God is Love

August 12, 2021

“God is love.” (1 John 4:16)

I’m told confession is good for the soul.  Let’s find out.  Often in my blogs, I comment on how essential it is in this turbulent and angry world to be still, to take a time out, to step back, to watch what we say.  However, sometimes I fail to heed my own advice, especially when someone cuts me off in traffic.  A couple of days ago, as I, ironically, was on my way to a group gathering where we discuss psychology and spirituality and how we can become more heart-centered, I was trying to merge from a turning lane into the left lane.  Only one other car was in my way, and it was, of course, in that same left lane, speeding up to keep me from moving over.  The driver easily could have changed lanes since the right lane was empty, or he could have slowed down just a bit to allow me to move over.  But no.  He sped up and blocked me.

I wish that I could say that this is the point, car to car, inches apart, where I looked over at him with love, but that would not be true.  I did indeed look over, but it was to mouth some rather unkind words and flippant suggestions.  If he saw me, he simply ignored me and sped on past, which probably was a good thing.  Yet almost as soon as I had allowed anger to control me, I realized that my reaction had caused nothing positive at all—not for the other driver, and certainly not for me.  Now, not only was I angry at what I considered rude, “all about my rights” driving, but I was also frustrated with myself.  So much for deep-hearted living.

We exist in a time where, it seems to me, love is difficult to practice, if it’s even on the radar.  We hear constant outrage and blame in the mouths of politicians.  We hear the relentless bickering of talking heads.  We watch the maskers and the anti-maskers go at it.  We are bombarded by personal rights that ignore the rights of others.  Even in our own groups of friends, if we pay attention, we hear ourselves judging others.  Our behavior becomes brutish and self-centered.  And yet, I do believe that God is love and that we, creations of that love, by whatever name we call Ultimate Love, are also supposed to be manifestations of it.

There is more to this ancient scripture verse from John, a witness to Love.  It continues, “God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. God is love, and he (she) who abides in love abides in God, and God in him (her).”  Yes, we are called to, made for, love, but what kind of love is this?  Another ancient witness to Love, the apostle Paul, advised his people to “be humble toward one another, always considering others better than yourselves,” (Philippians 2:3) or “before yourselves,” as some translations put it.  And to another group, he wrote, “Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love” (Ephesians 4:31-32; 5:1).  Paul wasn’t offering a list of suggestions or a pick and choose checklist; he was, instead, reminding his people that followers of Love choose love as a deliberate action. 

So, what to do in a noisy and unstable and, often, unloving world, so that we ourselves do not become noisy, unstable, and unloving?  I can only speak for myself, but I am convinced that the way to love is to be still with Love each day, if only for a few moments, so that I can anchor myself there and remind myself and be enveloped in the gaze of Love.  And when I fail to be loving?  To be calm?  To step back?  Then I know it is time, again, to go back to the Source.  Maybe I will meet you there.  Blessings, Rosemary  20rosepoet20@gmail.com  

Then Stop

When the world is too much with us,
when it tumbles over yesterday’s promises
leaving them a remnant on the shore,
when the voices in our heads
and in the crowds crash
in waves of fear and despair,
crying out
that the sky is falling—
indeed it must be–
it is time to stop,
stop feeding our eyes
with hopeless words,
stop filling our ears
with divisive discourse
that cause our hearts to drown
and our souls to bury their heads
in the sand.
When the world is too much with us,
stop.
Put it all away, lock it in a trunk,
stuff it on a shelf, close the door
and be.
Sit in this one sacred moment
and do nothing else
but breathe in unison
with the Breath that breathed
life into you in the depths
of the earth.
Wrap stillness around you
like a blanket woven together
with the rhythm of your heart
and the countless stars
nodding to themselves
on the face of the ancient ocean.
Ground yourself like deep old roots
into the Truth that has always been,
is, and always will be,
that is so much larger than you,
or me, or us, or them,
that whispers “Love”
across the turbulent waters
that comes like daylight
to announce a new beginning.
All is not lost, promises Love,
for those who will stop and claim
that peace that surpasses
our understanding, that whispers
prayer, into our world.

