Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Walking In One Another's Shoes Part Two

I love finding quotes. They have a way of summing up my thoughts...This year will be my "Walking In One Another's Shoes" year to improving my relationships with others.  We begin:


What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. 
Oliver Wendell Holmes

Some people say chocolate is their weak point.  I say chocolate is my strong point.
 Dolly Madison, 1811

The sun shines not on us but in us.
 John Muir


From "Everyday Success.com"

"We are practiced at putting on a good front.  It makes it easier for those around us.  We also expect a game face from others.  When that face isn’t there or it seems out of synch with our world, we don’t always take the time to wonder what it’s like to walk in their shoes.  We know what the world expects to see in terms of demeanor and we do it.
People can appear so put together, so on top of life.  We can’t imagine that anything could intrude on seeming perfection.  That's not how it works.  Life’s challenges confront us all.  Many amongst us courageously carry a burden while also carrying on with life.  We cannot know whether the person seated next to us has shoes lined in velvet or nails.  We cannot know.  Nor do we need to know.
Especially today, in our sometimes topsy-turvy world, leading with compassion and acceptance can change the course of human encounter.  It's not necessary for us to know a life story before we offer a warm smile and a kind word or gesture."

Changing one’s attitude is not faking it.  Changing one’s attitude is deciding how we want to live our life and then making it happen.  As Maya Angelou so wisely said, “If you don’t like something, change it.  If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

In life, attitude is everything.  Attitude decides whether we greet the day with joy or with the blahs.  Attitude decides how our family, our friends, our boss and our coworkers perceive us.
It is not the result of circumstance.  It is not genetically predetermined.  Attitude is in our control, we are in charge of our attitude.  Attitude is a choice we make all day, every day.  Attitude is not a habit though attitude can become habit

Walking In One Another's Shoes


     We begin a new year and with it all kinds of resolutions.  While lots of us will pick resolutions to lose weight or get better at exercising or eliminating a bad habit, some of us will work on being a better person; maybe not getting angry so much or losing our patience.  While these are all good things to work on, I would suggest one more resolution; this one actually much harder than shedding a few pounds or watching our mouth in the car.  This resolution is to stop and look at how we judge others in our daily lives.

     Oh it begins innocently enough, we see someone having a really bad day and losing their calm and peace and we think, I’ll never be that bad. Or it’s bashing another person’s viewpoints on social media, maybe even calling them out about their opinion.  But I would ask you to do this. Put yourself in that person’s shoes.  Have you lived their life? Have you experienced the burdens they are struggling with on a daily basis?  We are all very unique individuals, we have millions of variations in our DNA, but one thing we share is the ability to be compassionate.  Compassion helps us forgive others when they hurt us.  Compassion comes from being able to ‘walk in someone else’s shoes,” to stop and think maybe that person hasn’t had the positive reinforcement we have received or has experienced a life changing negative event that can never be changed and they are still reeling from the result. 

     You know what? It’s hard to be that other person. It’s hard to live their life, but we must grant other people their opinions and ways of doing things out of respect.  Of course it would work a whole lot better if they would respect us.  It’s hard to smile and not scream when your mother-in-law critiques everything you do with your first newborn child.  “Why can she not remember what it was like to be young and nervous?”

     It’s hard to laugh off someone’s sarcastic remark about your first Thanksgiving dinner attempt.  It’s hard to walk in someone else’s shoes.

    But until we do walk in their shoes, think about what they may be living with on a day to day basis, we’ll keep saying nasty things about them. We’ll keep making insensitive comments on Facebook or not thinking how that other person may perceive us leaving them out.  Until we try to see what other people are struggling with in their lives, we’ll never be nice people.

    So, let’s begin.  Let’s not assume everyone is out to get us; let’s not assume that person who wants to do things their own way is ignoring our help because they don’t like us. Let’s stop assuming everyone has a life just like ours and understands everything we like or don’t like. Let’s try to look at what they are dealing with too and not just expect them to understand what we are dealing with.

