pastoral/spiritual care

More than a Ringtone

Oh, mirror in the sky - What is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changin' ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
I don't know, I don't know

“Landslide”  by Fleetwood Mac

One of my fatherly and parental hopes is to make sure I pass on my faith to each of my children, knowing that I am one of the most important parts of their faith development and their faith journey trajectory.  Another important part of my life is music; 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s music to be specific.  It has been a side bar task of mine to help my kids learn and appreciate good Rock and Roll from the 1970’s.  I want them to appreciate the likes of Classic Rock like Yes, Genesis, The Who, The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Kansas, Rush, just to name a few.

One of my more favorite songs is the classic “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac.  The band’s sound, vocal and instrumental, is unique to say the least.  Stevie Nicks sings the song and talks about the important question:  What is love?  She then asks, “Can the child within my heart rise above” followed by the words “changing ocean tides” and “seasons of my life.”  She answers “I don’t know” when she asks herself about handling the ever-changing landscapes of life, not to mention the occasional proverbial “landslide” like financial downturns, medical challenges, getting older and not being as mobile as a 20 year old.  Most of us work with the grayness of life and its ever present uncertainty.  Existential questions such as “Is there a God?,” “Why do humans suffer?,” and “What do I want to be when I grow up?” can cause one to wonder, “Will I be able to handle these changin’ ocean tides?”

For me the most deeply profound part of the song is found in the words, “What is love?”  I love that question.   There are many in our world who would say that God is Love.  For me that works.  I know that we as humans are crafted and made in the image of Love, by God spiritually and by our mother and our father biologically.  Some have said that Love is a verb and not a noun.  I agree.  Love is giving someone else the attention, care, heartfelt hope and dream of making something good happen in another’s life.  Love is being good to another and putting their welfare and wellness at the top of one’s priority list.  Love puts others first and makes others important.  Like the singer Nicks, we are tempted to answer “I don’t know.”  It’s easy to question one’s ability to be a parent to a 16 year old and also be parent-like to aging and medically fragile parents and grandparents.  I really don’t know either. 

Dear Loving God, let your love fill us as givers and receivers of the images in whom we are fashioned.  Help us to be loving caregivers striving to lift others to new experiences of love and wholeness.  Amen.

-- Chaplain George M. Rossi

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