Always having the “Mot Juste” (perfect word)

My father was a unique man. I don’t remember ever hearing him say something negative about another person. He always said “if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all.”

He had impeccable timing and always had exactly the right thing to say at exactly the right moment. I never think of what to say until the moment is long gone.

In the 1950’s I had a Willys Jeepster. Not the car you would want to have. It ran when it wanted to. The seats were screwed to the floor and I had to have a pillow to reach the gear shift. I will post more about this car in another blog.

my car
A beautiful version of the car, Mine was old and battered.

That day my father was riding with me. We were siting at a red light when the car decided to stop running. I was struggling to get it started when the light turned green. I couldn’t move and continued to crank the car and beg it to start.. The man behind me began blowing his horn impatient to move on. After a short while my father got out of the car and walked back to the man’s open window. I could see him speaking but had no idea what he was saying.

He calmly got back into the car …..the horn had stopped. At this moment I managed to get the car running and moved through the intersection. As soon as we were on our way I turned to my father and said: “what did you say to that man?”

He replied: “I told him I would blow his horn if he would start our car.”

Pay it Forward

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.

9270391ba0de347ad230f6aa78da39df_christmas-light-safety-ideas-christmas-decorating-christmas-decorating-clipart_800-634

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.

pay it forward

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!

Find your growing place!

complain volunteerSome people delight in complaining. They want to tell you what is wrong. They don’t want to fix it they just want to complain. Some of them are negative all the time but some are not. If you are part of a group plan there is always someone who wants to tell you why it won’t work. I hate to say it but probably the worst are church members. I think that part of the reason is that everyone who belongs think they own the whole thing. If there is one typo in the bulletin they have to point it out. Especially in some place where everyone can hear.

The hardest part about belonging to a church is that it is as imperfect as we are. I think that’s what turns some people off. The expectation is that everyone in the church will behave in a Christian way. Yeah, that’s not going to happen.

Church may not necessarily be important to your spiritual growth but a community of people is. If you can find a church that feels like home that is wonderful. If you can’t then at least seek our some like-minded souls who will support you on your path.

a-place-to-grow

It is very difficult to grow in your chosen faith alone. We all need people who share their stories, their struggles and their journey. Connecting with others gives us insights that we would not find on our own. That is the same kind of support that some of us find blogging. We can gain support that way if we truly exchange our formation stories and our successes and failures. However, where faith is concerned, I think some sort of physical connection helps. Not everyone benefits from a place where we experience physical touch but as humans it changes us.

Don’t ever stop seeking the place that you can grown and thrive!

 

Keep writing!

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.

francisofassisi1

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.

Keep writing!

Life is a team sport

find people

Life is a team sport. The idea of a sports “team” is that they all work together toward a goal. No one player is foremost. Without the others the game would be lost. I know that sometimes there are players who seem better than the others but that person could not go out on the field alone. Each one is important to the outcome.

Some games are not for team players….I’m thinking of tennis (mostly alone) and golf (also mostly alone). This is the place where the individual shines. They do shine at the game but I suspect that it took a team to get them there. They didn’t do it alone.

For most of us life requires a team. We need other people in our lives. Without it life is barren. I once saw a documentary about a chaplain to those on death row. The interviewer asked if he believed in the death penalty. He said no. He was then asked what he would suggest instead. He answered that he would sentence them to life in solitary confinement. For most of us this would be worse than death. Total insanity would likely be the result. We really need human contact.

For some people human contact is difficult. Social anxiety can make being with others difficult. For some, being so needy that wanting acceptance from everyone can make life unmanageable. ( a different kind of social anxiety) However, contact of some kind is crucial to our well being. For those people social media is a blessing especially if it offers a safe place to interact with others. Hopefully this contact will help move them toward enabling a face to face interaction.

When I thought about this I realized that there were people in the past who recognized like minded others through books, letters, and limited contact and who used the written word to communicate with each other. Many formed a bond and later connected in a more intimate setting. So even in the past communication in a non threatening way was possible. Now it is faster and easier.

you-cant-do-it-alone-quote-500x422

Never stop seeking out those who can enhance your life and offer a safe environment for exchanging thoughts and feelings. Life is a team sport. We can’t do it alone.

Woundedness a poem

When we are willing to share our woundedness it allows us to connect on a deep level with others.

wounded soul

This is a poem I wrote about that.

