A View of Life as We Wish it to Be

This blog now contains 871 posts. Once in a while, I re-post a favorite of mine, hoping that it is, or will become, a favorite of yours.  This blog was first published on Nov. 22, 2017.  Merry Christmas!

About a year ago, I rather sheepishly revealed a guilty pleasure: Hallmark Christmas movies. This year [2017], a year of ugly politics, horrific tragedy, and un-relenting gloom, I am watching even more and learning why these movies attract us. We love them because they give us a view of life as we wish it would be. And this wish is not as superficial as it may seem.  

We are “hard-wired” by our Creator God for a life of  sweet harmony  – with God, with other humans, with the garden we live in, and with ourselves. A new book by James Bryan Smith, The Magnificent StoryUncovering a Gospel of Beauty, Goodness & Truth, describes three “transcendentals” which help us live as a person created in the image of God should live. These values,  (which every human longs for) are:  beauty, goodness, and truth. And love is intertwined with them all.

Beauty, according to Thomas Aquinas, “is that which, when seen, pleases.”  Smith remarks that whenever we see beauty, we say, “Wow!” A friend of mine recently said, “I make a point of attending concerts and visiting art museums as often as I can because I crave beauty!” Another friend suffers with the return of daylight savings time. The world is dark and she misses the beauty of the sun. We are created to respond to beauty. When  it is missing, life becomes cold and stark. 

Goodness, says Smith, “is that which when experienced, benefits.” It provokes the response “Thank you!” Goodness is all around us, but some days we have to look for it: A mother responding lovingly to a toddler in a grocery store. Food collected by churches and families to feed the hungry. Money raised online to fund a life-saving surgery. A team of people helping a refugee navigate her new world. A young man on the roadside  changing a tire for a senior citizen. In this dark and angry world we live in, goodness benefits the world.

Truth is especially difficult to find in 2017. Smith says that something is true “when it aligns with reality.” Reality is the way things actually are, but in our world reality and truth are always under attack. Smith says, “Truth is that which, when encountered, works.” When we hear the truth, we say “Yes.” Truth is essential to building and keeping relationships, creating public policy, keeping law and order,  reporting the news,  finding community in a church.  

Smith concludes, “We see God best when we learn to see and experience beauty, goodness, and truth.  When we see them we get a glimpse of God.”  And we also get a glimpse of the promised eternal kingdom of God. 

The hallmarks of every Hallmark movie are gorgeous scenery (beauty), people caught in acts of kindness (goodness), conflict that is always resolved (truth), and love that always triumphs. They always provide what everyone is looking for: a happy ending. A Christ-follower’s happy ending comes after a life of living in beauty, goodness, truth, and love.  We call that happy ending  “heaven.”

Posted in Living as Apprentices

From My Reading – December

“Politics—government—does not exist for itself and, if it does, that is precisely when it becomes at least death-dealing if not entirely evil. Nation-states and empires have all “died the death” in the wake of such power run amuck, of such distortion of human community” (Sister Joan Chittister, quoted by Richard Rohr in his Daily Meditation for November 20, 2019).

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“In North America and much of Europe, we are witnessing a dramatic increase in ‘nones,’ people who don’t identify with a particular faith tradition. While I ache for those who have been wounded by religion and no longer feel at home in church, the dissatisfaction within Christianity has sparked some necessary and healthy changes. Episcopal Bishop Mark Dyer (1930–2014) aptly called these recurring periods of upheaval giant “rummage sales” in which the church rids itself of what is no longer needed and rediscovers treasures it had forgotten” (Richard Rohr, Daily Mediation, October 27, 2019).

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“Conservative tendencies often signal that fear is outweighing hope. We get defensive. We hang on. We hoard. We try to collect manna for tomorrow, today. We don’t believe that God’s future will be as great as God’s past, that what God will do can be as great as what God has done. There is a distrust of God in a lot of our conservatism. We must conserve, protect, and maintain, because God, it appears, is not doing it adequately. We do not like the future that God has in store, apparently” (Steve Mathonnet-VanderWel in Reformed Journal: The Twelve, October 22, 2019).

