Is it conditional?

Photo credit : Pinterest

I am well aware of the detriments of having a soft heart, and being willing to practice kindness on a level where your immediate response is to give/help. There have been plenty of naysayers in my life, who make enough noise about it, for me to not know.
I suppose this is where my stubbornness (and rebelliousness, ha ha!) comes in…
I still choose, and want, to have a soft heart, and give to others, and be kind.
I still choose to sometimes sacrifice self and ‘nice things’ in order to that.
I am not looking for a pat on the back here, and I do not expect anyone to ‘follow in my footsteps’ in any way.
We are all different, and the world needs each and every one of us and whatever contribution we make to it. We are not all the same, and this is not always a bad thing.
I am, however, setting the stage for ‘something’ that is close to my heart, and it’s something that I wish more people would at least consider… because there was a time that I didn’t.

Growing up, everything for me was conditional. Including love and acceptance. But that is a story for a book, and not a blog post.
I am going to focus on one particular thing though, and I’ll explain at the end of this blog post my ‘why’ for today.

The something? The one thing?
Well…. I was always taught that you never give money to beggars/street people.
”They will just waste it on alcohol or drugs. You are causing them to sin.”
(Nope… we are not even going to discuss religion here… suffice to say I am fed up with religiosity in general. Another book topic, ha ha!)
And I carried that with me my whole life… that attitude… that refusal to give any of my hard earned money to the beggars and people on the street so that they could purchase drugs and alcohol.

Until about six or seven years ago… I can’t recall the timing of it exactly, but I remember what happened.

An acquaintance of mine was on holiday, in a very cold place, and posted a picture on Facebook of her sipping a very full glass of sherry, captioning it, ”This seems to be the only way I can get warm tonight!”
We were also experiencing a bit of a cold spell then, and I smiled as my mind went to all the people I knew who were probably doing the same.
It was only the following evening that I had an epiphany and ‘my world changed’.

It was really cold, and had started raining, and I realised that I had forgotten to buy bread. I grumbled and moaned at myself as I drove up the road to the 24 hour convenience shop, to pay extra for a loaf of bread – my complaints were chastisement at the small amount of extra I’d be spending, ”how could you forget bread?”; and having to be out, again, in the cold and rain. I left the shop, climbing into my car and still grumbling because now I was wet as well…

And then I saw him. And something inside me broke.

The old African gentleman who was one of our homeless people, snuggling as close as he could get to the wall in order to try and take advantage of the small roof overhang to shield him from the rain.
I was suddenly so ashamed of myself! It definitely stopped me in my tracks.
I watched him pull a bottle of a well known brand of cheap alcohol around here from inside his coat, and take a long sip. And nowhere in me could I find that response, ”Typical. Probably starving, but bought alcohol instead.”

It was more like my mind screamed at me : ”If you lived on the street? If you had to stay exposed to this cold and rain all night? What would YOU do, Meg? Would you not have also opted for something to ‘dull’ the experience and hopefully somehow keep you warm, if possible?
I left the warmth of my car to give him the last of my cash that night – we were in for a cold spell with more rain for the next few days.
And I went home and tearfully told the story to my children, and since then all three of us have different attitudes regarding this particular thing.

(I am well aware that we all make choices, and suffer the consequences thereof. But something I am very sensitive to as well is that sometimes there may seem to be NO other choice : the drug addicted street lady who sells her body, for drugs and not food? What if she ended up there because someone repeatedly robbed her of her innocence from a young age for years, until she ran away? What if the drugs help her forget that nightmare, because no one else has even tried? What if… what if… what if…
Do I know their whole story? Who am I to judge?
Sorry! *covering my eyes with my hands* These are things I am incredibly aware of, sensitive to, and passionate about!)

I can’t explain fully, because it needs another book… but the situation around here is dire, to say the least.
My town no longer has a ‘government’ children’s home – the privately funded non-profits are full to capacity, and some overflowing. We also don’t have a homeless shelter. (Our current unemployment rate is more than 50%.)
On any given day, in the short distance of just 2km (about 1.2 miles) I drive past at least NINE ‘street dwellers’ begging for food or money. And those are just the ones I notice when my eyes are not fixed on the road. I travel roughly 90km per day…. I see a LOT of people in need.

Yes… my soft heart wants to help every. single. one.
But I know my reality, and I know it is not possible for me.

But I have got ‘my people’ – specific individuals that I help – who live in my area. One older lady, I only encounter once a week.. so when I don’t see her one week, I get concerned and am always relieved to see her the following week. There’s a kid of about 13 that I see a couple of times a week. etc. etc. etc.

