Friday, June 27, 2008

Daily Office Reflection: Compassionate Touching

Psalms 102 * 107:1-32; Numbers 20:1-13; Romans 5:12-21; Matthew 20:29-34

I am headed up to Cape Cod today for a week's vacation. This picture is what is right outside the living room window of the place I rent every year. Although a long slow drive is in front of me, there is this place, this Shangri-la, awaiting my arrival. I have been going to this place for about ten years now, and although I don't own it and I go only once a year for a week or two, it still has the feeling of home to me: I can decompress very quickly in this setting.

Decompression is important, relaxing and letting go is important, these are all things that help re-center me. I am bringing some art projects and an idea for a new book with me: I may or may not get to any of these things. But having options available is not a bad idea. There is a certain compassionate understanding of the world that can come from this re-centering I am about to enter into this week. A compassionate understanding of myself, of my needs, wants and desires. A compassionate understanding of the world that I inhabit, both close in to me, and seemingly further away from my daily existence.

Out of his compassion, Jesus touches two blind men today, sitting on the side of the road as he leaves Jericho. These two were not part of Jesus' close-in world, they didn't touch him metaphorically, yet he touched them: in spirit and physically. It would have been very easy for Jesus to keep going on his way, oblivious of their plight, absorbed in his own trek to Jerusalem. Yet, he didn't stay inner-focused but heard their cries, and out of compassion touched and healed them. I wonder who I will pass today and whether I can have some of that compassion to touch those I pass and not be so self-absorbed in my own trek north.

Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Daily Office Reflection: The Hard News

Psalms 105:1-22 * 105:23-45; Numbers 17:1-11; Romans 5:1-11; Matthew 20:17-28

In seminary, one of my first Bible classes was an overview of the New Testament. The professor, in our review of Matthew, often said that a verse we have in today's reading summed up the entire Gospel of Matthew. That verse is 20:28 and it says (in part): The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.

There is something in our DNA as human beings that makes us want to be noticed, to be rewarded, to be seen with and among the movers and shakers of this world. There is a certain thrill that comes with seeing someone famous and then getting your picture taken with them. I have two on my office wall: one of me with Desmond Tutu and another of me and Gene Robinson. I remember how thrilling it was to meet them, chat with them and then have those moments memorialized in a photograph. Think about all those photo-ops with political candidates that have recently happened in the presidential campaign...There is nothing inherently wrong in these kind of actions and opportunities, but a dangerous misconception about what is really important in the world can be engendered from this mindset if we let it become the focus of our world.

The hard news of today's Gospel is that this loving Jesus and this loving God we worship and praise tells his disciples for the second time today that he is heading to torture and death and resurrection. That he is not the kind of king they are used to, or in fact the kind of leader we are used to having our picture taken with. The hard news is that as nice as those moments of celebrity are, they are not what we are called to in this life. Those real moments of celebrity are the ones that only you and someone you are helping (and God) know about. Those small moments of joy brought to someone in need by a servant leader is what it is all about. That is hard news to hear, but there is also relief in the knowledge that it is not all about us as individuals, but that it is all about all of us collectively doing this quiet work creating the kingdom for all of us to revel and share in.

Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Daily Office Reflection: On Being Equal

Psalms: 101, 109:1-4(5-19) * 119:121-144; Numbers 16:16-50; Romans 4:13-25; Matthew 20:1-16

In God's eyes we are all equal. That is made pretty clear today in the parable Jesus tells of the landowner hiring laborers for the vineyard.  This landowner paid the same wage whether the hired laborer worked all day or just one hour at the end of the day. 

Growing up I found a basic lack of fairness in this parable, often times agreeing with the individual who was first hired: Hey I was here first, I worked longer and harder then these other folks. I deserve more then they get! And that attitude is emblematic of how most of our culture works and has worked since Jesus told this parable 2000 years ago.

I remember also thinking, when I would hear this parable, how unfair it is for people to make deathbed conversions and be forgiven of all their misdeeds, while those who struggle everyday to live into the kingdom are given no special treatment at the end. How is that fair?

