Tag Archives: rightaction

Making Plans

One. Two. Three. Four. Boys were born twelve months apart to a couple living in a house down the block in the community of my early childhood. Talented and hardworking. The parents of all four boys were gainfully employed as teachers.


As each child arrived, careful plans were made and special funds were started so that each child might attend college at eighteen. Pennies. Nickels. Dimes. Quarters. Kennedy half-dollars. Coins were dropped in jars for the funds. Regular deductions were taken from the checks of each parent.

Wanting what was best for their boys, both parents began taking progressively better jobs with more responsibilities, higher pay and more hours away from home. With the longer work hours, the couple cast about for proper childcare. Care was found. Yet, at times, it seemed as though the boys were becoming feral or as though they existed in two separate worlds—that orderly world of their parents’ preordained desire and the sphere of chaos they created under the watch of even the most trusted childcare providers.

From my childhood perspective, theirs was a house of loosely supervised mayhem down the block, floating like an untethered island on the move in a very large lake.

Turning the corner from boyhood to manhood, each man-child piled into his individual dinghy and left the mayhem of the island behind, setting a course for some point far, far away. Not one of those boys chose to pack his bags, load the family car and make the journey to university with his parents’ carefully planned financial support.



Very late one Friday afternoon on a cold day while driving near the center of town, a friend who is accompanying me on errands comments on the twenty-five-plus people congregated with their bags near the edge of a parking lot.

“They are homeless,” I reply.

“But so many?” my companion asks in disbelief.

“Yes. They are probably waiting for a ride to a local shelter. Because of the profoundly Christian nature of this community, there are several shelters operating here. People in this area take serving the homeless quite seriously,” I explain.

“But where do they go during the day time?”

“Many of them spend their time among the various library branches. From what I have been able to discern, most of them are looking for ways to change their circumstances. They search for jobs, try to reconnect with family who might take them in or attempt to take care of more serious medical concerns via email and telephone.”

“That is an awful lot of people,” my companion comments.

“Yes it is.”

Spirituality: People in the News

While I was attending graduate school, my husband took contracts as a foreign-language interpreter. As a working professional, he was invited to join a small group of interpreter/translators, who met monthly in the metropolitan area where we resided. (Interpreters work with spoken language; translators work with written language.)

Although we were very busy, these monthly luncheons and dinners were much anticipated, joyous events with an international vibe, which included husbands, wives and sometimes children. A great deal of business information was shared, as well as the occasional matter regarding our personal lives.


The group’s informal membership represented a wide range of cultures. Many members had a wife or a husband who had emigrated, after marrying a U.S. citizen who had been overseas studying or on exchange. Thus, there was always something interesting, new or fun to learn from someone.

One afternoon, after sitting down to lunch in a small restaurant conference room, I heard several people discussing a recent tragedy which had been in the local news. (A local family had lost their only child in an accident.)

As the incident was discussed, I listened in surprised silence as minute details, which had not been part of the news reports, were carefully related to the membership in attendance. The discussion was not a sensationalistic disclosure, but a compassionate and concerned relating of the accident’s unpublished details and emotional facts.

At the time, I remember observing the tender care the speaker was taking in relating additional  information about a very public news item and wondering why such a level of discretion was being applied to an incident which has been broadcast over almost every medium in the city.

Then, at some point in the telling, it became clear the the “people in the news”–the strangers–were actually a family who had attended an interpreter-translator meeting, which my husband and I had missed.

My heart fell. This “news item” was not about “those” people in the community out there, but it was about “our” people in our immediate community right here.

We are all “the people in the news.”

Thus, all tragedy should be addressed, spoken about, reported on and reacted to–with this same level of compassion, as if whatever has occurred has happened to one of our own.

Pray Without Ceasing

Everything possesses at least two appearances:  the physical and the spiritual.


Most of us attempt to judge or discern things about situations, circumstances, neighborhoods, homes, people, plants, objects and animals based upon their surface or physical appearance. Yet, except for the physical items where surface appearance may be altered by–say–a coat of paint, most of us do not have a great deal of choice about our given, physical form.

Spiritual appearance is that aspect of something or someone, which is the more important of the two “appearances” to observe.  It is also the more changeable form of appearance and, potentially, the most able to becoming bright or fully luminescent.  Spiritual appearance is capable of changing in a heartbeat, depending upon the place we find ourselves abiding—in our consciousness—and in our activities, as well as depending upon the purity of our intentions.

Spiritual appearance is a little more difficult “to see” with the naked eye; but, it may be glimpsed as a form of radiance or glow, permeating and sometimes extending beyond a physical form. But, before concerning ourselves with the physical or spiritual appearances of others, we need to work on growing our own Light.

One of the most accessible means through which we may grow our Light is by establishing a dialogue of well-wishing and positive intentions toward ourselves and others.

There are a great number of recommendations and books devoted to prayer and “how to pray.” Yet, what if we were to simply make our greatest care and focus the continual wish, for ourselves and others, for that which is in everyone’s greatest good or highest Light? There is nothing—no prayer or wish—simpler than this. Right action follows closely on the heels of an open, unencumbered and working heart.


Grace is something flowing in and around us at all times. Grace, if it could be solidified, is that nugget of wisdom helping us affirm our own lives, as well as the lives of others–when we listen and allow.


Grace is natural generosity, mercy and compassion.  Grace removes the harsh strictures from our hearts when we will to forgive and choose to move forward in the face of our own or another’s non-life-affirming behavior.

Listening and allowing, initially, take consistent practice, committed intention and attentive effort.  Quite often, we must participate in our own behavioral “retooling” to learn the way of Grace.  And, yet, the path need not be difficult. Let go.

Love will begin to fill the spaces of your days with Light