I mentioned earlier I would explain my ‘why’ for this post…. so here it is :

There is a guy who begs at the traffic light up the road from my house – I drive through there possibly six times most days. He’s a little bit wild looking, ha ha! His dreadlocks are mid neck level, and stick out all over the place most of the time. He has a lot of personality, and sometimes even does a cartoon-like jig for people waiting at the red light, to entertain them. Most ignore him, but every now and then I see someone hand him a coin or two for his effort. He has the biggest smile on his face most of the time too!
He’s been hanging out there, every day, for the last 2 years.
And I’ll admit it, initially I was a little afraid of him, because he really does look crazy. Nowadays, my kids and I affectionately refer to him as ‘our crazy friend’. And even though he sees me six times in a day, he knows he only gets something from me once in a day.
He always says thank you… even if it’s a ‘drive by drop off out the window’…. he shouts it to me while I am driving away in traffic.
He interests me, I wanted to know his story… and so I asked ‘my friends’ who work at the petrol station right there about him, about a year ago.
All they could tell me was that he is actually a ‘clever man’… he finished high school and so he has some education. But his house burned down. And he lost his family. And had ‘bad friends’ and started using drugs. It made me sad.
A couple of times, I have actually stopped and sat and chatted with him. Unfortunately, his way of living means that he doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense anymore. And we battle a huge language barrier – my Xhosa (the African language spoken in this area) is extremely limited! So our chats were always very animated – lots of pointing and gesturing, ha ha!

This morning I popped onto Facebook for a quick scroll. And I burst into tears.

I drove past my crazy friend at 5:15pm last night. He waved at me, and gave me the biggest smile.
At about 6:30pm last night, some horrible person doing a STUPID speed, drove into my crazy friend. And drove away!!!!!!! Yes, it was a hit and run. And they still don’t know who that person is.
The report is that my crazy friend is in very bad shape, and his chances of survival are slim – he was unconscious with severe head injuries at the scene.
I know that if doesn’t survive, in a way it’s merciful, because his life on the street was extremely hard… especially here.
But I am still sad. And angry with that careless individual who could just drive away!

And I know I am making myself vulnerable to all the thoughts of ”how ridiculously silly that this could affect her”, ”good grief, she’s way too soft”.

Perhaps it does make me weak... perhaps I deserve judgement for it…
It doesn’t matter to me, either way.
And I am not complaining about the sadness things like this bring to my life because yes… this IS the way I want to be, and what I choose. My consequences for my choices, I guess. Ha!

The take-away from all this? The thing I am ‘really trying to say’?

Perhaps the key to trying to ‘change the world by changing ourselves’ is to reflect on our giving?
Are we giving, sharing, and being kind to only those who ‘deserve it and have earned it’, or are we willing to step forward and break out of the ‘box of conditional’ and give, share and be kind to those who ‘don’t seem to deserve it’?
Can we change things if we stop expecting something in return, and stop demanding that people meet certain requirements in order to be loved?

(I don’t know what the right or wrong answer is in any of this!
I just know I need to keep being me.)

Hoping that whatever the outcome for my crazy friend, that somehow he knew that he mattered to someone… he mattered to me!

Meg ❤

Unbecoming

Definition : not fitting or appropriate; unseemly

The weeks have flown by, and I have failed miserably at the ‘art of blogging’. I am winning though… more about that to follow 😉

The title word, and it’s meaning, is a word I can’t say I am too fond of. Growing up, I heard it far too many times! The sentence usually went something like this :

”That is unbecoming behaviour for a young lady!”

The year I turned five, I had a lovely birthday party at home with all my friends from pre-school. In those days I was not fond of wearing dresses, mostly because they were forced on me. (Nowadays I seldom wear them, but when I do wear a dress or a long skirt it is by choice, and I will admit that at those times dressing that way brings me pleasure.)
My mother had purchased a dress for me for the party, to add to all those hanging in my cupboard, much to my dismay! It was white (good grief, I don’t even wear white now because I still can’t keep it clean 😛 ) with red polka dots. She made me wear my hair in pigtails, with bright red ribbons. The white shoes she purchased remained safe, as I kicked them off just a few minutes into the celebration! 😉
There was a stern reminder shortly before my guests arrived that I was a young lady, and should behave accordingly.
And I was fine for the first little bit. Then all us children went outside to my front garden to play.

