Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Church of the Cross

On Sunday, Paul and I went for a drive. We had heard from my aunt Ann that there was a historical church that some of my Burghardt ancestors had helped to build when they settled the plains here in Kansas. Almost purely by chance, we actually found it. It's called the Church of the Cross, and it is one of the most beautiful and amazing things I've ever seen! Sadly, it was really dark within the open cathedral. This is the only good picture I got of that magnificent ceiling. Sadly, the camera couldn't capture how big the room was.

Here's a picture from outside. You can see the impressive stonework and that mural behind me.

Here is some wonderful woodwork. You can tell that the people really worshiped God in the making of this place! This is one of the many tall stain glass windows. They all told a story, most of them from Bible. There were also some stories of Saints in the windows.
Sadly, I forgot to flip these next two pictures... Sorry! These are some little windows that tell the story of the pioneers who built the church. They crossed the sea in ships and then the land in covered wagons.

Then they build the church and planted grains and sunflowers!
Paul was so excited and he thought it was so amazing that my ancestors had lived and worked there. He said, "They really loved God! You can tell!" And I was so happy to think that I have come from good people who worked hard to show God that they were faithful.
I wonder sometimes if our ancestors are aware of us. Do they see the things we do? Do they walk with us, even when we feel that we're alone? If they do, I want to live a good life so that I bring joy to them!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Some macabre tornado thoughts.

Last night when we were attempting to go to sleep, the winds came howling and shook our apartment rather frighteningly. The bed was shaking hard, and I was imagining the house blowing apart. Paul said we would just hold onto each other and our combined weight would keep us from blowing away or being carried up into a tornado. I laughed. If the wind was blowing intensely enough to break apart our house, I kind of doubt that we could possibly be heavy enough to not be blown away too.

That led me to imagine us getting carried up into a tornado. I could just see myself still wrapped in my bed sheet sailing high up off the ground in the middle of a tornado. I have heard of people surviving such things, but I doubt that most actually do. Likely we would be shredded to pieces by the high-velocity debris in the vortex. Supposedly blades of grass can act like razor blades if they're moving fast enough...

Try not to use your imagination.

I'm happy to report that the apartment did not break apart. We are alive and well and have not experienced a tornado just yet.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Musings on the subject of love.

As evidenced by my previous post, I have been thinking much about love. It's an interesting thing to consider. And this is the vein of my thoughts on the subject:

We first have to be loved to understand what love is. We learn love from our parents and our families and the love we feel from them makes us feel important and special and happy. But if we stop right there, we really miss the point of love. The next step must be to learn to love others. We love our mother, our father, our brothers and sisters and grandparents. Eventually as we grow, we love our friends and cousins and teachers. But if we stop at that point, we still don't fully comprehend what love is. (At that point, it is still pretty selfish, because it's easy to love people who already love you.)

Christ taught the unthinkable idea of loving even the people that hate you. He said to love those who hurt you and persecute you. He said that you should forgive every time someone hurts you and keep loving them no matter what they do. You should treat everyone how you would want them to treat you. So we see that love isn't something to be hoarded with a select few people. It really is for everyone of every land and even for people who really don't seem to deserve it.

I think that as we progress through our lives, we must grow in our love. It starts when we are only babies but it can continue through our whole lives. There are always opportunities to love others, to show compassion and kindness, to exercise patience, to listen and to forgive. It's not some pipe dream or fantasy for a better world-- it's a reality that actual human beings can learn as they grow and progress through life.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Little children teach us about love.

Did I ever mention that Paul and I have been called to be nursery leaders at church? The kids are almost all barely eighteen months old, and they are not yet sure about this nursery business. Last week was really good and the kids were cooperative and had fun, but yesterday was a different story. There were five kids and four of them had meltdowns and eventually had to be taken to their parents. The end of church found us with just one little girl. She was walking around giggling and smiling and having a grand old time without us having to give her much attention at all. I was really grateful for that little girl!

Teaching nursery these last few weeks has been interesting. I am surprised at how much these babies actually do listen, even though I don't think they comprehend much of what I'm trying to teach them just yet. I have a natural sense for teaching, and I can tell when people understand what I'm trying to say to them. (This can be quite gratifying in certain settings when I see people's understanding open, but quite sad in other settings when I just can't seem to reach a person no matter what I say.) I have been fascinated by which things the nursery children are able to understand.

They understand the names of things such as families, scriptures, and food. They have a symbolic understanding. When I show them a picture of a family, they know that the mommy, daddy, brothers and sisters of the picture represent their own families. Mostly, I have seen how well they understand love. When I say that Jesus loves them, they know what that means. It's not at all hard for them to believe that they are loved and that they can love.

It shows how love is central to our makeup as human beings. It's the first thing we understand and the first thing we can give to others. Ultimately, it's the most important thing we can give to everyone and the ability to love others is possibly the greatest power that we have.

We can learn a lot from little children, even if it means putting up with a lot of meltdowns in between.