16th Sunday in the Ordinary Life and Ministry – 23rd Psalm and Self-Care

It’s easy to get stuck in the muck… It’s even easier to give up and begin lashing out at the world – blaming everyone for everything happening in my own reality. The truth is, no one else is to blame for anything we experience except ourselves – no matter what is imposed on us.

Do bad things happen to people? Yes they do, but there are those who can rise above and succeed regardless of the garbage being hurled at us. For the longest time, I collected the garbage because it was delivered in the guise of love, and I accepted the manifestation created by others. Once I was removed from that experience I became happier and more secure in my own path. I no longer allowed others to beat the drum of my own rhythm – I set my own pace on my own path. Don’t get me wrong, I still have to walk the path with others, but no longer allow others to control how I view or interact with the world. My reactions and actions are my own and I take responsibility for them – and I work on them to better my own being so that I may continue to exist in the light rather than the darkness that has filled my world for seven of the past 8 years.

The truth is, we manifest our realities. I choose to fear no evil for my God walks beside me everywhere I go and in everything I do. No matter what evil raises its hand against me, I overcome by living each day struggling to be a living example through the teachings of the Christ I have espoused. It’s not easy – I have to make a conscious decision sometimes every moment of every day. But for me it is better that I focus on the love and the greatness in the world than on the dark. My soul is restored and I rest beside still waters; I embrace the peace and tranquility life offers when we are secure in the love of our God and Christ.

Where do you spend your waking hours – in darkness or in Joy? The Gospel reading for the 16th Sunday invites us to rest and account for who and what we are – to spend a moment in contemplation and remember the path we have chosen. If we are so busy taking care of others that we cannot see the repercussions of our own actions, then we spend our lives blaming others and exist in a state of burnout. This is when we are at the greatest risk of misleading flocks, as in our first reading.

Folks – Jesus taught love as the way to our God. He did not teach us to spew ugliness at those who are cruel. He did not teach us to pick up the sword and cut off an ear or pluck out an eye. He taught us to forgive and let go – to be mongers of peace, not of hatred.

So – I choose joy and peace… I choose to walk a different path – the one I claim to follow as taught by the Christ, in whom I find my peace.