The girls flitted about, shyly giggling and picking flowers. The boys began a game of ‘touches’, and were soon running off some of their energy. Michael and James had other plans. (YES! I still remember their names – just not their surnames, and I can even tell you what they looked like, but I have no idea what happened to them after we left pre-school, or where in the world they are now!)
These boys were trouble for a ‘lady’, but they were who I chose to spend most of my time during school hours with, ha ha!
Their plan was to climb the Plumeria tree (also known as a Frangipani) in our garden… and I was all for it!
With a quick glance towards the house to make sure that my mother was still inside, I took off running behind them and soon I was climbing…. IN MY DRESS!
The trouble that would come my way if my mother caught me was nothing compared to the trouble I actually did get into in the end!
If only we’d stayed away from that one branch!
It was longer than the others, and we decided that we could all sit on it, in a row, and observe the others playing games and picking flowers. James went first. And all was well. I slowly crept towards him, and giggled when he said, ”We should get on the roof. Imagine the view then!” Safely settled, we motioned to Michael, and he hesitantly scooted along on his bottom. I saw my aunt come out of our house, and disappear quickly back inside. And I whispered to the boys, ”Uh oh, we better go! My mother’s coming!”
I believe the branch was busy dying… and our sudden panicked haste probably didn’t help matters, but the next thing there was a loud noise and we all fell to the ground, branch included!

None of us had any broken bones – but all three of us were winded. And my dress got torn! We caught our breath, and all began to laugh. Until my mother arrived to stand before us, hands on her hips, muttering about my behaviour and my dress! I was taken back into the house, to change and wash my face because it was dirty, and of course receive the stern lecture I knew would come if I got caught. I spent the rest of my party seated on the verandah with the other girls who were then playing with my dolls.
At bedtime that evening it was like someone had pressed play on a tape recorder as the words came again, ”That is not how a lady behaves. I am so disappointed!”

And I remember thinking as that little girl : ”But what if I don’t want to be a lady?”

The irony is that I tend towards being one anyway, ha ha! My friends often tease (and it really is a loving tease, and we laugh together about it) that I am sometimes so ‘prim and proper’, so ‘elegant and correct’, (although they always assure me that it is never in a stuck-up way!) and when I use big words my one young friend giggles and comments, ”Yes, Miss Cultured”. I remember going to a biker’s rally once and having one of the guys tease me that ‘a girl like me is too sophisticated and classy for a joint like this’ – that made me laugh so loud, I think he changed his mind 😛

There are times when I truly enjoy being a lady these days – but if I’m not wearing a dress and it’s a relatively easy climb, you might even find me up a tree 😉

So that explains – in a rather long winded manner, sorry! – why the word unbecoming is not one I am fond of. ALL that said though, there is this :

And I happen to like the word as it is being used in the image above. There are things from childhood, from my teen years, and possibly even things drilled into me as a young adult, that have become, for me, ”limiting beliefs”. These things have contributed to the issues I have with self esteem – and have brought with them guilt and shame in so many ways!
And so, as the word stands in the image above, I have begun down the uneven and unknown path in my journey where I am trying to let go of a lot of those things, and acknowledge that there may actually be a chance that ”they” were wrong.
It’s not easy, and at times it’s quite exhausting. There are things that I don’t want to have arguments in my head about 😛
BUT…..

Back to the beginning of this blog post? I am winning, everyone! 😉

I am not getting everything I want. I am not getting to avoid the hard things. I am not getting an immediate relief from guilt and shame. I am not getting the instant ability of undoing the limits.

BUT I AM GETTING SO MUCH MORE along the way, as I occasionally stub my toe on a rock I didn’t see. 😛
And this time, I am truly appreciating each of those lessons!

Thank you for sticking around to read 😉 Here’s to unbecoming – in a ladylike manner 😛 😉
I hope you are all well ❤

What a word!

There are still times in my life, and I am sure there always will be, where I find myself questioning and grappling, and even sometimes frustrated, when it comes to ”purpose”.

Not just its definition, or how it applies to my own life, or whether or not I have found it etc. But also on the days where something happens and I end up asking it in a different way : something along the lines of ”Well, what is the purpose of that?”

I very much doubt that I will ever have a concrete answer for any of it. That one word – purpose – and our lives and the situations we find ourselves in and how it applies and all comes together, and what it means, and and and…. well, the answers are just as infinite and the layers of them exponentially greater than those of any onion. (For those who have seen the movie, yes… I just used a ‘Shrek‘ reference 😛 )

Last week, I had a lengthy catch up telephone conversation with a young lady (she’s in her late twenties now) who I have known since she was 5 years old. I went from being her mom’s friend, when she was a little girl, to now being her friend, and big sister. (In fact, she has me listed as her sister on Facebook, which confuses many people – I get messages from old school acquaintances sometimes, who feel terrible for not knowing that I had a sister, ha ha ha!)

