Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment. Will Rogers
I saw this quote and have been thinking about it. Learning does come from making mistakes. My father used to say “do what I say, not what I did.” What he said was from his experiences. His education in the world of hard knocks taught him much.
We have all made mistakes. Some of the small some of the whoppers. Mistakes teach us more than our successes. I think that is because we remember them better. My youngest child was good at learning from her brother and sister’s mistakes. They fussed at her for not getting into trouble. She told them she watched what they did and didn’t make the same mistakes. Most of us don’t learn that well from the mistakes of others.
This is the 500th year anniversary of Martin Luther posting the theses on the church door. Luther was concerned about how the church at the time handled sins. From his reading of the Bible (in Latin) Luther realized that the church was wrong to sell indulgences. People paid money to have their sins forgiven and a free pass into heaven. The church officials got rich on the proceeds. Luther’s understanding of the Bible led him to believe that we are all given God’s grace. God is aware that we are imperfect and we make mistakes. That’s what forgiveness is all about. We can’t earn our way into heaven. We will never be good enough.
A lot of our stress and anxiety comes from what other people think of us and how we see ourselves. God is aware that we make mistakes. We have to strive to see ourselves as God sees us: forgiven. God didn’t make junk and we are his creation. Live into that idea.
This blog contains opinions that are mine. If you disagree with me that is fine.
Recently the in the US the state of Texas has set about removing the choices that women have in regard to their lives. The state has made it almost impossible for someone to receive an abortion for any reason whatever. Whether or not you agree with abortion the fact that a group, mostly men, are making decisions about the health of women is abhorrent to me. It feels as if Margaret Atwood’s book is coming true and before long we will be living out The Handmaids Tale (title?).
As a woman, I cannot accept that medical issues of female health are being legislated. I don’t see men’s health issues being handled the same way. What if someone wanted to legislate who could take Viagra? The outcry would be heard round the world.
This is another one of those ethical issues that I touched on in another blog. It is so difficult for us human beings to parse the complexity of abortion. We have the same difficulty with euthanasia. The whole thing seems to rest on whether we control our own lives or not. Our freedom will necessarily be tied to whether or not we harm others and both of these problems are linked to that. As a nurse I certainly adhere to do no harm but each individual case may have a different answer. Does the government get to decide without knowing the circumstances?
I don’t claim to know the answers. Where does our freedom to choose stop? If you have an answer let me know.
My grandmother (who lived to be 100) lived in a world we can only imagine. Born in the late 1800’s she was raised on a rice farm. Some of her stories about growing up were fascinating. She reminisced about watching the workers put the rice in (what sounded like} a large mortar and pestle, beating the rice and then throwing it up in the air to let the husks fly away.
An image that is way out of my understanding.
She did have one trait that sometimes bothered me….especially when I was a child. If life was too good or things were going along too well she worried about something bad happening. Almost as if each of us has a quota of good and if we reach that limit then the bad will come our way. She once said that my youngest child was too good. Knowing her thinking it bothered me for a while. I was able to shake it off and move on.
One of the reasons that this seemed so against her character is that she was deeply faithful reading her Bible and praying. I never saw a day go by that she didn’t pray morning, noon and evening. She rested after lunch and read her Bible. Thinking about it now I wonder how her faith in God aligned with her “good and bad” thinking. Maybe she never connected the two. Maybe it had to do with God’s image from the Old Testament.
I belong to the camp that believes that God wishes only the good for us. Nothing in scripture promises that our lives will be perfect. We are not perfect. We are promised that God will be with us every step of the way. Always ” God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46
There are so many ethical issues that we have today. Some of them almost seem insoluble. Advancements in gene studies have given us major things to wrestle with. Where do we draw the line.
When I was working in Neonatal Intensive Care ( many moons ago) there already was the issue of which babies should be saved and which ones to let go. King Solomon wouldn’t know what to do. Now it is even worse. We do invitro fertilization and have eggs left over. Scientists want to use eggs that will be discarded tto get stem cells which can be used to help many diseases. Are they “potential” babies or not?
Medicine has challenged many ethical and moral ideas over the centuries. We can do so many things that were not done before. We are living a lot longer and there is a question about prolonging life beyond what is reasonable and moral. Are we using up resources that could better be used for others?
The Bible does help us with its basic moral ground but these things were not issues when the Bible was written. We have to learn to ask questions and spend time understanding the answers in order to make judgments. Even then there may not be any clear path. Sometimes there are two good choices….sometimes two bad. Who is to decide? It seems that it is up to each of us to understand and make a decision based on our own beliefs. This means that there will be differing opinions and we will have to learn to accept that others may not agree with us. It is important for us to view their decision with tolerance even if they can’t see ours.
God, as always, will be present and knows that we will try to make the best decisions with prayer and compassion.
Sometimes it is so easy to get angry. It may be that we are in an edgy mood or someone pushes the buttons that set us off. Occasionally someone takes advantage of me and anger crops up. There are people who always seem to rub me the wrong way. I can’t stand people who want to make me or someone else feel inferior. I know that is their way to make themselves feel superior but it is really hard to take. I really hate it when a fragile person is the victim. There is some kind of radar that aggressors have that they hone in on just the person who can’t take it.
Recently I watched while a socialite snubbed and put down someone who they felt was inferior. The person was deeply hurt but unable to respond. I am not good at quick retorts and couldn’t come up with something to alter the situation. I was frustrated with myself and afterward was so angry at myself, the victim and the aggressor. When I run into that person again I will let them know how unkind their behavior was.
So, what to do with the anger? Anger is not good for us. A temporary anger is ok but when we push it down inside of us and let it fester it can have physical repercussions. Writing, for me, is a way to let go of that anger. I also intend to pray for everyone involved….even the aggressive person…..even me. Prayer is much better than anger!