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“[Building spiritual resilience] could mean that when you are in worship or in another gathering or conversation and one of the preachers or one of your fellow congregation members makes a comment that causes your stomach to get tied up in knots, or makes your face flush with anger, or just increases this sense of tension in your soul, because you know you do not agree with what was just said—with this developed spiritual resilience, you could still be fully present in that service or gathering or conversation. With that kind of spiritual resilience, even in your disagreement, you could still honestly try to listen deeply for what they really mean, without needing to prove you are right or trying to throw them off the cliff.

We need to develop this kind of resilience for each other sooner rather than later, because, friends, we are called to lift up our voice. We are called to be a public witness. We are called to live with and in this tension. The issues and the struggles will change but not the call. It is who we have always been” (From a sermon by Shannon Kershner, Fourth Presbyterian Church, Chicago, October 6, 2019).

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You cannot, in the same moment of thought, wish to do something good to someone or to harm that person. Those are mutually incompatible, like hot and cold water. So the more you will bring benevolence in your mind at every of those moments, there’s no space for hatred. It’s just very simple, but we don’t do that. We do exercise every morning, 20 minutes, to be fit. We don’t sit for 20 minutes to cultivate compassion. If we were to do so, our mind will change, our brain will change. What we are will change” (Matthew Ricard is a French-born, Tibetan Buddhist monk. This quote is from an interview with Krista Tippett which originally  aired on OnBeing on November 12, 2009).

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“I have thought with renewed amazement lately about the clear patterns in scripture: God is always working with remnants, the most unlikely people, the most unlikely things, the losers and the people without power. Little seeds, mustard seeds. That’s how God likes to work. Reformed folk tend to love big systems and big dreams. We do quite well with institutions. That’s our Kuyperian heritage, perhaps. And our systemic thinking is one of our most important distinctives. We perceive systemic sin and we set out to battle it—with God’s help. We perceive systemic possibility and we set out to build it—with God’s help. That’s all good. But when we face so much disruption in our social and cultural infrastructures—including our churches—we have to remember how God loves to work. We may be watching it crumble, but meanwhile, God is creating those little refugia” (Debra Rienstra in The Twelve blog, November 23, 2019).

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Life Lessons from the Barnwood Builders

Recently I suggested that members of one of my writing groups choose a piece of writing from the past and try their hands at revising it. The idea was to make the writing sharper, more precise, more readable, and more memorable. The group had mixed reactions: “Once I finish a piece, I’m done with it”; “It’s more fun to write a new piece”;  and variations of “It’s too hard.” We discussed this project for several minutes, and then I encouraged each person to try the re-writing assignment.

The next morning I woke up thinking about the process of rewriting and why it is so hated but at the same time is so important. As I mused, one of of my favorite TV shows, Barnwood Builders, came to mind, and provided a perfect metaphor for rewriting stories – and for life.

Mark  Bowe and his team of weathered and bearded “hillbillies” travel the country to rescue and reclaim decades-old decaying log cabins and barns. It is a sacred task for all of them. They carefully deconstruct the building on site and choose what to do with the timber.  If they are planning to reconstruct the building on another site, they count and label all the logs so that they can perfectly re-create the structure. Sometimes they can’t save the whole structure, but they can save logs for new builds. These they move to their “bone yard” which may be hundreds of miles away. Timber and barn wood that cannot be used to build or restore a cabin are saved for building furniture. Tin roofs and sturdy windows are salvaged and recycled. Nothing is wasted; even farm tools and equipment found in the barns are saved and donated to museums. 

The Barnwood builders teach that 100+ year-old log cabins have value, though they may have to “edited.” Sometimes a log may have been invaded by termites or bees and those damaged parts have to be cut out. Sometimes the notches on a log may have have been damaged by rain and other weather events and have to be re-cut. Sometimes boards are worn and gray and need sanding and re-staining to bring out their former glory. Despite the work that needs to be done on them, these logs and beams can be made beautiful again.

This example from the real world can be encouraging to writers: re-writing or re-imagining can make a piece of writing even more enjoyable or valuable. When we revise, salvage sentences and paragraphs that are well-written and rewrite or re-imagine weaker sentences. To the Barnwood team, the structure of a barn or cabin can be elegant, but it may also be enhanced by the finish work they can do. To a writer, strengthening the structure of a piece of writing and enhancing it with more precise or elegant language can make our goal of memorable writing possible.