But as in all things Jesus says, there are multiple meanings in this parable. One of those is that Jesus expects us to see the world through different lenses then the ones we are accustomed to utilizing. The kingdom Jesus is proclaiming is radically different to what we expect, if we are basing those expectations on the familiar and the common. Everyone is invited into the kingdom and everyone who finds it, does so at their own pace, in their own manner. And at the end, all of us who work for the effectuation of the kingdom are equal in God's eyes, whether we worked one hour, one day or most of our lives. And there is a fairness here, because there is a great reward in working at moving the world toward the kingdom Jesus is proclaiming. And that reward is the work itself, for that work is not grunt work, or unnecessary, but a work of joy and love and an understanding of the world that is different from the general understanding of what fairness means. For it is never too late, nor is it ever too early, to be part of the kingdom of God, to be one with the one who created us and loves us, as we have been created.

Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Daily Office Reflection: Preparing

MP: Psalms 82, 98; Malachi 3:1-5; John 3:22-30
EP: Psalm 80; Malachi 4:1-6; Matthew 11:2-19

While I was growing up, my older brother would often remind me that he prepared the way for me. He is two years older then I am and so would do things before me, try things out that children often do, get into trouble for various things. When I would do similar things a short while later, my parents were already familiar with the resulting havoc and I would either not be punished or be punished to a lesser extent then he had been for doing the same thing. He trail-blazed for me.

Likewise, I trail-blazed for my younger brother, who was born five years after me. In my estimation, he got away with murder with his antics...I'm sure my feelings mimicked my older brother's feelings toward me. In someways in life, we all are trail-blazers for those who come after us. Perhaps there are times when that blazing trail we are setting can have affects on us that are not all that pleasant, but looking back on them we can see the good that we do: the tilled earth being easier to sow for those who inevitably follow after us.

Today we remember and celebrate the birth of John the Baptist, the trail-blazer of trail-blazers. I have read a number of commentaries where John the Baptist is thought of as a melancholy trail-blazer. I don't think those are completely accurate portraits. I think John knew, while he was still being carried in Elizabeth's womb, what his role in life was going to be, what his role in history was going to be: that he would make it just a little bit easier for the holy one. The holy one who was to begin his journey by walking along the path John the Baptist began, and then blaze ahead. I am sure John was confident and proud of his cousin, Jesus, son of Mary. Perhaps a bit melancholy, but those feelings, although human, were probably over-taken by a sense that I helped, in a small way, for the one to come after me.

In church life, this is one of the things we are called to do, in our being stewards of the gifts given to us: caring for those things left to us that blazed the trail before, but to also bring the church along the path God has set us on. We are not to sit stagnant pining for times past, but to continue blazing the trail so that those who come after will have it a little bit easier whilst they continue the journey and trail-blaze: always moving closer and closer to effectuating the kingdom promised.

Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Daily Office Reflection: Touch

Psalms 89:1-18 * 89:19-52; Numbers 16:1-19; Romans 3:21-31; Matthew 19:13-22

Very often when we buy new things, we like to touch them, hold them. Perhaps as we pass these new purchases by, we reach out and run our hand through them or across them. That sensory perception afforded us by our touching something can be an important part of our initial connection to that item.

It is also true that when we see someone we know, or we haven't seen in a while, we reach out to touch them somehow: shaking hands, a hug, a pat on the shoulder, a squeeze on the arm; a kiss on the cheek. That touch is an important part of the connectedness we all share with other human beings. When someone suffers a loss, is in grief or sorrow, we often times reach out to touch, to hug, to hold that person's hand while they weep. Again, that physical, tangible reminder that we are not alone, that there is someone physically with us at that moment in time is important.

Jesus is laying hands on children today, praying for each one of them, blessing each one of them. That physical touch on each child was something deeply personal for each one of them, but also for those witnessing those moments of blessing. In church there are moments of touching: the Peace, a baptism, confirmation, reception or reaffirmation, ordinations, consecrations. And outside of church, anointing of the sick and the dying involve touch, a physical manifestation of blessings. God wants to touch us, to bless us and wants us to do that to each other. 

