Spirit. #poetry

(C) 2021, by Pamela Schloesser Canepa

A spirit will not grow old

Unless you let it.

The flame of Youth is always there

Don’t squash it

With doubts, distrust, experience, and every outcome you think you know.

Rekindle the spark, enthusiasm, innocence, expectation of good things….

Don’t turn away fron the sun because you know it’s going to set

Let the sunset calm you just as

A sunrise will break open your heart

With excitement and hope.

Let your spirit learn from the dark

But keep the innocence of hope,

So your spirit will not whither in darkness,

But expands to make room for all you know, feel, and desire.

If you don’t cast out either, Can wisdom and innocence co-exist in your soul?

I believe it.

G is for Gethsemane. #AtoZChallenge

gethsemane-556051_1920

*Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

From Matthew 26:36-37, ESV:  “Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, ‘“Sit here, while I go over there and pray.’ 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled.

In the Christian faith, we are nearing the end of Lent, which means the story of Gethsemane is near, a telling of the hours leading up to Jesus death as he prayed and prepared himself.  It is a dark, somber story, which tells of: the evil that men do, the weakness of someone who is supposed to be a friend, violence, betrayal, suffering, death, all of which happened to Jesus.  Sadly, all of these stem from the human condition.

Yet, something else is at the heart of the human condition and this story of Jesus and Gethsemane:  the desire of mankind to strive towards spiritual nurturing and enlightenment, to find our way to the light.  To believe, when times are darkest, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, a benevolent power that will calm us and give us what we need to sustain such dark and painful times.

Jesus’ disciples were hitting rock bottom.  Betraying their Lord and leader is certainly at rock bottom, and I just imagine how that felt when he actually died.  But the whole Easter story does carry a light of hope, a promise of spiritual gifts, forgiveness, and resurrection.  I used to want to avoid the story of Lent.  I studied it in depth throughout my whole childhood in Sunday school and parochial school.  But the truth is, you have to go through Lent before you get to the joy of Easter.  Otherwise, you really don’t know just what it’s all about.  It’s sort of like childbirth.  The pain is 100% worth it.

We are bottom feeder humans.  Many of us would deny our Lord or our faith when it is more convenient.  But even we can ask and hope for forgiveness.  This is the story of the contrast of dark and light and of rebirth.  Many might say it simply represents Spring.  But it is the epitome of faith, belief in things not seen, and things that we once believed impossible.

**The AtoZ Challenge theme for my blog is “Who I am.” Yes, it’s wide open.  In April, I will blog from A to Z to include little tidbits about me, poems I’ll share, and stories. Each day I will write something based on the next letter in the alphabet.  It’s been fun so far, yet it has really given me a chance to pause for reflection as well.

Want to know more about the A-Z blog challenge?  Visit http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

Christmas Memories: No, I’m no Angel, but Sometimes My Prayers are Answered. #advent #faith #christmas memories

madonna-209995_1280

This time of year brings back all kinds of memories. I volunteered to take a Bible verse and write a devotion to go in my church Advent devotional.  The memories were easy; the challenge was training my thoughts around a scripture as well.  Here’s the result.

Christmas Memories

Scripture- Psalm 16:11 “You show me the past of life.  In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” 

Advent season is a time for many memories.  Opening the door to the past, I think of my first Christmas memory.  Mom gave me a new red, velvety dress and pressed my hair in curls.  I was seven and we lived in Virginia.  Well, she dressed me up all pretty but it seems I caused her some embarrassment, plugging my ears and yawning a lot during the musical service.  Maybe I just wanted to be in the nursery with my little brother.   Despite my lack of decorum, we went home and Mom, Dad, and my little brother spent time listening to the record player together as I fell asleep watching the candles flicker, waiting for morning.  As close as I am to Mom, it’s odd that this is my first Christmas memory!  Yet what matters is that we enjoyed our time together as a family, my immature behavior was forgiven, and the occasion was still joyful.

praying-child-1668636__180

Then there is the memory of two years later being allowed to go into the ICU on Christmas Eve to see my dad through the glass.  *He’d had surgery on his esophagus and was in critical condition, but ultimately, lived.  It was a rough Christmas, but friends and neighbors all over shared their Christmas joy and cheer with us for the weeks he was hospitalized.  I was overwhelmed; we’d only known many of them for just one year.  Years later, as an adult, Dad said he saw me look through that window, and it felt as if he was visited by an angel giving him assurance.  Being told this made me feel really special.  I didn’t realize I could be so important to him.

While I recall many who have given over the years to share their joy and Christmas spirit with my family and with me, it is as deeply rewarding to do this for others.  I had a few opportunities to do so when I worked in retail.  I missed church service working late one Christmas Eve, and was anxious to get home to give three-year-old Austen his new tricycle.  Yet, I found joy in making one customer so happy when I found her a sought after TV in the stockroom, that she hugged me, saying, “God bless you.”   This was two minutes before closing time.  I talk about how retail zapped my Christmas spirit year after year, but this woman’s happiness and relief truly warmed me spiritually, and my son was still happy when I got home!

 

Prayer:  Lord, when I look back, please help me to see the good in all that I have endured, the lessons learned, the moments when I was someone else’s light in the dark whether I knew it or not, the many times that I was shown how much I was loved.  Help me to share that love and joy with others, for there is no greater pleasure.  Please help me to see that the goodness you have bestowed on me all my life will continue, for with faith in you, dear Lord, comes the knowledge and assurance that I will always be loved.

*Addendum:  If you were wondering, my father’s esophageal issue was due to a history of binge drinking and alcoholism.  He sought sobriety and finally, it stuck, after he stayed in a 30-day rehab when I was 20.  Almost thirty years later, he is still firm in his recovery.

tunnel-1484554_1280Light at the end of the tunnel.  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.