The Barnwood team gives us a life lesson as well. We should never give up on the work of art our lives can become. Old mistakes can be studied and learned from. Tired excuses can be sawed out of our thinking. Lack of confidence can be sanded over and bright new ventures constructed. And just as Mark Bowe and his crew can cherish a barn that has lost its former glory and imagine its reinvention, we can see a vision for other people who may have lost their way. Most importantly, we can remember that God sees the image of himself in each of us. He also sees the damage that time and life have done and understands that nothing goes to waste. And he yearns for the transformation that can blossom when we work with the Carpenter to become what He envisions.

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A Smaller Life

“Today, at age 76 — as I weather the autumn of my own life — I find nature a trustworthy guide. It’s easy to fixate on everything that goes to ground as time goes by: the disintegration of a relationship, the disappearance of good work well-done, the diminishment of a sense of purpose and meaning. But, as I’ve come to understand that life “composts” and “seeds” us as autumn does the earth, I’ve seen how possibility gets planted in us even in the most difficult of times. (Parker Palmer, Autumn: The Season of Paradox, published in On Being, November 9, 2019)

I‘ve been sitting in “my chair” quite often lately musing on how to describe how my world is changing. I’ve decided that it is getting smaller. (Parker Palmer might call it “diminished.”) Smaller means less involvement, less travel, less excitement, less input, connection.  Like Palmer, I’ve also decided that a smaller and diminished life is okay.

For a while I worried about becoming smaller.  Many of my friends and family members who are my age are still taking on new, sometimes complicated responsibilities, travel even more widely, are heavily involved in church or social justice activities while I slowly but surely have let much of that go. I suspect my strongly introverted nature is encouraging me down this road, but I am sure that my friends would urge me to “stay active.” I would tell them that I am  very active – in my  mind and soul. 

During my entire professional life (which lasted until I was 74), I was a planner, an organizer, an entrepreneurial dreamer of possibilities. (In fact, many of my dreams during sleep are still are about organizing, teaching, creating new things.) But now I have accepted ceding the planning and creating and building to others.

One reason my world is smaller is that I am my husband’s caregiver; this drains my energy and emotional strength.  Another reason is that my own health now limits my activity.  But health issues are not, I’ve discovered, the major reason that my world is shrinking.  I have always been more of an observer than a participant; now I can accept that part of myself and even relish it. Parker Palmer has helped me understand that even in “diminishment,” possibility is planted. I don’t mourn the losses. I focus, instead, on the calling: to read more,  muse more, sit quietly more, listen and observe more, write more, appreciate more – and  let go more.  

Henri Nouwen writes extensively about loss and how we choose to deal with it. He says,

[E]very time there are losses there are choices to be made. You choose to live your losses as passages to anger, blame, hatred, depression, and resentment, or you choose to let these losses be passages to something new, something wider, and deeper. The question is not how to avoid loss and make it not happen, but how to choose it as a passage, as an exodus to greater life and freedom” (Henri Nouwen, You are the Beloved.)

My smaller life, I am finding, is a passage, “an exodus to greater life and freedom.”

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Going Deeper with God – Living through Good and Bad (Ecclesiastes 7:13-14)

In Eat this Book, Eugene Peterson teaches us to chew on a passage of scripture, digest it and then put it to use in practical ways. Our early Christian fathers and mothers called this process Lectio Divina. Ecclesiastes 7:13-14 re- minds us that the life God breathed into us is replete with good and bad times and how to live through it all.

Ecclesiastes 7: 13-14 (NIV)

13 Consider what God has done: 

Who can straighten what he has made crooked?
14 When times are good, be happy;
    but when times are bad, consider this:
God has made the one  as well as the other.
Therefore, no one can discover
    anything about their future.


When I ran across Ecclesiastes 7:13-14 recently, I was struck by the concept of straightening what God has made “crooked.”  First of all, what does it mean to say that God chose to make anything crooked rather than straight?  In my reading about this concept I found a variety of possibilities:

  • God makes our lives “crooked” at some point to prepare and train us for the role he has planned for us.  Think of Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David – the list goes on. (Rodelio Mallari, Sermon Central)
  • Crooked things are the events of life that thwart our inclinations, the difficulties which meet us in life that we cannot alter (Pulpit Commentary).
  • Crooked things are things that are uncomfortable or  painful or do not work out the way we want (Lonnie Atwood, Cazenovia Park Baptist Church, Buffalo, NY).
  • Our lives are made up of events which are “straight” – those that meet our expectations-and events which are “crooked” – which by their seeming inequality baffle our comprehension (Barnes Notes on the Bible).

