Search This Blog

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Accepting a Serving of Pie = Providing a Serving of Love

Christmas at my mom's house was always interesting.  She'd get gifts she thought were cool (even if we didn't need them or it wasn't our cup of tea.  We'd sometimes trade some of our gifts among each other until we got what we thought were the best gifts for each of us.  She'd always cook a lot of food and without fail she'd encourage us to take plenty home.  Sometimes we weren't in the mood to have ham, pie or casserole for days, but we saw how important it was to her.  So, we'd take it home and eat as much as we reasonably could over the next few days before we got sick of it or it just got too old.  After about a week, the guilt of throwing away the excess food that we couldn't eat anymore of (or that had gone bad) would have been assuaged and we could go on with our lives.

Looking back it was a little sad, but it was kind of funny.

My mom wanted to be loved.  She wanted to feel useful.  She wanted to feel important.  She wanted to know she mattered to her kids.  I think in most cases among her kids, these things were true, even if she wasn't always sure of it.  It was like a little dance in a way.
I get you many affordable trinkets of my love--some really needed and others not so much--and I hope think well of me.  I feed you and provide you all the food you'd ever want and remember that I love you (and hope you feel the same way too).
I learned a valuable lesson from her.  Love doesn't have to be perfect, love can be a little needy, love can hope it is returned, but the main thing is the person providing it is trying.  They sincerely want to share it with you.  In and of itself there is immense value in that.  If someone treats you with warmth and kindness and tries to be there for you, does it really matter if it isn't always 100% on the mark or part of the motive for it could be hoping to get a little back?  Sometimes showing love is accepting that token, that attempt, that (sometimes imperfect) effort the other is showing you.  Sure, I may have not needed that piece of pie or leftover pie or helpings of turkey, but how hard is it to put away my pride or put away my "oh you really didn't have to do that" or  my "I can't take all this home" How hard is it to accept the 'serving of pie', the gift of love?

God blesses us with people in our lives, people that are willing to make that extra effort to show us warmth, even if sometimes their desire to be loved or appreciated may seem over the top, I think it is important to be grateful for them and love them and show love to them for whom they are.  They may embarrass you at times, but dammit they are sometimes the sweetest people.  

As you might sense, this post actually hurts a bit to write.  I was blessed with a sweet mom who put up with my flaws and idiosyncrasies and all she asked was for a little bit of love in return.  God blessed me with a realization of this as I worked my way from young adulthood to "middle-aged".

I love you and miss you mom.  I wish I could have slowed down and spent more time with you (Even if by phone).  When given the gift of leftover turkey or pie, I will gladly take it home in your honor.

- Rich

(My mom passed away July 6th, 2014 to be at eternal peace with her Higher Power-God)

I won't tell no one your name: Being a True Friend

With Christmas Season (2017) in full swing, I was feeling this message about love and trying to be there for others,  Anyway, I tend to like music with a message, with feel, with meaning.  I guess that's why I like the song  "Grease".  ;-)  Comic relief aside, I was listening to one of my favorite songs from the 1990s: The Goo Goo Dolls' "Name".  I read some of the lyrics below and the take immediately following it on Lyrics Interpretations:

"Its lonely where you are, come back down, and I won't tell 'em your name" 
The take 
"This place you are in mentally/spiritually/emotionally is lonely, you guard yourself from reality and alienate yourself from those who care about you. Come back to reality, let go of your pride and embrace your shortcomings so you can heal. I won't expose, exploit or otherwise hurt you."
Songs (which many can be considered poetry) often have a way of expressing a complex idea in a couple phrases.

Sometimes we aren't in the best place. Sometimes we want to come to reconnect, but "we don't know how".  Sometimes we want to reconnect but we don't feel that it is safe to try.  Sometimes the hurt--or perceived risk of it--that comes from making ourselves vulnerable keeps from engaging those who care about us.  We really want to open up, but like an animal who is out of its usual surroundings we have to get a sense that it is safe before we venture too far out (emotionally).

The holidays are time in which we get the opportunity to connect with the ones we love.  However, for many people it is a time of loneliness or hurt.  

  • Feeling the loss more acutely of those close to us whom have passed.
  • Feeling the lack of a close knit family.
  • In a new situation or surrounding in which our routine has been interrupted (temporarily or permanently).

Whatever the cause, the holidays can be a time of hurt for some.  Ultimately healing is journey in which we have to find our way.  However, having those close to us can guide or at least walk along with us in our journey.  Sometimes all we need is someone who will listen to us without judgment, but instead with love.  We all have been there (or will be there) sometime in our life.   For those with an abundance of serenity, we can't necessarily, nor is it our job to 'fix' love ones around us.  However, what we can offer is love--in the form of being there for others who are hurting.  It can be a family member, a friend, a coworker, a member of one of our groups, or frankly it can be the stranger in line at the store who looks like they could use a friendly ear.

