Animals19“I don't want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.”
Oscar Wilde

“there is a God, there always has been. I see him here, in the eyes of the people in this [hospital] corridor of desperation. This is the real house of God, this is where those who have lost God will find Him... there is a God, there has to be, and now I will pray, I will pray that He will forgive that I have neglected Him all of these years, forgive that I have betrayed, lied, and sinned with impunity only to turn to Him now in my hour of need. I pray that He is as merciful, benevolent, and gracious as His book says He is.” Khaled Hosseini

I was looking up the word mercy the other day and discovered  so many words attached to it that it surprised me due to their different meanings like the words kindness, understanding and generosity. We might ask ourselves what does generosity have to do with mercy. Of course if you forgive someone who may not deserve forgiveness in most peoples'  eyes, so  perhaps you have bestowed mercy in a generous way. I had to think about it for a long time.

There are those people  who seem to constantly require  our forgiveness and we are not always in the mood  to be so generous or sympathetic which  are words for mercy. Extending mercy is right up there with forgiveness. It isn't easy and can be impossible on certain days or situations. On the other side mercy and forgiveness can be extended on the most impossible day or situation if we see beyond our own pain and witness the hurting situation of another person.

Likely we are not always aware when we cause pain to others. We haven't  walked in the shoes of a lot of people. To us in can appear that they are lazy, stupid, unkind and mean. Understanding their inner turmoil of unrest takes a lot of our time yet it is worth it. Even if we can't fix their issues we can understand which is also a definition of mercy. Sometimes people don't have the words for their pain like a toddler who can't explain a situation beyond their comprehension. At times we only have our emotions which fire out of control. That will render us little  sympathy. (Another word for mercy)

Dan Skognes stated that, "Your greatest pain can give birth to your purpose." If you think about that  you understand  how simple and complex that is. Many times we comprehend what another feels only by experiencing it ourselves. The impact ignites our desire  to shout this  knowledge to the world especially when we are surrounded by those who don't get the core of the pain.

I believe that many times hurting people just want to be understood and acknowledged. They want us to see and understand or show mercy. The depth of one's pain cannot be explained because we all experience situations in our  own way. However the reality is honest and the hurt others endure can be lifted somewhat and released. The hurt will be remembered at times but sharing it with others might dilute the pain.

On any given day we can extend mercy. It doesn't cost us anything but a few words or simple act. The gift of compassion  or mercy is beyond measure and can set a person on a new path of love and life. I equate it to picking someone up from the floor. When they find love and relief they let go of  anger and fill themselves with love. That is when they can offer it to others and teach them how to let go of the negative by forgiving or showing mercy. That is also the point at which they might become the teacher rather than the rejected crushed unthinking or unfeeling  person. Their pain becomes a beacon to those who give pain without thought and those who are trying to resolve their pain.

My own childhood pain led me into teaching and working with children in need. I went back to college as an adult and got my undergraduate and graduate degree and certification in regular classroom instruction and special education. I blocked out most of my traumatic childhood but had an affinity for abused kids which I didn't understand where it came from. Writing the book Tumbleweed Kid which will be published in the somewhat near future, came from the experiences of my classroom years of instruction as well as my own childhood.

I must admit my first copy of the book which is unavailable was anger and frustration at the parents. As I understood my own pain which was interfering with my sympathy or mercy I began to rewrite the book. I have forgiven  but the pain of childhood caused me to be intuitively aware of the feelings of kids and basically all people I am with. The sensitivity is sometimes overwhelming because I can't let it go so easily. I worry about what I say and do so as not to offend anyone but of course it happens anyway. Now I tell myself if I have done so and know my intentions were never meant to hurt then I let go of any guilt.  It isn't easy but it helps.

I'm all about relationships which get so muddled from insignificant issues. We just have to try to understand more with our hearts and stop analyzing so much in our heads. Even if you had a difficult childhood of any degree you can alter your own way of parenting. You can accept your pain and hurt but go down a different path. Have mercy on yourself and do better. Think about the kids and their kids etc. How many lives you will improve with your transformation. Understand where your anger is coming from or where your parents' anger came from and resolve the issues. It isn't easy but a conscious effort makes all the difference.

I never understood why I would freak out if my husband wanted to even slap the kids. I don't  believe in spanking. I suffered when the kids at school told me home stories of suffering and pain. In the end I faced my own childhood issues and the problems in today's home environments and hope to spread the idea of a better way of disciplining kids which begins with love first. Disciplining with love works the best. Parents are not bad just unaware of the damage they do when spreading anger fear and bullying. If society wonders where it comes from just check out the home environments of some children. We hate to look because it isn't pretty and we don't have the answers. Now the courage is necessary if we want to change the world for the better. Stop blaming others and look inside yourself for the answers. Don't hate yourself instead put the energy into changing yourself to a more merciful person. Don't forget what the definition of mercy means!

