What the World Needs More of is Love and Compassion to Help Fight Depression

“What the world needs now Is love, sweet love It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of What the world needs now Is love, sweet love No, not just for some, but for everyone”

So goes the 1965 hit song, “What the World Needs Now Is Love,” the lyrics of which were composed by Hal David and its music by Burt Bacharach. It was first recorded and popularized by singer, Jackie De Shannon. (Wikipedia)

To appreciate the context in which the song was created, 1965 was rather a turbulent year in America. From a blog post describing the significance of the song’s lyrics, here is an excerpt:

“What was happening in 1965? On January 2, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. began a drive to register Black voters. Two days later, President Lyndon B. Johnson gave his “Great Society” State of the Union address. Almost a month later, on February 1, Dr. King and 700 demonstrators were arrested in Selma, Alabama. Later that month, on February 21, Malcolm X was assassinated by Nation of Islam followers at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem. And on “Bloody Sunday” (March 7), Alabama troopers and civil rights demonstrators clashed, galvanizing the nation’s leaders to pass the Voting Rights Act of 1965.[…]”

Because the world today – pandemic aside – has become more toxic than ever, this song should be popularized again.

Racism, poverty, hatred, violence, lies, fake news – these social ills continue to plague not only the US, but also our beloved country and the rest of the world.

What the world indeed needs now is more love and compassion, specifically more time away from social media.

I have been reminded of this song recently upon getting a bit fed up and bothered with posts purportedly aimed at people with poor financial capacity and know-how, such as those in the habit of borrowing money, not paying back loans, being ungrateful for financial help, not disciplined or able to save, et cetera, et cetera,  et cetera — that are  being spread on social media, and this is what I’d like to stress here.

There seems to be a lack of discernment and understanding on the part of those who make and/or share around such posts or messages.

These messages/posts may be true and valid, but are unkind and thoughtless.

Netizens who post and spread these get on their high horse as they shame, mock, and put others down on a public forum — thinking perhaps that by doing so, they will be able to make the person(s) at whom their posts are aimed to take the hint and own up to their existing debts, finally.

They also do this for a number of other reasons:

  • Give vent to their frustration and anger (understandably)
  • Feel good about themselves
  • Feel superior over others
  • Make others feel guilt/shame

Most likely, however, these very same people may also be feeling inadequate about their own financial capacity. In psychology, a feeling of superiority or exaggerated superiority — superiority complex  — is a sign of inferiority.

Such posts become viral — because many do relate. And such posts would even be used as illustrations or memes by some marketers or finance/investment gurus promoting the value of having investments/savings and the like, as part of their strategy. Maybe they do this without any intention of demeaning others, but only to drive home the importance of being money-wise and disciplined.

Again I say, such actions are bereft of any iota of kindness. No kindness nor empathy at all! Indeed, what the world needs more of today is greater love and compassion.

For the reality is that many Filipinos would also like to save even for an emergency fund. But many cannot afford to do so simply because they are living paycheck to paycheck, or are earning even below the daily minimum wage.

Thus, they only have just enough or barely enough or almost none at all for their daily needs or for keeping their body and soul and dignity intact.

Add to this the responsibilities of taking care of elderly/sick members of the family or of their growing up children.

With the pandemic, the loss of income has become an added scourge.

So what happens is some get into debt and are stuck. Those that avoid running into a cycle of debts by tightening their belts can only afford to spend for basic daily necessities with nothing left for savings. So rather than risk defaulting on the required monthly/quarterly premium payments, these ordinary Filipinos would rather set aside what meager amount they can in the safety of their homes.

Think about this: Not all those who are not able to save or those who tend to borrow a lot have such bad attitude or have no concern for their future as described in those viral, thoughtless, public-shaming posts on social media.

Sometimes, we need to look at individual circumstances to understand what each person is going through rather than make general assumptions or sweeping statements. There is no need to shout out to these people on social media to gain sympathy or make the other person toe the line.

