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"Better Times" - Monday Moment - March 6, 2023

Happy Monday, my friends! Do you ever long for home, your childhoods, or some other “better” time of your life? When the Israelites were exiled to Babylon, they too mourned for a time past. “By the rivers of Babylon—there we sat down, and there we wept when we remembered Zion. On the willows there we hung up our harps. For there our captors asked us for songs, and our tormentors asked for mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How could we sing the Lords’ song in a foreign land? (Psalm 137:1-4; NRSVue).


This past Christmas my family had a moment to experience how things once were. Forced out of their house on Christmas Eve by no heat, my sister, brother-in-law, and their son hunkered down at my parents’ house where I was also staying. For a moment we settled back into our routines and life from high school when all four of us lived under the same roof consistently, just mom, dad, and the two kids. For that moment life seemed a little easier, a little less burdened by the concerns and chances of a world in which we all lived as adults.


The problem with these kinds of moments or the moments when we remember the “good old times” is that those times weren’t better, they were just different. Yes, when I think back to being a child life seemed easier, but that was only my perspective. My parents, unbeknownst to me at the time, were working through many of the same concerns that I’m working through now (and I don’t have a partner and children to worry about). Interestingly, though removed from their homeland, the Israelites had a large degree of freedom and self-determination in Babylon. They might have been an exiled and conquered people, but Babylonian policy attempted to integrate cultures into their own while allowing those cultures to retain their religions, customs, and traditions. The Israelites’ concern was not so much that they were captured and singing about home, but that in doing so they might forget their home, the temple in Jerusalem, and God.


For many of us who have deconstructed and reconstructed our faith, memories of the churches we were raised in can still seem appealing. Regardless of the trauma, abuse, control, gaslighting, and outright lies we experienced, some aspect of that culture can catch us and make us remember a time we felt happier but were less fulfilled. There is something about Catholic culture in the United States—specifically Catholic school culture—that tug at my heart.


What is your “better time?” How is your life actually better now than it was then?


Let us pray: God, help us live into the grace and blessings of our lives as they are right now. As humans we often get lost in idealized of images of the “good old times” when life felt easier. Remind us of how our lives changed for the better and how you have been with us through those changes. Changeless God, you are our best guide through the changes of our lives. Amen.


Blessings on your weeks, my friends! Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.


Faithfully,


Ben


PS. The mission and ministry of LOVEboldly is driven largely by small monthly recurring donations. During the month of March, we are trying to bring on at least 25 more monthly donors at the $10 to $100 per month level. Would you consider giving to LOVEboldly in this or another way? The easiest way to do so is via our giving page: https://loveboldly.churchcenter.com/giving. If 25 new donors each committed to giving $25 a month, LOVEboldly would earn an additional $7,500 a year. Thank you for your consideration and thank you to those of you who already give generously to LOVEboldly!

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