Wednesday, September 19, 2012

When Your Canary Passes Out


I recently discovered that I have a canary. No not a literal canary, a figurative one which functions like the proverbial canary in the coal mind.
This image comes from the Project Gutenberg archives.


Legend has it; coal miners would often carry canaries with them into the mines. The bird served as a sort of low tech air sampling system. As long as the canary was alive and singing the air in the mine shaft was likely okay to breath. If however their bird passed out, the minors knew it was time to leave as quickly as possible. While I don’t work in a mine I do find life as a former codependent quite often takes me to places where I need the occasionally low tech warning, letting me know when something is not quite right.

Enduring the schizophrenic ride that is the norm in an alcoholic household is much like living in a houseboat during a hurricane while torpedoes explode just off the bow. Normal is nonexistent and yet I spent my teenage codependent years trying to convince everyone (including myself) that things were just fine and dandy. Over time this left me unable to tell when I personally am off course and even as an adult in my own home I sometimes list off to one side or another. But this time around I was able to tell something was off kilter, the most obvious symptoms manifesting themselves in my writing.

Like a canary struggling for air my writing was suffering from a lack of…something. I found myself trying to write about things which really did not interest me. Putting words to paper became a task instead of something enjoyable, in many ways becoming too much like work. I was out of balance and off course, feeling like the entire process of writing was slowly grinding to a halt. But I could not put my finger on what exactly was wrong until I realized that writing was not the only area where I had lost my balance.

In fact my whole life was out of balance. My family was not getting the time they needed. My volunteer commitments were falling behind. Tasks on the day job were not getting done as efficiently as they should. I had fallen back into old habits reminiscent of my dysfunctional codependent days. In the past I would have suffered along in this state for months until I became ill or some other thing came along to shock me back into reality. Fortunately this time around I had my own personal canary to sound the warning and help me get back on course.

My canary has revived and is now doing fine. I heard its cry in time to move to a better state.  How is your canary doing?

Friday, September 14, 2012

International Prayer: September 14th, 2012


He was headed home after finishing his shift in uniform for the Philadelphia Police Department. After carrying out his duty to serve and protect Moses Walker Jr. was killed by two suspects in an apparent robbery. Police would eventually make two arrests but their investigation appears to have been hindered by a culture of fear. As one man who was interviewed on television stated, people do not talk to police out of fear of being hurt or worse. As he spoke I couldn’t help but think that what he was describing was spiritual bondage and this bondage is not unique to Philly. Because of this kind of bondage I ask that we pray for those who live in our inner cities.

What people fear may change from city to city around the world. Some live with street gangs or with drug cartels. Others live in fear of what their own government might do to them. In some cities the violence is the result of war and in others fear is the result of living with warlords. Poverty rules in many cities, even here in the United States where there are entire sections of our cities were people worry about putting food on the table. Whatever it is in your country that holds cities under the oppression of fear, please join in prayer for people to receive freedom from spiritual bondage.

In your prayers also remember:

The family of Police Officer Moses Walker Jr. as well as the family of Officer Brad Fox, killed while on duty in a Philly suburb.

Somalia – Last Monday the Parliament elected a new president. On his second day in office the new president was the target of a terrorist attack. Continue in prayer for the people of Somalia, a nation which has long been considered unstable.

Congo – An Ebola outbreak in the Congo has claimed 31 lives. Another 38 either have the virus or are suspected of having it according to a report on Businessweek.com. Pray for an end to the outbreak. Pray for health workers as they try to stem the epidemic. Pray also for the victims of this virus.

Uganda - Please give thanks as the Ebola epidemic in Uganda was recently declared to be over.

Enjoy the blessings of the Lord as you live each day. Don’t let those blessings distract you from fulfilling the command to pray without ceasing. And when you pray, remember your neighbors both those nearby and those across the seas each one needing you to lift them up before our Lord.