Tomorrow I go to do a Mediation. I volunteer as a mediator for court mandated (and sometimes chosen by people) help with settling problems. Doing this brings an interesting perspective to my own life.
Working with the cases I see opens a world where pettiness and anger are often primary. Money, of course, is at issue but sometimes the silliness is overwhelming. Compromise is not a word that most of the clients have any knowledge of. You would think that the aggravation of filing a suit, having to go to mediation, not settling and then going to court would make someone think logically.
In most cases that I have mediated logic has gone out the window and the opponents are functioning from feelings alone. (Of course this is not the case when the case is about money owed to credit card companies or others similar.) I am talking about two people who cannot settle their differences because of some underlying emotion.
Compassion, understanding and listening are important things to learn and use. Many times just listening allows us to hear what is underneath and find out where the real pain is. Listening to both sides is critical to the mediation process and in our lives. Real listening is truly absorbing not only what is being said, but what is not said.
I feel useful helping but I have also learned to value the opportunities that show up in my own life where kindness and understanding can defuse the problems. I can see the times where my own willingness to compromise has solved the issue. I am not patting myself on the back but being grateful for learning that, the majority of the time, there there are better ways to handle things than to file a law suit. Sometimes people just need to be heard. This requires someone actually listening.
This is a re-blog of something I wrote a while ago. It came up recently and so I thought it needed to be said again.
People can say stupid things. It is amazing to me that they don’t really think about what they are saying. When I ran a grief support group I heard some goodies.
You can have another baby (to someone who just had a miscarriage)
God needed another angel in heaven ( to someone who lost a child)
Your husband wouldn’t want you to be sad (to a new widow)
I’m sure things are better now (to someone whose wife died a few months ago)
God never gives us more than we can handle (to someone who lost two teenagers in an accident)
Everything will be alright (to someone diagnosed with a fatal illness)
Sometimes when we don’t know what to say we can fall into the trap of saying something stupid or offensive. We may not mean it that way but that is how it comes out. When people are going through tough times they don’t need to hear these kind of answers. They need to hear
Can I bring dinner by tomorrow?
I’m going to a movie tomorrow can I pick you up?
I am so sorry
I will call you soon (only if you really will)
Give a hug
Cry with them
Solid concrete help is what is needed. Only say what you mean. If you can help try to do something specific. Don’t just say “how can I help?” Instead ask if you can pick up children, run an errand, offer a day out. Each individual needs different things. You have to gauge what will help.
Most importantly offer compassion and love. Nothing is more needed. If you have suffered a similar loss you may understand better what they are going through but don’t assume it will be exactly the same. Just being there is critical. Don’t just say something…..do something!
I don’t know how many of you have good friends but I sure hope you do. A good friend, a lifetime friend is a treasure beyond compare. Most of us are blessed if there is one such person in our lives. Some people in our lives are friends and they may be kind a caring but they are still not the one who would back you up if the whole world was against you.
I have been thinking about this because three years ago in January I lost one of those friends. We knew the good and bad about each other and it didn’t matter. We didn’t live close for quite a while but on the phone it was as if we had seen each other the day before. Nothing ever changed the link we had with each other.
During her illness I was blessed to live close enough to help her and was with her when she faced her death. She was the kind of person who drew people to her and many mourned her passing. She, like me, was not perfect but she was my friend.
Following are some excerpts from Proverbs that have to do with a wife but they apply to her friendship with me also.
A good wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
all the days of her life.
20 She opens her hands to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
29 “Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
Today I was listening to Christmas music in the car and it reminded me of the controversy over some Christmas songs this year. The protests over things has certainly reached the point of the ridiculous. Someone always has to put a meaning that reflects their negative attitude on something that has been around forever. As someone said there are more victims that people.
One song under contention is “Baby, its cold outside.” My parents were around during the time that this was written (I think 1944) and there was no ulterior meaning to this song. Some of the phrases used were common vernacular during that era. Now we have to put a spin on it that reflects today’s world and it just doesn’t fit.
