Teachings Instilled and Brought to Life

For my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, I gave them a conversation. I knew they had no interest in receiving a physical gift. But I figured they would love to do a little reminiscing and discussing their favorite topic–New Church teachings and how they have “worked” for me.  So, I told them.

It helped me to think ahead. With some reflection, I felt newly grateful for certain teachings that were instilled so deeply that I didn’t even feel them leading my life except at critical moments. These include:

Knowing that evil must be put away before one can receive good, but also knowing that it’s never too late. 

Knowing that our job is to focus on being useful. 

Knowing that the Lord reaches everyone. When I hear a truth spoken outside of a church teaching, it is just as true as when it’s written in the Writings. 

Knowing about life after death. This gets bigger the older I get. The New Church has always “done death” very well in my opinion–grieving, mourning, celebrating, anticipation of the future. It is a deep well to draw upon at the passing of a loved one, and I notice it most when I’m surrounded by people who have only the vaguest notion of the afterlife. What a lot they are missing!

Nowhere was I more grateful for my past than in the realm of marriage, though much of it was not on my mind until I met Mark at age 30, at which time I thought, “Now I know what all the fuss is about!” I felt I’d been given an instructor manual, with some idea of how to proceed and what to expect..  

For instance, I didn’t expect the thrills and chills to last forever; it was almost a relief when we got past that first phase and could get on with our (mutual) life.  

Knowing about colds in a marriage. When colds come, I recognize them for what they are.  I once heard a Lutheran minister lament all the challenges to a marriage. He mentioned difficult children, financial stress, career challenges.  “Wow,” I thought. He really missed the boat. He never even mentioned the real (internal) cause that derails marriage: colds towards each other. Colds that can appear to come from myriads of external circumstances, but whose source is always hell. External factors are not going to kill a marriage; but hellish spirits will do it every time we give them the chance.

Finally, knowing that life is messy, and thank goodness it’s not my job to figure it out for everyone else! When things get crazy and I’m not sure how to think/speak/act, I try to remember that with the entire power of the heavens brought to bear on this situation, finding an entrance wherever possible, any good that can be found, will be.

This does not mean every teaching has “worked” in my life! But that is the topic for another article.

My parents, as you can guess, were delighted! It was fun for them to hear that some important teachings have really made a difference for me. My mom brought out a bookmark I had cross-stitched for her decades ago. On one side it says “Trust in the Lord and Do Good” and on the other, “Do not fret because of evildoers.” I smiled; it is perfect for her! So I guess we’ve helped each other through the years.

Do not fret because of evildoers, Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, And wither as the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.

Psalm 37

About Katya Gordon

Katya Goodenough Gordon lives in Two Harbors, Minnesota, just a block from the north shore of Lake Superior. She has lived in this picturesque setting since 2008 when she and her family completed their first yearlong voyage living aboard a sailboat. Aside from home, marriage, and family, she is an author and reporter, a radio show host, a climate activist, and an active member of the United Church of Two Harbors. Born and bred in Bryn Athyn, PA, she is increasingly aware of and grateful for the ideas instilled in her childhood from Swedenborg's Writings, and always looking for ways to spread these life-giving truths in her community and beyond.

5 thoughts on “Teachings Instilled and Brought to Life

  1. Thank you, Katya. What a perfect gift for them. Very kind and generous of you to find a way to touch the things closest to a parents heart. We want so much to see our kids safely headed on their way, and if we care a lot about New Church ideas we want our kids to embrace them so they can rest in the Lord and use His aid. Well, this we does!
    I love the bookmark!

  2. Beautiful! I think this was an invaluable gift to your parents, while also allowing you to find within yourself the core values that they instilled within you. Just a personable note: I was new to the church and wasn’t familiar with all of the “true” beliefs, most importantly the idea of death being only a temporary good-bye. I got to witness this first hand when I observed your parents’ loving belief in this at what was probably the lowest point of any parent’s life – the loss of a beloved child. This has always remained a lasting memory and has given me comfort as the years go by and loved ones leave “for just a while”.

    1. Thank you for this story Doreen! I remember feeling a little like an earthquake had happened when Danny died, wondering if the house (the beliefs) would falter or fall… still 30+ years later, it’s all true what the grief-people say (you never “get over it”) but it’s also true that having a non-permanent paradigm for this Earth really does reorient us to make these kinds of things way easier.

  3. Thank you Katya! I love reading your writing and I love how your heart and mind work! I bet that was a wonderful gift for your parents, and clearly, an even more wonderful gift for you for your life! ☺

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