Out of Touch

For too many years eyes have been down, conversations are few, and rarely a sound. Laughing or crying hitting “share” on a screen~we’ve hitched harmony with humans transmitted ~not seen.

Humans are walking alone in a crowd, shoulder to shoulder they stand, yet their heads mostly bowed. Not a prayer, not a mumble, but maybe a nod~ an occasional “Hello”, our communication seems flawed.

“Social distancing” may mean our normal is frayed~every move, every step, has to be weighed. Yet we sit all alone fused to our only device, thinking “how worse can this get?” listening to media’s advice.

Our spirits will rise seeing kindness and grace~despite the empty shelves and the panic, and the smallness of space. You’re buckled to loved ones, now what will you do? A forced isolation just may be the glue.

All mustered together feeling the sting, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. I’ll fasten my faith and harness my hope, with God on my side, it’s much easier to cope.

As immunity increases will we remember the days? Gatherings certainly existed and not just on Sunday’s. Put down the electronics and extend a hand, let’s listen to one another, and try to understand.

Disasters have happened since the beginning of time, although new and mysterious, I won’t shift my paradigm. I’ll tighten my trust and breathe in fresh air~check on my neighbors, and show others I care.

With Spring in the forecast and hope all around, please pray for humanity~a new bond will be found. Let’s garner our grit and talk about faith~close the gap that’s between us and meet face-to-face.

Perhaps we were already isolated~even in huge crowds. When the words of my poem came to me this morning, after prayer and meditation, I thought of the “irony” of isolation. There are so many times I witness distraction. Many people just exist as if “in a daze”. Families that would go out to eat would just sit with little conversation and most would be using their cell phones. No, this is not the case for everyone. But I see our social skills declining in certain situations. Social distancing isn’t really “new” in regards to how we’re “out of touch” with humanity at times. Maybe by social distancing we may become “in touch”.

Please allow me to switch gears to share a bit about my area. Living in a tourist area is definitely interesting. Today, after distancing myself in the woods, I wanted to “investigate” the vibe of our area during this unprecedented time. Although famous for its live entertainment (and not just country music folks), the Branson area was best known for the novel “Shepherd of the Hills” written in 1907 by Harold Bell Wright (http://www.branson.com/learn/general-branson-info/branson-facts) Typically by spring break, 76 Country Boulevard (as known to many of us as the Branson “Strip”) is jam-packed with cars. No, it was not bumper-to-bumper, BUT THERE WERE STILL MANY! If you are looking for a family-oriented fun destination, I’d highly recommend you visit our “neck of the woods”.

While driving I was smiling. 🙂 “Look at all the families here celebrating life together!” Thank you Branson, MO for doing your part in the global attempt to slow the spread. And a BIG thank you to Dunkin Donuts for the yummy sugar-free raspberry latte (B.T.W. when asked if business was slowing down, the young man declared, “It’s just the opposite! Apparently everyone needs donuts!” Well,..duh.

It makes perfect sense that some of the theaters have temporarily closed. YET, some of them remain open limiting their seating capacity and/or distancing the guest seating. Bravo! Lucky for us, there are miniature golf courses nearly on every block of the strip. Thank you to the tons of visitors that are spreading good cheer, despite their change in plans! If you choose to throw caution “to the wind”, health officials across the country still urge visitors to be informed, wise, and WORSH THOSE HANDS! (I’m using my southern and proud SW lingo to emphasize) 😏

Speaking of wind…there was a beautiful southern warm wind blowing in SW MO today. And the trees and I did not keep our distance. Their arms reached out to me and gave me a healthy embrace.

In the park, picnics were being enjoyed by many (tables just the perfect distance 😁), hammocks were hanging in the forest, and children laughing and playing. Simply put, nature is a healer!

If you believe in the power of prayer, remember all of the workers without a job. With businesses slower than usual, unemployment will be very high. My heart and prayers go to everyone not able to make an income during these times.

Have faith💚

Thick Truth

The year was 1970-something. My twin sister and I were at our Grandparents’ in rural SW Missouri.   Grandpa and Grandma Hale sold mobile homes and managed a gas station next door.   The smells of the new fabrication of the homes brought tears to my eyes. As does the time we were painting our nails. 

One of us left a stain on Grandma’s leather ottoman. “Girls, I don’t know which of you did this, but God knows. “she said.  And one of us (I’m sure we’d each blame the other 😉) replied, “Yes, but Grandma, he isn’t going to tell you.” Grandma never knew the truth. God does.  

Isn’t it funny what comes out of “the mouths of babes”?  There was a time a 4-year-old was visiting the school office with his Momma.   Staring at me with the cutest beady blue eyes he declared (boomingly) “You have a creepy face!”  Gulp. The secretaries fell over laughing.   Immediately I started apologizing for the disgusting face I must have been displaying.  What just happened?  Immediately my level of self-efficacy dropped over the statement he made.  I likened it to the time a 2nd grade student announced that my belt and my shoes did not match (she became a one-time reigning Miss Missouri Teen USA and is now a teacher). She continued critiquing my outfits the entirety of the school year (my little sense of fashion apparently began around 1992).    After 14 years with elementary aged students I had grown some tough skin.  Eight years with middle-school and I was on my way to developing my new chill factor. Or so I thought. 

The truth is….well, ….truth hurts.  And you wouldn’t be telling the truth if you denied it. 😉  It’s easy as humans to take everything personally.  Oh, the vanity!  We think everything is about us.  Even though my skin is physically becoming thinner, my psyche needs to remain thick. To be easily offended thins my skin even further.   Perhaps insecurity causes one to be offensive (this has been my own personal experience). Shame, guilt, and pride-a few more nasty emotions I’ve had-can all wreak havoc on a self-image.

There will be many opportunities to become offended (note-you will be the offender too at times).  It seems that our world is becoming way too offended.   Perhaps we are becoming an “all about me” society?  

We have power to control our reactions.  What we think truly affects us both physically and emotionally.  This world offers plenty of toxicity-in words, actions, and thoughts.   Just taking a glimpse at the actions of adults on the campaign trails is evidence of how leaders can be so offended and/or offensive.  It’s everywhere! 

Last week I had the privilege of learning from Dr. Caroline Leaf.  Dr. Leaf is a communication pathologist and audiologist who has worked in the area of cognitive neuroscience since 1985.  In her book, Switch on your Brain, Dr. Leaf shares “We have the unique opportunity to assess our thoughts and their impact and choose to connect to the vine that is Christ (John 15:1-5)-to restore growth and prune off the branches of toxic thinking.” (45). 

Our minds control our thoughts which control our brain to determine how we will react. How do we gain control of our own minds, thoughts, and feelings?  How does all of this relate to the title of my post Thick Truth?  WE have the power to direct our thinking.   “Your mind is the most powerful thing in the universe after God.  Although we cannot control the events and circumstances of life, we can control our reaction” (Leaf 25). 

Friends, we have a choice.  Each day we can choose to not be a victimto overcome the feelings of rejection or toxic thoughts” (Leaf, 26).  And we have the power to not be offensive or take offense. Wouldn’t the world seem brighter with just this shift of thinking? What choice are you going to make today?  And what “thick truth” sticks with no harm?  

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7  

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” -1 John 3:18

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

“Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.” -Proverbs 17:9

 https://www.gotquestions.org/take-offense.html

Have faith 💚