Poem – Guilt and expected death

There’s a guilty feeling the caregiver has
when their loved one dies.
Be it spouse, parent, child,
you’ve taken care of them
for a long time
and they have finally
passed on.

Nobody talks about this.
They talk about how hard it is
to take care of
someone you love
for a long time,
someone who is terminally ill.
Someone who isn’t going
to get better,
and the only cure
is the grave.

Your life is finally back
to being yours.
Your time is yours.

You should feel bad if you
didn’t
give your time
to help them
– but you did, and now it is over.

There shouldn’t be guilt
about surviving,
guilt about feeling relieved
that it is over,
guilt about being glad
your duty is done.
But there is.

You are glad for them
that they are no longer suffering,
but also glad for yourself
that you can do
what you want to do
again.

You aren’t so crass as to say
you’re glad
they are dead,
but you are.

It is a weird feeling,
made weirder
by the mixture of grief,
the exhaustion of being
an unpaid,
untrained nurse,
there 24/7.

Dining with sinners

Then Matthew invited Jesus and his disciples to his house for a large feast. A lot of the other people who were there were tax collectors and those who were disreputable, because these kinds of people flocked to Jesus. The Pharisees and their scribes complained about this to the disciples, asking them “Why does your teacher associate with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus overheard their question and replied “Only sick people need a doctor, not the healthy. Go study this teaching from the Scriptures – ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ My whole purpose is to call sinners back to God, not those who think they’re perfect.”

MT 9:10-13, MK 2:15-17, LK 5:29-32

Love God? Love God’s creation. All of it.

It is Christ-like to be an environmentalist.

Jesus said, speaking about how people treated others who were considered lesser than them, “Whatever you do to the least of these you do to me.” He meant that you should treat everybody like you would treat somebody important. Consider this – animals, plants are the “least” as well. Who says it just has to be for people?

If we are to “Love your neighbor”, then doesn’t that mean everybody and everything? God created everything. We show reverence to God by respecting God’s gifts.

Why find another planet? We will just have another to mess up. All that money on building a spaceship and terraforming another planet… Why not work on clean water and air here? Why colonize another planet? We need to learn how to get along and reduce our population here. We need to learn to live within our means, and be proper stewards of “our island home”, as Carl Sagan called Earth.

We don’t need laws for this. We need to change minds and attitudes.

Poem – Hardened

God hardened Pharaoh’s heart
to make God’s glory shine.

A man was born blind
so that God’s glory
may be made manifest.

The difficulties in your life
are there on purpose,
to make you really take notice
when you overcome them.

Moses had to go before Pharaoh
10 times
to ask him to let the Israelites leave.
God warned him,
told him,
repeatedly that God was going
to make it difficult.

Think of all the things
you do
all the time
that are for the good.
Not the things you do
to pump up yourself,
but the things you do
for God.
Often it feels like you are
singing the “hole in the bucket” song.
You have to get one thing
right or fixed
before you can do
another part.
It is never straightforward
and it is never easy.
When you finally
push through
you really get a sense of accomplishment.

God does this to us.
It isn’t an accident.
We grow from it.
It strengthens us,
teaches us. Our bones
get stronger,
not our skin.
We don’t get hardened
against the world,
we get toughened
so that we
can heal the world.

Predictive text poem – “hand”

How many times have changed your life?
Here is that.
Here we are.

Any idea that is a little bit heavy
is the best for us.
All of them are not as fruitful.
All paths are valid, but I know a little something –
some will get you there faster
and with fewer scars.

Note this: time to work on your path
won’t be handed to you.
Note this: sometimes (often)
You’ll be alone, alien, along the way.
Note this: you can change paths
as quickly, as often, as needed.

Do you.
Do or do not.
Don’t try.
Give it all you have as long as it
gives you
what you need
but don’t
give up
give in
too soon.

Sanctified by commandments.

Many Jewish prayers that are said before doing a mitzvah, a commandment, include words praising God “who has sanctified us by Your commandments…”

Let’s look at that again. We are sanctified by commandments. They separate us and make us special. When we do what God wants, we become more human and less like animals. Animals and small children do whatever they want without thinking about it. They don’t care about the repercussions or plan for the future. They live for right now and what makes them happy. Rules are for other people.

A sign of maturity is being able to willingly follow rules, not just following them out of a sense of duty. To see the rules as a blessing, as something that causes us to become holy, is really special.