Gratitude

November 14, 2021

Gratitude

We often speak about how much we all need love. We need to give it and we need to receive it, but are we grateful for it? Do we outwardly say, “I love you”? Do we say, “thank you” for even small things?

I am thankful and grateful for all the Veterans in this country who have fought for our country and try to keep it safe. My father was one of them in WWII.

I have read several pieces lately on prisons and the people in them. What many prisonmates have in common is that their past is lacking many things, but the one thing that stuck with me was the simple words they needed to hear growing up, but rarely, if ever did.

I believe in you. You can do this.

I am proud of you. I love you. Thank you.

A mentor that believed in them when they had no family life.

As I think back, I remember the words my father said, “I am so proud of you.”  It wasn’t a gift for doing something or money. Just simple words that made me feel so good! Gave me a sense of self-worth, encouraged me to continue to do better.

I just finished a book called “Ordinary Grace” by William Kent Krueger. In one chapter Frank and his brother had just mowed the lawn for their grandfather. He had never complimented them; he usually said something like, “I pay you well, make sure you do a good job.” But one day he said, “I don’t know if I’ve ever told you boys how much I appreciate the job you do. I get compliments all the time on how good this property of mine looks.” After that Frank had a new appreciation and affection for his grandfather.  Not because he got paid, but those few simple words of appreciation.

So, as we move about in our daily lives, let’s seek out the small things we appreciate and acknowledge them with gratitude.

With gratitude,

Palmer Marrin

Update from the Laboratory of Love 10-29-21

Update from the Laboratory of Love

Recently, I came into Father Chip’s/my office and found a note on the desk, “Thank you for everything you do.” Signed with a smiley face. I don’t know who left me this note, but whoever you are, thank you! And if you aren’t part of the Laboratory of Love group, you should join us.

We started our work by brainstorming what it means to be a laboratory of love, and how, here at St. Andrew’s, we might spread some love around the church, the island community and maybe even beyond. We started with the premise that everyone, everywhere, is short-staffed, and people are rude, grumpy, angry and want whatever it is they expect, yesterday! How can we say thank you to people for the work they do and maybe encourage some patience in everything? In other words, in this 24/7 world that is so short staffed, how can we practice an attitude of gratitude?

November is the perfect month to launch such a project, keeping in mind that Thanksgiving is about giving thanks. One easy way to begin is encouraging and challenging everyone to come up with some prayers of thanksgiving during the Prayers of the People. Please add them to the list at the back of the church or just speak them aloud during the service. Wouldn’t it be nice if our list of prayers of thanksgiving were as long as our prayers of petition! Maybe even some people would be willing to stand up in church and share something they are grateful for.

The other plan is to come up with a small card (business-card sized) that will have some kind of slogan/blessing (yet to be determined at the next meeting) that parishioners could take and pass out to various people they see in the course of their week – think Stop and Shop workers, bank tellers, restaurant servers and so on. This is not designed to attract people to St. Andrew’s, although we will have the name of the church printed in small letters at the bottom of the card, but just to say, “thank you”. Thank you for the work you do in the community, and hopefully this will counterbalance some of the rudeness and mean spiritedness you have to deal with.

Finally, starting in November, there will be a large white board outside the front steps, visible to anyone walking down the street, with markers to write down something they are grateful for. The thought is to start with Sundays and then, during Thanksgiving week, leave it out for the entire week. Let’s focus on an attitude of gratitude instead of what we can’t have yesterday due to supply chain issues.

Our next meeting will be this Monday, November 1st, via zoom, if you would like to join in this discussion and action planning (just please let anyone of us know). And to whoever left the note on my desk, I’ve been enjoying it all week. Think what we could do if we spread some gratitude, and love, around the island!

Cynthia Hubbard and the committee: Palmer Marrin, Chris White, Sue Kelly, Jon Baxter, Dana Anderson (all the way from Hawaii) and Carrie Caldwell

Our Weekly Meditation 10-28-21

REFLECTION

October 28, 2021

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.  Let all that you do be done with love. 1 Corinthians 16:13

Wow!  What a reminder to be intentional in our engagement of life. When I am able to read this verse without attaching bravery and strength to force, (something I have to summon up when I already feel depleted), the Apostle Paul’s message seems more like an invitation to experience Christ.  And, contrary to being energy depleting, it’s life supporting.

Living with chronic pain, sometimes it’s easier for me to give in to what I’m feeling and not pay attention to what I’m thinking or doing.  I’m sure you can imagine what my life is like when I do.  I’m cranky, filled with despair and my only interest is in the pain going away.  I truly don’t know if this will be the normal in my life; I pray it will not be.  Paul’s instruction, a reminder of what Jesus taught, to love all that we do, opens the door to new experiences and insights, even, in pain. I know.  With God’s grace I’ve been able to shift my attention, whether I’m preparing a meal, cleaning, doing laundry or working on crafts.  When I approach tasks with love, or at the very least, appreciation, what a difference it makes. I bypass feedback loops of disappointment, feelings of hopelessness, incompetence and more.  Appreciation and love are helping me “lighten up” and remember the journey is as important as the destination.

