Rise Up, My Love (197): Ageless Attraction

Long hairSong of Solomon 6:5-7 “Thy hair is as a flock of goats that appear from Gilead. Thy teeth are as a flock of sheep which go up from the washing, whereof every one beareth twins, and there is not one barren among them. As a piece of a pomegranate are thy temples within thy locks.” Although the bride’s eyes have gone from “cooing” to “overcoming,” her hair has remained the same. In fact, the husband’s description of his beloved’s hair, teeth, and temples are almost exact reiterations of his former similes. Why the repetition?

There are several wonderful possibilities. The first is that the husband’s restatement is a blessed evidence that time had not made his wife any less pleasing to him physically. Although their relationship had deepened and his response to her had become even more profound—as reflected in the effect of her gaze—the physical attributes which had initially drawn him…still drew him! Time had not robbed him of the joy he found in her presence. As he visually drank in her beauty, he remembered that she was still the same girl he had loved and married. Why the same compliments as he showered on her when he first married her? Because he still found her beautiful, and beautiful in many of the same ways.

There are some things that just never grow old…how God paints the evening sky when the sun falls to sleep at night…the dancing flames in a glowing fireplace…the mesmerizing lullaby of ocean waves rolling onto shore…these are a few of my favorite things. Looking into the face of a beloved person is also one of those things. What enchants us as children will usually continue to delight us throughout our life. What we find charming at twenty will likely still charm us at sixty.

Black and White HairTell me, do you still find your spouse beautiful? If you love her/him, you will. It’s funny, but I’ve found something happening within me that I never dreamed would happen when I was young. When I was a girl, I never knew that people could actually find grey hair attractive. I remember my mother saying, “Don’t you think your father looks distinguished with grey hair?” I thought my father was handsome, and he looked okay with grey hair, but it wasn’t really that I thought grey hair was attractive per se, it was just that it looked appropriate on my father, who was “getting old anyway.” I could not have guessed that grey hair would ever be “attractive” to me (in the sense of one human being attracting another human physically). But, as my husband’s lovely frame of dark, gently curling hair has become peppered with salt…and is now turning silver, I find that mysteriously…I actually like grey hair! All of a sudden I noticed that the hair isn’t actually grey, it’s rather a mix of some black and some white strands, and the white strands glisten almost like snow.

White hair is beautiful…haven’t you ever noticed? Why did anyone ever think black hair was intrinsically more beautiful than white? Doesn’t it say that the hair of the Ancient of Days is as white as snow? Could it be that the hair on the king’s beloved now looks like a flock of white goats streaming down the sides of Mount Gilead? Wouldn’t her long tresses, still glistening in the light, be just as beautiful?…and her teeth, and the curve of her cheek? Does it matter if the blush comes from deep underneath the skin…or rests lightly on the surface? And, the fine lines around her eyes…those aren’t really “wrinkles,” they’re just “laugh lines” from all the times she’s laughed with you. Isn’t her smile just as joyous and lovely? Her laughter as delightful? Her ways as pleasing? Perhaps even more so! Is it possible that her husband found her a delight in her youth, but now he is moved even more deeply by her…because now he loves her even more deeply?

Learning to Convey Respect

Frog Parking.I initially wrote today’s post using some images Dis Humorshared by friends on Facebook that reminded me of  “life in these United States,”Definition of Musician from WOLF fmTeachers DM 2but what my age-mates and I thought of as humorous commentary on life was not considered appropriate by the younger generation, so I’m trying again.

Mother and SonI’ve just started working my way through a book called Mother and Son; The Respect Effect, by Emerson Eggerichs, on “What every mom needs to recognize in her son,” and it dawned on me that I need this book much more than the author needs me to publicize it, because I clearly do not understand how to convey the respect I feel to my grown children! When I’ve finished the book, I’ll tell you what I learned (and they gave me an extra copy to share if you’re in the market), but meanwhile, if you have children, I’d like you to join me in pondering this question: Am I giving my children the respect they deserve? RespectIf you and your kids are at a stage where you’re constantly disagreeing, then you may not even feel a lot of respect for them at the moment, but I believe God wants us to treat everyone with respect, following the example of Christ. I used to think that respect had to be earned, but Christ didn’t disparage anyone, not even the woman caught in adultery or the thief on the cross. He expressed anger and confronted evil, but he still treated people with dignity, and he himself always retained his own dignity, even when he was dying on the cross.  Love Quote by PigletOn the other hand, if you admire your kids as much as I admire mine, and you get along well with them, then it’s probably not so much whether or not you feel respect for them, but whether or not you’re able to convey that respect in a meaningful way to them. That’s where I’m at, and that’s what I’m trying to learn. Sometimes it’s not just what’s in the heart that counts, it’s learning to speak the language of the person you love, and for men, I hear that language is spelled R.E.S.P.E.C.T. (which is not as natural to a woman as L.O.V.E.).  Ann LandersDo you find yourself concerned about your relationships with your kids? Join the club. But, just remember this, our adult offspring deserve not only our love, but our sincerest respect, and if we love them, we need to learn how to convey that respect to them in ways they understand.