“I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.”  Abraham Lincoln

“I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. (Psalms 116:1-2 NIV)”  Anonymous

“The world will give you that once in awhile, a brief timeout; the boxing bell rings and you go to your corner, where somebody dabs mercy on your beat-up life.”     Sue Monk Kidd

I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not to shrink to a grain of sand. Henceforth will I apply ALL my efforts to become the highest mountain of all and I will strain my potential until it cries for mercy. Og Mandino

“The Lord's mercy often rides to the door of our heart upon the black horse of affliction.”     Charles Haddon Spurgeon

“Night is a time of rigor, but also of mercy. There are truths which one can see only when it’s dark”    Isaac Bashevis Singer

cropped-Family.jpg“At some point we all look up and realize we are lost in a maze.”

“Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?” John Keats

“We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.”     Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I was talking with a few friends the other day and the discussion got heated when no one could agree on who had the worst birth order placement. It seems like a silly thing to argue about but try saying it to a group of friends and watch he discussion fly. I have thought about it quite a bit and I don't like any of the negatives that go along  with any of the positions. When I was done recalling everyone's complaints I realized we were just talking about life.

Like people tell you when you are young, "You have to put up with it because things happen in life that you must deal with it." Nobody likes to listen to that speech. It does resonate back to us  when life throws difficult pitches our way. It is not easy to say if you are the oldest or youngest this is the way it is. One must think about the sexes, background of the mothers and fathers and number of kids in a family as well as the economics of it all. I believe nobody gets away scott free and once you accept that you can stop comparing. Have you ever heard people comparing who had the more aches, pains or health issues to deal with? I know some peoples' complaints are worse than others but  there are emotional problems, mental health problems and spiritual issues tied into it all.

Some people are distraught their whole life worrying about what they ""Must" do for somebody. Does that make them less caring because they are not doing something out of love but duty? How about those who feel obligated or who want something in return? The list is long and complicated and so is the birth order. I don't really care so much about the order of birth because it seems like everyone takes the "crap" in life. It is unavoidable. It is more important to figure out how they will deal with the crap. In a way it is our attitude regardless of how much pain and hurt we must endure. Having taught school I know the child in the classroom who cries a lot gets a lot of attention. Does this mean they have suffered more? Is  there another child who has been suffering but we overlooked them?

That is one reason why  the situation gets complicated when we are trying to figure out or compare anxieties fear or problems. We come from different places and homes and had a variety of personalities to cope with along the way. I am thinking we might believe others have no care because they appear to not notice our suffering or they don't appear to have any. Does anyone recall saying, "I don't know what they are complaining about because when I...? We measure our pain against others all the time. It doesn't alleviate it but it increases the friction we have with friends and family.

Perhaps we should begin understanding where the pain  originates and why it won't let us go. There is absolutely deep suffering that will stay inside of us forever but it does not help anyone  to believe they are the martyrs of the world even if they have the suffering of such a person. Viewing ourselves as a victim implies we are helpless and have given up. Nobody has the power to make us feel that way and we should not see ourselves as the sacrifice. When we do deem our pain is beyond the measurement of anyone else's we lock ourselves in a cage and throw away the key.

On any given day there is much to cope with. Everyone has those moments in time that stay within the brain forever. The fearful moments scare us and make us want to run away no matter what the age. The crises we got through makes us proud of ourselves but sometimes less sympathetic because we may be of the opinion that no one else has suffered like us especially if they haven't complained. I am not down on the complainers. Sometimes I think it is therapeutic to get things off of your mind. When people hold things in they tend to resent others who can't imagine their suffering.

I don't know about how other people believe  but in the end  I think we alienate a lot of people when we expect but don't allow someone in. It appears to work against us and we end up jealous of their "Better Life" or we carry the pain inside and let it hurt us over again and resent people  who can't see it even when we don't let them observe it. I have turned my suffering inside and felt worse when no one appeared to understand. My belief was how can they not get it. Now I try to share more or at least not find fault with those who simply don't know when I don't share.

Life is not easy and that is an understatement. Life is more difficult if we compare our section of the world with other peoples'. We are putting up fences and keeping people out. It is better to take the fences down and let people in. I have found out that so many others have their own stories. It is kind to share in a positive way without the competition of having a winner. If we think we are worse off we send out no understanding or empathy to others. Instead we expect or feel entitled to be down in the dumps. Personally there are likely many days we might feel sad or even hopeless. We are asked to be stronger at that point than we were when we endured a heartache situation. It is at those moments we need to find the courage to get over the deep emotional feelings creeping in and overpowering us. We are almost forcing ourselves to relive the horrible time all over again.

If we can come to terms with the fact that we all suffer then maybe we can stop comparing and judging and learn to support each other any day we are in need. It takes away all of the conditional aspects of love and allows unconditional love to reign. Unconditional love says I love you no matter how you behave towards me and I forgive you for everything. It says I may not like what you do nor understand how you feel but I trust the reality of your situation and want only love and peace in your heart and mine. I know unconditional love is about as close as any of us can get to being more Godlike. Life is burdensome enough without worrying about the amount of good or bad in anyone's life. Trust that we all suffer at times but we all have so much to be grateful for if we would check it out. What I like and you like may differ. What I consider pain or frustration may also differ. May we all live in peace and as a song says, "Love the one's you are with."

