Community Strong

This week’s post is dedicated to all those who have lost loved ones and pets, homes, businesses and other possessions after powerful tornadoes left paths of destruction in Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee.”

Through the media, I have witnessed community resilience, response and recovery efforts during the dire situation this past weekend. For instance, one of the tornados ripped through and destroyed the Mayfield (KY) First United Methodist Church property. The pastor, Reverend Joey Reed and his wife, took shelter in the church basement and survived the catastrophic event.

During a TV broadcast interview, his gratitude for the safety of his wife and children prevailed. He said that things are replaceable; people are not.

In fact, the reverend further explained that the topic of “joy” was the theme he had planned for last Sunday’s sermon. Fortunately, he was still able to present the sermon during a service at another local church that the tornado bypassed. Interestingly, the only bulletin from Reverend Reed’s church that survived the calamity includes a synopsis of his sermon.

The sermon defines joy as something that is internal and thereby it is a permanent fixture for as long as we live. Happiness, on the other hand, is external and is fleeting.

“Joy is often mistaken for happiness, but happiness can change by a turn of events. Joy is something that abides. That’s what we’re holding onto,” Reverend Reed said.

In the same spirit of joy, although the parish has lost the sanctuary, he also stated, “That building was the repository of our memories. We have to remember that those memories still belong to us. They cannot be taken from us even by something as devastating as this tornado.”

I only hope that Clayton Cope’s parents, whose son would have turned 30 at the end of December, and all the other parents who lost young adult children at the Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois, and children of all ages throughout the six effected states will manage to cherish their “repository of memories” as they now undertake the most unbearable journeys imaginable.

To these bereaved parents and to all the other survivors who are swallowed by grief in so many forms from this tragedy, I stand with you. I salute your bravery as you endure your faith walk. Always remember, the power of faith lies in the acceptance of our powerlessness.

Faith Muscle

Damage | Joy

Image by Lolame from Pixabay

I don’t know if I’ve “learned” anything of significance this past year after living through my personal tragedy. I have, however, brushed up on vocabulary words. “Schadenfreude,” for instance, means “pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune.”

Interestingly, while researching “Schadenfreude,” I discovered the following tidbit of information:

According to dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster, “searches for ‘schadenfreude’ spiked 30,500% after President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis was announced.”

The word on its “Trend Watch” page, in fact, “was the top lookup for Friday “by a very considerable margin” and the searches began after Trump tweeted that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive.”

The English word was borrowed from German in the middle of the 19th century. In German the word is derived from Schaden (‘damage’) and Freude (‘joy’).

Below are some example sentences that I pulled off the internet:

  • “I can easily believe you don’t approve it,” she said with a gleam of Schadenfreude. THE MESSENGER|ELIZABETH ROBINS
  • The curious and expressive German word Schadenfreude cannot be translated into any other language. GERMAN PROBLEMS AND PERSONALITIES|CHARLES SAROLEA

Meaning aside, I love the word’s sound that is as fierce as a simultaneous trumpet and trombone blaring. That being said, here’s a suggestion if the juxtaposition of emotional turmoil and your faith-o-meter has become a stress factor. Shout “Schadenfreude!” ten times (preferably when you are alone!). I have found it to be an excellent catharsis.

Many people facing dark times find faith in God or another higher power. At the moment, I put my confidence in the dictionary. Learning vocabulary words keeps my head in a safe space, away from treacherous waters of thought.

I may be far from a world champion in any respect, but my word-champion abilities renew my confidence and award me a promise of a tomorrow filled with substantial lexicons.

Faith Muscle

Unbearable Beautiful World

Today marks six months since my 26-year-old passed away. I am learning to break down each 24-hour interval into manageable milliseconds. There is no turnoff switch for me to prevent explosive emotions from erupting. However, when I feel I will fizzle into smithereens, I have discovered that people’s kind words and gestures become like a pressure relief safety valve.

Most recently, my safety valve was a friend and mentor. Betsy choked up as she spoke about her 28-year-old son, who took his own life 11 years ago. She shared about how more than usual she felt his presence that day. Listening to her, I not only felt great empathy, but my degree of sorrow for her matched my sorrow, if, perhaps, was greater than my own sorrow. And for that turn-of-the-pressure-relief-safety-valve moment, I exhaled, gifted with pain relief.

