In life’s troubled times when our emotions overwhelm us, we look for someone or something to bring us comfort. I started leaning towards my faith and spirituality for answers and comfort. I by no means am a Bible thumping fanatic, but I do have my faith and belief in God. It brings me the comfort I need during my most difficult moments. That’s when I have my “Morning Coffee with God”:
The house is quiet, everyone is asleep but me. I have been awake once again since 6:30am. Which for some reason, my internal clock keeps telling me; ” it is after sunrise and time to get up”. Donned in my fuzzy white bathrobe, hair frizzy, eyes half open, I do the usual shuffle to the coffee maker. I turn it on and await the anticipated hot cup of caffeinated joy that soon will be embraced in my hand. I sit there staring as it brews, knowing that the 3 minutes it takes to brew, will only seem like an hour the longer I stare, but I am mesmerized, fixated on starting my day in the usual routine, can only begin with that first cup.
The last drop falls to the carafe, I bolt towards it, as if it were an intravenous drip of electrifying readiness. My usual Detroit Redwings mug in tow, I reach out, pour until it is three quarters full and raise it to my face and savor the aroma, then sip. Ahh…. My senses are awakening. I then retreat to my usual Spring perch on the back deck. By now it is close to 7:00am, and my personal time. I take this time to reflect on everything that transpired the days preceding and create plans for the day and the days to come. For I have found in my life, that when I can look back and accept what has come before and relate it to how it will mold the present and future, only then can I move on successfully with my day.
The days may not appear perfect, and sometimes they may be filled with anticipated difficulties and milestones, yet they are my days, and through reflections back into past struggles that I have overcome, help me prepare for what lies ahead. Some reflections back, although necessary for growth, can be painful and arduous. They will always be a continuum of the healing process from wounds that scarred my soul, but became the calluses that protect me for painful tasks in the future, as the inner soul heals and grows stronger.
For each pained memory that is recalled, I also hold dear one or two strengths that I have obtained as a result of using that painful experience as a stepping stone to rise from the challenges and become a better individual in doing so. I may not be a religion specific individual, but I do have my Faith. Something I hold dear to my heart. Without faith, we lack hope. Faith I once heard was the substance of things hoped for, in the evidence of things not seen. To me that has always meant that I could find substance in my hopes and dreams, because a higher power, God, who I cannot see physically with my eyes; could be seen through my loyalty in believing he exists; and through actions and examples of miraculous works, revealed. That has been my evidence of “things not seen”, yet relatively visible.
I start my day with a simple thank you to my creator for all that I can and cannot see. For without his loving kindness, that breath I took when I first awoke, he provided. I take a deep breath, and sip another swallow of coffee and think to myself how nice it is that I am afforded the privilege to see all the beauty of nature around me, hear the sounds of birds, and the beautiful songs they sing, smell the aromatic effects of His handiwork in the flowers that bloom along the side of the house and back fence line. It is after this moment of thankfulness, that I am able to feel peace and comfort in a troubled world. I must take these moments daily to thank God, because how can I expect him to help carry me through my troubled times if I cannot thank him at the beginning of each new day for what he has already blessed me with? The mornings when something takes me away from my reflective moments, because of circumstance, I still take a few minutes to always say Thank-you God, I am alive.
It is now time to reflect on myself, my family and my past. Some days the reflection is brief, some days it can be lengthy. I don’t determine that, I just let it happen. As each reflection reveals itself, I have found, in one aspect or another, it will correlate with an event current or to take place relatively soon, and I can use it as guidance into what I must do, or how I must prepare myself to react. I look at myself, the individual that I am, harboring within the shell of flesh and bone created by God. Although the shell may not be an object of perfection, it may hold flaws in the eyes of others, and the medical community, it is my shell, and it is perfect for me, because it is who I am.
For some it may be hard to understand how I can find myself feeling so close to a God that seems so harsh after all the Fundamentalist ideologies enforced on me as a child in a manner that often reflected cult like tendencies, followed by abusive like conduct, but I have found that God is not harsh but loving and firm in direction. It is man that has used some of His teachings to create fear and compliance to their “Group-Think” process of conformity for self gain.
On days that are cheery and bright, I read from the Psalms. All together it is 150 sacred poems that express the fullest insight into the full range of Israel’s Faith in their God. The same Faith I cherish. The melodic sense of comfort in knowing, feeling and believing in the blessing we have had, cherish now, and anticipate in the future. I am reminded often in the words, the beauty of the surroundings I can visualize. I am blessed.
Then there are the challenging days that also exist. The days when I feel as if I am on a threshold of disaster and hopelessness that I find I need even more guidance. I feel lost and empty. I reach out, and feel as if no one is reaching back. So frequently I have heard the phrase coined, “Like the Bible says.. God will never give us more than we can handle”. I actually tried to look it up, and never found those exact words. I did find something along the order of “God will keep you from being overwhelmed”, as I interpreted it. But is that what is actually promised? I don’t think so. I read it to mean that it was God’s actual promise to help me cope, found in I Corinthians 10:13, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear.” To me that says; If God didn’t give me more than I could handle, then I would never have the need to go to Him with my burdens. He does state in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” In my heart I believe God allows us to go through trials so that we will come to Him with our problems. It is very similar to the poem “Footprints in the Sand” – it is during the trials that we are carried”. God doesn’t expect me to go through my trials alone. He wants me to come to Him and have Him carry me.
