By Tom White
Many laughs have been generated by stories of people’s reactions to themselves when looking in the mirror. Sometimes the mirror becomes the instrument of affirmation, other times not. Sometimes the mirror is the judge whose ruling may be unduly harsh. Either way, the mirror is often the final arbiter if we are able to enjoy a good day or not, sometimes even a good life or not.
Certainly reflective devices have been around for thousands of years in one form or another. We cannot exactly pinpoint the beginning of judging just how a person should look, but archeological evidence points to prehistoric times as a clue. Our personal evolution in this regard has deep roots in an equally firm foundation. Likewise our developing capacity to render judgment, however harsh, has gone so far as to inhabit our very souls, or so it seems. Continue reading “Through the Looking Glass”
By: Tom White
2nd in a four-part series on Mental Health for Mental Health Awareness Month
The excitement of opening gifts begins at a very early age. Even before we actually do it for ourselves, we are witness to it: baptism, our first birthdays, our first tooth perhaps, and family events, like Christmas. These events usually formed the basic DNA of the joy of opening gifts. We could not wait to open them ourselves.
Was it that primitive desire for mystery and excitement that caused the writers of scripture to speak of the Magi? Perhaps they had reflected on their own sense of inner peace when they imagined what bringing gifts to Jesus of Nazareth would mean. The writers even decided on themes for the gifts not unlike our celebrations. Gold, frankincense and myrrh spoke of the path of life; the gifts were almost like milestones, markers of a journey, if you will. But the gifts themselves were not enough. They were brought by kings and they came from afar, as the story goes.
The scripture setting we read certainly paints an amazingly serene and perfect picture of mother, father and a beautiful baby boy. Angels sing, animal’s breath warming the night air and humble shepherds gather for this absolutely perfect moment. Then gifts from kings! Oh, how we feel deep inside our very being that, if only this had been our beginning, we would enjoy the greatest of gifts: unbounded peace and joy. A perfect night is all we ask for ourselves. Peace, joy and freedom from any worries or cares. It was all so, so perfect! Or was it? Continue reading “We Three Kings”
A four-part series on Mental Health.
By Tom White
The Libyan town of Cyrene was a sanctuary for those Greeks and Jews who fled the oppressive governance of the Romans in Palestine. Never citing the reason for his presence in Jerusalem then, we are told that a certain Simon from that same Cyrene was conscripted to carry the patibulum (the cross section of the crosses used at crucifixions) when Jesus faltered on his journey to The Place of the Skull (Golgatha).
We have no idea what went thru Simon’s mind when ordered to the task, but perhaps, we might assume that in no way did he wish to come under the scrutiny of the Romans. We might assume Jesus was able to let his mind move from his pain to his love for his mother. Later, Simon may have thought about the person he helped and Jesus may have thought about the man who helped him, and both minds may have been comforted in that reflection. Continue reading “Prepare to be Amazed!”
By Tom White
The incredible span of time we witness and measured in our heavens, in our literature and in our amazing minds is breathtaking to say the least. Within all that we encounter, we are often left with the humbling view of own place in the timeline. We also are left to consider that someone much more powerful than us began “it,” sustains “it” and holds power over “it.”
It’s that same power many of us have been led not simply to respect, but deep down inside our very being, fear. Perhaps terror is a better word for some of us. “It,” we are told, is so incomprehensible that it is beyond being a mystery. It is, OMG, huge and, well, so powerful!
God began everything and everyone, and holds power over all creation. I remember being taught early in life that maybe I should consider this: If God forgets you for even a brief moment, you will cease to exist. For a period of time, my nightly prayer was very focused: God, please do not forget. This was fear beyond words. (Read More Here)
By Tom White
It has been said of the Irish that they perfected the art of holding a grudge. Quantify it, chew it, savor it, hide it and take it out to consider over and over. Maybe even “sanctify” it and provoke what started it in the first place.
A wiser person than I recalled when a young person was asked why they were so reluctant to be more vulnerable, the response was somewhat chilling: “I am afraid you will make fun of me and ME is all I have.” This response may not feel that foreign to us when we feel as if we have been wronged. [Read more here.]
By Tom White
Many of us fear silence. No, it actually terrifies us! We are more comfortable trying to manage a tsunami of sounds than we are of embracing no sound at all. Perhaps this is no truer than when we must meet death and dying.
Hospice care is a term often associated with an almost reverent, and certainly gentle, extension of mercy to those judged to be near death. Peaceful and prayerful are common descriptions for the “environment” of hospice care. Somehow, we feel better when we have helped our loved one to be in embraced by this new womb.
Physicians of many descriptions have told us that quiet can be the best medicine when someone is ill. “They” will get better sooner when it is quiet; “they” will be able to calm themselves so the body can do what it is designed to do; “they” don’t feel like company anyway. These physicians implore us with lack of sight and sound to make their case for properly treating illness. This is the tsunami of sound we try and manage. We seem to prefer it to silence. [READ MORE].
By Tom White
These three days called the Holy Triduum can be intimidating in the least. They are three, they are in succession, and they are rituals we only witness once a year. So they are about what? Triduum, as a word, is so Latin it is sanitized of depth unless…
Each of us has moments when we recall personal or family events that stand out to us as singular in our history. Defining moments when we say, for all their imperfections: “That is my life, my family, my people.”
These moments have come together in me. These moments may or may not be my best but I embrace them and stand with others in theirs. These three days of the week we call Holy are given us to stand with one another in solidarity as pilgrims on our faith journey.
Holy Thursday is the Day of Love when we are told of Jesus’ gift to his friends: himself! When we give our gifts of time, kindness, care, and concern for those around us and do so in such a manner such that we actually feel exhausted, then we have an insight into what Jesus did for his friends. We are shown that the gift of love…(read more about Good Friday and Easter Vigil/Easter Sunday here).