Something I need to learn

I’ve been a bit out of sorts the last few days. Maybe you know the place I am talking about… where everything, and nothing, is actually wrong. Well, not exactly ‘nothing’, but they’re things you can’t control and so sitting and being worried or stressed because of them is a futile exercise.
But then something happens that you did have control of, and now there is stress because maybe you made a mistake, or maybe it’s left you questioning something about yourself…
And suddenly ‘everything and nothing’ affect you.

I can’t pinpoint the particular thing, or moment… but the last few days have been a slow descent, on my buttocks, over the rocky terrain of a hill – going down.

But if anyone saw me, or spoke to me, I’d appear calm, cool and collected – as if nothing was actually wrong….
Kind of like this image I saw on Pinterest 😛

My son picked up on it only yesterday. And commented, ”Mom, what’s wrong? You’re not yourself.”
And I listed a few things – he’s nearly 23, and it always amazes me that my ‘kid’ is so darn grown up!
When I ran out of breath, and just ended up sighing out loud, ”and….”, and not saying anymore, he responded with,
”Why didn’t you say anything?”
My reply? ”You didn’t ask.”

In saying the above, it sounds like I am a person who bottles up my feelings, right? Like I am someone who missed the value of the lesson, ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’.
Neither one is true…. and if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that I am actually quite an ‘open’ person – sometimes even to the point of overshare 😛

The thing is, I am one of those people that observe the question ‘how are you’ as someone merely being polite. Because isn’t it just a standard greeting?
”Hi! How are you?”
I’ll admit that there are times where I use it as such.
And most of us have accustomed ourselves to the standard reply – the polite response – the one that says something along the lines of : ” good, thanks, and you?”; ”fine, thanks. You?”
You know what I mean.

Sometimes though, there is a different response. And not just from friends and family. There have been times where I have done the polite thing with an employee at a local store, or an old school acquaintance that I may have bumped into. And what should have been a polite two minute exchange turns into a thirty minute conversation.
This doesn’t irritate me in the least bit, even if it makes me late for whatever else I am supposed to be doing.

Because that is MY nature. It’s a piece of who I am, and I believe it is a part of my purpose.
If YOU are a person who gets annoyed by it, it doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you! So PLEASE don’t take this as a personal dig, or beat yourself up over it, or feel guilty. NOT AT ALL.

WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT! Remember? And the way that you are different? There’s very likely something in that difference that gives YOU value where I am lacking – that brings value to those around you. I am NOT better than you. I am NOT right, and you are wrong. We’re just different.

There are many people who do the polite thing, and ask how I am… and there are many times that I give the generic, required, polite response. Not because there is anything wrong with the person asking… but most times it’s because I can see they are in a hurry, or experiencing their own stress, and I just don’t want to burden them. But perhaps in this, I am also wrong. Maybe they have been sent my way so that I can ‘burden’ them – because perhaps they have a solution, or a word of encouragement. Perhaps saying the words out loud to them will help me in processing what is actually happening in my situation, and I’ll provide myself with my own solution?

There are so many questions in life that are very difficult to answer ‘correctly’. It’s not easy making the ‘right decisions’. Choices are sometimes limited, and none of the options are ideal. We stumble, we fall, we have moments (or days) where we feel out of sorts.

MY lesson in this blog post? Something that I have realised that I need to ‘learn’?

I don’t have many people in my life that I can go to. My circle is very small. BUT!!! I HAVE a circle! I have got a handful of people who truly love me – even though I am different to them, and don’t always do things the way they want me to. I expect them to let me know when something is wrong – I want them to call on me when they need something, even if it’s just a pep talk!
I don’t want them to wait until I ask how they are – I want them to reach out and tell me how they are, how I can help, what they need!

AND I NEED TO LEARN TO APPLY THAT IN MY LIFE... and maybe I can save my butt from that rough terrain of the downhill 😛
Maybe I feel so overwhelmed because I am so stuck in the problem, that I forget the lifelines of people who do love me that I have been given. They may not have a solution. They may not be able to help. But they might just remind me of the beauty of the stars in a very dark night sky.