“Behold, God is mighty, and despiseth not any:
he is mighty in strength and wisdom” (Job 36:5).

(The signs and photos are from internet forwards. If any of them belong to you, please let me know so I can credit you or remove them. Thanks.)

What Made Eddie the Eagle so Special??

Eddie the EagleI think it was his under-dogged determination in the face of humiliation and possible death. Michael Edwards, aka “Eddie the Eagle,” made his claim to fame by entering, surviving, and coming in way under everyone else as last place “loser” in each ski-jumping event he entered at the 1988 Winter Olympics, but the fans went wild! Why??  Well, for a lot of reasons! Eddie the EagleEddie was pretty much totally self-funded and chronically broke. When he broke his jaw in a skiing accident, he tied it up with a pillowcase and continued working instead of being treated at a hospital. He wore 6 pairs of stockings to make his feet fit in hand-me-down boots. Eddie was terribly far-sighted, and his glasses would fog up under his googles at altitude when he was trying to jump. eddie-the-eagleEddie really was clumsy: When landing in Calgary for the 1988 Olympic Games, He ran into the door and broke some of his gear, thereafter being dubbed “Mr. Magoo” as well as “Eddie the Eagle.” Although it’s true that he finished last in both of his jumps in the Calgary Olympics, he did beat his own personal record and set a new record for Great Britain (who hadn’t had a jumper since 1928). Eddie the Eagle MovieEddie is now 52, and although he says he’s a fan of the movie, he also commented to BBC in an interview that only about 5% of the movie was accurate. Perhaps the most disappointing fiction to me was that Eddie was tutored in ski jumping at Lake Placid by two Americans, which is all well and good, but the redemptive story of a fabulous athlete who “blew it” in his youth and then became a winning coach did not occur. However, the one aspect of the movie that is most accurate is also most compelling: Eddie won the hearts of the people because he represented the average guy who succeeded in his goal— without wealth or education—simply through sheer guts and determination. Eddie the Eagle Wiki. Public DomainSince the Olympics, Eddie has become a folk hero, giving motivational speeches and inspiring others never to give up on their dreams. As is quoted in the movie (and was true), at the closing ceremony, Frank King (president of the organizing committee) gave this tribute to Eddie the Eagle: “At these games, some competitors have won gold, some have broken records, and some of you have even soared like an eagle.”

www.theguardian.comHow about you and me? Got a dream? Ready to soar?

(Just for the record: In the 70-meter: Eddie scored 69.2. The next lowest was Bernat Sola Pujol from Spain at 140.4, and Matti Nykänen from Finland scored 229.1 points. Sometimes it really is what’s in the heart that counts!)

Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:30-31).

 


Rise Up, My Love (196): Submitting, Not Because You’re Overpowered, but Because You Love

Rose RedSong of Solomon 6:5 “turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me.” Last week, I made several assumptions about this verse; this week I want to support my thinking. First, why do I think love must be what he sees in her eyes? Well, some will say, “Of course that’s what he sees! What else is even an option?”

The comment immediately preceding His request for her to turn away her eyes is, “thou art beautiful…terrible as an army with banners.” What do the banners say? She answers that herself in chapter two, verse four: “His banner over me was love.” The banners she wears are his banners…the banners of the love of the Son of God! The strength he sees in her is his strength…the strength and glory of God the Father.