But wait, there’s more. As Betsy, generally a proud and really, really humorous fortress of a woman, continued to share, she spoke about how her son’s death only magnifies the beauty around her and gives her faith. That’s a tough order for me right now. Every beautiful pink-blushed apple blossom, magnolia flower and springtime landscape framed in natural beauty reminds me of my son, and I long in anguish for him even more. I cannot fathom the beauty through Betsy’s personal window. That is until I realize deep grief stems from deep love, and what is more beautiful than love? Now, I’m in the process of flexing my faith muscle so I can open up my window just a tad wider and let the sun spread it healing rays.

 

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Faith Muscle

FAITH ”AN IMPORTANT PART OF LIFE”

I am re-blogging this fantastic post from BE BLOGGER (OFFICIAL) 

via Faith ”An Important Part Of Life”

Stay tuned!…until next time…walk by faith not by sight!

 

 

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Faith Muscle

January Reflections: A Question a day to deepen your faith (31)

Never mind New Year’s resolutions. Angel4 Wrap your mind around January  reflections: A question a day every day for the next 30 days to deepen your faith.

31. What did I learn after a month of asking questions about faith? mustard seed

 

Plain & Simple: I  have mustard seed faith, but I have a mammoth God.  

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Stay tuned!…until next time…walk by faith not by sight!

 

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Faith Muscle

January Reflections: A Question a day to deepen your faith (30)

Never mind New Year’s resolutions. Angel4 Wrap your mind around January  reflections: A question a day every day for the next 30 days to deepen your faith.

30. Doubting your faith? 

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If you are doubting your faith, you are not alone. When Pope Francis was asked if he every had any doubts, he replied, “Well …, I have so many, eh! I have so many … Of course, we all sometimes have doubts!”

When doubt sets in, realize you’re in good company!questions-1922476_1920Stay tuned!…until next time…walk by faith not by sight!

 

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Faith Muscle

January Reflections: A Question a day to deepen your faith (29)

Never mind New Year’s resolutions. Angel4 Wrap your mind around January  reflections: A question a day every day for the next 30 days to deepen your faith.

29. Shaky faith?   

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Even Mother Teresa had times when she didn’t feel God’s presence. (And let’s face it, most of us are not Mother Teresa.) Don’t bury your doubts and frustrations. Find a friend who’ll listen respectfully.  Keep the faith. While you’re trying to figure it out, God’s got you covered.background-2908901_1920Stay tuned!…until next time…walk by faith not by sight!

 

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Faith Muscle

January Reflections: A Question a day to deepen your faith (28)

Never mind New Year’s resolutions. Angel4 Wrap your mind around January  reflections: A question a day every day for the next 30 days to deepen your faith.

28. What have I done today to affirm that my faith is real?

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Today, how can we actively demonstrate our love and trust for God? Your action needn’t shake the globe.

Here’s a few, 103 to be specific, ideas to help affirm your faith: 103 ideas to inspire kindness.

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Stay tuned!…until next time…walk by faith not by sight!

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Faith Muscle

January Reflections: A Question a day to deepen your faith (27)

Never mind New Year’s resolutions. Angel4 Wrap your mind around January  reflections: A question a day every day for the next 30 days to deepen your faith.

27. Do I realize there is strength in doubt?  

world-3043067_1920Every time we weather the dry periods of faith, we emerge renewed. In the process, paradoxically, our egos, emotions, intellect and self-will fail us. However, the seed of our soul, where God dwells, prevails. Even “non-believers” can’t dispute their authentic selves.     

Always remember, periods of drought and doubt will bring us closer to our abundant selves and weatherproof our faith.

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Stay tuned!…until next time…walk by faith not by sight!

biceps-2750460_1280
Faith Muscle

January Reflections: A Question a day to deepen your faith (26)

Never mind New Year’s resolutions. Angel4 Wrap your mind around January  reflections: A question a day every day for the next 30 days to deepen your faith.

26. Do I realize there is strength in faith?  

hope-1220981_1920Do not fear the strain of life. You may feel worn. You may feel washed out and wasted. The fact is feelings are not facts. Do not deplete your energy fighting the unfounded. Fight hard to believe that strength is in God’s stronghold alone.  The depth of your belief will set the course for a new and brighter future.

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Stay tuned!…until next time…walk by faith not by sight!

biceps-2750460_1280
Faith Muscle