When Lemons Fly

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Just over a year ago my life was flipped on it’s head. As it turns out it was the best thing to happen to me in a long long time. Other people in my life would not agree. They like to point out, but this or that bad thing happened. Well, yes those things did happen. I chose to focus on the good things that happened and not the bad. There are at least as many good things as bad, maybe more. Besides, it’s my life not yours thank you very much. Maybe it is the whole if life hands you lemons thing or I should say, when lemons attack.

When life threw the first lemon in my direction, I ducked out of the way. I changed perspective. I did not think about what could happen in a week, a month, a year. I focused on the twenty four hours in front of me. I looked at each day as a brand new opportunity, a blank page. I got through that one and each morning I turned to the next page then the next and the next. Before long an entire year of pages had been written. Yes, there was a pretty big barrage of lemons at my feet. However, there was laughter, love, happiness and blessings written on the pages of my year. Pretty dang good year if you ask me.

It is up to you. You can live with the poor me, I had a terrible year attitude. You could focus on the all the bad things…Blah Blah Blah. Or you can do what I did, ignore the stupid lemons. Take a look back on the year and focus on the good stuff. Besides, you can always take those lemons and chunk them back. Take that life!

OK, enough with the cliches already. Go do the things and be happy.

The Pain of Christmas

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We as Christians hold the crucifixion of Christ as paramount to our forgiveness by God, but what we miss is that the birth of Christ was just as tragic and painful. I am not talking about the obvious that He had to be born to die. Our Father God chose to impregnate a young girl to send His son here to suffer for us. The suffering began before he was born. We all know the warm fuzzy Nativity story with lowing cows, gifts and singing angels, but what about the other side of the story? The painful and terrified side?

Mary was probably 13 years old or so and unmarried. If she had not been protected by God she would have been stoned to death as other adulterous women had been stones in the village of Nazareth. She was engaged and in that culture that was the same as being married. Even without that for a young girl to be pregnant was a death sentence unless she had a husband to claim it. Which Joseph did not at first. Was Mary suffering for Christ even at that point of the story? Yes, she had to tell her mother, father and future husband that she was pregnant and God did it. No wonder the girl left town to visit her cousin Elizabeth. While she was gone, Joseph suffered agonizing ridicule and it kept him up at night. He tossed and turned at the fact his sweet young bride was knocked up. The angel Gabriel visited him in a dream and told him to relax Mary is telling the truth. Mary and Joseph were terrified at the prospect of Mary’s pregnacy and yet, they followed God’s will. Mary very well could have said No to God, but she didn’t. Joseph could have said no to Mary’s father. He could have told him to keep his daughter, but he didn’t. Then the suffering got worse.

The couple went from Nazareth to Bethlehem, about a hundred miles on a donkey…. on a donkey. Not only was Mary in physical pain and Joseph’s feet raw from the walking, there where other dangers on the road, bandits to steal what they had, men who took women as slaves and other untold bad things. Yet, God protected them from that, but not the suffering of the journey. It was long and hard. Mary pregnant and riding on a donkey. Her back must have hurt, her feet must have swelled and she must have been sleep deprived.

Jesus was born in a manger the story says…a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes was laying in the manger. A manger is a wood box for feeding animals. A smelly box with animal slobber and bugs. Where did Mary get the swaddling cloth? Mary probably ripped her own clothing, wrapped Him up and layed Him in the manger on the cleanest hay she could find. Itchy scratchy bug filled hay. No bassinet with a musical mobile spinning about his head. How many of us would ride on a donkey for a hundred miles, give birth in a barn and put our newborn in a hay box? That is suffering.

Did the suffering for our sin start at the arrest of Jesus? No it started the moment that God put the plan in motion. The Nativity story is a story of a miraculous birth and the suffering of our Savior. From the moment of conception the suffering started. However, to suffer is to be human. He suffered the experienced of human life.

So as you think about Christmas and all the fun things that go with it, remember that it is a Holy day not a holiday. Without Jesus it is just another day, with Him it is the remembrance of His coming into suffrage for us sinners.

