This blog post is dedicated to my friend, Alexa. We have 20 years of friendship behind us, and at least 20 more in front of us, I am sure. She is a talented, vivacious lady, with a knack for making me feel quite special with just a hug. Together, she and I have weathered many storms, including our 20's, a friendship breakdown and revitalization, and the struggles of falling in love and believing in our destinies.
Alexa is a very faithful friend and strong in her beliefs. We have a ritual at our house to always say grace before dinner. Gabby, Nascar, and I are not religious, so our prayer of gratitude is made to the "Lightbulb Goddess". This is not meant to be heresy, only a way to acknowledge the light of the spirit that has granted us this moment of peaceful sharing, of family support, and provided the food we are about to consume. I think the title "Lightbulb Goddess" makes us all feel more comfortable, since none of us are active Christians. One of the things that I love most about Alexa is that she always joins the prayer, but directs it to God, instead of the Lightbulb Goddess. It is obvious her religious upbringing has made an impact on her and she is not afraid to stand true to her beliefs.
|Almost 20 years....|
Alexa's friendship has made a distinct impact on my life. With her support, I left an abusive relationship at age 21. We re-built a friendship that had been left tattered by the insecurities of being 20-somethings in a big city and learning how to be grown ups. We have held each other's hands as we learn how to take the plunge into love, encouraging each other to be more open, more sharing, and more free with our chosen soul mates. Alexa, I thank God, the Lightbulb Goddess, and Destiny that you made your way into my life.
I was inspired to title this Salt and Light because of a church service I watched on TV yesterday. The preacher was speaking about Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, where he tutored his disciples to be humble and to subscribe at all times to the be the best they can be, or they will lose their flavor:
"Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men."
Jesus later reminds his disciples, their good works are what makes an impact:
"Ye are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do [men] light a lamp, and put it under the bushel, but on the stand; and it shineth unto all that are in the house. Even so let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
This is only my interpretation of what that preacher said. As I mentioned earlier, I am not a Christian, although I do believe in a spirit greater than us in control of this life. The spirit I believe in does not believe homosexuality is a sin and would not condone racism or genocide for any reason. I guess it is more spirit based than religious based. I see Destiny as a very real factor in my life and while I make the choices, I am always taking time to "feel" for the right choice, the right thing to do, the truth. I do pray, and find I feel better when I take time to remind my self through prayer and meditation that I am not the only one in control of this life I lead. I pray to the ether, but it is not a grey cloud of smoke, but rather a light filled dance floor, where all types of bodies, of all types of creeds share powerful positive energy and guide through humility, love and acceptance, eliminating judgement, inspiring cooperation and kindness.
|Where I met Nascar, and the first bird I ever rode on|
I was raised by my atheist father, who prays to laws of government and was most influenced by his time spent at war. My mom is a devout Christian, and her faith has sustained her through a painful divorce, separation from her children, and cancer. I admire my Mom's strength of belief, and in the last few years have become less afraid of it. I see her dancing on the dance floor of spirituality, doing a beautiful waltz, in a flowing dress. The restraints of her belief system are so limiting and judgmental, that I will never join her in her church, except for the obligatory services when I am visiting her home. However, I have implemented the edicts of kindness, cooperation, and service in my career as well as my personal life because of the impact she and her beliefs have had on my life.
Days like yesterday re-enforce my reasons for choosing a path of service to others. I was caring for a patient on the ward who has had a massive stroke. She also happens to have been my neighbor, and earlier this year I cared for her husband after he had a minor stroke. Mrs. L would come visit her husband every evening, no matter the weather or if she was sick. She came to his bedside to have dinner with him. The only time he would take pain medication was when she would coax him to. I was so impressed with their bond, and I shared with her my wishes for my marriage to look like hers in 30 years. She smiled knowingly and said, it takes work and faith. Over the last 8 months, Mrs. L and I have run into each other a number of times at the hospital. She always remembered my name and had a hug for me. I was shocked and so sad to see her suffering as she was yesterday.
During our conversations when she was only a visitor to my ward, I learned that Mrs. L had a true faith in God. So yesterday, I positioned her in a chair and turned on the TV for Sunday service for her. It was not a gift, it is my job to provide comfort to all my patients, both physically and psychically. As the preacher preached about being wary of those who only seek to make an impression (ie impress you), be aware of those that impact you...how easy it can be to be impressed by the bling, by the bright shiny object over there. It is the impact we leave on others or that others leave on us that truly makes us the salt of the earth and the light of the world. I hugged Nascar extra close last night and fell asleep being grateful for my time with Mrs. L. Once again her lessons are leaving an impact on me, and I am so grateful for our paths crossing.