In this conversation, she was telling me about her husband’s sister who is a really talented singer, and is struggling to get a break – she’s young and naive and being taken advantage of by our local music world. We ended up talking about purpose in general. My friend, herself, is also frustrated – she has passions and talents, and just can’t seem to ‘get her break’ either. I offered her support, love and encouragement in ways, and with words, that I thought might be helpful. And there was a happy end to our conversation, and she still loves me… so I think I did okay 😛

The last few days have been grappling days for me. Days where my head is swimming with things like, ”What if what I am doing is not enough? What if I am failing at living out the purpose intended for me? Why isn’t there writing on my wall with a definitive that I can work from? Am I doing it wrong, because there isn’t actually anything tangible being produced here? I have nothing to show for any of it! What am I going to do?”

And this morning the friend that I mentioned above send me a picture message, and captioned it, ”This is you, endlessly! I love you, Meg!”

So I’ll end with the message to me, and share it as a message to all of you out there who may be able to identify with how I have been feeling (these feelings are temporary, but hey, they exist, so we might as well offer each other some encouragement for when we’re stuck in them, right? 😉 )

World Dream Day

Apparently that is what today is… and although I had hoped it meant that I could just go back to bed and sleep, it doesn’t 😛

I was reading about the history of this day, and I’ll share the excerpt with you… the bold part of it being the part that stood out for me the most, and made me smile :

Dream Day was set up by an instructor at Columbia University in 2012 as a way of helping us all achieve our dreams and to make the world a better place. The creator of the day is Ozioma Egwuonwu; a transformational strategist and educator. It was her aim to create a day that would help to heal and inspire humanity.

These days, any mention of this pandemic that our world is facing, seems to bring negative words to mind. In all honesty, the amount of disrespect and hate that I have encountered in my entire lifetime, has been superseded by the amount I have seen and experienced in the past 18 months. And it all links back to the virus. It makes me hurt, in so many ways!

And so as I read those words, ”help to heal and inspire humanity”, my heart soared as I smiled and almost shouted out loud, ”Oh man! YES! We need days like this, and not just for dreaming!”

If you want to read more about Dream Day, then you can go here.

Another quick share from the article :

Dream Day is a vital day in terms of honoring the role that dreams play in all of our lives. Even more importantly, it is a day whereby we all inspire one and other, helping our loved ones, peers, and even strangers to put a plan in action to make positive changes in their lives and the wider world.

And then, my Facebook post for today….

I am sure you know what I am going to say now 😛

It’s the weekend, and we have a whole new week ahead of us : please can we all not only be kind, but let’s look for ways to inspire and encourage one another – maybe even find ways to do so that will be practical in helping them get one step closer to their dream!

Let’s make it Dream Day, every day! (I wonder if we could get away with pyjama shopping…. hmmm. 😛 )

Please be safe, everyone. Thank you for stopping by ❤

Rocking out, and Eating Elephants

Do you know the song, Party Rock Anthem?

(I am very familiar with a variety of party/dance music – and not just because I have a teenage daughter. The familiarity dates back to when she was a little girl. She’s a dancer, and thankfully their dancing teacher always finds ‘clean’ versions of songs for them to dance to, even now. Strangely enough, my whole life, this type of music has always been a genre that has ‘got me going’. If my house needs a good clean? Dance music will be blaring. Even though I am in my early forties 😛 )

Back to the song I mentioned above…
There’s a repetitive line in it that says : ”Everyday I’m shuffling”.
Well, for me, I’m on the hunt for clown shoes, because I feel like ‘Everyday I’m JUGGLING’.
On any given day there are so many balls in my air space, all at once, that it takes a very large amount of effort for me to keep them there. I’d love to say that I am always 100% successful…. but like with any good circus clown, at least one needs to drop at some time, or else it wouldn’t be funny, right? 😛

I am relieved that most times, when I drop a ball, it isn’t too much of an issue. It’s minor things I may have let slip, or forgotten – no harm, no foul. Yesterday I dropped a ball though that could have been really serious. Thankfully, somehow, there was a Plan B (I still don’t know how there was a Plan B, because I had completely missed Plan A!!!) and so what could have been a serious problem, was just a minor bump in the road.

Last night, as my son was ‘passing through my space’, and heading to the shower, he made a comment about what had happened – which is odd because I had not said that I was open to discussion about the issue 😛
(In actual fact, when I briefly relayed a summary of events to the kids, I pretty much warned them that I was feeling super sensitive about it all, and so anything they were planning to talk about, even if unrelated, that they knew would add to my stressed out mind should probably be put on hold till today…. unless it was an emergency.)