Trust is a Choice

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Trust is a fragile thing. Trust is a choice. Once someone has broken trust is hard if not impossible to get it back. There are some of us who can’t trust even when there is no reason for the doubt. Trust does not come natural to those people. They will doubt you while loving you. They will keep you at a distance. Hurt and life have taught them that humans are fallible and hurt you. It is not like they always set out to hurt you, they just do. People are self preservationist. It is human nature to protect one’s self. Survival of the fittest and all that. Sometimes that means other people get hurt. We all do it. If you say you don’t hurt people you are dead or lying.

If you have read my blog before you know that I have a strong opinion that love is above all things the only reason for living. It is the reason we choose to be with other humans. What are we to do if we are to love, can’t trust a soul and are scared of getting hurt?

We must keep life in perspective. Remember people are not perfect. You are not perfect. The one you choose to love is not perfect. Your children are not perfect. Trust them anyway. Learn what the people in your life are capable of doing and not doing. If you can’t love and trust them where they are in life, then don’t have them in your life.

However, if you can love them despite their faults. If they can love you despite your faults. If the good in a person outshines the bad, love them.  If you can manage to trust each other even when it is difficult to do so, then do the best you can to make it work.

I am not saying that this is in anyway easy. Trust is one of the hardest things in life to do. Like love, trust is a choice. Trust and love are not emotions they are choices. We choose to love and trust. We can just as easily choose not to.

 

 

Love by the Numbers

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I have been in more relationships and marriages than the average person, so I thought. I recently read a couple of studies that say statistically the average person falls in love 3 or 4 times in a life time. Theses magical studies also say that you will have 7 to 10 serious relationships, with men having ten in their lifetime, compared to an average of seven for women. The average number of marriages is 3 to 4 for Americans. Thinking back through my life I have only been in love, true love, twice. I have had many more serious, or what I thought at the time were serious relationships. Marriages? Don’t get me started!

I am not so out of the ordinary after all.

What the studies do not explain is why will the average person have so many relationships,why will they fail and why we settle for less that perfect in some relationships. I can’t speak for the masses but I can tell you that there are several reasons why I had so many relationships, why they did not work out and why I stayed in the dying ones. Since I am about average according to the studies I bet my reasons are about the same as yours. The topic of why relationships fail is a big one and space here will not allow for a complete exploration, so we won’t go there.

I  do believe that God sends love to your life. You choose if you accept that person or not. Choice means that you choose to stay with him or her, to fight for love even though they are not perfect. One promise to them that you will be their forever person no matter what life throws at you. Never taking them for granted even on the days when you are the only one in the fight for love. Love is not a 50/50 thing. It is a 100% by both people in the relationship. Like any good fighter you also have to know when it is time to throw in the towel. That is a difficult choice, still a choice. Love is your choice to make.

Let me reassure you, dear reader, that you are not alone. No matter how devastated you are at the death of a relationship, all of us have been there at least once in a life time if the studies are to be believed. To me what is worse than the out right end of a relationship is the staying in a dead one.

I stayed in  dying relationships for several reasons, the number 1 reason was fear. I was afraid to be alone. I had been told and believed that no one else would want me. No one would ever love me again. What is worse I had more than one ex tell me such lies and I believed it more than once. I was so wrong.

No matter how broken by love and number of relationships you are now, you can be fixed. You will love again. You will never be so broken that some one will not want to love you.  Forget what the numbers say. Forget the lies the sorry relationship killers tell you. Be brave and take the leap off in to the abyss that is love. Do not fear the future. Love is all that matters in this life. We are not meant to be unloved and alone. We are meant for great love. That love will look different for each one of us.

The common denominator is the same. It only takes 1 person to show you 1 time that love is worth all the sacrifice. 1 person to care enough to love you in all your crazy weirdness. 1 person + 1 love + you = happiness

 

Accept Life As Is

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My life looks nothing like it did six months ago. Everything is different. I find myself looking at how things are and some things are wonderful. Other things are not bad just different. I am past grieving the things I lost. My normal is so very different from before and I am learning to adjust to it one day at the time.