And then there is the phrasing of Eugene Peterson in The Message:

 Take good look at God’s work. Who could simplify and reduce Creation’s curves and angles to a plain straight line?

On a good day, enjoy yourself;
On a bad day, examine your conscience.
God arranges for both kinds of days
So that we won’t take anything for granted.

Peterson tells us that not only can we not understand God’s geometry, we can do nothing to change it. We can only take the good days and the bad days as they come. Perhaps God for some reason wants this crooked thing in my life to be crooked; who am I to bitterly complain about it? Trying to argue about how and when and why the good and bad days are apportioned in our lives (or in someone else’s) is not only foolhardy but also not our role. We are not privy to how God works; we can only accept what comes and believe that it will all work out for our good.  


Try this experiment in soul training for at least two weeks – or a month if you can summon up the discipline:

  1.  Put your favorite translation of  Ecclesiastes 7: 13 – 14 on a card or in your phone.   Read it every morning.
  2. At the end of each day, use any of the definitions of “crooked” in the “Chewing” section  above to help you find and list the crooked things that have surfaced in your life that day. Also include memories of crooked things that surfaced today unbidden.
  3. Note how you handled the crooked things. Did you complain? (I do – endlessly.) Did you get depressed? Did you doubt your ability or wisdom to handle them? Did you get mad at someone – yourself, someone in your life, a person whom you contacted to fix the crookedness? Did you pray about them? Compare those responses with those recommended in Ecclesiastes 13 -14.
  4. At the end of each week, journal about your experience with  these verses.  Or talk to a friend or family member. At the end of the month intentionally choose better ways to respond to your crooked things and begin implementing them.
  5. Once you have practiced this soul training and are comfortable with it, introduce it to your family or small group. Share with each other your responses and attitudes  to crooked things in your life.


“When we are crushed like grapes, we cannot think of the wine we will become. The sorrow overwhelms us, makes us throw ourselves on the ground, faced down, and sweat drops of blood. Then we need to be reminded that our cup of sorrow is also our cup of joy and that one day we will be able to taste the joy as fully as we now taste the sorrow” (Henri Nouwen, You are the Beloved).

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“It Wasn’t So Bad!”

Did you ever wish you could recognize holy moments in time to live fully in them?  I had an opportunity to do just that this week in the most unlikely place – the flu clinic at the doctor’s office. As usual, I was rushing and flustered after pushing my husband to get ready so we could get there at the appointed time. I was even quizzing him on his behavior:  “Who taught you that it was appropriate to leave for an appointment at the time you are supposed to be there.”  Thankfully he did not respond. This was not the holy moment – although it could have been, as can any moment.

The holy moment began when we pulled into the crammed parking lot. I was turning carefully into a spot next to a big van when I saw the van door slide open. I stopped immediately, half way into my spot. A little girl, maybe four years old, grinned at me through the open door. “Mom, there’s a car coming,” she reported. Mom peeped through the door on the other side of the van, while trying to corral a small flock of children. Thanks for being careful,” she said calmly.  “Come out this door.”

The girl scampered across the seat and got out while I finished parking. I was getting out of  the car  when I noticed a small boy hurrying around the back of the van and past me.  Mom gathered up this child with three more little ducklings, and they walked into the doctor’s office.

By the time we got in, mom was filling out five forms for flu shots for four kids under 8 and herself, when one of the older girls came out of the playroom and said something to her.  Mom responded, “Well the first thing you need to know is that we don’t use that word about people.” 

We waited behind the family, while the nurse checked their forms.  One of the kids grabbed some suckers and passed them out; even mom got one. I thought, “She should take those away and use them for a reward after they get the shot.” (Bad idea from parenting two boys who hated shots!) But Mom knew better. One of the children couldn’t get her sucker out of the cellophane.  Mom leaned down with her sucker in hand and said “If you start at the bottom, you can pull it off more easily.” The girl followed her example and was rewarded with a lick on a purple sucker.

Just then the nurse called to the family, “You can all go into room 1.” We finished our forms and sat outside room 1, waiting for our turn. Then I realized that all five of them were in there together lining up for shots and said to my husband, “We’re about to hear some screaming.” But it stayed eerily quiet. Finally, we heard some whimpering. Then three girls and a boy trooped out of the shot room, followed by mom.