“The battle you are going through is not fueled by the words or actions of others; it is fueled by the mind that gives it importance.” Shannon L. Alder

“Fortunately, God made all varieties of people with a wide variety of interests and abilities. He has called people of every race and color who have been hurt by life in every manner imaginable. Even the scars of past abuse and injury can be the means of bringing healing to another. What wonderful opportunities to make disciples!”    Charles  R. Swindoll

“Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but - I hope - into a better shape.”   Charles Dickens

“No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God . . . and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven.”     Orson F. Whitney

success"In the end it is not the years in your life that count but the life in your years." Abraham Lincoln

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others?" Martin Luther King Jr.

"When I stand before God at the end of my life I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say I used everything you gave me." Erma Bombeck

I find it so easy being trapped in my own thoughts and seeing life as half empty. I admit that  happy days make it unnecessary to  think so hard about life in general. Difficult days make me review every single word spoken to me. Everything people say and do is a competition. Most of us would definitely say they are not  competing with anyone but the opposite is true. Every second  every day it happens unless we consciously stop the runaway thoughts.

I would have said not true a short time ago but once I reflected I realized we spend a huge amount of time worrying about what others say do and think and we worry  about fading into the background of our lives. In a sense we almost have our lives finished and done with because we sometimes see no alternatives and only endings and loss. It is helpful to look at the glass  half full rather than half empty but how we think and feel goes beyond that.

Have you ever asked why we let our emotions get us down? We perhaps blame it on our difficulties. I do the same thing and have done it for a long time. With a lot of introspection I have discovered a much calmer world within which has led to a calmer world without. That doesn't mean I don't gt angry, feel insecure at times, feel useless and lost and confused and a whole lot of other things. It becomes a run away train that must be stopped the sooner the better. Likely when we need sympathy or someone to say things like "It will be okay just hang in there." it doesn't happen.

What can we do? We must remember we are never alone and we can find the peace from within and the answers. It is how one view life and the happenings. For kids it is all  about getting control of toys and friends. They like to have friends that pick them first or play the games they like to play. Kids get very upset when their friends chooses to play with another child or allows another person to hold the toy before they let us hold the toy. That may sound silly to an adukt but in many situations we do the same thing.

Have you ever been at a party and your in a conversation with a couple of people only the person doing the talking keeps you out of the conversation by ignoring you? They most likely would deny this yet they focus only on one person until you  feel like the third thumb and you humbly walk away crushed and wonder why they did that to you. I would guess that whatever it is happens to be their issue and that is easy to say because it becomes your issue when they crush you especially in front of others which is embaressing.

They might even come back and say they are sorry "You took it the wrong way" shich is even more upsetting to you because you know how it went down. So now it is like your own fault. Now we again have two choices. We can get angry lash out at them or simply accept their apology understand it is still  their problem and take none of this into our own hearts. Being so insecure including myself we tend to think maybe we did overreact but maybe we didn't. The point is to let go of any attempt to accept a burden you don't need or want. It is extra baggage and it is not yours to carry unless you unwittingly grab the bag.

Most of us do end up with more unhappy  thoughts and assumptions that are not real. It is overwhelming to realize that most if not all of us do this all day long with every interaction we have with others. One must think about the fact that we can't control another's mood or ideas about who or what they are or what they did and perceive as right or wrong. We also cannot control what others have for burdens whether we think they are problems or not. If one believes it is an issue then it is so.

It is relevant to refrain from adding to our own baggage. This is done by recognizing some problems before they happen. The mind can convince us something is one way when it isn't. I think that is why we are insecure at times. Everyone and everything appears to be against us. Although that is absurd if you are in a bad mood or place one has faith it is true. Life is not easy everyone agrees with that. We all deal with stuff. Perhaps we might look at how we deal with problems.

It is not good for any of us to enjoy being unhappy and look at our half empty glass. It only keeps us at the bottom of the glass and in a drowning state. It may get too comfortable being there because people leave us alone, steer clear of us and sometimes begin giving us excuses for our poor behavior. It is almost like an adult temper tantrum. I have been there many times and it can feel cozy and it allows me to step on whoever I want.

In a way it is refreshing but at some point we need air and should surface. Open your eyes and look around. I know it gets repetitive to say to people be grateful for what you have when all we can think about is what is missing. Honestly there is wonder all around us. We want to enclose everything and every moment but we can't. Kids are a joy but they grow up and must move on and that is hard for parents to accept. Change is hard on all of us. We plan our lives and believe the plan will unfold exactly as we set it up. Of course it never does. But in the "something else" that happens there is a lot of good in it if we open our eyes. Keeping them shut and complaining about the dark won't work.