If your brother does something wrong, go and have it out with him alone, between your two selves. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother. — Matthew 18:15

KINDNESS matters at all times and in all situations. My friendly reminder for those of us who are fond of posting such messages on social media —

Be grateful to be in a position to save or be of help.

Sometimes the Lord will put us in exactly the same situations as those who need money in order to understand others more. If you were in their shoes, how would you feel?

In short, let us:

  • Be more compassionate towards others
  • Be grateful for every blessing we receive, especially if we are free of financial insecurities
  • Pray for them — if we cannot help others —  that God sends them other angels on their path, people who can be of more help (for example, referring job opportunities, etc.)
  • Pray for ourselves too that we may not give in to the temptation of mocking or showing disdain to others, nor of judging others as helpless or lazy
  • Be more mindful lest we be overcome with the forces of evil — that seem to abound on social media nowadays. Yes, social media is getting to be more toxic with all the venom, hate, and lies being spread around.
  • Be more discerning as we sift through the craziness and confusion social media seem to offer, if we are not careful.
  • Pass on more edifying, uplifting, soul-inspiring posts and messages instead of those that destroy others.

The lesson here is while it is true there are people who do not know how to help improve their economic situations, or do not know how to acknowledge the help they receive, etc., just be thankful to be not one of them.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in your faith, so that in the power of the Holy Spirit you may be rich in hope. — Romans 15:13

Caveat: Another point to understand, we do not often know what others are going through. This does not mean condoning such bad habits or attitude. However, especially in these troubled, difficult times, we need to be more careful in our speech and behavior.  For who knows, our unkind words and actions may lead others to depression. I will discuss this more in another post.

“What the world needs now is love, sweet love
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of…”

Rid yourselves, then, of all spite, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and carping criticism.  Like new-born babies all your longing should be for milk — the unadulterated spiritual milk — which will help you to grow up to salvation, 3 at any rate if you have tasted that the Lord is good . — 1 Peter 2:1-3

 

 

The 5 Essential Lessons You Should Know About Grief, for Mental Health

2020 has brought so much sorrow and pain to the world, in particular our country which experienced at the beginning of the year a volcanic eruption and now the compounding impact of two recent destructive typhoons. All this untold suffering has been affecting people’s mental/emotional health.

I understand the different emotions that come with grief because every now and then,  when I think of my parents, I feel sad. The pain of losing them may have lessened due to the passage of time — and I have accepted their passing as a natural consequence of their illness in their old age —  yet it still hurts.

But for countless of people who lost their loved ones to Covid-19 or to natural calamities that took place this year as well as to other causes, it must be/have been more devastating and unbearable. Most deaths were unexpected. Countless were not given the chance to say a proper goodbye or hold their loved ones for the last time or even see them off for burial.

It was just timely that a good friend and former classmate of mine at graduate school invited me to his webinar on mental health awareness, “Building Our Mental Health in the New Normal,” wherein he discussed about loss and grief, among other things.

As my friend stressed in his presentation, “the pandemic has not spared anyone – young and old, rich and poor, male and female – around the world. We are all in the same boat, but our reactions to the stresses brought about by this health crisis, including natural calamities, differ from one another.”

Here I share the 5 essential lessons about GRIEF you should know and how to cope in order to help keep your balance. This is also important if you happen to be in a position to help someone who is grieving over a loss.

Photo by Deniz Altindas on Unsplash

Grief comes in different stages. The conventional stages as developed by Elizabeth Kubler Ross in 1969, and which most of us are familiar with, include:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

Today, there’s a new set of stages of grief – that which has been developed by Jill Johnson-Young:

  • Going through the trauma/crisis
  • Going through what is left over
  • Finishing with the relationship that was left undone
  • Saying goodbye and reorganizing
  • Bringing the lessons and realizations to our new world, especially in our prayers
  • Honoring your feelings; all feelings are valid

Grief is not just about the loss of loved ones, but also about the loss of something, such as jobs, finances, relationships, etc. In this pandemic time, grief is also about the loss of the freedom you have been used to because of lockdown and quarantine protocols.