Is there a way you can find your “happy” (love and appreciation) in a task you don’t like? If not, think of Christ and the message from the Apostle Paul, make a shift and let those healthy, joy-filled endorphins flow. You are worth it. You are loved.

In Faith Always, Andrea Bolling

Love never fails

September 9, 2021

Chief Dan George: activist, actor, indigenous rights advocate (1899 – 1981)

It is hard for me to understand a culture that not only hates and fights his brothers but even attacks Nature and abuses her. Man must love all creation or he will love none of it. Love is something you and I must have. We must have it because our spirit feeds upon it. Without love our self-esteem weakens. Without it, our courage fails. Without love, we can no longer look out confidently at the world. Instead, we turn inwardly and begin to feed upon our personalities and little by little, we destroy ourselves.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

Mardi Moran

Strange times again!

September 2, 2021

Strange times again!

As we gathered in church this past Sunday, there were no prayer books or hymnals, we were masked, the windows were open, the fans on, and people spaced 6 feet apart (we are still working on that spacing).

So I am thinking, here we go again.

In Forward Day by Day, August 12th, Adam Trambley’s thoughts were mine too.

“My own head is filled with assumptions. The most harm I’ve done in my life comes when I don’t check my assumptions before acting on them. Jesus is the Truth. We honor him whenever we admit that our “truths” might be wrong.”

Who can I blame?  How can I stay safe? I know the answers.

We were not brought here to blame and we know how to be safe and vigilant. We just need to love people no matter what their choices are.

Then the reading this Sunday summed it up beautifully.

“You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls.”

James 1:19-22

Respectfully submitted and masked,

Palmer Marrin

Questions and Answers

September 23, 2021

“Try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live with them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now.”  Rainer Maria Rilke

“Who do you say that I am?”  “What do you think?”   Jesus

So often we are so intent on knowing and sharing all the answers that we don’t pay attention to and embrace the questions, when, as Rilke says, we need to be able to live the questions now. Today we are surrounded by so many answers and cast-in- stone opinions: what clothes to wear, the best technology to own, the healthiest food to eat, the best exercises to flatten our stomachs, even what to believe and how to practice our faith. If you are a Christian, then you must be in favor of this or opposed to that. It seems that the more uncertainty there is in the world and the more often the ideas we once held to be true are falling by the wayside, the more we crave answers, even to the point of not knowing the questions.

 Jesus asked lots of questions, at least 300 of them. And when he sought out people to carry his message out into the world, he didn’t go after the ones who had all the answers – the scribes and the Pharisees and those in positions of power. He went to fishermen and the like who didn’t have any answers, and he entrusted them to go out and change the world. When asked why his followers did things that were not according to the rules or customs, he frequently answered with another question. When asked why his disciples did not wash their hands before meals, he answered, “Why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?”(Matthew 15:3)

In other words, “Don’t hold your faith like an answer sheet; embrace what you don’t quite understand; let people know what you’re wondering about, and you’ll find more of God there than in any catch phrase. No one is going to believe any of our answers if we don’t let them know we have a couple of questions, too.”  

(Excerpt from Live in Grace, Walk in Love by Bob Goff)

Start embracing the questions and you may just find it’s OK not to have all the answers. When we discover our common ground, we can explore the questions together.

In Faith,

Cynthia

Lessons from Paradise

September 30, 2021

Lessons from Paradise

Isaiah 61:7

Instead of your shame you shall have double honor.  And instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion.  Therefore, in their land they shall possess double; Everlasting joy shall be theirs. NKJV

 The prophet Isaiah seemed to know quite a bit about the power of doubling.  The need for more to create a level field.  He knew what was needed to address trespass, inequity and emotional stress.  That his people needed to lay their burdens down, reconcile with God and life.  Yesterday’s wisdom, from Isaiah’s vision, is today’s lesson.  Through the experience of doubling, people have an opportunity to experience true satisfaction, when life, no matter the condition, is alright with the soul.  Perhaps, it’s my training as a consultant, but when I think of doubling, I think of it as an intervention that helps us move out of constriction and survival into a state of confidence and fulfillment.

