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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Finding Jewels in the Darkness, part 2 (sensitive and not seeing only clouds on a mostly sunny day)

Once again, I heard a song that for some reason has stuck with me for the past few years and I remember the first time it really started to like it.  Before, I go there, I must confess something that anyone who really knows me knows (even when I sometimes try to hide it).  At time I have a profoundly deep sensitive side.  It's not sensitive as in "weak", but sensitive as in I feel a range of emotions and I often can 'feel' the human experience very profoundly in myself and others.  Raised by a dad who didn't show emotions and who was deeply uncomfortable with 'feelings' being expressed, I learned to hide this side of me or at least not own up to it.  I've come to realize that as it says in the Bible,

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
 A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance (Ecclesiastes 3:4) 

In other words, God understands and appreciates a sensitive side to his creation. Of course, society has always pretty well accepted that women can have a sensitive side, but it has only been in more recent decades that we've accepted the same in a man (at least openly recognizing it anyway).  Anyway, I've come to see it not as a curse, but as a blessing.  It has allowed me to be better able to feel and relate, understand, empathize and what I refer to as "sensing a disturbance in The Force").   However, while having a sensitive side is good and letting on to at times is good, like most everything in life there are limits.  For example, while we want our President to connect with us by showing anguish in a time of national hurt such as 9/11, we don't want our President to be a complete blubbering pile of goo at such times.  In my own life, I have revealed deep hurt (and tears of joy) a few times to my own daughter, but I know I can't afford the luxury of her seeing me upset on a regular basis, even if at times I might feel that way.  She needs to see in her dad that it is safe to have feelings, even vulnerable I'm feeling upset type feelings.  However, she needs to know that her I am strong enough to protect and guide her as well.  So, like I figure, a balance.

Anyway, the Song was "Grease" performed by Frankie Valli.  I'm sure I'd heard it many times and you know probably thought it was from a musical, meaning geared towards the other gender.   I'm supposing I was okay with it though.  In any case, this night that I had heard it, it was a fairly early stage in my divorce and I was VERY underemployed with other trials going on at that time.  I was very down.  It was about 2-3am in the morning and I was getting off of work.  I dunno, but when I heard it, for whatever reason, I connected with the song in a profound way.  For some reason, I finally focused on it enough to know that it is a coming of age song.  The messages I got from it were: that you can make it if you believe in who you are, that life as we know it is in many ways just an illusion and that our purpose is not always immediately clear.  Anyway, I will never forget that song, that early morning as long as I live and perhaps in some ways that was a turning point towards being in a better place.

I don't know if I'm an empath, but I know I have some of the tendencies for better or worse (as did my brother Bill).  But, how I tie this together is that this was a step along the road in realizing and accepting who I was--a sensitive person and possible empath.

As the title implied there are two parts to this blog entry.  The second part is the "seeing only clouds on a sunny day".   It's funny, we are taught to see the "silver lining" in the clouds.  In other words, the positives even in the darkest of times.  However, I believe as humans we have this tendency to gripe and moan about things in our life and overlook the fact that perhaps we may not have it so bad after all.

As I've mentioned in a previous blog, I came to realize that failure is a default position.  It is easy to fail.  You don't have to do anything to fail.  In some cases, it is precisely by doing nothing that we fail.  In other words, failure is the easy path.  Similarly, I think it is human nature to focus on the negatives.  As a fallen creation, in this life we face trials and struggles which can seem overwhelming.   In this context it is easy to focus on the struggles or imperfections.  However, if we peel below the surface we may just see things aren't that bad.  We in pretty decent health, we have a roof over our head, we have reliable transportation and we have a steady paycheck which allow our basic needs to be met.  Additionally, we may have a loving partner who cares about us and loves us though not necessarily always likes us.  Focusing on the struggles in this context is like seeing only clouds on a mostly sunny day.

It is at this times, we need to write or recite our daily gratitude list.


The takeaway from this blog for me is twofold.  The Jewels to be found in the darkness are:

  • Yourself and your good points about you.
  • That if you peel away the below the surface or see beyond the clouds, you may just find that your life is not a mostly cloudy day, but instead a mostly sunny day with an occasional cloud.

GOD, grant me the serenity
to accept the things
I cannot change, 

Courage to change the
things I can, and the
wisdom to know the difference. 

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardship as the
pathway to peace. 

Taking, as He did, this
sinful world as it is, 
not as I would have it. 

Trusting that He will make
all things right if I
surrender to His Will; 

That I may be reasonably happy
in this life, and supremely
happy with Him forever in
the next. 

Karl Paul Reinhold Niebuhr

SEE: Finding Jewels in the Darkness

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