I have learned much in my 78 years. Life has not ever been perfect and usually not at all what I expected but it has been full with everything from grief to joy. I am so grateful that I can look back and see the times I was tested and grew. I realize that my empathy for others and desire to help comes from those testing experiences.
It is something that I have said often but here it is again. Don’t regret those times of trial. It is in the fire that the pottery is formed. You have come out of the fire made more beautiful and more compassionate.
Remember that and use that experience to help others. I talked with someone today about how encouraging and full of empathy are the people whose blogs I read and those who read mine. We are a community.
I read a blog today that was an interesting discussion. There was much back and forth about life and death. It was quite technical. At some point a meaningful life was mentioned and it seemed to me to most participants completely let that drop for more esoteric thoughts.
I am totally concerned about life having meaning. At this time in my life I have no doubts that mine does. This may be hubris on my part but over the years I can see where something that I did or said changed something or someone. I have had people that I don’t even remember who they are come up and say that I changed their life. I can’t remember what I said or did but that doesn’t matter. Somehow, at the time, I was blessed with the right thing to say. Does this mean that I am special? No way. I was just a catalyst…a stop on the road.
For me, these are the things that make life meaningful. Was I able to help someone? Was I in the right place at the right time? Did the right things come to me out of the blue? Yes! It was not me. It was God, or a higher power, or coincidence. Whatever works for you. But this is what helps me to understand how our lives are meaningful.
Loving, giving and sharing our stories and our pains helps others along the path. Because of this I can know that even when I messed up my life has had meaning. I plan to keep on loving and giving until the day I die.
We are frequently in and out during the day and consequently leave our dogs alone for short periods of time. One of the, Crash, has issues with being left due to his history. He is a rescue who was on the street until found by Carolina Basset Rescue. He suffered greatly with a broken pelvis and so filled with ticks, fleas, etc. he was emaciated.
Our other dog, Tillie, is also a rescue but we don’t know her history. Both dogs are well behaved and so funny. I mentioned before that while we are gone things happen in the house….nothing damaging but darn funny.
The latest thing that I have been finding upon our return is dog food in a throw rug in the bedroom. The first time this happened I wondered how it got there but just dismissed it. However, yesterday there was a second offering. This begs the question how are the dry pieces being brought from their bowls to the bedroom and who exactly is the culprit?
When you have two dogs it is easy to blame the most obvious one for whatever has taken place but we have always had two dogs and I learned long ago that it is not always the one you think. The problem is who?
We still don’t know who is moving kibble to the bedroom but again no damage is being done. I wonder if I perused the house camera I would learn the truth but it doesn’t show the bedroom. Oh well. Life with dogs. Love it!
Any man who thinks he can describe love understands nothing about it.from The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
Love really can’t be explained. It has so many facets. Advertisements want us to see love as passion and sex. It sells things from perfume to Viagra. Passion is important. It keeps humanity going but it is a minute part of love. There is so much more.
I talked a little about this in an old blog. The Greeks had a totally different way to look at love and did a much better job of seeing it.
We need to experience the full range of love in our lives. Explore your life and find the different ones that you have experienced or are experiencing. Broaden your thinking beyond what advertising wants us to see.
1. “Eros” or Erotic Love
This is what most of us think of when love is mentioned. We have narrowed love down to sexual attraction. This love can be like a flame that burns down and dies. We have lost so much by doing this. I think we know other kinds of love are out there but we push them to the back.
2. “Philia” or Affectionate Love
This is our love for our friends. If we are blessed to have friends who love us and that we love in return we should rejoice. This love leads to caring about others.
3. “Storge” or Familiar Love
This is love of family. We can actually have this love for long term friends who have become family to us. It is similar to Philia
4. “Ludus” or Playful Love
This is like the early stages of Eros but with something added to the sexual attraction. This can be flirting or playful affection.
5. “Mania” or Obsessive Love
Mania is a dangerous kind of love. This is the abusive partner who bit by bit isolates the loved on from all others. This is obsessive love.
6. “Pragma” or Enduring Love
This is the love of a couple who have spent a lifetime together. Their love has componets of all the positive loves. It cherishes familiar love and Philia. It includes Eros. It is a deep and constant love.
7. “Philautia” or Self Love
The Greeks understood that we have to learn to love ourselves in order to love others. This love is important to ground us as persons.
8. “Agape” or Selfless Love
Most of us see this love as the ultimate love. The love that Christ had for us. It is when we can love the unlovable.
Quite often I sit and wonder what I am going to write about. Most of the time something comes to me and I start with a thought and have no idea where it is going. Usually it works into something that what never what I thought in the beginning.
Today the only thing that came to mind is that in June my husband and I will have been married for 57 years. I can’t say that a single one of them have been bad. We never questioned that we belong together even on the off days. Ups and downs yes but never infidelity or desire to be with someone else. This quote from C.S. Lewis is fitting.
Today I did another mediation. It is always interesting to see what it is about. Sometimes it is someone owing someone else money. Sometimes it is member of a family arguing about something minor. Usually with families the problem is not what they have brought to us but lost in their past history. With cases like this it is usually not possible to resolve anything. There is too much water under the bridge.
Too often we see families divided over long standing hurts and disagreements. Families are not perfect but it makes me so sad to see them totally divided. We have so few people in life who love us unconditionally. What leaps to mind is my dogs. It seems we humans have more trouble understanding each other. We are so ready to let good relationships fall away.
Keeping a family together is hard work just as keeping a marriage together. Feelings get hurt, people behave badly, things go wrong. Sometimes parents have tried their hardest to do the right things and sometimes the parents are damaged themselves and can’t parent well. No matter what happens having a loving family to support you in life is one of life’s greatest blessings.
Unconditional love is not easy but we do have to try. Sometimes is it impossible and we have to move on. When that happens my hope is that a new relationship can be formed using the lessons learned from the past. Being loved and loving is worth the effort.
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.