Grief is not linear in the sense that you need to go through from stage 1 to the next – No. Rather, grief is a process. So when we help people with their grieving process, it is not about the stages of grief, but it is meeting people where they are.

Finding meaning is the sixth (6th) stage of grief, according to author David Kessler, beyond those more familiar stages mentioned above. Finding meaning in our loss(es) can help transform grief into a more peaceful and hopeful experience.

Especially in this time of the pandemic, in this New Normal of our life today, finding meaning is part of how we can develop our Emotional Hygiene.

Other invaluable insights about coping with a loss I picked up from the webinar:

  • In the new normal, we need to have a New Mindset coupled with Action in order to get New Results.
  • Meaning is our response to our loss.
  • Meaning is what we do after we have learned to accept. It does not and cannot take away the pain. It helps us move on.
  • Loss is what happens in life. Meaning is what you make happen after the loss.

Finally,  we need to be gentle and compassionate with ourselves. We need to be kind. Kindness matters in our healing process and those of others.

All these and more I have learned from that enlightening webinar, “Building Our Mental Health in the New Normal,” facilitated by my good friend, Dr. Nelson C. Magnaye, of Ateneo de Davao University. I highly recommend it.

If your school or workplace or community/family may find the need for a facilitated learning on how to keep your mental health in the new normal, please get in touch with him through his LinkedIn profile.

The webinar is good for 90 minutes and is ideal for 50 participants via Zoom.

 

 

 

 

Finding Beauty in Our Surrounding is a Spiritual Exercise

“There is no question that the objects that surround us impact our experience of the world.”
Katherine Center, Get Lucky

Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

The Wikipedia definition of a spiritual exercise is “any practice that is dedicated towards increasing one’s personal spiritual capacity.” 

In Christian Spirituality, spiritual exercises are so much part of spiritual traditions, teachings, and practices. Spiritual exercises are meant to cultivate our interior life and to have a closer relationship with our Creator GOD.

For example, the Spiritual Exercises are a compilation of meditations, prayers, and contemplative practices developed by St. Ignatius Loyola to help people deepen their relationship with God.

Different religions have their own beliefs in a Divine or Higher Being or Power; each one has their own rituals, traditions, and practices. But what is common is the acknowledgment that we are not only physical beings. We are spiritual beings, too. And so it is innate in us to seek communion with the Divine Spirit, with GOD.

One way of being in communion with GOD is to find beauty in our surroundings, wherever we are. Especially for us Christians, we believe God is Beauty. So whether in natural environment, such as nature, or in the countryside, or right in the city, we can find God by seeing beauty in our surroundings.

I remember the first time I moved into this place. When I looked out the window, my sight was met with what seemed to be a hodgepodge of tall buildings, rooftops, and some greenery here and there.

But as days went by until today, the scenery before me is no longer an eyesore. To my eyes and heart, it is now a beautiful blend of nature and cityscape! Just gazing in silence at the outside view fills my heart with wonder and awe, more so as I can see some mountains in the distance providing a stunning backdrop for the urbanscape.

Thus, it has been almost a daily ritual to also watch the sunrise and the sunset, the changing colors of the vast sky as well as the stirring dance of the dramatic cloud formation up there. I find doing this helps me better to commune with God, whether in my prayer time or in silence. At night before I retire, I love gazing at the evening lights and at how the city view looks more sharp and striking — as a photograph — perhaps due to months of having curfew in the metropolis due to the pandemic.

Finding beauty in our surroundings can be as simple as admiring some fading flower petals…or a broken glass.

Sometimes, you just have to create the beauty you want to see.

