abundance, blessings, hope, Love

Mission and Purpose

Over the years I have done a lot of thinking and praying about my mission and purpose in life. I have even written and article and recorded a podcast about it (see below)… But it is interesting that even since recording that podcast last spring (even though it just came out early this September), it is interesting to reflect on how that has changed or shifted, ever so slightly yet significantly in the past six months…

This summer I had the wonderful opportunity to work with over 100 children and young people both at a summer camp in the US and on a service trip to Costa Rica. While serving as a Christian Science Practitioner and support healing in both venues, I discovered that my greatest calling within that space is to help people, especially young people, know that they are loved by Love and worthy of love. That God’s love for each one of us is unconditional… God’s grace is that unmerited, unearned outpouring of love to us each and every moment. And that it is for us to realize and recognize that it is there and remove whatever obstacles that stand in our way of feeling the warmth, comfort, provision and protection of that ever-present, divine Love.

In the weeks leading up to this current adventure of taking my practice on the road on the each coast of the US for a few months, I had wondered what the “why” was behind it all. I felt inspired and led to follow the inspiration to embark on this journey, but I wrestled to understand why Love was leading me to embrace this nomadic lifestyle and wanted to know the purpose or outcome. During this time, I was supporting a friend who was struggling to understand their purpose in life. And I recalled a conversation where we talked about how our entire purpose whether we are employed or not, or traveling or still, is to learn more about God… learn more about Love and how to express love to our fellow man more selflessness, more generously, more graciously…

Well, as per usual, I am good at seeing how to help others but sometimes less so for myself. Until one evening, I was at church in testimony meeting and someone shared something about their journey and experience that made me realize that the same truth I was sharing with my friend also applied to me, and this journey. And while I know my overall purpose in life… it is the same for this adventure. So, I am daily learning more about God and how that unconditional love of Love provides for each one of us. I get to learn day by day how that shows up for me in the form of home, community, supply, place, and opportunities to be of service. It’s been a lesson in leaning in and trusting the Divine completely and being ok with the unknown.

I’ve found it sometimes a struggle, and sometimes a fun challenge/opportunity to answer the question “where do you live?” Or “where are you visiting from?” And the other day a friend laughed when I was asked “what’s next?” and I answered, “Well I will be in NYC for the weekend…” But at the time, I didn’t know where I would be after that. And my friend seemed kind of in awe of the fact that I only knew where I would for the upcoming weekend.

If I’m honest, there are moments when it weighs on me a lot not knowing what’s next … but then I look back and wonder why I was so concerned, and didn’t trust more, when it all works out in the most beautiful, harmonious way… and always way better than what I could have imagined. So I am really taking to heart Jesus’ words…

That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?

(Matthew 6:25)

So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.  

(Matthew 6:34)

And of course, that situation turned out like the others… the answer was there just when it was needed. I had a better “home” that I could have hoped for the following weeks… and it just continues to unfold each week, each day in the mossed blessed way. I am so very grateful.

Finding purpose and vocation 

From the Christian Science Perspectives section of the September 30, 2019 issue of the Christian Science Monitor 

When we are willing to go where God, Love, leads us, this opens the way for our lives to unfold in increasingly fulfilling and purposeful ways. 

Mission and purpose – discover yours today!

A podcast with Tony Lobl, Eric Bashor, and Kim Hedge – September 9, 2019 – Sentinel Watch

In this edition of Sentinel Watch, we ask what really constitutes living the life you want to live. Our guests discuss their careers and how listening for God’s guidance has led them on an adventurous and meaningful path that has increasingly clarified and brought into focus their real life purpose. 

Love

Lessons from a dog walk…

I was out walking my dog, Tillie, by the lake yesterday morning, as I often do.  And one thing we are working on is her reaction and response to other dogs. Sometimes she walks by perfectly fine – keeping quiet and carrying on… other times she barks loudly at them while wagging her tail like she wants to play… and then there those times that she barks aggressively and pulls at her leash…  As a human, it is often difficult to discern which reaction we’ll get when… or why… but from what I have read, it seems dogs primarily respond aggressively out of fear.

This particular morning, we started out our walk and already the barking and pullingTillie by the lake started.  It made me frustrated and not want to continue the walk. But after pausing at a bench looking out at the lake for a little while and enjoying the stillness of the water, I decided to carry on with the walk.  I was praying about this issue as we walked… and trying to think about it from a spiritual perspective. I realized that for one, I need to forgive Tillie for just being a dog, and not harbor frustration or fear about the situation…but I also have to affirm that Tillie IS a good dog, inherently good and that that is her true nature to be good and live harmoniously with others.

