If Only

If Only

 

If only we could stop the world and get off for a day, then maybe we could take a break from life’s continuous fray. We could breathe a sigh and take a look at things we just don’t see, and perhaps become the people we were really meant to be.

We could rewind time and change our past to a more desirable state and erase some things that were said and done that really were not first rate. We could lay a firm foundation and vanquish every foe. We could change the future and the past with what we do now know.

If only it were possible, we’d have a second chance. We would be so much more happy, we could really sing and dance. Then when the world began again, we’d be in a different place. Life would be more pleasant, we could keep a different pace.

But alas, it is not possible. We are where we are now. We are the sum and differential of our past mistakes somehow. We cannot take away what was, it’s the road on which we stand. The future is yet before us, uncertain, like shifting sand.

What will it take to get our feet back on the solid ground? The world may keep on turning, but our choices come around. Each moment that we breathe, we really have a second chance; each day a new beginning, another song, another dance.

We have within each one of us our eyes with which to see, hands and feet that feel and touch, and ears, we all agree. We can choose a different way, and walk the better road. We have the knowledge and the skills, our conscience, we are told.

We do not know how long we have left here upon this earth. One day, indeed, the world will stop; we’ll experience a new birth. We will leave behind all that we know and go to the great beyond. Our eyes will then be opened, like the wave of a magic wand.

Our Maker will there greet us and encircle us with His love, and we will hear the echoes of the choirs up above. We will look down to the earth and wonder then once more, why we didn’t see things differently, and head toward a brighter shore.

©2016 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe today for your emotional health!

Legacy

Legacy

I want to leave a legacy for those who will come after me, that when the bell tolls and I am gone, it will not have silenced my earthly song. They will have heard of the times that I wept and prayed that heaven’s assistance might not be stayed, the times that I overcame the night, and was able to make it ‘till morning’s light.

I want them to know that though life was hard, I kept on going, my senses marred by the winds and the waves that tossed me about, my heart within me trying to shout. When the skies were black and the storm clouds grim, threatening the loss of life and limb.

Yet the gales ceased and there was great calm, a generous dose of healing balm. A peace enveloped my mind and heart, giving me once again a new start. I basked in the warmth of the sun on my face, gaining strength yet for another race. I tethered my ship, and patched up the holes and even had the courage to set a few goals.

I want them to see the path ever clear and know that I am always near. That though they may stumble and though they may fall, there is one waiting there who has given his all that they may rise and conquer again because of the price that he paid back then.

I want them to hear the voice of gladness that speaks to the soul, amidst all the madness, that guides our path and shelters our way and helps us to sing at the end of the day. That our children may laugh, and dance and play, and be held in our arms, come what may.

I want them to feel passion for those in need whose souls are hungered, or bent, or do bleed, who look up to heaven and weep at the thought that they haven’t been able to get what they sought; forever empty, forever alone, forever in want of a hand in their own.

I want them to touch others with a love that is deep, and lose their lives, that perhaps they might keep the treasure of happiness living each day, keeping bitterness and hatred at bay. For life is short, our days long spent, achieving the purpose for which we were sent.

I want to leave this world a better place because of my sojourn in this rat-filled race. I want to be seen as one who cared, who took the time that a life would be spared. Whom others will see and simply say, “We knew heaven for a moment while she walked our way.”

©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe today, for your emotional health!

Lifeguard

Purpose

 

 

I feel so alone. There are people, activities, and things all around me, and yet, my heart cries out, consumed with an emptiness that I can’t define or even begin to understand.

Why do I feel this way? Could it be that I am looking too far into the future? I know that there will come a time when those that I love will crumble to the dust, and I will be bereft of their company.  Or is it simply that they are not with me now, and I miss them terribly?

Is my current position of solitude a problem? Here I sit on a single tower, drinking in the freedom others enjoy and yet, is that really what I want? There is so much of me waiting….hoping that there is something more.

I start new relationships, pursue new passions, and dream new dreams, only to have them peter out and fall by the wayside. I return once again to where I am, empty and alone. Will it always be this way? Will there be a time I look forward to waking in the morning, eager to greet the new day, refreshed and ready to go forward? I just don’t know.

