Helping? Being There for My Friend!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Sunday, October 26, 2014

Centering-Prayer-hands holding candle

Helping? Being There for My Friend!

I have a friend who lives in a neighboring state. We recently had dinner when she was in Chicago for some business. We have gotten in the habit of having lively conversations over social media. It is so enjoyable! And I hope it’s mutually beneficial, as well.

My friend told me recently about a long, difficult day she had at work. On top of that, the situation at her home was not particularly peaceful. After the stressful day at work, of course she was anxious and frustrated. (I’ve been there, too—I know!) She gave me a play-by-play on her irritating home situation. And I commiserated. Good grief! I know how families can be sometimes.

I had a sudden thought. I asked my friend whether she wanted me to give her a brief meditation. (Great for relaxation and stress relief!) She said, “Sure!” Accordingly, I started.

Sit in a comfortable, straight-backed chair. Like a kitchen or dining room chair. (Not a stuffed armchair—too soft and squishy.) Both feet flat on the floor, and comfortably underneath you. Take three deep breaths. In. Out. In. Out. In. Out.

Place your hands comfortably on your lap–fold them or let them just rest there. Lift your shoulders up to your ears, hold them there–1-2-3-4—and relax. Turn your head slowly from side to side. Again. Lift your shoulders again. Hold–1-2-3-4—and relax. Again, three deep breaths. In. Out. In. Out. In. Out. Now you’re ready to come to God with a one-word or phrase prayer. Help. Thanks. Wow. I’m tired. I love you. Even, frustrated, or angry! Whatever you’ve got, that’s okay. However you feel, God knows about it. And God has dealt with lots worse! God and you together can do wonderful things.

Remember, this is supposed to be a short relaxation/prayer time! Only five minutes (*grin*). Now you’ve expressed feelings or prayer to God, let your arms fall to the sides. Wiggle them gently. Do gentle shoulder circles, forward and back. Now one last time, lift your shoulders—1-2-3-4—and drop. Three more deep breaths, in, out. In. Out. In. Out. Your breath should be more relaxed. Your blood pressure should be lower. Now you can re-engage with the family or with your co-workers, and be in a better place. Emotionally, physically, spiritually. In every way.

Afterwards, I asked her whether this meditation helped her to relax and get a better frame of reference. Her answer: Yes! “Physically, it helped me calm down and slow down. The rest of it helped me center my thoughts, and give my anxiety to God. God is much better at dealing with it than I am.”

And tears are okay, too. God has given us emotions on purpose. We are supposed to show the full range of emotions. A reminder–if you and I stuffed our emotions and feelings–stuffed crying and anger and frustration–the hidden, subterranean emotions could get really twisted and ugly.

Thanks, God! Thanks for my chaplainship training, and thanks especially for my friend.


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Rain Washes Me Clean—to Be Kind and Quiet

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, June 24, 2014

purple flowers

Rain Washes Me Clean—to Be Kind and Quiet

Some days are quiet days. Days to sit and think. Days I would prefer to be by myself. Days like today.

Upon reflection, I didn’t do anything super-awesome today. Sure, I came to work. Did some worship planning and sermon preparation. Made some telephone calls, got the final bible study ready for tomorrow. Talked with a couple of people briefly, and made pleasant conversation. But, I didn’t have any significant, in depth interaction today.

True, I try to find an opportunity to be kind each day. On second thought, perhaps the pleasant, low-key conversations were God’s way of showing me that I can be kind and loving in a quiet way. (I don’t need to do something significant every day. Even though, I admit it would give me a big ego-boost if I could.)

All right, God. Perhaps that’s what You wanted me to do today. Show my care, kindness and love to others—quietly. I can see how this way of being kind was also a way to display the verse for June, too: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16 )

I do strive to be honest, open and willing in all of my affairs. I also try to let that light God has placed within me to shine before others, as much as I can. Another way to think about that light is the shining example of Jesus Christ. I know I fall short, but I can keep striving to live up to His example. After all, it’s continued progress, not perfection. God is pleased with me when I try my honest best, even if I do stumble and fall sometimes.

Stumble and fall? That’s the way I feel in conversation sometimes. I stumble over my words at times, and trip up on choosing the proper words or phrases to communicate what I mean. Of course, I had a stroke that attacked my language center when I was a teenager. Robbed me of the regular ability to finish sentences for several years, and it still gives me occasional difficulty. I’m still frustrated—even decades later—when I occasionally lose my words and feel awkward about my speaking ability.

Upon reflection, it’s a good thing that I have downtime, sometimes. That means that I can rest up, and not need to verbally communicate. Maybe it’s a good thing after all that I had a low-key day. A humid day that morphed into a hard thunder shower. Yes, I had to run out to the car in a downpour when I left to drive home.

God, thanks for the rain, to cool off the hot, humid weather. And thanks for the rain, to wash me clean. Wake me up. Get me ready to work for You. Thanks again!


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