© Rosemary McMahan

Attic Wisdom

From the attic . . .

June 1, 2021

If you’ve ever expected a child, then you know something about the “nesting” period when suddenly you realize, instinctively, that the time is NOW to finish getting the nursery in order, counting the diapers, tidying up the house, and putting extra meals in the freezer because something waiting to be born is coming.  Lately, I’ve felt like I am back in the “nesting” period—though no baby is on the way—and that the time is NOW to put some things in order.  Part of that nesting is a current need to de-clutter, and my need led to the attic.

American attics are a sight to behold.  They certainly say much about our abundance, love for materialism, and our strange obsession to hold onto—or even hoard—so many things, which is a blog in itself.  But attics also reveal the history of our lives, including joys, lost dreams, love, and change.  At least that is what I discovered myself a couple of days ago as I began the challenging task of cleaning out our American attic.  What was I called to keep?  To give away?  To throw away?  To remember?

Some of the choices were simple, including computer satchels we had stored for computers we no longer own.  Why had we even kept them?  Or the suitcase that had been manhandled at the airport one too many times.  Why hadn’t I tossed that one earlier?  But there were other items that told stories of my life and the lives of those I love:

  • The punch bowl with its tea-cup sized glasses given to me in the early years of marriage by my mother-in-law who is now in her final stages of Alzheimer’s disease . . . . Every young woman needed a punch bowl to entertain properly, but gone are the days of hosting baby showers, and these days a metal tub holding beer and wine works just as well at parties.  Yet the punch bowl is a symbol of my mother-in-law’s constant love for me even as she forgets who I am.
  • The ceramic lamp fashioned into a Victorian-styled girl with two blonde braids painted by my aunt, for me, when I was twelve. . . . . I recall visiting her once a year on vacation and sitting in her musty, dusty ceramic shop where she invited me to choose anything I’d like to paint.  The ceramic angel I made there, hands folded, finished in a shiny cream glaze, sits on my desk, a reminder of my childhood and innocence long gone and an aunt, overweight and jolly, who paid attention to me.
  • The maroon trunk that my daughter used to take every year to summer camp. . . . . Why was it still in the attic?  When I opened the trunk, it was filled with her teen-aged summer shorts and t-shirts.  I shook out each piece and recalled what she looked like wearing it and how she acted and the pure joy she experienced at that special place.  Her journey has not been an easy one since then as she has traveled the road of depression, harassment, divorce, relocations, and I have cried many tears for my beautiful daughter with her courageous spirit and I have wondered why.  The clothes, all in good shape, will be given away, but the trunk stays for now, reminding me of her strength and perseverance and of all our distinct yet mutual journeys.
  • The car seat we have kept with hope since the birth of our first grandchild eight years ago . . . . My son and daughter-in-law expected and planned for a houseful of children.  But that’s not the way life has turned out.  It is a miracle, pure and simple, that they have a child and that we are blessed with a granddaughter, our one and only.  The car seat symbolizes acceptance of what is, and it is time to give it to someone else.

And so many other items and objects that are part of my life story, my personal history, that remind me of a time, a place, a person that is no longer.  As I take each item—the punch bowl, the lamp, the clothing, the car seat–to my car for delivery to a charity thrift store, I try to focus on two lessons:  the first is that The Creator has nudged me to create space, not only in my attic but more importantly in my heart, for whatever I know instinctively is waiting to be born.  The second lesson is to bless each item with gratitude for what it gave me, and now, for what it will give someone else as it becomes part of their own story.

I am reminded again in the wisdom of the attic that life is all about letting go:

A window closes
another story ends now
Open palms reach high

It is what all spiritual teachers try to prepare us for–letting go of what was, what could have been, what might have been, what did, in order to be open to whatever is waiting to be.  Our lives are not so much processes to be explained but mysteries to be lived, not with clutched hands and hearts because we fear loss, but with open hands and hearts because we trust.  Blessings to you ~ Rosemary  20rosepoet20@gmail.com.