1247. September days have the warmth of summer in their briefer hours… ~Rowland E. Robinson

Suffering invites us to place our hurts in larger hands.
In Christ we see God suffering – for us.
And calling us to share in God’s
suffering love for a hurting world.
The small and even overpowering pains
of our lives are intimately connected
with the greater pains of Christ.
Our daily sorrows are anchored in a
greater sorrow and therefore a larger hope.
~Henri J.M. Nouwen

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As I grapple with summer’s still sweltering heat, I have to remind myself that humanity has observed adverse aberrations of nature millennium after millennium and that out of the chaos order eventually returns.  Author, Peter Saint-Andre, says  nature “can inspire, enlighten, send shivers up the spine, delight, anger, frighten; it can make one think, feel, shake one’s head in astonishment, cry, laugh out loud; it can evoke feelings of triumph, melancholy, light-heartedness, serenity, excitement, boredom, rightness, anxiety, joy, sorrow.”  And I agree with him on all counts but until some level of coolness settles, it is challenging for me to experience much excitement and serenity.  Only now when, in the midst of the feverish misery, the wild purple eryngo blooms does the melancholy begin to lift a little.

Even if He causes suffering, He will show compassion according to His abundant, faithful love. ~Lamentations 3:32  ✝

**Image taken by me along a country road in our area. These amethystine beauties can be found blooming  this time of year in fields ravaged by summer’s heat.

1227. You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty. ~Mahatma Gandhi

When I despair, I remember that all through
history the ways of truth and love
have always won. There have been tyrants,
and murderers, and for a time they can
seem invincible, but in the end
they always fall. Think of it–always.
~Mahatma Gandhi

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I have heard from two friends today whose hearts have been hurt deeply. And as we all do, they are questioning why and how people can be so hateful and hurtful. Years ago when I was coping with a very hurtful situation, a friend of mine told me that only “hurting people hurt other people.” And over the years since I’ve come to see that Jack was exactly right. But then that doesn’t address another part of my friend’s questioning which was a.) do I think there are more hurting people these days and b.) if so, why? Before I answer that, let me say first that the fact that one of the Adam and Eve’s children killed his brother did not bode well for mankind’s ability to co-exist from the get go. We live in a fallen world in which good and evil do exist and have from the moment the choice was made to defy God’s will. And millennia after millennia has provided more than adequate evidence of a common inability as a whole to be loving and to get along peacefully. Now to address two of her queries; yes, I do think there are more hurting, hateful people, and the source is the media and the internet as you suggested. Just look at what we are being fed 24/7–It’s “cool” to be a bad-ass, it’s “cool” to be disrespectful, it’s “cool” to bully others, it’s “cool” get revenge and on and on it goes around the clock and ad nauseum. But like Gandhi I’ve not lost faith in mankind’s ability to self-correct. And it all starts with each and everyone one of us. The tools at our easy disposal are kind words, kind gestures, and lots of smiles especially to and with those who are hell-bent on behaving badly. We also have to choose to surround ourselves with people who support and affirm who and what we are; we have to choose to walk away from those who want to fight verbally or physically; we have to choose to forgive transgressions which in the end if not released only poison ourselves; we have to choose to be kind to ourselves as well by finding or creating some kind of sacred space where we can restore and re-energize our emotional well being; we have to choose to leave any and all past hurts behind us never to be brought into the present again; and we have to find places and ways to sit in silence in order to listen to the still, small voice inside who loves us and wants to heal our brokenness. And finally we have to greet each day and each breath with gratitude for the gifts that they are; we have to learn when enough is enough; we have to realize the finiteness of each breath, each step, each day; and for heaven’s sake we have to quit trying to seek a “version” of ourselves and find the real, authentic person inside. Is all of the above easy to do? No, but then what is in this life? Is it essential that we try? Yes, for the ones we leave behind when we are gone!

“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you… ~Luke 6:27  ✝

**Image via Pinterest

1175. When you love something as a kid, you never stop loving it; you just tuck that love away in a spot in your heart. ~Edited excerpt from a quote by Nikki Van Noy

In the life of everyone there is a number
of experiences which are not just written
upon the memory, but stamped there with a die;
and in the long years after, they can be
called up in detail, and every emotion that was
stirred by them can be lived through anew…
~Edited excerpt from a quote by
James Weldon Johnson

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**Image of my dad, me on the right, and my middle sister on the left;
text image via Pinterest

I will perpetuate Your(God’s) memory through all generations; therefore the nations will praise You for ever and ever. Psalm 45: 17  ✝

692. Could life so end, half told; its school so fail? Soul, soul, there is a sequel to thy tale! ~Robert Mowry Bell

See the land, her Easter keeping,
Rises as her Maker rose.
Seeds, so long in darkness sleeping,
Burst at last from winter snows.
Earth with heaven above rejoices…
~Charles Kingsley

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These realities, of which Kingsley speaks, are meant to stir in humanity an ancient sense of belonging and in turn spark a desire to seek Yahweh, the Ancient of Days, but should they not, finding God in Christ is something even the blind can do. Our Creator sent us His son over 2000 years ago to be our memory and remind us of who we are and to whom we belong. Jesus is a revelation of our loving Father, of His amazing Grace, and of His Kingdom’s intention. And as the Messiah, Christ offers mortals, all of whom are subjected to detrimental temptation by malevolent forces in a fallen world, salvation, and then He, as their spiritual leader, directs those, who accept His offer, into righteous rhythms of life, into a willingness to serve others, and into the dance of life–a dance in which the whole universe can be seen as a partner.