I hate change and always have. It doesn't stop the changes. When we have kids or grandkids we believe they are the best of course. Then we get into who is like whom or which child resembles which side of the family. That is full of potholes. what it comes down to is our desire to keep love all to ourselves. Somehow by claiming the child in this way we feel like it is ours. It creates arguments over what. All of this is competition for acceptance and love to last eternally. The truth is love is eternal and it does not need to be sheltered or covered up in order to keep it.

Our insecurity can keep us in chains. Just let it go. Nobody has the power to lock up love hate or anything.  We do have the power to increase love and give it to others just by letting people in. When that happens the pain goes out because there isn't room for it. The love and memories we have remain and our mind is left focusing on the happy rather than the sad. Anxiety and sadness render us helpless whereas love and happiness give us strength. There are people who care and we have all been in positions of helplessness and sadness and worry.

Honestly the worry can be for nothing because things do happen in curious ways that we would never have imagined. Thinking we have it all worked out will surprise us one day when we discover that it isn't true. So worry can be over nothing that is real. We all have people and stuff to be thankful for. If we won't open our eyes we are going to miss so much. We have choices to make every day about our anger attention and job list. We also have choices about how we will give love and accept love. Sometimes it is harder to accept love than it is to give love. Through accepting love we create an acceptance which benefits everyone and leaves us open to more love which is overwhelming in pushing out the anxiety and fear we have  enjoyed leaning on. It takes courage to accept love and understand your cup is half full instead of half empty.

"Don't squander yout time on the what- if's of life. They are unlimited and endless." Gary Zukav

Eventually you will come to understand that love heals all and love is all there is." Gary Zukav

Happy"Happy people don't have the best of everything. They make the best of everything." Anonymous

“It does not matter how long you are spending on the earth, how much money you have gathered or how much attention you have received. It is the amount of positive vibration you have radiated in life that matters,” Amit Ray

What does it mean to be happy? If you asked a million people their answers would likely be different. Happy means to be pleased joyful cheerful blissful exultant ecstatic delighted and content. I know the number of people I talk with within a week and they have numerous adjectives to describe their moods and few would mention ecstatic lives. The adjectives used perhaps are more like tired, upset, discouraged, stressed-out, fearful, over-worked, sad, anxious and over-burdened take your pick.

It makes one wonder what happened to living and meaning within our lives. How did we reach the road where we are in a dilemma bout which way to  choose. All the roads appear to lead to unhappiness. We almost take it for granted that it is normal to be unhappy but is it? Sometimes it is difficult to find one decent occurrence throughout our day that made our life worthwhile. I want to ask where did the world go wrong?

We all have problems and events to deal with and that we can all accept for the most part. But why is it most of us if not all of us feel so burdened to the point of being exhausted and ready to give up? If we rated our days as good bad or indifferent perhaps we might see a lot of bad or indifferent kinds of days. I believe this is very sad and anything but happy.

I wonder if we focus too much on what needs to be done, what is missing and what is wrong? I never saw anybody at work come in smiling and saying wow my life is so happy and things are great and my spouse and kids are so awesome! Most people unfortunately come to work complaining about every little thing that went wrong at the breakfast table. Those listening politely slip away thinking their own problems are more difficult than their co-workers complaints.

I must admit that these folks send our brains down the road of finding similar problems in our own lives. We contemplate a worse day and unhappy moments in time. Sometimes those who stay and listen to the employee's grumbles wait their turn to best the protester with their own tale of woe. It definitely starts off a competition and a marathon about who has the most grievances. Who wants to be the winner of that competition?

Bosses complain about workers who are slackers not bothering to ever be interested in their home lives. Spouses criticize their significant others not having any mercy about other circumstances and divorced people grieve the deadbeat parents who never send alimony. Workers  resent being overlooked during promotion time and parents hate teachers who assume too much about the home environment and the lack of whatever. Teachers lament the uninvolved parents, daughters-in-law detest the whining controlling and complaining mothers-in-law, while the mothers-in-law can't understand the gossip behind her back about the things she said except the words were twisted and changed as well as the perceived actions. Most of the issues appear to be untrue from the view of most people yet all of the words and actions of others are constantly being reviewed and analyzed for the worst.

Parents stop seeing their kids as cute and fuzzy when they are out of the baby stage and basically getting into mischief. Most parents are already looking forward to the time the kids will be grown up. They don't realize how much time they have wished away. Nobody seems to be happy yet there is a lot to discover and enjoy about life and the people in it. I wonder if it has to do with our attitudes and the way we see ourselves and others. Obviously we pay attention to faults over virtues, complaining times over joyful ones, and we focus on what is wrong but never what is right.

Perhaps so much attention given to the negative has trained all of us to focus on that instead of the positive. Honestly  we can be thankful we are  not hungry, cold or without someone or something to love. That may sound corny but it is taken for granted. At a young age we are taught to be and do the best. Maybe we leave no room to have breathing space to grow. It is expected that we succeed the first time and accomplish so much in a certain time frame. It genuinely leads many to give up because the goal  appears to be so far away.