Wounded

 

Wounded

The pain is near

Close inside my soul

It holds my essence

The past that is me

 

It holds the secrets

Things not always shared

But given freely

To ease distress

The pain others fear to share

 

Pouring out over the torn

And bleeding hearts

Joining our souls

Connecting our depths

 

Healing

 

We are together

Melded by God

Drawn into

The place of suffering

 

The place chosen to connect

Suffering and pain

With others

With no restraint

Feeling the aloneness

Fear

Abandonment

Pain

 

Allowing others

To see

Ever after to pour over

Our emptiness

The oil of compassion

Healing

Everyone matters

everyone mattersEveryone matters. It is so easy to dismiss people as not being worth our notice. I have frequently visited nursing homes with many patients in wheelchairs sitting the hall. I have noticed that most people pass them by without comment. It is as if they don’t exist. How terrible to be relegated to such a position. I have always made it a point to speak to each resident and smile. Most of them are so happy to have someone reach out to them and I receive lots of smiles in return.

I live in the South of the United States and there is a big difference just walking the streets of the town I live in. People routinely smile and speak as they pass on the street. The city has a large Art college with lots of students and it is easy to tell that some of them are startled when passers by speak. You can see them wondering whether to respond. I am not sure that this is routine in all southern cities but it is in many that I have visited. It is nice to acknowledge people and have them respond.

kindnessHowever many people do not speak to those who are obviously homeless. They choose to not acknowledge their existence. So even in a place where people routinely greet another person they still attach a stigma to those less fortunate. I do continue to speak to them and usually get a smile in return.

I can’t imagine what it must be like to feel as if you don’t exist. I know that has happened to many who suffer from mental illness. They certainly know what it feels like to be deliberately ignored.

I hope that we can learn to see each person as a human being deserving of being recognized. I wonder how thing would change if this were so.

We were born communal

We all need someone to talk to. We all need someone who actually hears us. It may not be the people we love but we need someone. We were not created to go through life alone.

We are communal people. The earliest humans survived because they lived together. We are no different. One of the worst tortures that a human can go through is to be confined alone in a room for a long period. Most people would lose their minds.

We-re-communal-animals-If-we-re-by-ourselves

It is sometimes difficult to find that person who will really hear us when we share our lives. Too often people are thinking of themselves and not really listening. Often we are sharing with someone who truly cares but wants to fix everything. Most of the time we don’t expect or even want ideas for fixes. All we really want is to be heard. The trouble is most people don’t understand that.

This is the reason that so many people need to talk with a psychologist or psychiatrist. They should be the ones who really listen. (at least if they are any good) If we don’t have someone to share with then they are certainly a help. At least they shouldn’t be judgmental or share confidences.

In the last year I have also found that this community on Word Press is a good place to share and be heard. We are understood the best when someone else has had similar experiences. In this community there is understanding and affirmation. Sometimes it is hard to find that kind of understanding elsewhere.

you are not alone

 

Wherever you find it seek someone who will listen and hear you. Even if they can only seek to share your feeling it is a help. If you don’t have anyone to talk with face to face you can find understanding here.

Too much stuff!

Today we are back from the Mayo Clinic with a successful surgery done. Thanks be to God!

stuffOn the car trip for some reason I noticed the number of storage facilities we passed. It made me thing about what a wasteful society we are. We have so many things that we have to rent storage containers to store the excess. Think of what good that excess could do.

When I was young in the 50’s and 60’s people didn’t buy things they couldn’t pay for. In the 50’s the only credit card I remember was American Express that was used by people when they traveled. Now there are so many that I doubt we could name them all in several days.

While watching the news it was said that 11% of people would be willing to go into debt to get the new Iphone. I think they said it is $1600. Amazing!

We are so terribly terribly wasteful. We throw away perfectly good food. Buy new versions of electronic equipment frequently trashing the perfectly good ones we have. We can’t continue this way. The glut of things that we have flows over into storage areas that we pay money to rent.

garage-full-of-stuff

What is wrong with us?

Up and Down

leunig-up-and-down-lifeThe past week has been up and down. My friend who lost her husband has had some good news….although it hard to have good news after a death. Before his death she planned to move them both to an independent living facility. There was a two year wait that suddenly disappeared and she got called Tuesday that there was space for her. This is an amazing coincidence. Two weeks after her husband’s death and she gets to move to a good place.

This, too me, is the kind of coincidence that I call a miracle. I know! Lots of people don’t believe in miracles but I happen to. We just have to open our eyes to see it. This was the up part.

The down part is that I am struggling again with IBS. A while back I took a new medicine that got me so much better but only lasts a while. It cannot be taken too often so for now I will struggle with my previous normal. My daily schedule will again depend on how my body is functioning. Annoying but I can do it. Of course anxiety was triggered again but I am also dealing with that with lots of ideas from all those who suffer with the same issues. It will all work out in the long run.

life-is-always-up-and-down-so-why-are-you-8796618God did not promise us an easy time but he did promise to hold us up when things are a problem. He has been doing that. If it is one thing that I have learned over the years it is to not stop your life for anxiety. Stopping living just makes it worse. For me, being with people off and on and sharing with friends and writing makes a great deal of difference.

Don’t ever put yourself away in that dark place and just let the world go by. It never helps. Keep pushing, keep trying and keep trusting God.