Posted on July 31, 2017
"Laughter does good, like a medicine," the book of Proverbs advises. Medical science has confirmed that idea, alerting us that laughter releases endorphins which are Nature's feel-good drugs. And the more endorphins that are released, the healthier our bodies become.
We are always ill-advised to ignore or deny the harsh realities of the world in which we live. By so doing, we sacrifice our opportunity to be healers of humanity's hurts. But by the same token, we are also ill-advised to see every silver lining as simply the parameters of a dark cloud or every glass as half empty. Much of life, even amid the pains and problems, is fun. And much of what occurs around us is funny. Cultivating a sense of humor is a holy endeavor, which makes us healthier in body and in spirit. So, look for the humor in your world today. Be diligent in finding it, and allow yourself the room to laugh. It will make you a stronger person, which will enable you to make the world a stronger place.
Posted on July 24, 2017
"Let the children come unto me," said Jesus, "for to such as these belongs the Kingdom of God." As we age, it is too easy to forget that the essence of God's nature (according to what Jesus said) is revealed in children.
In children we see unbridled enthusiasm, an openness to other people without categories or prejudice, a curiosity that gives birth to learning, the medicinal presence of laughter, and the sense that people are good and life is an adventure. Growing old is not so much about the turning of pages on the calendar as it is about losing those qualities which children possess.
Take some time for self-examination, asking what has become of the child within you and what you need to do to rediscover that person so that you can become whole.
Posted on July 17, 2017
"And God looked upon all that had been created and said, 'It is good'."
How often do we actually observe Creation? I drive through nature and past nature too frequently without reflecting on the beauty and blessings of nature. Recently on a walk through Central Park, I spotted numerous people sitting on benches, heads down, busy with their cell phones. They were surrounded by the blooming beauties of the season, but were oblivious to all of it. Too often we are so absorbed with the mundane that we miss the majestic.
Make a point regularly to place yourself in a spot of natural beauty, to turn off your phone, and to simply see what is around you. That is an act of sacred worship.
Posted on July 10, 2017
When do we move from doing only what we have to do to doing what we need to do? When do we transcend mere responsibility and embrace opportunity to make a difference in the world? Why not summer?
Often in the summer months we go places we don't usually go and see things we don't usually see. Perhaps summer is also a good time to do things we don't ordinarily do. For example, it may be a great time to use some leisure hours to volunteer at an agency that addresses human need in your community. "This is my commandment," said Jesus, "that you love one another." And loving involves helping. Showing concern. Advocating for. Speaking on behalf of. Serving. It doesn't take long for any of us to identify a place that needs our time and talents. Make that a summer commitment.
Posted on July 3, 2017
"You shall love your neighbor as your SELF," said Christ. Love of self without concern for others makes for a very small and egocentric world that ultimately will lack meaning. But love of everyone else without self-care will eventuate in burn-out. If you don't take care of yourself, in time there will not be much self left with which to take care of others. So, summer is a good time to practice responsible self-care – to take time off, to vacation, to honor Sabbath, to pull back from the stress and strain long enough to refresh and restore. If you don't take care of you, how can you hope to take adequate care of anyone else?