Monday, May 11, 2020
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.
Do not worry about anything,
but in everything by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
News this morning that comedian and actor, Jerry Stiller, has died at the age of 92. I'm ancient enough to recall Stiller and Anne Meara, his wife, appearing as a comedy duo on the Ed Sullivan show. Both of their children became actors and son Ben is well known for a variety of movie roles.
Jerry Stiller is probably best known for his role as George Constanza's father on the Seinfield sitcom. Frank Constanza began as a mild-mannered character but became short-tempered and unpredictable, which was a lot more fun.
In one episode called "Serenity Now" he ends up in the back seat of a car shouting that phrase. He explains to his wife and George that his doctor has given him a relaxation tape to help lower his blood pressure. His over-the-top angry barking of the mantra as though it was an profane expletive suggests that he hasn't quite grasped the purpose of the exercise.
Isn't this perfect for the days in which we'e living? I figure that every day I should express gratitude for my health and well-being and I do so. I attempt to put this in the context of my Christian faith and when we say grace over our evening meal we "count our blessings, one by one".
Just the same, there are days when I want to bellow "serenity now" as more gloomy news emerges. We are currently in even more stringent isolation in anticipation of the birth of a grandchild and our support of our daughter's family when she heads to the hospital. This will be a joyous occasion -- a week today!-- but we are restless. We just heard that our long-planned kayaking trip to Haida Gwaii has been cancelled. It's not really a surprise, and -hey- there's next year, but we're getting long in the tooth.
All we can do is breathe deeply, seek the peace which surpasses understanding ( a favourite passage I shared with you recently) and act like grown-ups. I'll continue to be mindful of all the people who are working heroically in many settings so that I can be home in safety. If this is house arrest, I am blessed. I'll trust that the weather will warm up and that the snow flurries will be gone by...July? Maybe I'll mutter "serenity now" from time to time, but I'll try to keep it down.
How are you doing? Does your faith help? Do you have any mantras for inner peace? Any moments of "serenity now"?
Getting dirt under your fingernails is a hopeful act. Some gardening thoughts in today's Groundling blog