Every now and then I like to list some “things” I’ve come across recently. These are things I’ve heard, seen, read, thought, or just wondered about. They’re in no particular order.
1. The other day I saw a flock of geese take off from a lake in a park. They made quite a bit of racket as they rose from the water wildly flapping their wings. As they got higher, they were highly disorganized—a haphazard bunch of individual geese honking at each other and, at times, almost crashing into each other. I spontaneously said to them: “You remind me of my country!” Later I thought, I could have also said, “You remind me of my Church!” But as the geese flew farther away and higher up, I could see the letter V emerging out of that squawking chaos. One goose soon assumed the role of leader, forming the tip of the letter V. Others began to fall in line—more or less. Their formation wasn’t a perfect V. There were stragglers. But soon the majority of the flock clearly resembled a V and moved forward together. And that gave me hope.
2. According to a Gallup survey analysis released in March 2021, 47% of Americans report belonging to a church, synagogue, or mosque. This is the first time in 80 years that Gallup data has shown membership dropping below the majority.
3. The U.S. bald eagle population has grown fourfold in the past decade, according to a March report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (Go, Eagles!)
4. Speaking of animals, did you know: A snail can sleep for three years… A grizzly bear’s bite is strong enough to crush a bowling ball… It takes a sloth two weeks to digest its food… The heart of a shrimp is in its head… The oldest evidence of domesticated cats dates back 9,500 years… A group of ferrets is called a business…?
5. A study out of Harvard University discovered a way for you to feel more optimistic. Take two minutes a day to write a short positive message to someone close to you or someone who supports you. People who did this for 21 days scored significantly higher in optimism and life satisfaction.
6. Here are some quotes by Max Lucado, a favorite writer of mine: “Forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone free and to realize you were the prisoner… Feed your fears and your faith will starve. Feed your faith and your fears will… No one can do everything, but everyone can do something… You are the only you God made.”
7. Andrea Demirjian has written a book entitled, Kissing: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about One of Life’s Sweetest Pleasures. (You might be wondering why a nun would be interested in such a book! I plead the Fifth!) The author explains that our kissing, both giving and receiving, communicates our care and affection for people—whether it is a romantic affection or a filial affection for a family member or friend. Kissing can burn calories—although not many unless it is lengthy passionate kissing. Kissing can boost self-esteem. Kissing can also increase your heart rate and thus lower your blood pressure.
8. A recent study out of Harvard has shown that “Spirituality and a sense of awe seem to be hard-wired into our brains.” Another researcher in Philadelphia has concluded that religion or spirituality “is a very basic property of who we are as human beings.” The part of the brain these researches focused on is a region called the periaqueductal gray. A neurosurgeon at the Boston University School of Medicine has come to this conclusion: “…the brain devotes significant metabolic and neural resources/real estate to what we call religion or spirituality.”
9. Some of you know that my nickname is Dolly. So, my family calls me Dolly or Aunt Dolly. Recently Anne, the wife of one of my nephews, began typing a letter to me. When she typed “Hello Aunt Dolly,” her autocorrect changed it to, “Hell Aint Silly.”
10. My friend Bob always sends me his notes from books he’s read. What a gift those notes are for me! Here are two quotes by the American Quaker Douglas V. Steere. I think they are a good way to end today’s reflection: “Life is lent to be spent… Holiness is nothing short of a life of attention and the abandonment to the besieging love of God.”
Did anything here stand out for you or speak to you today—a word, a phrase, a thought? If so, what and why? Would you like to share this with us below?
ANNOUNCING: A VIDEO SURPRISE!
Here is a video that advertises my upcoming virtual retreat sponsored by the Sophia Center in Atchison, KS on Oct. 29-30. It is posted on their website, but I want to share it with you too. It features Donna Coleman, my contact person at Sophia Center, and me! I say just a few words about the upcoming retreat (about 3 1/2 mins.) So if you’ve never seen me in person, here’s your big chance! (I hope you’re not disappointed!) Of course, you can skip this ad if you want. There’s no obligation to watch it.
Here is a simple, beautiful little song written by John Michael Talbot and sung here by Jesse Manibusan: “Open My Eyes, Lord.” In this prayer we ask to see Jesus’ face… to hear his voice… and to love as Jesus loves. Prayer doesn’t get much better than this…
I encourage you to respond below to this reflection. A few simple words are always appreciated!