Reflecting on Relentless….

Heading Home by Jeanne MischoI often find myself caught in my own little world. I miss the obvious because all I can see is what I already know. My mind fills in the answer before the question is asked. This photo really brings home that message. For a long time, all I saw was the veins of the eye. I worked on lasers in the military, so part of my annual physical was a photo of my eyes. Each year the powers that be had to determine if my eyes were still intact. The doctor would shine an awful light into my eyes then take the photo. My medical records contained writing on the right, and a photo of my eyes on the left. It seemed part and parcel of every doctor visit. Fortunately for me, my friend Jeanne took this amazing photo of a tree with the moon in the sky above. I can imagine her lying on the ground to get the proper perspective. I wonder if she used a flash, or if a street light has lent its glow. I love the depth and intricacy of the branches, the way the tree divides and then divides itself again. It seems the tree is inviting us into another world, a world of our imagination, a world separate from our earthbound reality. On this Maundy Thursday, we celebrate the humility of our Lord. Christ washes the feet of the disciples, despite the protests of Peter, despite everything we are and were and will be. God draws us in, again and again, relentlessly seeking communion. After countless rejections of his prophets and angels, God sends his own Son to reconcile us to him. God becomes man to be one with us, to experience all that this life offers. Make time today to step out of the comfortable. Let go of the familiar and let in the annoying, the perplexing, yes, even the startling. Hold open a space that makes room for growth and greater understanding. Lie down when you would rather stand up. Step aside when you would rather rush ahead. Look up and around rather than keeping your head down. And always remember, when we open our minds before we open our eyes, we embrace the relentless intimacy and endless possibility of our all loving God. Text by Connie Chintall ©2015. Photo entitled ‘Heading Home’ by Jeanne Mischo ©2013, to see more of her work, go to http://jeannemischo.wordpress.com/

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Reflecting on Anger….

It’s a bright, sunny morning, and I have a full day planned. I’m feeling better than I did yesterday, when I was ready to hand our dog off to whoever would take him. It’s funny how anger can warp your perspective. So I was drawn to this high dynamic range (HDR) photo taken by my friend David Buckwalter. I love how the colors pop against the sky, how details are emphasized, how a picture becomes a painting. David took this photo of a shot furnace at Fort Griswold State Park in Groton, CT. This morning I feel a bit ridiculous, after expending way too much energy on anger, rather than on resolving the problem. Our dog Hobbes has decided the new dining room carpet is a good place to relieve himself. The carpet’s colors camouflaged the stains, until my nose detected the problem this weekend. So I spent yesterday shampooing the carpets, after finding other hidden offenses. Just when I was ready to start cooking supper, the dog returned to the scene of the crime and defiled my nice, clean carpet. Before you ask, the dog is still here, although it’s a small wonder my family still is. I was far from pleasant company last night. There is nothing that frustrates me more than wasted work, especially when it’s difficult, manual labor. And truth be told, I started the job angry, because I was mad at myself for not figuring it out sooner. Getting past anger takes time and perspective. Anger may feel like strong emotion, but is often more of a chain reaction. We feel something now, then link this incident to others from the past, make judgments about ourselves and others, then over react. What we see and hear becomes like this photo, the dynamic range of our reactions is off the scale. Or perhaps we vent our frustration about one situation elsewhere, losing our temper in a safer place and time. Take time today to step back from anger, to consider your initial emotion, be it frustration, or disappointment, or fear. Look at the surrounding circumstances, relationships, and past history, to understand what set you off. Pray for God’s perspective, to see all sides, rather than just your own. And remember, when we invite the Holy Spirit to burn in our souls, we become a steadfast flame, instead of a shot furnace. Photo by David Buckwalter ©2011, used with his permission

Reflecting on Contrast….

Rain is relentlessly falling, plastering leaves to the soaking wet ground. These storms may drop our leaves before we get much color. So I was drawn to this photo of the Colorado mountains taken by my friend Adrienne. We lived in Colorado Springs for three years, but I never got used to the sharp contrast between the yellow aspens and the evergreens. Fall leaves are one color in Colorado – a brilliant, eye popping yellow, made all the more impressive against the dark green pines and cloudy grey sky. Contrast helps us focus on what is distinct from the rest of our surroundings. We may become accustomed to a certain way of doing things, or fail to notice subtle changes. A day away to visit a friend or a walk in the woods clears our minds and sharpens our perceptions. We return refreshed, renewed, rested. We see the familiar with a new eye, recognizing the need for change and more importantly, possessing the energy to begin to change. There is a lot of talk about green technology and sustainable initiatives, even sustainable economies. Everyone wants to make a big splash, a dramatic difference. Yet true change, real and permanent good, relies on changes we can sustain. We start small, then build on our successes and learn from our mistakes, stepping back now and again to be sure we stay on track. Take time today to clear your mind and sharpen your senses. Pick up a single leaf, and marvel at the miracle of life. Consider new ways to look at your daily routines, building on your successes and learning from your mistakes. And remember, sometimes it takes contrast to see what needs fixing. Mistakes only become failures when we cease to learn. Photo by Adrienne O’Hara

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