Posts Tagged ‘U2’

3 Panel U2 pic for shirt

Bono (Chicago 2015), Liz (After 4 Chicago SOI 2015 shows!), and more Bono.

Bono! It’s your birthday.  Since we’re born exactly a week apart, I’d like to ask you some questions–one bull to another.  As we U2 fans prepare for the Joshua Tree 40 tour, I have some questions I’d love to ask you.  What is it like:

Maybe you didn’t ask for this much, but God gave it to you anyway. This voice—this voice that gives power to the silent, the abused, the ignored, the desperate. This magical voice that entertains those who can afford it—provoking and comforting, all the while, yet always on the move.

We hear you between the lines! We are getting the message. Even as you continue to entertain us as the years pass, we too are changing; ourselves, and the world around us.   We can CREATE change. There is true beauty in being able to do that. The divinely-inspired do more then just sit still.  We’re fighting for love and peace too, even as we do battle to settle the wars that rage within ourselves.  Your music helps us to be gentle with ourselves. Thank you for that.

You have a vast and diverse fan base.   Sometimes we may just appear as just a bunch of idolaters.  I dispute that.  If that’s all we were, then we’re all just reduced to a bunch of noise–people who don’t think or care, and it’s only all about you. But you know us better than that. It’s so much more. Because of your humility, we see past the rock star. We see a mirror; we see ourselves–#strongerthanfear; we too can be brave enough to be a kinder person, to be more tolerant and to help others.   Your music and your heart unites those of various faiths, it smashes barriers.  In the music of U2, we learn to see and hear the world differently. Thank you.

Your voice and music—this blessed gift of soul and sound, is the soundtrack that activates our inspiration and creativity too! Your music empowers our resolve. It gets us through when our hearts break, and it makes the good moments super amazing!

We know where to find you, when you’re not around. We’ll meet you in the sound!

Keep going Bono (and the rest of U2!). Keep creating song and art. Keep talking to world leaders and business leaders and everyday people too. May you always keep your heart and mind open as you always have. May you always find time to put your family and faith and your well-being before the rest of us. Trust in the God who gave a short man a mighty big megaphone! Make a joyful noise until your last breath and together, we’ll walk this magical journey of life as we each  find our way home.

And live. Just be. Until you give it all away.

Happy Birthday and love from one fan, as well as the rest of us.  Today, we remember you.  U2areloved

FOR U2 FANS:  Please contribute to Bono’s annual “Build a Well in Africa” fund.  This is a cause near and dear to his heart!

U2 – “No Ordinary Love” — Video Download for U2.com subscribers.

Yep!  I’m a huge U2 fan. Me and a few other million friends.   They’re an extraordinary band not only because their melodies so easily latch on to our auditory taste buds, but more importantly their lyrics speak to a  much deeper place in our soul.  U2’s  music evokes memory and dreams and hopes.  They aren’t the pop flavor of the day, they speak messages of wisdom, if we have ears willing to hear.   A vision beyond visibility becomes a possibility when one is appropriately inspired.

I’m so looking forward to hearing all the songs that will ultimately comprise the soundtrack of Mandela:  Long Walk to Freedom  Not only is Mandela a mentor and inspiration for Bono personally, but also he holds a special place in people’s hearts all over the world who have seen or experienced or are touched by suppression, imprisonment, injustice or perhaps are fighting for freedom and human rights.

Even if you’re not a freedom fighter who has taken to the streets, you may be a prayer warrior or encourager  somewhere in the life or lives of those who struggle.  That’s what Jesus did when he read these prophetic words from the book of Isaiah to the people of Nazareth:

“The Lord has put his Spirit in me,
because he appointed me to tell the Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to tell the captives they are free
and to tell the blind that they can see again.
God sent me to free those who have been treated unfairly.  Luke 4:18

I have a friend who for a long span of time wasn’t free.   For a time he was held captive internally by choices, as well as externally by unjust circumstances.   So as I wrote to the face of a friend I’ve never met until very recently, I reminded him that “You don’t have to walk around outside to taste freedom.”  You can get free inside first.  In fact, it’s probably a good idea.   And just because there are so many things you can’t see at this time, doesn’t mean you can’t have a vision of what life will look like soon, very soon.

