long time and then He whispered, “I have a surprise planned for you today”.

I got up quickly and set my mind to watch for the surprise. I knew one would come and I didn’t want to miss it.

At the same time, I went through the normal routine of daily living. One of my tasks for my current guest status is to take the dog for a walk through the streets of a mobile home park.

As we walked my eyes were captivated by a lady coming towards me carrying a satchel of papers. I had seen her in this park before but not recently. She seemed glad to see me and I opened with, “I haven’t seen you for quite a while”.

“No”, she replied. She then went on to tell me that her husband was in medical ICU and she was struggling to manage the paper work that would keep his insurance active.

This lady is from another country and English is her second language. I know, from my own experience, that Medicare forms and Insurance papers are a nightmare for anyone. I sensed this was doubly hard for her as she lamented that she has no family here and no one to help her.

As I listened I learned that she was under a time deadline to get some papers notarized. One option that was presented to her was free but she would need to transport her husband to the office of this notary. This, of course, is impossible as the husband has a tracheotomy and is on a ventilator. The other option is for it to be done by a notary in the hospital but this would cost $40.

She looked at me with body language of sadness and confusion not knowing how a hospital could deny care and how it could be that there was no one to help her.

I asked again wanting to be sure I understood. “So, you need $40 in order to complete the paper work for your husband to be eligible for services and you don’t have $40?”

“No, she said, “I am waiting for my Social Security check but it will be too late”.

Knowing I had a $50 bill in my purse that what was wondering what to do with itself, I put my hand on this lady’s shoulder and turned the whole story over to Jesus.

Undeterred by her objections, I asked her to hold the leash and I would bring her the money.

She gratefully accepted and wanted to know how to thank me. I said, “Just thank Jesus”.

She thanked Jesus and she thanked me, too. She wanted my name and address so she can send me a card.

As we then walked separate ways, she to the bus stop and me on my dog walk, I recognized that I had just had an encounter with Jesus.

He smiled and said this was my surprise.

My heart leapt with joy.

I had encountered Jesus on the street.

 

 

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No, Honey, There is Nothing Wrong

These words came to me from my massage therapist whom I called to tell that my muscles had a rebound effect to her work on my body. I was feeling increased pain and a general feeling that there was something not right.

This therapist knows that I am in this city for the purpose of settling the affairs of my friend who recently died. She had met this friend and knew how precious our relationship was and how deeply I am grieving.

“No, Honey, there is nothing wrong. It’s just that you are here and she is not”.

Those simple words of authoritative wisdom have not left me.

There is not much that can be said to a grieving person that feels like help. Yet, this response was helpful to me.

First, she spoke with authority. Grief brings with it a sense that everything is shifting. It’s helpful when someone is sure of something because you don’t feel sure of anything.

Then, she gave assurance that there is nothing wrong. Grief whispers that something has happened that is very wrong. Guilt whispers that I could/should have done something different and this would not have happened.

Finally, she uncovered the stark reality: You are here and she is not.

I’ve always come to this city because my friend was here. Now I am here and she is not.

It feels intrusive to sort through her personal things while her ashes are displayed on a coffee table with an official letter that they have permission to travel.

But this statement, you are here and she is not is not limited to this season of executing her will and releasing her possessions.

No, until my name comes up in the book where all my days are written it will be my reality. I am here on this earth and she is not.

Deep in my heart, I know that this reality does not mean that there is something wrong. In fact, my faith voice is beginning to gain strength and actually tell me that all is well.

God used the voice of this therapist, who is of Jewish faith, Syrian heritage and Mexican culture to speak the words that Jesus wants me to hear.

Strengthened by the Holy Spirit, I can walk on because there is nothing wrong. It’s just that I am here and my friend is not.

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Leaning into Jesus

The story of John, who calls himself the disciple that Jesus loved, is compelling. At one point in the biblical story he is reclining next to Jesus resting his head on Him. When asked by the other disciples to check on something with Jesus, John leaned into Jesus chest and whispered.

This is what I want to do with Jesus.

I just got a text from my ten-year-old granddaughter. She said she is happy right now because she is texting me but she is sad because she wants me right next to her in real life.

I am happy right now because I can pray. I can pour out my heart to Jesus and He answers me.

But I long to be with Him in real life.

How do I lean into His chest and whisper during this chapter when I can experience His Presence but I can’t physically touch Him?

I know the answer to this is personal for each of us. I have friends who “soak” with worship music, others who encounter Him by talking to Him in their prayer language, some go for walks and “see” Him in the world He has created. Prayerfully reading His Word with a searching teachable heart draws others and then there is corporate worship.

I can stand with John and say I am the disciple that Jesus loves. Not because He loves me more than anyone else but because I am able to acknowledge His love and embrace it as mine.

Yet, I long for more. I don’t want to just text Jesus. I want Him right next to me in real life. I need to become better acquainted with the Holy Spirit.

I want to know Him and the power of His Resurrection

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Ponder with Me

What does foot washing look like today.

In my understanding, foot washing in the days of Jesus time on earth was an action done by someone who carried the identity of a servant. It was a humbling act in that the foot washer needed to kneel before the one whose foot he was washing. The sandaled foot would likely be contaminated with all that would be encountered on a road traveled by a variety of animals and careless humans.

The volunteer foot washer then, would be one who chooses to become a servant and is willing to expose oneself to unpleasant if not hazardous debris.

This begs the question: If I were to confront my friend today with a basin of water and wash her feet, would this be what Jesus meant when He said you have seen me wash your feet, now go and wash each other’s feet.

My action of washing my friends feet would provide for her an opportunity to remember this action initiated by Jesus. But my friend’s feet are not dirty. She took a shower this morning and is wearing clean socks.

What can I do today that would capture the meaning of what Jesus meant when He asked us to wash each other’s feet.

What does a servant role look like in my circle of friends?

What can I do for you today that would prompt you to say, “Oh that must be what Jesus meant when He said now that you have seen Me do this, go and do it.”

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