Extreme lessons

by Christine Sine
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It’s a very hot day here in Seattle, with several more ahead of us this week. We have been very fortunate to not have the searing heat that so many other places in the US and other parts of the world have experienced. Hot dry days are what I usually love about summer, but as I read about the devastation of the wildfires in Maui contributed to by unseasonably hot and dry weather in this tropical paradise, my delight is tempered by the horrifying news of those who have lost their lives, livelihoods and homes. On Thursday I wrote a prayer for Maui, as my heart ached for those affected. Part of that prayer reads:

Today we pray for the people of Maui
coming to terms with a new reality.
Lahaina will never be the same,
The people of Maui will never be the same.

One of my readers on Facebook added:

Today we pray for the people of Maui.
May we help them,
May we learn from them
As they come to terms with a new reality.
Earth will never be the same.
We will never be the same.

Its true. We do need to learn from the people of Maui and the many other places where weather extremes are impacting us. Evidently 28% of the U.S. is currently in drought conditions, as is Europe, East Africa and South America. Other places like China and the Philippines are impacted by floods. These weather extremes are bad news for all of us so as I pray for Maui, I also remember the millions of other around the world facing climate disasters.

How do we cope in the midst of these overwhelming odds? This week’s posts all seem to encourage us to live with uncertainty and find the strength to move forward in spite of the challenges. The suggestion I make in my Meditation Monday – Ten Suggestions to Help You Gain Resilience in Our Challenging World is that it is possible for all of us to learn to handle the challenges of our world with more strength and resilience. Some of the strategies that help are: rethinking adversity with a positive emphasis so that you adopt a supportive but realistic outlook; encouraging optimism, becoming as physically fit as possible, accepting challenges as opportunities, maintaining a close and supportive social network, and observing and imitating resilient role models.

On Saturday, June Friesen, with her focus on compassion in Signs Along Your Pathway expressed similar thoughts. In Lilly Lewin’s Freerange Friday: Walking on Water  her Richard Rohr quote “Why is our first response fear not excitement when God starts doing a new thing in our life?” seemed to speak specifically to these same challenges. Karen Wilk in her poem The Next Unknowing  invites us to ponder her poem and allow it to inspire us to look and ‘see’ and be open to sitting in the unknowing of our lives and neighbourhood with both calm and curiosity. Sheila Hamil’s encouragement in Warp and Weft, to never separate our faith from our lives is another helpful suggestion for this challenging world in which we live.

Another way to strengthen our resolve and remain resilient in the midst of challenges is by going on retreat. Don’t forget to check out and sign up for the three retreats I will facilitate over the next few months. I think they are ideal resources for the challenging world in which we live. If you sign up for all three there is a very special discount price!!!.  September 2nd – Rhythms and Seasons October 14th Living in Gratitude and December 9th Advent Quiet Day Retreat. I hope you can join me for this series. Each will be a stand alone retreat but the series together, I think will enrich our lives, nourish us through the rest of the year and prepare us for a busy new year coming.

May God be with you this week and provide you with the courage and the strength to move forward.

Photo by Sippakorn Yamkasikorn on pixels

 Christine is offering three seasonal, virtual retreats to explore living in balance and in line with the natural and liturgical rhythms of the year. Join her for one or all of them September 2, October 14 and December 9. These retreats will encourage us to center ourselves and our lives as we move through the seasons beginning in Fall and moving through Advent. They will be times of reflection, creativity and fun.

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