malcolm marler

on a mission to embody grace and compassion in all relationships

Month: September 2011

Living As If

There once was a man who thought he heard God say,

Take your family and relatives and move to a new country.  I will show you a new land that will be your home.  It is so much more than what you have ever experienced in your life thus far, you’ll be glad you did.


What makes this story remarkable is, this man just did it, even though he did not know where the heck he was going. He just started on the journey trusting that the one who had told him would put up enough signs along the way to guide him.

Honestly, how impracticable and foolish can a person be?  How ridiculous.

I have done a lot of silly things in my life, but I don’t think I have ever lived like this man did.  Ever.

It is too much.  What would people say?

And yet the major world religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Muslim all point to this guy as their great grand daddy.

According to his example, faith is more than the hope most of us humans have.  It is more than closing our eyes and wishing extra hard and crossing our fingers and toes that it goes the way we hope.

According to this guy, faith is traveling on the journey “as if” what we hope for is already real.  You live “as if.”

When we live like this, we discover things about our lives that are richer, deeper and more meaningful than we could have dreamed.

So this is what I hope for . . . to live like that, as if.

What do you hope for?


Finding Our Way

This is the eighteenth in a series written by Malcolm Marler and Mary Bea Sullivan, husband and wife, about their journey as Mary, an author, goes to Virginia Theological Seminary.  Malcolm is a director of pastoral care at a hospital in Alabama.

Daily routine can be a grounding influence in our lives.  Lack of routine can be chaotic, where one feels lost and unsure of what to do next.

I work in a hospital where I see people’s routine and expectations get turned upside down all the time. My pastoral care team and I see many who have lost their way.

When I am in the middle of the chaos with them, I feel at home and at peace.  It is a familiar place and I try to help persons navigate through it.  I am aware this help I offer is the result of my training and experience, and a combination of the gifts that God has given me along with the persons who have gone before me to show me the way.

But in those situations, the chaos is happening to others and not to me.  And that makes all the difference.

In the past month I have felt lost at times as I adjust to seeing Mary every other weekend instead of every night since she began seminary.  No surprise here.  I am aware how much her daily presence and partnership means to me.

And now I am the one who needs a guide.  I am the one who needs a community of people who hold me up and give me encouragement.   I am no different than my brothers and sisters.

And so I see a guide (counselor) to help me find my way again.  I talk and I do not have to be concerned about taking care of her.  She listens intently and reminds me of things my soul already knows.

I also have been reminded that I have a community of folks around me who genuinely care and reach out to me in different ways.  But still, I am the one who needs to accept their help and be willing to be vulnerable.

Today, I am thankful for all of you who are helping.  You know who you are.  Thank you for being a bridge over these tumultuous waters.

And how about you?

When did you accept the guidance of another?  When did others reach out to you and you welcomed their assistance?

Who are the guides who have helped you get back on track when you were lost during times of change in your life?

What have your friends done for you that has made a difference?

I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

May God’s grace and peace reach out to you through the hands of feet of others during difficult times in your life.

And may you have the strength to allow them to do so.


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