Pooh said it . . . (1)

I love quotes. I enjoy concise statements that hold profound thoughts. I have quote signs in my house. I believe that these little signs help keep us focused and on track all through out the day. I have lately become aware of numerous quotes by a loveable bear, Winnie the Pooh.

journey

“Life is a journey to be experienced, not a problem to be solved.”

So what’s in your today or tomorrow? Lots of problems that you have been staring you in the face for some time now? That’s the thing about problems, they just hang around and we feel like we always have to be conquering them. And once one is solved, it seems there are always more to fill the space.

We are all on the same page about the latest problem of Covid-19. This problem has been stealing quality time for weeks and weeks. It promises to steal away our summer, and our autumn and maybe even our winter by affecting our vacations, our harvests, and our employment. Obviously, I have no answers to this problem—lots of opinions, but nothing of substance.

But the journey–I am so encouraged by those of you who are still making a wonderful journey for yourselves and your families. On Facebook, I asked for people to share “one great thing the little people in your house did today!”

The responses were truly delightful and included:
Molly JT – Belly laughed…with one another, again and again. Time together is bringing them even closer.

Kimberly – They actually got along all day and hung out together.

Jordan – Read a story together like we do every night before bed and with the little babe, snuggled.

Katrina – Helped clean up the kitchen.

Joy – He wanted to talk about Jesus a lot at bedtime and wanted to pray on his own. Without prompting, he prayed, “Jesus, You are Lord and God.”

Chris – Sang the entire Hallelujah Chorus with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on video.

Tricia – Our little girl has been saying “I love God” all on her own, many times a day!

Aimee – He climbed up in the chair with me and cuddled for a half hour before bedtime.

And I love Tara’s contribution:
My kids brought all their outside toys into the turkey coop and set up a little amusement park so the turkeys could have fun!

Such entertaining and creative things happening in your homes! Remembering that we are on a journey together may be just the thing to help us focus on the good experiences rather than the problems. We all know that our problems are always going to be with us, but how easy it is to forget that the other people in our homes are what makes the journey exciting, fun, and memorable.

When we each come to our own journey’s end, we will not be thinking about all the problems we solved or the many that were elusive. We will be thinking about those dear people who experienced with us the joys and heartaches, the triumphs and the tragedies, the moments and the milestones. May we each find ways every day to celebrate our journey and experience the great things that are in our homes, just waiting to be noticed.

Celebrate your life and cherish memories!

Feel free to add a comment about some good things happening in your homes . . .

 

Not about the works . . .

Bud is home.

It is pretty amazing that he only arrived there Wednesday afternoon and is home today. He has seen a great deal in these few days and he was prepared to stay longer. In the last 24-hour period he was there, he noticed a significant slow-down in the number of calls for initial transport, so it seemed like a good time to transition out.

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The vehicles in this lane are waiting for entrance into a hospital morgue area for transporting bodies.

During his time there, he did have opportunity for interaction with people in various settings. While waiting in line to pick up a body, he visited with a Muslim chaplain. The man shared that he felt that this is a good time for people to be doing good works so that their good can outweigh their bad in hopes of going to heaven. Their conversation touched several topics which Bud found interesting to learn about from the man’s perspective. And where he could he tried to lay a little seed. He pointed out to the man that we can all know for sure if we are going to heaven and it’s not about what we do, but about who we know.

A message I heard this morning pointed out that our good works are not about the deed, they are about the heart and the relationship. I understood that God does not see the deed, He sees the heart, because of the relationship. So, I surmise that if God does not recognize the person doing the good work the deed goes unnoticed.

How often do I perceive the good things that your child does? Not often, especially if I have never met your child. But just let my child do something kind or thoughtful and I take notice! The two children could have done the exact same thing, but because I have a relationship with one of them his/her deeds mean something. The same way with God.

But our good works are not what has ensured our entrance into heaven. They are a reflection of the relationship that we have with Him. The faith part was first, and then the good works come forth from there.

Perhaps Bud planted enough of a seed in this meeting to inspire more investigation.

This is where Bud worked while he was Downstate.

Last Responders

Most of them don’t feel like heroes. They are normal, flawed people just fulfilling their purpose in life. Most of the time, their purpose isn’t spotlighted by the world. Most of them are usually chagrined by the attention and just want to serve. Bud is one of those people. He went to the NY epicenter because 1) he is able — many of our hometown heroes must be here to serve locally, or to care for growing families, and 2) because serving families is his purpose. And he is one of those people who does not count himself as a hero. When you just want to serve an amazing God, you know who the real Hero is.

But there come those critical moments in history when these people, in “doing what they do” are understood as a crucial component of our society. People are finding thoughtful ways to show their appreciation for the service received from the responders — first, middle and last. Here’s an example of what one business in Queens is doing for the “heroes”:

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Sent via text from Bud today.

In my feed came a posting from Pat McGowan, one of my instructors from Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary science. I have permission to include it here:

 

“Some days all that can be done
is to salvage one sadness from the mass
of sadnesses, to bear one body home,
to lay the dead out among their people,
organize the flowers and casseroles,
write the obits, meet the mourners at the door,
drive the dark procession down through town,
toll the bell, dig the hole, tend the pyre.
It’s what we do. The daylong news is dire—
full of true believers and politicos,
bold talk of holy war and photo-ops.
But here, brave men and women pick the pieces up.
They serve the living, caring for the dead.
Here the distant battle is waged in homes.
Like politics, all funerals are local.”