Mom corralled the kids outside the door. Then she looked at us as we sat awaiting our shots. She said to the kids, “Tell them it wasn’t so bad.”  Instantly four little faces turned to us and a choir of little voices, including one that belonged to a tear-stained face, chorused, “It wasn’t so bad!” in perfect tune and in perfect unison. Then they all grinned, three blonde little girls and a curly-headed young  black boy – a family full of love. We all smiled back as the family marched out the door – and we went in for our shots.

My husband and I talked about being serenaded by these children at least three times in the next half hour.  I really wish I had been able to capture on video the second those children turned to us as one and offered us comfort. As I reflected on the whole scenario, I was impressed by this young mother’s calm behavior with these four little ones in her care. I realized that she had turned every moment into a teachable (and holy) moment.

She impressed the need for safety on one child by thanking her for being careful. She taught another child about social values without even lifting her head from the form and carefully explaining that we don’t use mean words about people. She taught the whole crew to be responsible for themselves by teaching them to unwrap a sucker.  She helped them face a possible fearful moment by matter-of-factly leading the kids in for their  shots. Finally she helped them replace any fear they may have about a doctor’s visit by encouraging them to offer us (and themselves) reassurance .

Later I remembered watching a TV show in which a 20-something young woman was waiting for her first experience of helping birth a foal. Mom did most of the work herself, but as the girl came in the stall, she raised the foal to its feet and began  putting her hands on its face and neck and rubbing them on his back.  Then she placed him so he could begin nursing. She explained that she was “imprinting” this newborn. By helping him feel comfortable with her touch and her good intentions, she was teaching him that humans (at least this human) could be trusted.

I decided that my holy moment was all about a young mother imprinting her children with love, respect, independence, and a positive attitude. I wish I could live next door to this young family so I could watch her work her magic and observe the kids grow into loving, respectful, independent, and positive young people. 

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From My Reading – November

All the great saints in history about whom I have read have been people who were so passionately in love with God that they were completely free to love other people in a deep, affective way, without any strings attached. True charity is gratuitous love, a love that gives gratuitously and receives gratuitously. It is following the first commandment that asks us to give everything we have to God and that makes the second commandment truly possible. . . .

We are touching here on the source of much of the suffering in our contemporary society. We have such a need for love that we often expect from our fellow human beings something that only God can give, and then we quickly end up being angry, resentful, lustful, and sometimes even violent. As soon as the first commandment is no longer truly the first, our society moves to the edge of self-destruction”  (Henry Nouwen, You are the Beloved).

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“Contemplation is a kind of seeing that is much more than mere looking because it also includes recognizing and thus appreciating. The contemplative mind does not tell us what to see but teaches us how to see what we behold.

Contemplation allows us to see the truth of things in their wholeness. It is a mental discipline and gift that detaches us, even neurologically, from our addiction to our habitual ways of thinking and from our left brain, which likes to think it is in control. We stop believing our little binary mind—which strips things down to two choices and then usually identifies with one of them—and begin to recognize the inadequacy of that limited way of knowing reality. Relying solely on the binary mind is a recipe for superficiality. Only the contemplative, or the deeply intuitive, can start venturing out into much broader and more open-ended horizons” (Richard Rohr in Daily Meditation,  October 20, 2029). 

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“You cannot believe in or practice unitive consciousness as long as you exclude and marginalize others—whether it is women or people of different sexual orientations or people of religious or ethnic minorities or, in my experience, people with intellectual disabilities. My work is largely with and in support of people who have significant vulnerabilities because of intellectual disability. In many cultures these people are excluded and oppressed, though often unconsciously, even more so than other marginalized groups. . . . They are thought to be hopeless. Mostly they are ignored and forgotten.

For twenty years I have been mentored by these same people. Some might not be the best-spoken, the most articulate writers, the most celebrated thinkers, the fastest runners. And yet, despite all of that, I have met person after person who emanates a kind of radiant light. After a while, even the densest of us may have our eyes opened to that something which transcends all superficial distractions of disability: the unimaginable beauty of every person. That beauty is ours for the seeing if only we have the eyes to see, if only we pay attention” (Tim Shriver in “Ripples in the World: CAC Multipliers,” the Mendicant, vol. 4,no. 4, Center for Action and Contemplation: 2014), 3-4.)