No wonder we are always so discouraged. If we were suppose to clean the yard, fix a fence and change a tire on the car then anything less almost allows a spouse to feel no need to say thank you for doing that. A woman who tends to the kids while her husband does the jobs and manages to get in some laundry but not able to cook a big meal may believe she has failed somehow and didn't get everything done that she should have. I know we are getting into goals here but technically we are also understanding the tremendous burdens we have set up for ourselves. Where is the time to appreciate anything including our own worth?

I don't believe anyone is as bad nor as good as others speak about. Kids are not horrible and unlovable. How is it we give nobody any leeway and we receive no latitude for ourselves? Let's face it most people change the way something was said or done. Words denote one thing but the tone can so totally change the words for the better or the worse. Taken out of context anything can be made to sound better or horrible. The fact is we never know how anyone chooses to interpret what we say or do so that leaves us all vulnerable.

Until we stop thinking that we are only as good or strong or capable as the products we produce or tasks we complete we will be disappointed with ourselves and others for their completions. We will also keep missing the goodness surrounding us and the positive facing us every day. I bet most of us go to bed contented if we completed some huge task we had set our minds to do days weeks or months ago. We take pride in that and feel so relieved and happy. I am not so sure it is happiness as much as a sense of "I did it." So what are we left with? We only have peace when we complete something for the house or workplace?

Being able to understand the many ways we can find peace and contentment brings us an escape route from our problems and draws attention away from how many times we failed or how long it took us to complete. We don't always mention a task done or get praised for it with our own blessing, because we feel it took us too long to do. For sure if we stopped seeing the work the complaints the obstacles and the time it takes to get to the job perhaps we would enjoy the daily things we do see and enjoy.

If the basement must wait so what. If we spent the day walking and investigating with our kids we likely produced more than if we painted the room. At a future date in time the memory of a beautiful spring day looking at birds and insects and rocks will remind us of an awesome experience and put a smile on our faces. The day spent painting will not be remembered any more than the day we cleaned the house. Of course the house needs cleaning but to focus on that rather than the more important things places us at the mercy of pressure stress and an unhappy mood.

We can get up and choose to be happy the first thing in the morning. We can put the complaints to the back of the mind and focus on the gorgeous day. Even rain is wonderful because it fills a bird bath and feeds the flowers and bounces off our noses and makes us smile. Kids splash through puddles because they know how to bring on those smiles. As adults we have forgotten. We fill our minds with thoughts about our work list and inconsequential things that sometimes don't matter. How we treat our kids and spend time with them is more important than how well we cleaned up or fixed their room.

Every day can be joyful and pleasant even if it comes with a few glitches. It still brings a tremendous amount of good things if we uncover the blanket of have to do's. Look for the good in every day and focus on the happy funny words and actions. Remember to compliment others for the tiniest things they do for you and that includes your spouse and kids. It would serve all of us to stop seeing what we lack and what we didn't do and notice those important unnoticed things we do manage to accomplish.

“Life has a positive and negative side. Happy people ignore the negative side. A smile a day keeps trouble at bay. The mind's health depends on what it feeds on. Avoid thoughts and conversations that kill your soul.” Bangambiki Habyarimana

"This we can all bear witness to, living as we do plagued by unrelenting anxiety. It becomes more and more imperative that the life of the spirit be avowed as the only firm basis upon which to establish happiness and peace." Dalai Lama

 

 

Strive For Happiness"I am disturbed when I see the majority of so-called Christians having such little understanding of the real nature of the faith they profess. Faith is a subject of such importance that we should not ignore it because of the distractions or the hectic pace of our lives."    William Wilberforce

"If children have the ability to ignore all odds and percentages, then maybe we can all learn from them. When you think about it, what other choice is there but to hope? We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up, or Fight Like Hell."    Lance Armstrong

"Sri Yukteswar showed no special consideration to those who happened to be powerful or accomplished; neither did he slight others for their poverty or illiteracy. He would listen respectfully to words of truth from a child, and openly ignore a conceited pundit."    Paramahansa Yogananda

"Scripture is filled with examples of men and women whom God used late in life, often with great impact - men and women who refused to use old age as an excuse to ignore what God wanted them to do."    Billy Graham

"We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee."     Marian Wright Edelman

I have often considered myself a loser without having any need to say it out loud. So many times I have watched as other people jump in ahead of me to say or do something. It may be in my mind or heart to make a difference but I am just late on the response. I have always been the last one to get a joke if I got it at all. I received the lower grades than my siblings and was never picked in school to take a part in a school play. School plays are almost obsolete now but at one time quite apropos. I think one can easily get the picture of where I stood in everyone's eyes. That is what I believed

I recall hearing others talk about college and which ones they wanted to attend. I thought about which ones would possibly accept me. Having entered a college at a young age and having to work to pay for it, I eventually quit after two years and took a full-time job at the place of my employment. I could not work and study and came down with mononucleosis. Of course I felt like a failure and I also believed if I had the guts and stamina I could have done it. So I blamed it on my lack of strength to complete it.