Wilted rose petals
Broken glass…

 

I believe that there is beauty in the simplest of things if we only search for it. Danielle Wagasky, Living a Beautiful Life on Less

 

 

 

Repost: Dear Humans: A Stray Cat’s Open Letter

“Life is life – whether in a cat, or dog or man. There is no difference there between a cat or a man. The idea of difference is a human conception for man’s own advantage.” — Sri Aurobrindo

Photo by Edgar on Unsplash

I couldn’t help feeling nostalgic today. It’s my Mother’s anniversary of her passing. I also remember  my pet cat whom regrettably I needed to leave behind when I moved to a new place. So I’m always overcome with guilt at the thought of my dear cat. She used to be a stray, until one day, she came up to my doorstep, and I gave her food. Since then, Muning made my home her home, too.  And now as I remember Mom, the more I feel sad because she was a lover of animals and had a soft heart for strays.

It is a cruel fact there are many stray cats and dogs. Many are abandoned, abused, and ignored. So it always pains me to see or hear of cats and dogs being at the mercy of people’s callousness, uncaring attitude, and even cruelty — especially towards cats. I remember my old neighbor in my previous place calling me out for taking in a stray cat. In that place too, were many homeless cats and dogs.

One day on my way back from errands,  I caught sight of one parched cat clinging to some plants, trying to sip some nectar. My heart broke while feeling helpless and frustrated and angry at those neighbors who didn’t care enough.

So upon reaching home, on behalf of them who cling to the tiniest hopes that they be fed or given water to drink or be adopted, I wrote an Open Letter — partly I repost here.

I am just but one of the many wandering furry souls in your village, and every day, together with the other furry creatures in the neighborhood, we roam up and down your winding streets, climb your trees and your rooftops.

Day and night, we tread, or creep along the many crooks and crevices of this tiny conclave of yours, hoping that I and my fellow felines may be taken in, and become part of your homes.

This mission of seeking homes that can shelter and feed and care for us may take a lifetime, but still we are happy with our fate, happy we populate this place along with you, dear humans.

So at night, we may bother your peace with our caterwauling, as we exchange notes with cat friends, or safeguard our respective territories from our enemies, lurking within the shadows of your own apartments and houses.

We have nine lives, you humans say that about us.

Thus, we have somehow made your streets, or your vacant lots or even your gardens and yards as our home as well, as much as you fiercely shove us away and leave us to the harsh elements of nature and evil ways of some of your specie.

We have no choice, and we are possessed with a strange resilience in order to adapt to the way you have been treating us so callously, like garbage strewn carelessly on the roads or canals.

Sometimes, we don’t bother to give you time to let us in – you wouldn’t so anyway.

Thus, we just jump right onto your terraces, or backyards – just for a chance, if any, to have a taste of some left-over morsel from your kitchen or dining tables, to appease the raging famine we suffer from, each day of our pitiful lives, and find ourselves some shelter from the heat, or rain, or cold.

We cannot even find a bowl of fresh water waiting for us at your doorstep or yard for us to sip in order to quench the deep thirst in our parched tongues and throats.

So we have no choice but destroy your plants to squeeze off some of the bitter juice from the leaves and stems…to give us momentary relief from the scorching heat of the summer sun.

As we mark each day of our journey in this place called Earth, we look up to the heavens above to guide our steps. Perhaps, we are made to scavenge, until some of you, my dear humans, may find it in your heart to love us, as much as we yearn to be cared for, to be pet, to let us belong.

And until you do, this is how we survive, looking for morsels among your rubbish. If only these ornamental plants and trees were made for us to eat – but they are not. […]

Now my dear humans, may I then suggest that you no longer let my specie to grow exponentially – if you cannot have the compassion to care for us. Please!