And yet my son’s comment didn’t stress me out. It was one of those things that makes you stop and think, ”Who are you, and what have you done with my kid?” 😛
And it took my thoughts a little further too 😉

I am definitely ‘pro having an attitude of gratitude’, and even though some days are truly landslide days, I still find something to be grateful for.
I am also a ‘little things’ person – I notice and appreciate the small things, and I believe they do count.
It’s definitely a ‘lifestyle’ for me – a mindset that I have that I do without even knowing that I do it half the time.

And yet, surprisingly, there are still things that I ‘forget’. Little things that I see, without seeing.
(Kind of like when I bump into someone who says to me, ”I’ve driven past you about four times this week, and I’ve waved every time. You looked right at me, but didn’t wave back.”
And I have to tell them, ”I probably wasn’t actually looking at you – I was probably watching all the cars where you were, trying to anticipate their next move for my safety sake. I’m so sorry…. if I had seen you, I promise I would have waved.” And there is always a nod of understanding and a sympathetic comment, and off we go. Because where I live, driving on our roads is treacherous, and we all know it.)

So… sometimes it is only after a time of TRUE and QUIET reflection on events that happen, that I am able to fully SEE what I already saw in the moment. You’d think I’d do better at seeing these things, because a lot of times they’re actually kind of repetitive… but each time, there is a new ‘take away’, in some way, and so I can’t help but wonder if perhaps it’s not so much about the repetition / learning the lesson of seeing them every time ‘properly’, but more about the additional small things that get added along the way.

Desmond Tutu said something once, regarding ‘big’ problems :
”How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”
The meaning behind it is that pretty much most things in life that seem daunting or overwhelming can usually be accomplished or ‘solved’ by going slowly and taking on things a little bit at a time. But of course, this is not always perfect, because hey, as we all know, some things just aren’t in our control – no matter how much time we spend chewing 😉
But I still agree with him for the most part, if there are no control issues.

That said…

When you are presented with more than one elephant, as in a few of them? Let’s face it, that means more than one bite at a time…. and you just aren’t going to have the space in your stomach for those first bites, no matter how much you love to eat 😛
And you ARE going to feel overwhelmed and out of sorts.
Probably even more so when you gain a new elephant the next day!
(Isn’t life just the funniest thing, the way everything seems to ‘go wrong’ at once?)

But last night, I was reminded yet again :

I might feel like a clown (minus the shoes because I can’t find them) in a room full of elephants, juggling far too many balls to probably be considered ‘healthy’, and I might have the odd moment where I actually end up dropping a ball (which I do not find funny at all, sigh – until much later on 😛 )

BUT there’s a bigger picture, and my hope and my faith (which may be different to yours, and that is okay) sometimes works behind the scenes, and I get blindsided by goodness, especially when I had NO plan to start with.

I’ll leave you with this little note :

It is always good to have a plan – to be prepared, to have a goal with a strategic step-by-step to get you there – and to have a Plan B… C… D – because you never know what’s going to work, right?
But somedays? Somedays you just need to breathe, trust, let go, and see what happens (quote by Mandy Hale)…. especially on the days where you forgot to make a Plan A!!!
And on those days? When things turn out okay even though you dropped the ball?


Don’t forget to breathe out a huge sigh of gratitude! It will give you a reason to smile at least 😉


Follow up post – matters!

I started writing this post yesterday. And then, due to a chain of events beyond my control, I had to stop. By the time 7pm rolled around, I was just too exhausted to ‘be present’, and so here I am…. editing as I go…. finishing what I started 😉

On Wednesday morning, I wrote and published this post.
By lunchtime, in my mind, there was so much that could be added to it, so much more that needed explaining properly, the realisation that I had probably not expressed myself correctly.
And as I lay in bed in the dark, trying to still my mind and drift off to the place where all my dreams come true, ( gee, I wonder why 😛 ) I concluded that the post should probably be deleted, for a multitude of reasons.

It wasn’t written properly – my posts are very seldom what could be called well-researched though : most of the time, I just speak from my heart.
It would probably be misunderstood because it may have come across as a contradiction to the other things I say.
It probably wasn’t ‘clear enough’ in general – no one would relate in any way, and the lack of clarity (and seeming contradictions) would probably unleash quiet judgements and disappointments in me/my character.

I woke in the morning, determined to log on and delete the post – hoping that those who had already read it would still visit my blog again sometime.
But first, I needed coffee. And I needed to attend to the ‘Mom’ side of life – so I got my daughter going, got myself ready, took the girls to school (my daughter and her friend), put a load of washing on and gave the dogs their breakfast.