The force of energy and light shining out from her eyes is nothing less than the radiant energy of God the Holy Spirit. God has developed in her the beauty and likeness of her maker—a fitting “helpmate” for the bridegroom, but an awesome power. Stop and consider the import of this moment of time suspended in space. Does it remind you of another time and another place where God had created and exalted another being to a position of magnificent light and beauty? It reminds me of Lucifer, “Son of the Morning,” who rebelled against the God of Heaven. Could it be that in that split second of time, Christ saw in his beloved bride the potential for her to chose evil rather than good…to become a traitor to God? Could it be that he felt his own heart so overcome by love that he felt temptation? He was tempted by Satan in the wilderness; could he have also sensed the temptation of the first Adam…to surrender to his wife’s will? “Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me.” The word for overcome is translated as “agitate” in the LXX, “disturb” in the Hebrew interlinear, “overwhelm” (NIV), “hold captive” (JB), and “dazzle” (NEB). It is found elsewhere only in Psalm 138:3, where it is rendered “make bold,” in Proverbs 6:3, where it speaks of “making sure” a friend, and in Isaiah 3:5, where it says “the child shall behave himself proudly against the ancient,” or—as translated in the The Interlinear Bible, “the boy will be insolent against the elder.” Other commentators speak of the word being used to mean “make spirited” or “bewitched.” In each instance, there is the strong flavor of influence over another, and such influence could certainly be used for either good or evil.

The husband is in the position of power; the wife is in the position of influence. When the power of influence begins to overwhelm the person in authority, the person in the position of influence must make a choice: to attempt to truly overcome, or to look away as a sign of submission and surrender. Do not look at me anymore, lest I be tempted to love you more than I love my own Father. Turn away your eyes as a sign of willing submission. My heart is overwhelmed; you must love me and surrender to me of your own volition, because my love for you will not permit me to force you. Do not tempt me to surrender my will to you, for I love you as I love my own soul. You must become one with me, not I with you, in order that we may both be one with the Father. Choose to yield. Choose to submit. Don’t tempt me to yield to you, for you are not yet one with God for eternity, and therefore you still carry the potential for evil. Don’t rebel. I see your strength…it is in your love…love I gave you…but it pulls me like a magnet.

Turn away! Don’t draw me into yourself. Let me draw you into myself…in his time…which will be therefore into the perfection and will of God the Father. Could that be? I don’t know. I do know that it happens between a man and a woman. Could it happen between Christ and his bride?

The whole book of the Song of Solomon…in a deeper sense…reflects the entire earthly journey of a marriage as well as the spiritual pilgrimage of a believer. In a healthy marriage, the husband nurtures the wife until she becomes a powerful and appropriate…either “helpmate” or equal-rival. There comes a time in every marriage when the wife must choose—of her own volition—whether or not to surrender to her husband. For some, that is a choice they make each day, just as we must reaffirm in our hearts our desire to serve God each morning and moment of our lives. But, in a more global sense, the choice to submit is made initially at the altar when the woman becomes a bride, and then again at some point in the marriage…usually during mid-life (and typically as part of the mid-life crisis), after the husband has learned to truly love and admire his wife at a much deeper level. At that point the wife must choose again to surrender her power and yield to her husband’s will. There must come a time again for repeating, “Not my will, but thine be done.” Of course, ultimately both the husband and wife need to submit their wills to God’s will, as we are taught in Ephesians 5:21, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God” (so that God’s will is accomplished, not our own).

I Think I’m Going to Vote Republican…Strange as that Sounds…

Balloon at Republican National ConventionI can’t remember anguishing over whom to vote for this much since I was 10. In 1960 (even though I was too young to actually vote), I wanted Nixon to win. My 12-year-old sister wanted JFK, and she tried to persuade me to support Kennedy even if I really preferred Nixon, based on her theory that whoever was elected would be assassinated (according to past statistical records, which did prove to be true 3 years later). I stuck to my guns, though, and was sadly disappointed.