It is not within our means or nature to do so, to stop our specie from growing. But you, my dear humans, have been gifted with brains and brawn and I suppose – a heart within the very core of each of you. Continue reading here

 

 

 

Contemplating God’s Presence

City blend of steel and nature…

O what joy it is to
Contemplate on God’s Creation
His Divine Presence everywhere abounds
In the gentle wind rustling through
My few potted greens
Crisp air and quiet
cool rainy day
Clouds floating in the skies…
Music of sweet birds’ sweet refrains
Or soft rain’s rhythmic pattering…
Morning pale blue sky
Crowning the distant grey mountains…
Sunset’s glow blending
With the city’s evening lights in a show so striking

Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

Rain or shine
In stormy weather too

God’s Mighty Presence abounds…

O GOD, may we always see You,

feel You in your Creation around us,

most especially in the people in our lives and

those we meet each day…

In good or bad times, in the ups and downs

of our lives, may we never fail

to praise and give You glory, O Lord. Amen

“It is not the objective proof of God’s existence that we want but the experience of God’s presence. That is the miracle we are really after, and that is also, I think, the miracle that we really get.”  — Frederick Buechner

 

 

How to Stay Positive Even In a Lockdown

It’s a Thursday morning, 78 days to Christmas and the 208th day of lockdown. The skies are gray and I’m feeling a bit down, but glad to see the sun shining through.

Despite how I am feeling, I choose to see the brighter side of things. I choose to let sunshine enter into my life.

Thus, here is a list of random thoughts I scribbled here and there in my notebook and journals which I’d like to share today.  These thoughts to ponder are my tips on how to stay positive even in a lockdown.

Photo by Eduard Militaru on Unsplash
  • As  is often said, the best antidote to one’s feelings of hopelessness is keeping the faith, being strong and positive. This can be real hard especially if we are beset with problems that seem insurmountable. If you are experiencing this right now, just know you are not alone. Each of us has our own difficulties to face — but then there are others in more desperate conditions.

 “If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.”

  • Each one of us has our own “Dark Night” of the soul.
  • No matter how dire the present situation is, God is ALWAYS with us all, in each of us. He never forsakes us. We just have to experience our own Dark Night of the soul — for it is there we are strengthened and emboldened to SEEK GOD more and more.
  • Let us clothe ourselves with humility and love and adorn ourselves with kind thoughts and good deeds. Digest the Daily Bread for the sustenance of our spiritual lives.
  • When you are tempted to put others down, put yourself in others’ shoes. If you feel it hurts you, it probably hurts the other person, too.
  • There will always be someone who will find you beautiful, and someone who will find you ugly. The big difference will be in how you see yourself. Be confident and secure with who you are.
  • Though Up, UP HIGH we may Soar on the wings of success, may we still learn to keep our feet on the ground.
  • We all have only ONE life to lead, and each moment is precious. But it goes on quickly. Thus, let us make each moment last through our good deeds, words, and thoughts so that each moment will be filled with God’s blessings and graces.
  • Let each one of us be blessings to others, to our family and friends as well as foes.
A Good Morning indeed…

Source of Image on my screen (not downloaded)

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

 

 

 

My Difficult Journey as a Writer Finding Her Unique Voice

I’ve been thinking about this certain quote by American writer Jan Clausen for some time —

“How can a writer express what is most vital in her experience while anxiously watching her tongue lest she slip the wrong word?”

Then I came across an old scribbled note of mine from four years ago. I wish to share it here so you’ll see how I then thought of myself as a fledgling writer trying to find her unique voice. Oh, in fact, I wrote something along the same vein in a previous post – around the same time, On Finding My Unique Writing Voice.

Back to my scribbled note, most of it is still true of me though writing for work no longer takes too much of my time these days.

A work-in-progress, that’s what I am, as far as my being a writer (I’d like to think that of myself) is concerned.

I still have a long way to go before I can find my unique voice – in my personal blog and in the pieces I write for my work (even though I remain anonymous) – but I’m getting there.

Each time I post a piece of work content, over which I’ve spent precious hours laboring (researching, drafting, revising/editing, formatting, fact-checking, etc.) I get a huge relief and a sense of achievement, yet always with that nagging thought I can still make it better in the next article or post.