I logged on to WordPress, and found a comment on my post that had me reeling, in a good way. From a regular reader whose blog can be found here.
Read. Love. Livethe above is why your words meant so very much to me.
AND…
Your words reminded me of something that has become so very special to me in the last few months – words from another dear friend and blogger :
If you helped one person from their brokenness and despair to the place where they realise their potential your life would be a life well lived.”
(I actually have this printed out and stuck on my bedside cabinet so that it is the last thing I see at night, and the first thing I see in the morning.)
Those words have come to mean so much more to me though than just ‘brokenness and despair”.

They are a constant reminder to me that I cannot change ‘the world’ for everyone, but I might be able to help make it a little easier for at least one person!
That I may not be able to make a difference to a multitude, but I can make a difference to someone, and that matters!

And so my post remained, because Read. Love. Live commented – and the real shocker for me was that they found it the most relatable post thus far!
I probably could have deleted it… because I had my ONE person. But I decided to let it stay, just in case there was someone else… and there was. And then I thought, ”Well, who knows… maybe in a few months someone else will stumble upon it and need it, so I’ll just leave it right where it is.”

Some feedback on all the ”perhaps” parts of the original post :

I reached out to two of my ‘close circle’ – who both live about twenty minutes away from me, but I don’t get to see them very often because our schedules seldom coincide. Ha ha ha! (And of course, there’s currently a pandemic!)

But I reached out to them realistically.
I knew neither one could actually practically help me. I also knew that they probably couldn’t help offer solutions simply because the things I have going on have not been a part of their own personal life experiences.
So there was no expectation that if they responded, things would magically disappear or change.
And I also didn’t expect ‘proper’ responses – because I understand ‘life happens’, being busy with commitments happens and has no reflection on whether or not they are ‘making time for me and love me’.

These two friends are a mother and daughter. They have been in my life for 24 years now. And yes, we have that friendship where we can go a month without talking, and you’d never say it when we do get together, or get to chat – other than the amount of time we spend together because hey, a lot happens in a month! 😛

The ‘mother’ friend is in her early sixties. She’s been like a mother to me, but most of all, like a friend. She’s young for her age 😉 In fact, I often ‘forget’ how old she really is, until things happen with her health, or in the case of the pandemic, and someone has to remind me that it’s ‘because she is older now, you know’. On the odd occasion when we get to catch up, she’ll leave her house at 10am, telling her husband she is coming to me… and he’ll ask, ”What is there for supper, because I KNOW you won’t be home in time!” HA HA HA! And he’s right…. she usually leaves at about 8pm that night!
I sent her a message asking if she was free for a call, and she ended up calling me instead of replying. We spoke for just under two hours. We were apparently both on downhills, and we were both cross with each other for not letting the other one know 😛 Neither of us could help each other with the issues at hand in any way, other than this : genuine sadness about each other’s situations, and then a brief trip down memory lane with a good few giggles.
And the agreement at the end of our chat was that we both felt like we had just had a great big hug.

The ‘daughter’ friend is in her late twenties now – I met her when she was just five years old! Now she’s married, and has a little three year old boy of her own, who my teenage daughter adores. The ‘daughter’ friend is like the sister I never had – and like me, has two much older brothers and so she feels the same way about me. She’s my baby sister, and I am her big sister – I don’t think I ever fully appreciated my role in that until a month ago when she phoned me for advice, and I gave her my honest opinion based on personal experience, and she replied with, ”Well then that just confirms for me what I already knew – thank you. You are someone whose opinion I really value, and I know I can trust what you are saying. It’s so nice having a big sister to talk to!”
I had NOT reached out to her, because she was at work. Her mom got to her first, and that evening I got a surprise voice note from her! It made me laugh out loud :
”If Blake wasn’t sick at the moment, I’d have stopped at your house on my way home and slapped you upside the head! WHY haven’t you told me everything that has been going on? Mom filled me in, and I know I can’t help with the issues, but what CAN I do?”
A few voice notes later, reminding me of things from the past that had ‘worked out’, and made me a better person, and how hope truly never leaves this silly old heart of mine which is something she admires, and well? It helped me get off my butt on that downhill so that at least I was standing! ❤

And those conversations were exactly what I needed for yesterday’s chain of events when I got knocked down – because I just got straight back up again 😉
(In my mind there is a medley right now…. ”I get knocked down; I’m still standing; I will survive) 😛 😉

Interestingly enough, the song I Will Survive was originally released a couple of months after I was born 😉 And I just copied the link and the last three letters in it are my short version for MY name! meg! (I’m still processing that little titbit! 😛 )

I’ll end with these words that I have read a few times in the last few days, by a lady named Rachel Martin :

”Your day doesn’t have to be perfect to have meaning!
Showing up matters
Giving matters
Trying matters
Loving matters
Being there matters
Perfection doesn’t matter
YOU MATTER.”