Some days are just plain harder than others. Today was not a bad day it’s just that I couldn’t stop thinking. I worked in the yard this morning and did some housework and can’t stop thinking is this all? Most of my life has been spent helping others. My job as a parish nurse was so fulfilling. Now I seem to be in limbo. I know that there will be more coming for me……something to do that lets me help others but today waiting seemed forever.
I think one of the hardest things to do in life it wait. Frequently I talk with friends who have medical issues. They have been to the doctor but are having to wait for the results of the tests before they know anything. WOW! Talk about creating anxiety and stress! The system is not good about getting information to those waiting. I wonder if anyone thinks about the fear that can arise just waiting.
We are impatient people. We want everything done right now. We don’t want to wait. How often do we wait in medical offices for appointments. By the time we are seen our blood pressure has risen to a dangerous level. We don’t wait well.
It seems to me that this inability to tolerate waiting is a result of society’s current lifestyle. It goes right along with the inability to tolerate silence. We don’t remain calm for long and can feel the stress rising.
We have to learn to take a deep breath and relax into the situation. I once heard a story about a man who stressed over every red light that he encountered on his way to work. Someone suggested that instead he should pray for the people around him at the light. Pray for anyone walking by, other drivers, cars passing by. He started doing this and really prayed at every light. After a while he began to be upset if he encountered a green light.
Maybe when we have to wait prayer is a good response. I can imagine myself praying for all the people in the doctor’s office. Prayer for others while working in the yard or doing housework could make the experience much different. I think I will give this a try and see if it curbs my impatience.
Today is another day. A day when I haven’t followed through on my plan to do the things I need to do to be ahead when another crisis causes anxiety. This is the problem. When things are going well it is so easy to do nothing. I have planned to meditate, do yoga and spend time with helpful reading. All of which I have not done.
You would think that having dealt with this my whole life I would be willing to get tough and follow through with the things I need to do. I am reminded of Paul in Romans 7:15-20: 15 I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. 17 But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me.
Paul nailed it. I really don’t understand why I can’t stick to it. It is complacency with the status quo. Everything is on an even keel for the moment. I keep forgetting that it won’t stay that way. Life is always interesting and often challenging. The only thing to do is to start again and work to change my habits. I have learned that if you can develop a pattern or habit then you are home free. The reverse is also true. Habits are hard to break and at the moment my habit is to not follow the plan.
Oh well, tomorrow is another day with another chance to make changes. I will keep on. There is still hope.
Recently, my granddaughter, who is taking linguistic anthropology said that she realizes that people seldom understand each other. Language can mean so many different things. If we grew up in different places our usage of words can be very different from others. This can lead to some pretty interesting mistakes.
A friend of mine from Britain once said that her downstairs neighbor knocked her up each morning. When I asked for clarity she said he took a broom and knocked on the ceiling of his flat to make sure she was awake.
Language is a vague and nebulous way to communicate. Too often we think we have been clear when that is far from reality. My college roommate used to say she was going to red up the room. I had no idea what that meant but found out she was going to clean up. She and I are both from the same country.
Language is tricky. Expressing ourselves and opening ourselves to others can have unwanted results. We don’t know how someone is going to react. I know that some blogs have received hate mail in response to something that was posted. It is very easy to misunderstand when someone is sharing thoughts and feelings. We need to be generous in our response to others and know that we may be misunderstanding. It is also possible that we may not agree but it is fine to disagree. Just know that someone is entitled to think differently. We are not all alike!
Grief is a funny thing. Just when you think it is behind you it shows up and completely surprises you with its strength. My mother died in 2002 and a few nights ago I dreamed that I had just watched her die. The dream is haunting me. I can’t seem to shake it.
Grief has showed up again. Logically I know that this can happen. I ran a grief support group for a few years and understand how suddenly it can overpower you when you least expect it. It still ambushed me.
When someone we love dies we ask ourselves all sorts of questions. We feel guilt for anything that we did or didn’t do…..real or not. Grief is hard and makes us look back over our relationships with others. It can shine a light on everything we think we have done wrong. We can end up feeling lost.
However, there is an up side to grief. At least we were not guilty of missing love. Unless we are willing to love we will never feel grief. Missing out on love would make life seem colorless. Love can give us ups and downs but it is worth the downs. Love requires openness and being willing to be hurt. When we have been hurt we are not sure we want to feel that again but it is worth the pain. Love can hold us up when we are down. It can fill our lives with meaning. We have to choose love and we have to go on choosing it day after day otherwise it can slip away.
Don’t be afraid to love. Don’t be afraid to open up and give of yourself. Love is worth it.
Yesterday I wrote about us needing to seek silence. It is true. Those of us who are anxious probably need silence and meditation the most. The problem is that for us silence can release the demons.
We tend to fill the day with noise to avoid spending time with ourselves. Again to quote Pogo “we have met the enemy and he is us.” Those voices that want us to hear them speak up in silence. The things that make us anxious are just sitting in the dark waiting for us to let them out. They can then make us fall into deeper anxiety, OCD or whatever our demon is.
The only thing to do is to trick the demon. Guided meditation can hold the demon at bay. Concentrating on a voice leading our thoughts will allow us to find the peace and relaxation we need. If the voice keeps reminding us to push away the bad thoughts…..let them pass by our minds and drift away…..then we will be able to drift into the mindlessness we need.
There are many ways to do this. Meditation CD’s are available. Amazon’s Alexa has some good meditations. Maybe just listening to rain or ocean or whatever works for you will do it. Try and find something that will distract that demon and allow you to find peace.