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Friday, May 23, 2014

A Pastiche of Life Experiences

Did your parents ever tell you about your birth experience? What was it like for them? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1517). 

Mother would always quote a nurse who told her after I was born that I was all there and healthy from the crown of my head to my 10 little toes.  Mother wasn't sure what concern she had expressed during the birth for the nurse to tell her this so soon afterwards, but mother was sure she must have said something expressing deep anxiety over my health. 

How do you deal with change? Moves? Job transfers? Transitions from one stage of your life to another? How has pain helped you grow? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1518). 

My most painful move occurred in 1954 (I was 10) when our family moved from Oviedo, Florida.  In Oviedo I had attended the first through the fourth grades. I loved the church congregation and there joined the Methodist Church.  On our last Sunday, we all joined in a circle on the grounds after the service and sang "Blessed Be the Tie that Binds".

My most stressful job transfer was from Bayfront Center to Leisure Services. Even though my job title did not change, many of the task were job specific and the transfer raised considerable anxiety.

My most stressful life milestone occurred when I turned 40. At work at the time we celebrated birthdays individually and encircling me my coworkers presented me with a cake and sang happy birthday. It was all I could do perhaps not entirely successfully to keep from crying. I was 40 years old and in my own evaluation had accomplished so very little.

There is a redemptive nature to the question: How has pain helped you grow? For surely empathy and compassion are strengthened and reinforced by our own experience of painful situations.  Likewise, as in an old gnarled tree, character is made distinctive and solid – even in some ways more beautiful and resilient than fresh and lithe perfection.

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