Jesus also talks about another kind of touch today. In talking with a man inquiring how to be holy, he finally asks the man to sell all his possessions giving the earnings from those sales to the poor, and then to follow him. That man left deeply grieved because he had many possessions. That unnamed individual,  (Matthew uses the phrase Then someone came to him and said....), was touched in a different way. He was touched, possessed really, by those items he owned. Jesus recognized this unbalance in this anonymous man, and wanted to have him rethink his priorities, to understand what it means to be touched: touched by one who cares for us, by one who loves us, by one who blesses us by that touch.

Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Daily Office Reflection: Loving Forgiveness

Psalms 88 * 91, 92; Numbers 13:1-3,21-30; Romans 2:25-3:8; Matthew 18:2-35

From where does forgiveness come within ourselves?

I had a parishioner visit me who was very much distressed. He is a single father who has been supporting his son through college. His son had been taking the money his father had been sending him, and instead of using it to pay for tuition, rent, utilities, books and supplies he had been using it to buy clothes, go out partying, buying his friends dinner and drinks.  Instead of paying for school, he had been applying for loans, which he maxed-out on  fairly quickly. This behavior went on for months and months and he finally failed out of school, bringing the lie he had been living out into the clear light of day. When his father found out, and he realized the thousands of dollars lost, he was justifiably angry.

We visited for a long time the day he came in to talk to me about this. He talked about his overwhelming feeling of anger and not knowing what to do with and about his son, he talked about betrayal and the outright lies, and was concerned about how he was ever going to trust his son again. That was a repeated refrain in our conversation. At the very end of his discussion with me, he asked me the question I think he wanted to ask me from the moment he walked in my office. He asked How will I ever be able to forgive my son?  This, above all the other emotions he was feeling, was the question he was most concerned about.

I asked him if he still loved his son. And he said yes. I told him not to confuse trust or forgetting with forgiveness, for forgiveness comes from our love for the other. I told him that he may never be able to trust his son the same way again, or forget the betrayal he feels for his sons actions, but those are not the same thing as forgiveness. Forgiveness comes from the heart, it comes from our love. It won't come right away, we have to consciously work at it. Feeling angry is, many times, appropriate, but we can't let our anger get the better of us. Feeling the anger, recognizing it for the emotion that it is and then letting it go is an important part of healing. Trust and forgetting may never come but forgiveness of those who transgress against us can and will come in time if we open our heart and remember the love we have that is so deeply rooted within our being. Forgetting and trust may come too over the course of time, but that is not as sure. 

Forgiveness is a sure thing and an important part of our healing when we have been wronged. We know that from the model God provides for us, the model Jesus provides for us. We are so deeply loved by God that we can be and are forgiven by this omnipresent God whose love knows no bounds, whose arms can encircle us, embracing us if only we decide to walk into that embrace. 

Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Daily Office Reflection: Building the Kingdom

Psalms (83), 34 * 85, 86; Numbers 12:1-16; Romans :12-24; Matthew 18:10-20

I was watching the Top Chef wrap up show last night. This season ending event is where all the chefs get together to re-hash the past season, view out-takes from clips that did not make it into the show. They also give $10,000 to the "fan favorite", voted by the viewing audience.

This and most of the reality television shows are about winning: who wins and who loses; who gets voted off the show by a panel of judges, the audience, viewers calling in or voting on line. There is an excitement that builds and blogs with viewer commentary: much of it nasty. So much of our society and culture revolves around winning and losing: competing with, being better then those with whom we are walking through this life.

The Kingdom of God is something different then that. Yesterday Jesus pulled a child into the circle of discussion he was in with his apostles and disciples. He said yesterday in response to a question about who is the greatest among the apostles and disciples, that Unless you change and become like children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus continues in that same vein today when he says Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones

Who are these little ones to whom Jesus is referring? Some say it is children, others say it is those who are down-trodden and outcast. I think that is too narrow a reading, for Jesus tells all of us to become like children and then in the next sentence says do not despise one of these little ones. Jesus is referring to all of us; all of us are these little ones. All of us are equal in God's eyes and will be searched for when lost and rejoiced over when we are found.