This is seeing:   Believing what right now you can only hope for and resting confidently in assurance that God will use your hour of trial or suffering and turn it into something beautiful, or redemptive.  But it requires something of you first:

No Ordinary Love

Extraordinary love requires faith, being confident in that which you hope for and being sure of what you can not see.  (Hebrews 11:1) That’s no ordinary love.  Extraordinary love also requires sacrifice; it’s going to cost you something you value: your time, your money, your safety, your reputation, your safety net  or perhaps your freedom.  In some cases, even your very life.

“We can’t fall any further if we can’t feel ordinary love.”   Show someone in need some love today.     Take the plunge.  Give until it hurts.  Give with all you’ve got.  And even when you’re drowning in your own personal ocean of adversity and difficulty, remember you were loved first by no ordinary love,  so this pain you feel from time to time is only your heart cracking around the hard places until it becomes smooth as polished precious stones.

Don’t give up.  Look up.  Reach higher.  Assist the poor.  Minister to the hurting.  Forgive what seems unforgivable.   Show love in the name of freedom, in the name of justice and mercy, in the name of compassion, in the name of righteousness and then wait, and watch what God will do.   Perhaps if we each can show love to even just one, especially the difficult one, God can transform the ordinary to extraordinary.

May you find ways to show love today and be joyful in the anticipation of what God can do with just a bit of ordinary love.

POST SCRIPT 12/06/2013:  I started this entry about a week ago.  But I didn’t finish.  God had other plans.  I saw some miracles this week and witnessed first hand just how fast God can transform an isolated  captive person into a person being released into freedom and into loving capable hands.  ALL THIS, on the day Nelson Mandela has passed.  The world lost a true hero, a compassionate soul, and someone who fully understood  this truth: Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.(1 Peter 4:8)  Rest in peace Nelson Mandela.  And welcome home too.  You leave a legacy of powerful truth spoken in love for the rest of us to aspire to.

Allow me to close with some wisdom of Nelson Mandela, who capably showed us light can chase away the dark and love is stronger than hate:

“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” —Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” —Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

Oasis (Weekly Writing Challenge)

Posted: December 4, 2012 in Inspiration, Oasis, U2
Tags: , ,

Sanctuary U2

PHOTO CREDIT: FACEBOOK FRIEND —  THANKS HH!

Where do you go for sanctuary?   Is it a place?   A song?  A person?    A habit?   A memory?   A belief?  A faith you claim?  All of the above?

How deep do you go in your oasis?  Could you stay a while?  Would you want to drown there?

How big is your heart?  How deep can it be cut?

Without giving away all that I am, I can safely say, on any given heartache or stress beyond my understanding, I’ll admit I like to get lost in the music and lyrics of U2.  I’m pretty sure they wrote the lyric “Let me in the sound” just for me.

Yes, I like to be transported away from hurt or disappointment and into what I call my “Happy Place”.   Their music soothes my soul and puts my mind at ease when the chaos of life sometimes surrounds me.     I think it takes me somewhere else:  Another time, another place. 

It doesn’t take me long once I start strolling along in my own personal oasis, until I bump into my new best friend; inspiration.   I love hanging out with inspiration, because then we usually grab two of my other great friends:

Lens and Pens

Grab a camera. Jot a thought.  Savor this moment.  It is your reference material for life.

Yes, whenever I’m in my oasis hooking up with inspiration, I find I get in touch with my inner artist for a while.  And you know what?  I kind of like her.

I meet me.  The real me.    I think I find the me that God actually intended me to be.

May you find peace in your oasis today!

And for you who need a little U2 encouragement today:

paw2012w


Picture Taken 07/25/12 — Sculpture Outside IMAX Theater, Raleigh, NC

Just outside the IMAX theater in Raleigh stands one of my favorite sculptures.  I don’t know the name of it, but if it were mine to name, I’d call it “Window in the Skies” after one of my favorite U2 songs.  Like a magnet, it invites one to come close and look up–way up.

