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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Evening


The daylight on the western horizon turns from orange to red, and then from pink to gray, and finally to indigo.  The day’s events might poke and prod me as I try to relax.  The laughter from the dinner table, the stories shared while we’re eating causes me to smile.  I relax with a book, a favorite TV show or movie.  I might help with homework or take part in quiet conversation with my family. 

Eventually, I unwind, turn off and shut down in order to charge back up to begin again, begin anew.

Most every evening, I look back on what took place during the day.  Conversations I had, things I did.  Sometimes, I think about the conversations I should have and could have had, along with the things I should have and could have done.  I know there were missed opportunities along the way.  I’m never really satisfied being the perfectionist that I am.  Meditation and self-reflection can be hell on those of us who are perfectionists, even though we realize we are human.

To me, evening reflection is important.  It marks a place in life’s journey where I can look back, see where I’ve been, and try to avoid the ruts, the roots and the rocks that I had tripped over on my way.  Without looking back, we forget just where we’ve been, how far we’ve come and what we overcame to get where we are now.  Without looking back, we are doomed to rewind and repeat.  That isn’t necessarily productive or positive or healthy.  Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Morning



Morning is my favorite time of day.  I like the peace, the solitude, the quiet.  There is no noise except a car passing on the street, the furnace turning on or off.  I observe the Indigo of night give way to the gray of morning and then later, to the pale pastel of blue and pink.  My wife is typically out running her six miles or swimming her forty-five minutes.  My daughter is still sleeping. 

Most times, I lie in bed and think, meditate.  I might read.  I might think about the book I’m writing, the characters within and what they’ll be doing the next time I turn on my computer.  Sometimes I step over to one of the windows in our bedroom and look out at the woods behind our house.  If I’m lucky, I see a deer grazing on the tall grass.  At other times, I see the rabbit that made our yard a home.  This morning, snowflakes floated in the air, landing peacefully and softly on our deck and lawn.  Not heavy or thick or wet, but light and fluffy.  The snow stopped as suddenly as it had started, gray clouds giving away to blue sky and sunshine.

Aren’t mornings an opportunity for a fresh start and a new beginning?  Aren’t mornings the opportunity for the ultimate do-over?

You get to look back on what you did yesterday and improve upon it.  You get to undo the things you did, the things you said.  You get to fix the things you didn’t do or say but should have, and correct them.  A new day brings about a new beginning, a new hope.  You’re not locked into yesterdays or where you’ve been before, or the things you said or did the previous day.  A morning gives us a chance to course-correct, to get back on the right path.  And the really wonderful thing about mornings is that they keep coming.  There seems to be an endless supply of mornings, years of them actually.

Perhaps we need to take advantage of this gift: to change, to course-correct, to do over and make anew.  To rectify.  It’s your choice, really.  A choice you get to make each and every morning.

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Commission vs. Omission


I think we understand a sin of commission: robbery and theft; willful destruction; rape and abuse; intentional injury and murder.  While we might not necessarily understand the thought process that takes place with those acts, we can all agree that sins of commission are wrong.  Sins of commission are intended to hurt, harm and damage physically.   Sins of commission can have long-lasting effects emotionally and psychologically.  Sins of commission are destructive to the human spirit, our core being.

I am, however, puzzled that we don’t take as much offense at sins of omission.  Bystanders watch a person get beaten by a gang and no one comes to his aid.  Someone steals a cellphone or iPod and it is seen by someone who does nothing to prevent it or report it.  Like Sgt. Schultz on the old television show Hogan’s Heroes says, “I know nothing.  I see nothing.  I hear nothing.” These two examples pale in comparison to murder and rape, but aren’t they in the end, as destructive?  Wasn’t it sins of omission that kept Hitler in power?

Where is our sense of duty as human beings to care for and about others?  Where has that gone? Are we that busy with our lives that we stopped caring?  Have we become that numb to each others' needs? 