The other song is “Rudolph the red nosed reindeer.” Once again something is being made of nothing. I have always seen that song as a positive to Rudolph. He wins in the end and his skills become paramount.
When is this craziness going to stop? It is becoming impossible to say anything that will not offend someone. Any common sense has been thrown out the window. I can envision us in a future where there is no music, or books, or speeches, or talking, or ads, or TV, media or anything. It will be a silent and sullen world. Everyone will always be angry with others. Eventually we will kill each other and there will be no one to complain.
It is impossible to please everyone and offend no one. If everyone carries a chip on their shoulder there is no way to fix it.
When will we put away all this anger and contention and turn to kindness and love? That is the only thing that can save us.
Well, this is my second time tow write this blog. For some reason WP lost it even though I saved it.
I wrote on https://heargodinothervoices.blog/2018/12/08/a-little-bit-more/ about Advent season and I would like to share some of my thoughts here.
In this season before Christmas there is something that changes. Whether people are Christian/Jewish or celebrate something else there is a change at this time of year. People seem more kind and caring. They are more willing to make donations and volunteer to help others. There is something about the season that, like snow, floats down over our parts of the world. It is as if a profound sense of generosity is awakened. This time of the year is different and I think Dr. Seuss, in the Grinch, was right. It is “something more.”
May we keep this caring and outpouring of help into the new year.
Today seemed like it was not going to be the best day. We arose at 5 AM to travel to Mayo Clinic for my husband’s appointment. I HATE getting up in the dark! There was no problem with the drive but at the appointment we got the news that the physician wants to do another procedure for my husband to make sure he has the best possible outcome. (God bless the Mayo Clinic for caring so much!) This is not bad news except it requires another trip and additional two nights at the clinic. Unfortunately this has to be done as soon as they can schedule and it looks like Dec. 19th for tests, 20th for procedure and 21st for therapy. Yikes! This is the week before Christmas but it will be worth it.
I am the grandmother. I am not the mother of young children with an all out Christmas to plan. I have to remind myself of that. Everyone around me will deal with it and if Christmas is not as planned…Oh well. It will still come….and go.
My friend has offered us her RV (not huge and easy to drive) so that we can save the expense of hotel and dog sitters. We hope to do that and take the dogs with us. I will rotate between keeping dogs and being with my husband. (He would rather me be with the dogs since they are more important than me! LOL!) God bless good friends!
So instead of feeling stressed about all of this I am feeling grateful. Grateful for caring physicians and good friends. Grateful for loving family who will be happy that we are still around. All in all, not a bad day but a blessed one.
I wasn’t able to write yesterday. Instead I spent the day doing what I was supposed to be doing. I had great fun helping a friend whose journey has been difficult, complicated and amazing. She is the reason her husband is alive and improving. I couldn’t have managed what she has.
I then came home to help finish up decorating for Christmas. The decorating is not hard it is the putting back of the boxes everything was in. Since my husband has had knee and back surgery I am the designated lifter and mover. By the time I shlep the boxes out and then shlep them back I am beat. They are not heavy…just awkward to move. It goes without saying I slept well last night. It was the sleep of jobs well done.
Sometimes I wonder if putting up all these decorations for just a few weeks is worth it but then I look at the finished product and know it is. This time of year seems to bring out the best in most people. People seem kinder. It is really sad that it can’t be that way all year.
My Aunt (who was a real character) said “you get out of this world what you put into it.” Sometimes it doesn’t seem that way when people are hurtful and unkind but in the long run I find it to be true. Our kindness will rub off on most people.
I have never forgotten the film “pay it forward.” This idea has been true for me for years. When we were moving from place to place in the service we didn’t always have the time to return a favor “whence it came” but had to pass it on in another place with other people. Someday, somewhere we will get to “pay it forward.”
During this season be kind, be loving, and help others….but more importantly continue it into the new year!