Life is simply one more day, one more phone call, one more round of noise and confusion, one more time when my presence is needed. And yet my heart is left behind, lurking in the shadows…waiting. I always seem to be waiting for something, somewhere else that I can be.

I am in a constant state of anticipation. Like the paramedic on call, any moment the beeper will sound, and my heart will leap into action. I am poised, ready to help, ready to defend, and ready to move in an effort to save yet another person from drowning in the water before me.

Unfazed by the danger at hand, I throw myself into the brink, employing every muscle and sinew to reach them before it is too late. I surround them with the lifeline of my unconditional love, allowing them to rely on my strength, struggling with them as they make their way to the shore. We embrace. A moment of gratitude is shared, and they move on.

I watch them as they fade into the distance, marveling at the miracle that just occurred. There is nothing like being in the right place at the right time. A life spared is a family saved from being dashed to pieces and left to wallow in misery. In that brief moment, my purpose is fulfilled. My loneliness is gone, and I am content.

©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe todayfor your emotional health!

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The Path to Happiness

Happiness

 

 

I am surrounded by sadness on every hand. Death and destruction sweep over the land. How can I smile and feel happy today? Things simply aren’t going very much my way.

Life is full of irony indeed. There is much of pain, of want, of need. There are many who have not a place to live and there are those who have not a morsel to give.

Is happiness having an absence of pain? Is it simply sunshine, or the lack of rain? If so, then happiness is empty indeed, for rain has its place once we have planted a seed.

If tears are a sin, then we have all fallen short, for each human being has hurt to report. Can happiness come even when there is pain? Is it possible to smile through the clouds and the rain?

Can I simply this day step outside of the zone, and allow myself a reprieve, a small moment alone to look for the good, to feel grateful, to love, all of the blessings that flow from above?

If I can, then happiness will surely come, for pure joy is a gift from The Sinless One. He said, “Come to me and I will take you in, in spite of your sorrow, in spite of your sin.”

Today, though the tears so easily fall, I will do as the One who gave his all. I will look for others in sadness and pain. I will hold an umbrella for those in the rain.

I will keep going forward with eyes now aware that there are others whose cupboards are bare. I will give what I have until there is no more. I will hold up my light on this rocky shore.

I will live my life full of purpose and love, and shed forth the peace that comes from above. I will serve until I hear the words that say, “Well done, my servant, you are here now to stay!”

©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe todayfor your emotional health!

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Change is Okay

Change

 

 

 

Change is a merciless task master. It lets us know that the status quo is no longer acceptable and in order for us to get back in sync, we have to do something different. For a time, we grope around in the darkness, hoping to find the light of understanding.

Before we know it, we are blinded by the glare of the obvious and suddenly realize that we have already shed the familiar garments of yesterday. They have been snatched from our grasp before we have time to even look for a wardrobe suitable for tomorrow. We are left exposed for the entire world to see.

Embarrassed and humiliated, we wrap our arms around ourselves, hoping somehow to protect our delicate ego before it is lost in total obliteration. Then, a friendly voice speaks our name. We look up only to find that we are already discovered, that others know about our weakness and imperfection.

We beg for mercy, hoping that somewhere in their heart of hearts, there is room for compassion. We plead and bargain, saying that we will do whatever it takes, just let us be given a covering for our cold, stark nakedness.

A hand comes forward, reaching out toward us with kindness. We see it and put our own forward, suddenly taken aback by the scarred imprint therein. Surely, it could not be! But is it? Truly, he loved and gave all that we might live. Can he really be coming here, just for me?

“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” He says. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11;28-29).

His grasp is warm and inviting, his arms enclose us and we are brought into his bosom. There, amidst our tears and prayers, we are given strength and peace. He sheds his own garments and wraps us in them, and sends us on our way rejoicing!

We look down, aware that our nakedness has been covered. The garments are richer than any we have ever known. We feel the softness against our skin. We bask in the warmth and beauty surrounding us. Indeed, life is better now than anything we have ever known. We have been redeemed!

