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Nurturing

Photo by OhBuoyancy!

I’m grateful I have dental insurance. I’m grateful I have a great dentist. I’m sorry I’ve seen so much of her lately. The dentist is my least favorite place to go. I dread it almost as much as I dread going to the Oncology Department at Northwestern University and I freeze up just about as much as I approach their door. (And by the way, one more semi-annual healthy visit to the cancer doctors and I get to stretch that out to a year.) For me, that means that I grow more silent and have to consciously answer questions and at least be polite.

It’s moments like these that I’m really not a big fan of chit chat and do my best to bury my nose in the Newsweek from last spring.

So, this morning when I headed out to see what could be done for a molar that had lost half of a very old, silver filling I did my best to keep repeating, this too shall pass.

That phrase has gotten me through a lot of things in recent years; some of it big stuff and some of it petty and momentary. Frankly, sometimes it’s the petty things that trip me up the most and cause me to get in my own way.

I’ve noticed, though, as my faith in God has grown so has my willingness to just see where something is going and to believe, more and more that the destination is a good place. Lately, I’ve even had the thought that I’m already on the journey.

I mentioned to a friend, who asked me how I was doing, that I was good. I wish I was thinner, richer and happily married but I was good. She replied, and quickly, that I had lost a lot of weight, had a better job and God probably had something in mind for the rest too. Good answer.

Now, I have a temporary filling, a placeholder, till the fancy one from the lab is back and it’s not the best but it’ll do for now. It’s just a piece of the same journey and well, this too shall pass. More adventures to follow.

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Rev. Thelma Smith

There is a growing spiritual movement in America that has managed to find a way to encompass not only all kinds of people but all kinds of faith and is changing the way people view everything with a gentle persuasion that has found a way to let everyone be right. The movement has several names – Unity, Science of Mind, and Kabala are just a few – and it’s quietly attracting the most unlikely of followers, Middle America. The media talks about the famous followers, like Madonna or Travolta but has failed to notice the great influx of newcomers from across the rest of the country, including the so-called red states.

The way I was raised, an old-line Episcopalian, meant that with only the occasional exception all the faces in the crowd I saw on Sundays were white, wealthy, well-educated and shared agreeable political dispositions. Nothing wrong with that at all, however, as we say in the South, we were generally preaching to the choir. Not a lot of change was going to find us.

Going to church brought me the comfort of the familiar. I didn’t necessarily agree with the rules but I knew them in my bones and could put on a good face. It helped that I was the daughter of a popular retired Episcopal minister. I had been raised inside the church.

I rarely agreed wholeheartedly with anything I heard but I spoke the language effortlessly, knew the appropriate body language and could relax back into a mindless state of being and know I was welcomed.  However, I wanted more.

Along with a growing number of people in this country, I stumbled into the beginning of an answer that I eventually found I could blend with my old line faith, and I found it in the most unlikely of places. The Spiritual Mind Center was at the time in the back of a building anchored on a corner by a 7-11 store, and next door to a military recruiting station. The cars in the parking lot had plenty of stickers to save the world, treat everyone better and believe in everything. We had come to hear about a new way of seeing the world and interpreting religion. Any religion. I felt tolerant but skeptical. The tables were turned.

Inside was a nice version of a storefront church with chairs lined up in a circle, glow-in-the-dark green stars all over the back wall and a blow up beach ball of the earth hanging from the center of the room. A small well-dressed woman with stylish red hair, Reverend Thelma Smith, stood in the center of the chairs, an impish smile constantly on her face. [click to continue…]

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The Carr's in the '60's. That's me in the blue velvet.

A child needs two parents who care about them and show up for them in all aspects of their lives. When we do that we let the small fry know that the world’s a safe place in the small moments of sitting next to them in church, cheering them on from a variety of sidelines or holding our children close when they’re not feeling well, inside or out.

It’s the biggest opportunity for an adult to be accountable and learn that very little of life is really about us at all. That’s a good thing.

But somehow in the mix of trying to figure out how we can lead more authentic lives a lot of us forgot about that axiom and started acting like our needs came ahead of everything else.

However, there’s no time like the present to try a contrary action.

Our children need balance in their lives just as much as we do and a new study released last week backs up that idea just in time for Father’s Day. A study out of Australia says that letting Dads roughhouse with their children improves their emotional health and rate of development.

It’s the balance between a mother’s nurturing hug and a father’s nurturing toss in the air. One tells us that there’s a safe place to return to and the other lets us know that the world can be a little rough but on the whole it’s a lot of fun. Don’t be afraid to get knocked around a little because what you learn will be worth it.

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