As I read the blogs in my reader and explore the writings of those who read my blog I am struck by the wideness of differences in our lives. Yet, we are alike. Something written has caused us to connect in some way.
The view of lives in far away places and close to home expands my understanding. I see the simple, everyday moments people experience and I feel a kinship with their thoughts. The writing is a window into other lives. We are more alike than we are different. Most of the joys and sorrows are the same. Most of us encounter love and hate. Most of us have seen grief in some way. Most of us long for a better, more loving world.
Surely this glimpse into another life, another world, will draw us closer together. Understanding blocks hatred. The desire to reach out and draw closer will surely open the path to deeper relationships where hatred has no home. We can give love the chance to grow and encompass those around us.
Lately I have been thinking about good and bad emotions. Good emotions run the gamut from a simple flash of a decent day to full blown joy. It is easy to see the negative ones. Fear, anger, sadness, anxiety, depression, sorrow….I could go on. To counter these we can use the positive things we don’t often see as emotions: safety, relaxation, strength, gratitude, pleasure, satisfaction, friendship, kindness, and assertiveness. (From the article How to Tap into Your Light by Kalia Kelmenson in Spirituality and Health)
Most of these we don’t equate with emotion and so we don’t key into them. We don’t see them as positive emotions. We don’t focus on them. That is a major part of the problem.
I don’t know about you, but I am more likely to come home and relate a story about how uncomfortable I felt doing a mediation than that I did a good job. I let the good feeling be lost in the negative emotion. We tend to hang onto the bad feelings and nurse them. We are unwilling to let them go. Think of how often you have been angry about something and just kept bringing it up in conversation or dwelling on it. For some reason we must enjoy holding on to them.
When we don’t let go we experience physical changes. Negative emotions can cause an increase in heart rate and rise in blood pressure. They can decrease our resistance to disease and lower the ability of our immune system to function. They allow our bodies to attack us with autoimmune diseases such as lupus, asthma, ulceration colitis, migraines and irritable bowel. Oh, what we do to ourselves.
We have to learn to focus on the positive emotions and use them to overcome the negative ones. To do that we need to remember what they are and see them when they come. The list above can be added to I’m sure. It’s easy to see how we think when I realized that I had to find that list and couldn’t just come up with one from my head but the negative emotions were right on the tip of my tongue.
I think the most important piece is to be aware of what you are feeling. We can’t change it if we can’t recognize it.
As the song writer Johnny Mercer said “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative!”
Sometimes the sadness of the world can be overwhelming. It is not even necessary to mention all the things that are wrong. There is so much grief and pain. When I was younger I thought that the world would just get better and better….that each generation would have a better life but I know that is not the case. Life continues….do people change? Are we any better or any worse than people who came before us? Is the violence and hatred worse? Sometimes is seems so but that may just be because communication lets us hear more. Since my first degree is in history I know that there was great evil in the past and horrible violence. This makes me believe that nothing has changed. We humans have not changed. We have learned nothing from the past.
God must weep at our inability to learn. He sent Christ to show us how we should live. What more could he do? A living example right in front of us and yet here we are. When will we learn?
We have to keep following his example. Not words that were written though they help…..but his actions. His love. His healing. His acceptance of everyone. His forgiveness. This is what we have to do. Every day, every minute, every second.
Live like him, live for him.
There are many kinds of Christians. We are divided into so many denominations that I don’t think I could come close to naming them all. Even amongst denominations there is dissension. Most religions have people who see their faith in different ways. As a Christian it is interesting to me how we can spend as much time being upset about other Christians than we are about other faiths. We are busy telling others what they are doing wrong.
We know from history that there have been many wars fought over religion. It is sad that our perception of God can divide us so. Most faiths have extremists. It is certainly true of Christianity and it is obvious to us in Islam. Interestingly enough some of the ideas of Muslim and Christian extremists and the same. I don’t know that I have ever met a Buddhist extremist but I guess it is possible. How much damage is done in the name of religion.
God must weep over our ignorance and obstinance. We want to force our ideas on others. After all, what we believe has to be right! Why can’t we accept that we don’t all think alike or believe the same things?
(side note: I have just discovered that spell check doesn’t know the words amongst and obstinance)
We will never have peace in the world as long as we want everyone to think that same. We are not robots. God created us to be individuals.
Every day is different. There is no being prepared for what comes next. I am sad. Sad for two members of my family whose life has been disrupted each in a different way. Concern for them and wishes for some peace and foremost in my mind. It causes my worry to raise its head. Life definitely changes from day to day and we have to find ways of coping. The younger we are the less coping skills we have.
Things that happen to us teach us and we learn the skills we need. Some people are lucky enough to not have things go wrong in their lives. However, this means that they develop little ability to handle things when the fall apart.
The only people who can really understand what someone else is going through is a person who has had a similar experience. When people don’t understand they can be judgmental. For so long there has been a stigma for those who struggle with any sort of mental issue. Sometimes I would love to make them have the same problems so that they will get it. For many years those with AIDS struggled with abuse and being ostracized. It is still happening with mental issues. I is amazing how hatred can be born.
I think that people often wonder why those who struggle just can’t pull up their socks and fix it themselves. It is just not that easy. Everything can’t be fixed. That is a hard lesson to learn. You can’t judge others. You don’t know where they have been.
It is impossible to understand what is happening in the USA. Now there has been a shooting in rural Texas….a small town of about 400 people. It seems that the shooter was not part of the town but came in from outside. There is not enough known to say much about this except that I am weeping for my country. The violence is so pervasive that it seems that no one can escape it. It is hard to understand why this is almost an every day occurrence.
Having grown up at a time when this kind of violence was unheard of it is hard to take a look over the years to see what has changed. Apparently there was a scene in the recent movie “The Kingsmen” where someone went into a church and shot people. I have wondered before if seeing violence everywhere has dulled us to it.
Who can tell where all this will lead. Why is there so much hatred? Is there nothing that we can do? I keep remembering that I am only one but I am one. I will continue to talk about seeking peace. I will speak out about violence. I will speak out about my faith. I am sure that God weeps along with us and will grant those of us who speak out the strength to continue to do so. I do think that each of us matters and somehow we will be heard.
I weep for my country and all those who have lost a loved one in all the recent violence. God help us!
The last few days have been very strange. We have spent most of our time watching the path of hurricane Irma and preparing to leave. The Governor of Georgia declared a mandatory evacuation of Savannah. We were supposed to begin leaving this morning. However, the storm has moved so far west compared to its original projection that we are unlikely to get more than some wind and rain. So we are still here. The house is covered with storm shutters and feels very strange. As of today nothing is open where we are but most of the people we know have chosen to stay. We are not fools and have left several times for storms but essentially we would be driving west where the storm will be over land and still have high winds and rain. It just doesn’t seem logical to go toward the storm. Unless something changes we will stay. There will be some storm surge of water but we are not in an area for that to reach us.
All in all we are bored to tears. It almost feels like some apocalypse has taken place and there is no one left. It is eerie to see empty streets and stores and restaurants closed. Hospitals are open and some shelters but I doubt the shelters will be needed except for those homeless who will need escaped from the rain and wind.
With the world the way that it is I can imagining this sort of scenario. It is not a good feeling. Each one of us needs to do everything that we can to seek peace in the world. The sad part is that it seems to be religion dividing us. Religion being mandated by the most extreme factions. Sometimes I just want to cry over the hatred. I am learning to be more outspoken about following love. I suspect that I try to tamp down heated opinions but I feel called to step beg for love and compassion no matter what.
No matter your belief pray for the world. Pray for those in danger from storms, wars and any other disaster.