Life is full of waves and ripples, winds and gentle breezes. Let God be the wind that moves you.

Encourage one another… 

So, I’ve written before about my health issues, and while I don’t want to bring anyone down, I do like to share what I’ve learned from having MS.

Like the time I took my son, Cole, and his friends, Luke and Nick, to the movies a few years back. On the way out, I asked if they’d seen another movie that was out at the time. “So did you guys see Thor?” Without batting an eye, Luke replied, “Yes, we saw it last week. You took us. Remember?”

But he knew I didn’t. The upside is that these kids are like family, and they’re used to my sieve-like memory. It didn’t phase them. When people are understanding of your limitations, it makes you feel supported.

That’s why I was so thrilled to come across this article about a cafe that employs dementia patients, called “The Restaurant of Order Mistakes.” So you ordered a hamburger? Well, how about some dumplings instead! This shows that if people are aware of your story, they give you more latitude.

It goes back to my theory that there’s always a story, and everyone is dealing with something, often something that’s not visible to the naked eye.

People have taken the challenges of their own pasts and turned them into positive action.

These men took the pain of coming to another country penniless and hungry, and turned it into a kind deed, offering people a free meal if they have no money.

Sometimes a small act of compassion can restore one’s faith in humanity. This hairdresser with a posh client list reaches out to people on the street with his “Do Something for Nothing” campaign, offering haircuts to the homeless. It’s amazing to see what this simple kindness can do for a person who often feels invisible. One gentlemen looked at himself after his haircut and asked, “Why did you do that for me? It’s not an everyday thing.” The hairdresser’s answer was, “I loved hearing your story.”

It’s nice to know we can write the story as we go, and we’re all in it together.

More and more often lately, I find that I just don’t want to participate in many of the conversations going on around me.

Sometimes it’s because a group of people just want to gripe.  Yes, your kid lost the race.  Someone will.  And your mad because that particular water feature in the pool wasn’t working correctly.  It probably has something to do with the storm we just had and the repairmen.  Yep, those guys right there.

But more often than not its just because there is nothing I can add.  When someone posts something on Facebook, I’ll click “like” or “frown” but it seem ridiculous to me to be one of 45 people saying “me, too!”

Other times its just because things are too overwhelming.  A friend just lost her husband and son.  In one weekend they went from being a family of four to a family of two.  I’m all the way across the country so it isn’t like I can take her food.  Besides, the fridge is full and so is the freezer.  And someone is with her pretty much constantly.  I’m very grateful for those friends who are near at hand.

Yet, I’ve signed up to be one of the herd of friends afar who make sure that she always has a positive message to greet her online.  This is going to be tough because really there is no upside to what happened.  And fool that I am, I volunteered for tomorrow.  I’m not good at idle chatter.  That should be pretty obvious.  After all, I call it idle chatter.

Fortunately, there is a message that I can send her.  God is there for you.  So are we, your friends.  Even when we don’t have something amazing to say.  We are here.  You are not alone.

–SueBE

 

 

A positive attitude really will help in many situations. If you annoy someone?  Ah, well.

I know, I know.  Not the best attitude to have about having a positive attitude but that’s just the way it goes some days.  On a good day, things will sometimes go wrong.  You won’t always get your way.

You can keep a good sense of humor about it or not.

Me?  I try to keep it all in perspective so that I can write a funny Facebook post later on.  God gave us the ability to laugh.  Use it and most situations really will be easier to handle.

–SueBE

I know a woman named Holly Champagne. It would be hard not to be ebullient with a name like that. Of course, my mother thought “Lori” was an ebullient name, and I am anything but. On the other hand, I once watched one of those “true-life” court shows that featured a boy named Nefarious — nefarious! — who was doing his level best to live up — or is that down? — to his name. Maybe labels are slipperier than we think.

Back in high school, one of my classmates gave quick, one-word descriptors of a group of us girls to a group of boys. My descriptor was “smart,” and even in that moment, I saw my chances with any of those boys fade into nothingness. Words do hurt, do bind and do restrain. But no word can possibly encapsulate the totality of who we are.

Labeling yourself, whether in a positive, negative or even neutral way, sets up certain expectations, certain limits. I am not just a woman, a Catholic, a brunette (a fact that grows more apparent even as my hair grows), a feminist, a liberal. Because what you expect and conjure up on the basis of those words may be as far from true as slapping the word “petite” on me. (Or, as I said to my husband after a recent outing to the movies, “I’m six feet tall and I just saw ‘Wonder Woman.’ I’d get out of my way.”)

God, the author of words (for which I am eternally grateful) does not care much for labels, I think. Labels can be traps. But we humans sure seem to love them, if only for quickly and summarily lumping together and dismissing others as unlike ourselves. We have a deep need to belong to a tribe. And part of finding your tribe seems to include excluding those who do not fit the parameters.

You see a lot of this is the comments section of any social media posting. “Those people” are idiots, losers, corrupt or foolish. “My people” are not. What if, for just one day, we stopped believing in “mine” and “yours,” “them” and “us”? What if we ignored all the labels — rich, poor, dumb, smart, fat, thin — and just got to know one another without expectation or judgment, without filing each person we meet into neat little folders — “like me” or “not like me”?

I suspect something radical would happen. I also suspect that it cannot be done. We like our labels too much. So, instead, let me suggest a new label — “human.” Think about that word. Let the connotations that swirl around it emerge. Hopefully, these thoughts contain such sentiments as “fragile,” “prone to error” and even “lovable.”

Now try applying that label to everyone you meet. It is, after all, how God sees us.

I strongly suspect that part of being resilient is learning how to problem solve.

My son has his first real job as in background check and direct deposit.  I am being strongly encouraged not to helicopter parent.

Not that this is anything new.  Since he was about 9, I’ve had occasional admonitions to “behave myself.”

So how do I manage not to hover now that he’s a life guard and has so much responsibility?  I pray.  I color and pray.  I crochet and pray. And I have a network of friends who will talk me off the ledge if I make a phone call.

God has provided me with the tools I need to give the boy the tools he needs even though I really do want to hover.

–SueBE

God will send you to scary places.  Use your talents on the way.

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