Here is a translation of a psalm that I like very much:
Even in the midst of great pain, Lord, I praise you for that which is.
I will not refuse this grief or close myself to this anguish.
Let shallow men pray for ease: “Comfort us; shield us from sorrow.”
I pray for whatever you send me, and I ask to receive it as your gift.
You have put a joy in my heart greater than all the world’s riches.
I lie down trusting the darkness, for I know that even now you are here.
— An improvisation on Psalm 4 by Stephen Mitchell.
My good blogging friend Jennie over at no more abuse, left me with this beautiful improvisation by Stephen Mitchell. I went to the Bible and read the actual Psalm and I do think this is a beautiful and wonderful improvisation or interpretation, call it what you will. The Bible is a most wonderful book, but let’s face it, it can be somewhat confusing and parts left open to individual interpretation. That leaves it up to each of us individually to decide if that makes sense or matches our beliefs. This happens to hit mine right on.
I think about what it says. All of my life I have prayed for God’s will to be done in my life. I realize I was one of those shallow people, in that I was actually praying I suppose with conditions imposed. I was praying for God’s will to be done but then expected that would include only things that I saw as “good stuff”. Things that I felt I wanted or needed in my life, according to my will.
Time is so precious, every moment we waste in any sort of negativity is a moment gone forever, one that we will never get back, never have a second chance to relive. So many of those precious moments did I waste, floundering around in my private field of woe. Praying with all of my heart for God to change her/him, change my circumstances what ever.
Why do so many seem to have to wait until they reach the point of nearing the end of their life that they realize the obvious. I say the obvious, but really it only becomes obvious, at least for me, after a lot of prayer, meditation and deep thought. Even when we realize the obvious, it is still so very difficult to accept it into our hearts and really move on with our lives in a healthy and happy way.
What is this thing that is so obvious. We can’t change other people, or even expect them to change to “suit our wishes”. We must look at each individual person and accept them for who they are, good, bad or in between. Just as they must accept us for who we are. By really looking at and seeing an individual for who or what they are. It is then up to each of us to utilize our free will to make our own individual choices about whether or not we want that person as they are to be a part of our lives, or at least to what extent we want them in our lives, or will even allow them in our lives. The ideal, I suppose would be to totally surround ourself with only loving, healthy, nurturing people and relationship. This I think would be an ideal goal or target to aim for in the way we live our lives. Who in the ideal world would we want to eliminate or at least greatly restrict in our lives. Anyone who’s negativity or what ever drain or suck the life force and energy from us. We just don’t need that sort of relationship in our lives.
That takes us to the circumstances in our lives. Not always, but I think it would be fair to say that the vast majority of the time, negative relationships either directly cause or at least greatly contribute to our negative circumstances. So, so often it seems to me, that the only way to improve that circumstance is to change the relationship with the negative forces (people) in our lives. We must live our lives and not the lives we are expected to live by others and visa vera. Nor can we allow the negativity of others to drag us down. Their issues are their own and we don’t have to allow them to inflict their issues on to us. We have enough to deal with in our own lives without accepting negativity or abuse in any form from anyone else. So often it seems we change our circumstances our lives by changing our relationships.
Now this is all according to “Bill”, but I do believe God does answer our prayers each and every one of them. I am not exactly sure how to word this but I do believe God hears more just the words contained within our prayers. He also hears the need contained with in our hearts. His answer may be directed more to the need than our spoken want.
I am not sure if this is a good comparable or not but hey, it works for me and this is my blog so I can write what I want. I believe God loves us all as his children. In my comparable I see our Heavenly Father in what would be comparable to a Parenting role, leading, guiding us to make healthy choices in our lives. Helping us to become the very best we can be. I picture myself as being some what comparable to say a feisty and stubborn 4 year old. It is meal time and I am hungry and I know what it is I want, candy and potato chips. I am making sure everyone knows what it is I want, I WANT CANDY!!!!! But instead before me is place a healthy meal choice. I am upset, I am mad this is not what I want, this is not what I asked for. I’m mad and my stubborn streak comes out. I know what I want and this healthy choice is not it. Never mind that my loving Parent has given me what is truly best and healthiest for me, I know what I want and refuse to eat. Now I am sure in a 4 year old mind that when you are hungry and waiting to eat, minutes can seem like hours. But I am determined, I know what I want and hold out for what I want. After what I am sure would seem like hours and hours of fighting, totally worn out I finally give in and accept the healthy choice the one my loving parent knew was best for me, inspite of what I declared I wanted. The loving parent knew the child was hungry and in need of healthy nourishment. Being a loving parent the child was not given what he asked for but instead what he needed to grow strong and healthy.
Maybe this comparison is overly simplistic or even way off base I don’t know. But, this is how I see our Loving Heavenly Father answering our prayers. He hears our words, but also hears the need in our hearts. He does want what is best for us and will answer our prayer with a healthy option for our true need. He will place it before us, making it available to us. Sadly so often we don’t see what is laid out before us as it is just not in line with what we wanted and were asking for. God has laid before us healthy options, healthy choices. We just have to see them as such and seek nourishment and growth from them. Sometimes those choices have been right in front of us for so long we have almost become oblivious to them and may have even brushed them aside as just not being in line with what we want. It is only when I have finished throwing my child like temper tantrum demanding what I know I want. That I can sometimes look around and really see the other options that have been laid before me, the healthy nourishing options.
