As 2022 comes to an end, I reflect with a grateful heart on this opportunity to connect with you and others through Critical Conversations. In this post, I’d like to share a little about how Critical Conversations came to be what it is, and to thank you – the readers, and the team of guest contributors, editors and technical supporters – who make this post possible. My life is enriched with love and joy by notes and comments from readers, from the courage and insights of guest contributors, and the generosity and talent of my friends who edit and assist in the weekly writing of Critical Conversations. Many blessings in 2023 to each of you!
Spirituality & Love
Spirituality & Love — what we offer to readers on this topic...
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Faith, Holidays and Holy Days
Inclusion and freedom mean we all get to decide what we believe. These are important ideas as this time of year is full of many different traditions, beliefs and customs. Today, I’d like to reflect on why faith and my Christian faith are important to me in approaching the year-end holidays and holy days.
More about Love and Loving
The holiday season is a wonderful time to explore how we experience love. Families remind us of the presence of love and where our aspirations to love fall short. This post is a start at sharing some of my ideas and beliefs about love and loving.
Gratitude as a path to love
For me, gratitude is an acquired taste. For many years, my negative thinking blocked my feelings of gratitude; it actually took me years to pay attention to gratitude and its benefits. Thanksgiving is a good time to reflect on the journey to the benefits that can result from greater gratitude.
Married for Life: Exploring Love
Kathy died. I knew she was going to. I had known for almost a week. She had suffered a series of strokes over her last month. The last was a major brain bleed that killed her brain. Over the course of that week, she lost all brain function and eventually died. I knew she was going to die, and I surprised myself at how calm I was during that week. It wasn’t until she died that I came apart. Somehow, as long as she was alive I knew I would be as strong as I could.
Learning to Love
Love is God’s way of sharing God’s self with His creation. God’s love permeates all that is known and unknown. When the human element enters, love becomes more complicated. We are called to love as God loves, yet because of our sinfulness, we fall short. My journey of learning to love and being loved has been a long and arduous trek. It is comforting for me to know that the One who created me is also the One who loves me unconditionally. Other people might want to substitute Higher Power or another name for the divine.
Learning from Wise Friends
A mutual friend, Shelley, frequently refers to Doris as the “sage of Cumberland.” She holds Doris in the highest esteem for the same reason I do. We both met Doris in a Twelve Step meeting and she became a sponsor or guide for each of us in working the Twelve Steps. With Doris, we both felt like we had won the lottery. We couldn’t imagine someone more kind, loving and wise.
Noticing while Walking – The Way of Pilgrims
Four friends, Geraldine and I were feeling the muscle pains from four days of walking the spiritual pilgrimage in Spain known as the Camino de Santiago. It was mid-day and we were all getting hungry and were ready for a lunch break. On previous days, we had found small coffee shops or bakeries along the route where we had lunch and a much-needed rest. Today, there was no sign of such a place. Our map reading leader suggested lunch might be delayed until our next destination, three or more hours further along the path. We shared the little bit of fruit and trail mix we had. I began to get a little grumpy with this prospect, making the muscle pains talk louder.
Noticing While Traveling
The last few weeks I have reflected on noticing and its power. Today I’d like to continue that theme in the context of traveling. This past weekend Geraldine and I drove to the mountains of Georgia on the South Carolina border for a family wedding. If you like details, google “Clayton, Georgia,” “Tiger, Georgia,” and “Long Creek, South Carolina.” It is a beautiful part of the world, in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.
What Do I Pay Attention To?
I am learning that what I choose to pay attention to shapes me as a person. And it has started me wondering if what we all pay attention to shapes us as a community. Several recent experiences have shone a light on this truth.