When I do, I am reminded of the smallness of me, and the vastness of God.  When I look thru this little window in the sky, I think of this well known verse in the bible:

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.

Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.  1 Corinthians 13:12

If I look at the world from this perspective, that is I take my eyes off the ground and off the sometimes dark situations that sometimes surround me, and look up and beyond (a vision beyond visibility)I am reminded that just past the edge of darkness, is a window to eternity, an even truer dimension then we know here and now.

Our lives are but a few grains in the sands of time, and the one question that plagues us through much of life is this:  Why?

The answer is often a mystery.  But look way up through the window.  Walk the plank called faith until it’s time to take a leap.   God’s love and light is all around us, a subtle torchlight to guide us safely home.

Until then, we are but silhouettes in His bright light, but still His love can allow us to shine.

And in case you’re a U2 fan,  how about a little “Window in the Skies” to ponder what love has done in your life, as you enjoy the pic!

Thanks for checking out my blog!  Liz

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a WordPress.Com blogger, I enjoy participating in the Weekly Photo Challenge.  This week’s theme is Urban.  Well, this scene is about as urban as it gets near the Theatre District in NYC…closer to Off Broadway than “On”. But you get the idea.

But as the current curator and sometime sommelier for u2areloved.com, allow me to submit this pic.  Here’s why!

In every pic, there is a hidden jewel.  And if you know me, or know the band I’m a bit smitten with, then you will see it.   Right there in the middle is Bono and U2 band mates reminding one that:

U2 360 Concert is in NYC on 07/20/11

Because like their song says, “Grace makes beauty out of ugly things.”

Kind of like the theme of this urban photo.

Kind of like the theme I’m trying to express on my site here.

Kind of like what God has done in my lifeHe taught me to see beauty, even in the stark things, the hard things,  this wretched truth of the life we sometimes live.

Show a little LOVE if you LIKE and LIKE the U2areloved blog here!!  Thanks friends.
New blog post coming soon!  Life’s been a bit crazy lately….

u2areloved

Liz

Sometimes it’s so hard to live in the now.  It’s so easy to stay stuck in what happened yesterday or what we either hope will happen tomorrow or what we fear may happen.   When I look back, I used to dwell more on negative events and conversations and stay there and it would cause all sorts of anxiety because of what may happen next in the future.  Conversations and events that never materialized were a constant companion, but not a very good friend.

But now I’m getting older and time is more precious.  If I’m going to rent space from the past or the future in my head, then it best be a good place.  I like to call it my happy place.  Indeed it is.

It’s sometimes accompanied by U2 music.  It might be one of their concerts.  More than likely it involves spending time with family and friends during the big and small moments that make life worth living.  You know these moments.  They are the ones that whisper to your soul:

Don’t forget this; try and remember every detail.

 Carve this memory in your heart; for it will warm you all your days.

     Funny thing is this:  It’s not the most extravagant place I’ve ever been.  It’s not the most famous person I’ve ever met.  It’s small.  It’s true.  Remember when Bono sings in “Miracle Drug” that, “Freedom has a scent, like the top of a newborn baby’s head.”

That’s it.   The memories of new life, or the beginning of an amazing journey, the moment that happens that you know from here out, everything is different, life is better, it’s richer, and it’s truer.  The moments that follow this one are enriched because they are defined by this one.

 

I think of walking and looking up at the tall redwoods of the Muir Woods north of San Francisco.  These trees are often thirty stories high, and they instantly shrink us as you walk their paths.  I think of wild horses that still run free when I stayed on Shackleford Banks off the coast of NC with my father when I was a little girl.  He built us a covered shelter out of drifted scraps of wood.

 

      I think of the homeless man on the corner I enjoy giving cookies to or a new shirt.  I don’t pity him, I only see him.  I see a soul who is worthy and smile because I know God sees him so much more.  I think of the sight of each of my children the first second I held them in my arms.  I will always believe in love at first sight.  Because it’s a repetitive theme, I know it’s true.