©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe today, for your emotional health!

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The Gift

Christmas is all about giving.

On a cold, dark winter night, I stopped at the grocery store for a few last minute items before fixing dinner for my family. There she was in the check-out lane, bent and frail, looking as if a stiff wind would blow her away. Knowing that she didn’t drive, I asked if I could give her a ride home.

She said that she would get a taxi, but I insisted, “I am going home in a few minutes, I can take you.” She conceded.  She lived just behind us across the back ally. I purchased what I needed while she waited on the bench beside the front entrance.

We walked together to my van and I opened the front door to help her inside, depositing the few things she had purchased at her feet. I helped fasten her seat belt and she quipped that it would have been easier to climb into a taxi. I just smiled and replied that I was glad to be there to help.

While we drove the few blocks to our homes, she searched in her coat pockets for her house key, but to no avail. It was nowhere to be found. She told me she had a spare outside the house she could use. I drove into her driveway and shone the van lights toward the house.

The thought occurred to me to invite her into my home for dinner, but I quickly dismissed it, not knowing the condition of things, having left my children alone while I went to the store. I helped her out, and stood holding her groceries while she searched for the key.

After several minutes, I offered to assist in the search. Again, the thought occurred to me that I should invite her to my home for dinner. I dismissed it once again, thinking that surely, she would be tired after her excursion to the store.

The key was not found. Both of us shivering, I invited her into my home to get warm and have a bite to eat. I helped her back into the van, and we crossed the ally to my home. I offered to take her coat, and fix her something warm to drink. She smiled and thanked me.

As I held her coat, I felt inspired to check for her key. There were some small pockets on the outside of the sleeves near the shoulder. There was the key! I held it up to her. She smiled and said, “How did you know?”

“God told me!” I grinned as I gave her a hug. With tears in both of our eyes, we thanked the Lord that the key had been found, and our friendship deepened. She was finally able to relax and enjoy dinner with our family. Afterward, I walked her home and helped get her purchases safely inside the house.

It was not long after that the dear woman passed away. I will never forget that night. The most important gift given was our time together with the Lord.

©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe todayfor your emotional health!

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Gratitude

Gift of Grace

 

 

 

Lord, my feelings know no bounds, my gratitude to the heavenly host resounds! Life is a precious gift indeed, and when I see others help those in need, my heart is filled as a well that is deep. They are following Thee, they are feeding Thy sheep.

Not long ago, on a darkened night, I heard their cries. I felt their plight. I rushed to their side with hope and a prayer, not knowing what aid I could provide once there. The love that we shared at that moment in time filled our souls with a peace sublime.

We knew in an instant that God was aware of all that had happened. He really did care! The pain and the tears were but for a night, and yet in the morning there came the light. As it bathed our souls with its wonderful glow, we embraced once again, for we really did know.

That Christ gave his life on that hill far away that we might return to Him one day. Such a precious morsel of daily bread gave us hope that we would always be led. We knew we could follow His footsteps each day, and have our needs met, come what may.

Now the crisis has passed, it is easy to see that forgetfulness comes so quickly to me. I forget what was said, how I felt, how I cried, how I pleaded for help at eventide. Instead of concern, I sit on the fence, passing judgement and giving offense.

Dear God, please forgive me and help me to be the kind of person who can truly see. Help me to find those in need of Thy love, and shower them with that grace from above. Only then can I be Thy hands and Thy feet, prepared for the day we will finally meet.

For then, I will fall before Thee and cry, “I am but Thy servant,” and my heart will sigh. Once more, my joy will know no bounds, and my gratitude to the heavens resound. For I will be in Thy presence again, never to part, worlds without end!

©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe todayfor your emotional health!

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It Could Have Been Me

God Save Us

 

It could have been me in that six foot hole. This brush with death has taken its toll. I am naked before all the world to see. I’m lost and alone, being tossed at sea.

The waves are crashing beneath and around. I’m sinking fast, I just might drown! But look, there’s the Master, he is calling to me, extending his hand, but I cannot see.

