Daily Devotionals

spiritual_book

(7 Recyclable Days… Plus a Bonus 8th Day)

Day 1:  Love’s knocking on the Door.  Do I open it?

I chose this symbol, a personification, of love being a person knocking at your front door.  In today’s times of security issues and terrorism, whenever I hear someone knock on my door, I flinch.  My first gut reaction is “who could that be?”  Then my brain receives flashes of pictures:  mailman; salesperson; boys or girls scouts; church solicitor; or just plain friend.  But it usually is all the bad negative thoughts that I register.  I have even (I am afraid to admit it) hid in another room silent hoping the stranger would go away.  I’d peak out after a few minutes to check.

But, in this case, the knocking continues.  It won’t go away.  It really bugs me when people from the outside, so to speak, try to interrupt my quiet time, especially in the evening, like some annoying telemarketing message.  “You’ve won a prize….  Call us!”  What award will I win if I open the door to love today?  It is so mysterious.  It could be dangerous.  I am scared.  I prefer my life the way it is.  I am fine.  Oh, yeah, a little adjustment here or there, but OK, really.  I am shocked and amazed at how many dysfunctional persons will say they are well balanced when asked about their emotional stability.  They cannot see themselves hiding behind a shroud of darkness.  They are borrowing the coat of this world, which can be tainted with weak threads, holes, and lice.  We need a new tailor.

Knock, knock…..  and then it stops.  Finally!!  I hope whoever it was, that he or she has left.  Leave me alone.  What would happen to your soul if love stopped knocking on your door?  Would you be forever lost, sold to slavery in the sense of your heart being held in prison, ruled by an evil master.  It may be too late!

You cannot frighten me into guilt or whatever to react.  There was no knocking.  I heard nothing.  And that may be true.  You need to be open to hear it.  You need to be in tune with your God to feel it.  You need to recognize the sign, accept its calling, and become the loving person that is desperately waiting to come out.

So, the next time love knocks, hesitate a moment, then willingly open the door, and let all of love’s strength fill you up like a refreshing breeze.

Day 2:  Up North

No matter where you live or where you go on vacation, there is always an “up north.”  It is a place to go and escape for relaxation and rest.  It allows for some revitalization and mental comfort.  When I arrive I feel a decompression slowly pervading my soul.  When my head hits the pillow, I fall into a peaceful sleep, which might include vivid dreams, waking up once or twice throughout the night, but in the morning I could sleep soundly for hours yet.  It’s hard to get out of bed, but the sunrise colors are beautiful and the sun shines through.  There’s a good big breakfast mid-morning.  Maybe a drive, shopping, and an afternoon nap.  Some leisurely reading and sitting on the deck open to it all.  Off for a quick boat ride, a swim, watching the clear water, mesmerizing.  As sun sets, the sky is aglow with brilliant shimmering hues.  The northern lights gearing up for a light show later?!  The cool wind, the sense of one with nature, and then sustenance at dusk.  The best part is when it’s completely dark and the stars fall upon you like the ceiling of your cottage.  You could almost touch them.  They flicker.  A shooting star…..

You feel so excited and happy inside.  Find that place and rediscover you.

Day 3:  “This the day the Lord hath made, Rejoice and be glad in it.”

This was a saying my mother used to say as she was beginning her daily routine when I was a child.  I remember her many chores as homemaker starting at 7 am fixing breakfast for my father and us 4 kids.  She roused us up for school, dressed us, and made sure we had our supplies, like book bag, brown bag lunch, and scarf & mittens.  If it were summer, if I was home, I’d see her clean portions of the house, like vacuum and dust; then she’d do several loads of laundry; go off to the grocery store for provisionals; run other errands, like to the post office or pharmacy; back home to iron downstairs in front of the TV watching some soaps as a break; then get ready for my dad’s return from work exactly at 5:30 p.m. for dinner, which she had cooked from scratch prepping it (without microwave) by cutting veggies, heating up canned food, peeling potatoes, employing stove and oven, and pouring milk into glasses around our pre-set plates.  Afterward, she’d clear away the table, wash the dishes since we had no dishwasher, and get us ready for bed.

Day in and day out.  24-7.  No wonder she told herself to rejoice, cause the rest to me, seemed hard and tedious.  We must remember to take a moment and breathe, smell, observe, and reflect on the parts that are good in life:  what we have to be truly thankful for.  I’m sure she did.  And I honor her role in my life.

Yet sometimes, this quote may be all that we have to get us through the day.

Day 4:  I can do all things in Christ Jesus who gives me strength.

I don’t know how true that is, but it was the other adage my mother used to say to me as a boy.  I have invoked it only when I was desperately in need of help, moral assistance, or longing.  It was the “Hail, Mary” call.  For who would really listen to this pitiful plea but the supernatural, the heavens, the holy spirit.  No one else cared.  I’d be alone again.

However, there’s a challenge ahead and no matter it’s actual size and relative seriousness, it is huge as you see it.  Confront it, you must!  Yes, it does sound like Yoda instructing Luke or Leia.  It is the old story of good versus evil.  Do you have the fortitude to win?  Are you afraid to succeed?  Won’t it be much easier to lose and categorize the loss as a sacrifice?  God would prefer I’d turn away from this temptation or problem.  Unfortunately, the path is narrow at times and we must chose….

The hardest one is usually the right one.  I have found that as I overcome more and more, I, in fact, do get stronger in every nature; and, by succumbing, I get weaker and remain stagnant.  So, ‘strength begetting strength’ is the formula and Jesus’ teachings reinforce that miraculous growth.

Over time, the choices become easier to make as renewed imagination provides a plethora of healthier opportunities.

Day 5:  To thine Own Self be True.

