The last few days have been hard ones. My cousin, Joseph died and he was young. This on the heels of my aunt passing. I realize that death is a natural part of life, and they, not we, are at home. But that doesn’t mean we don’t miss them.
As we age, our circle gets smaller and we watch those we love pass. It’s the natural progression of things. Fine, in theory. Faith helps. Yet their daily presence in our lives and the impact of the loss on us, well, that’s a natural thing too.
We look around at those still with us. We count our blessings. And we seek signs that even when our world rocks, it remains, and that while our “normal” shifts, we will adapt and adjust and settle. We need time. Perspective. Peace.
Those who know me know that I was trained from the cradle to love God, country, and family. Those who know me, know I’ve always had a difficult time with anything that smacks of poor ethics, disloyalty, betrayal, or a lack of integrity. I’ve been told flat-out that I have standards for myself that are too high. I should ease up on me. Do what’s easiest for me versus what I feel is right. I found that amusing then. So one should aspire to lower standards? Hold themselves less accountable than others? I didn’t think so then, and I don’t now. It’s like being a little bit pregnant. You are or aren’t. You either have ethics, or you don’t. Are loyal or not. Betray or don’t. Have integrity or you don’t. That’s not high standards, it’s character. So I was but am no longer amused.
I look at all the scandals that have occurred lately (and have been occurring for a long time) and I’m disgusted. God, country and family are obviously under attack and many haven’t even noticed. We have heard a lot about the targeting of journalists and the tea party and conservatives, but we haven’t heard so much about the targeting of Christians. There’s plenty of it, here and abroad.
One of the key reasons this nation came into being was for freedom of religion. Now the nation’s taxing authority is asking entity and individuals for the content of their prayers? Of their members’ prayers? That had my hackles jerking to attention and the first thought that crossed my mind was, “That’s between God and me. I’m not answering. Ask Him.” Not so polite, but what business is it of anyone else’s what is in my prayers? By what right and authority does anyone trespass into an inviolate relationship between God and me? The question itself by government is offensive and unacceptable in a free nation. In a discussion on this, one commented: “I’d have sent them, ‘Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.” I wish I’d thought of that. I didn’t, which proves I still have a long road to travel on my spiritual journey. I was ticked, pure and simple. And I felt violated. I resented that–and still do.
My point isn’t to vent on politics. If you’re interested in political venting, read my Twitter feed. There’s plenty venting there, but be warned: I am not, never have been and will never be, politically correct. I am blunt and honest. My point in this article is that religious freedom is guaranteed citizens. But its authority (Constitution and Bill of Rights) is getting trampled, and some are doing their best to make both mere memories. So if you want the right to your religion, you’d better speak up and out and insist on it now. Later, it’ll be gone. And if you’ve said/done nothing to prevent the loss, then you have no right to object to the loss.
That’s the point. With so much going on in so many different aspects of life, I’ve been seeking signs of my new normal. I started my day as I typically do, but rather than picking up reading where I left off, I cracked open the Bible this morning to randomly read. I saw a verse that arrowed right into my heart:
“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” ~Psalm 27:13 (NIV)
A lovely, blessed sign. Goodness of the Lord.
Oh, I pray I see much of it. Loads and tons and gallons of it. And I shall be seeking it–goodness.