Monday, December 28, 2009


Some of us will take up resolutions for the New Year because we want to start anew. We sense there are aspects of ourselves we would like to improve, so we start with a clean slate on January 1st.

Others of us will find that 2010 will be a year of transition: A period of renewal that may or may not be planned. Perhaps it will be brought about by unemployment, a change of location, health, or within the family. The period of transition can be exciting as well as terrifying. Nothing stays the same forever – we know that. However, the journey one goes through while discovering the space between here and there can be challenging and scary.

One anonymous author described the experience as swinging on a trapeze bar where s/he sees another trapeze bar swing toward her/him. The author states, “In my heart-of hearts I know that for me to grow, I must release my grip on this present, well-known bar to move to the new one. Each time it happens to me, I hope (no, I pray) that I won’t have to grab the new one. But in my knowing place I know that I must totally release my grasp on my old bar and for some moment in time I must hurtle across space before I can grab onto the new bar. Each time I am filled with terror. . . . Each time I am afraid that I will miss, that I will be crushed on unseen rocks in the bottomless chasm between the bars. But I do it anyway. Perhaps this is the essence of what the mystics call the faith experience. No guarantees, no net, no insurance policy, but you do it anyway because somehow, to keep hanging on to that old bar is no longer on the list of alternatives.”

I find that it is helpful to have something on which to anchor my faith in such an uncertain period. It is God. When you have been between trapeze bars, how was your experience and how did you get through the suspended time?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


As we find ourselves in the last minutes of holiday preparation, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by all of the details that you want to get accomplished. When the traffic is not moving fast enough; the cashier line is at a standstill; or you feel jittery because you have so much to do - take a deep slow breath. Take another one, and tell yourself, “I have all the time I need to accomplish what I need to do.” Slow down, and proceed at a calmer, slower pace. If the jitters return, repeat the slow deep breaths and reaffirm that you have all of the time you need to accomplish all of your tasks. Then take a moment to look around you and enjoy the beauty of this time of year; the cheerful decorations, the laughter of the children, the ringing bells from the Salvation Army people. Or just listen to the Christmas music that is apt to be playing. Hum or sing along while you’re standing on line or you’re stuck in traffic, or wherever you may be. Just remember, this only happens once a year, so surrender and enjoy the spirit of the season, because it will all be over before you know it, and you'll be back to business as usual. When you stop and think about it, isn't it wonderful that we can get off the treadmill for a couple of days and be whimsical and child-like?

Wishing you joy at this time of year!

Dr. Ethel Drayton-Craig