I first heard these words, quoted from Shakespeare, at a high school graduation picnic at my English teacher’s house.  There was a new instructor just hired from college to replace a retiring professor of grammar and literature.  This young man was sincere and nice.  I shared some of my apprehensions of moving forward, and he said simple that his grandfather had told him these words at a difficult time in his life.  Initially, I generally grasped the meaning.  Scratching the surface, I understood.  But, when you truly dissect this comment, you realize how extraordinarily complicated 6 words can be.

First, what is the essence of “thine own self”?  When our lives are shrouded in fog and clouds, we could mistake that identity for one that’s cruel and mean.  It is amazingly difficult trying to apprehend the meaning of oneself.  Who are you genuinely?  In all honesty, what are you here for?  Your purpose in life?  I believe to clearly see it, you must stray away from the darkness and use the light, as you comprehend that, to read the way.  Once you catch a glimpse, it is there where you must hold true.

Which begs the question:  what is being “true’?  Truth to many has several definitions.  Many rationalize good and bad interpretations to justify their own behaviors in any form.  Regardless, truth is from God.

Let it permeate your light to live freely.

Day 6:  666

Yes, sometimes temptation gets the best of us.  I have always been a numbers freak.  If my tea and scone cost $5.39, I know it is a good sign and will be a good day.  But, when it is only 6 or more 6’s, it may be lethal.  For my favorite numbers are 3,6, and 9 and in various combinations, or even standing alone with the exception of 6.  The number 5 is OK since my birthday is the 15th.  This sounds eccentric and whimsical, but that’s who I am.

Your superficial philosophy may be channelled to a different and unique force.  Maybe, you read the astrology pages and follow the messages of your sign.   In any case, some days are better than others.  In my life, I can sense when I have fallen.  This  mood may be obvious or just interpreted in that way.  The temptation, or failing to overcome, you most likely know or prefer not to reveal.  But, when it happens, you rationalize that it’s normal.  For me, I see that God is unhappy.  Something invariably transpires to show me that I need to be more diligent or disciplined in thought.  It may expose itself in a cold sore, a sty in the eye, a rash, a cancelled meeting of importance, a muscle pull or ache, a lost deal, or something that epitomizes the necessary and opposite reaction.

Either way, it is more of an obstruction:  a reminder to carry on in God’s will.  Some mornings it may be essential to pray when you wake up and understand you are a servant, a messenger, and a friend to God’s promise.  So try to keep that promise.

Day 7:  What is it About People?!

Will there ever be a time in our lives where we surpass the every day, mundane, defeatist attitude?  Do you ever try to be and act unselfishly or in the best interests of a child, or another, or simply show a compassionate, caring face at work?  I have discovered that most other people don’t have time for love.  They are too busy.  There’s work to be done.  It’s all a mess.  Rush!  Rush!  Rush!

Forget manners and thoughtfulness.  Be mean and lean, and bring in the money.  This forever goal of survival overlooks the simple, basic needs of humans.  We all appreciate a smile, a pat on the back, a “job well done”, any form of positive reinforcement to show our worth.  The trap or vicious cycle is the “put down.”  It happened to the person before you and so on.  That’s not a good reason to continue the same treatment.  Unfortunately, the majority of people like this method by default and as a result don’t respond to kindness.  They prefer disaster and gloomy outlooks to approach each new day.

I know it’s hard, but try to forgive those who’ve hurt you and be conscious about moving forward in a light worthy of your being!  Your focus should be on your heart’s beatings and soul’s enlightenments.

Day 8:  Who Are You??  (A personal day of reflection)

There were many things in my life I wanted to do as a kid:  firefighter, rock star, sports god, teacher.  But the one that continued to resurface for me was that as the hero:  saving a girl, or the world from destruction.  Something super-great!!  Well, after college, I convinced myself and felt pressured into pursuing a legal career.  I never wanted to be a lawyer.  That option was just starring me in the face as a no brainer.  As an alternative, I saw dollars and cents to rationalize this decision.  But not real sense.  For when I passed the bar exam and was finally hired by a small firm, I gave that path my all to help people in this arena.

Over several years, I realized that my passion took a backseat to the goal of collecting more clients, more fees, and more prestige.  My innate caring of people to connect were ignored by my superiors, mowed over again and again, like an irrelevant advantage, so that all that was required of me was the ability to argue objectively without feeling and win cases, bottom line, with no complimentary remarks for job well done.  Period!!  No creativity, no real me!!  So I left.  I tried being a school teacher next, since I really enjoyed working with other people’s children.  They understood me and responded to my genuine loving attitude.  I thought I made the right decision…..

As a teacher, I learned a lot.  My first year as a 7th and 9th grade English instructor, I was eaten alive by the students.  Always pushing the envelop.  I worked long hours to compensate and each day returned emotionally drained by the taxing labor of love offered to each child’s growth.  In the end, I realized that place was where I needed to be; however, what I couldn’t tolerate were the administrative issues.  It was law all over again.  There were files to be maintained, paper trails, reports, extra meetings with parents, principals, other teachers to measure up.  More work upon, what I felt was, useless documentation, in addition to doing your average paying teaching job.  Money could help.  But there was none to go around with budget shortfalls.  Most of my colleagues let the system take over, and they accommodated it by flushing the students through, without headache, distributing B grades regardless if the kid deserved it.  Learning took a backseat to survival.  So I left the school environment too.

Yet, I decided not to abandon the children.  My nephews, nieces, godchildren, and friends’ kids have helped me regain my confidence.  Now my goal is to help those less fortunate than I, in many ways ….. as best that I can…..and draw on the insight of this Sixth Gospel as a medium for comtemplation each day.

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