Just More Stuff

2-6By Peggy Young of Independence, Missouri, USA

The Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

—Isaiah 52:10

On the morning after the 2011 tornado in Joplin, Missouri, I was watching a news show. It interviewed a woman who lived in New Orleans, Louisiana, before Hurricane Katrina. She had lost everything to the fury of the hurricane and moved to Joplin. Now she had lost everything to the fury of the tornado.

Her response surprised me. She said, “After Katrina I had to learn what I lost was just stuff. What I’ve lost now is just more stuff.”

The loss of something important or precious often causes us to question our priorities. So many times, following a natural disaster, I have heard people say, “I’m just glad I still have my loved ones.” Such an event makes us realize the importance of material possessions pales in contrast to the people we love.

Relationships are, indeed, one of the most meaningful aspects of life. Our first exposure to life is dependent on the relationship between parent and child. Hopefully, as we grow we learn to trust that our parents care for and nurture us.

Then, as awareness grows that there is an unseen sacred nature underlying life itself, we develop a relationship with God. Hopefully, we don’t have to lose everything we have before we’re ready to depend on God. But there is a saying: “When you get to the end of your rope, that’s where God is.”

Events like the Joplin tornado remind us how quickly life can change and how temporary our possessions can be. But the Divine is ever present and ready to wrap us in arms of love. Hopefully, it doesn’t take a disaster to persuade us to turn to God. God is there for you when needed—trust me. Better yet, trust God.

Prayer for Peace
God of the hurricane and the warm, calm beach; God of the tornado and soft, cooling breeze, we lean on you for strength when burdens are heavy. We turn to you,  and we know you are there.

Spiritual Practice: Caring for God’s Sacred Creation
Choose a way to notice, give thanks, and care for God’s sacred creation. Walk in nature with a spirit of gratitude while looking and listening for God in all things. Write or pray a psalm of praise for the Earth’s beauty or a prayer of healing and blessing for its wounds.

Learn about and engage in an act of Earth-keeping such as recycling, simple living, or fasting from over-consumption of resources. Notice the diversity of the planet’s creatures and be gentle to plants, animals, trees, and people! Fall in love with the vast, intricate wonder of God’s creation and give thanks.

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will turn to you to find balance in my life.

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