This election, the only candidate whose personal life made me trust him was Ben Carson, and the thought of Donald Trump was almost humiliating. I definitely did not have a high opinion of Donald Trump, and I didn’t want our country turning into a laughable reality T.V. show!   2016 Republican National ConventionHowever, last night I listened to Trump’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, and I realized that (his past history aside) I actually agreed with most of his platform. Obama’s care of our nation will end with his nearly doubling our national debt from 10.6 trillion when he entered office to over 19 trillion today, and heading to upwards of 20 trillion before he’s out of office. I strongly want a conservative Supreme Court who will protect our constitutional rights. I believe in protecting freedom of speech and allowing religious institutions to retain their tax-exempt status. I believe in the right to bear arms, and the importance of upholding the immigration laws that are on the books. I do want protection from terrorists and fair trade agreements. I do want to support Israel and their right to have a tiny bit of earth where they can live without being persecuted. I don’t want illegal immigrants taking jobs from legal immigrants (because they’re willing to work for less and don’t pay taxes). It wasn’t socialism that made our country great and allowed for a healthy middle class; it was capitalism. What we need is the opportunity for people to be able to work hard and succeed, not to have all their needs met whether or not they’re willing to work. “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10, notice the verse says “would not,” not “could not.” The Bible always admonishes us to be kind to those who are truly needy.) I do want someone whose intention is to put the needs of the American people first and to protect our nation. Isn’t that what a good leader is supposed to do? Think of God’s injunctions from the scripture: “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Timothy 5:8). I’m glad Alan is a compassionate physician and a generous donor, but I’m also glad he puts the needs of his children ahead of the unending neediness of the world of mentally ill folks he serves.  Donald Trump after speaking at the RNCI think if people who believe in the Republican platform don’t want to vote for Donald Trump, it’s because they don’t trust him…but hasn’t Hillary Clinton broken trust with the American people even more? Trump didn’t sound like an irrational lunatic to me last night; he sounded like someone espousing many of the views I also believe. YES, we need reform, but NO, we don’t need a continued slide into unprecedented debt and a re-formed constitution. I wish we had democratic and republican candidates with more honorable records, but that’s not going to keep me from voting for the candidate whose platform is best aligned with the values I believe in, and I hope—despite how much our political opinions may differ—that will also be true for you.

To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.” (Proverbs 21:3)

 

Quotable Quips for a Rainy—or Sunny—Day

Alligator v.s. CrocodileI love jokes and quips. Do you? Here are a few I’ve been saving up for just such an occasion as today. Hope you enjoy them, and if you’ve already heard them, I hope they still make you smile!

“I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.” ~Lily Tomlin

“Housework can’t kill you, but why take a chance?” ~Phyllis Diller

“If you love something, set it free. Unless it’s chocolate. Never release chocolate.” ~Renee Duvall

“If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands?” ~Milton Berle

“Adults are always asking little kids what they want to be when they grow up because they’re looking for ideas.” ~Paula Poundstone

“I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, ‘Where’s the self-help section?’ She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.” ~George Carlin

“He who falls in love with himself will have no rivals.”~Ben Franklin

“The odds of going to the store for a loaf of bread and coming out with only a loaf of bread are three billion to one.”~Erma Bombeck

“The best time to give advice to your children is while they’re still young enough to believe you know what you’re talking about.” ~Evan Esar

“Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.” ~Doug Larson

“Laughter is an instant vacation.” ~Milton Berle (and I hope you’re enjoying some vacation during this beautiful summer!)

Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them. The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad” (Psalm 26:2-3).

 

Have You Felt the Joy of Joy Mangano?

Joy MovieOkay, so I’ve never bought or owned a T.V. and have hardly watched any since becoming a Christian back in 1960, so I can only give a blank look when people talk about things like QVC or HSN, but I really did enjoy watching Joy, and even if only 50% of the information was true and the other 50% from the amalgamated machinations of David O. Russel’s imagination (based on real and fictional characters), the life story of Joy Mangano is very impressive! Joy Movie 2A young divorcee with three children to support (two in the movie), Joy has had a meteoric rise from poverty to being worth 50+ million in about 25 years. This woman has 100+ patents to her name, some of the most famous inventions being her Miracle Mop, Huggable Hangers, and Forever Fragrant products. joy manganoThe real Joy Mangano is the president of Ingenious Designs, can sell a million dollars of product in one hour on T.V., and was honored by the Fast Company in 2010 as one of the “10 Most Creative Women in Business.” Besides that, I don’t think she’s been involved in any scandals, so what’s not to admire about her record? Cast-of-JoyI was disappointed to learn that she didn’t do all this while living with a totally dysfunctional, crazy family (although I’m glad they weren’t as bad as depicted), Joy Mangano HSNbut she still looks like a superwoman to me! All the trials and tribulations she went through to succeed, if not as humorous and horrible as portrayed on screen, were doubtless real and heart-rending all the same, and I think the message is worth hearing: It’s never too late to go for it if you have to good idea, so keep trying ’til it turns out right!Joy ManganoI couldn’t find much about Joy’s personal life, which she (understandably) keeps very private, but in our own pursuit of good things, God encourages us to call on Him for help in working out our bright ideas: “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jeremiah 33:3). I don’t know if Joy is aware of this offer, or if her faith has anything to do with her amazing success, but I do know that God’s open invitation is something I’d never want to refuse!

