Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Dem Bones

Do you remember the Negro spiritual about “Dem Bones”?  It’s a musical description of part of a vision the Lord gave to the prophet Ezekiel. That revelation is recorded in chapter 37 of the Old Testament book that bears the prophet’s name.

The Lord takes Ezekiel into a valley full of dry bones and asks him, “Can these bones live?”  The prophet does not know the answer to that question, but when he speaks the words given to him by the Lord, “suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone…” (vs.7).

The song “Dem Bones” picks up on the image of the bones reconnecting and declares in the chorus “Dem bones, dem bones gonna’ live again. Oh hear the word of the Lord.”   The verses then picture exactly how those bones were put back together again: “The toe bone connected to the foot bone,
            the foot bone connected to the ankle bone,
            the ankle bone connected to the leg bone,
            the leg bone connected to the hip bone,
            the hip bone connected to the back bone,
            the back bone connected to the neck bone,   
            the neck bone connected to the head bone.
           Oh, hear the word of the Lord.”

I was reflecting on this image of re-connecting dry bones when a question popped into my mind: I wonder what the “lung bone” is connected to?  (Now friends, I successfully completed two courses in anatomy - one in college and one in nursing school - so I know there are no bones inside the lungs!  But that is the question that came to me!)

What IS the “lung bone” connected to?  I confess I think about my lungs quite often these days as they struggle to perform their respiratory responsibilities.  I’d be delighted to hear the word of the Lord about what lies ahead but I had not thought about connectedness.  Does my “lung bone” feel disconnected and alone like I sometimes do?

Of course not!  My “lung bone” is connected to my “heart bone,” the center of human life and vitality.  They work together, strengthening each other and me.  And my “heart bone” is connected to the “heart bones” of other people!  Every kind thought, warm greeting, or supportive prayer your “heart bone” sends my way strengthens my “heart bone” and empowers my “lung bone” to keep on keeping on! Thank you, thank you!  Perhaps that is as much of the word of the Lord as I can understand at this point in my life!

30 April 2019 - mshr

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The Fine Art of Napping

  The Fine Art of Napping

No, I’m not talking about kid-napping or dog-napping, or theft of anything tangible. I’m referring to those blissful moments when I can close my eyes, lean my head back, relax all my muscles, and perhaps sleep!

This kind of napping is the most frequent item on my daily schedule these days. There’s a little variety with occasional doctor’s appointments but the rest of my time seems to be filled with naps. Since I am napping so often, I decided to do a bit of personal research on that phenomenon. The findings are still tentative because I have slept through most of them!

Why nap?  Because babies and cats should not be the only ones able to enjoy this pleasure.  All of us deserve times to close our eyes, turn down our ears, and drop out of our chaotic life and confusing world for few minutes.  Personally, I nap because I don’t have the energy to do anything else!

Where to nap?  Nearly anywhere, with some important exceptions.  Never nap in the driver’s seat of a vehicle that is moving, whether it is an airplane, a car, a riding lawn mower or a bicycle. Also, avoid napping while you are swimming or scuba diving. Unfortunate consequences could result if you ignore these warnings.

It’s usually best to nap on your own property.  However, allowances are often made for quiet naps in the theater during a boring play or concert or in church if the pastor gets too long-winded in the sermon.  If you nap in a public place, it’s fun to choose a visibly unstable position and then watch the expressions on the faces of those who pass by as you drift off to La La Land.

When to nap?  Anytime is great, whether you are tired, bored, or want to escape an unpleasant task awaiting you.  It’s usually advisable to allow time between snoozes for a meal or two, and maybe a bathroom break.

We usually consider naps to be daytime diversions.  However, if you are unlucky enough to have to work the “graveyard shift” during the night hours, naps are even more refreshing than in the daytime.  I detested the 11 to 7 shift but, of course, in health care had to work my share of those night hours.  I can’t count how many times I would wake up with my head resting on a stack of patient charts not yet signed off!

How to nap?  Everybody knows how to nap.  We were born doing it but growing up has taught us some bad habits such as taking on responsibilities and then worrying about how we will carry them out.  But if you can repent of adulthood for a few minutes, lie or sit down in a comfortable position, close your eyes, then imagine some beautiful places where you have been.  Before you know it, you will have traveled through Drowsytown and arrived in Slumberville.  That was easy, wasn’t it?  (The hard part is getting awake again!)

But naps do not necessarily involve sleep. A relax-a-nap is also quite restful.  That is when you stretch out, close your eyes, carefully rest all your muscles, but DO NOT fall asleep.  It may take some practice but you can get to the point when your friends and associates can’t tell whether you are napping or relax-a-napping, especially if your face is hidden behind a large and boring book! When you get that good at relax-a-napping, listen carefully! You may hear some very interesting comments made around you -- and maybe even some comments about you!

Well, dear readers, I must go now.  You see, it’s time for my nap!

MarySue Helstern Rosenberger
16 April 2019

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Saying Goodbye

 Goodbye, Adios, Auf Wiedersehn, Au Revoir, Chao ong ba, So long, 

On this journey toward the river between this life and the next, 

I must say “goodbye” too often.  

Sometimes out loud; sometimes silently; 

sometimes bitterly, never joyfully.  

Sometimes there are tears; sometimes happy memories, 

but never eagerness.

Such a harsh word! 

Now I understand a resident who refused to use it.  

As a gentler alternative, 

she chose the Spanish phrase “Vaya con Dios” (Go with God).  

I like that.  

It’s more like opening a window than closing a door!

 Family and friends will understand,

  But what about non-human things I must part with? 

- dreams and goals that will never be realized

- the things I enjoyed doing

- my independence and self-sufficiency

- setting my own schedule and use of time

- the stuff I treasured  

- the broader world beyond the walls of my home

 I miss them all. 

How can I properly take leave

of those important - but intangible - realities?

But I do not travel alone.

  Memories linger 

and love never leaves me. 

Emmanuel is my Companion and Guide, 

and when I reach that river, 

“God with us” will be my Bridge into eternity.  

Go with God, indeed!

9 April 2019 mshr