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Year Two, Day 36: Light Bulb Moment and a Psalm of Hope

I am just doing normal life things today. Trying at least.  I still ache for the victims of this latest shooting. Feeling helpless and agitated by the politicalization of another tragedy.

I have a gluten free clam chowder in the crockpot.  Cooking does give me inner peace.  Cooking for others in particular. My daughter and son-in-law are heading out for a hike and church activity. It warms my heart to know that they will have a hot, home cooked meal when they return.

I also just baked a pan of sweet potato brownies.  They smell divine! I have them cooling off in the fridge, so not sure how they will turn out.  I used this recipe from the "Lean Green Bean" blog:

I miss my morning workouts. I seem to have shifted my routine to going to the gym at the end of the day, after teaching.  This has its pros and cons.

Pro:  Hot tub!  Also, it is a good time for me to get caught up on the news. Another plus is that watching the news while I am on the treadmill helps the time go by.  And now that I think of it, this is a good way for me to keep my head up. I often look at breaking news and social media in the morning to wake me up. But often it starts my day off negatively.  I do want to be informed, but perhaps I could limit my news watching to when I am on the treadmill!

Light bulb moment!!!

Con: I sometimes am tired after a long day, and talk myself out of the gym and then have to deal with massive guilt.

I am keeping one eye glued to breaking news. My heart is still thudding sickly in my chest.  I recognize this feeling. I felt it after 911 and after the Newtown massacre.

But I know that is what terrorists desire. Fear.  I do not feel fear, at least not for myself. But I worry about my loved ones, and pretty much the whole world. And I am sad. Sickened. And slightly numb. 

But much beauty has come out of this last shooting, as always. Stories of lives lived to the fullest, although ended too soon. Heroism, compassion, forgiveness.  Such a world we live in.

I am thankful that I have a job I love. Each student I have brings such joy to my spirit in so many ways.

And I am learning about myself more and more.  I am realizing I need to have compassion for everyone and be ready to help when the need arises, not just when I feel like it.

Yesterday, on a very packed Tri-Met bus, the driver swerved to avoid hitting a car turning in front of him. A middle aged woman, sitting by her disabled husband, went flying out of her seat onto the floor. We all responded immediately, helping her up and to her seat. The driver stopped and came back to check on her. She was visibly upset, but it seemed more about the attention then her injuries.  She said she was ok. But throughout the ride, many of us tried to gently talk to her.  At last, a woman guessed she spoke Vietnamese and spoke to her in her own language. She said her leg hurt a little bit, but she did not need a doctor.  Even so, I was impressed that the driver pulled over and made out an incident report.  It is possible that she could wake up the next day in pain.

I have been riding public transportation in Portland on and off for about 20 years.  I have often experienced kindness and witnessed much compassion for others.  It gives me faith in our humanity.  I do notice that people are much kinder to each other after a tragedy.

I have occasionally noticed rudeness and hostility, but when that happens, there always seems to emerge people that stand up for the injustice. Is this just Portland?  It does make me proud of my city.

I need to pull back from reading too much on the internet. The media, although they are doing their job, often do not portray life realistically. Life is what the rest of us are living. Every day.  How we interact with our families, how we perform on the job, and how we treat strangers.

And this is often not news worthy. But it is real life!

Speaking of which, I need to go taste and adjust seasonings on my clam chowder.

And then out to teach piano and hit the gym!

I hope to get back on track soon.

But what I am really feeling the need for now is a prayer.  I found a blog post by John Stolpe ( written the day after the Newtown tragedy.  He also turns to the psalms, as I do for comfort.  He turned to Psalm 88, using "The Message" translation. I am partial to King James. I like the Old English.

But I find Psalm 88 to be dark, a lament.  It does reflect human grief, fear, and mourning. But I am ready for hope.

So I would like to leave you with Psalm 27. I find more comfort and hope in this psalm, even though evil lurks, looms and strikes in our world, I do believe that love will prevail.

Psalm 27 

King James Version (KJV)

27 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.
One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.
For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord.
Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.
Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.
10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.
11 Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.
12 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.
13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

Note:  I just contacted Tri-Met to give my account of the incident yesterday. I strive to be a woman of integrity!  I told them that a car pulled in front of the bus and he had to stop short, it did not seem avoidable. I hope the lady that was thrown to the ground did not suffer serious injuries.  She is in my prayers.  I wish I had gotten her name, but I know she felt our concern.  I hope that made a difference.




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