Follow Me on Pinterest

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Alligator Story

This week I came across a little story about a woman, let’s call her Liz, who was in love with a man we’ll call Greg. Liz wanted to go and meet Greg but in order to get to him she had to cross a river teeming with alligators, and to make matters worse the bridge over the river was washed out. So Liz went to Captain Sinbad and asked him to take her across in his boat. Sinbad demanded certain favors which Liz refused. She then approached Harry who turned her down, so she went back to Sinbad and agreed to his terms. Once the deal was closed, Sinbad fulfilled his promise and delivered her into Greg’s arms. However, when Liz told Greg what she had to do in order to get to him, Greg became angry and dumped her. Liz found another guy, Sampson, who beat Greg up for the way he treated Liz, and in the end Liz and Sampson ride off in the sunset together.

Now this did not happen on the Jerry Springer show or one of the popular soaps. However, when we examine the story closely we may judge Liz for her lack of morals or Greg for his unwillingness to forgive, but I think the take of the story is how far would we go to get what we want. This lady was willing to cross a river teeming with alligators in order to get to the man she loved, or thought she loved.

I think for all of us there is a Greg that we may be prepared to go to any lengths to have. Our Greg may be a job, a promotion, a spouse, a car. Whatever it is we have to be careful, especially as women, not to compromise our values, because like Liz we may realize that our Greg is not really worth the trouble. God bless.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Lose The Weight

This month two of my female co-workers have had liposuction to make their bodies look slimmer and more sexy. I admire their courage as well as their new appearance, and while at first I was tempted to criticize, the more I thought about it the idea began to appeal to me. After all, I have some areas, my arms especially, that could benefit from suctioning as well.

Plastic surgery is the fastest growing area in the medical field. Face lifts, tummy tucks and breast implants, initially the domain of the Hollywood crowd, are now being sought after by ordinary housewife or working woman. One of my co-workers said the liposuction took ten pounds off her instantly. No sweat, no hunger pangs, no pain. Just a few thousand dollars and the surgeon’s scalpel. Sounds tempting, very tempting.

But I know of another procedure that can take pounds and pounds of weight off you instantly. It might not flatten your tummy or trim your thighs, but it will give you a sense of peace and unspeakable joy you never dreamed possible. It’s giving your life to Jesus. He can trim the weights of anger, hopelessness, depression, guilt, fear and many others.

All you have to do is believe that Jesus, the Son of God, came to this earth and died that you might live. Then ask Him to come into your heart, and He will. He will fill you so completely there will be no room for any other weight. And as an added bonus He will show you how to lose any extra physical weight you may be carrying around. Try it and see.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Hope in God

In my job as a behavioral health therapist I come across a lot of people suffering from depression who are hopeless and helpless. In fact, one depressed patient once said to me, "I have no dreams; I have no hope." And from his constricted affect I knew he was speaking the truth.

Many times I ask myself what terrible circumstances conspire to render someone so hopeless that they think of taking their own lives, or occupy their thoughts with death wishes.

In my own life I can identify with some of the struggles that many of my patients face, and yet I continue to function normally. My friends, too, have issues that beg for understanding and compassion - the death of a child, loss of a job, an unexpected diagnosis, divorce - and yet they continue to function. Sometimes the circumstances may not be severe, but they gnaw at our peace just the same. And we all experience them. Someone said, "Show me the person who doesn't have problems and I'll show you someone who isn't breathing."

So what separates those of us on the outside of a psychiatric unit from those on the inside? Better mental and emotional health? Inner strength? God? Our genetic make up? All of these can determine whether we succumb to depression or not, but the fact is if we do succumb there is hope in God. We do not have to say like that young man, "I have no hope." The Bible tells us, "Hope thou in God." We need to hope in Him, not in our wealth, position, our physician, or our therapist, but in God.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Father forgive them

I recently became a fan of a secular program, and for me that is a rare thing. It happened because of one contestant who had the nerve to stand up to the insufferable Simon after he insulted her with his remarks about her size. The charming, talented young woman told Simon in no uncertain terms that she forgave him without needing an apology because Jesus had forgiven her! To have the boldness to say that on national TV is a gift that could only have come from God. When I heard it I thought, I have to see who this person is, so I watched the show this week and was very impressed.

In reading about the trailblazers that shaped the future of African Americans, I came across a young lady who also displayed a great lesson of forgiveness. Six-year-old Ruby Bridges was bused to the Franz Elementary School in New Orleans under desegregation laws, and met with a great deal of persecution from the white parents, so much so that President Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered that she be escorted by marshals to school every day.

As a result parents kept their children away from the school as a mark of protest, so little Ruby sat alone in the school while her teacher taught her. But it is recorded that while she was being escorted she prayed, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Eventually the whites woke up to the realization that their kids were not being educated and they sent them back to school.

I spoke to a man the other day who said, “I will never forgive my ex-wife for what she did to me. Never!” He admitted that he was only hurting himself, and when I told him that Jesus chose to forgive the Roman soldiers who tortured and killed Him, he became even more angry and stormed away. But whether you’re dealing with a Simon, an errant spouse or a whole bunch of enemies, forgiveness wins every time.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Women of courage

How does a woman juggle housework and babies while her husband spends more time in jail than in helping to raise the kids? And in addition to performing her role as wife and mother still finds time to take part in protest rallies, speak to scores of people and protect her children from a bomb or two. This week we mourn the passing of one such woman, Coretta Scott King.