I quietly declared to myself, and sometimes aloud to sweet Tillie, that harmony is a law … it is a law of Divine Love and that it is governing us and all our actions and everyone (and every dog) around us.

Often when we are coming up to another dog, I will give the command to stay quiet.  Sometimes, if it seems necessary, I will ask Tillie to sit and be still, and to stay quiet… and I remind her that she is a good girl.

I was thinking about how these commands we give our pets (and the ones we hear, if we listen, from God)… are firm commands, demonstrating the control and governance of omnipotent Principle… and yet reflect the tender and pure nature of omnipresent Love…  This is what is governing or ruling us and our actions… and our loved ones and everyone…

This particular morning, I was overjoyed that in the second part of our walk after the quiet moment on the bench, she did not bark at a single dog (and there were several on our path)… it was great to see the law of harmony in action… and this joy led to a breakthrough with another situation… which I started to see more clearly from a spiritual perspective.

This past weekend, I acted out of fear and “barked” aggressively and unkindly at someone… and I have been regretting it and feeling terrible about it ever since.  It seemed so much like the unpredictable nature of my dog, who will pass by several dogs calmly and then seemingly out of nowhere will bark aggressively at one coming along…  That was kind of what this was like… I was going along my day with this friend calmly and then seemingly out of nowhere got really upset and said some unkind, and actually untrue things… and by untrue I mean that I accused of them of things that I know in my heart they would never think or do… instead of assuming the best, I assume not just the worst but something so false and out of character of this person, it is rather ridiculous…

Since then I have been in a funk of guilt and shame, regret and remorse… replaying the incident and the various events before and after and trying to figure out how I could have gotten so upset… and envisioning the scenario a thousand different ways that would have turned out so much better if I had acted and spoken differently…

So as I was walking along with Tillie, I started to think about this again… and I so wish I had listened to the angel messages that were likely speaking to me all along but I missed them…  the message that would have been telling me to me to “sit“… or to be still and calm… to “be still and know that I am God”, as it says in Psalms 46:10…  and to get some perspective on the situation to see it for what it was… and knowing that my friend’s intentions are always good and pure and that there is no reason to assume anything less…

Because if I were still, I probably would have had heard the angel message that was likely there telling me to “stay quiet“…  or as the Bible says “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;” (James 1: 19)… for “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.”  (Prov 17:28)… and “If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” (Prov 18:13)… well, I was the fool here and have been filled with shame at my folly ever since…

I also wish I had heard the angel message to “be good“…  and to know that I am inherently good…and so is my friend…  that is our true nature, because we are created in the image and likeness of God as it states in Gen 1… and God is all and only good…  as the Bible says “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt 5:48)… which I take to mean not that you must (or should) be this way, or else… but that you must be that way because God is that way… you couldn’t actually be any other way… because you reflect God, your maker who is perfect and good…   I was also thinking about that command… or that angel message that I missed, to “be good” … to mean it’s all good… it will be fine… don’t worry… but I missed that message and as a result I acted in ways that were less than my best self.

One of my favorite hymns in the Christian Science Hymnal came to mind as I was walking, “Speak gently, it is better far To rule by love than fear”…  and thought about it this way — when we are ruled by Love rather than fear, we do speak gently… we don’t bark aggressively or say unkind things we don’t really mean (and instantly regret)…  it goes on to say “Speak gently, let no harsh word mar The good we may do here.” (Hymn 315)….

I have heard it said that every action or word spoken is either done from love or is a cry for love … or put another way – out of a fear of the loss of love or a sense of lack of love…  With my harsh words, I was acting out of fear, not love, (as apparently my dog does too sometimes)… because of the situation we were in, I became afraid of a potential loss of love or the potential for lack and became overwhelmed by that fear so much that I no longer heard the angel messages that were undoubtedly being sent my way… but this fear is never true or real  because we live in Love… we are never for a moment separated from Love… we are always encircled in ever-present Love… and that is true for every single one of us… And when we are ruled and governed by Love… by Divine Love…so there is no room for fear. “There is no fear in love. Perfect love casts out fear…” (1 John 4:18)… And when ruled and governed by love, we can speak gently… and be patient and kind with one another… as it says in 1 Cor 13: 4-8

“Love is patient, love is kind. … It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

So, with this lesson, I began to feel uplifted and break out of my seeming funk of regret … knowing that I am governed by Love, not fear… and that I cannot fear a lack or loss of love… because Love, Divine Love, our true source of love is eternal and ever-present… and with that unfailing love we can all abide by the law of harmony that is always at work, and hear those angels messages when they are speaking to us with words of wisdom and tender words reminding us to love and that we are loved… and this love brings healing to any situation.