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We need ways of navigating our differences that deepen our curiosity, deepen our friendship, deepen our capacity to disagree, deepen the argument of being alive. This is what we need. This is what will save us. This is the work of peace. This is the work of imagination” (by Irish poet Pádraig Ó Tuama, quoted in the OnBeing newsletter,Oct. 18=9, 2019).

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The Battle of the Newspaper

It’s only a thin daily paper, maybe 12-15 pages many of which are filled with ads. But for years, I have faithfully read the Holland Sentinel – when it was not so good journalism and now that it is pretty good journalism. Sometime during the last year, I started scheduling appointments with the paper. I get my “work” and errands done, eat lunch, and then in mid-afternoon sit down with 8 Hersey Hugs and devour the paper.  

I read every section: the front page local news describing fireworks in a local mayoral election; the local news section full of local business achievements, non-profit collaborations and celebrations, and crime stories; the obituaries, making me aware of the personal pastimes and achievements and families of people I know and strangers I don’t; the letters to the editors and editorial columns both local and those reprinted from bigger papers; the feature stories about sports heroes from our town and surrounding areas, very personal and fascinating. I even read the legal news and announcements.  

Before we moved to a new apartment (down the block about two hundred feet), I called the circulation office for the Sentinel to give them our new address and to ask them to have the carrier put a new bright blue Sentinel box near our door because the apartment complex won’t allow the paper to be just thrown in the driveway or on the grass.  They said it would get done! For sure! !  The day after we moved!!!

Promises, promises.  In the ensuing days, I made 11 calls to the circulation desk:  my paper was not at my new address, the paper was being delivered to the box at the old address; there was no paper at any address, the new box was never put up, the paper was being thrown in the parking lot (which our apartment doesn’t face). The paper was not delivered. The paper was on the grass again.  The only time the paper was delivered properly was the time a sub delivered a Sunday paper because we never got one – surprise!

Soon, I noticed myself getting more irritated and more upset as the Battle of the Newspaper continued. I complained several times to my husband about how unfair! this all was.  Trying to be solicitous, he said, “Well, at least you don’t have to go down 14 steps (as in the old apartment) to look for it.”  He never said that again!

When the apartment maintenance guy came to ask if the toilet was working properly now, I said yes and immediately launched into my experience with the newspaper delivery guy.  He told me that he routinely has arguments with the guy because he routinely throws the paper any old place in the parking lots. He admitted that last winter he just plowed the papers into the piles of snow rather than stopping to pick them up – and the oblivious tenants had to call to complain that they didn’t get a paper that day.

I shared all these stories with the circulation desk. On my 11th call I stated that the delivery person evidently had a grudge against this complex or or the maintenance guy, or he just didn’t like being told what to do.  The person at the desk was horrified that I would vilify their employee like that. On another call, I had said that if I didn’t do something a boss had asked me to do 8 or 9 times, I would have been fired. That person agreed with me.

As I talked this over with my husband and friends, I was told that the only way to fix this was to cancel and then subscribe again a month later. None of them seemed to understand that this would do no good: I would still have the same person delivering the new subscription! A few told me to subscribe digitally and read on line. Only one person sympathized and agreed with the fun of just sitting in the recliner with my Hugs lined up on the end table while holding an actual paper.

And then, finally, (and this is the point of this silly blog), I realized that I had not been acting much like Jesus the last three weeks. The “it’s not fair” moments took over my days and my conversations. If I could’t act civilly, let alone lovingly, I’d had to just give up the paper. If a newspaper was so important to me that I daily lost my cool, I would have to let it go. One more lesson in detachment was obviously needed.

And so my 12th call to the Circulation Desk was to cancel the Sentinel.  I could almost hear the collective sighs of relief that went around that office. And, as is my experience with most detachment soul-training exercises, I really don’t miss the paper. I keep my rendezvous with Hugs while reading a library book.  I buy the paper once or twice a week at the gas station down the road, but I no longer have withdrawal pains. Once in a while, a friend will send me the digital version of an article she thinks I would enjoy, and I am grateful.

Now I just need to be reimbursed for most of October because the cost of the paper was withdrawn on Oct. 15.  The person on the phone promised me that would it be done in a few weeks.

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