Tag Archive | respect

Simplicity

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There is a kind of simplicity that is undesirable:
It’s the simple minded demand that all situations, no matter how complex they ar, be addressed with simple explanations and solutions.  “Don’t bother me with the facts,” such a person says.  “I don’t care about the details; they only confuse me.”  The lack of insight and engagement is both mind boggling and burdensome.

Soundbites and the opinions of talk show hosts will suffice for these shallow, unwise ones.  To think for themselves would probably give them a headache!

Then there is a simplicity that is beautiful and noble.
It is often quiet and unassuming; bathed in thought and prayer.
People who practice this lack of complication enjoy the good things of life; yet they are not in pursuit of prestige or extravagance.  A beautiful sunset delights them.  Time spent with family and friends is priceless.
One hallmark of such individuals is astuteness.  These ones think with both sides of their brains.  They question, explore and research; never settling for the status quo.  If you were to visit their homes, you would find shelves full of books, art and music in every room, along with creative endeavors.  They might not have the most uncluttered place you’ve ever seen.  That’s because they are busy with thought, creation and relationships.
Another quality is the very high amount of respect and honor these people have for the world:  Their fellow humans, animals, the environment, principles such as decency and generosity.
This simplicity is a paradox, filled with all shades of reality and nuance.
To know people who live this life is to be inspired and encouraged.
How very different these two kinds of simplicity are!  One word; opposite meanings.
That really describes our world, doesn’t it?  The Earth and her inhabitants are concentric systems, interwoven into complex patterns and relationships; yet there is a simple matter of watching, listening, tasting, feeling, smelling, enjoying and caring for all that is around us.

May you discover and appreciate the lovely, noble sort of simplicity that revives and nurtures you.

The Paradox

There is truth on both sides of the abortion issue:

 

Yes, according to the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the US Constitution, a woman has the right to choose when it comes to her own body, including the tragic and sad matter of having an abortion.  The two amendments cited are #9 and #14.

 

Yes, to have an abortion is to kill the baby in her womb.  The word fetus is Latin meaning, “little one.”

 

How do we unload this so that we can wrestle with this difficult, very emotional paradox?

My own thoughts are that we start by respecting both sides.  As long as each rejects, judges and points fingers at the other, there can be no conversation.

Next, let’s get it into context.  By the time a woman is choosing to end the life in her womb, plenty has happened.  While I have met one or two women who could make this choice with little or no concern, that is not the case overall.  Almost every time, this is a serious, heart wrenching struggle.

All sorts of factors come into play, including but not limited to relationships, economics, medical concerns, mental health, beliefs and culture.

AS we try to address such a difficult subject, let’s also recognize that everyone involved is vulnerable; there is no such thing as neutral, intellectually, politically, emotionally, spiritually or otherwise.

 

There are people who have invested time, energy, money and home in putting their actions where their beliefs are.  Gold stars to each of them.  There are also people who have dedicated themselves to fighting for women’s rights; gold stars to them as well.  To all who have done more than philosophize:  Who have offered support, comfort, counsel and resources, thank you.

 

Again, the reason for discussing this at all is to find common ground, solutions and progress.

What are your thoughts?

Take Good Care

Dearest readers,
I am writing to encourage you, whether you are in the United States as we count down the last 22 days to our presidential election, or you live in any great place around the world.

 

There is a priceless treasure in each nation:  Its people.  We come in all sizes, colors, beliefs, “classes” and levels of ability; many are educated; others not so much.  In short, we are unique…yet we hold so much in common.

 

I have listened as we are told that America is no longer great; that we are stupid, deceived, helpless victims of the media, other countries, our government…whatever else.

 

Here is what I say to all of that:
We are precious, capable, powerful, principled and decent people.  We share much wealth in our heritage, diversity, skills, hopes, dreams and standards.  We have accomplished much and have a lot to do.

 

WE are not alone:  We have many brothers and sisters around the world.  They join us in promoting the best for all people.

 

Take good care.
Take good care of the treasure called you.
Take good care of those around you:  Your family, friends, neighbors, community, nation and world.

Do not let the poison of depreciation or disparaging remarks sicken your soul; throw negativity in the trash so that it can’t spread to others.

Draw a line in your life:  If it is angry, degrading, judgemental, indecent, violent, hurtful to others or you, reject it.

Set your eyes on what is good, true, lovely, praiseworthy, noble, honorable and life-giving.  Build on these.  Absorb, nurture, develop and share these qualities.

 

Apply what I am writing to everyone in your life, from yourself and family to the highest office in the land.

 

Let our expectations be strong and bright; let them match the priceless value of our most precious national treasures:  Us.

TWO WAYS

Two ways to live;
Two ways to go;
Which will you choose?
How will you know
Which one brings life;
The one that’s right?
One is darkness;
The other light.

 

Clear is the way
Of love and peace;
Honor, respect,
Freedom’s release.
Will you choose this
In all you do?
Will you speak life;
Words that are true?

 

Dark is the way
Of mindless hate;
Words that tear down;
Bigotry’s weight.
Will you support
Such things as these?
Reject others;
Take what you please?

 

Two ways to live;
Choice that’s so clear;
One that builds up;
One that brings fear.
Will you please join
In choosing light,
Till darkness dies
And all is right?

 

Yours is the power
To make and build;
Choose better ways;
Exercise will.
Which way for you?
Darkness or light?
Anger and fear?
Or the way bright?

PLEASE DON’T MAKE EXCUSES

This was inspired by a “rant” I read earlier.  My experience is that people often mean well, but have no idea about the pain they cause when they step in to “help.”

 

Please don’t make excuses for me.
If people ask, just smile;
Let me answer for myself,
Even if it takes a while.