I am working on just accepting life as it presents itself to me now. I deal with what life throws at me one preciouses day at a time.  I am not looking to far in to the future by making plans. It is not that I do not have dreams for the future. I have big dreams, strong desires and hope. It is just that I am doing my best to shield myself from hurt and disappointment. Safest way is not to get my hope set on things that may or may not happen. Dreams are sometimes unattainable. If the stars align perfectly and circumstances flow in the correct sequence some of my dreams just might come true. I can’t let myself hope to much or I will get hurt.

Life comes with no guarantee. I have to accept it as is and deal with things as the come at me. Not all things are bad or good, they just are and I have to accept them as they are. Some things I can change, some things I can not change at all. This is my daily struggle, my daily progress.

I long for the peace that comes from stability that is just right there on the edge of my life. I have peace, it isn’t that I am in chaos everyday. It is security that still eludes me. Maybe I wish for something that is just not meant to be. Maybe the security I long for is an illusion that was never mine and will never be mine again.

One thing I know for sure. I am not alone. I have God. I have prayer. I have strong arms to comfort me and a heart to love me. That my dear reader is what gets me through each day and that is enough for now.

 

 

 

 

She Builds the Wall

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Here is a bit of fiction…or is it?

She Builds the Wall

I found her standing in front of a wall. The wall was made of bricks the same color red as the bricks that build the american dream home but about half the size and perfect cube in shape. She was mixing a bucket of concrete and slathering it on the bricks. Then she placed them ever so deliberately on the wall where it looks like a strong force crashed in the bricks flinging them all over the ground. I walked up behind her and she does not turn around. She continues to work one brick at the time.

I look to my left and see the wall goes on past my line of sight. I look to my right and see the same. On it goes. I look up and it disappears in to the fog. “What are you doing?” I ask her. She sighs, “What does it look like? I am repairing the break.” Her voice is soft and not unlike my own.

It is a slow process since she is very particular in how she chooses the bricks. She lovingly picks them up and dusts off each side. She then sizes it up for the next location on the wall carefully placing it on the vacant spot. Once she is satisfied it is the correct block, she then coats it and places it on the wall. She continues to pick up bricks, coat them with mud and place them on the wall.

“What broke your wall?” I asked

Again she sighed, “It was my fault. I let my guard down and when I wasn’t paying attention someone got in, wreaked havoc and I forced them back on the other side. Now I am fixing it so they can’t come back on my side.”

She never broke her stride as she explained the break and what happened. She continued to work. Carefully picking up bricks, tenderly stroking them and placing them on the wall.

“When it is fixed, what will you do then?” I asked

Again she sighed, “I will wait for the one who is worthy of coming to my side. I think that they are never coming though. I will just watch and maintain the wall.”

With that she turned and looked at me. She smiled with my smile. Printed on her shirt was the word “Resilient”

She said, “Your shirt says ‘courage’, will you stay with me?”

I sighed, picked up a brick and dusted it off. I measured the place where it would go, slopped on the concrete and placed the brick on the wall.

Live Unapologetically

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This life thing is difficult. We strive for happiness and we work toward goals. Sometimes when we do we have to be careful not to hurt other people’s feelings. Often we get so sensitive that we forget that we have feelings too. We go to the other extreme and we neglect our own self peace and hurt ourselves.

Here’s the thing, you can’t please everyone all the time. No matter how good, loving or generous you are it is impossible to make everyone in your life happy. The best you can do is try to be happy and do your best no to cause undo harm to others. At the same time when others do things that you do not like that makes you unhappy remember they too are trying to live this life. They too deserve to live the life that makes them happy even if it makes you not happy.

Even Jesus lived his life to serve other with our neglecting his true self. The key is finding the balance. You wont get it right all the time. Don’t beat yourself up when you get it wrong. Just keep trying.

Live your life the best you can. Be happy. Do not hurt others on purpose. Do not negligent yourself. The only person you have to answer to in this life is yourself and God.

Live unapologetically.