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?

Belated Easter

They say that Easter is the only time it is safe to put all your eggs in one basket. Nope. Not true.
If I did that, in MY house, by the time I got to the basket there probably wouldn’t even be one left for me. 😛

This is not because my children are selfish. Or because they don’t care about their mom. (In fact, my daughter will tell me it is because she cares, and is trying to help me lose weight 😛 )
It is simply because, well, they love chocolate.
And they know their mom – if it’s left lying around, it’s for us – if mom wanted it for herself, she would have hidden it 😛

Something was missing for me this Easter. By the time Sunday lunch rolled around, I felt a bit restless, trying to determine what it could be. (We celebrate Easter on Easter Sunday – the chocolate overload dished out in the morning, and a delicious roast dinner at lunchtime.)
I put the ‘missing part’ down to the fact that by the time Sunday rolled around I was utterly exhausted, after the events of the last few weeks, both emotional and physical. Pain didn’t help – I’d helped move my mothers care home and lifting boxes, carrying things etc. isn’t quite a great thing to be doing when you suffer from old back injuries.
Plus there was the fact that I had kicked my baby toe so hard, I broke it – but that just makes me laugh. I am a strange one, indeed!

It was only when my daughter came to me in the late afternoon, and made a comment, that I realised what had been missing!

Every Easter Sunday, for the past 20 years, I have woken up early in the morning, to write out clues and hide them with Easter eggs…. sending my children to hunt for their next dose of chocolate. As they have got older, I was able to have even more fun with it, because I could make the clues a bit more difficult. On Saturday afternoon, knowing how truly tired their mom was, both kids had approached me at different times, saying that they were really too old for it, and it wasn’t necessary. And so I didn’t give it another thought.

And then my daughter commented on Sunday afternoon, ”I actually missed the clues this morning – it wasn’t the same.”
And in that moment, I knew that my heart had missed doing it…. that that was the ‘missing part’ for me. Something so small, and seemingly insignificant. That actually had a great impact on all of us – because when I asked my son later if he had missed it too, he smiled and said that even though he knows he is an adult and too old for ‘his mom to be doing stuff like that’, it was weird to get all his share of the Easter eggs at once.

Things change with every year that rolls by. The pandemic brought VAST changes in just a year, that none of us saw coming. If you’re a believer, then you know that God never changes.

But I also realised something else that doesn’t change : the little things really DO make a difference! We need to keep doing them!

Here’s hoping you all had a really great Easter! ❤

Meg’s Monday Musings, I guess

Over the last few years, I have become increasingly aware of how we are all different. I don’t just mean in physical appearance, or in our hearts… I have also extended my thinking to cover things like how we respond to things, what works FOR US, our opinions and the way we approach the situations life gives us, etc.
Something else I have become increasingly aware of in my own heart is the need to not only respect these differences, but celebrate them because, quite frankly, the world needs all of us. We just have different things to contribute.

Sadly, in some cases, there will be times where celebration falls short, because that particular thing is disheartening, saddening, confusing. Perhaps that person has been shaped by a particular experience in a negative way, and that is the reason for them responding in a way that elicits hurt, anger and bitterness though.
There is a saying that goes something like this : I still care. I still want to see you eat. Just not at my table.

I understand that. A part of me can agree with that saying. And yet….

I will always want people to eat at my table. Eventually. If at all possible. And of course saying that elicits responses like, ”You’re a sucker for punishment”, ”you’re weak and a doormat”, ”you clearly lack boundaries and deserve to have your peace thrown in turmoil, because you aren’t protecting it”.

What is really funny to me is that I CAN see the small bits of truth in those things. Thanks to technology we have an overload of information to teach us all of the above, especially when it comes to boundaries and protecting our peace. We have advice pouring in via social media in the way of articles and memes and short videos to make us strong and prevent us from becoming ‘doormats’.

I remember reading once : The heart of the problem is a problem of the heart.

And so, as my heart is changing radically (in what I deem as all the best ways) a lot of the advice and sayings out there are becoming things that I just can’t fully agree with. A sucker for punishment, indeed! Because this DOES make me MORE vulnerable, and more open to experiencing hurt and heartache. BUT it has also brought me a strange sense of peace, which I simply can’t afford to fight against to satisfy the countless items of advice to ‘protect my peace’ when I have found it in a way that is not in alignment with all these things.

