All posts by Jenn Beiswenger

About Jenn Beiswenger

Jenn is a wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, homemaker, birth & postpartum doula, artist, pastor's wife,.. etc. She loves reading, word & number puzzles, cooking nutritious food, planning fun surprises, looking after her family, helping people connect, having good heart-to-heart conversations about the important things in life. She is learning more and more about the Lord's workings and is inspired by His sheer amazingness. She was born & raised in Canada, educated & started a family in the United States, and now lives & loves in Australia.

Laughing Earth

“People who have applied the teachings of the church from the Word directly to their lives are in the inmost heaven and more than anyone else are absorbed in the pleasures of wisdom. They see divine realities in particular objects. They actually do see the objects, but the corresponding divine realities flow directly into their minds and fill them with a sense of blessedness that affects all their sensory functions. As a result, everything they see seems to laugh and play and live.(Heaven and Hell 489.3, emphasis added)

I remember reading this passage as part of my Logopraxis study last year. That last line grabbed me, it’s captivating! “Everything they see seems to laugh and play and live.” How jovial! I want to see the world around me laugh and play and live!

When I walk with my dog in the woods, I relish the feeling of being engulfed in nature. I love it! I love being surrounded by the greens and browns and yellows of grasses, leaves, vines, mosses, trees and logs, the gray rocks, the blue and pink and purple and yellow and orange wildflowers, the dark earth….  It’s all beautiful to the eye, which is a blessing, to be sure! But it doesn’t really feel like it is joyful and laughing, to me. I hear many birds in the trees above my head: some of their sounds could certainly be interpreted as laughter! Colourful flowers, maybe I could pretend that they look cheerful; lush grasses and moist, verdant trees, maybe…. but rocks? Roots? Soil? Nope; I’m not seeing it.

Reflecting on this, straining to envision these inanimate, dead-looking objects as laughing, playful and living, it occurs to me: personifying nature may be my mistake. The natural world around us may be living, but it isn’t human, it isn’t a person. None of it has feelings or a higher consciousness (well, depending on who you ask, but that’s a deep-dive for another day!). Nature can’t laugh, play and live the way we laugh, play and live; I reckon that thinking of it as responding, reacting as we do, is misguided.

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Walking in The Light, Revisited

About a year and a half ago I shared an article here titled ’Walking in the Light’ (Nov 16, 2022). In it I mused about walking along the sidewalk in the morning sun, eyes completely shut, absorbing the sunshine and trusting in the Lord’s guidance, basking in His love and wisdom. Ahh, that was an idyllic time! Those walks were so nice, and the insights were even more delightful.

I’ve been ‘walking in the light’ pretty much every day since then, too – literally, engaging in that practice of walking with my eyes shut on that stretch of sidewalk. It’s been nice, peaceful, uneventful,……….

……That is, until I walked smack into a telephone pole, on a morning walk one week before Christmas 2023! 😮

No joke. I hit that thing hard, too: I wasn’t going very fast (I was walking with my eyes shut, after all; I may be dumb, but I’m not that dumb!), and I feel like I briefly felt the pole with my hands – I didn’t hold them up in front of me, they were just casually hanging by my side, but somehow I think I touched the pole in front of me with my hands? I mentally acknowledged that there was a telephone pole there,.. and yet apparently this message didn’t make it as far as the rest of my body, because my forehead hit that telephone pole with a mighty whack! I took a step back and kind of shook it off, chuckling at myself (in part for the benefit of any onlookers 😬 – of which I don’t think there were any, but just in case..), but even as I walked the remaining 5 minutes – not even?! – to my house, I could see the welt ballooning over my left eye, beginning to obstruct my vision. I applied arnica cream as soon as I got home (after taking some pictures, for posterity’s sake, y’know), and the goose egg actually did subside as the day wore on! ….I didn’t think to apply the cream around my eye, however, and I didn’t anticipate the blood sinking down and pooling around my eye socket,…. I don’t know if it would’ve made a difference, if I’d slathered it with cream, but I ended up with a black eye. 🙄 Even now, nearly two months later (at the time of writing), there’s no lingering outward sign of trauma – thankfully! – but I can still feel slight tenderness and a bit of a lump over my left eyebrow.

