Detours in the Journey

For the first time in a couple of years, I’m not preparing to start a new school year. No bulletin boards to plan, no meetings to attend, no thoughts on what I’ll be doing the first days of class. Another transition time for me, going back to subbing instead of teaching every day. It is a part, perhaps a detour, in this journey of my life.

I sometimes wonder if I made the right decision nine years ago when I decided to retire. I was fifty-one years old at the time and after much contemplation, felt it was the thing to do. I’ve had the opportunity since that point to fill eleven interim positions, ranging in duration of several weeks to three-fourths of the school year. And I’m thankful for each one of those opportunities I’ve had.

Of one thing I am sure – in each situation I’ve found myself in during my post-retirement years, I’ve been exactly where I was supposed to be to fill in for whatever the length of time was to be. I know subbing from day-to-day will be different, but once again, feel that’s a part of my journey as well.

And God only knows what the coming school year will hold. I hold my faith in Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

To Be or Not To Be: The Good Samaritan

I’ve been thinking recently about my response when I’m out and about and someone asks for money. This on the heels of our Gospel lesson and excellent sermon on the story of the good Samaritan this past Sunday. Earlier this week, I was approached at a convenience store by a man who said he needed “money for he and his wife to get home,” and I responded that I didn’t carry any cash on me, which was a lie. And yes, I wondered whether I had made the right choice in my response.

So this morning I’m given another opportunity to test the lesson learned in church on Sunday. I’m in a Dollar General getting some items and am approached by a man who simply says “How are you doing?” I responded “Just fine.” He was carrying a package of socks and seemed to be looking for some other items.

The man said that he realized he was a black man (which to me, at least, didn’t make any difference) and related that he’d just been released from prison. He showed me his ankle bracelet as proof of his story. He told of several places that he’d been to for assistance and showed me a card where he had applied for a job. And yes, he wanted to know if I had any spare change.

Without hesitation, I opened my wallet and saw that I had a $10 bill, which I gladly gave to him. He seem somewhat hesitant when my opened wallet revealed a police badge, which I carry as a reminder of my son, who is a police officer. He thanked me kindly and asked that Jesus bless me. As I approached the check-out, he was in front of me in line. I shared with him several organizations that might be of help and told him it might be best to stay away from one establishment where he had applied for a job. We both then went on our way.

So the story in Sunday’s sermon had played itself out twice in my life. In one case, I didn’t offer assistance, in the other I did. I cannot tell you why I chose to respond in the way I did. I guess intuition has a lot to do with it. And knowing that we’re always given a second chance in this life.

I saw that the man had been able to purchase a few more items with the funds I had given him. As I left, I saw the vehicle he was going to be returning to and on this day, although I didn’t think to say it, I hope Jesus blesses him as well.

David Lee

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Trusting in the Journey…

Life can have many twists and turns. There are all kinds of plans you can make, but ultimately there’s little control you have over the outcomes of what lies ahead. Not that plans aren’t good to make; just don’t get your heart and mind set on a specific outcome.

Case in point: Nine years ago I decided to retire from the teaching profession. I had no concrete plans as to what I would do with my time, but thought it was time to retire. Now here I am, nine years later, still in the classroom on a daily basis.

My short term goal was to substitute teach from time-to-time. While that has been a part of the journey, there have been other opportunities I’ve come upon. Eight maternity leaves, two surgical leaves, one assignment that last 3/4 of a school year, and another that lasted 1/2 a year. None of which were in my plans, but made their way to me.

For the past two years, I’ve been teaching all day, half a day. It’s a job I’ve really enjoyed and like to think I’ve done a good job. But due to circumstances that have nothing to do with my performance, that assignment will come to a close at the end of this school year. And once again, I’ll go back to substituting….at least that’s my current plan.

I have faith in a God that knows exactly what’s going on in my life. And if it’s to the better good of myself and others, another opportunity will present itself. I know that regardless of what is in front of me, there is a Good Shepherd who watches over me. And that makes all the difference in my life perspective.

