malcolm marler

on a mission to embody grace and compassion in all relationships

Month: April 2011

Caring for Less

I have come to a point in my life where I am ready to care for less.

I am not talking about caring less.

I am talking about caring MORE.

I want to care enough to have less so that I have more to share.

My stuff beckons me. It demands my time.  But I will be deaf and blind to it.

I will use my time to do what I am called to do–to be present and care for the people that God brings into my life.

I am ready.  Less cars, less house, less yard, less things, and less stuff.

Life is short and there are no guarantees.

What about you?  What do you care more or less about?


Faithful Followers

If you and I are going to be faithful followers of the One who calls us into this journey of faith, we are going to have to realize a few things.

To be a faithful follower means that our experience will not be what we expect it to be.

We will be surprised and humbled along the way.

There will be many times that we are wrong about our beliefs, about other people, ourselves, and about the Sacred One we are following.

Life will not be what or how we always want it to be.

We will fail.

And we cannot do it without Creator’s help.

Do you want to be a faithful follower?


It’s going to be a struggle. A-throw-yourself-on-the-ground-before God-kind-of-struggle.

“Please God, you know what I want, but if I can’t have that, give me your will even when I don’t want or understand it,” kind of struggle.

I am sorry to share this hard news with you.  I am sorry to hear it myself.  I wish it was easier, but it’s not.

The example has been set.

The good news is we don’t have to do it alone.


I walked into a room where a woman about my age has terminal cancer and does not have long to live.

Her immediate and extended family was in the large room with her.  She was still able to communicate clearly.  I introduced myself as a Chaplain who just wanted to come to be with her for a little while.

She said, “Come on in Chaplain, your timing is good, we’re getting ready to pray.” I took my place with the rest of the family as we stood around the bed.

Much to my surprise, I wasn’t asked to lead the prayer as one of her family members stepped closer to her bedside and began to pray a “from-the-bottom-of-your-heart-I-mean-this-one-kind-of-prayer.”

At the same time, the patient was also praying her own prayer out loud, and I leaned forward to hear what she was saying.

“O God,” she said, “You know that I want to live and be with my family a while longer. You know what I want, I know you do.  But if you are ready to take me home, I am ready.  If there is anyway I can stay, please let me.  But if I can’t stay, I’m ready.”

When they were both through, I thanked them for letting me be present.

As I walked out, I heard the lesson loud and clear.

Sometimes, it is not holding on that makes one stronger; sometimes it’s letting go.


“Not my will, but thy will be done.”

What do you need to let go of?

Personally, I have a long list.  How about you?

Peace to you during this week, especially.


Riding the Waves

Do you remember what it is like to walk into the ocean?

It may be a little cold when I first put my toes and feet into the water.  If it is hot enough outside, I am determined to keep moving ahead into deeper water as the waves begin to roll in, one after the other.

Sometimes I  jump up each time when the wave comes over my waist to bide a little more time to acclimate to the temperature of the salty water.

As I go a little deeper, I  turn my body sideways so that I don’t take the full force of the wave on my chest.  The water is just too powerful otherwise.  Finally, I dive into the next wave and immerse myself fully and begin to swim.

For the next few minutes, I keep my feet off the sandy bottom and begin to move my arms and legs in order to tread the water.   It allows me to keep my head above the water and go with the flow.  I feel the power of the ocean and I become one with it.

I am reminded that life is like this.

Sometimes, I stubbornly face the waves with my feet firmly planted in the sand and falsely believe I can overpower them. It’s not long before I’m knocked down with salty water up my nose.  If I don’t change what I’m doing, I’ll drown.

So I think I’m gonna float for awhile and ride the waves.  It’s just too hard otherwise.

Want to  join me?  Come on in, the water is fine.

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