Continue reading Walking in The Light, Revisited

Greeting As Friends

Have you ever found yourself among lots of strangers, either all at once, in one place, or one after another, after another? I’m guessing that you probably have, at some time or other. Does it make you shudder, or give you the chills?

Not everyone would be bothered by scenarios like these, but I’m a relatively introverted person, not especially inclined towards crowds of unknown people, so when faced with situations like those – even just thinking about it – I feel myself recoiling, sinking into myself. There are different variables, mind you: if I can just be around them, on the outside looking in, not expected to interact with them, I’m fine; or, if I’m with someone else that I can buddy up with, I’m pretty ok. If I’m on my own, though, and in a situation that calls for extensive interpersonal interaction,…. my palms start sweating and I start looking for the nearest exit. (I get through it, but I don’t enjoy it!)

I had opportunities to deal with this when my family and I first moved overseas, as you might imagine. Getting to know the folks in the small church society was fine, but venturing out into the outside world, where I didn’t know a soul and didn’t know whether I had anything in common with anyone, and I felt like a foreigner, an outsider, I was a little less than perfectly comfortable. “Deep breaths, Jenn, deep breaths….”

I distinctly remember one of the tactics I used, when we first got here and I was first venturing out: I reminded myself that, when it comes down to it, everybody poops. I don’t mean to be crass, it isn’t like I envisioned people going to the toilet, it was just a reassuring notion to think that, even that tough-looking guy over there, the one who looks like he could beat me to a pulp without much effort? (gulp!) – He poops, just like the rest of us. That stuck-up woman behind the counter at the shop? She poops. It elicited a little up-tick at the corner of my mouth as I chuckled inwardly, it’s true; it helped me relax into my new environment, confident that, although I was very new and ‘green’, we were all actually on the same playing field, deep down. (I suppose this strategy is probably akin to the public speaking ‘picture your audience naked’ tactic?….)

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Unwintery Winter

What if our winter is not wintery?

Toasty though it may be for those of you in the northern hemisphere, right now, the months of June, July and August are technically ‘winter’, down here in Australia. Winters in Sydney, where I live now, though, are nothing like winters in Montreal and Toronto, where I grew up, or even Philadelphia, where I spent my early adulthood. Those winters – ‘real’ winters! – were quite cold and, if we were lucky (unlucky?), lush with snow. Temperatures in Sydney have apparently never, in recorded history, dropped below freezing, although they’ve gotten awfully close, in my decade here! At any rate, we don’t get any snow – for better and for worse.

There are definitely perks to having such relatively mild winters. On a nice, sunny winter’s day, it can be warm enough to wear shorts and t-shirts, especially while engaged in physical activity in the sunshine. It tends to be chilly in the shade, but I can eat lunch outdoors, if I’m sitting in the sun, out of the wind. 

Nice though that is, I sometimes wonder whether we’re missing out on something – not just in regards to the aesthetics of snow or the fun we can have with it, but extending into the correspondence realm. Earlier this year I wrote about our individual perception of environmental stimuli, like heat & cold, and their correspondences to love and the lack thereof. I’ve since come across an article in a New Church Canadian from a few years back which extolled the benefits of winter, the hush and beauty of the pure, new snow. In it Rev. Jared Buss observed that

“Winter is a time for waiting, and for stillness; it represents a state of spiritual cold, a state of darkness, but it also illustrates for us how the mercy of the Lord is with us even in these states. He is with us, waiting for us to wake up, to warm up to His life. ‘Snow signifies natural truth, which is like snow when it is in the memory only; but it is made spiritual by love, as snow is made rainwater by heat.’ (Apocalypse Explained 644.13)”
(Jared Buss article in New Church Canadian, Issue 183, Jan/Feb 2018)

Continue reading Unwintery Winter