I dream of and for the future.   And sometimes I get a glimpse of events before they happen.  That’s a whole other story, but people that know me, know it’s true.    Call it a finely tuned sense of intuition, a gift, or a curse, I sometimes know before I know.  Both the good and the bad—shadows of the future come into view before the people or events that shape it will.  I’ve learned to appreciate it.    I can expect blessings and trials, but through both of them, I know I don’t walk alone.

When we start examining our hearts, it’s amazing what we find.  I think God is more likely to give us a “heads up” when we get honest with ourselves what hurts us, what inspires us, what delights us, what leads us to change, what challenges us and pushes us forward.   Before anything ever happens, do you first believe whatever happens, it will be used for your good, even if it is not good?   For that is freedom.

I always believe something is at work here, bigger than me, beckoning me to push through and go forward always.  To not look back and have faith even when the future seems so uncertain.   There will be hard times too, but I believe the God that took me this far, won’t abandon me later.

All we ever have is now, that’s why the cliché is true that it’s a gift called the present.  Every moment and event before this one lead you here.  Did you choose well?   There’s still time.   Tears, laughter, love, loss, abandonment, fulfillment, fear, grief, intensity, joy, hurt, love, disillusion,  ambition, passion—it’s all going to happen.  Maybe not today, but another time, another place.   Will you be ready?

Live ∞ Love ∞ Laugh ∞ Pray ∞ Listen to U2 ∞ Sing ∞ Trust ∞ Don’t Panic ∞ Feel ∞   Hear ∞ See ∞ 

∞  Ready?  GO!

When opportunity knocks a man still has to get up off his seat and open the door.  – Author Unknown

      Hello friends!  How’s life these days?  Are you living happy?  How is your dream coming along? Are you living true?   If not now, when?   Are you gonna wait forever?

Living true—what’s that you say?  Believe me; you’ll know it when you get there.  Living true is living life with passion and purpose but without checking reason at the door.   Doing what you absolutely love without causing harm to others is the passionate and purposeful life. Living true means losing the superficiality of status, or position, and focusing on what truly satisfies your soul.

Living true with passion and purpose requires a few things:

  • Time
  • Motivation
  • Discipline
  • Trusting Your Instincts
  • The Desire to Make a Mark
  • The Promise Not to Harm
  • Endurance
  • Faith

When I listen to U2’s music, I hear the sound of four band mates who have spent well over thirty years honing their craft, fulfilling the desire of their hearts, and bringing joy to millions of fans all over the world.  While growing their dream, they have also made an impact on the poorest among Earth’s citizens–people who most likely have never even heard of U2 or their music, but know the sound and sight of grace when it appears.

What is it about U2’s music that takes root in the hearts of so many?  What is it that connects U2’s fans to one another and to the band itself?  I’ll tell you what it is.  Bono said it:  The goal is soul!  When we pour our heart and soul into our craft, it resonates.  It plants roots, grows deep, and if watered with time and love, brings fruit.    As time passes, it gains momentum. 

Without a doubt, it takes time and discipline to create something uniquely yours and make your mark.   It’s possible, but it takes a lot of time.  The key is taking baby steps each day!  What is your dream?    I find most people have a dream, but it’s buried under the surface of responsibilities, obligations, insane schedules, and a series of distractions that compete for priority in our heart.

If you have gotten to know me, you also know I believe in God, a higher power in this universe who is also at work.  He created me with purpose.  God had a purpose in mind for me on the day I was born.    Once I found it, all I had to do was tap into it.    I had to decide.  I decided I wasn’t going to wait forever.  The time to do something about it was now!  Because now is all the time we ever really have!

Finding purpose is like meeting the love of your life.  I hope you are one of the lucky ones who get to do both.    Meeting the love of your life is phenomenal, but time changes each of us, and a person can only satisfy you so deeply, and if you’re not careful, you can become selfish in expecting them to satisfy you in a way they can’t.  We all age, change, move in and out with the tides with our feelings, and experience life differently.      Passion in relationships is a burning flame that keeps your desires and affection warm but it also threatens to consume you if you don’t pair it with purpose.  You can have a shared purpose, but it’s essential to also have your own purpose.