   Put on those other shoes and walk…
 

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Joy, Prayer, Thanksgiving

  It was the perfect title for me to see today when I looked at the news. Pope Francis call to be joyful, have an attitude of gratitude and prayer.  Every day our peace is threatened with the news, sad, upsetting or even maddening. Yet here is Pope Francis asking us to be joyful for Christ is coming!
  Always remain in joy even when things are not going our way.  Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Joy means we remain trusting in Christ that we are headed to Heaven, our home beyond this life. Joy doesn't mean we are always happy or overflowing with smiles and laughter, but it means that deep down in our souls, in our very beings we know God loves us and that gives us a lasting peace, a lasting happy that is called JOY. 
  Joyful people get upset and sad, yet then cannot remain that way because they know the sad that is in this life in only in this life. Joy brings our souls back up to the surface when life's sorrows and disappointments get us down. Joy bubbles up our thoughts and helps us remember that no matter what happens in our lives, God loves us and wants to help. 
  So this season and next year, live a life of joy and of thankfulness and prayer. Prayer will help keep joy by your side and being thankful always reminds us of who gives us the Joy we have.
  Merry Christmas! I love you!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Grandbabies...

So with only a few weeks to go, I've been talking to my grandbaby already much to the dismay of my daughter who doesn't appreciate when I talk to her child via the womb. Why?  Because, and I have to laugh, really hard, when I say, "Hey Baby!  Grammy loves you! How are you?" My dear little grandchild begins jumping and kicking her momma like crazy. She is so excited to hear her Grammy's voice!  I can't hardly help myself to 'see' her get so excited to hear me say, "I love you!"
  But my daughter is less enthused at times especially after a long day of Braxton Hick contractions and the baby stretching and thumping in an ever close binding space.  She'll stick her hand out with another hand on her belly and say, "Please, Mom, don't."   I just sigh and try to behave.  But then the imp in me takes over and I have to remind my own daughter that it was she who permanently bruised my lower right rib by her incessant kicking while SHE was in the womb.  I know it's a cheap shot to play, but hey don't I get something?  All I want to do is remind my grandbaby I love her even before she is born.  "There's plenty of time for that AFTER she's born, Mom," my daughter reminds me.  I chuckle and agree.  But as she gets ready to leave our house I can't resist one more, "Grammy loves you!" and I wrinkle my nose and smile sweetly at my daughter as she doubles over grunting once again getting kicked in the spleen, "And I love YOU too, sweetie!"   'Thanks Mom, love you too."

Friday, October 13, 2017

Little Ditty

I’ve been playing this song a lot lately. It’s not a song anyone would really know except its author. But I like it.  I like it not because it has wonderful lyrics; it’s just a melody with no lyrics. I love it not because it’s a beautifully orchestrated piece of art; it’s a simple melody played on a kiddy piano and ukulele.  I love it because of its simplicity. It reminds me of being a child playing one of those little toy pianos and the ukulele reminds me of Hawaii, a state I’ve never been too but have heard about and seen so much in photos. 

What this piece of music does for me is lift me up.  Hard times seem to come crashing in more and more these days, worries, anxieties and fears.  And this little simple song reminds me of peace and lightheartedness, much like hearing that first robin in the spring singing out his lungs because he’s just figured out how to build his first nest!

It reminds me that I need to rely on Jesus to get through my day, that I need to forgive those rushing around me from their angry honks, gestures, weaving in and out of traffic. It reminds me to smile when seeing a squirrel crossing the road overhead on high wires and actually praying that he makes it safely.

It reminds me of my children playing in the backyard when they were young and of me playing in my own backyard when I was young.   You can never be too old to remember those things and smile. 

Oh! Yes, and it reminds me to smile.  It lifts my eyebrows, moves my shoulders back and forth and waggles my head.   It gives me inspiration in a world that threatens to scare away all inspiration, creativity and joyfulness.

That’s why I love this song.  It reminds me of my kids and their playfulness and how I still need to be playful and fun and happy.  Thank you, little song…for being a very beautiful, inspirational piece of art for the cost of $1.29 which lifts my soul, makes me hum along, think happy and pray for the world.