No, I won’t be telling the public people who treat me with politeness. No, I won’t be posting my problems on social media. Because it is not who I am.
And again, there’s nothing wrong with taking that approach! I have seen many people helped because they had the courage to do so! (And it isn’t easy baring your soul to the world! It’s definitely a brave thing to do!)

But perhaps I need to start giving the people I love so very much the opportunity to love me back in all the ways that I love them?

referring time…

I have referred, more than once, to posts written by Wic, at Letters To Pogue.

It’s not just because sometimes I find them amusing (and he shares some good music every now and then), or because they are well written (and for the large part, well researched) but also because most of the time I find them to be incredibly thought provoking. And I guess I am a girl who likes to think – especially if it sometimes means being able to avoid doing the dishes 😛

Now… I have to say… unfortunately there are times where doing the dishes becomes a ‘priority’. And usually it’s because I open the cupboard and there isn’t a single plate to use – only to discover, after washing and packing away, that half the dishes are still missing… and can usually be found in my teenage daughters bedroom! FORK! No, I am not swearing… just reiterating that I also usually find where all my forks have gone too! 😛
Anyway…
So dishes become a ‘priority’ – but not one by choice, more out of necessity. Which I guess turns them into a commitment/responsibility?
Please stay with me here… the point is coming – like the full fork drawer 😛

Wic offers up a ‘Monday Musing’ post which is always worth checking out 😉 Yesterday’s post was definitely worth ME reading. (Might be helpful to the rest of the world out there too.)

I am pretty sure it was a personal dig at me 😛 😛 😛 Have you ever done that? Identified so much with something that you stop and go, ”hey, should I be offended? I’m sure they mean me!” I am laughing here, because it’s ridiculous! But is it? Here’s the thing – sometimes we identify with something so much because it was exactly what we needed to ‘hear’… and perhaps there are changes we need to make. And some are more drastic than others – and not so pleasant. In this case (and maybe I missed the point – or maybe it is just different for me – or maybe my mind is still processing and avoiding dishes 😛 ) it was very much an ‘adjust your thought pattern and watch what you say and how you say it’ moment.

I am not particularly fond of the word ‘priority’. It’s defined as ‘the fact or condition of being regarded or treated as more important than others’. It’s no wonder so many people get offended by it!

And it’s no wonder we are often made to feel guilty and ashamed of what we have ‘chosen’ to do with our time.

By the same token, perhaps we also need to practice a little more understanding and compassion with others regarding theirs?

Not everyone who says to us, ”Sorry, I can’t, I just don’t have time”, is trying to tell us that we have no importance in their lives.
Personally? I would prefer that they keep their job, or give their attention to their children/husband, or spend some time refilling their soul.
It doesn’t mean that I am not important to them, or that I have ‘less value’ in their life. It just means that they have other commitments and responsibilities that need to be fulfilled.

Time is also the one thing we can never get back once it has gone. And I was reminded that I personally need to remember to have an ‘attitude of gratitude’ when someone shares a piece of theirs with me. So a big thank you to everyone who takes the time to read my own ‘personal musings’- sorry, Wic 😉

So those are just my thoughts on that… and in closing, I found this, which was very appropriate 😛

And in case you are wondering… I have TWO dogs 😛

random acts of kindness

”Actions speak louder than words.”

I understand that this age old proverb is wise and valuable. But we need to be careful when and where and how we choose to apply it. To be honest, it is actually a proverb that I don’t like. Not at all. Partially because it has been ‘thrown at me’ way too many times, and in situations that actually made it meaningless. I’ll give you an example – but not from my own life. I saw someone share this proverb as an image on Facebook this morning, and while it brought back so many bad memories for me, it also made me think of an old friend of mine – probably because she shared my sentiment about the proverb itself! So here is a piece of her story, we’ll call her Jess.