When purpose steps in, unrealistic expectation of others has to leave.   For this is the thing that you own!  You don’t need someone else’s permission, approval, or same level of desire in it to complete you.  You have this for you.  You desire the same for them.

I meet so many people who say they don’t have time to work on what they love, or even spend time trying to find it.  Guess what?  I felt the same way—until I did.

I still work and have a family.  You work on it as time allows.  You make time.  You give up the unnecessary.  It might be TV, time on Facebook, time on the phone.  You become more efficient at other tasks to free up time.   You learn to carve minutes for your passion at first, and then it turns to hours in a week.   Before long you realize these are the minutes that make you.   Soon you don’t find time for it; time finds you!

This majestic time becomes your sanctuary –this space where you think, dream, and create that which hasn’t existed up to now.    You focus on the craft and discipline first, and as you do the plans start to formulate for the next step whether it’s to take it to the next level, take it public or to market, or maybe just being brave enough to share it with even one other person.  You are taking the steps on the journey, but leaving the destination to God.

In U2’s song One, it resonates perhaps because it reminds us that we are indeed One, but we are not the same.  We are united in our humanity and our universal quest to be both free and loved, but we also have a dream to create or leave a mark that is unique to us.    Larry, Adam, Edge, and Bono are a perfect band of four brothers in total sync with one another musically and professionally, and yet off stage are completely their own person with unique lives that don’t resemble the other.  They create a shared passion, but they’re smart enough to have their own passions.

How have they lasted so many years?  By enduring–they put the needs of the team before the individual.  They tough it out through criticism, mistakes, and unpopular choices.  Sometimes they wait for their audience to evolve and appreciate prior works.   Yes they have managers, advisers, but ultimately they seem to connect to the souls of their fans and trust their instincts.  And instinct is the gift that helps our faith grow stronger.

Trust your instincts.  Find your passion—branch out and find your people!   You’re only a few mouse clicks away from finding your support group.    Make a little bit of time each day for that which you love.  Keep learning.   Respond in love and kindness to others as your journey.   Find grace inside the sound of what your heart is telling you to do.    “Don’t trade your dreams for some small change”.

You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. 
- Mark Twain

Video:  Bono: A Conversation about Christianity

Who do you follow?  Click on Faces on Facebook, blogs, websites, YouTube, people, pets, places, ideas, or ideologies and chances are there’s a LIKE, SHARE, or FOLLOW button attached to it.

I’m a bit of a U2 fan.  OK, maybe too much so sometimes.  It’s just that I really in truly love their music more than ANYTHING else around.  It’s just me, my personal preferences.  Besides the technical genius of the Edge, the backbone and muscle found in Larry and Adam, you’d have to be fairly unaware in life to not know the lead singer and some say heart of the band is—Bono.  Even that’s debatable because most U2 fans know what makes the band endure through the decades is that each member is absolutely vital to the other.  Bono just happens to be the person in front.

A year ago today I met Bono.  I just happened to be in NYC, a place I’ve only been to three times in my life.  He just happened to be at the Letterman Theater outside my hotel on my last day in NYC.  I didn’t know U2 was in town, even more, just outside my hotel across the street a few feet away.   I found out randomly when I overheard another hotel patron telling her friend that they were in town.

I ran across the street and tried to get Letterman tickets.  I waited in line, interviewed, and didn’t get picked.  I left and did some sightseeing with my adult daughter in Battery Park.   We came back, and I went to the theater one more time where Letterman was filming.  Everyone had showed up.  There were no extra tickets; I was told I didn’t need to stay.  I knew Bono and The Edge were inside.  I wanted to meet them; I wanted to meet Bono!

I was beside myself with excitement. I sort of felt like a cross between the swooning moms who fainted over Elvis during my childhood and young teens who camp out and fast for days for a change to meet “The Bieb-ster”.   I ran back to my hotel to change and brush my hair.  I was determined to find a way.  Then I started calming down.  Then I started crying.  What’s wrong with me?

HE’S ONLY A MAN

Suddenly, there was a fire drill only on our floor.  I had to evacuate anyway.  I thought maybe, just maybe I’d go downstairs one last time and see if anything was going on in the back of the theater around the corner.  God?  What are you trying to tell me?