Although at some level interesting and entertaining to watch, any competition which casts aside someone is not what the Kingdom of God is like or about. For those who are competitive by nature and insist on winning, "good on you" as my British friends would say. But that is not capital worth a penny in God's Kingdom. Being like one of these little ones, finding one of the lost little ones and rejoicing over the finding, sharing with and caring for each other is building the Kingdom. That is a different definition of competition, this is a different way of viewing and being in the world. And it is so very different then the world in which we live. And it is so hard not to get pulled into that mind-set of who is the greatest. Sure it is an awesome thing to compete and relish the gifts God has given each and every one of us. But that is not what building the Kingdom is about.

Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Daily Office Reflection: Innocence

Psalms 119:97-120 * 81, 82; Numbers 11:24-33; Romans 1:28-2:11; Matthew 18:1-9

Have you ever watched children? Their curiosity, precociousness, intensity of focus and curiosity (if but momentary), the simpleness of their joy, their imaginations and trust, their ability to love without reserve, their need to know that they are protected, their innocence of the cruelty that surounds them, are some of the things Jesus is instructing us to model today.

We lose so much of that innocence, sense of wonder and humbleness as we grow older and become more self-reliant. There is a part of us that must act like that in order to survive in this world. In our relationship to God though, we must understand that we cannot define God's boundaries, we cannot define what God can and cannot do. For just as a child can have great joy with the empty box the $500 gift came in, ignoring the gift itself, but playing with the container instead, so must we understand what humbleness means in our relationship with God. What innocence and trust mean in our relationship with God. Even though there is great evil in the world, there is also great good, some of it made by human hands, much of it divine.
Just as Jesus holds the child today, so too are we held by God, loved by God. Grabbing onto that innocence we had as children is something we are reminded of today. This is not an easy thing to do.
Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Daily Office Reflection:

Psalms 78:1-39 * 78:40-72; Numbers 11:1-23; Romans 1:16-25; Matthew 17:22-27

Today's Gospel account is a rather difficult one in many respects. A thumbnail sketch of today's selection: Jesus makes his second proclamation of his passion and death and resurrection, he talks about paying temple taxes and then instructs Peter to pay that tax from a coin pulled from a fish's mouth.

Jesus tells Peter the reason they should pay the temple tax is so that they do not give offense to them. This from the man who will go into the synagogue in Jerusalem and overturn tables and throw out the money changers and who constantly challenges the authority of the Pharisees and Sadducees. What is Jesus getting at here with this instruction that they not give offense to them? 

For me this ties into Jesus' instruction to turn the other cheek when we are struck, to give someone your shirt too when they ask you for your coat, and the examination of the Roman coin with Caesar's head on it. But today's is complicated by the way Jesus obtains the coin to pay this temple tax. 

Jesus asks Peter to whom do kings on earth take from: their children or others. Peter correctly replies from others and Jesus then says well then, the children are free, aren't they? Perhaps what we are asked to consider today is to keep the proper perspective when we are asked to do things that we consider to be wrong, incongruous with our beliefs or hypocritical. If we can stay centered on and focused on God and the promises God has made to us, having to be involved with things that are distasteful perhaps will make them a bit more palatable. We are also provided with an example of how it is considered okay to be imaginative and creative in how we effectuate and respond to those demands. From what proverbial fish can we pull that proverbial coin in order not to give offense to those with whom we disagree? That is something worthwhile to chew on today!

Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Daily Office Reflection: Moving Mountains

Psalms 80 * 77 (79); Numbers 9:15-23, 10:29-36; Romans 1:1-15; Matthew 17:14-21.

if you have the faith of a mustard seed... nothing will be impossible for you.

Our church marched in the DC Pride Parade on Saturday evening. 'Twas a rainy affair this year. The Bishop of Washington was there with us riding in his own convertible (provided by St. Thomas'). Our rector and I rode in our own convertible (provided by our senior warden and his partner), throwing beads and mints that contained St. T's logo and website address. We were amazed how many people stayed to watch the parade, despite the rain. I was amazed how many people came up to the car to take beads, candy but many just wanted to "high five" us. There was genuine excitement in their faces and in their eyes. I saw that they saw possibility by our presence. Possibility of acceptance, possibility of love, possibility that something they know deep down in their true inner selves could be awakened: that they could be in a spiritual home that affirms who they are and how God made them. 

