Heavens Above, by Sharonlu Sheridan, OSF

Sunset over the Oldenburg Hills

Have you looked at the sky lately?  This does not mean glancing up to see if you need an umbrella or sunglasses.  Have you really looked at the sky?

I have a block or so to get to my work, and one day last week, I looked up.  Granted, it was briefly, but I was so taken by the sight, I decided to spend some time (5 minutes) looking at the sky each day.  Guess what I found!  The heavens are a pattern of our own lives.

Today the sky is grey, and it is almost certain that rain will fall before the day is up.  It will get darker and darker, and then the rain will come.

But yesterday we had what in this area is called a buttermilk sky.  Thin and rippled clouds were everywhere– milky white with the blue barely visible behind them.

The day before, soft puffy clouds floated here and there.  Some were rather large clouds with several small and even tiny clouds around them.  They looked like a group of children around their dad, mom, or teacher.

Earlier, there was no cloud in the sky at all.  Pure, bright blue calmed the earth everywhere I could see.  It was a day when the sun was bright and everything looked polished.

Isn’t this a picture of our lives?  We love when all is going so well, when we can feel the love of our God and our family and friends.  Work seems to flow easily and we want to whistle or sing or hum while we work.  Walking almost becomes dancing.  Everything is polished and bright!

Dark skies

Days come when we cannot see the light.

Then comes the day when some setbacks arrive.  They may be setbacks of time, too many people, not enough people, less money than we expected, too many tasks.  You know what they are in your life.  None are so great that they shake your world, but you can feel that something more disturbing may happen.  Clouds are around here and there.  Some are little ones and can be cast off or ignored, but some are big and puffy and we feel trouble is coming.

Sure enough, the harbinger of less happy times comes with the overall feeling that our world is not smooth and silky.  The things we thought might happen seem far from sight and our whole world is mottled with a mild but very real dread.

Soon a heaviness seeps into our hearts.  We can see no light – only a dreaded darkness, and we weep.  Having lost sight of the beautiful things we reveled in when our world was light and joyous, we drag ourselves to what must be done, but we do nothing in the “whistle while you work” mode we had earlier.

We forget that the sun is always in the sky.  We do not see it at night because Earth has turned away from it.  When we do not see it in the daytime, it is hidden by clouds, thick, dark, gloomy clouds.  But it is still there.  And we know the clouds will go away, although sometimes we wonder when!  If you have been on an airplane flight on a dark and dreary day, you will find the sun when the plane breaks through the cloud cover.

The Son is with us always, also.  We revel in His presence when things go well.  We are aware of his presence when small things or even whispers of bad things in our lives come up.  And when we feel the darkness penetrating our very core, we cannot see him.  But He is there, He never leaves us.

When the sun is not visible to us, we turn on lights, burn candles, light the fireplace.  In other words, we use ‘reminders’ of the sun to buoy us up until it shines again.

Reminder of the Son

We can be reminders for each other of the Son!

With the Son, it is similar.  For those times when life seems dark we need a way to keep us connected.  The Son will return to our senses and is imbedded in our hearts even when we do not see Him.  Sometimes a picture, another person’s smile, or a note or email with a cheery word helps us to refocus and let us see the Son in the same way candles remind us of the sun.

Since we are all here to help others, our neighbors, perhaps a decision to write that cheery note, or smile at a downcast face would be a good resolution for us.  The sun always comes back and in the same way, the nice things you do for others will be tapping at your back door.

So keep a smile on your face!  Happiness is contagious.  Spread it around!

Peace, joy, and everything good,

Sr. Sharonlu

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Sr. Sharonlu Sheridan, OSF has a background in education, child development, and family ministries.  She has worked as a teacher, school administrator, and as Director of Family Life Services for two dioceses.  Sr. Sharonlu has long been an advocate for children and puts her heart into helping parents build and sustain healthy family relationships.  One of her most memorable ministries has been with the people of Red Lake Indian Reservation in northern Minnesota, where her heart still lies.

*****

Storms in your relationships?  Come find Hope in Diversity!

Light through the storm

Join Sr. Olga on Saturday, February 18th (9:30am – 2:30pm) to grow in peace and find hope in diversity.  We all face various interpersonal challenges in our daily lives. In this workshop, Oldenburg Franciscan Sister Olga Wittekind (Jungian psychologist and PhD) will give tools and insights – using Myers-Briggs analysis – to help us understand ourselves better, appreciate others more, and strengthen our relationships with God. This is a great workshops for individuals, ministry groups, families, and couples!

$45 includes a delicious lunch by our wonderful caterer, Cathy Kerker!  Call Annette at 812-933-6437 or email center@oldenburgosf.com to RSVP today!

Find the event on Facebook!  Also, friend OFC and share us with your friends!

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