I am able to agree to disagree. I don’t need to always be right. I also don’t need to force my opinions and advice on people in a way that I get frustrated and angry when they don’t do what I have told them to. I am ACCEPTING of the concept that WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT! One of the hardest things I have done, and have to do every now and then, is forgive people who are not sorry, will not say they are sorry, and live in a space where they truly believe that they have done nothing wrong.

And I have, in all of this, realised something that I think is important – TO ME : I actually don’t need apologies, or changed behaviour to prove that you’re sorry. It isn’t why I am still here roaming this earth – it’s not my purpose, if you will.
Other people’s choices, behaviour and the condition of their hearts is not my responsibility. But I AM responsible for my choices, behaviour and the condition of my heart.

There are people in my life who have hurt me deeply. Someone very close to me, my very own blood, has made a lifetime of ‘trying to destroy me’, when she was supposed to love me and nurture me. People in positions of power have abused me. But all of that? Whatever choices they made and whatever they tried to do to me? Well… that is on them. Not me. I have learnt that forgiving them, even though they will never say they are sorry… TRULY forgiving them in MY heart, brings ME peace. And pretty much introduces a freedom within me that I have struggled to grasp for so many years.

Jumping back to eating at my table : any wounds, dissatisfaction, or pain that they be suffering now might possibly be self-inflicted. It is not for me to judge them for that. Or to even rejoice in the fact that they are now possibly ‘getting what they deserve’. NOT MY PLACE. NOT MY BUSINESS.
And if those people reach a point in their lives where they show up at my table, WITHOUT apology, needing a little bit of kindness, compassion, or food for their souls to help them face the day because a particular choice they made or circumstance they are facing has caused them a deep hurt, despite warnings I may have issued or advice I had given? Well, who am I to tell them : Oh, I care… but off you go. Go and find another table. Love isn’t served here.

The last few weeks have not only shown me all the things I DON’T want to be…. it has taught me the greatest lesson of all time. The ONE thing I ABSOLUTELY NEED to be. LOVE.

And because I lack perfection, this is harder than just learning the lesson. Along the way, I am finding myself in situations where this is being put to the test. In most cases, I am getting it right. There are still the odd ones though where I need to iron MYSELF out, and be more determined about living out love, no matter what it costs me.

Unfortunately, feeling and thinking all of the above means that there will be tables that I will be no longer invited to. There will not be an attitude of ‘agree to disagree’ and I will be viewed in an undesirable light, and criticised in many ways. And the feeling and knowledge of that? Well, it feels a bit like trying to swallow a pineapple whole.
But here’s the thing. It’s THEIR table. If I am not welcome there, then I need to respect that. I need to truly forgive so that I can find peace.
And if there ever comes a day where they approach MY table in an hour of need (even if only to just get them through that need and have them walk away again) I will set them a place, comfort them and show them kindness, and love them for as long as they let me.

NONE of these changed hearts attitudes have come without a price to me. NONE of the musings above have come easy. NONE of it is necessarily part of YOUR journey. But it is a part of mine. As are each and every one of you.

Here’s hoping you all have an incredibly special and wonderfully enlightening week ❤

habitually grumpy

The title of this blog post is very much NOT me. But I’ve certainly had my moments of grouchiness! This image is from Amazon, and it made me giggle :

They say that today may have been created by good old Big Bird from Sesame Street…
You guessed it! Today is…..

Do a Grouch a Favour Day

Grumpy people are all over the place. If you haven’t encountered one, then you need to get out more 😛
And I am not meaning those who are perhaps overtired, or stressed, and having a grumpy moment.
I am talking about those who go through life constantly complaining and seemingly always dissatisfied!

But guess what? Even those people are deserving of love! Even more so than others! Because more often than not, the lack of love is the very reason they are the way they are!

We should be like this every day… but today in particular please…. if you encounter someone who seems to have forgotten how to smile, or is grumbling a lot, let’s try to :

Be kind with our words, and try to remove any impatience from our tone.
Respond, react and treat them as if you swallowed a cup of sunshine instead of coffee this morning 😉
Don’t take their response to you personally – remember how you feel when you’re grouchy… it’s definitely a ‘you’ thing and not anyone else…. it’s possibly the same way for them 😉

There was a little song I learnt, and used to sing (and still sometimes sing to myself) which apparently even Google is unaware of! I learned it at about age 6, and still vaguely remember the words. I think I have shared it before… but I am going to share it again on this day where you CAN make a difference (even when the grouchy person may pretend that you haven’t)!

”Crossness is catchy like the fever,
Crossness is catchy like the flu…
So send a loving smile,
Spreading mile by mile,
For friendliness is catchy too, thank goodness!
Friendliness is catchy too!”

Here’s hoping that you all encounter some kindness today, whether you’re feeling grouchy or not! 😉