I am blinded by feelings of low self-worth. I’m regretting the day that my mother gave birth! I’m afraid he won’t love me in my weakened state. I’m sure I deserve this ignominious fate.

I’ve turned those away who needed his help. I’ve spurned the lost, those alone on the shelf. I’m just a sinner, a lowly mistake. I deserve every ounce of my watery fate!

But no, he’s beside me, lifting me up. He’s inviting me now to his table to sup. Could it be I am worth this and more? Will he help me make it past the rocky shore?

He’s embracing me now with a love all his own. He’s giving me feelings that I never have known! He’s drying my tears and taking my hand. He’s leading me on to the Promised Land!

The storm has now ceased and I feel a great calm. I see a new light, a brand new dawn. The jaws of death have been closed this day, for my Lord and my Savior has come my way!

©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe today, for your emotional health!

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Be Still and Know

Stillness

 

Life has a way of knocking us in the head sometimes. We think that we know where we are going and what we are doing, and then something happens that leaves us stunned. We wonder who we really are and what our purpose is in this life.

We stop for a moment and think about the people, things, and activities with which we have filled our lives and ask some important questions. Am I truly happy? Is there meaning and purpose in the choices I have made? Am I doing those things that God would have me do?

In her book The Fear Cure, Lissa Rankin, MD, speaks of the space between thoughts, and how our ability to capture and capitalize upon this space allows us to experience peace and happiness in our daily lives, as well as overcome the negative emotions that threaten to consume us.

During a restless night prior to a recent musical performance, I remembered this principle. Slowing down my thoughts just enough to find this empty space, I suddenly found myself basking in the warmth of God’s unconditional love. It was as if the clouds had parted and warm sunshine was streaming into my consciousness. My anxious heart calmed and I was able to rest peacefully.

Now, in the wake of a family tragedy, I seek that same reassurance that I am loved, and that there is meaning and purpose in my life. I remember the scripture in Psalms 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” For a brief moment, I once again enter that blessed space that has become my salvation, that stillness of mind and heart that allows me to experience God’s unconditional love.

This is the love that is home. We knew it before we came here. We are God’s children and lived with him before this life. It is the love that carries us through the storms and tempests that threaten to destroy us. It is the love that when we leave here, will rise with us into the great beyond as we return home once again to his arms, fresh and new from the rebirth that we call death.

There, time will cease to carry its poignant reminders of our insignificance and nothingness. Our petty worries and the aches and pains of this life will be no more, and what we glimpse in those quiet moments of stillness will be ours, to have and hold, forever!

©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe today, for your emotional health!

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The Price of Peaches

What we do together

1978 was a good year! We were married in August and shortly afterward moved into a small one-bedroom apartment with no front door. Our entrance was the stairway above the garage of a home. There were three doors at the top of that stairway: one for the bedroom, one for the kitchen, and one for the bathroom!

We were determined to make it work. While my husband went to school, I took in sewing, provided babysitting services, and kept house. One day, I happened to be at the right place at the right time, and stumbled upon a bushel basket of ripe peaches!

Excited that we could begin our food storage, I paid the nominal fee and went home with my treasure. Knowing that they wouldn’t last long, I was determined to preserve them that very day. My husband came home from school, weary from studying all day, only to find me hard at work washing jars and preparing the syrup for canning.

With the patience of Job, he put his arms around me and gave me a big hug, then rolled up his sleeves. Together we blanched and pealed the peaches, carefully placing them in the jars. We covered them with the hot syrup and lowered them into the water bath.

We laughed and played like children as one by one, we added the jars of peaches to our little kitchen table. Steam filled the room, but joy filled our hearts that night. Together, we had followed the words of the prophets and laid aside for our future needs.

Those peaches seemed to last forever! Each time we brought one up from the storage room, we relived the blessed experience of putting our hands and hearts together in a project that not only solidified our union, but gave us sweet experiences for many years to come. All for the price of a bushel of peaches!

©2015 by Denise W. Anderson, all rights reserved. Subscribe today, for your emotional health!

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