“Easter is not a time for groping through dusty, musty tomes or tombs to disprove spontaneous generation or even to prove life eternal.  It is a day to fan the ashes of dead hope, a day to banish doubts and seek the slopes where the sun is rising, to revel in the faith which transports us out of ourselves and the dead past into the vast and inviting unknown.”  ~Author unknown, as quoted in the Lewiston Tribune

…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. ~Hebrews 12:2 ✝

**Images via Pinterest, collage by Natalie

677. Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love! ~Sitting Bull, Hunkpapa, Lakota holy man and tribal chief

Spring has returned.
The Earth is like a child
that knows poems
by heart.
~Ranier Maria Rilke

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The cycle of nature—the progress from seed to fruition
to dying-off and then renewal in the spring—
was mirrored in the wild fields and the cultivated garden alike,
while the fragility of harvest—the possible interruption of
the cycle by drought, wind, or other natural calamities—
established the pattern of how humans understood
the workings of the cosmos.  The oldest of surviving
sacred stories have their roots in the garden
and reflect how humanity sought to understand
the changeable patterns of their world and, at the same time,
to imagine a world no longer subject to change.
~Peg Streep

See! The winter is past…flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is hear in our land. ~Song of Songs 2:11-12   ✝

**Image via Pinterest, text written by Natalie

486. The windows of my soul I throw wide open to the sun. ~John Greenleaf Whittier

Light gives of itself freely,
filling all available space.
It does not seek anything in return;
it asks not whether you are friend or foe.
It gives of itself and is not thereby diminished.
~Michael Strassfeld

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All things in the natural world drink in sunlight, and they are affected by it a number of ways. When the sun’s warmth touches the skin on coolish days like today, it creates a pleasant sensation, and that pleasurable feeling seems to me to sink down into the depths of my being. Flesh and spirit drink in other light too, for they take in “the light of God and energy itself.” That’s why in an often cold, lonely, and dark world the inner flame of humanity’s sacred origin warms us and keeps the glow of the eternal alive.

In the temple of my inner being,
in the temple of my body,
in the temple of earth, sea, and sky,
in the great temple of the universe
I look for the light that was in the beginning,
the mighty fire that blazes still from the heart of life,
glowing in the whiteness of the moon,
glistening in night stars,
hidden in the black earth,
concealed in unknown depths of my soul.
In the darkness of the night,
in the shadow of my being, O God,
let me glimpse the eternal.
In both the light and the shadows of my being
let me glimpse the glow of the eternal.

~From SOUNDS OF THE ETERNAL
by J. Philip Newell

For God who said, “ Let light shine out of the darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. ~2 Corinthians 4:6    ✝

** Image via Pinterest

449. With an eye made quiet by the power of harmony and the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things. ~William Wordsworth

Bright flowers, whose home is everywhere
Bold in maternal nature’s care
And all the long year through the heir
Of joy and sorrow,
Methinks that there abides in thee
Some concord with humanity,
Given to no other flower I see
The forest through.
~From his poem “To the Daisy”
by William Wordsworth

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Daisies, these in the photos are not, but members of the same family they are. And I believe the sunflower and the two Echinacea blossoms on either side are as deserving of Wordsworth’s poetic description as the daisy since all are equally bold, bright, and beautiful. The best part is that none of them need much tending and can be grown with very little effort in a wide variety of soils. And methinks too that there abides in all three “some concord(harmony) with humanity” because they bring the “deep power of joy” to the eye and not only reflect God’s glory but also fulfill a portion of His promises. Another great feature of the beauties is that these members of a 40 million-year-old family readily reseed themselves. That means that a gardener or farmer can start with a single plant and at the end of a growing season harvest more than enough seeds to share with other growers or to start a plethora of new plants in his/her own garden. The English writer, John Mason Good, said it best of such flowers, “Not worlds on worlds, in phalanx deep, need we to prove a God is here. The daisy, fresh from nature’s sleep, tells of His hand in lines as clear.”

Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. ~Genesis 1:11-12    ✝

Sweet Jesus, fill us with the mercy you bled on the cross and draw us back unto Yourself! Help us to be aware of You in all that we see and hear in Creation!