There’s this quote by Mahmet Ghandi that’s been like a sort of mantra to me lately: ‘the change you want to see in the world begins with you’
i was telling my fiancee about you Bill and what we both concluded was that you have a rare gift. See, we’re all dying only we don’t realise it. Who can guarantee tomorrow? No one knows what the next day is going to be like so we need to learn to live each day just like you are doing.
Thanks you for the laser insights you give. God bless you!
Hi Sharon, I love that quote, thank you for sharing it with me. The words are so very true, change must begin within each of us.
You are right about no one being guaranteed tomorrow or even 1 hour from now. We just always take it for granted that we have lots of time, always time to do things tomorrow. Hearing the “you are dying” words come out of my doctors mouth has proven to be a most wonderful gift. It has taken me a little time to appreciate it as a gift but it truly is. It has really caused to to stop and think, to really appreciate life, every precious moment. Waste none of these moments as you just don’t know what the future may bring.
It is nice to see you visiting the site, welcome and thank you for the comment, please visit again.
I am a fan of Thoreau these days….Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined…
Best of everything to you and V Bill.
Hi Martha, I have never read anything by Thoreau, but I am going to check him out. I love the comment: ‘Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined…”
Thanks for sharing this
Hi! Just thought I’d check in again. The job situation is busier than ever and there doesn’t seem to be any let up in sight…at least for awhile. I’ve been thinking about what you said about some really “ucky” stuff happening in everybody’s life. There’s no denying it–it’s going to happen to everyone…some more than others. I too used to wail and whine and make deals with God in order to blame him if things didn’t go the way I wanted. However, in my old age (thankfully) I have seen the “big picture”. I now believe that bad things happen because they’re supposed to!!! It’s all about choosing to be better or bitter. I know it’s difficult to understand but all those really bad (and not so bad) things are just opportunities. It’s hard to remember that in the thick of the trouble…Thinking about you and praying for you often, Wiseman.
Irene my friend, it is so nice to hear from you again. I am so glad you are back on line as time permits. Your comment contains much wisdom. When we are in the midst of an issue or struggle it is so easy to become lost in the moment. We forget that in the overall big picture of life, this individual little issue is really but on stroke of the brush that paints our pictures, our lives. Every situation we face is an opportunity to learn and grow. Whether we take this as an opportunity to grow and actually grow as a person is up to each of us individually. I love the way you worded it: “It’s all about choosing to be better or bitter”.
I hope all is well with you my friend.
“I do believe God hears more just the words contained within our prayers. He also hears the need contained with in our hearts. His answer may be directed more to the need than our spoken want.”
That’s a beautiful thought Bill. That is what I trust God to do, even when I am dragged to it kicking and screaming.
hi Jennie, nice to hear from you. I thank you for your kind comment. I do believe what I said, prayers are answered in the way that God knows is the best and the healthiest for us. It is like He knows better than to just listen to our words contained within a prayer. It is just so sad that we all some times just fail to see the answer as it may be contrary to our worded prayer. I think all to often we just fail to grab on to the answer, the healthy solution to our problems as we are just to wrapped up in the issue and the way we Know and want it to be fixed.
I think it is almost like I become so wrapped up in the way I want the situation to be resolved, I pray for him/her to be changed into the person that I want them to be. I become so lost in this thought process I fail to see any other options as even being viable or possible. Those other options are always there, sometimes they are laid out right in front of us, at other times we have to do a little looking around for them, but they are there. We just have to have the courage, the strength to take advantage of one of the options to just sort of grab on to it with both hands. This can be scary though as we know it very well may take our lives in an entirely different direction than we had envisioned.
I hope all is well with you.
Thought provoking post.
Keep it up.
Hi Bendz thanks for the visit and the comment
Hi Bill! I was just listened to Dr. Wayne Dyer on PBS. He said something that reminded me of you. Here’s what he said: If you squeeze an orange (a Creator made item)–you get orange juice. What’s inside the orange comes out, right? Well, what happens when we are squeezed, i.e. what happens when bad things happen to us or when we are squeezed? The squeeze could be pressures, illnesses, troubles at work, difficulties with a neighbour, arguements, gossip, etc. What “comes out”? I believe that what comes out is what truly is inside us in the first place. So Wiseman, I guess the message is we have to change what’s inside us (to be ready for when we’ll get squeezed!!) I know you’re in a big “squeeze” right now, but look what’s come out??!!!! Good things and blessings for all…Thanks again Wiseman.
Irene, my dear friend you are so kind and flattering with your comments, but there is the old saying flattery will get you everywhere. It works with me anyway.
You are right when you say we must always be striving to improve ourselves. It can only make us bigger and stronger people, ready to take on the challenges of life and to be able to learn our lessons from these moments.