He’s only a man my child.  He’s definitely not Jesus.  He’s Bono, but at the end of the day, he’s still a man.

I quit running.  I started walking instead.  I told God something important:  I know!

So I surrendered.  If it was meant to be—fine.  If not, I could live with that.  Only four days prior, I had driven from this same hotel to see U2 in Philadelphia.  It was my third and best U2 concert of all.  Don’t be greedy with your blessings Liz!

I got there in the nick of time.  I had a blast and made some quick connections with other U2 fans; or as I sometimes say, “I found MY people!”

The backdoors opened.  Out walked the Edge and then Bono.  Then it happened.  I met Bono!  I wasn’t shaking.  I wasn’t falling down. I was able to speak coherently.   He’s just a man.  But for a brief second in time, I saw his eyes and perhaps he saw mine.  I told him to tell Nelson Mandela Happy Birthday.  I found out later, he was on his way to have lunch with him, but I didn’t know that at the time.  I wasn’t inside the theater when they were taping.  I just knew.  Because sometimes our souls just know.  I knew how close they are, and I remembered the audience singing Happy Birthday to Nelson at Bono’s request four days earlier in Philadelphia.

Then he said what I still refer to as just one word:  Yeah!!!!!

Yeah (YES)!   YES is such an affirmative word.  It may sound cliché, but I knew in my heart that day, it was time for me to start saying yes to pursuing some dreams I’ve carried around for a while.  It was as if God was whispering,

Your dreams can be a reality!  Why do you even doubt?

 Not because I met Bono, but because sometimes God just comes down and blesses you with something amazing, that you didn’t deserve, that you wouldn’t have seen coming in your wildest imagination.

At the end of the day, and the whole of my life, I am a U2 fan to the core, especially Bono.  But I actually follow WHO he follows.  I think that’s why I and millions of other fans connect so deeply.   It’s more than even U2’s great music.  It’s their connection to those that suffer in this world and making us not just aware, but challenging us to do.   To start where you are, and to branch out, that is the key.

Yes I’m a fan of U2, so I’ve hit my fill of LIKE buttons and commented volumes.

But I FOLLOW Christ, not perfectly, but absolutely, and that’s something I really want to SHARE.    Christ forgives, redeems, saves, loves, challenges, and changes us IF we let him.  Only God knows what plans He has for you though we’re guaranteed a few things as we go:  tragedy, triumph, love, loss.  So how do we survive it all?

Love.  Pray.  Hope.  Persevere.  Trust.

I’m many things—a wife, a mother, a friend, a daughter, a sister, and a writer.  I’m a fan of U2.  I’m a follower of Jesus—like my brother Paul, we are ONE in Christ. And that’s reason to REJOICE!

NOTE:  I’ve read these quotes.  They can be found in these books, great reads for U2 fans regarding Bono’s views and struggles in his faith walk.

 

Signs and Wonders (Do You Feel Loved?)

Posted: July 18, 2012 in Faith, God, Love
Tags: , , ,

How many of us lift up a simple prayer sometimes and ask for a sign.  Just give me a sign Lord!  So, a few days ago when I was driving to the beach, I saw this sign by the side of the road.  Simple.  To the point.  What was it advertising?  I didn’t see anything else beside it.   Oh come on, someone doesn’t just pay for those words and not advertise a product!   Well, somebody did.

There has to be a story here, I thought to myself as I made two consecutive  180° degree turns in my van, just so I could digitally encapsulate forever this profound message.  Simple, yet profound.

Somebody cared enough to put these words on a billboard.  Somebody thought you needed to know.  Who in your life needs to be told?  The long term girl friend you kind of take for granted?  The wife you’ve known for fifty years who already knows you do—you’re long past having to say it?  What about the mother who you haven’t called in over a year?  The daughter you’ve been estranged from and you’re too chicken to call?    The friend who you let down?

Maybe there’s a him that needs to hear it just as well.  Who says men don’t need to hear it?  Maybe it’s your child or teenager.  Just because they have an attitude doesn’t mean they don’t long for it.  Either way, if YOU ARE HERE, then maybe this is your moment, your sign.

