Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cherry Blossoms

Saturday we walked in the Botanic Garden again....The ornamental cherry trees are blooming.

And the redbuds, too.

I think often lately about how all this beauty is just there, all around, and we have done nothing to deserve it. People do nurture and protect parts of nature, but we don't create it. Simply by virtue of having been born into this life, we are blessed and enriched by it. And it simply amazes me.

For the beauty and wonder of your creation, in earth and sky and sea,
We thank you, Lord.
For minds to think, and hearts to love, and hands to serve,
We thank you, Lord.
For health and strength to work, and leisure to rest and play,
We thank you, Lord.

from the Litany of Thanksgiving, Book of Common Prayer

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Misty Morning Walk

I had planned to take an afternoon walk in the sunshine, but the fog lured me out of the house early.

This morning the world (my little world) was completely enveloped in this cloud. Now the cloud of fog is completely gone, with bright sunshine and blue skies. A young child on a morning like this might have thought this was the way life was going to be for a long time, that this is just how the world is.

How often do we imagine that our lives are just going to be the way they are, not realizing or believing that things really will change? Our perspective is so limited, and we are so good at thinking it is not.

One thing I love about the weather is that it's a continual reminder that we are not in control.

What is your life? You are mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

Ah, and what a beautiful mist it is at times....

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Flowers appear on the earth,
The time of singing has come!

Song of Solomon 2:12

Well, the rest of the verse says the turtle dove has appeared in our land, and I don't have one picture of a turtle dove. But my turtle dove and I went walking in the Garden the other day, and here is some of what we found.

Do enlarge the next four photos to do them justice:

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Fear and Courage

From "Job Losses Hint at Vast Remaking of Economy" By PETER S. GOODMAN and JACK HEALY, Today's New York Times:

Some suggested the job cuts reflected the anxiety that gripped the financial system after Lehman Brothers failed. Borrowing costs have spiked for American companies, making businesses reluctant to expand and hire. And many companies remain spooked by the Wall Street collapse.

“There was a huge increase in uncertainty and a huge hit to confidence which caused a large rethinking among businesses,” said Ethan Harris, co-head of United States economics research at Barclays Capital.

In similar crises, like the stock market crash of 1987 and the near collapse of the enormous hedge fund Long Term Capital Management in 1998, dysfunction continued for about six months, Mr. Harris said. But history also shows that when fear lifts, the economy returns to wherever it was when the crisis began, he said, suggesting the recession is likely to continue for many more months.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I was struck by the words and phrases I've put in italics above when I read this article this morning. There's a lot of truth in FDR's "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." Certainly in my work as a counselor, I see how people's fears result in consequences worse than they would be if they could make decisions from a place of trust and faith. It appears the same is true for the economy.

Not that fear it the sole cause of the problems. Obviously it's not. But it certainly seems to have already made things worse that they have to be, and continues to do so. People tend to make poor decisions from a place of panic.

Scripture is full of passages saying, "Do not fear," or "Be of good courage." I've found that doesn't come naturally to me at all, but like any part of the mind, body, or heart, courage and trust grow the more you exercise them.

I used to run hurdles...many years ago. I'm trying to look at the current economic situaion, and my less-employed state as a series of hurdles to run. It can certainly hurt to miss a hurdle and fall down--I had the occasional bloody knees back in those days--but if I'd listened to the fear of failure or pain or embarrassment, I suppose I never would have tried at all. Instead of that, though, along with the memories of bloody kness and sore shins, I also have memories of sailing over hurdle after hurdle, sometimes winning races, sometimes not, but enjoying the act itself no matter what.

Be of good courage!