Early On – Life Lessons

29 Jul

My first six years in school were completed at an AYOP school. We had one teacher and one classroom for six grade levels. There are distinct advantages and disadvantages in a school like this, the most obvious being only one teacher for all grades.

If you we’re a little slower to catch on, the teacher had to spend more time in your area, if you caught on fast you were encouraged to move ahead at your own pace – thus the name AYOP. You could then help the teacher with the slower students by working with them on the side to help them catch up.

Being one of the quicker students eventually brought me to a point where there weren’t any more books for me to read or tests to take. To avoid me getting completely bored, I was released to my Grandfather to learn the old ways. Grandfather was a healer, medicine man and probably the wisest man on the reservation.

One of the first things I learned was about the Circle of Life. The Circle of Life was set like a compass, east, north, south and west. Each point of the compass had a corresponding color assigned to it, red for East, white for North, black for West and yellow for the South. The colors represented the different ‘Spirits’ of life: Light, Love, Life and Creation. The circle of life was also the center of the healing process, of which I will get into at a later date.

Grandfather was very patient while I was taught the Prayer Of The Four Directions. He explained that each spirit represented a portion of my life and that I was to keep the reverence of them always.

Great Spirit of Light, come to me out of the East (red) with the power of the rising sun. Let there be light in my words, let there be light on my path as I walk. Let me remember always that you give the gift of a new day. And never let me be burdened with sorrow by not starting over again.

Great Spirit of Love, come to me with the power of the North (white). Make me courageous when the cold wind falls upon me. Give me strength and endurance for everything that is harsh, everything that hurts, everything that makes me squint. Let me move through life ready to take on what comes from the north.

Great Spirit of Life, I face the West (black), the direction of sundown. Help me remember everyday that the moment will come when my sun will go down. Never let me forget that I must fade into you. Give me a beautiful color, give me a great sky for setting, so that when it is my time to meet you, I can come with glory.

Great Spirit of Creation, send me the warm and soothing winds from the South (yellow). Comfort me and caress me when I am tired and cold. Unfold me like the gentle breezes that unfold the leaves on the trees. As you give to all the earth your warm, moving wind, give some to me, so that I may grow close to you in warmth. Man did not create the web of life, but he is a strand in it. Whatever man does to the web, he does to himself.

I don’t know if I got all the words right, but I am sure I have the context of the prayer right. It has been many years since I have thought it out. If nothing else this taught me the value of having God in your life, the value of love in life and a greater appreciation for nature. I learned to value of every life, not just my own and that everything born into our world is there for a very good reason, the balance of nature.

The next lesson grandfather taught was about The Circle Of Life. Everything the Power of the World does is done in a circle. The sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball and so are all the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. The birds make their nests in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours. The sun raises and goes down again in a circle. The moon does the same, and both are round. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing and always come back where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves.

The most important lessen Grandfather taught was me how to live my life. He told me to live life so the fear of death can never enter my heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their views, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life and beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and of service to your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or sign of salute when meeting or passing a stranger in a lonely place. Show respect to all people, but grovel to none. When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the light, for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies in yourself.

Touch not the poisonous firewater that makes wise ones turn to fools and robs them of their visions.

When your time comes to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, who weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.

These are just a few of the lessons Grandfather taught me before he passed on. I learned many secrets of life from these particular lessons and keep them sacred in my heart. I’ve learned they all have a common thread – Love!.

Perhaps in a later post I will share a few more of Grandfather’s life changing lessons with you.

Please feel free to comment and or ask questions. I am learning that I have much to share.

Ed

How Do You Measure Wealth?

25 Jul

There are many ways to measure wealth, most of them have to do with monetary value. In today’s world everything seems to run according to the value of the dollar.

Grandfather once told me: The real measure of your wealth is how much you’d be worth if you lost all your money. There is more to life than money and many things in life you can’t put a price tag on. Let’s look at a few of these things.