Jess was bright and talented. She was a girl who was going places. She was outgoing and lively, and one of those types of people who had a very clear path mapped out for what her life was going to look like.
Towards the end of her final year at high school, at 18 years of age, Jess fell pregnant. She was not married, and not in a relationship either. She completed her high school education, and gave birth a few months later. Her baby boy was put up for adoption.
And the people who ‘knew her’… knew her personality and her plan for her life? Well, they judged accordingly.
“Being that outgoing and lively, and I guess flirtatious? Well, I am not surprised she ended up pregnant! And as for giving the baby away? Well, he didn’t exactly fall into her mapped out plan for her life, did he?”
And in some ways, their words and judgements seemed to fit.
I met Jess three years later. I heard the background from the mutual friend who first introduced us. He added, ”I don’t know how much of it is true as such, but she’s never disputed any of it, so I guess it must be.”
A few years later Jess told me ‘the story’ – her story. And it made me cry for her.
Jess had been very involved in rowing when she was in her final years of high school. There was a huge regatta, with teams from all over the country. Afterwards, there was a social function. Jess had said her goodbyes, and made her way to her car. It was dark, and the light she thought she had parked under happened to have a blown bulb. One of the guys from a visiting team, who had had too much to drink, had followed her. He raped her. And she fell pregnant.
Her parents were sickly, and poor. They left the decision up to her, but told her that they could not help with the baby. She soul searched and got counselling for months, and decided that it was best to give him up. She never had anymore children, and to be honest, I don’t think she ever quite got over giving her little one away.
After she told me her story, I asked her why she had never defended herself when the rumours began.
Her words were, ”People will believe what they want to – even when you tell them the truth. It’s their choice. And let’s face it, my actions – who I was – seemed to match up pretty well with their version. I also didn’t want everyone to know that I had been raped. Or how poor we really were. I was ashamed. So I just left it alone. But Meggy, the lesson in there for me was this : never judge another because you really don’t know the things they had to choose from. There is ALWAYS a story. There is always a reason. And unless you know it in it’s entirety, don’t listen to others, don’t judge, don’t assume.
And I can say with absolute certainty that she truly lived that lesson in her life!

Today is ”Random Acts of Kindness Day”

The story above may seem extreme, and I am sure you are wondering how it ties in to ‘the day’ we are supposed to be celebrating….

Well….

When it comes to ‘random acts of kindness’, there is often reference to ‘paying for a stranger’s coffee’, or ‘smiling at and complimenting someone you don’t know’, or ‘baking cookies for an old age home’ etc.
And these are all very valid and very beautiful things to do.

But what if, inwardly, instead of judging or being irritated by the tramp, the alcoholic, the drug addict, the prostitute, we stop for a moment and actually see them? What if we do ourselves a kindness by opening that box in our hearts that contains compassion and understanding? What if, instead of only seeing the action, we choose to see that perhaps something truly terrible may have happened to them in their youth, or at whatever stage in their lives, that has actually caused the action we are seeing now?

Some people may never actually tell their story. But most times, there will be something in their actions/behaviour that will confirm that there is definitely a story to be told, and that it isn’t pretty.

Not judging others, even in small ways, is difficult to do. It is something I have wrestled with many times. Especially when their actions are hurtful to me personally. As I have got older though, I have carried the words Jess said to me in my heart, and find myself more easily able to refer to them and practice them. Especially now that so many parts of my own story tie in with it.

On this day (and every day, really) I will not only find ways to be kind to others….
I will also be kind to myself…
By acknowledging how unfair and hurtful it is when others judge my actions or behaviour and shun me, without knowing my story, or even caring to ask my why…
And not doing the same to the people I encounter in my life.

You Are The Best!

Each and every one of us are different. And there are days when I look in the mirror and think, ‘well, thank goodness for that!’. 😛
Honestly though….

NO ONE can be a better YOU than YOU! (And it’s in red because it is really important!) And guess what? Your birth was a blessing, no matter what the circumstances. You have gifts and talents, even if you haven’t discovered them yet. And you have a purpose!