Eventually when my kids were all in school I went back to school and spent twelve years working on my undergraduate and then my graduate degree. I worked part time, raised my kids with my husband and studied at night and on weekends.. I can't tell you how many times I was going to quit. I came so close every time but having quit before I hung in there until I finally succeeded. I  am nothing to brag about but I made it and graduated. I didn't make friends at school because they were younger and in a different phase of their lives than I was.

I went to work as a special education  teacher  and discovered the heartache kids endure daily. I was never the best at finding easier ways to teach things but I learned I could sense the feelings of children immediately and alleviate their emotional pain which I did. It took me longer to accomplish anything which left me after school many nights working on my classes. I loved it and didn't mind because my own kids were high school and college and were busy themselves.

During teacher meetings my opinions were never discussed or considered. Non of my colleagues disliked me but neither was I in the popular groups. I realized how easily someone is classified and delineated into whatever group someone wants them to be in. I accepted this because no matter what my opinion was nor how good my work was others always appeared to be so much better. I had to admit how much I lacked.

I have always felt the desire to help those who have been overlooked or those who simply need help at that moment in time. It got stronger as I got older and now I sense that God is pushing me to accept the responsibility and so I write. I have always written but only recently gotten stuff published. I am not the best and never was no will be. I think  that it is what likely held me back. I believed if I couldn't be successful like others I should just not try.

I have discovered that the smallest screw serves it's purpose in keeping a building standing. We are not always those giant beams yet we do our part and without us the largest beams will perhaps crumble. I also realized that worth is defined in numerous ways and God's definition is different than man's. Some people are so sure of their value while others devalue  their own worth.

I worked as a volunteer on my town's fire department for over thirteen years on the ambulance. The group of people were from all walks of life and all had their problems to deal with yet when working together it was like parts of a car. Like magic we each did our part to make it run. No one questioned anyone's part. We were all thankful for the jobs that were fulfilled. The crazy thing is those people were heroes yet never went out on a call without fear myself included.

Heroes have fear. Winners can believe they are losers. How do we judge what a winner loser or hero is. Someone who stops to change your flat tire on a rainy day is a  hero although he might think the opposite. Giving to toy drives volunteering for building homes for veterans and even to aid an older person who needs help. There is no ending or beginning. There is no job too little or too small that God might ask us to do. I suppose the question is whether or not we will choose to do it.

Being afraid is not being cowardly. I used to think am I the only one who is afraid at a highway accident scene? I dreaded the jaws of life crushing and cutting above my head as I held traction on someone in the back of a car. I prayed they didn't slip or make any mistakes. At times I wanted to jump out and run and although I never did, I questioned my cowardly feelings. I know many firemen who dread going into a burning building as they  trust their own instincts to know when they should retreat before the ceiling and walls come crashing in on them.

None of them enjoys such an incident and all are relieved when it is over and although many think about retreating, rarely if ever does that happen. They would be the first to admit they didn't feel brave when a discussion was held after such an incident. They admitted being terrified at times. I bet they did not see themselves as brave or heroes. They saw life in its reality and their desire to help others overcame  their fear of doing nothing.

It leaves all of us with some truths about life and losers. None of us are losers. We face situations everyday that are difficult to deal with. We have job loss, miscarriages, difficult marriages, divorces and all other kinds of problems. We are faced everyday with challenging situations to deal with and endure. All of us fear everyday and some of us even fear how to deal with our lives,  and sometimes we fear those  who live with us.

We are called upon everyday to make a difference in someone's life. Every time we respond in the affirmative we have shed our blanket of fear to listen to the call. I like others grab my fear blanket as soon as the crises is over. That is okay because I finally know I am not a loser. I still need to be told what the punch line is on a joke and I am aware of the tremendous amount of people who are stronger and wiser than I will even come close too. I am still not a loser and neither is anyone else who faces their fears everyday with courage.

Someone needs to be there for the person who is at an all time low and needs a listening ear, or the young mother who is in need of support, or the kids who are hurting from all kinds of abuse. At times it requires seeing and hearing and getting the ones involved who can make a difference. During each day,  we must answer the call to come to the aid of others. We can't ignore the cries with the excuse of being a loser because that is not the truth. Even your smile tells someone somebody sees them and cares.

“Sometimes it takes a lowly, title-less man to humble the world. Kings, rulers, CEOs, judges, doctors, pastors, they are already expected to be greater and wiser.”     Criss Jami

"When emerging from humble beginnings those around you tend to underestimate your authenticity because they knew you before you were somebody."    Criss Jami

“If you're an underdog, mentally disabled, physically disabled, if you don't fit in, if you're not as pretty as the others, you can still be a hero.”     Steve Guttenberg

"Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you. Love me and I may be forced to love you."    William Arthur Ward

Link

Families8“One of the main reasons that we lose our enthusiasm in life is because we forget to be grateful. we let what was once a miracle become common to us. We get so accustomed to his goodness it becomes a routine..”    Joel Osteen

“We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“God gave us minds to think with and hearts to thank with. Instead we use our hearts to think about the world as we would like it to have been, and we use our minds to come up with rationalizations for our ingratitude. We are a murmuring, discontented, unhappy, ungrateful people. And because we think we want salvation from our discontents...”  Douglas Wilson

Holidays are a time to be grateful. When we think of our Holiday celebrations we are brimming over  with excitement and at the same time stressed and fearful about how the they will progress. When we get through the days we are relieved with gratefulnes for what we said or did. We might also be grateful for what we didn't say or do.