Health: Our health is a valuable asset to us and as christians we need to remember what the bible says. Corinthians 6:19-20: Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Family: To me there is nothing more valuable than family. They are there when you are down, they help share joy and they are always there to love and be loved. The family is a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together. That is wealth!

Life: Life is a gift from God! When I wake up in the morning and gaze out over the dew covered grass in the fields, I am reminded of how good God has been to me. To me it is like having life renewed daily and being blessed with another wonderful day. Then, when the sun comes up and the beauty of nature begins to bloom, the birds sing their songs of joy and love, we are reminded once again just how much God loves us.

Wealth is as you perceive it, I like to think we measure our worth by how we love and are loved, how healthy we are, how we are blessed on a daily basis and how good it is to share life everyday. As I sit here, in conversation with God, I am reminded just how precious each and every day is and how He makes it all possible. God’s love is the most valuable thing we have and if you measure wealth by that, all other seems like nothing.

What do you think? How do you measure wealth?

Courteous comments are always welcome.

Ed

Like An Onion

19 Jul

You have probably heard the saying don’t judge a book by it’s cover for it is what’s inside that counts. An onion is a lot like that, there is more to it than what you see on the surface.

If you have ever peeled an onion, once you get around the tears from the scent given off, you find layer after layer of perfectly formed flesh. It is like that until you finally reach the center.

Living life is kind of like an onion. We start as a seed then every incident, good and bad, as we grow, adds a layer. Sometimes the layer is for our protection, sometimes its for joy. Life is full of joy and tears and we all have experienced some of each. The older we get, the more layers we add, our education, our beliefs, the good and bad. They are all formed around the seed we started with. I find this interesting. Every person starts with the seed, then as they grow and learn they add layer after layer continually until they are finally picked to go home.

This brings me to my point, like an onion there is more to a person than what is showing on the surface. As you peel back the surface of your friendship, relationship or whatever you learn that the person you are talking to has many sides, feeling and experiences. It is these experiences that make us all unique is some way from each other and I encourage you to take the time to get to know the person you are talking to.

My grandfather had a saying: Every bird has a song to sing, we must make the time to listen to it.

Isn’t that what life is all about?

Have a blessed day!

Ed

Life Is Fragile

19 Jul

One day as I was exploring the Grand Canyon I came across a young bald eagle with a broken pinion on it’s left wing. He was scared and was flapping around making all kinds of noise. I carefully wrapped my shirt around him and carried him home where, with my grandfathers help, I was able to splint the broken pinion.

Grandfather instructed me on how to care for my young patient and I put him in a small coop. Everyday for about two months I gave him food and water. Then I talked to him and explained he would be just fine, that soon I would remove the bandage and send him on his way. After the first two weeks he actually looked for me to come and talk to him. I don’t know if he understood what I was saying, but we became close friends.

It was bittersweet when the time came to release him because I became so close to him, but when he flew up and around landing about six feet from me, he looked in my eye and we knew it was time. He flew off in the direction of the canyon happy as an eagle could be.

Grandfather said I saved his life. He said life is very fragile and everything we do to preserve one is an act of God, He told me God put that eagle in my path to see just what I would do. You had choice to leave him for the wolves or bring him home and help heal him. You made the right choice and God will bless you for your kindness.

Over the years I have taken many animals home for refuge and healing, maybe this why I love animals so much. But I never forgot what grandfather told me about just how fragile life is and how little it takes to make one better. I learned that it is not just the animals, but also human life we must care for.

Life is a gift from God and our job, as Christians, is to preserve life as much as we can and to do what we can to help others. Either through prayer or by random acts of kindness we should do what we can to make things better.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:7)

One of my readers recently asked my thoughts of how to pray for the very sick who have illnesses that there is little reasonable hope of recovery. We pray for recovery, or that God’s will be done, knowing it is within God’s power to heal, but knowing that even among the most deserving Christians, recovery from the most dreaded diseases is seldom granted, perhaps because it’s time for them to go ‘home’.