I am thankful for the many opportunities I’ve been given and hope that I’ve made a lasting, positive impression on those whose lives I’ve come into contact with during this time. I’ll keep my eyes opened to the future with the assurance that all will be well and that I’m never alone in my journey.

David Lee

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Today’s Card Reading…April 28th

PROTECTION

Protection message: Ever think sometimes your life options are suction-cupped to your face and you can’t see beyond yourself? There’s a big world out there—a multitude of potential realities that you’re unable to perceive at present. So you’re a little stuck? It’s time to get advice from someone you trust, someone who has a better perspective on your circumstances. Other points of view are needed now before you move forward. Take heart! A beautiful vista is waiting for you to drink it in. You just need a little help widening your scope beyond your small “self.”

A Seed of Faith

I recently was at a gathering of good friends when one of those friends made what I’ll call a very wise analogy showing how faith works.

There is the seed. In order for the seed to grow, it must be planted. The soil must be dug and the seed deposited at the appropriate depth. Once covering the seed with soil, one must make sure to it gets the right amount of moisture. There are those cases where fertilizer must be added if the soil doesn’t contain the right amount of nutrients. Then there is the pruning of excess that sometimes must be done to keep the plant flourishing.

But what’s going on inside of the seed isn’t anything over which I have control. The necessary chemical bonding together for the seed to start to sprout. The seed reaching down into the ground to plant its roots and sending shoots up toward the surface to enable it to receive the sunlight it needs to grow.

So there are those two parts: the work that I must do and the miracle of life that grows within the buried seed. While it’s true that this will occur in nature without human help, there are those seeds that are intentionally planted to grow what I’d like to see.

Faith in a Higher Power can work much the same way. I have to be willing to do the work necessary to help my faith to grow. I must attempt to keep a clear mind and practice self-care to optimize my chances of seeing change. I need to do those things placed in front of me and leave the results up to God. As a familiar book says, “Faith without works is dead.”

A spiritual awakening is indeed like the miracle of the developing seed. I do not completely understand it, but trust in the process and therefore, trust the journey I must travel. May the God of my understanding give me the guidance, wisdom, and strength this day so that my faith might grow.

David Lee

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Daily Readings for April 25th

24 Hours a Day

Meditation for the Day

Try saying: “God bless her (or him)” of anyone who is in disharmony with you. Also say it of those who are in trouble through their own fault. Say it, willing that showers of blessings may fall upon them. Let God do the blessing. Leave to God the necessary correcting or disciplining. You should only desire blessing for them. Leave God’s work to God. Occupy yourself with the task that He gives you to do. God’s blessing will also break down all your own difficulties and build up all your successes.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may use God’s goodness so that it will be a blessing to others. I pray that I may accept God’s blessing so that I will have harmony, beauty, joy, and happiness.

Language of Letting Go

Finding Our Own Truth

We must each discover our own truth.

It does not help us if those we love find their truth. They cannot give it to us. It does not help if someone we love knows a particular truth in our life. We must discover our truth for ourselves.

We must each discover and stand in our own light.

We often need to struggle, fail, and be confused and frustrated. That’s how we break through our struggle; that’s how we learn what is true and right for ourselves.

We can share information with others. Others can tell us what may predictably happen if we pursue a particular course. But it will not mean anything until we integrate the message and it becomes our truth, our discovery, and our knowledge.

There is no easy way to break through and find our truth.

But we can and will, if we want to.

We may want to make it easier. We may nervously run to friends, asking them to give us their truth or make our discovery easier. They cannot. Light will shed itself in its own time.

Each of us has our own share of truth, waiting to reveal itself to us. Each of us has our own share of the light, waiting for us to stand in it, to claim it as ours.

Encouragement helps. Support helps. A firm belief that each person has truth available – appropriate to each situation – is what will help.

Each experience, each frustration, each situation, has its own truth waiting to be revealed. Don’t give up until you find it – for yourself.

We shall be guided into truth, if we are seeking it. We are not alone.

Today, I will search for my own truth, and I will allow others to do the same. I will place value on my vision and the vision of others. We are each on the journey, making our own discoveries – the ones that are right for us today.