For the last month, as I’ve been exploring the concept of doubling, I am seeing it work through little acts and big events.  I’m realizing how important it is in creating stability.  In fact, I’m seeing the many different ways we employ “doubling” whenever we try to heal a hurt.  I remember my parents complimenting me, giving me an extra scoop of ice cream or treat, when I had a major disappointment.  Instinctively, they knew they had to shift my thinking so I didn’t internalize my loss to the point of self-loathing and doubt.  I’m watching how our government is attempting to double efforts to help each and every one of us find our post COVID, flood, fire, lives.  In my contemplation, I’m understanding the difference between doubling and the behavior of EXTRA (going overboard without any spiritual anchor).   Yes, I am also experiencing loss and sadness as I uncover the unlevel places in my life.  The places where I could use “doubling” in resources, affection, opportunity.  It’s unsettling, but being honest with myself is helping me heal what often feel like open wounds.  Gingerly, in my internal world, more assertively in my external world, I’m understanding the Prophet Isaiah’s description of the upending and resettling of life, the precursor to paradise. 

I welcome the leveling, the chance to know the beauty and healing power of seeing and being seen.  All of my discovery and experience is giving me a profound appreciation for God, Jesus, and our little church.  During this troubling time most of us could use more love, more care and more consideration to help neutralize fear, stay present, and allow God’s grace.  I think our new normal requires living peacefully amidst change.  It requires we re-frame how we respond to turmoil.  Perhaps we need to know that with God, we need to allow, pivot or relinquish whatever blocks us from embracing this great awakening.  Within every quickening there’s a wave of peace that I believe carries the signature of Christ.  It’s up to us to find that wave, surrender, and ride it.

May each and every one of you receive a double portion of whatever it is you need to be safe, and know you are loved.  Nothing less than double honor will do!

Peace and Blessings, Andrea Bolling

Our Weekly Meditation: Questions and Answers

September 23, 2021

“Try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live with them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now.”  Rainer Maria Rilke

“Who do you say that I am?”  “What do you think?”   Jesus

So often we are so intent on knowing and sharing all the answers that we don’t pay attention to and embrace the questions, when, as Rilke says, we need to be able to live the questions now. Today we are surrounded by so many answers and cast-in- stone opinions: what clothes to wear, the best technology to own, the healthiest food to eat, the best exercises to flatten our stomachs, even what to believe and how to practice our faith. If you are a Christian, then you must be in favor of this or opposed to that. It seems that the more uncertainty there is in the world and the more often the ideas we once held to be true are falling by the wayside, the more we crave answers, even to the point of not knowing the questions.

 Jesus asked lots of questions, at least 300 of them. And when he sought out people to carry his message out into the world, he didn’t go after the ones who had all the answers – the scribes and the Pharisees and those in positions of power. He went to fishermen and the like who didn’t have any answers, and he entrusted them to go out and change the world. When asked why his followers did things that were not according to the rules or customs, he frequently answered with another question. When asked why his disciples did not wash their hands before meals, he answered, “Why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?”(Matthew 15:3)

In other words, “Don’t hold your faith like an answer sheet; embrace what you don’t quite understand; let people know what you’re wondering about, and you’ll find more of God there than in any catch phrase. No one is going to believe any of our answers if we don’t let them know we have a couple of questions, too.”  

(Excerpt from Live in Grace, Walk in Love by Bob Goff)

Start embracing the questions and you may just find it’s OK not to have all the answers. When we discover our common ground, we can explore the questions together.

In Faith,

Cynthia

A Meditation

June 17, 2021

So I know we have ended the daily meditations but this act of kindness was just too wonderful to go unnoticed.

My husband, David, our dog, Sherlock, and I were heading off island to visit a friend in Maine we have not seen in over a year.

We could not take our car due to the hacking debacle with the ferries.

We also had to take a 40×50 wooden crate to a friend who was meeting us in Woods Hole.

A longtime friend, who knows we never do anything easy, gave us a ride to the boat and helped us get the crate to the luggage cart and then get our 3 bags.

We settled into the boat ride trying to figure out how to get all our items to the terminal when we arrived…

When we got to the luggage cart we got the bags off and David and I struggled to get the crate off the cart. It was clear Sherlock was going to be no help….

Then the husband of a young couple with 2 children asked if he could help. Which left me with Sherlock and 3 bags, till he got back. Then the mother asked, “Do you want some help?” She had her own hands full with luggage and children, but she had one of her daughters pull one bag and she pulled one. That left Sherlock pulling me and the last bag. Sherlock has one speed, full steam ahead.

I thanked them profusely and had no idea if they were trying to make a bus or where they might be going.  But it left me with such a wonderful feeling that they were willing to help us. A couple with an energetic dog who clearly overestimated their abilities of what they could or should carry!

So I spent the rest of last weekend reciprocating, with small acts of kindness whenever I could. It is so easy and doesn’t take long and makes people feel so grateful, especially me!

As summer approaches, we are already feeling harried and annoyed, and it’s only June. Take a minute and let that car go through the intersection, or help someone struggling with a bag or directions.

Take a deep breath and enjoy.

“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you….”

Mathew 7:12

With love,

Palmer Marrin