Our anticipations may be so much greater than actually what occurrs. Perhaps if we perceive this from the first moment we may  save ourselves unnecessary grief. I am not looking forward to having a terrible time but I do have a more realistic approach towards the Holidays. It likely comes  from agonies of past times and disappointments. It left me wondering time and again, what went drastically wrong.

That might be the key question. How and why do  things backfire. I see myself going through motions of being the superhero in a sense. I have faith that I will give the perfect gift, display an out of the world atmosphere, and cook a meal that will replay on the taste buds. I anticipate being surrounded by love. I anticipate others being anxious to talk with me perhaps because they find me so amusing or entertaining. My expectations are unrealistic. When the reality of the day occurs, I am  discouraged and must decide how to accept the disappointment. Even when the day has passed the tenseness continues along with the debate of how things might have gone better. I conclude with the question of why I put so much effort into something that was designed to explode.

When the same situation replays year after year in various scenarios, one is left questioning some truths. I discovered my expectations were fairy-tales. My generosity was full of assumptions of gaining affection in  return. My belief in love, compassion and caring was a little mixed up. I didn't want to be so harsh on myself so I studied others and found some similar mistakes and regrets as well as disappointments. We are so needy to be accepted and loved yet we sabotage it daily.

Now when I am buying a gift for someone I think hard about pleasing them. I have discovered that at times even a small inexpensive gift causes me to be more grateful. I don't attempt to be the hero or the winner of the most popular present award. I have given gift certificates in order for others to purchase what they want instead of what I think they should want. I enjoy doing things with others. My enthusiasm is for spending time with others. Although it is still nice to be invited for dinner, it is nice to be a listening ear or have someone be the sounding board.

So now I can share hot chocolate or cup of tea or coffee, with  another at any time of year and make it special. It was  never about turns or justifications. Love is never having to say your sorry and never having to receive something only when it is your turn. It is more spontaneous now and full of surprises. When the Holiday is over I find more contentment.  The lack  of frustration brings solid relief. I have learned to expect nothing so I truly am pleased with whatever wonderful things happen. On an occasional moment at any time during the year I am blessed with an unexpected heartfelt conversation with a friend or family member. It fills me with pleasure and love. No gift could compare with what. I have found that  the most anyone can give is their unconditional love.

I think we overdo the new products on the market to the point of excluding love respect and mindfulness. It is not that we are terrible  people. We have just been lulled into what we have been brainwashed to believe is a worthy gift. Pleasing others is easier than spending money or buying presents. It is about those heartfelt habits of the heart that send love to others in thoughtful ways. You can't easily repay time or effort. Another issue that always comes up is the feeling of never being equal to others. We just don't know ourselves. We have so much to offer. Competing with others is sometimes of our own doing. It isn't feasible to always be the best cook smartest person or competitive worker in the room. It is okay to be us and tell and enjoy a joke.

Those who are busy bragging so much that they annoy us are to be pitied. If they have the need for attention so badly, I would suggest we listen and give it to them. Obviously they must require our approval. That kind of places us in a superior position if we were really taking notes which we are not. Seeing through the many facades others place before us allows us to better understand their motives for behaving the way they do. At any moment we can become that needy person who desires love and attention. There is no shame in this.

We all want to fit in with others. We like attention and respect, can be easily  embarrassed, and have many of the same wants and needs and problems. Our fears are similar. The need for love is genuine and sincere no matter what our personality is. If we enter the playing field understanding all of this then we already know our opponent because they are just like us. They should not render us fearful or jealous.

Navigating through the waters of fear and anxiety leads to calm sailing. What media tells us to value leaves us disappointed and distressed. Realizing what has meaning in our lives is the beginning of waking up to reality. The dream is upsetting because it isn't based on facts. Perhaps by changing our habits of fake living may support us in finding the honest and genuine habits of heart. That kind of love is available all year through. We won't have to wait for holiday time and we won't have to fear and stress over pleasing everyone. Many of our actions render us tired and depressed. What we should be searching for is serenity and love in the current moment in time. Try choosing heart habits over rituals, be grateful, then rejoice in having all that you ever needed within reach.

By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try the world is beyond the winning. Lao Tzu

Many people are alive but don’t touch the miracle of being alive. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Our capacity to make peace with another person and with the world depends very much on our capacity to make peace with ourselves. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

The insignificant lifeHow important our insignificant life really is.

"What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"    H.P. Lovecraft

"A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life."              Charles Darwin

"For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life."    Albert Camus

So many times as I have moved onward with my life, I look back and recall various events. What is astonishing to me, is the people who stand out, as the ones who have either made a difference  in my life or inspired me to do and be better. They are sometimes not the people that I knew well, or that played a significant role in my life, yet I clearly remember how they influenced me, and how they made me feel.