I thank you and hope all is well with you.
Hi Bill, I have a tricky one for you……
My 6 year old is just starting to understand “Death & Dying”. She knows that Great Grandma and our dear Terry are in heaven with the angels. These are the two people that have past over in her life. She copes with that, and even setting the dinner table the other night, she set another setting for Great Grandma, who was coming to tea with us, she told us. I thought that was beautiful, as she is such a spiritual little soul. But my question, now she is understanding exactly what “Death & Dying” are, she is petrified that I am going to die. I have tried to explain that we will all die some day, and no one will ever know when, where or how, but that we can’t be scared of it etc. Unfortunately she has me dead and buried already………….. she so scared it is going to happen now. Any idea’s how I can ease her mind, I don’t quite no how to put her mind at rest. Do you think it’s just a “kid” thing, or do I go into things more in depth? I’m a bit stuck on this one, and the look in her eyes, just breaks my heart.
Hi Jo, you are so right this is a tricky one. One that I do feel very under qualified to even try and offer suggestions to. I went to the hospice site and did some reading there. Please go and check it out, they are trained in helping people in dealing with grief and have a lot of excellent resource material on their site.
I can only imagine how difficult and scary it must be for a six year old to come to terms with death and the finality of it all. At her age I am sure your daughter has watched many cartoons in which someone is literally blown to pieces and would be presumed dead only to have that same character reappear almost immediately. That in itself can make the finality of death a hard thing for someone so young to understand fully. When true acceptance of reality does set in, it just has to be scary for a six year old. It is scary for adults, must be terrifying for someone so young.
Is it an age thing you ask? To that I would have to say I think, the answer would be a yes and a no. Yes, as her young mind will be struggling to understand all that is happening. Yes, because she knows she is to young to take care of herself. You are her mother and she loves you dearly. I imagine her feelings toward you go past the obvious love to a feeling of need for you to be there as her care giver. Fear of her future could be coming into play. Now on the flip side of the coin, is it an age thing? No as often those very same feelings and emotions are felt by adults. (I just read Jennie’s comment below and I agree with what she is saying).
Jo, please check the hospice site I referred to they do have a lot of excellent information. I do think it is important that you do help her deal with these issues, so she doesn’t just stuff them way down inside some where and may plague her for the rest of her life.
Be patient, show lots of love and support. Listen to what she has to say and not just blow her feelings off as just being childish. What may seem childish to us, is very real to her. Validate her feelings without blowing them out of proportion but also without minimizing them. Try to reassure her fears as Jennie suggested below, let her know there will always be someone there to take care of her. She will never be left “alone” someone will always be there for her. Let her know that while plans can change, you do in fact plan on being there with her for a long long time yet.
Jo, I wish you luck with this tricky situation. It is tricky but one I really think should be dealt with. I do think it is important enough that actually seeking the help of a grief councellor may be in order if in fact your efforts don’t succeed. When I suggest seeking outside councelling please never think by saying that that I am in anyway trying to imply there there is something wrong with your daughter. That is NOT the case. All I am trying to suggest is that you and your daughter are indeed in a tricky situation. Possibly help is warranted in dealing with the situation at hand.
You are in my heart thought and prayers as always.
I know you asked for Bill’s wisdom, and I’m sure he has some, but I hope you don’t mind that I chime in here too. One of my parents died when I was a child so maybe I can relate to a child’s point of view.
Your daughter may feel confused when you tell her when you tell her “we can’t feel scared” because obviously she does feel scared. That could leave her not only feeling scared that you will die, but also feeling like there is something wrong with her for feeling afraid. Feelings just are, and it might help her to know that it’s okay to feel whatever she feels.
Kids are very dependent on adults to take care of them so the thought of losing the primary person who takes care of you can be very scary.
I don’t know your situation Jo so I don’t know if you are at higher than ordinary risk of dying while she is a kid. If not, it might help to put the risk in perspective, i.e. yes, mom could die now, but it is not likely and most likely you will still be here until she grows up. If that is not the case, be honest with her about the situation.
Her fear is likely a fear of the unknown. Maybe you could ask her, “what are you afraid might happen if I die?” Help her articulate her specific fears, then you can address them.
For example, if she is scared because she doesn’t know where she will live and who will take care of her, talk about that. Who are the specific people who would take over that role? (And if need be, take the necessary legal steps to help make that happen in the event of your death).
Knowing that she will still be taken care of, even if you die, might help her not feel so afraid.
hi Jennie, I thank you for taking the time to respond to Jo’s request for suggestions. I think what you had to say was excellent, I thank you for sharing.
((((((((((( Bill ))))))))))))
Thank you Mel, a hug is always appreciated. Here is one back to you,
(((((((((( Mel )))))))))
Thanks Bill and Jennie for helping me with suggestions. There are some good ideas there that I will try out, and I think I just need to be honest that yes it could happen, but hopefully not, and that I plan on being around seeing her grow up etc. I think it is a great idea to show her her support network, if God forbid something ever does happen. That definately may help if somehting ever did. Thanks again guys….