 

‘Make It Shine’  by Sophonic Media

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Forgiveness


‘Forgiveness is an act of the will and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.’ Corrie ten Boom

Have you ever wondered what the difference was between St. Peter and Judas?  Both of them betrayed Jesus, yet only one sought out forgiveness and became a great leader and shepherd of the Church. Only one was humble enough to approach the Lord after the Resurrection and meekly say, “I do believe, Lord.” And Jesus forgave him by asking him three times, ‘do you love me?’

 The power to ask forgiveness is not talked about much in the news these days.  People yell and scream at each other, no body apologizes.  We hurt someone’s feelings, no body apologizes.  People think it’s their right to say what they want, to kill with words or guns and it’s their right to free speech to not worry about how it hurts another person.   It’s almost like apologizing has become like a plague we must avoid. It would mean we were wrong, that we have to lower ourselves, demean ourselves, and God forbid admit we might have been wrong.

 Yet when nobody apologizes, we die inside.  Little by little we become hardened and our souls darken, getting dirtier and it gets easier to do more wrongs and be more hurtful.

Do we think we have to beg to receive mercy?  All Peter did was answer Jesus question, the same question three different times asked by Jesus. ‘Peter do you love me?’

It does take humility to be forgiven or to ask forgiveness.  It takes even more fortitude and heart to forgive someone who hasn’t even said they were sorry, yet Jesus did that too right from the cross. ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.’

 Some people do it too, without asking for an apology, without closing their hearts. They just forgive, because that’s what Jesus did.  Members of a church did it in South Carolina. They forgave a man who murdered nine members of their church community.  They forgave a man who had been so filled with hate that he killed nine people who had invited him into their bible study group.  Yet he received forgiveness.  I am positive these people in this church were still hurting, still grieving over the nine lost members, yet somehow they realized that by being like Jesus and giving forgiveness it would help them to heal.

Do we think we are better than Jesus when we don’t ask forgiveness, when we don’t forgive someone who has hurt us deeply?  Forgiveness is an action that has ramifications far beyond how it makes us feel. It’s like ripples in a pond when someone forgives another person.   It’s like the sun shining out following a tornado, or a bright colorful rainbow peeking out from the storm clouds to signal to the entire world that God is there and everything is okay.  Because someone forgave, and someone said they were sorry.

Good Will Always Win


As a mother of adult children in these days of civil unrest, natural upheavals and general mass confusion about what is safe and right in this world, I find myself turning again and again to our Lord to ask, how do I help my family and my neighbors to be safe?  How do I help souls get to Heaven?

 There is so much anger and shouting in our country right now, so many tears being shed, so many lives being upended by natural causes and  by a human lack of respect that sometimes I find myself scared of what each day may bring. 

  I’ve grown up in a life of faith, always secure that God loved me.  Sometimes I haven’t understood that even though God loves me, bad things may happen in my life to me or loved ones, but somehow I still know He loves me.  I know many people don’t feel that way. Maybe they’ve never been shown the love of a secure family life, had relatives and friends behave loving and caring. I was truly blessed.  As a lover of history,  I have read about the beginnings of our country and other countries.  Freedom always comes with a price.  The price is sacrifice, worry, anxiety and not having things perfect.  Politics change, people change back and forth,  good people hurt, bad people get ahead, but through all of the history of the world, one thing was always constant:  our Creator was always there, people, maybe not ALL people, but many people kept the light of faith alive.  Sometimes they were killed for it.  Sometimes they were enslaved because of it, sent to prisons, restricted in some way, but they still lived their faith.  Sometimes they sought out other new lands or countries to live in and not always found freedom there either. But they held strong. 

The point is, they didn’t give up knowing God loved them. And we cannot give up that knowledge either.  No one, not some random killer in a hotel room, not a rapist, not gangs of rioters,  angry mobs, underground drug rings, uncivil and unethical political leaders, no one can take away God’s love for you and for me.  When people ask where is God when this evil happens,  we need to answer, in those helping during those times.  God is in the people running to help those hurt, to help others escape. God is in the people who remind us that God loves us, and evil will never win.

Each day I wake and ask God to watch over my family and my friends. I ask that each of them always feel God’s love for them and I pray that knowledge helps them in their lives to not give in to believing evil can win. It cannot.  When we give in, evil flourishes and good people run away instead of running into the fight.  We must keep running into the fight each day, believing and knowing good will always win because God loves us.