It just reminded me of the important role we have, regarding the impact we provide to others. Sometimes this influence is done unknowingly. It kind of makes one feel that those silly interchanges we experience daily with others, just might carry more meaning than we realize. I remember one person telling me about a friend, who had been a college buddy, way back in time. During their college years, this man was about to quit college,  due to failing grades and loss of confidence. My friend stated how she had spent hours debating with this person, the reasons why he should stay in school. At the time they were not even close, just classmates in the same class. Somehow she sensed it was a huge mistake for him to quit, so she kept arguing, until he changed his mind and stayed, and graduated from college. The amazing end to this story is the quick rise to the top he made in a short time. This man became a tremendous influence for the positive in his career, which was a socially active one in the social services. Our simple lives are vital,  in understanding the significant role we all play, as we interact daily with others. Of course it makes us comprehend how important, our insignificant exchanges of words and actions, actually are. ...continue reading "The Insignificant Life"

I relate this story because I think of it often when I feel like I wasted my time with another person,  especially if they are basically a stranger to me. I recall instances at weddings or other such gatherings, when someone begins discussing an ache or pain, or lack of direction in one area or another. Once in a while I or another person has an answer, which makes them light up and smile. Most of the time we never see or hear or even remember their names, from that day on, but what a treasure we have given to them. For those who receive the aid, I suppose many don't likely remember where they received the inspiration. I suppose we allneed a boost in life at one time or another.

It is okay because we don't offer support with stipulations or rewards attached. We are also under no obligation of owing someone. I would suggest maybe we pay it forward when we can. This idea would set a precedence of constant giving and receiving. So many of us look at our lives and again we compare it to others, which we should never do. Of course we are always lacking in one area or another according to our own estimation. We are so hard on ourselves and I include myself.

If the truth were told, and we could remember all the insignificant comments we spoke almost randomly, we would be amazed at our thoughtfulness and depth of knowledge. If I have little money, and need to fix my car, and you tell me a good but cheap mechanic then I am going there. Most likely I am satisfied and driving to work, versus taking buses and becoming more annoyed and stressed. If I am hurting, due to a minor but irritating wound or illness, and you give me the advice I need to treat myself, then you have alleviated my pain, saved me an inconvenient doctor visit and bill, and saved me the time from work that I probably would have had to make up. The coach who takes a moment to encourage a less able athlete, with words of praise for a legitimate play, will do more to teach the player to keep working, than all the yelling and screaming at the kid.

I could go on with the stories, but the idea is to pay attention to others, and be mindful of their needs. It is easier to half listen to someone, and decide not to get involved, because we don't know them well, or we don't feel like getting involved. This is an omission of our duty to respond to others. We do have an obligation to respond to those we can help. We have lost the principle of that duty and accountability.

So many of us have never reflected on how we might be judged one day upon our death.  It took a long time for me to figure it out at least for myself. I believe  it has more to do with the unimportant things we remember to accomplish daily. Those are the significant items that will be observed one day. I know I see others shine, and they appear self assured, although perhaps that is a facade. I can't fathom how to gain that same sense of confidence in myself.

I have heard it said from almost everyone I know, how they feel so unimportant. They sense that their lives contain no meaning. They have lost direction, and feel useless and unimportant to the world. I tell them that they have forgotten how many insignificant things they have said, and done for others, including their spouses and kids. Those unimportant actions are powerful enough to change the world.

I think of the movie "It's A Wonderful Life." If you haven't seen it I would suggest you get it. It is old but extremely wonderful and inspiring to this day. The person couldn't believe his life had meaning, and he kept waiting to make a difference in the world. He was waiting to do something worthwhile. At the same time, he was constantly giving to others, helping, listening, working and raising kids. Actually he saved his brother from drowning, when they were kids. He never thought of any of this being important. He never considered how relevant his life was, because it was so insignificant in his eyes. Of course it was only in his eyes. The world looks for other attributes for glory.

Everything we do has a domino affect. By saving the brother from drowning, he saved his mother from becoming alcoholic. It appears to be outrageous but in reality it is veracity at its' fullest. Every act and word does have a result at the end. We are not always privy to it but it is truth. The story of my friends friend is truth. Her simple coaxing might have been the catalyst, that changed his mind and inspired him to become a most powerful influence, to an amazing number of people. Never never underestimate your value in this world. You are always at a good place, to make a difference. You have the power to influence strangers every day. The possibilities are only limited to your own boundaries. Don't be afraid of the power you have to influence others for the better, and thus create a happier world. How vital and significant is your insignificant life.

"The events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order the continuous thread of revelation."    Eudora Welty

"This dullness of vision regarding the importance of the general welfare to the individual is the measure of the failure of our schools and churches to teach the spiritual significance of genuine democracy."    Henry A. Wallace

"The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life."    William Morris

"You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life."    Albert Camus