The more I write, the more passionate and committed I become to honing my writer’s skills, growing my craft, as they say.

My random personal thoughts find their way scribbled on my private paper journals every so often – there is nothing like handwriting…easier to get into that “sacred state of flow” as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a psychologist, describes that zone of “heightened focus.” Some I type in my digital journals, or in my personal blog.

As for work, I need to discipline myself to get wired in, the earlier in the morning, the better it is.

Like those athletes out there in the Olympics aiming to win even just a bronze, or breaking their personal records, so do I also aim to better my writing best with each piece I compose.

I used to teach writing, – enjoyed it much – but never thought writing for work is full of roadblocks: mental block, or doing my daily routine outside of work, of course.

And these I find as both a distraction and a diversion, each one pulling me away and pushing me back at the same time into the mode of writing and shutting me off from my immediate environment.

I cannot go back to class for now, though I hope so in the near future to attend writing workshops, or to secure a personal mentor to give me feedback.

Fortunately for me, in this age of the internet, there are many good and reliable resources for neophyte writers like me in the field of journalistic writing, blogging, and content-writing that I make use of.

Perhaps, this is why God has put me where I am now, so that each time I look out to the horizon – literally and metaphorically – I can see new frontiers waiting for me to forge, the doors waiting to be unlocked. The key. Myself. And I thank God so much for this talent and passion He has given me.

All for Your greater glory, O Lord!

Back to the present, nowadays, I continue to write on this blog of mine, not caring anymore whether there will be someone to read it or not. I write for the sheer delight of it without having to seek an applause or approval. While I still yearn for those caring enough to critique my writing for the sake of improving, I just content myself with nurturing this passion. I continue to read a lot and learn more about writing from experts.

As to the above quote, my writer’s voice is still a caged bird yearning to be free! Perhaps because I avoid discussing or expressing my opinions on difficult topics, such as politics — which most people on social media find it easy to do. But what I don’t like is how most opinions degenerate into expressions of hate or personal attacks, or how the rantings go on and on in each and every post ad nauseam.

Perhaps I still lack the courage or the venom or enough writing chops to help me crystallize my thoughts on such topics. Yes, many of the things happening in the country and in the world bother and pain me so much, or make my blood boil in anger and frustration. Yet, I’d rather write about what I think can help you and I grow to be the best human person we can become as we are meant to be by God.

Perhaps, in a future post, with the right words and form, my writer’s voice will find its way to say what’s on my mind.

One of my few attempts at digital 3D painting…

 

 

 

Lessons from Watching Birds Fly By

The pigeons and white doves flying about in our neighborhood have always fascinated me.

I also recall with fondness the little brown mayas back in our previous community who’d visit our backyard every single day, as soon as they learned of my bag of treats  for them– sunflower seeds.

So amazing how they quickly discovered where I put these, for then they’d line up, one by one, to peck at the plastic pack that held these precious delights. It was as if they instantly knew it was theirs for the taking.

Not only that, funny how they could also show their preference — just like any pet animals. These brown mayas would never want to eat any sunflower seeds, if I scattered them or even put them in a container on the ground! Maybe they thought the ground was not clean enough for them to feed on?

So each time I’d buy a new pack of seeds, I’d just place it on the sink counter outside. But they’d come only at certain hours of the day — in the morning and in the afternoon! Gluttony is never in the nature of birds.

Now in our present home, the pigeons here offer me a daily dose of delight, both sensual and spiritual, especially in this time of the community lockdown and restricted movements due to the Covid pandemic.

And they  provide me with inspiring life lessons as well.

Observing them for the most part, I’ve come to learn birds – pigeons, doves, and brown mayas — are as human as can be. The only difference is they take life as it is without much qualm, unlike our human tendency to whine or worry.

