My Hope on Sunday

My Hope on Sunday

I dream of a world where judgment is replaced with understanding and compassion.  A world where opinions are stated with warmth and withheld when generated from self-promoting agendas.

Each individual contribution in this world is available from the life-giving spirit given equally to all of us.  The belief systems that grow within each unique heart is as personal as its owner’s reflection in the mirror.  One individual does not have the answer for another.  Grace has the only answer we all need.

When one voice emphatically reprimands another with the weapon of self-righteousness,  a pretension of a special relationship with the all-knowing and a misguided belief that truth is shared only with them, they partake in a foolish fantasy.

My fellow writers, this week, I read your commenters’ distasteful judgment with sadness.  Fending off wolves of merciless evangelism is no feat for the sensitive of nature.  And although I wish them grace as well, I swallow my own righteous indignation at their misplaced words.

Keep writing!

©Erika K Rothwell

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Persevere in Hope – Day 18

Persevere in Hope – Day 18

It’s 6:23 in the evening.  The clock tells me it’s late to be writing.  Yet my commitment to the keyboard still stands.  

The thoughts and feelings continue to swirl, and focusing becomes a challenge.  For as hope remains my focus, the struggle brings tears.  Tears that speak volumes with past hurts and indiscretions, tears that feel helpless against today’s imperfection, and mostly tears that drown out hope for tomorrow’s goodness.

My optimism is buried.  My hopeful words nonexistent.  What holds me captive is a comfortable hopelessness, a place I have become accustomed to from past hurt.  

Shockingly in opposition to my purpose, I share what I most want to escape.

Yet, I still believe “in a future and a hope”.  Where I fail is being patient in tribulation.  

Patience…the opposite of instant gratification. In this world of instantaneous responses, patience has become a forgotten virtue.

Our expectations become skewed the more quickly we see results.  And the expectation of instant results skews our sense of accomplishment.

What we so often forget is the age-old wisdom in a quote like, “good things come to those who wait.”  Is that even ever said anymore in this world of instantaneousness?  Where is the lesson in the struggle?

Technology would have us believe that every incredible view is just a high-speed gondola ride to the top of the mountain or a virtual reality representation of a highly-coveted exotic location. When in reality the most magnificent experiences are often revealed to the few who are willing to risk a great struggle and strengthen their resolve to persevere.

Hope doesn’t always present itself as an instant rope of salvation when we find ourselves in a hole.  Rather it may teach us that learning to thrive within our circumstances while believing that our saving grace will eventually arrive brings us what we most need to learn, patience.

And so what I’ve learned today is we cannot escape the trials we face instantly, but we can learn to persevere with hope in the midst of it.

-Erika K Rothwell

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LOOK UP

LOOK UP

LOOK UP

When the collective issues in life form the perfect storm, I feel my energy being used to feed the pulsating anxiety.  Taking a simple deep breath relieves the pressure building within the captive walls of responsibility.

I don’t think I can write today.  My brain is running its last leg of the marathon.  Time to submit to my inability to rise above it all, and accept that words may not come.

The years have trained me, taught me, and honed my skills in coping.  However, some days knock the wind clear out of you. 

And now, a memory is awakened from that precise feeling.

No matter how I want to give in to the self-pity courting me all day, I recognize there must be a lesson buried deep in the mess. 

The love of a savior, cannot be denied.  It exists in the actions of humans who act selflessly, and quickly to save another without judgment.  On a grand scale, our paramedics and firefighters live exemplifying this self-sacrificing spirit.  And it extends to surprising moments as life plays out on the field.

Follow me on a flashback to the baseball field of my high school.  I may have thought something of myself then; I believe I was seeking the attention of certain boys.  I was with friends, unsuspectingly laughing and socializing, while the game plays on, too busy to look up.  And thus, I didn’t see him running at me.

He lunged at me sending me sailing off the bench, onto the ground and landed on top of me.  He was rather bulky and from my immature perspective clearly nerdy.  All I could do was scream, “Get off me, now!  What are you doing? Eewww!”  I may have used some other derogatory language as well. 

I was devastated by the embarrassment.  He stuttered as he tried to explain.  Briskly, I nixed his plea for reconciliation and sent him away in my anger.  And so it was left to my friends to run through the instant replay with me, and share the story behind the scene. 

There was a screeching baseball aiming straight for my head.  Miraculously this boy, the target of my recent malice, raced to reach me, knocking me to the ground to save me, as the ball sailed unhindered overhead.  Even now, I shudder when I think of what could have happened if that 75 mph ball actually met my head.  Yet, at that time, my thankless disgust was all he received for his heroic act.

This boy didn’t consider his ego, how I would react, or even his own safety.  He didn’t even know me.  His heroistic nature sparked his leap to rescue me from a dire situation.

Saviors exist in everyday life modeling the ultimate saving grace.  And recognizing my blessings even today, with humble gratitude, I thank those in my life who have come to my aid, even if undeserved.    

While I sit here staring at the words I’m typing on my computer display, wondering why I can’t write today, I finally look up.

-Erika K Rothwell

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Arranging Life

Arranging Life

Arranging Life

Why is everything in life such an arrangement?  This morning I find myself arranging my workspace more than I find myself working in my space.  Contemplating the amount of time and focus spent on arranging my life, I start to believe the greatest enjoyment is granted within this creative process. 

The word arrangement is used in our language to describe artistic creations like flower arrangements and musical arrangements.  

The positive artist in me always strives to display a dazzling arrangement in every part of my life, precisely why I spend countless hours in the activity.  One definition of arrangement reads “a combination of things to make up a design.”  That’s it, the design actually requires arrangement! 

My feelings of inadequacy clearly marked the beginning of this day, as I negatively viewed my inability to begin writing.  As the past has taught me, you can’t change your nature, but you can change your view of yourself.  This is a written reminder of how negative self-talk can be transformed into grace and positivity, simply by considering another angle.  Each day we have the choice to talk ourselves down or build ourselves up. 

Today I have discovered, arranging can help in overcoming insecurities and lead us forward.  If we focus on the best ‘things’ to make up our design, using a hopeful and graceful attitude, life can become a beautiful arrangement.

– Erika K Rothwell

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