We can give CDs, electronics, gift cards, clothes, etc.  However, the best gift we can ever give to others is sometimes just our empathy and willingness to be there even when our heart may not totally be into it.

So, as we are serving a slice of turkey, a slice of desert or slice of toasted bread, consider also serving a slice of love to those whom we are blessed with the opportunity to be a blessing to.  Listen with empathy, listen with compassion, listen without judgment, but most of all, listen with love.

May God bless your Christmas season this year.

-- Rich

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Demons Part 4: No matter where you go, you will always be with you...

Recently I was listening to "My Eyes Adored You" by Frankie Valli and it got me to thinking.  In this song, over time, he sings of a lady friend whom he has loved literally since he was a kid.  Even though she never returned his love, it still remained in his heart no matter where he was, how long it had been, and no matter what he did.  In short, that was his cross to bear.  One could say perhaps it was his demon as there was no escaping his unrequited love for his lady friend.  With my birthday coming up soon, I thought this blog idea (and quote) was quite appropriate.

I've come to realize that everyone in this life has their cross to bear--for some it is a physical cross, for other it is psychological.  Sometimes that cross to bear feels like a demon.  The funny thing about personal demons is that you can't outrun them.  You can try to hide from them, you can try to ignore them, you can try to 'medicate' them away, but unless you've dealt with them, they will be there wehn you 'finish the day'.  I'm not sure who quoted it first, but as a wise man once said, "Wherever you go, there you are".

One of my favorite Bible stories is that of Jonah and the Whale.  In that story, the Lord spoke to his servant Jonah and told him to go to Nineveh and preach to the Ninevites.   They needed to repent of their sins lest they faith His wrath and be destroyed.  Well Jonah didn't particularly like the people of Nineveh as they were enemies of Israel.  So, he was fine with the Lord destroying them and therefore tried to run from obligations.  Naturally, the Lord being the Lord, He wasn't going to just sit idly by while His servant Jonah disrespected His will.  So, when Jonah caught a ship going the other way, the Lord sent a great storm that way.  Jonah was then awoken by the ship's captain and implored to call upon God to calm the storm.  Soon thereafter, the ship's population cast lots and determined that it was Jonah who had brought the trouble with him.  Jonah realized at this point what he needed to do to save the ship and its crew.  After some resistance from them, Jonah convinced the crew to toss him overboard to calm God.  Eventually they did and immediately thereafter the great storm had ceased, putting the fear of the Lord in all of them.  Anyway, Jonah was swallowed by a great whale and after three days in the whale, he cried up to God to spare him.  The Lord chose to spare him and the whale spat him on dry land.  When the Lord ordered Jonah to go to Nineveh again, Jonah took the hint and went there, upon which time the Ninevites repented of their sins and were spared.  In this story, Jonah was fortunate as his demon or cross that he had to bear was blatantly obvious: He had to help those whom he hated, no matter how much it upset him.   In our lives, the demons are not always so obvious and/or more not have a way to be (fully) resolved.  Yet,  even if we can't make a demon disappear, we can find a way to come to terms with it even while we work to lessen it.

Dealing with "Demons"
  • Recognizing them
    • Awareness of their existence.
    • Awareness of what they are
    • Awareness of what they aren't
  • Accepting their existence.
    • Accepting the full extent of them.
    • Accepting whatever level of permanence they are at.
  • Dealing with them
    • Knowing what you can and should do to deal with them.
    • Knowing what you can't or shouldn't do to deal with them.
  • Coming to terms with them
    • Accepting the aspects (of demons) that you can't change.
    • Working to change the aspects that you can.
    • Being wise enough to know which demons (or aspects thereof) you can change, which ones you cannot and being willing to accept the difference.

A personal example
Anyone who knows me knows that one of my biggest demons is sadness, specifically missing my daughter.  I have less than half time custody of her (and only half the holidays).  I've learned to deal, but I still cannot escape the sadness.  Sometimes I just have to be sad and maybe shed a few tears.  But, I know I can't just have her whenever I want.  I've accepted that I will have times in which I don't get to see her and I will be sad.  However, I know there are things I can do to maximize my time with her-including volunteering to coach, offering to watch her when her mom has late/early morning meetings, asking for days during the summer if/when her mom offers it.

I've recognized my demon--sadness due to loss of time with my daughter--and accepted it as part of who I am (a man who has strong feelings).   I've recognized what I can do to deal with the demon and what I cannot.  I'm also working to change the situation to the extent I can (and therefore reduce the loss of missing her).

Anyway, just my random musing the week.  Hopefully, you are able to retrieve something out of this post.


Other posts on demons:

Demons: Facing Demonsl