Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Joy to the World

though this will be posted to my blog on christmas eve, i'm writing one day earlier.  on christmas eve, my family will be together to celebrate our christmas together--perhaps the last time we'll be able to do this, as my 95-year-old father will be moving into an assisted living facility about 12 hours away so his wife can be closer to her family--and i will play for two christmas eve services.  all that activity will leave no time for writing.

today, as i sit in my office at the church, i look back on how life has changed for me during the past year.  i realize that i am much more at peace with myself and with those around me.  petty irritations still get under my skin, but i now see that they are exactly that: "petty."  i am more aware of my kinship with others, more cognizant of how much more we are all alike than we are different.  i am not as prone to be offended by the speech and actions of others or as demanding for recognition.  when someone treats me badly, i can feel the first surge of anger subsiding to be replaced by a vision of that person as a suffering child or as someone dear to me who could easily be my sibling, my parent, or my own child.  i often find myself saying, "if this person were my mother or my child, would i become angry so easily?"

this realization of our interconnectedness has changed my outlook on life, and i know that much of this change in my heart and mind has come about because of the time i've spent in meditation.  the ability to put things in perspective has helped me to be more appreciative of others, to feel a deep sense of calm, and to be more kind.  i can see, too, that my change in point-of-view has had an effect on the behavior of others.  i feel much more loved and appreciated by those nearest me, and i sense that they act more lovingly towards me.

my prayer for myself and for each of you this day and each day is that we all perceive a deep connection to those around us, treating them, even when they don't deserve it, as we want to be treated.  may the joy of this season of love bring you and me a happiness that transcends the momentary sufferings we experience and a calm that doesn't waste time classifying live's events as "good" or "bad," but simply as part of the natural fabric of life.  shalom.

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