Kindness?

detectiveI love reading the stories about the “No 1 Ladies Detective Agency” by Alexander McCall Smith. Not only are the stories wonderful but there is enormous wisdom contained in each one. He writes about a time, in Botswana, when the “old ways” were being eroded by new ideas. The wisdom of the old culture is being replaced by less caring and courtesy….less connection with your “brothers and sisters.”

The loss of that kind of culture has been left behind a long time ago in my world. I am sure it is the result of many changes…..people leaving the land and moving to cities, not knowing your neighbors, having no relatives close by….etc. etc. It is unfortunate that this has happened. Things were not perfect in the past but I do think the world around me was more courteous.

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My daughter spent time in Japan as an exchange student. She became aware of the courtesy of the people and their respect for others. Their world is also not perfect but I think living so close together has created an environment of an awareness of personal space and respect for others feelings. I hope that it is not eroding there also.

Courtesy is a gesture of kindness to others. Saying please and thank you are not outdated. Respecting others feelings shows caring. I see so many acts that express an attitude of thinking only of oneself. Cars drive in our neighborhood with radios blaring so loudly it surely damages the ears of the driver. People step ahead of you in line and glare at you when you seem surprised.

It has become quite common for cell phones to ring in places that are not appropriate. People answer their phones while eating with others ignoring those they are with.

Singa_the_Courtesy_LionI know I am seeing things from a different perspective but courtesy improves our environment. As the population grows we will be living even closer together. Will we end up hating each other for our attitudes or will we finally learn how much kindness matters?

 

Watch! You may find wisdom

Each of us has a story. Story is so important. It sticks with us so much more than classes or text books. We often think of story as fiction but so many wonderful stories are true and the people were real. Some of the greatest learning experiences have been taught with the use of story. I had a history professor in college who said that good historical fiction taught us more about lives in the past than anything else.

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Story also comes from TV, movies and our own lives. Lately I seem to find great meaning in the oddest movies or programs.

I can’t begin to count the wisdom I have acquired in stories…. fiction and non-fiction. I often find a quote that I have to ponder on. I actually keep a handwritten quote book with things that have taught me or touched my heart. Here are several of my favorites:

Any man who thinks he can describe love understands nothing about it. From “The Gargoyle” by Andrew Davidson

To live is to dance in and out of the shadow of joy. From the blog “The Death Project.”

Hate is a very big, very hungry thing with sharp teeth. It will eat up your whole heart and leave no room left for love. From the movie “Amish Grace.”

We have the best system of government the world has ever seen but it is only as good as the people in charge. From the TV show “Madame Secretary.”

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Wisdom shows up in the most unexpected places. We have to pay attention to catch it. The things you learn are worth the effort.

 

Religious Literacy

Religious illiteracy is a luxury (we) they can no longer afford. Barbara Brown Taylor in “Holy Envy.”

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I am loving the book “Holy Envy” which is Taylor’s  reflections on teaching a course in World Religions. This really jumped out at me. In today’s world we cannot be ignorant of the tenets of other faiths. No matter what our job other’s beliefs will touch us in some way.

Years ago, when I worked in the hospital, we had to be aware of the needs of the Gullah people who live off the coast of Georgia and South Carolina on small islands. Much of their culture has now been lost due to encroachment on their islands but they had ideas that impacted their healing. Blue is a very auspicious color for them and selecting a blue hospital room, when possible, could enhance their recovery.

The world has grown so small that we can’t afford to discard other beliefs just because we don’t agree with them. At some time we will be interacting with those of another faith and would do well to understand backgrounds and customs.

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Placing other faith’s tenets beside our own can expand our understanding of our own…..that is if we are not afraid of really exploring with an open mind. Being fearful or unwilling to step outside of our comfort zone exposes how little we have tested and explored our own faith.

Don’t be afraid to talk with others openly about their beliefs and be willing to accept where they are.

The importance of touch

I am now in Texas visiting my family. I is nice to reconnect. Not everyone has family for that kind of connection. In my life family has always been my rock. I was brought up to believe that will everything else fell away family was there. For most of my life this has been the case.

 

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One of the most difficult things about how we all live today is we are so separated. Yes, we can fly to visit family but it is not the same as being in the same town. When families lived close to each other it always seemed that there was someone that you could relate to. It might be crazy Aunt Lily or weird Uncle George but we were able to find someone who understood us.

The world is wider and narrower today. We are physically separated but can communicate easier. That helps in some ways but there is nothing like a hug. As humans we are wired to need touch and the fears we see with inappropriate touch has made us draw back from even simple gestures. I don’t know how we will fare if we are unable to receive the physical contact we need. Babies who are not held are at greater risk for a diagnosis of “attachment disorder” which can lead to serious antisocial behaviors. I wish I knew the answers but I don’t.

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Find the people in your life who are willing to share touch in a positive way.  We can’t live without it.

 

What else can dogs do?

Today I was out for a while and I returned home to find two happy, tail wagging dogs greeting me as I got out of the car. If only we were always greeted by someone who was so excited to see us our lives would be so much better.

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They look so innocent

The unconditional love given to us by our pets is an example to us. We certainly can learn from them. Recently I read a magazine about animals and there is evidence that dogs can also tell if someone is evil or has bad intentions toward us. We are learning more every day about what they are capable of. We already know that they can smell out cancer, calm those with PTSD, find drugs, and help those with disabilities. I wonder how much we will discover about them in the future.

We all see differently

One day, a while back, I was at the beach and in the bright sunlight I happened to look at something with only one eye open. I saw the color of the object clearly. For some reason I closed that eye and looked through the other one. The object’s color was a different hue. It could still be called the same color but there was a remarkable difference. That’s when it hit me that not only do we each see color differently but our eyes can see things differently.

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None of us sees things in the same way. Each of us brings with us our lifetime of experiences. The things we have seen and been through have given us our own perspective. So how can I expect someone to grasp a problem in the same way that I do?

Years ago my husband and I went to marriage encounter. It is a wonderful program to enhance good marriages. We were taught a tool for getting closer to what someone else is feeling. It is hard to describe but is like bouncing back and forth “Does it feel like” until you find a common emotion to describe an event or issue.

For example I might say: does it feel like going to a friend’s funeral and the other person might respond no but it feels like your beloved dog died. I might then say I know what that feels like. It is frequently is a longer process but that is the idea. The whole things is based on discovering feelings.

I once knew someone who had great difficulty accepting a male image for God. I later found out she was abused by her father.

Getting to the root of someone’s feeling helps us to understand them. We can develop a bond with those who have suffered similar problems. That is why support groups work.

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Here on Word Press we find support from others who really understand. The community is important. Thank you to all those who share feelings openly and offer support and understanding. You are important!

Sacrifice

Today is Good Friday. A day to ponder about what it means to sacrifice.

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Today, for some reason, my eyes hurt. I don’t know if it because of too much straining to read things but I’m not going to write much. I am putting drops in my eyes and resting them for the night. I’m a human with sore eyes but I did see this quote and it cheered giraffeme.