Archive for the ‘Purpose and meaning of life’ Category

How many breaths do I have left?

October 13, 2011 1 comment

my sister Katherine next to her beloved van

How many breaths do I have left?
I always assume “just one more.”
And, do I assume or hope that I can decide when the last breath will be?
Jesus did but I am not Jesus.
Neither is my sister.
How desperately she wants to breathe her last breath.
But the breaths keep coming.

Why does God not allow us to decide when we breathe our last breath?
Maybe he wants us to learn at the end that we are not in control.
Never have been.
Never will be.

How many breaths do I have left?
Just one more until God says “enough.”
Just as he has my days numbered.
So my breaths are numbered.
Counted each one.
Valued in his sight.
May I value each one.
May each breath I take honor him
And others around me.

Thank you Lord for the days you give us on earth.
For the breaths we receive.
Each one as a gift.
Help me trust you
With each breath I take.
And with each one that is to come.

Update: I wrote this as we sat with my sister, Katherine.  She breathed her last breath yesterday Oct 13, 2011 at 1 pm.  For more information on my sister, you may watch a video here in which she talks about how she lived out her simple lifestyle or read about her artwork or view her artwork on her webpage.


The science, math, and physics of sound and music

August 26, 2011 Leave a comment

Although I cannot fully appreciate all that they are talking about in the following video, how beautiful the creation of God–what order, compatibility, what complexity! Originally found the video here

May each of us learn to be present in the moment and embrace the wonder and mystery which surrounds us daily!

Personal photo from Seattle

A couple of quotes from David Benner’s Soulful Spirituality

  • “Reason and wonder are not mutually exclusive—just distinct. In fact, we can quite easily use both faculties to encounter the world and, by so doing, know it in ways that neither alone makes possible. Whatever we approach on the basis of reason we attempt to tame and exploit, making it conform to our concepts and control.”
  • “If we retain this radical capacity for amazement, we may be able to sidestep the impulse to control what we encounter and instead submit to the truly amazing and adjust our concepts to it.”
  • “Wonder will only emerge in the presence of reverence. If nothing is sacred, nothing worthy of reverence, then nothing will evoke wonder. This is the plight of the cynic. Cynicism is the way we try to minimize the loss of wonder and idealism. It is the mask we hide behind when we choose to despise the simple and wondrous. Wonder may yet exist, but cynics will usually feel too vulnerable to dare to embrace it. Wonder demands openness, and that openness is simply too threatening for those who are cynical.”
  • “The great mysteries of life—love, suffering, evil, death, beauty—do not need to be figured out in order to be engaged. But they must be befriended if the encounter is to be nurturing to spirit and soul. Any other attitude lacks the hospitality that transforms mystery from being the enemy to being a welcome companion on our human journey.”
  • “The gift of wonder begins with the awakening of awareness. Our part is then simply being open to seeing the ordinary in a new light—through childlike eyes of wonder.”
  • “Wonder is more a matter of heart-pondering than mind-thinking. It is rumination that leaves space for mystery, confusion, fear, uncertainty, awe, paradox, and questions.”

Check out this time lapse video to be even more awed by the wonder of creation

Why Suicide?

October 15, 2010 3 comments

Why People Die by Suicide by Thomas Joiner.  It is not an easy read but helpful. Am re-posting this from 2007.

Joiner says people commit suicide because of thwarted effectiveness or the “sense that one is a burden” and thwarted connectedness or the “sense that one does not belong”.

A final necessary  factor occurs when a person has acquired the ability for lethal self-injury. “This comes from fearlessness about confronting pain, injury and death.”

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5 Common Regrets

September 4, 2010 Leave a comment

What would you change about your life?  Maybe you have heard that question asked and heard, “Nothing.” Well, Bronnie Ware in an article titled, Regrets of the Dying, observed that people about to die often expressed the following  regrets.  Thanks to my wife for this article.

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

Which of these are you going to work on this week?

What is your story?

March 26, 2010 Leave a comment

May we all tell great stories with our lives” is a beautiful quote from Donald Miller.  Do you know what you want? What would you long to do? Miller tells us that God created us with these longings and these longings will be what our story is about.

He says, “In a story, a character wants something and goes to get it.” What are we pursuing? Is it a good story? Maybe we need to dream?

Donald Miller talks about his new book here, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. It is long, almost 40 minutes but I have listened to it twice now.  Its another must book for me.

Character of God: What is your paradigm for God? Is it okay with him if you dream?

Conflict: We all long for the conflict to be over. Every good story has conflict. You cannot live an inspiring life without hardship. It is necessary, It is the beauty of your lives.

Hijacking of our stories: We hear/see 3000 commercial messages a day, telling us, “You need. . .”  When we believe these messages, they become our story. We start believing that we should be comfortable or happy and start to think that conflict is bad. These messages hijack our story.  Conflict serves your life!

Consider Adam and Eve: Adam was lonely, longing for a companion. But he was not thinking, If I am  lonely, he didn’t think something is wrong, didn’t think something is wrong with me. As he named the animals, he felt conflict. Without the conflict, Adam would not have valued Eve.  God put conflict in between what he wanted and when he gained it. Conflict serves your life.

When there is dark stuff in our lives, we give that to God and say what kind of beautiful stuff can you do in my life?

When the story is over: We long for a climax in our life where conflict is solved. What do we do with these longings? Paul in Phil 3:8-10 knew his story was not over, “I long to know Christ.” Conflict did not finish at your conversion.

Conclusion: May we all tell great stories with our lives. May you tell an amazing story and stop waiting in fear for a story to happen to you. May we tell beautiful stories.

Why your best days are ahead of you

January 22, 2010 Leave a comment

I think I missed making a re-post of Michael Hyatts Why You Aren’t Dead Yet.  I have slightly reworded the title of the post here since the title might be a bit discouraging.  The contents are anything but!  Thought of this after talking to a couple of friends.  Hyatt did the post in response to the following question of an old yet wise friend, “Do I have anything left to contribute? Are my best days over?”  Needless to say, Hyatt’s response to his friend and to all of us was, you better believe it.  Hyatt’s conclusion,

You may be old. You may be sick. You may be divorced. Your kids may not be speaking to you. You may be out of work. You may be broke. You may be discouraged.

But you’re not dead yet.

And that’s proof that you still have not completed what you were put on earth to do.

Aftermy recent post on  paradoxical commandments, the song, “I do it anyway” and 2 cor 4:16, me thinks there is an ongoing theme here.

moral goodness apart from God?

July 28, 2009 Leave a comment

Found this sad promotion on a science blog.  Sorry, missing the link right now.  Needless to say, I disagree with Dr. Schweitzer!! He has captured the longing within all of us for something more (read transcendence) but he (and we) will never find that within us! Italics mine.

Dr. Jeff Schweitzer is a scientist who has written extensively on morality, religion, politics and science — and who served as science advisor to former President Bill Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore. Schweitzer will talk about how we each have within us the awesome power to create our own meaning in life, our own sense of purpose, our own destiny. He will address how happiness and fulfillment are derived from the freedom to discover within ourselves our inherent good, and then to act on that better instinct, not because of any mandate from above or in obedience to holy texts, but because we can. Admission is free and open to the public. Hardcover copies of Schweitzer’s book, Beyond Cosmic Dice: Moral Life in a Random World