And Pat concludes the post with a heart-felt greeting:

Thank you to my friends and colleagues who are the “Last Responders”.
Stay safe and stay strong.

 

Not in Kansas

IMG_0446This is a photo that Bud sent me via text, with the caption that said, “Verrazano Bridge – not in Kansas anymore.” He took this on his way to Coney Island on Wednesday.

Navigating the City was nothing like usual. This photo was taken during “rush hour” but the normal rush was nonexistent. It appears that the situation held a similar surreal quality such as when Dorothy found herself in the Land of Oz.

The purpose of this trip to Coney Island is to answer a call for assistance with the many death cases occurring in the area. In September, 2001 there was a call for funeral directors in New York City.  At that time, Bud did not feel that he was in a position to help.

Once again, there is a call for funeral directors. The providers there are overwhelmed with the number of cases and need help with transporting the deceased, embalming or cremation prep, and many other tasks. Bud has been thinking of going for a couple of weeks, as this time he feels he should be there.

One of the funeral homes he contacted had, at the time of his initial contact with them, 109 cases to work through, with more calls coming. For comparison, funeral homes that are members of the National Funeral Director’s Association handle, on average, 113 cases per year. This one facility is working to serve one hundred and nine families, and their call rate is currently about 30 new calls per day.

On his first partial day, Bud has simply been transporting decedents from the morgue at Mount Sinai Hospital to the funeral home. The photo below was captioned: Ramp to temporary morgue, Trailer 2. (The temporary morgue is not the house in the background, rather it is the white trailer.)

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In my reading, I’ve learned that most hospitals in the area have morgue capacity for about 12, but there are some that can handle up to 25. This has resulted in the installation of the temporary morgues.

As you consider the situation in New York City, whatever you may think of the entire Covid-19 scenario, please remember that grief is running rampant there. Vast numbers are managing grief every day and their pain is deep and real. Please pray for those families and friends who are navigating the valley of the shadow of death.

Please pray for Bud. It may be that he will be the most help by transporting, but whatever his assigned task, it will be challenging simply because of the sheer numbers involved.

 

Valley of the Shadow

Click here to take a look at this video:  I love the message of this song. Never alone.

valley

Life in the valley. What valley? The valley of the shadow. We always think of this phrase in terms of the “valley of the shadow of death” as referenced in Psalm 23. But this world is beset by shadows of all types and sizes . . .

Shadow of sorrow
Shadow of disappointment
Shadow of betrayal
Shadow of misunderstanding
Shadow of smarminess
Shadow of doubt
Shadow of hurt
Shadow of isolation
Shadow of separation
Shadow of criticism
Shadow of castigation
Shadow of humiliation

In order to have a shadow there must be light. In this light, some obstacle must insert between the observer and the source, stopping the light — resulting in an area of darkness. Too often, the obstacles are us.

Perhaps you are the obstacle between me and the light. Perhaps I am the obstacle between you and the light. Perhaps I am the obstacle between me and the light – meaning, I can even create my own obstacles. Did you ever hear someone say “I can’t get out of my own way?”

The obstacle always results in an area of darkness. Never have I seen a bright shadow, or a glowing shadow, or a radiant shadow. Just like no one ever really saw a radiant pig; sorry, Charlotte, to shine the light on that myth. Shadows are dark—and darker.

Never have I seen a luminous shadow, but I have seen a shimmering reflection. A reflection happens when light bounces off an object. The surface of the object determines the directness or the amount of diffusion the reflection has. But never does bouncing light result in darkness—only light.

You know where I’m going with this. Jesus is the light, the Light of the world. Those who know Him have a daily choice to make. Will I be an obstacle that results in darkness? Or will I choose to pass the light along, reflecting brilliance from Him? Some days this is a moment by moment choice for me. I struggle with attitude; I struggle with purpose; I struggle with motivation. Let’s face it, I struggle with so many things that it might be easier to list what I’ve mastered.

Here’s the list:             .

This is why I have to constantly strive to turn those shadows out and allow the light to shine. I want to turn those shadows above into something other.

reflections of joy
reflections of contentment
reflections of loyalty
reflections of insight
reflections of sincerity
reflections of certainty
reflections of healing
reflections of community
reflections of unity
reflections of approval
reflections of praise
reflections of affirmation
Reflections of grace.

reflection

Not cancelled . . .

I’m feeling it, so I’m sure that you are as well, that it would be wonderful if we could move on from the current health crisis. COVID-19 has hijacked our entire existence and even our deaths, and as such, we all need to adapt. Yet funerals still happen and need to happen. Mourning does not stop for a virus. Grieving continues, and in some families, is amplified because of the virus.

We continue to offer viewings and funeral services for the immediate family. For years we have offered free webcasting services. This service is even more valuable to you now in the midst of the current crisis. Given the private nature of funerals, our streaming is password protected, giving you total control over your guest list. You choose your password and give it to those friends and family that you’d like to participate.

I love these words by  Jamie Tworkowski from the TWLOHA blogsite:

“Conversations will not be cancelled.
Relationships will not be cancelled.
Love will not be cancelled.
Songs will not be cancelled.
Reading will not be cancelled.
Self-care will not be cancelled.
Hope will not be cancelled.”

Adding to the list:

Mourning will not be cancelled.
Compassion will not be cancelled.
Encouragement will not be cancelled.

We are here to help and offer hope. Click on the image below for a story of hope . . .

Promise-Blog