Love has two parts:

  1. Do
  2. Say

Do!  Actions speak louder than words and hopefully your actions are leaving heavy carbon footprints in the heart of those you love.  It’s the little gestures that count, the sweet notes, the surprise call, the dinner on the roof she wasn’t expecting, mowing your elderly neighbor’s yard, taking your daughter fishing, and a thousand other things you can easily think once you decide you’ve got the time.

Say!  Actions may speak louder, but words are the shadows of these deeds.  Love is the loudest whisper ever spoken, if it is said true.  Love is what you wear or omit when you go out in the world.  Love is what you broadcast when you speak, write, sing, or create.   It’s a feeling, yes, but so much more.  It’s an action, a decision, and it’s never static.  Love always leaves a mark.

Do you feel loved?

It’s so simple actually.  Start with something you do.  Then follow it up with something you say.  Trust God with the results.  Listen to good music.  Take note of things that are beautiful.  Appreciate life!   Pray.   Be patient and show kindness.  Let love be your outward habit towards others.

You are here.  You are not lost.  You are worthy of giving and receiving love.   Go forward smiling with a song in your heart and with God’s blessing.

You too are loved!

And I feel loved
Do you feel loved
Do you feel loved
And it looks like the sun
But it feels like rain
And there’s heat in the sun
To see us through the rain

Do you feel loved
Do you feel loved
Do you feel loved

“Do You Feel Loved?” – U2

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.    If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.    If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,but do not have love, I gain nothing.   Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.    It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:1-8

What is it about a beach sunrise that trumps a regular sunrise?  Yesterday morning I had my feet propped up on a deck rail, a warm coffee in my hand, two sweet dogs laying by my side, and watching the ocean on the horizon.

Such sweet relief!   Our souls often feel weathered due to the storms we’re forced to endure. We learn:

Change is the only constant we navigate by

Waves continuously change and crash, but the sea and the mysterious laws that govern it are eternally constant. I sat there vaguely pondering  this, but mostly I was trance like in a state of non-thought.

Then my dear friend of twenty years came out with a plate of delicious fresh garden tomatoes grown with the help of her hands and love for gardening.  We sipped our coffee as we watched the sea.  “Look!” she said.  “Dolphins!”    A pair of dolphins were swimming just past the waves’ breaking  point parallel to the shore line.

I rarely stay at such quiet beaches, so I had yet to see dolphins at sunrise.  I’ve hoped for it on many trips, but never got to see them with my own eyes–until yesterday.

It’s real, I thought.  I never saw dolphins swim at sunrise before, not because they didn’t exist or I wasn’t looking hard enough, but because it wasn’t my time to see.  Prayers are answered in God’s time, not ours.

There is nothing like the ocean that seems to settle our faith and our doubts between the temporary and the eternal  like watching the ocean for an extended period of time.  Our soul is soothed as we watch the ocean free from life’s pressures, distractions, noise, and rampant thoughts that compete for our attention.    Ah, to just watch the ocean with a truly open mind, and without awareness of time passing.

See God has planted the seed of eternity in every man’s heart.  It’s hard not to love the sea whose every breaking wave crashes onto shore, only to return softly back to itself.    From a distance it’s so beautiful.  But if you are standing at the waves’ breaking point, all you hear is loudness and feel its fury.  You certainly feel the power if you attempt to stand there.  Fixing your feet here is impossible.  But a few yards ahead or behind the breaking point, all is calm.

Our lives are exactly like that.  The storms come.   The circumstances come in bulk and threaten to pull us under.  We are standing at the breaking point where it’s loud, and we’re unsteady on our feet.  We see the shore and we see the horizon, but in the midst of the breaking point’s fury, we can’t seem to move further out to sea or return to shore.

Yes, viewing the ocean from the distance of being across the street, I had a wider and quieter view then when lying on the sand only a few feet from where the tide comes in.  I look at the sea from this distance and feel nothing but peace from the top of my head to the tips of my toes still sugared in bits of yesterday’s sand.  All is well with the world—or at least, in this moment, in mine.