“The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10).

Rise Up, My Love (195): The Power of your Love

Song of Solomon 6:5 “Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me.” In this new song of praise, which not only reaffirms but also reveals an enlarged admiration for the bride’s deepening character, the bridegroom responds very differently to his wife’s eyes. Compare this praise with that of chapter four: “Thou hast doves’ eyes within thy locks: thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from mount Gilead.” Those dove-like eyes now burn with such intensity that he is overwhelmed! It reminds me of another of Shakespeare’s lines from Romeo and Juliet: “This bud of love by summer’s ripening breath may prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.” Indeed, the bride’s love, tested and purified by the fires of separation and persecution, now burn with an unquenchable flame…her “bud” of love has opened into a magnificent bloom, and it takes his breath away. It takes his breath away… and melts his heart! What he sees in her eyes liquefies him…like heat melting a piece of hard, red, transparent balsam into a fragrant liquid. He feels his heart slipping away like wax dripping from a candle. A stony heart feels the blows of the chisel and hammer, but a liquid heart does not, because it moves and conforms instantly. Think about it. If you pour a fluid into a vessel, it rests peacefully within the boundaries of the vase. There is no battle over the will of water. Even so, a liquid heart can be poured out into any vessel and be used to fill it… The bridegroom feels her eyes melting his heart…his heart stops beating…he stops breathing…is this what it means to fall in love? “Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me.” Here is another puzzle I’ve turned over and over in my mind. It is one of those verses where I find myself “digging for wisdom” because it is like buried treasure which is difficult to mine. I find myself bringing the phrase before God and claiming James 1:5-6, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not.” That has been my daily exercise in prayer in this search for understanding The Song of Solomon…although sometimes the insights seem to be lying on the ground in front of me, and at other times they seem to be buried under an avalanche of debris in the mine shaft! Why would the king feel overcome, and why would he ask her to turn her eyes away? Well, the universal opinion is normally that he was overcome by desire…but why would that make him ask her to turn her eyes away? Why wouldn’t he just draw her to himself in marital communion if he were overcome by desire? Let’s work backwards and see if we can understand his heart through deductive reasoning. What makes a person turn his eyes away? I believe it’s when the intimacy becomes greater than the person is comfortable with…or able to bear. Have you ever had a stare down (intentional or unintentional)? To my mind, the person with the stronger will—the dominant person—wins. Dogs, bears, or most any wild animal will be more likely to attack if you look straight into their eyes, because they take that as a challenge and affront. In the book Bear Attack, people are warned to avert their eyes if they see a bear in order to avoid being attacked. Gazing into another’s eyes is a confrontation of sorts. It is a challenge to intimacy, to understanding, to establishing authority and order. A dog will stare lovingly into his master’s eyes but growl ferociously at a stranger who stares at him. Why? Because the dog is eager to convey submission and love to his own master but resists even entering into a contest with any other potential owner. “No man can serve two masters.” The dog—dubbed man’s best friend because of his undying loyalty—does not care to even try! How does this knowledge of the physical world relate to Christ’s revelation of himself in his reaction to his bride in the fifth verse of chapter six? What does he see in her eyes that overcomes him, and why does he ask her to turn away? Here is one of the most profound insights into the love of Christ found in the whole Bible. What he sees in her eyes must be love, and I think the reason he asks her to turn away must be to keep him from being tempted to surrender to her will.

