Notes from Jan

Pausing To Reflect and Lament

September 11, 2020

 

Today many will pause for a few moments of silence to remember September 11, 2001.   The world changed on that day, not just the USA.  And now, a global pandemic,  raging fires in the western part of our country, social, political, environmental and economic fragility have the world weeping and watching on tiptoe again.

The biggest difference between then and now? The enemy is within.  It is US.

As my granddaughter reminded me, “It can’t all be blamed on Trump.  He exposed it.”  Us.  We blame them but it’s us.  Like the old spiritual says, “Not my brother, nor my sister but it’s me, O Lord, standin’ in the need of prayer.” And to my Christian brothers and sisters I ask, “Are the gains worth the losses?”  What are we so afraid of we’ll whitewash wickedness in high places, and in ourselves?

Today we lament the layered losses of life on September 11th, 2001.  We remember almost 200,000 who have died in our country from Covid.  Also, we think of those who will die today because of the pandemic, fires and violence.   And,  out of love, should we not also  mourn all who are dying slowly from poverty, abuse, injustice, hunger and loneliness?  Then, there’s our ailing planet.

It’s grief overload.

So, is there anything to slow the spread, heal the division, lift sagging spirits and deter our destructive bent?

Love.

God’s Love for us and ours for God, each other and this earth.

Love matters, which reminds me of David Brooks’ op ed today in the New York Times entitled, “When a Heart is Empty.” Brooks writes, “love involves a focus of attention, motivates to learn more about others and shows reverence for the image of God in each person.”

Love.

I remember holding one of my Grand-babies and asking, “Who does Momo love?”  And they’d giggle and say their name.

Now, imagine God doing that with each of  us,  then with those we fear or hate, as well as  this planet.

Imagine God delighted by our determination to love.

Loving’s tough.

But hate’s easy.

God is Love. Strong. Unconditional. Sacrificial. Merciful. Grace-filled. Forgiving.  Healing. Just.

Thousands of years ago, the children of Israel grew impatient waiting for Moses to come down from Mt. Sinai. Even though they’d experienced miraculous signs of God’s love, grumbling replaced gratitude, dulled their memory and conscience.  So they talked Aaron into fashioning a god they could see.  And Aaron, who knew better,  took their golden baubles, melted them in the heat of fear, impatience and distrust, then formed a golden calf. “They traded their glorious God for a statue of a grass-eating ox.”(Psalm 106:20, NLT)

They forgot who God loved and to love God and each other.

And painful consequences followed.

Maybe during moments of silence today, along with lamentations for what was and is,  we might  ask, “What is my ox?”   It could give clues as to how we got here.

I hate the question and even more the cause behind my asking it.

A mirror.

 

 

 

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6 Comments

  • Reply Lisa Penta September 11, 2020 at 4:58 pm

    Thank you Jan. ❤️

    • Reply Jan Carlberg September 11, 2020 at 8:27 pm

      it was not easy to write, as you might imagine. Thank you for reading, Lisa. It sounds so easy,” Love one another.” The older I get the more I realize how tough it can be.

      • Reply Yuriy Ivanov September 22, 2020 at 10:46 am

        That’s the message we need as a nation and as a people. Christ’s call for us to love thy neighbor is one the most difficult asks because it cuts against the tribalism that has always plagued human society. Your exactly right that it is easier to hate. Easier for it animate our emotions against strawmen we create in our mind. Love on the other hand does take focus, take humbling the ego, and at times holding the tonuge less we quarrel over everything and grow further distrustful of each other. Thank you for your thoughts. God bless.

  • Reply Laura G September 12, 2020 at 4:21 pm

    Thanks for your every word Jan. And your granddaughter’s contribution too. ❤️ Taking this to heart.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg September 12, 2020 at 9:47 pm

      Me,too, dear Laura. We need each other.. And the younger generation needs to be heard.

  • Reply Wendy September 15, 2020 at 10:39 am

    So true, every word. And I needed to hear it. Why is grumbling so easy and being thankful so hard sometimes? I hadn’t really thought about it – the way you put it – but it’s true – grumbling does dull our memory and conscience. Lord forgive me and help me each and everyday to give thanks in all things. Do you know the song “The Goodness of God”? “All my life He has been faithful. All my life He has been so, so good. With every breath that I am able, I will sing of the goodness of God.”

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