Friday, August 2, 2013

Heavy Lifting

"When life gives you lemons, make lemonade."
I have heard that phrase my whole life.  I have probably used it  a time or two.  And while it is not a bad description of having a positive attitude and looking for ways of redeeming situations, it does very little to help with the heavy lifting.

There are a lot of phrases used by people to try and keep difficult situations or pain at a distance.  Some of them are moderately meaningful and vaguely harmless.  Others compound difficulties or pile more on top of someone's grief.

What we need when we face problems, whether physical, mental or spiritual, is not stuff that stands on the sidelines and offers advice, we need help with the heavy lifting.

For me, I find that the daily prayers found in Phyllis Tickle's Books The Divine Hours to help me right where I need it.  I am not a high church kind of guy, but reading or chanting the psalms and praying through the offices do something that lets me set other things right.

She has three main books (and other compilations and shorter seasonal books drawn from them), Prayers for Springtime, Prayers for Summertime, and Prayers for Autumn and Winter.  Because all of the readings and prayers are written out, each volume is a good sized hardback.  I think they have been out long enough that paperbacks are available, but I like the heft.

More about Phyllis Tickle's work can be found on her website:

(Going there I discover that she is retiring from public life and accepting no more speaking engagements.  My heart moves in two directions: "Nooooooooo!  We need more of your stuff!" and "Well done, thou good and faithful servant.")

My point here is not simply to be an ad for her work, although I find it remarkable and helpful.  My point is that we need to find ways of getting through the difficult times.  We need to find those people, practices and means of getting the heavy lifting done so that even in the midst of difficult times we can retain our humor, our love, our hope and our creativity.

What are yours?