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Build Yourselves up (SJFT – REACH)

sjt-2017-graphicIt’s the day for my Spiritual Journey (first) Thursday post for May. Today we’re linking at Mainely Write where the topic is Donna’s one-little-word for 2017—REACH. Would you believe reach has 29 shades of meaning (by my dictionary.com app)? What a rich word!

When I hear the word “reach” I imagine a vigorous, energetic motion toward something not yet attained or possessed. We talk of reaching goals and dreams. That’s a side of reaching that, in the last few years, I find myself less enthusiastic about than when I was starting out in work and family life. Lately I’m more content to just be and enjoy the moment for what it is. Have I perhaps entered retirement mode?

And yet, the book I go to for spiritual direction and inspiration has few retirees. One of its heroes, Moses, begged God for a chance to continue leading the people into the Promised Land at the age of 120 (Deuteronomy 3:25; 34:7). Another tireless character was the Apostle Paul who, despite resistance, setbacks, and imprisonment refused to quit. He wrote “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” – Philippians 3:14.

One of the things that affects my ability and desire to reach is my physical state. When I’m rested and fit, I’m far more likely to find myself reaching toward a new skill or goal in imagination and activity. I love Psalm 92:13,14 for its ageless outlook:

“Those who are planted in the house of the LORD
Shall flourish in the courts of our God
They shall still bear fruit in old age;
They shall be fresh and flourishing.”

To make that possible, I believe people need spiritual fitness as well as physical. The little poem about spiritual fitness that I’ll leave you with is as true for me today as it was 10+ years ago when I wrote it. May we all keep reaching in body, soul, and spirit.

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Image: Pixabay

Build Yourselves Up

But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith – Jude 20

Warm up with worship
hands raised, spirit stretching
to the Almighty.
Increase the rhythm of the heart
with the jumping-jacks of praise.
Hop onto the treadmill of the Word
read it, study it,
meditate on it, memorize it.
Then it’s down on the floor
for push-ups of confession
abdominal crunches of petition
and, firmly grasping others’ weighty burdens,
bench presses of intercession –  set after set.
Up on your feet again for step-ups of listening
then cool down walking in place, silent.
End with a song of thanksgiving
that pours from a well-toned heart.
Now go out to meet the day
your spirit radiating contentment and joy
flexible and strong from its workout
with faith, hope and love.

© 2004 by Violet Nesdoly (All rights reserved)

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ADMIRE (Out of Sight)

On March 2, 2014, two years ago yesterday, I broke my hip. I was away from home helping my daughter with her new baby at the time. I took a careless step on the stair, tripped, fell, and landed full force on the cement floor at just the right angle to do the damage. Two years ago today I had surgery to fix that hip.

Happily by now I’m well again and hardly feel any different than I did before the break. But on every anniversary since it’s happened I can’t help but remember that fateful day.

Recovery took so much longer than the accident! When we got home, two thirds through March, I walked with a walker, and then a cane. I used a device to help me put on my socks. For weeks I showered in my husband’s walk-in instead of my own tub shower because I couldn’t climb over the side.

For a long time walking was a limping business. I couldn’t think or will myself into a smooth gait, no matter how hard I tried. The simple walking action I had always done with no thought was revealed as complex. I began to ADMIRE the ability to walk smoothly and effortlessly, but even more admire the Creator of this ability.

ADMIRE, Julieanne Harmatz‘s one-little-word is the word we’re discussing today. It means to regard with wonder, pleasure, or approval. Some of its synonyms are wonder at, treasure, value, worship, think highly of, take pleasure in.

If you think of it, everything around us is fodder for admiration. The fact that I can think thoughts and coordinate brain and hand to make them visible; that I can eat yummy food and it gets changed into hair, skin, and blood; that we live on a planet that’s located in vast space at just the right distance from a star, our sun, with the exact conditions needed to sustain life… all these things and more are cause to wonder at, value, admire.

But my admiration doesn’t stand alone. It has an object—God, the Creator who designed, created and sustains these myriad of systems. Psalm 104 is an admirer’s poem, full of praise for the natural world. It might be called the admiration of worship. Here are its opening lines:

Psalm 104

Bless the Lord O my soul!
O Lord my God,
You are very great:
You are clothed with honor and majesty
Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment,
Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain… (read the rest…)

Back down to earth, during my convalescence I wrote some impressions of that time. Here I am, still limping along…

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My best friends during recovery – cane, picker, back-washer, shoe-horn, sock thingy, Kindle reader, and walker. (Photo © 2014 by V. Nesdoly)

Out of Sight

I never gave the walk-cycle a thought
considered all the moving parts
heel, foot, knee, hip
pretibial, calf, quadriceps, hamstring
bone, muscle, sinew
needed to move in sync like an orchestra
to form the ballet of a step
until I broke one part.

Now I’ve added another part—a cane
have begun doing scales, arpeggios, four-note chords
exercising thighs and knees
to help my body relearn
a smooth, unlimping gait.
The ability to walk
always before
out of sight
but now never
out of mind.

© 2014 by Violet Nesdoly

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This post is linked to Spiritual Journey Thursday, hosted by Holly Mueller at Reading, Teaching, Learning.

 

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