You aren’t defined by your past, and that includes yesterday. Because perhaps yesterday you did something that suddenly sparked a much needed change and so today you are a better person, striving towards the greatness you were created for.

And if you feel like you haven’t yet managed to grasp your particular talent, ability, purpose and it’s making you feel worthless? Please don’t lose heart! You will! You’re still the best ‘you’ that anyone could ever hope to be and you’re filled with undeniably positive potential! (Even if it means you need to learn and grow and discover 😉 )
No matter what : you matter!

So having said all that, I am also going to say this : some people can be really mean, and sometimes I think that’s why Noah only took animals on the ark. 😛
They stand in judgement of every little thing, and they’re critical, and they’re a downright hindrance to whatever self esteem we are trying to build. And sometimes, if we pause to explore where they’re coming from, we might find a lot of hidden hurt… and opinions based on the beliefs they have. They can still be quite destructive though. (If we let them be : and let’s face it, sometimes we’re in a place where we struggle to not let them influence us.)
They’re a ball of continuous negativity that just seems to never stop rolling.

The thing is, when I think about it, there are times where my behaviour was exactly like theirs. Those times may have been fleeting, but I’d be lying if I said that I have never judged another, or been critical, or broken down someone’s self esteem.

However, nowadays when that old pattern of self threatens to emerge, I am usually a lot more successful at preventing myself from reacting or behaving in that way, because I have worked really hard to eliminate the beliefs that taught me to be that way and deal with my pain.  And I owned my mistakes – and appreciated the times they were not thrown in my face. There’s also something extra special and extremely uplifting when someone pauses at an action you have taken and wants to know ‘why’ – without just the assumption that actions speak louder than words.

The ‘WHY’ is actually the source of the biggest step towards change and growth. Without understanding ‘why’, or caring enough to ask someone ‘why’, they may not ever get the help they need and may continue on a path of self destruction. I understand that sometimes the why isn’t a simple answer – but growth and change aren’t always simple either.

In a world where we can be anything, let’s not only be kind…. let’s also be understanding.

This was actually all sparked by a motivational speaker who has fed me some truly great opinions and knowledge that have helped me, but has also recently been tarnished in the media for doing something ‘terrible’. And while I agree that ‘the deed’ is in fact a bit questionable, I don’t know why it was done – I have no real knowledge of the circumstances or the emotions, or the struggle that I am sure was happening internally.  Does it mean that the food I was able to glean for my own soul now no longer has worth? NO! 
It just means that this person has weaknesses too – and that the weakness has temporarily won – and perhaps there is a great sense of purpose to it? For who knows?Perhaps there’s a lesson for them and an opportunity for even more growth. Because we never stop growing or learning. Perhaps this is a part of their journey.

They may be a celebrity with a recognised social status and more money than I could ever possibly imagine having or even desire (unless it means I can give it away and help the people in my life who I know so desperately need it!) … but that celebrity is still a person, like me. They also matter. They also need kindness and understanding. They also make mistakes.

And since I didn’t like being judged and criticised for mine, I don’t think it’s fair that I jump on the bandwagon and do the same to them – especially since I don’t understand the situation.

That weakness led to a mistake being made. Celebrities are not perfect, so why do we think they don’t make mistakes? Just like we do. Just like some parents do. Just like some pastors do. Just like some teachers do.

Just. Like. Me.

 

 

thrown away

Today my dad turns 75. He’s still alive, but he lives in another country and I only get to see him every three years or so. I am not so sure we will get to see him again – he’s ill, and so the long distance travel may not be possible for him again. And for three of us to go to him, well, there just aren’t the finances. I tear up every time I think of the day I will get that phone call to say that he is gone. But I have peace. Because Daddy and I made peace a long time ago.
He was an absent father for the most part, but it was through no fault of his own. Long story’s that will no doubt come out in dribs and drabs in the blogging world 😉
While the opportunities were not always there for him….
….I KNOW that I have a father who loves me dearly. And I can’t think of a better dad to have been blessed with – better circumstances, perhaps – but not a different daddy.
He is not perfect – not at all. He has many faults and has made his fair share of mistakes. But my imperfect daddy is the one who loves me perfectly, as do I him.

