Reflecting on Health ….

The Fire Within by Mili MiIt’s a glorious fall day, cool and calm and clear. I would love to sit out on the deck and enjoy the fine weather, but instead I am stuck inside with bronchitis. It’s been many years since I have succumbed to this mysterious malady, a serious concern each and every time I catch a cold. Such is life with asthma. So I was drawn to this dramatic photo by my friend Mili Mi, a far cry from what you would see with the naked eye. Folks are always surprised to hear I suffer from asthma. I am not sure what they think asthma looks like, or how people with asthma act. Perhaps they think I should be sickly and pale, forever out of breath and on the verge of collapsing. Instead I am the one at the gym most mornings, or walking the dog in the neighborhood for an hour. I appear healthy and hardy, yet just below the surface, there lurks a fire that seeks to snatch away my breath. As a child, my father argued to keep me in gym class, while other children were often excused. He felt I needed to develop my lung capacity to compensate for my breathing issues. When I went for my military physical, I passed the breath capacity test because I was active, a test given to all recruits. That was years before I was properly diagnosed with asthma. It took running on the beach in Los Angeles before the doctors recognized what was wrong. Once I was on proper medications and learned how to manage my symptoms, life was so much better. I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that few of us are without the ‘thorn in the flesh’ that Paul speaks of in his letters of the New Testament. This mortal frame is fragile, and not without its petty foibles. Some of us are blessed with hearty constitutions in our younger years, only to succumb to ailments as we age. Others suffer early on, then learn to live with their concerns, sometimes developing healthier habits that ease the effects of aging. Then a difficult transition takes its toll, or we end up encountering someone who thinks they just have allergies instead of something contagious. We fall ill and our coping mechanisms fall short. Make time today to give thanks for the gift of health. Praise the Creator for the miracle of life, given to us breath by breath. Resist the temptation to take that breath for granted, for many of us struggle with breathing. And always remember, your health may be as wide as a highway, or as thin as a ribbon. Pray for those that walk the tightrope of health, that their balance and yours may be protected and restored. Text by Connie Chintall ©2013, Photo by Mili Mi ©2012, to see more of her work, go to http://tri-nity.deviantart.com/gallery/.

Reflecting on Protection….

Cedar Run in Fauquier County, VA

Cedar Run in Fauquier County, VA

It’s a cool, rainy day and the leaves have already begun to fall. Before long we will have misty mornings and bare branches, grey days and cold nights. So I was drawn to this lovely photo of Cedar Run by my friend Cecilia. I love how the branches shelter the water, leaning in toward one another, reaching across the breach. Our county is full of unexpected places like this one, places that jump out and demand your attention. The sense of awe overwhelms, the serenity seeps into your bones, the peace pervades your very soul. It seems to me that prayer is a lot like this beautiful scene. Perhaps we set aside a particular time or place, hoping consistency will chase away the worries of the world. Or we steal a few moments in the parking lot, no longer at home, not yet at work. Yet even in the most disciplined practice, there are times when prayer runs dry, times when the monkey chatter drowns out that still, small voice. Then when we least expect it, we turn a corner and God stops us short, reminding us to pause and reflect, to give thanks for this very moment of life, this precious gift of the here and now. We plead for blessings, forgetting what we really need is protection, from ourselves, from distractions, from the busy-ness of life. Yet through it all, the Holy Comforter remains steadfast, ever present, ever ready for us to turn again toward the light. Make time today to seek consolation rather than comprehension, leading with your heart instead of your head. Focus on the gift of life, offered to you one breath at a time, or the soles of your feet, firmly planted and secure. Give thanks for the simple things in this life, good food, clean water, a warm, dry place to sleep. And always remember, when we pray for blessings and protection, we find a peace that always consoles, a peace beyond comprehension. Text by Connie Chintall ©2013, Photo entitled ‘Calm, Cool Place’ by Cecilia Carr ©2013

Reflecting on Glimpses….

Kerrville Cross by Eric JordanIt’s a beautiful, crystal clear morning on Long Beach Island in New Jersey. The journey here has brought me to a mixture of times long since past and times yet to come. So I was drawn to this amazing photo by my high school friend Eric of the cross located on Interstate Highway 10 in Kerrville, TX. I love how he caught the light streaming through the top of this enormous cross. As an engineer, I am awed by the openwork metal construction, by the daring of the builders to take on a task so many others would forsake. It is so easy to see the empty, solid cross as the whole story, rather than simply the beginning of the story. It’s tempting to dwell on the past, on how we got to the empty cross. It’s what we know for sure, what we can easily account for. Instead the empty cross is a glimpse of eternity, the beginning of a glorious and wonderful story that starts here and now. A very wise child taught me that eternity is not linear time without beginning or end. Eternity is all times happening right now, simultaneously, miraculously, spectacularly. Rather than standing at a single point, looking back or looking forward, the Almighty can perceived all times, all places, all souls, all at once. Make time today to glimpse eternity through the window of the resurrection cross. Root yourself firmly in the here and now, in the intersection between our linear perception of time and God’s all encompassing eternity. Let go of your meager human solutions to make room for the Divine, to follow God’s plan rather than your own. Open your heart to the Mystery, to seek consolation rather than comprehension. And always remember, each and every time we turn afresh to the steadfast love of Alpha and Omega, we find infinitely more than we can hope for, or even begin to imagine. Text by Connie Chintall ©2013, Photo by Eric Jordan, of the Kerrville Cross. To learn more about this amazing cross, go to http://thecrossatkerrville.org/home/

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