On days when I really need that strength and Faith to carry me, I don’t go to God with the fancy big words and glorified prayers that we hear from a pulpit proclaimed in a fashion to catch the ear of an audience, because God hears the simplest of words, spoken from our heart. When I talk to him, I don’t need some memorized, pre rehearsed indoctrinated set of script for him to hear me. I usually just simply ask God to take out his earplugs, smile to myself and bear my troubled soul, just as if I were talking to a personal friend sitting next to me and sharing my pain and emotions, because when I close my eyes and “feel” with my heart, God is sitting right next to me listening and hanging on to every word I speak.
He even knows the words I cannot speak as my heart some days becomes so burdened I find it hard to put to letter and word what is felt deep inside. I do know that after these conversations, I find comfort in knowing that my day will only be what God has planned for it, and what happens will only shape and prepare me for what lies ahead.
By the time my quiet morning of reflection and preparation has ended, reality begins. The span of time may be as brief as 15 minutes, or as long as a few hours. It is based on the need and not determined by me. I am now ready to begin my journey for the day, whether it is an exciting adventure or a learning lesson in humility, patience, endurance or a test of Faith, it is my day, and I cherish it. My coffee mug now refilled and emptied sometimes more than once, I trudge on, one day older, one day wiser, and very much blessed. Because God is good, life is beautiful and for every negative thing, I can find at least 10 wonderful things I am thankful for.
This morning when I awoke
and saw the sun above,
I softly thanked God one more time
For His abounding love.
I poured my morning brew
Into my favorite cup,
Heading to my thinking spot
To talk to God about what’s up.
It isn’t in a fancy prayer
Scripted from written format,
Just simple words uttered
Of where my thoughts were at.
God doesn’t need formality
To hear me when I speak,
He knows it comes from my heart
As we share my toils of the week.
I thank him first for the blessings
He has given me in spite of my strife,
Then I ask Him for some guidance
For the struggles in my life.
I feel him reach out and hold my hand
As we talk about joy and gain,
His gentle touch reminds me
With pleasure there will be some pain.
Then I think of all the happiness
Each day He gives will hold in store,
And thank him with all my heart
Because His personal sacrifice was so much more.
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Plato said it well when he stated that “Thinking is the talking of the soul with itself.” I find my soul talking often, and it’s the awaiting an understanding of what my soul is saying when it speaks to me, that becomes my most complex of tasks to process. Even more perplexing is when you respond or find your talking out loud to yourself about these innermost thoughts.
Many times when I have been caught talking to myself or thinking out loud in public, I chuckle and just tell people that “The voices in my head are arguing, 6 of the 7 agree. We might have to kill the non compliant one to create unanimous harmony”. The reaction it draws from individuals some occasions can be priceless. I am sure they think to themselves that I must have been a patron on the short bus during my academic years.
Understanding how our soul speaks to us is really not as complex as it seems. It is not in a voice, as if a person were conversing with us. It is a sense or a feeling. The sense that the decisions we make, or the end results of our actions, will either reap a benefit or a positive outcome in the long run. Or a feeling that the choices we base on the sense that our soul has spoken to us will create, change who we are for the good.
Then let us not forget the negative side. When we think we are listening to our soul and it is actually our heart we are listening to and we screw up Karma and it becomes a downfall we spend picking up the pieces we have broken and the recovery can take ages. I have ignored my soul and listened to my heart more times than I can remember. The pain it has caused, and the scars it has left behind remain. Although I put them on a shelf at times and pretend they don’t exist, they do.
We can never change who we are, our circumstances or how we think or feel. But as we learn to reach deep into our soul and rely on our senses, the voice of our soul, we begin to evolve into who we should become. We become much stronger than the physical challenges that plague our daily lives. It’s learning to listen to the right voice, understanding what it is saying, the message can only be clear to us when we go against the heart, go with our gut feeling and listen with the soul. When you listen with your soul, the heart will soon follow, and then destiny is born. You become a champion in the battle for living your life to the fullest, and making the limitations only on the exterior.
Speaking sometimes gently and others curtly stern
Striving to understand, listening, so I may learn;
Focusing on the message given so cryptically
I often truly wonder, what my soul is telling me.
Frequently catching glimpses embedded in my mind
They resemble brief images making little sense.
Until I compare them with the words
That set upon my soul in pretense.
The visions seem clearer as I meditate and think,
The purpose of their meaning and lessons I must learn.
Will they guide me through my journeys with a sense,
Of which path I need to take and where to turn?
Some moments are of absolute comfort
My soul speaks with compassion and tenderness,
Other times harsh as if to reprimand and discipline
My thoughts abruptly scolded firm none the less.
All is taken in with stride for in it I find much growth
Leading me and lighting the way for productivity
Strengthening the very fibers, growing wiser in life
And molding what is to be more of me.
Exerts from: Walk with Me-My MS Journey © 2011
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