I think about two very dear, close friends that I’ve lost touch with.  At some point, I moved away, got busy with my life and didn’t write a letter (the days when snail mail was the norm) or make a phone call to keep in touch.  As a result, the friendship died a slow death.  I’ve reached out to both, but they’ve also moved on and perhaps the friendship meant more to me than to them.  I can live with that, but it hurts.  Or perhaps, they’re just too busy.  In any case, I take the blame because it was my act of omission that caused these friendships to die.

I think we need to look at what we don’t say and what we don’t do.  Perhaps our inactions, our lack of support, our lack of words and our lack of help causes others, as well as ourselves, to suffer.  Perhaps our acts of omission causes more harm than we think- not only to ourselves, but to others. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Prodigal Son


Of all of the characters in the bible who I like and admire, I admire the Prodigal Son and his Father.  To recap:  the youngest son decides to take his share of the inheritance and goes off and squanders it on a lifestyle that I don’t know if anyone would approve of, even by today’s standards.  He runs out of money and as he’s feeding pigs, considers eating what the pigs are eating.  He realizes that even the slaves of his father are living and eating better than he is now.  So he comes home begging forgiveness.

The young man hits rock bottom.  How much lower can he possibly go?  I think not too much more if he’s considering eating the slop the pigs are eating.  But instead of giving up, he goes home.  It takes courage to admit a mistake, to admit you’ve done wrong.  It takes courage to own up to a poor decision, a poor lifestyle choice.  How many times do we see someone hide from it, blame someone else, keep on doing damage to oneself and others by continuing with the poor choice or even worse, give up completely?  This young man doesn’t do any of this.  He comes home, admits his mistake, begs forgiveness, and even offers to live as one of the slaves to earn his keep.  I would say the young man learned a painful, but necessary lesson and grew up.

Who I admire most though is the Father.  According to the story, he sees his son who is still far off.  That implies that he has been looking and waiting for his son to return.  Talk about love and forgiveness!  He didn’t say, “I told you so!”  He didn’t say, “You screwed up!”  He didn’t say, “Forget it.  You had your chance and you blew it!”  No, he didn’t choose any of these options.  Instead, the Father embraced his son.  He put a ring on his finger, a cloak on his shoulders and threw him a party.  I said it once, but talk about love and forgiveness!  No grudge.  No, “You have to earn it!”  Just the love from a Father who cared and was concerned enough to wait and watch and see his Prodigal Son from afar.

I see myself at various times playing the role of the Prodigal Son and at times playing the role of the Father.  How much more I enjoy being the Father!  I get to search and welcome back.  I get to forgive and move on.  I get to feel better and make someone else feel better too.  Two for the price of one really good decision, one really good choice.  How much better can it possibly get?

Life Your Life, and Make A Difference!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Mirrors


I remember as a kid going into a House of Mirrors and laughing at the various distortions reflected back at me.  Oh how I wish I had the mirror that makes me look taller and thinner!  Wish I had one of those for myself.  And I’d certainly like the one that splits me in two- I can see a need for that one some days as busy as I am.

I wonder when you gaze at a mirror while brushing your teeth, fixing your hair or straightening your tie, who is it that reflects back at you?  Is it a distortion such as in the House of Mirrors?  Is it someone you want and aspire to be?  Is it someone you’re disappointed in?  Someone you’d rather not be at all? Are there times when you don’t want to even look in the mirror, ashamed at what you did, what you said, how you acted, what you have become?

I’ve always felt that the words one speaks, the words one writes, and the tone of those words, along with the actions that correspond (or not?) to those words are the measures of the person’s heart and soul.  At times, I catch myself not speaking or acting or writing as the person I want to be, the person I aspire to be and it shames me.  At times, I mouth words that I don’t believe, write words that I don’t believe, and act in a way that, well, isn’t me.  So, I strive to make amends and to do better next time.  I set my best foot forward, start over and try again.

No one is perfect.  I get that.  But I believe that we need to be true to the person who reflects back at us in the mirror, true to the words we speak and write and true to the tone with which those words are spoken and written.  I think we need to be true to how we act.  There needs to be congruence between words, tone and actions.  If not, we’re just distortions.  If we work on congruence, then I think we can be proud of who we see reflecting back at us.

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!