Dec 18, 2020 | Spirituality
Hello everyoneThis year’s Tree of Lights was a memorable one for a lot of reasons; we had to hold it virtually, the Salvation Army Band was a recording instead of live, and we streamed it into phones and computers instead of seeing the sea of faces that have attended every year for decades. It was also memorable for the remarks and the prayer delivered by Emily Warlock. I listened to Emily’s words and felt them deep in my soul for a number of reasons. It’s been a hard year for us all – so many losses – losses of people we have loved and respected, loss of our sense of invincibility, loss of our sense that the world is known and predictable, loss of our autonomy as we have had to give ourselves over to new rules like our family time. For me, it also meant a loss of control of what I do and how I do it. I also felt it as I am personally coming up on the one year anniversary of the sudden death of my mom – a woman who had been my compass for my entire life – how do I make sense of what doesn’t make sense without her? Many of you are facing similar anniversaries. They are hard. I have thought a lot about Emily’s words and they have given me peace, hope and comfort. It is my hope that they do the same for you and those you love- so please share. At this time, when we celebrate all that is good and kind, let’s remember to be good and kind to ourselves - to work hard to find hope when it feels hopeless and joy when the world is so sad. It is going to be a different Christmas this year for me and for you, but it is still at the heart of it, all about love. That has been unchanged in 2020 so take that love with you into 2021 and leave all the pain and loss behind. Merry Christmas and may God bless you all. Jan ---------------------------------------------
It will be three years in March 2021 since joining the Spiritual Care Team here at HDGH. Reverend Hilton Gomes being the kind man that he is greeted me with a beautiful Africa Violet plant placing it on the window sill beside my desk. I was very appreciative and enjoyed its beauty.One afternoon the weather warmed up and I became extremely hot so I cracked the window for some fresh air. “Wow four o’clock already!!!” I tidied up and left for the second shift (at home). The next morning I did my usual routine of praying over the prayer request outside our door. I entered and dropped my things and locked my eyes on the plant. Oh No!!! It was blackened and looked as if it had melted into the pot. I was so embarrassed to tell Hilton, but promised to replace it with a new one. Of course Hilton said there was no need. He placed it back beside me, I don’t know if it was to torture me or a grim reminder of what had happened. Daily he would pick a leaf or two off until an empty pot sat before. For weeks I asked him to let me replace it. Several times I placed a note on it reading “Garbage, please dispose of,” but Hilton rescued it every time. Now there was nothing left but a pot of soil sitting on my window sill. I eventually grew used to the empty pot sitting there and just went about my daily business. Hilton continued to tend to the jungle of plants in his office and the empty pot. Weeks had passed, and one morning when I came in he said “Sister, come here I want to show you something.” Hesitantly I followed close by. He took me to the pot of soil and pointed out a small green speck of a leaf growing just below the top line of soil. Wow!!! God began to speak to me about that moment. He uses circumstances, life events and simple moments to teach us valuable life lessons.2020 has been a year like no other in this generation. This invisible force has taken us by surprise. In March we woke up to a whole new reality, leaving us fearful and unsure of what the next day might bring. We have all felt a sense of loss. Loss of life, loss of freedom, loss of control and loss of connection, which has left multitudes feeling isolated, lonely and hopeless. We’ve begun to feel the impact of taking the simplicity of life for granted, isolated from family and friends. We yearn for touch, a hug, and to hold the hand of those we love.If you listen with your heart, and look with your “spiritual eyes” rather than your “natural eyes,” what valuable lesson is God trying to teach you through all of these circumstances? Is it to value your relationships with other, to be a better husband, wife, friend, worker or leader? Is it to appreciate the gift of life and time with loved ones? To use your time for the good of others, the vulnerable, marginalized and hurting? Perhaps to bring hope to them, rather than piling up personal selfish gains and successes that benefit no one but yourself.So let me get back to that pot of soil and the glimmer of a plant. In that moment God was teaching me to find value in all life. To appreciate my many blessings, and to be a blessing to others. Sometimes we find it easier to dispose of “things or people” because it’s too much work or effort. We don’t empathize with others circumstances, nor take the time to understand what their life must be like, let alone think of how we can help. I’ve learned that I can offer hope to others in those dark seasons of life that seem hopeless. That little leaf PUSHED through those dark times and God restored a hope, strength and a newness of life to that withered and lifeless plant.Life is orchestrated by seasons, but know that all seasons have a beginning and an ending. We have been in a dark season these last nine months, and all of us have been struggling yet pushing and pressing on. Just know that God is in our unknown. He is in our future before we even get there. Stay strong and know that this too shall pass. Trust and believe that God is bigger than any storm or circumstance we face in this world, and that He is working it out for our good. He is with us and is in the midst of this journey right now.So Lord today we pray for our leadership as they make decisions to bring positive change to this organization and for the betterment of our community.Father we ask that you will continue to bless and protect all essential workers here at HDGH and around the world.Lord we pray for those lives lost and families impacted by the coronavirus, and that your love and grace might bring comfort to them.Father God, make us agents of your peace in a world divided by race, religion and politics. Let them see that you oh Lord have created us in your loving image, and your beauty and love dwells in us all.Lord we ask that “Your light would shine through you as it permeates to all we come in contact with.”As we approach this holiday season, remind us of that sprouting plant and that Christmas is tenderness and precious memories of our loved and Christmases past, courage for the present, and your blessed hope for the future. Amen.Blessings to All,Emily Warlock
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