That spark, that hope is such a fragile thing, much like faith can be. Yet a little faith, the size of a mustard seed (a tiny seed at that) is enough. It is enough to make the seemingly impossible happen, chief among those impossible things, is the sure and confident knowledge that we are loved, for who we are. So many people have been damaged by the intolerance and narrow-minded focus of religious leaders. Mustard seeds are tough things, that can survive lots of torment. So is that mustard seed of faith that resides deep within us, on which we need to lean in order to survive. For God's deep and abiding love exists for each one of us. That is something worth striving for, and the mountains that we place in the way  and that are placed in our way of finding that love can be moved by a small seed of faith, from which unimaginable beauty can grow.

Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Daily Office Reflection: Living Into the Mystery

Psalms 75, 76 * 23, 27; Numbers 3:1-13; Galatians 6:11-18, Matthew 17:1-13

Today we celebrate Basil the Great who was a Bishop of the early church (the 4th Century) who, among other great deeds, fought the heresy of Arianism, and was a staunch defender of the developing Nicene Creed as well as the developing understanding of the Trinity. 

Quite by accident our Daily Office readings for the day include Matthew's account of the Transfiguration of Jesus, where to an audience of three people, Peter, James and John, Jesus' countenance changed to a brilliance that could not be looked at and a voice thundered from heaven identifying Jesus as Son, Beloved, someone to be listened to. Think about Peter, James and John and the confusing time they have had with Jesus. He had recently asked who people said he was and Peter gets it right by saying the Messiah, to which Jesus admits that is the truth: how confusing that must have been for them to hear, even if they did guess it. Then Jesus describes his coming Passion and death and they recoil, in particular Peter, and Jesus rebukes him. Now it is six days later and they are on a mountain with Jesus and this amazing, unimaginable and probably quite frightening thing happens before their eyes: where the beauty and magnificence that is God is glimpsed by them.

Arianism, among other things, argued that Jesus was lesser then God, and that the Holy Spirit was lesser then Jesus: that Jesus was not truly divine and truly human. Today's Gospel account is one of the pieces of this mysterious puzzle that assists in putting away more simplistic understandings of the nature of God, for to try and make God simple and understandable in human terms is to take away the brilliance and complexity and mystery of God we get a glimpse of today. Today's Gospel is an example of how exciting and beautiful and scary it is to live into this mystery of faith that we call our own.

Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Daily Office Reflection: The Known Unknown

Psalms 69:1-23(24-30)31-38 * 73; Ecclesiastes 11:9-12:14; Galatians 5:25-6:10; Matthew 16:21-28

So many times in life we can be "on" and then just completely miss the point. It is like we have this moment of clarity and understanding and articulateness that we then just lose the next moment.

We see that today with Peter, who chastises Jesus, taking him aside after Jesus makes his prediction of his Passion and death. And Jesus replies by calling Peter Satan. In yesterday's Daily Office reading, we are in this same chapter of Matthew, just six verses back in the chapter, Jesus is extolling Peter's brilliance and prescience in recognizing him as the Messiah. Peter had such clarity, and then when he hears what that Messiahship truly entails, he recoils and tells Jesus "no, no, no". I think Peter's terror shuttered his mind to the ability to see the path ahead. Jesus was walking into the known unknown, and Peter just couldn't (yet) get  to that place. 

If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me, Jesus says after calling Peter Satan (after having just told him the church was going to be built on the rock that is Peter). Notice that Jesus says take up their cross not take up my cross. Jesus is telling his followers (including us) that we have to take up the cross each of us has and follow him into the known unknown. We need to give up certainty for uncertainty. Go to that place where things will be lost and yet greater things will be found. This goes against our human nature of wanting surety and understanding and certainty of outcome.

Walking into the known unknown, with Jesus as our guide. Something to think about today.

