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Sheltered Reflections #3

by Maureen Kalbus

Sheltering at home over these past two weeks, although straining to hold onto the light at the end of the tunnel, and living in hope, our world once again pitched into an abyss. Hearing and watching news about George Floyd unfold, our hearts have been broken, and our anxiety levels escalated.

What can each of us do? How can we make a difference? How can we reach out within our community?

Ghandi urged us to “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Ralph Waldo Emerson said that “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Martin Luther King believed that “Everyone has the power for greatness, not for fame but greatness, because greatness is determined by service.”

Through our church website , you can explore how to reach out and help. At the very least, reaching out for the telephone or pen and paper, and making direct, personal contact with someone, could make his/her day.

While weeding boxes of materials from my lifetime in education on three continents, I came across the following tale, based on Loren Eisley’s essay :

Once upon a time, there was a man who walked along the beach each morning for

inspiration. One day as he was walking, he saw someone dancing along the

shoreline a little way ahead. As he got closer, he saw that the young person wasn’t

dancing, but instead was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and

very gently throwing it into the ocean. As he got closer he called out, “Good

morning! What are you doing?”

The young person looked up and replied,” Throwing starfish in the ocean. The sun is

up, and the tide is going out, and if I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.” “But, don’t you

realize that there are miles and miles of beach, and starfish all along it? You can’t

possibly make a difference.”

The young person listened politely, then bent down , picked up another starfish and

threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves. “I made a difference to that one.”

We all have been gifted with the ability to make a difference, no matter what the odds – if we persevere. It’s easy to say “What’s the use?” or “What possible difference could I make?” But we must each find  our starfish. If we throw our stars wisely and well, the world will be truly blessed.

Right now, each of us needs to find peace in our lives. A favorite Bible verse of mine that has strengthened me in anxious times is Joshua 1:9, "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” In Philippians 4:6-7 we are told “Do not worry about anything, instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” The psalmist in Psalm 63:7-8 asserts “Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely.”

St. Francis’ Prayer for Peace:

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:

Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light; Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much as seek To be consoled, as to console;

To be understood, as to understand; To be loved, as to love,

For it is in giving that we receive; It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”

Go safely into your limited world in the weeks ahead, and “May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you His peace.” Numbers 6:24-25

Maureen Kalbus

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