 

Please don’t make your own excuses;
Instead, speak truth to me.
Trust me to understand you;
Let’s walk with integrity.

 

Lay down excuses for the world.
We have power to do right;
We choose to build or tear down;
Helplessness is not our plight.

 

Excuses are not what I want;
Instead I look for truth;
To embrace the whole matter;
To go to its very root.

 

When you are tempted to excuse,
Please remember my word.
Allow me the dignity
Of knowing and being heard.

EQUAL HONOR

631_little_old_ladiesI was talking to a friend who lives with her mother so that she can assist her.
One of their regular outings is to the local senior center, where her mother, whom I will call Anne, is among peers and has the opportunity to visit.
My friend was telling me that a number of people have started approaching her without addressing Anne at all.
How sad.  This 99-year-old woman has had a lifetime of working, volunteering and serving the community.  She is intelligent and well-informed.
She has a hard time hearing these days, so one might have to repeat things, but once Anne gets it, her answer will be good.
When people address her daughter, they miss out on pleasant conversation with her; Anne misses the pleasure of interacting with friends.
How rude:  Anne is still a whole person.  Being left out is dishonoring and demeaning.  My friend says that Anne has left the gathering feeling hurt on more than one occasion:  Something that doesn’t need to happen.
Anne is by no means alone in her experience.  My late nephew, John, called me two years ago when his parents and he were at a family reunion.  He felt so hurt because people either didn’t acknowledge him or talked down to him.
I myself go through this on a regular basis, at stores, restaurants, Church, family gatherings and just about anywhere people are together.  I have learned to cope with this unpleasant experience by staying away or advocating for myself whenever possible.  Sometimes, I simply have to let it be and concentrate on the people who include me.
I have learned that this is not wrong with me or even about me in the first place.  IT is about people’s own fears, discomfort, assumptions and yes, prejudice.  I understand this all too well, and I don’t accept it as all right or necessary.  People are capable of learning and maturing.
We are all far more alike than we are different.  We all want to be accepted and included.  Even people with the most severe disabilities among us perceive and feel.  I cringe when I hear family members or care givers talk about the person who has the disabling condition in that one’s presence, especially when their words are disparaging.  I think of someone I know who runs a group home for people with developmental disabilities:  She told me that one young woman can be such a nuisance, while that person was standing beside me.  On another occasion, I had a family member thank me for letting my sister stay with me, while my sister was standing right in front of us:  Dishonoring and uncomfortable.
There are people I know, who greet me as an equal and treat me with dignity.  They don’t seem to need a lot of time to get past my visual impairment.  Instead, they speak to me directly and expect an
intelligent response. One example of this would be a sales person with whom I did business yesterday.  He spoke to me; he answered my companion when appropriate.  I spent a nice amount of money at his store.
If you are more like this gentleman, you can be a great deal of help to any of us who are at the receiving end of attitudes and actions that push us away or down into the “less than” place.  First, you are wonderful models, which make you powerful advocates.  Next, if you can redirect or coach people without condescending to the elder or person with a disability, please do.
So what can be done if you find yourself among those who act in fear, discomfort and assumption?

First:  In all honesty and without shame, start with your own struggle.  You likely have no idea about what it is like not to see or hear.  That’s okay; in fact, I don’t expect you to understand, since that is outside of your experience.  You do know what it is like to have interests, feelings and treasures that you would like to share with others.  You know what positive connection feels like and how to offer that as you interact.
You do want to be accepted and included.  You know what it feels like to be put down or left out:   Such occurances are common to each of us.
When have you felt most honored?  What was that like?  How could you share that with people around you?
When do you feel best about yourself, especially in relationships? How can you build on that?
What gifts do you have to offer?
How willing are you to receive from people around you, even when they seem to be quite different?
The real cure, after all, is to know and love yourself so that you can reach out to others and be open to who they are.

EQUAL, HONORABLE STANDING

This is from a blurb about a workshop on singlehood:
As you participate in this workshop, you will experience:
•Fresh and bold teaching to confront deep-rooted issues that prevent you from relationship

 

So single people have deep rooted issues that keep them from relationships.  More so than those who marry?  Hmmm, what does the 60+% divorce rate say about that?  Singles don’t have close relationships?  Marriage is the only form of such closeness??
I think we might need to work on our concept of intimacy; perhaps broaden it a little.

 

•Learning to love yourself so that you will allow others to love you

 

Singles don’t love themselves, eh?  They’re going to have a miserable time living alone if that’s the case!
Marrieds do?  How many people are wed because they can’t stand to be alone, even if that means enduring an unhappy relationship?

 

•Opportunities to practice sharing and being vulnerable within the safety of a small group

Hopefully, singles are already in a family or community that loves them and create safety for sharing, regardless of relationship status.
Okay, we do need to work on that one, but that’s a different article.

 

•Hope for an amazing marriage and preparation for that significant person the Lord has for you

Not everyone marries.  That in no way means that God plays favorites.  Singlehood and marriage are both real and valid walks of life.
To singles:  Start by building a solid, loving friendship with yourself.  You are an equal and a whole person, relationship status notwithstanding.  After that, decide what fits you.  If you want a marriage, go for it; if however, you find that you are happy single, relax and enjoy life.

 

To marrieds:  First, develop that same solid, loving relationship with yourself.  You can’t give what you don’t have.  Then, build a happy home with your spouse.  Know that marriage is a choice and on equal footing with singlehood.
To all:  Please stop comparing yourselves and others.  Marrieds, please refrain from characterizing singles and the quality of their lives.  Singles, show the same respect to those who marry.
The bottom line, after all, is equality, love and honor.