I and Thou – Global Pandemic

Easter 2020

Online church services.
Passover Seders through zoom.
Communion in homes.
Choirs singing virtually.

In Arkansas…

  • 1,280 confirmed Covid19 cases
  • 27 deaths

In Massachusetts…

  •  25,475 cases
  • 756 deaths

In New Jersey…

  • 61,000+ cases
  • 2,350 deaths

In New York…

  • 188,00+ cases
  • 9,000+ death

In the United States…

  • 558,000 cases
  • 22,000 deaths

The numbers are everywhere.
Online. On CNN. On MSNBC.
On local news stations. Unless you live under a rock, the impact is real.

How deeply are you affected by this virus? The stay-at-home orders? The work from home orders? Wearing facial coverings in public? Did you ever think you would live to see this day? 90% of the country has shut down.

Loss of celebrations.  Loss of livelihood. Loss of time with loved ones. Loss of life. It becomes personal when you know people in your circle who have tested positive and who have lost their lives because of this virus.  Until that happens, it really isn’t all that personal.

I’d like you to meet David Hoganauer.

He attended Prospect Presbyterian Church in Maplewood, NJ, where my two children attended Nursery School. I was a substitute teacher when needed. That is how I knew David.  He was one of those people who smiled at everyone. The neighbors. The children. The nursery school teachers. He was gentle and kind. He passed away last week.

https://obits.nj.com/obituaries/starledger/obituary.aspx?pid=195900208

I’d like you to meet GeeGee.

I met GeeGee in Tai Kwon Do Class.
No, not for me – for my sons.  But, GeeGee did take the class, her husband, and her daughter.  It was a family activity.  That was many years ago.  GeeGee is a Dean at a local community college in NJ.   She tested positive. Was ill. Has recovered.

I’d like you to meet Beth.

Beth is the daughter of my friend Maryann. Maryann and I attended Wednesday Bible Class together for several years at Wyoming Presbyterian Church in New Jersey. Beth works in NY.  She tested positive, was sick, and has now recovered.

On this pandemic Easter 2020, let’s us all become one. One in spirit. One in friendship. One in love.

Blog_Pic53Photo Credit: blissshine.com

Easter is…

A time of refreshment
A time of renewal
A time of rebirth
A time of new birth

A time for planting
A time for plowing
A time for joy
A time for sorrow

A time of reorganization
A time of recommitment
A time of reconciliation
A time of rededication

A time for life
A time for death
A time for caring
A time for loving

A time of retreat
A time of reflection
A time of restoration
A time of resurrection

 

I and Thou – Love

Love is all about giving and taking, ebbing and  flowing. Love is innate. Blog_Happy-Valentines-Day-by-PLATUX-modern-Art-ArtistIt drives us to become the people we are meant to be. Love encourages. It builds up. And, yes, even times, it causes pain. Loneliness. Separation.  However so lonely, however so separate…deep down, love will prevail. It always does.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I and Thou – New Year…New Path

The Bible isBlog_Pic49 a living document that speaks to each person in their own unique way. It is the Holy Spirit dwelling within you who discerns the word of God. The words of God that are in your heart and mind need to direct your path. These words can profoundly influence each decision that you make in your life. For each choice, there is a wide path and a narrow path. God walks beside you on either one. You choose one over the other for many different reasons. Some go back and change their minds. Others realize the wrong path and then have to live that path until another way becomes available. God does walk alongside; yet, some do not know. Many seek God in deep distress. And that is okay. When you surrender and ask God to participate in all your decisions, life becomes more bearable, and your path will become more evident. When you stick to the principles that God has outlined in scripture, you will prosper. And, in so doing, you will experience God’s love where you are. Where ever that may be. The place that God has led you to. For now.  Wishing you a new path, full of joy and love for 2020.

Photo Credit:  Dominic Martinelli

I and Thou – New Year’s ABC’s

Happy New Year!

Blog_Pic48

Artwork Credit: David Baruch Wolk
Title: Holy Alphabet

In with the new and out with the old.

In with…

Affirmation and out with rejection.

Blessing and out with condemnation.

Calmness and out with turbulence.

Delight and out with discontent.

Endearment and out with alienation.

Friendship and out with aloofness.

Gratitude and out with thanklessness.

Harmony and out with discord.

Improvement and out with stagnation.

Justice and out with falsehood.

Kindness and out with selfishness.

Love and out with hatred.

Magnificent and out with ordinary.

Navigate and out with ignore.

Optimism and out with hopelessness.

Passion and out with indifference.

Quirky and out with conventional.

Relationship and out with estrangement.

Self-reflection and out with self-absorption

Tranquility and out with upheaval.

Understanding and out with unfeeling.

Value and out with worthlessness.

Warmth and out with coldness.

X-traordinary and out with the standard.

Yet and out with but.

Zip and out with inactivity.

In with the new and out with the old.

I and Thou – Celebrate Life!

Mother’s Day is bittersweet if you have a good relationship with one child and a non-existent relationship with the other. How on earth can this happen? Well, today we are not going to try to figure this out. No one is to blame, and no one is to be sad.

Today is a day of celebration!
Celebrating love. Blog_Pic43
Celebrating life.

Whether or not you are in good standing with your children, today is a day to celebrate Mothers; regardless of the emotional baggage that may or may not be there. Mother’s are rocks. Mother’s are saints. Mother’s are close to being divine. Whether your mother is alive or not, think of the nine-month gestation period which she carried you. She loved you from the moment she suspected she was pregnant. She delivered, fed, and nurtured YOU! And, that is worth celebrating!

I and Thou – The Gift of Time

Christmas time. Holiday gatherings. Gifts. Christmas can be stressful; especially when your heart is larger than your pocketbook. You wrestle with the premise of gift-giving, and you wrestle with materialism. How do you find the right balance for your family? Consider the gift of time. Time to write a note. Time to write a poem. Time to make a hand-made gift.Blog_Pic27

During this holiday season, surround yourself with people who love you. You may not be a millionaire; yet, God knows you feel like a million bucks when you are spending time with family and friends. You will not be judged for not having the “perfect” gift. The “perfect” gift is presence…not presents! And, for family members who cannot be present for the holidays, give them grace. Wish them well. Love them from afar.

God wants you to keep your mind open to new ideas and new beginnings. Use this holiday season to refresh. Pause. Take a moment to reflect on where you have been, where you are now and what the future may hold. Whether you stay in your hometown or are led to a new and exotic place, God will be with you. God will guide you. Say, “Yes!” God is in you, and you are in God. God wants to give you the gift of time. You deserve to take a break and work on something uplifting…that will fill your heavenly basket.