In writing this blog I was prompted by two things: one, it’s Black History month and two, a film of Gandhi which I viewed recently. Coretta King, wife of civil rights leader Martin Luther King and Kasturba “Ba” Gandhi were married to men who achieved world wide acclaim because of their extraordinary dedication to fighting injustice in their societies. However, I believe these men would not have achieved such greatness had they not been blessed with such exceptional mates.

Coretta King gave up the bright lights of a singing career to become the wife of a Baptist minister in 1953. Like Kasturba, Coretta also gave birth to four children. Early in the marriage she worked alongside her husband, or it was more like walked in marches beside him, traveled abroad with him and spoke on her husband’s behalf when he was unable to do so. However, while Mrs. Gandhi passed away before her husband, Coretta survived Martin Luther King by four decades. Determined that the work her husband began would live on, Coretta gave herself no time to mourn. Just four days after his death she led a march through the streets of Memphis, and attended the Poor People’s March in Washington later that year.

Over the years, Coretta King continued to work tirelessly in her husband’s memory, establishing the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, Georgia and achieving the goal of having her husband’s birthday honored as a public holiday in Jan. 1986. She continued to travel the globe preaching the gospel of equality and became a goodwill ambassador and advisor to world leaders including Nelson Mandela.

Like most wives of men in the limelight, Coretta and Kasturba had to put up with the scores of women who admired and followed their husbands. Despite rumors of infidelity on Martin Luther’s part, Coretta “stood by her man” as did Kasturba when women took her place in attending to Gandhi’s needs, and the world speculated on their non-sexual relationship. Whether we are married to a leader or a subordinate, we can learn from Coretta and Kasturba. Two women, two different worlds, many eras apart, but their message is the same: loyalty, devotion and courage. God calls us to no less.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Father forgive them

This past week my heart was warmed and saddened at the same time by a story in the Miami Herald about a man who had been set free after being incarcerated for twenty four years for a crime he didn’t commit. Crotzer is not the first, and hopefully would not be the last. Technology, via DNA testing, has made it possible for someone’s innocence or guilt to be proven years after a crime was committed. So today Crotzer and many others are free as a result of this, as well as the untiring efforts of their defense lawyers and the New York-based Innocence Project.

Many people rejoice at this turn of events, but for Crotzer and others like him who lost a big chunk of their lives, the road to true freedom is littered with obstacles. Diaz, a man freed after twenty six years, hardly ever leaves his house. His wife remarried, and he now lives with his daughter and her family. Crotzer, on the other hand, would like to find a job. But what skills does he have to live and work in the twenty first century? When he was released he had to be taught how to use a cell phone and how to swipe a card to open a hotel door, according to the Herald. A lot has taken place in twenty-four years.

However, two things struck me most about this story. The first is that Crotzer said he had no bitterness against anyone for robbing him of twenty-four years of his life. To suffer what he suffered and not be bitter is almost unbelievable. It’s almost like Jesus asking God to forgive the Roman soldiers for crucifying Him. How many of us could be like that? I don’t know if I could.

The other thing that struck me is that Crotzer’s mother passed away four years prior to his release. Crotzer said that is the one thing he regretted. And I believe that mother must have been praying all the while she waited for something to happen. Never underestimate the power of prayer. You might not live to see the answer, but the answer will come if you persist in prayer.

So let us send up a prayer of thanksgiving for Crotzer and the others, let us pray for the defense lawyers and the Innocence Project. Most of all, let us pray that the deadline, set for July of this year in Florida, for cases to be retried based on DNA evidence will be removed completely so that more innocent victims could be set free.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Happy New Year!

Jan 8, 2006

Believe me, this is not what I planned for my first blog for 2006. I wanted to open with something upbeat like goal-planning or New Year’s resolutions, instead I find myself writing about death. The son of one of my co-workers died by accident the day before New Year’s Eve, and it put a damper on my spirits as well as the rest of the staff who worked with her.

Even though I never knew him, his passing filled me with such sadness that I had to force myself to get over it. He was only eighteen, cut off in a horrible way while not yet in his prime. As we attended the viewing, my heart broke at the sight of the lonely casket standing at the head of the aisle, unopened, while my friend courageously greeted friends and acquaintances. I couldn’t say anything to her. No words, however eloquent, would be adequate. I conveyed my feelings with a deep hug, and left as soon as I could.

And yet death is a daily occurrence. Someone said in the midst of life there is death. We heard of the death of the coal miners in Virginia, the death of the soldiers in Iraq, and many others, and we feel sympathy for the families. But when death dares to come inside, or close to, our door, our feelings are shattered. That this enemy could triumph over us is more than we can bear. The Bible says “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22). And again in v 22 it says, “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death”).

Thank God that because of Jesus Christ death is not the end for us or our loved ones who have accepted Him as our Savior. No, it’s not the end, but the beginning of a glorious reign with Him in His heavenly kingdom.