Greetings from Church of Peace,
Summer has finally arrived, after a lovely spring. As we mentioned last week, we will be continuing to have Sunday services in the Fellowship Hall.
We still need volunteers to keep our many beautiful flowers and trees watered throughout the season. Let us know if you can help. (Bring some friends to make the job easy and fun!)
The following is Jack’s Musing:
The great twentieth century American playwright Eugene O’Neill said, “Man is born broken. He lives by mending. The grace of God is glue!”
O’Neill was born in the late nineteenth century and obviously used dated gender specific language appropriate to his time. Nonetheless, what he said makes sense if you think and have the capacity to look around long enough to perceive the state of people in your sphere of influence. In my world, I am aware of many people that are broken. I would be lying if I suggested that at different times of my own life, I was not broken. I believe, at your own core you may experience being broken from time to time.
It seems not a week goes by that someone in congregations I’ve served, my family, or circle of friends is not facing a personal crisis that they might describe as taking them to the breaking point. Many are simply shattered by the many complexities of life. Over the course of my life I have seen people young and old, at their wits end choose to end life. It is often related to bad choices, bad advice, fear of not having resources to face the future, the embarrassment of believing that as they are they are not enough, or some form of mental, physical or psychic abuse. Overwhelmed by bitterness, anger, fear, slights real or imagined, they find themselves feeling trapped and utterly hopeless. Eugene O’Neill was spot on saying human beings live by mending. I mean, if we cannot mend, why live. I see mending as a human option for most if not all.
When hope is gone, and you cannot see a way around or through the darkness, it is easy to create a catastrophic expectation that everything you feel, see, and know is aligned against you. It is at those moments especially that we wish the veil would be lifted from our eyes and we could see something else. But, locked in a part that has not worked for us, or is no longer working for us, we continue to do the same thing again and again. We could see something else. In many cases, we are too lazy to do what is necessary. What is necessary to create change has been for me, an “internal will” to do so.
For instance, if my friendships are not enhancing and enriching me in my core essence, why don’t I change friendships and begin the process of healing mind, heart and body. It takes work of-course and is not done lightly. The mending happens when I have awakened and do whatever is necessary for my health and wholeness. Actually, I have done this on two occasions. Both times I did it for my mental health and survival.
As my late friend, psychiatrist, and mentor, Bob Henry often said, all you need to do is this, “Reprogram yourself.” I decided what I wanted for myself and looked at how I had been programmed by my family of origin, my church, my schools, and my friends. I looked at the actions in my life and how they affected who I was and decided whether or not I liked the results. When I did not like the results, I changed the programming. It is possible to do. I know many that would just as well stay trapped and continue to moan about their existence, and how others keep them the way they are. They blame health, circumstance, and conditions surrounding themselves. They choose to remain trapped and to continue doing damage to themselves and others.
I ask myself again and again, why? To what end would someone waste possibility. It is not in my power to rescue anyone or make him or her take steps to heal themselves. It is only possible when you or I choose to begin the process. The great news though is there is still time for you and me. O’Neill ends his quote saying, “The Grace of God is glue.” This grace of God is a phrase used lightly in society and often linked to the religious. If you are not religious, it is possible that unexpected mystery can surprise you when you are not looking? That is grace in my minds eye. The grace is in reality, favor you do not deserve. As Roman Catholic writer and theologian John Shea has said, “grace may well wound you from behind.” It may tickle you unexpectedly when you think nothing in the universe and your small place in it can change anything. It may force you to rethink where you are going. Grace, unexpected, is rich, however it is encountered and is the very glue that continually mends life.
I have experienced this grace often. As I continue my life journey, I expect this glue to carry me. I look for it daily and expect it to be the glue that grounds me. I often find myself opening my hands, and saying to the universe, “help.” Thinking about grace seems to open my mind to endless possibilities. As I mend and heal, I can choose to avail myself of the presence of grace or to hide from it. It is a daily choice. I choose to mend the remaining broken places in my life. It is, as I have been heard to say, the work of a lifetime. It is a practice I choose daily (to stay alert, awake, alive). Choose well my friend. Even if you have chosen and nothing made sense, you can choose again. It is only too late if you choose it to be so or you are at the end of your time.