Being of Service on the Telephone

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, August 4, 2014

PRAY healing prayer

Being of Service on the Telephone

I made a number of telephone calls today. I talked with a number of people, some of them extended conversations. The most important, most significant part of several of these conversations? I joined in prayer with the person on the other end of the line. Feeling the fellowship that prayer brings.

Prayer is supposed to be a natural, everyday thing. For some people, it certainly is! I can tell, just from the ease, the confidence, the eagerness that some people bring to prayer. For these people, it is truly a conversation between them and their Best Friend. Between them and their Heavenly Parent. And, amen to that! I wish things could always be that way between God and me.

Today, I know that several people appreciated my prayers over the phone. And, I visited one person in the middle of the day, who even said my prayers hit the spot! I am glad. I used to pray much more often, as a chaplain working in an urban hospital (in Chicago). It seemed like I was doing much the same thing today. Many of the calls I made today ended with prayer. I hope I was an encouragement and support to several of these friends I talked with on the phone today.

Now, I am going to switch gears for a few moments. I went to yoga class this evening, and had a great time. I am progressing in core strength, and am feeling better and better as the weeks go by. When I came back to the locker room, I took the lock off my locker and started to shuffle through my stuff. I had the urge to go to the bathroom, so I did. Without putting the lock back on my locker. The locker room was almost empty. Only four other women, three in other areas. One young woman, about twenty, was halfway dressed and about twenty feet down the way at the lockers facing me.

I hurried to the bathroom around the corner, came back, and met my yoga instructor. She and I had a brief conversation. The young woman had left the locker room by the time I opened my locker again.

I pulled on my street clothes. For some reason, I pulled out my wallet from my pants pocket. I checked it again, to make certain. Sure enough, there was a twenty dollar bill missing. Earlier, I had gone to the cash station and taken out forty dollars. I stopped for lunch this afternoon, and spent a few dollars. So, the ten, five, and one dollar bills were in my wallet, true. But the twenty was gone. I did not fly off the handle. I did not get all upset. However, I did feel badly for that young woman. I don’t know for sure, but I strongly suspect she did take the twenty.

I found myself praying for that young woman. As I remembered her standing by her locker—I had just a glimpse of her—I remember thinking that she seemed sad. Possibly with low self-esteem. It was how she held herself and the sad, almost pinched expression on her face. All this registered with me in a flash as I turned and busied myself at my own locker.

God, I do pray for whoever took that twenty dollar bill. I hope and pray that they are blessed—nurtured by whatever they buy with it.

@chaplaineliza

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Children Make Me Happy!

A Year of Being Kind blog – Monday, April 28, 2014

Jesus and children drawing

Children Make Me Happy!

Yes, children have the potential of making me happy. Simple, straight-forward, open, friendly, trusting. All these things about children refresh me. Energize me. There is a preschool at the church where I have my new job. When I see them in the halls or in other places around the church, I often feel happy inside. They are almost like an automatic smile maker.

I loved having small children, myself. I loved being able to slow down to a child’s pace, to look at the world through their eyes. To gaze with wonder at a huge snowflake landing on the woolen arm of a winter coat, or a spider making its orb web in the backyard, or an ant hurrying on its way with a crumb twice its size on its back. All of these make me pause and reflect. If it weren’t for children, how often would I slow down and look at the little things of life? I mean, the tiny details, the unexpectedly surprising discoveries of everyday experience?

And to sing and make music with children? Singing silly songs, doing all the hand motions, getting up and marching around the classroom, or doing the hokey-pokey? (That’s what it’s all about, you know!) No wonder there is so much laughter and merriment coming from preschools all over!

God compares us to small children, in the Hebrew Scriptures. Or rather, God compares the nation of Israel to a small child. (And by scriptural and hermeneutical understanding, we—today—can also compare ourselves to small children, too. But I digress from my biblical example.) In chapter 11 of Hosea, the prophet talks of God picking up the nation of Israel like a small child and cuddling the small child/nation of Israel to God’s chest/breast. This is such a maternal image! Sometimes, especially when I am feeling small and lost and alone, I am comforted to no end to be reminded of such a tender word picture. Imagine, God doing that to me! (And God will cuddle you, too. If you need it. Or want it.)

Now, I have no problem seeing God as my Loving, Heavenly Parent. Sure, I did have parental issues in my past. I mean, issues with my earthly parents. But through years of prayer, meditation, spiritual direction and counseling, I’ve come to terms with most of them. Now, this clears the way for a loving, encouraging, caring relationship with my Heavenly Father. (Or if you prefer, God our Mother, as St. Julian of Norwich said several times in her excellent book Revelations of Divine Love.)

So, how was I kind today? I shared smiles and hellos with some preschoolers today, and they shared right back! Talk about a mutual smile maker! God, thank You for children, especially the children of Kids Academy. And the preschool teachers, too, who give so willingly and tenderly of themselves to these little ones, each day. Thanks, God!

@chaplaineliza

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