I responded as follows: When I pray for the sick I ask for peace and comfort. I also ask that there be no pain. We don’t know God’s will or His time table, but we do know He’s doing what is best for the person who is sick. For this reason, though I don’t always agree with the answer, I learned not to question His wisdom in doing things. In the end there is always a blessing. I also pray for the family asking for patience and understanding along with peace knowing He will do what is best. Life is fragile, but we have strength through God’s blessing and understanding. Believe me He knows the pain we are going through watching a loved one work through the illness.

The truth is God is in control! He knows what we need, even if we don’t think we need it. He provides for our needs, He supplies our strength, and He gives us life. I learned at an early age not to question His wisdom, for He has led me through many problems and life altering situations. I know I can trust Him.

I often wonder why so many still question this. I hear thoughts like why did God allow this to happen or if God did this… God has His reasons and even if we don’t understand why, He will let us know in His time. Learn to trust Him and to involve Him in all your activities, then the answers won’t seem so far away.

The Sheep and the Goats
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Mathew 25: 31-46 NIV)

Life is fragile – Whatever you do for the least of these… We all are the least of these and should care for each other. We need to pick each other up when we fall and encourage each other in all things. Love others as God has loved you.

What are your thoughts on this? I would love to read them and will respond to all courteous comments. As always, if you don’t want your comment public, feel free to email them to me at: Efchristi2@yahoo.com

God bless you all.

Ed

Do We Complicate Christianity?

14 Jul

In my post “The Simple Life” I showed how prayer is a two-way street. That when God speaks to us we should be listening to what He has to tell us. We have learned to pray as Christians but have we learned to listen?

In my post “Two Ways To Live” I wrote how we have the choice to be positive or negative in our life and our choices determine who, what and why we are who we are.

I followed up with my post “The Silver Lining” where I tried to show our every thought, word and deed is tied to our relationship with God and how close He watches over us.

Now let me try to bring it all together. We as Christians believe Jesus died for our sins and that the Bible is God’s Word. We have faith that what God promises will happen and hope that God has made a room for us in His Kingdom.

We pray daily for His guidance and blessings. Many Christians I talk to feel that their prayers are not answered or not answered how they expected. Some, myself included, have running conversations with Him all day long. I have to say most feel prayer is a one way street and don’t feel that God talks to us, but does answer prayers in His own time. .

The truth is God does answer prayer, many times right away, but we don’t always listen to the answer because we don’t necessarily agree with it. Sometimes we have to wait for an answer, for our time and God’s time are on different time tables. During your daily walk in life you should invite God to walk with you and have a running conversation with Him. You will be surprised at the insight He has on your life. He is there to guide you around and over all the concerns in your life.

God has given us free choice so that we have a certain amount of control on how we live. Choice is very powerful and we need to be thoughtful on the choices we make as Christians. Our life as a Christian is under the microscope of everyone thinking of becoming one, as well as the Christians around us. We need to remember that we just might be the only bible someone ever reads. We may have the choice, but we also have the responsibility to live our life for the One who saved us. God loves to see us. happy and full of joy. Joy is His glory and His glory should be our joy.

Life is full of problems and obstacles, God never promised life would be easy. How we handle these problems shape our relationship with God and build our character. We shape our future by the decisions we make and build our character by how we handle obstacles. As Christians we have God to help us make our decisions and climb over the obstacles. All we have to do is ask and listen. Each problem and obstacle has silver thread in it that ties us back to our relationship with God

Jesus taught us how to love and to forgive and forget. Yet so many Christian’s have a problem over the forgetting part. They have no concern over the forgiving, but insist on keeping the burden and stress of the problem with them; they just can’t forget. As Christian’s we should, like God, wipe the slate clean, purge our minds of the problem and continue living a loving life.

When you realize the silver thread ties our every move, every word and every deed to God you then realize how close God is watching over us, how much He loves us and just how He takes care of us. So why do we try so hard to complicate it?

God is Love! We as His children are love and our job is to share that love to lead others to Christ. There is nothing complicated about it. We pray, God answers! We follow His guidance and live our life for His glory. It is simple – there is no secret, we just need to listen and love!

