Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Gabriel's Message

This past weekend Gabe began mastering the art of sitting up!  Saturday morning lil'man and I sat together on the living room floor.  He sat very close facing me.  I could see his little mind working out the balancing act of equilibrium.  A bit of a teeter this way and that and then, smiling, he eventually leaned back ever so slightly to look up at me.  Thus began his topple over backward.  As he fell back I gently reached round him catching and guiding his head until it rested softly on the carpet.  By Sunday night he'd become an old pro!  He sat for about 45 minutes playing and enjoying his latest milestone of life.

Don't we all journey through our milestones and accomplishments of life wobbling this way and that?  And don't we all eventually end toppling over at some point in our lives?  Do we forget that a loving spiritual parent is there, arms outstretched, ready to help us get out of our 'boat', to walk where we thought not possible or to save us from toppling over?

As a loving parent I was there to help guide my child as he fell backward, but mind you this was a process of growth for both of us.

Last month we visited Gabe's new pediatrician for the first time.  Naturally he was excited, taking in the sights and sounds of the office as we awaited the Dr.'s arrival.  After arriving, chatting and conducting some basic questioning, the Dr. commenced with the exam.  Gabe was then in the practice mode of sitting up.  He'd only tried it a few times.  I was proud that Gabe was exhibiting this important growth task in front of the Dr., but no more than a few seconds passed when his little head thudded against the wall back of the soft exam table.  Instantly, there was that moment of no breath, mouth open wide with eyes tightly closed.  Gabe's face was red cheeked with shock.  A whaling cry was followed by tiny tears and whimpering attempts to catch his breath that soon subsided in the comfort of his mother's arms.  Even with the Dr.'s persistent "It's OK" and smiling reassurances to me, I felt Gabe's pain and felt bad because I didn't catch him. Afterward, I was there with Kim to wipe away his tears, console and reassure him, but even though I knew he was OK, I still felt inadequate.  I felt that somehow I'd failed him as a parent.  Had I done something wrong?

At times we all will stumble and fall into the wall of life with a resounding thud.  Although comforting arms might not keep us from the initial tumble we gain strength and reassurance from the knowledge that during life's ups and downs God is always there with us spiritually ready to pick us up.  A loving gracious parent can't help but feel the pain of their child no matter what kind of situation befalls them.

I wonder what the Creator parent feels when we hit the wall?

As we teeter this way and that, wobbling through life, perhaps we're not discerning THE voice calling us to look up?  Come to think of it, maybe that's why when I pray, I choose not to bow my head, but instead close my eyes and tilt my head ever so slightly skyward.

I challenge you during this coming Holy Week, to reach out and be there for someone (a family member, a friend, a co-worker, a neighbor, a stranger, a child, your child) who may be encountering some sort of unsteadiness on their spiritual journey.  Reassure them before, console them through and lift them after their fall and encourage them to seek God's face throughout it all by simply telling them to look up.


On this past Sunday night I got to attend a solo show given by Neil Young at the Landmark Theater in Richmond, VA.  It was great!  Neil still has it after all these years. Highlight of the evening for me was 'Ohio'. The below video from late last year is the same way he did this past weekend.  Love the Gretsch guitar!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Let Your Gentleness Be Evident to All

Near site of Brush Run Church in far western Pennsylvania, not far from Bethany College,WV

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." -Philippians 4: 4-7

As I was picking up Gabe from daycare recently I passed a group of the tiny tots who'd gotten an opportunity to get outside to play.  They were enjoying the beauty of the day.  The young lady attending this group turned and spoke to say hello as I walked by.  The children then turned and extended the same courtesy.  I felt myself smiling as I continued on in to the building.

What if more of us would carry with us the enthusiasm and joy that we have as small children?

Why can't as adults we retain that exhibited gentleness and make it evident to everyone we encounter?
Children are all so innocent...with God so near to them. Why is it that as adults many of us don't feel God is near?  Isn't God just as near to us now as then?

Gabe & my friend, 'Rick'
The world presents so many paths for children to go down as they mature and grow.  As adults we see it happening before our eyes...yep...I can attest to it now that a child has come into my life.  What happens to us?  What causes so many of us to no longer rejoice with enthusiasm, or be gentle to all?

I contend that we all have it.  It's there within us; within our hearts and minds to bring that childhood gentleness into adulthood.  It, like the rest of us must grow and mature all the while keeping the enthusiasm and optimism for life.  Is it hard to do that?  You bet it is!  Nobody said it was going to be easy that's for sure, but if we're not so anxious and use some form of prayer or meditative spiritual reflection to center ourselves I believe we can bring forth those God given qualities that as children we share so easily.

Is it so hard to acknowledge the person in front of you in line at the grocery store?  I challenge you to this week make an extra effort, to go out of your way to seek out that gentleness and make it evident to all.  Show someone how close God is to us all.

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all." 


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

In Memoriam...

Robert 'Bob' Duffie & wife Lillian
Today's post is in honor of my father's 1st cousin, Robert 'Bob' Duffie who passed away at home in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, Apr 4, 2011 after a very lengthy illness.  He was my father's cousin and childhood friend.  Bob was a loving father and husband he will be greatly missed.
Peace be with you.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Special Saturday...GO RAMS GO!

Enjoy this Special Saturday edition of 'Tuesday' by checking out this great parody video supporting my Alma Mater (BA 1996), Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA.  It celebrates their improbable run in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tourney and their young coach Shaka Smart.

It's so great that the City of Richmond has something to cheer about, something positive to bring it together.

All too often Richmond only makes the headlines nationally because of something ridiculous or embarrassing about it's past being drudged up concerning the Civil War or some other silliness.
CONGRATULATIONS VCU RAMS on making it to the Final Four in Houston!  GO RAMS GO!!!           

"Shaka's Got'em Believing" (VCU Final Four Song)

UPDATE: Rams, you played hard and with heart!  What a great run it was for you all.  RAM NATION salutes you for a great game against Butler.  You may have not won, but Richmond and all of VCU and RAM NATION is proud of you and your great coach!