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February 18, 2012

Religion column: Respect 'the spirit that watches your back' and all will be well

I am going to use Quentin and Doris (the names of my late parents) as pseudonyms for two friends in the story you are about to read. My conversations with Quentin and Doris always touch on a poignant spiritual element worth repeating. Recently, Quentin told me a story that topped all the news media's headlines about the economy while teaching me another lesson: Tell others why we have hope but with respect.

At one point during our conversation, Quentin's tone of voice became more somber. He said, "I don't normally like talking about stuff like this, but I want to tell you something Cheryl." No bragging. Not even a hint of deserving something. But respect.

This is the story.

Quentin and Doris have two young children and are committed supportive parents. They live frugally because of their job situations. But, their children are rich in a family attention that encourages education, good manners and philanthropy; which in turn makes Quentin and Doris rich in family happiness. Unluckily, their most functional family car got totaled recently, but luckily they got a $4,000 check for it from the insurance company. As Quentin and Doris looked at that check they had a decision to make. Do they spend the money on a newish reliable car or pay off the bills and use the old clunker car in the back of the house?

It felt better intuitively to pay off the electric, phone, etc, bills that had been piling up, so that is what Quentin and Doris did. Although the old car moaned and clacked, it got the family around. Then surprisingly, a $1,500 check came to Quentin for some previous work he had done. On the same day, the very same day, Quentin and Doris received a call from friends in another state who said they had a 1999, dependable car for sell. How much? $1,500. The family now has a better car.

Quentin and Doris don't blindly trust that good things like this occur. Even now they are proactively considering bold moves to take to keep the family afloat. Their story reminds me to share hope and not despair. But more importantly, Quentin showed me the value of having respect when sharing for what he calls "the spirit that watches your back."

The economy can't be depended on for our resources and happiness. It is sure nice to have money, but it is also nice to have the wits and courage and confidence to prosper even when we don't have money.

Thought processes have starting points. If my thinking starts with a can-do attitude, my thought process is much happier and the outcome is more successful. Ideas, on how to get things done with little or different resources, come to my head. Conversely, if my thinking starts with a sense of lack, or thinking something can only be done the way I think it should be done, then my thought process runs up against bricks walls.

Sharing stories similar to Quentin's and Doris' builds hope especially when the sharing is done with respect for our intuition and Spirit. Spirit has infinite resources of wisdom, integrity, ambition, humility, even health, that can be tapped into any time of the day to benefit our everyday circumstances. From I Peter 3:14, "Give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect."

Cheryl Petersen is a freelance writer and lay speaker on Christianity and spiritual healing. She blogs on www.beliefnet.com as "Everyday Spirituality." Her website is www.HealingScience Today.com Cheryl lives in Delhi.

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