A tip for when you suffer

Remembering our co-sufferers

Photo: https://flic.kr/p/a88G2h

Photo: https://flic.kr/p/a88G2h

I’ve been thinking a lot about suffering – something that affects all of us in different ways. Some people suffer from illness, others from injustice, poverty, or any number of other causes, like being worried about the future.

Sometimes, suffering jolts you from a peaceful sleep. And just as the memory of your burden returns, so also does that pit in your stomach. Others wake up from physical pain. Still, others can’t sleep at all.

Suffering steals our minds and attention.

Nearly everyone suffers, at some level or another. Our own personal suffering may be far less than the suffering of others, who have different pains and worries. Yet, it is still suffering.

Our times of suffering allow us to re-connect with God in important ways—to trust God to pull us through.

When we suffer, I think it is helpful to remember the suffering of others. Our own suffering can remind us of the pain that others are going through. These are our co-sufferers. They include people who are suffering from struggling to make ends meet, losing a friend or family member, experiencing unemployment, being a victim of a crime or injustice, enduring illness.

We all suffer. So let us remember that we are suffering together.

How to Meet your Summer Goals (Part 2)

Photo: https://flic.kr/p/HrvYD

Photo: https://flic.kr/p/HrvYD

Last week, I detailed out the first part of a plan to help you make and meet your summer goals.

It starts by completing these two short sentences:

I would feel better about myself if I  ____________.

I would feel better about myself if I did not  ____________.

The objective is to complete the sentences simply, with one idea.

For example, you may have said:

I would feel better about myself if I rode my bicycle more often this summer.

I would feel better about myself if I ate more salad.

I would feel better about myself if I spent more time with my niece.

And you may also have said something like:

I would feel better about myself if I did not buy potato chips from the vending machine at work every afternoon.

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How to Make and Meet your Summer Goals (Part 1)

Photo: https://flic.kr/p/fHpE4m

Photo: https://flic.kr/p/fHpE4m

With summer now upon us, there may be some goals–perhaps still lurking from your New Year’s Resolutions–that you’d like to conquer over the next few months.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is to be systematic when completing tasks or working towards meeting goals.

In my free e-guide, I explain an easy way to meet goals and be productive. In a post about writing out your goals with a pencil, I talk about the importance of using the eraser.

In this two-part blog post, I provide another simple methodology that can help you make and meet your summer goals.

What I present below

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How To Remember Your Baptism

Photo: https://flic.kr/p/PQZVv

Photo: https://flic.kr/p/PQZVv

A couple of years ago, my wife and I attended Holy Week services in our old neighborhood in England, at a church where chimes ring out each day from a tall bell tower. Inside, columns and arches frame each side of the nave, and a large, gold icon of the sitting, crowned Christ is painted on the wall high above the altar.

On Good Friday, a cross with the figure of Christ was placed in the center aisle. People lined up and knelt down, one-by-one, kissing it before returning to their seats. The next evening, we all stood outside around a lit campfire—the fire representing Christ’s victory over death and darkness. From this flame, a large Easter candle was lit, symbolizing the risen Christ, and we followed this candle, procession style, into the church for the Easter vigil.

Inside, we were invited to

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What I Learned from my Last Day of School

The value of proper conclusion

Photo: https://flic.kr/p/ek3wHw

Photo: https://flic.kr/p/ek3wHw

Every morning last month I attended a Turkish course at a language school in Istanbul.

Toward the end of the course, I learned that there would be a final exam on the last day.

All month, I had completed most of my homework and studied when I could.

But as I realized just how hard the final exam might be, I was quite sure that I would not pass it.

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Can Facebook care?

Photo: https://flic.kr/p/e1LKVj

Photo: https://flic.kr/p/e1LKVj

On Saturday morning, I woke up to find a picture at the top of my Facebook homepage that reminded me of something from six years ago. My roommates and I had taken funny pictures around the old La-Z-Boy recliner in our kitchen. It was like our Christmas card family portrait.

I’m glad Facebook reminded me of that memory. I presumed that Facebook also posted the same photo to the homepages of my old roommates. In a sense, it kind of brought the four of us together again in some magical, existential way—us all remembering the fond memories of that evening and our life together that year.

If recalling that fond memory wasn’t enough, Facebook even told me that it cared about me.

“John, we care about you and the memories you share here,” Facebook wrote, above the picture.

But as nice as it was to re-live that memory, I don’t think Facebook pinned that photo to my homepage only to make me feel good.

Nor do I think

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Understanding why we fight

Photo: https://flic.kr/p/9AeqD2

Photo: https://flic.kr/p/9AeqD2

Waiting at the water department in Istanbul, my wife was number 30 in line.

After she was there for a while, the office closed for lunch.

And everybody waited longer.

Someone made a comment about the dysfunctions of bureaucracies in “Muslim countries,” and that sparked a small shouting match.

A government employee finally intervened and the security guard appeared.

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How to have a Life Make-over

Photo: https://flic.kr/p/4kmmho

Photo: https://flic.kr/p/4kmmho

This morning, I’ve thought: If I were to have a Life Make-over, what would it be like?

To get from Here to There, what would it require?

First, it would mean identifying what I don’t want in my life and then planning–and committing–to changing so that I can do what I want to do.

Doing what I want to do (do I even know what I want to do?) requires first being who I want to be.

A Life Make-over for many of us, I’d imagine, requires a lot of changes.

Sometimes I think about my past–in good and less-good ways.

I think about who I was in order to think about who I want to be.

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