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Yesterday I had a conversation with a friend. We had not seen each other for quite a while so he was updating me on the activities in his life. During our conversation, he asked me if I thought there ever came a time when a person needed to stop dreaming. He was not referring to what occurs while we sleep but future hopes and aspirations. I indicated that I did not think there was ever a time to quit dreaming.
Dreams are a rather complex aspect of our lives. When we take inventory of our life, we can identify dreams that we had when we were younger which never materialized. Because of the perceived times of failure, we can often adopt an attitude which states dreams are a waste of time. However, I would have to disagree with that attitude. I think that even if a dream does not materialize as we had hoped, the dream has driven us to move forward toward the fulfillment of the dream. If we had not dreamed, we may never have taken the steps which we did that allowed us to be where we are now.
Dreams are based on the belief that there is always something more for us to do in life. Dreams allow us to believe that we can continue to evolve into the person we aspire to be. Dreams motivate us to take risk and to reach higher. Without dreams, we just navigate through life going through motions but having little to no drive.
So my friend and I came to the conclusion that a person should always have a dream. What is your dream today?
With the strange weather we have experienced this week where there were thunderstorms, snow, and even tornadoes in our state, I thought this song might be a good one:
Reminder that there is always a time laid out for all things.
(Also, a nice reminder of Ecclesiastes 3)
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One of the biggest challenges that I have is taking time to sit in silence. I am a highly driven individual who always seems to have an endless to-do list. I am also somewhat extroverted so I am used to engaging people in conversation fairly frequently and easily. Sitting in silence often equates in my mind with wasting time. However, I have over the last few years been placed in situations which require me to sit in silence. Because of these experiences, I have gained an appreciation for waiting quietly. I would say that I still struggle with this approach most of the time but I am trying to discipline myself to create time and space for me to sit in silence.
What I have discovered when I allow myself to wait quietly is that benefits exist in this practice. I have found that when I place a hold on my activity, sit quietly, and let my thoughts just be open, I have been able to hear the Holy Spirit better. There have been times when in those times of silence, I have gained insight into challenges which I am currently experiencing. During a few of these times, I have sensed guidance in new directions and approaches. Still other times, I have been able to release tension and reduce my anxiety.
This has led me to deliberate commit myself to create more times of silence in my life. Recently, I put together a plan regarding four major areas of my life. One piece of that plan includes establishing more dedicated times for discernment which requires waiting quietly. I know that this will continue to be a challenge for me. My behavior patterns and perceived personality runs contrary to this new discipline. However, I believe that this will have deep and long-term impact on my life. Therefore, I will strengthen my effort to make this part of my plan a reality.
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I have some pictures hanging in my office which have been in place for over five years. Most days I barely look at them any more. However, today, I happened to take time to look at three of them pretty intently. I spent time looking over each part of the pictures. What I found truly amazing is that I discovered details in each of the paintings that I had not recalled. These details enhanced my enjoyment of the paintings.
This discovery for me this morning made me pause and consider how often I overlook details in other aspects of my day. How many times do I just glance at an item which I pass by on a daily basis? How little time do I take to really look at those items? How many times do I do this with individuals?
All these questions has prompted me to commit myself this week to noticing the details in the ordinary aspects of my life. I need to take a little extra time to engage with some of the items and some of the people that I have come to take for granted. I need to really look at the ordinary of my life so that I might come to notice details which will enhance my enjoyment.
How about you? When you look at those things which are “always there,” what do you see? Do you even notice them any more? Maybe you want to dedicate this week to looking at the ordinary in a different way. I am guessing that we all my discover hidden details which we have often overlooked.
This seemed like an appropriate song for Good Friday:
Image provide by aholyexperience.com
Today is the day in the Christian calendar when believers remember Jesus creating a way for all believers to share and reflect upon what he offered on the cross. After his death and resurrection, it is recorded that he was once again sitting down for a meal with a couple of his disciples and when he broke the bread and offered it to them, they recognized who was with them. As I reflected on these faith events, I came to ponder what occurs when we sit together for a meal.
In this overly hectic life, many of us have limited opportunities to sit down with others for a meal. Families are always so busy running to events and completing commitments that meals are usually caught on the run. For single people, the are limited opportunities to sit down with others for a meal. It seems that no matter what your status, meals at a table are rare events.
However, there are many times which I can remember where it is around a table, sharing a meal, when memorable events occur. When I reflect back on life, many very positive memories center around a special meal, for a holiday, or a birthday, or because of a life change. There is something about breaking bread together (another way to say share a meal) where opportunities open up. People tend to share a lot of information about themselves and their lives when they are sitting together at a table. Breakthroughs in discussions and negotiations seem to occur a bit easier when you have shared a meal together.
I do not think that it is by chance that Jesus established what we know as the Lord’s Supper, Communion, or the Eucharist. In his actions, he took what was ordinary and natural for people and turned those items into something extraordinary. He elevated the importance of sharing meals together. He reminded us that we recognize one another as individuals better when we have broken bread together.
So today, if you are a believer and will be celebrating the Lord’s Supper, I encourage you to take time to reflect upon what really took place around that table so long ago. If you are not a believer, I encourage you to reflect upon what has and can take place when you sit down with others for a meal. May you discover the enrichment which occurs when you break bread with others. Find opportunities to do this as often as possible.
This time of year always has little treasurers which I find in creation. Today I was looking at the tree outside my office window. The tree is starting to have huge buds on its branches. Seeing these buds always makes me smile because I know that they are a sign that the bare branches soon will be filled with green leaves. Since I always prefer to see green leaves on the branches instead of bare branches, this makes me happy. For me, the buds are signs of hope. A hope that is founded in the reality of spring.
Considering this during some quiet time this morning, I began to ponder what signs of hope are present for me. Since this weekend is Easter, I have an obvious sign of hope rooted in my belief in the resurrection. On rainy days when a rainbow appears, I have another sign of hope. When I witness young people acting in respectful and helpful ways, I see another sign of hope.
What are the signs of hope which you experience? Do you take the time to truly take notice of signs of hope? They really are all around us but we tend to focus on the negativity in life and not spend time recognizing the signs of hope. So my challenge for myself and for those who read my blog is to spend one week naming the signs of hope that you experience throughout each day. This just might have a very lasting impact on all of us.