Racing Extinction or Promoting Life

9                    Despite Racing Extinction being dubbed a “thriller” by some, Racing_Extinction_posterI think of it more as an electrifying documentary about the vicious and inexcusable exploitation of animals around the world that is resulting in a massive number of God’s two million+ beautiful species going extinct at an estimated rate of 150-200 (up to 2,000) per day, which many scientists believe is as much as 1000 times the natural rate and will be cataclysmic for our planet. 10Racing Extinction is a visually breathtaking and emotionally heartbreaking look at the cruel disregard for animal life in the mad rush for money and pleasure. louieLouie Psihoyos, a Greek American photographer and film director, has created a powerful documentary with enough incriminating evidence to convince anyone with a shred of humanity left that we need to do something to change our own habits and tastes in order to save our planet…literally! And, this isn’t just a money-making deal for Louie. 12On the day he was planning to accept an Academy Award for his documentary, The Cove, Louie instead went on an undercover mission to expose the (illegal) sale of whale meat at a restaurant in America. 6Racing Extinction shows several horrifying videos of undercover investigations of the shark fin and manta gill trade, and several of those who are risking their lives in this quest were choking back tears as they discussed the merciless killing of animals for delicacies or supposed medicines. 2In addition to the movie, activists have begun the campaign “Start with One Thing” to encourage people to change their habits. 1For those of us who aren’t in to eating Shark Fin Soup, there is one obvious way we can contribute: simply by eating a little less beef, which is hugely expensive to raise (in the global economy of resources). Fish Manta rayThat will be a tough one for me, because I love beef, but I’m going to try to do so, and I read that Americans are generally overfed, so it will probably be good for me as well as for the planet. After all, we’re all in this together!4And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Genesis 1:28). God has given us sovereignty over the earth, but I believe his intention is for us to care for our world as good stewards, the way a kind and merciful king would oversee his dominion.

The Spider in my Eye

Mouse_spider. Wiki jpgFor two summers I saw a tiny set of Mickey Mouse ears in my right eye every time I’d swim on my back and look up at the bright blue sky. It was so tiny I figured an ophthalmologist wouldn’t be able to see it and would think I was just imagining things, and as it didn’t seem to change, I decided it probably wasn’t cancer. It wasn’t a “floater” because it didn’t move. Maybe the beginning of macular degeneration? At any rate, I figured if it ever changed shape, I’d go to the doctor.

And then, this summer, it had changed shape and looked like a tiny rectangle, so I made an appointment with an ophthalmologist for the end of July. However, the day came when I started seeing a bright light flash off and on at the peripheral edge of my right eye, and within a few hours I felt a sharp pain in my head, followed by a tarantula appearing in the upper right side of my visual field. Not good! Having heard stories of friends who’d had trouble with retinal tears, detachment, and blindness (and having Alan tell me the problem needed to be addressed urgently), I called the ophthalmologist’s office the next morning. Thankfully, after an examination, the doctor said I’d had a vitreous detachment but at present, no problem with the retina or macula. Older age setting in, but nothing too unusual. Whew! Interestingly, now I have a spider “floater,” but the tiny rectangle is gone, which the doctor presumes is the result of less pressure on the middle of my eye.

She warned me that I’d be particularly vulnerable for this coming month, so I should avoid jarring myself, bending over sharply, or bearing heavy weights. Umm…and this is my special Grandma Month! I remembered that just the day before, when the problem started, I’d decided to go jogging, and I’d also spent quite a bit of time picking up and carrying around one of my grand children! If I’d gone to the doctor earlier, she would doubtless have cautioned me against such activities, and I might (if I’d been wise) adjusted my life style and avoided the problem.

Do you ever try to self-diagnose your own problems? I think the older we get, the more we’re likely to try to ignore potential problems rather than address them, figuring that there aren’t good solutions available. However, may I encourage you to have things checked out with a savvy specialist as soon as you notice something amiss in your body? It’s true, even professionals may not be able to recognize or diagnose your problem immediately, but at least you’ve got a baseline and track set, so that if symptoms increase, you’ve got more points on your line for diagnosing problems. AND, you might get some helpful tips on how to manage yourself to minimize the possibility of further problems.

Also, what about spiritual problems and diseases? Ever try to self diagnose? If you’ve noticed the beginning of a spiritual problem—even a tiny one that you think no one else could see or understand—may I encourage you to turn to God, his Word, and a wise minister for some pastoral care and recommendations? Godly advice can help us diagnose our problems and avoid all sorts of behaviors that will increase our risk for spiritual disease and blindness.

Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14).

For full-blown spiritual problems, here’s some wise counsel from Ephesians 4:

17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,

18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:

19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

20 But ye have not so learned Christ;

21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:

22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:

27 Neither give place to the devil.

28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

(Ephesians 4:17-32)