Reflections on Dishcloths

dishcloth_edited

• We may become stiff and dry from the rigors of life
• The warmth and compassion of others can restore and renew
• A friend who listens is like a welcome scrub
• Scrubbing helps clear away dirt and accumulated grime
• Rinse away stress and fatigue
• Rest after a job well done
• We can become musty from disuse
• Putting your skills to good use is satisfying
• A worn cloth is full of memories
• Warm companionship and thoughtful service transform

 

To Listen

rabbit hare listening_photo Unsplash Vincent van Zalinge

Rushing here and there
We run about so frazzled
The pressures on
We’ve work to do!
To serve, to plant, to gather
…What’s that you say?
I’m busy now
No time to stop
To listen

To listen
For our quiet breath
And hear God’s reassurance
His guiding voice
To still the clash
Through friends His Word and prayer
A welcome calm mid frantic pace
If only we stop
To listen

Summer Garden

corn-2642460_960_720_pixabay_Cropped

Cool touch of dew on morning’s grass
Soft breeze stirs leaf and bough
Tread of foot and word of greeting

Hoes in hand and hats for shade
Bark of dog and back door closing
We make our way to tend summer’s garden

Bare toes in earth’s fresh soil
Soon may seek shoe’s insulation
Sun is rising as weeds are cleared

Call of mourning dove quiet pleasure
Accompanies day’s song of life
Lawn mower thrum and tractor rumble

Rasp of blades and rip of grass and weed
To free tender promises hidden in their midst
Thoughts and dreams of summer’s bounty

Rhythmic movements lift and fall
Another row completed now
Heat and sweat are well repaid

Cool glass of water to quench our thirst
And splash upon warm faces
Times we share in our summer garden

Gentleness?

hands holding closeup_pixabay_cropped

“Ouch! That hurt!” …Whether a scrapped knee or elbow or a stumped toe, childhood memories for this tomboy keeping up with three brothers included the inevitable mishaps. My mother’s gentle, but no nonsense, ministrations with band-aide or ice packs taught me of compassion and strength. Care and concern was mixed with encouragement that all would be well.

Jesus modeled this gentleness and strength throughout his ministry. He reached out to heal and to provide for those who came to him. He also called them to show by their good life that their works were done with “gentleness born of wisdom.” *

Wow! That’s not so easy! We have all had our rather “unwise” moments when we’ve blurted out things without considering their consequences. “Bite your tongue,” people used to say when less than thoughtful words came out, or “I had to bite my tongue to keep from saying what I was thinking!” In listening to people, especially in news reports on television, it seems many are talking at once with little respect for others. Self-control and kindness are often disregarded… Our words and actions do not always reflect wisdom or a gentle spirit!

It can be tough to say or do things in a gentle (and more positive) manner, rather than just from a “self” focus. It seems significant that when Paul told the Galatians about the “fruit of the Spirit,” the last two fruits he listed were gentleness and self-control… We have to work at it, but the results are worth it.

One thing that helps me, is to take time to rest and de-stress as regularly as possible. It’s so much harder to respond in positive ways when I’m overly tired! Sometimes I need to remove myself from a situation or conversation, if only briefly, so I can calm down or take time to think first. We all learn what works best for us.

Gentleness? God grant me a gentle heart, so I can serve You better!

*James 3:13

Refresh!

watter_splash_baraartcom_Landscape

Refresh! … From this word springs images of renewal, encouragement, restoration, provision, and rest. It has even made its way to our keyboard to indicate updates of new data and information, an affirmation of changes made. When we are refreshed we are energized, our minds and bodies cooled from stress or labor, and we are then able to continue forward with greater purpose and confidence.

I enjoy doing yardwork… mowing, trimming, and especially caring for flower, herb, or vegetable gardens. The work itself is a time of refreshment from the weekly chores and responsibilities, a time to engage mind and body in something else and for quiet reflection or companionable activity. A cool splash of water to my face… a drink to quench my thirst… and a shower when all is completed also offer refreshment.

Other thoughts come to mind as well. “Refresh my memory” we may request when a bit of a jog is needed and “refreshments’ are served at gatherings, breaks during meetings, or other times of fellowship. We are refreshed during times of vacation.

Paul’s letter to Philemon and the church which met in Philemon’s home is a wonderfully short letter written out of love and concern for fellow believers. From this letter, we gain additional thought about our need to both be refreshed and offer refreshment.

Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people… I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ.

How often in my busy life do I overlook the opportunity to refresh someone, to offer them love and encouragement?! This is a gift we can all give and is one we also appreciate receiving. Paul let his need to be refreshed be known. A listening ear, a smile and word of appreciation, a touch, and a helping hand… these are simple expressions of God’s own love for each of us. They are a commitment to extend both grace and compassion. In this we refresh the very hearts of others, a deep-down satisfying soul-restoring drink.

For they refreshed my spirit and yours also…
1 Corinthians 16:18