Despite his forced absence, I am a lot like my dad in many ways. And the little bits of time that we got to spend together in my growing years ignited my passion for reading. (My stepmom says I am a carbon copy of him, and laughs at us both when we roll our eyes at the thought of a shopping centre – we’d rather be sitting at home on the couch, side-by-side, reading 😛 ) My dad also has a really corny sense of humour, so that may be where my appreciation for that comes from too 😛
“Look Meg, a graveyard. It’s the dead centre of town and very popular. Everyone’s dying to go there.” *groan* *laugh*
Something else I loved doing with dad was road trips. We didn’t do many, but I liked his music (his taste was varied) and the fact that he’d let me turn the volume all the way up 😉

When I think of dad and road trips, I am always reminded of one song in particular. While we have a wide variety of shared favourites, this one seems to cry from my heart and soul, time and time again. I couldn’t find a version of it on YouTube to share (although there is a cover), and there is a lot of judgmental stuff that has happened with the singer since my teen years. But it certainly changes nothing of the words and their meaning to me :

Grandpa and me, every week or so
We’d go walking down a country road
Looking for something
Others drove right past
Maybe they were late
And they were dogging the throttle
Maybe they just
Didn’t notice the bottles
Shining like diamonds in the grass
We would pick them up
And we’d cash ’em in
He’d look at me and Id look at him
And he’d say

CHORUS: Thrown away
Can you believe the things
They toss aside
And leave em where they lay? Oh, but they can be saved
If you will take the time
And try to find the good
Along the way
Oh, what this world throws away

Many years later

When my age had doubled
I met a man and his name was Trouble
He said, Son, I’ll give you some advice
A family is fine
And there’s a time you need them
But sure enough there will come
A time to leave em
You know you only get one life
He was a lonely man
Without a single friend
He looked at me and I looked at him
And I said,
CHORUS
And maybe someday

When the little ones have grown
I may have a grandchild of my own
And if I do, I can promise you
One day we’ll walk down a country road
CHORUS

We’re such a throw away society. Immediate gratification, or there’s no benefit at all. No longer mending what’s broken – not even trying. We just ‘throw it away’ and move on, and think nothing of it.

People are not disposable. And neither are relationships – family, friends, romantic.

Instead of just being honest and telling the truth, we ghost people.

Instead of discussing what might/may have gone wrong, we stay offended.

Instead of talking things through in an attempt to salvage relationships, we go quiet (withdraw/disconnect).

And then we complain that no one understands, and nobody knows us.

NO ONE CAN KNOW, IF YOU DON’T TELL THEM.

PEOPLE = EFFORT

And since no one is perfect (including you and me) the effort required is that much greater!

But taking the time to talk things through, to listen, to share your heart is a lot more rewarding than carrying around the burden of negativity surrounding cutting others off, offense and withdrawal.

Walking around with anger and hurt in our hearts does not make us better, it just make us bitter.

And yes, there are circumstances where some of the above doesn’t apply, where all options have been exhausted and it’s time to move on.

I’ve had my moments where moving on meant ‘having the last say’ and I had to make sure that that person knew that I thought they were trash. My anger and emotional immaturity hurt everyone, including me.
One of the most difficult lessons for me (that I am still occasionally having to learn, because I am not perfect), is not to throw anyone away. 
I still get hurt, and I still get angry. People still sometimes treat me in a way I don’t deserve (although sometimes when I reflect on it, I realise that perhaps my action/words may have had something to do with that, and I have to eat humble pie).

People will hurt us. People will make us angry. Sometimes we’re justified. Sometimes we’re not. At all times we should try and be better and not bitter. At all times we should try to reflect the same character we expect of others, whether they deserve it or not.

Because we’re not perfect. And when we hurt someone or make them angry, we don’t want to be made to feel that we belong on a trash pile.