What do you think? I value your opinion and comments.

The Silver Lining

13 Jul

How many time have we heard “Every cloud has a silver lining” while we were growing up? I know I have heard it most of my life, especially after a loss or disappointment. I think it was one of my mothers favorite sayings.

Being a kind of science guy, at the age of ten, I quickly realized and smartly responded “Silver is a heavy metal so clouds, being primarily water vapor, there is no way silver could be lining the clouds.” Yes, I was a nerd and I guess I still am.

We all have had rough times in our life’s, a few hard bumps, a few disastrous incidents. How we managed to overcome them still makes us wonder, but we did overcome and grew up in spite of it all.

My mother always said there is a silver lining in that cloud and one day you will understand why things happen this way. My mother, very much my grandfathers daughter, was a wise person and taking much after my grandfather had a lesson hidden inside that message. For most of my life I took it to mean to be tough, don’t give in to it and continue down your path, one step at a time, to reach your goal. It was not always that way though. Sometimes I would feel like just giving up and go hide in a dark room somewhere, other times I would just turn around and walk off in disappointment.

After my little pity party and why me, which sometimes lasted for weeks, I finally woke up and started putting my act together working towards my goal one step at a time. I finally realized that these bumps in the road were challenges for me to overcome and these disappointments were opportunities for me to grow. I’m sure many others have had the same or similar experience.

Much to my surprise, as I continued to grow, I learned there is not a silver lining in these clouds of disappointment, but there is a silver thread. This silver thread is connected to every experience of our life and when we tighten our grasp, we are shaping our character. In other words we are who we are because of how we handled the good and bad times in our life’s. We shaped our life and built our character by how well we handled the bumps and pitfalls as we grew up.

As a Christian I learned God would never give us more than we could handle and we were never promised life would be an easy walk, but He would be there to guide us. I admit there were times when I really questioned the validity of that, but I have learned He is always there to help me over or around the obstacle in my path. That is the lesson hidden inside the statement “Every cloud has a silver lining.”

There may not be a silver lining in every cloud but there is a silver thread and how you face that disappointment in your life is shaping your future and your character. How do you handle disappointment and how has your disappointment shaped your life? I really would like to hear about it. You can comment here in the reply area or, if you don’t want my readers to know, you can e-mail me at efchristi2@yahoo.com. Either way please respond.

Thank you!

Two Ways To Live

29 Jun

Grandfather was one who had a very humorous side and a very serious side. One day he said to me: “Eddie, one of the most important things for you to do in life is to kiss each girl at least once, and kiss the pretty ones twice! That is the spice of life.” I asked him a couple months later how he determined which was the prettier girl, he responded: “Silly boy, they all are pretty!”

On the serious side he also had his opinion on how we live our life’s. He said there are two ways to live your life and I should be very careful on how I make my choices. If you believe that all the miracles happened in the days of Christ and that the days of miracles are over, you are going to be a pessimist. Your life will consist mainly of negativity and you will have a poor me attitude. It will appear that everything goes wrong, no matter how hard you try, because you have already decided you will fail. You will feel that your problems are obstacles that you just can’t get around. It will be a very unhappy life.

On the other hand, he said, if you believe miracles can happen everyday, look at your problems as challenges to grow and that there is something positive is every situation in life, than your life will be happy, full of promise and you will walk in confidence that you will succeed in every task.

Over the years I have found that to be true. Most unhappy people I know are very pessimistic and negative. They feel everything they do ends up in failure or not complete. They feel there are no miracles left in life and almost never smile. On the other hand, I have found those who are positive in life seem happier, smile all the time and live their life as though nothing can go wrong. There is no obstacle they can’t get around or over. Life, for them, is full of promise.

It is the choices we make in life that determine the quality of our future. As Grandfather said, make your choices carefully and live your life as though there are no boundaries. Be happy and look for the miracles that happen everyday all around us.

How do you live your life? I look forward to reading your comments.

By the way I agree with Grandfather about the girls, they are all pretty.

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