Copyright 2008. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Daily Office Reflection:Being Known

Psalms (70), 71 *74; Ecclesiastes 11:1-8; Galatians 5:16-24; Matthew 16:13-20

In our faith we believe that Jesus, when he was on earth, was both (and equally) fully divine and fully human. This is one of those mysteries of our faith that can prove to be such a quagmire for many people, but it can also be a place where rewarding reflection can take place.

Take today's Gospel selection from Matthew where Jesus asks the disciples who people say that he is and they tell him the word on the street is a bit confused: some say John the Baptist resurrected, some say Elijah returned, others Jeremiah, and others a prophet. Then he asks them But who do you say that I am? And Simon Peter wins the prize by identifying him as the Messiah, the Son of the living God. This is one of the few times Simon Peter gets it right, while Jesus is alive. Here he is not the usual bumbling foil the Gospel writers make him out to be. 

Jesus replies with accolades for Simon Peter and tells Simon Peter how Jesus will build a church around the rock that Simon Peter will become because of this profession of faith.....But what I'm curious about this morning is how did Jesus feel when Simon gets it. The human side of Jesus must have been conflicted: joyous that he is recognized and known for who and what he is by those closest to him, and yet I wonder if he was terrified too....It is one thing for a person to call themselves something (such as the Son of Man), but to be recognized by others, to be called by others something that you know that you are, but that is not widely known or understood, combined with the enormity of what is to come in Jesus' life, must have caused Jesus some concern. As fully human, those emotions must have been there within Jesus, just as they are with us.

I do not often call myself "Father" or ask people to do so, but I do think of myself and identify myself as a priest. The first time someone called me Father (as a title, not a parent) brought me the joy of being recognized, known for who and what I am, deep within me. It also kindled in me a fear and a terror: a holy cow, this is really real now moment. It is one of those yin and yang moments of life, great joy in being recognized and terror at being recognized. I find a comfort in knowing the God who loves us all, as we were created, can understand and support us through those moments of terror and uncertainty because God lived it.

Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Daily Office Reflection: St Barnabas

MP: Psalms 15, 67; Ecclesiasicus 31:3-11; Acts 4:32-37
EP: Psalms 19, 146; Job 29:1-16; Acts 9:26-31

What a wonderful thing it is to be "back" on line at home. My 8 year old Dell laptop died about 12 days ago....this was my home computer as well as the one I utilize at church. So to say that I was stranded without any food and drink is not an unimaginable analogy. I could pop onto someone else's computer at work on occasion to quickly catch up on emails, but it has been hit or miss. The church has ordered me a desk top which should be delivered next week, and my newly beloved, this MacBook Pro will be my home computer. The delay in purchasing this was: finding out if my reliable dinosaur could be fixed; research to decide what I wanted; and then waiting for investments to be cashed out so I could actually purchase the machine. That last one has proved the biggest sticking point, as I am still waiting for my money from my investment broker and, through the generosity of my good friend and mentor, I was able to buy this beauty a week earlier to allow me my "fix" of Internet.

And that is an interesting lesson of these past ten days: how very wedded I am to the Internet; how much I depend upon it for information, communication, entertainment, and staying in touch with friends and family and work. I found myself over the last ten days like there was a hole somewhere in the fabric of my being.

And this morning, as we remember and celebrate St. Barnabas, who gave so generously of his wealth and his time to the growing of the new church community being founded right after Christ's death, I am brought up short by the recognition of the fact that I do have many materialistic tendencies....Did I need to purchase such a fine (and expensive) machine? Could I have done just as well with something a bit less extravagant? Should I give more to the church of my financial wealth (I already give almost all my time to the church, so I don't feel brought up short on that front).  These are all rhetorical questions this morning....probably useful in keeping things in perspective. 

I am most very blessed to be able to purchase such a fine machine for my work and play and enjoyment. May I always understand how blessed and fortunate I am.

Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Computer problems

My 8 year old lap top died about a week ago.... while I tried to get it fixed I had no time/ability to make new posts......I am the proud new owner of a MacBook Pro and will be back writing daily reflections starting tomorrow AM.