Yet I know this same sea has blanketed fury on coastal cities in time past.  It’s destroyed property and taken lives.  Untold thousands have drawn their last breath of air before succumbing to the ocean’s depths.    Boats and ships sink.  Storms come.  People drown.   My worst sea nightmare would be of being stranded in a life boat, dying of thirst, yet wondering if I’d be rescued.

Yesterday I watched dolphins swim across the ocean.  Somewhere else in the world, in this very same sea, somebody else was on a sinking boat fighting to stay alive.  At their moment of peril, did dolphins cease to exist?  While I marveled at the magnificence of dolphins, did I not care for the person struggling in the sea just because I didn’t see them or know of it?

Our circumstances, perspectives, beliefs, and geography separate us, yet we are still united in our humanity.  When one suffers, humanity suffers even when others are not aware.  Thankfully, God sees the big picture of our lives with an ultra-wide angle lens—a perspective we can’t conceive.  It is not constrained by width or depth or time.   God is able to see both these moments, and every moment and every one.

I want to have and maintain peace like I did yesterday morning.  Can we have daily peace, even though there is continual chaos in the world, even in our own lives? If so, how God?

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.  James 1:5-8

This is one of the hardest and truest bible verses to me.  We are told that it is our doubts that blow our lives all around, sometimes to bits!  Our circumstances and our emotions toss us in such a way we can’t find True North, we can’t navigate our way home.   We get pulled between other peoples’ words to us and expectations of us and our feelings towards it all.   We don’t find solutions, because we don’t believe we will.

We get tossed by each event that threatens to overtake us, simply because we’re out of control.  We already know that in many circumstances, the control was never ours to possess anyway.    Still we fight the Captain of our soul for command of the wheel.  Sometimes our own mutiny is the real cause of our undoing.

It’s been said that seeing is believing.  But the real truth is believing is seeing. 

Would I have believed in dolphins had I never seen them at sunrise yesterday?  Of course!  I’ve known dozens of people who have already seen them; I’d seen them on TV and pictures.  That’s a no-brainer.  Everyone knows dolphins exist.

But God?  That’s another matter.  It can be hard to either believe God exists or that He actually is good or cares for you or the world that you live in.  How could God care or be good when there are storms such as wars, disease, famine , poverty, injustice,  and cruelty inflicted on living beings that God breathed life into in the first place?  Are those people or creatures less valuable to God then we are?  Of course not!  Then why?

WHY is the question we don’t have the luxury of asking.  When we do, our brain is limited in the answers it provides.  We can’t find rationale for pain or unfairness; our limited explanations don’t satisfy.   That dissatisfaction breeds doubt, and the cycle of being tossed about commences.

WHY is the universal question whose answer is like the sea.  It rises up, and then rolls back out.  We think we almost know sometimes; we think we have our lives figured out.    Then the storms come.

We have to trust in our faith that assures WHO, and not the knowledge that seeks to explain WHY.  Don’t allow waves of doubt to take your truth back to sea.

Man tries to explain his life and events, and the most brilliant, pedigreed people still fail miserably.   Life is a mystery.   The question is can you be at peace and NOT have answers sometimes?

I hope so.  That’s faith—being comfortable in not knowing the outcome or why.   If we can choose to live our lives as mirrors, so that our words and deeds reflect  light and love, rather than a telescope that tries to see and explain time and circumstance—that’s visionIf we can choose to love God and believe he exists, even though life isn’t fair, that’s true freedom.  Doing these things diminishes doubts, until they eventually die.

We don’t get to choose the location, timing, or severity of our storms.  We only can decide on who is in charge of our ship that sails over every breaking wave.  Choose well so that you can navigate safely.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  Hebrews 11:1

 

Every breaking wave
On the shore
Tells  the next one there’ll be one more

I don’t know if I’m that strong
I don’t know if I’m that strong
Don’t know if I’m that strong
To be somebody
To need someone……….

……..The waves know
We’re on the rocks
Drowning is no sin

You know
That my heart
Is the same place yours has been

(Partial Lyrics—U2 –Every Breaking Wave)