Creatures of habit and routine,  they start their day almost as the sun starts to rise and peer from the eastern sky. First order of the day is to stand in formation, if they happen to be in a flock, and fly together, circling the air above, as if paying homage to our Creator God. Then they go on flying up and low, round and round, above the metropolis, in what it seems to me their early morning exercise. To strengthen the muscles of their wings. To gain greater speed. To scour for food, like catch a worm or two, maybe, unless they have owners who feed them.

They disappear from my view for a while. Then one by one, they fly again to rest on the rooftop of the next building, where they stroll, flap their wings, or simply rest and gaze at the city below.

My winged friends enjoy bonding together as in a community, whether flying or at rest.

Photo by Julian Hochgesang on Unsplash
Photo by Gio Roca on Unsplash

But they also love to take some ‘me-time’ — time for being alone. Socializing and  being in solitude are essential to their well-being.

They are masters in waiting meekly for their turn. Most of all, they are patient, relaxed, and ever so calm, serene and graceful. Nothing in their movements shows them to be worried or perturbed or restless.  Maybe because they trust in their Creator God to care for them no matter what. As is said in Matthew 6:26, “Look at the birds in the sky. They do not sow or reap or gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them.”

This nature of theirs speak to me clearly especially at times I get so overcome with anxiety, frustration, even despair.

Soar up into heights they fly in stately elegance, yet they humbly return and perch on the ground or wherever they can find rest in this urban jungle. Humility. It’s a constant reminder no matter where in life we go, how lofty or lowly our position in society is, or how much we have achieved or still striving to, our everyday living should be a reflection of Christ’s humility and obedience to God’s calling and mission for us.

Read also a related post of mine, Morning Lessons from the Birds.

I can’t help but compare these flock of birds with religious communities, such as those of contemplative nuns and monks. For while these religious communities are cloistered in their convents and monasteries and donned in their long habits, these birds are free to move up and around resplendent in their colorful feathers.

Yet both communities – human and avian alike — share the same pattern and rhythm of daily life. Communal yet with time for solitude and quiet; working/flying and worshiping, exercise, and rest — all these make up their everyday schedule. And let’s not forget the virtues of trust, faith, humility, and love that our feathered co-creatures mirror so well.

I do believe it is God’s way of showing us, through the pattern and rhythm of birds’ daily life which religious communities are practicing, together with the virtues they are striving to live out, that this way of life is good — for our physical and spiritual nourishment and wellness and growth.

I note from stories and status updates of friends and relatives, that many have been incorporating this pattern  and rhythm into their daily lives since the start of the pandemic. So it must be one good that has come out of it. And it’s about time we did, don’t you think so?

Oh there’s another thing I almost forgot — singing is essential and second nature to birds, as well as religious communities — for singing is the highest form of praise we can offer to our Creator God.

“Keep a green tree in your heart and perhaps the singing bird will come.” — Lois Lowry

Wisdom comes in all we see, God writes His lessons in each flow’r, and every singing bird or bee can teach us something of His power.” — Maud Lindsay

 

 

 

Nature’s Brushstrokes at Sunset

“They who dwell in the ends of the earth stand in awe of Your signs;
You make the dawn and the sunset shout for joy.” — Psalm 65:8

I will never tire of looking at sunsets – whatever I can get from my vantage point. I appreciate nature’s brushstrokes at sunset, part of God’s wonderful creation. So here again with 2 of my sunset photos to practice composition.

Looks like that tower’s spewing fire across the sky…
Same scene at a slightly different angle with the last of the sun’s blaze fading away

“A sunset is the sun’s fiery kiss to the night.”
Crystal Woods, Write like no one is reading 3

 

Sign of Hope

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” — Desmond Tutu

The other day close to evening, the sky was overcast with dark, purple clouds threatening heavy rain. I didn’t exactly relish the thought of another rainy evening but my heart leapt with joy at the sight of a glimmer of light in the midst of the gloomy clouds.

Sign of Hope

“What oxygen is to the lungs, such is hope to the meaning of life.” — Emil Brunner