DON’T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU SEE……
I have always heard I should believe none of what I hear and half of what I see. There is a scripture in Matthew which speaks about the eye…….the eye being the lamp of the body, so if the eye is bad the whole body is bad. God’s words NEVER fall empty to the ground. The other scripture I wish to quote here is ‘ judge not……..’ This is my most recent experience.
I woke last Friday to rain……..I had recently bought an umbrella so I felt no anxiety. Its weird that I shelter from rain and not from snow…….why???? That is just not making any sense to me right now, as I am trying to figure out which is better or worse. But be that as it may, as I approached the bus stop, I saw the young man who is my ‘bus stop companion’, albeit we conveniently pretend to not see each other. He was not sheltered from the rain in any way, I felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit to offer him cover under my umbrella. I was tentative, and I started conjuring the usual reasons why I shouldn’t……”its just a light drizzle, he is accustomed to it, that’s not the culture here to offer, he will say no so don’t ask, blah blah blah”.
Anyhow, I mustered the courage and did ask, and he politely refused. But guess what, I didn’t feel offended or marginalized- I felt good, I am maturing. This is exactly what I am learning…….. when you do the right thing it feels good- irrespective of the outcome. I wish to view this little activity too as part of my practice in courage. I can never tell how these daily opportunities will come, but they never fail to arise. Maya Angelou once said “you learn courage by doing small things, courageous things……we are not born with courage”. Upon reflection, I was grateful for this little courage muscle activity.
Then, I realized the real lesson was not even in the act itself; it was instead in the thought that visited my mind as I stood there waiting for the bus to arrive. It suddenly hit me that for the passersby (those walking and driving) I may be looking quite selfish, although it didn’t occur to them to stop and offer us a ride either. Selfish, as I was sheltered and this lad (poor lad for that matter) for that’s how we tend to view things outside of us (one person as victor and the other as victim) was getting wet. But then I realized most forcefully, that I have been those passersby on multiple occasions. I reminded myself right then and there that my sight is biased……what I see may not be what I get, neither should I conclude for others. I must always hear both sides of the story and then wait for the truth…….then again we have to be careful too that when we act we just do the right thing and not worry about the perceptions. I am praying about my judgmental vein…….
IMPATIENCE HAS A PRICE……..
You would think that practice makes perfect……and I believe it does, but how many times do you have to do something before it becomes a habit and then, even when it becomes a habit…..will you ever always get it right thereafter? My Achilles heel I would say is impatience, Below I chronicle my most recent experience…….
My friend is coming to visit me, and I am excited and of course writing the itinerary…..with her input of course. I am responsible for the visit to Banff……..two months ago I started the research for one-day tours that allow me to kill two birds with one stone. I found only two companies that offer the configuration I want. The two companies however are vastly different in terms of price, personalized experience, and reviews. The more expensive one comes out on top, however there is a problem. And there always is a problem……life has taught me that. They only had, at the time of my inquiry, both of us expressing an interest. They will need, I was informed, at least four to make the trip. I had to wait…….and I decided to wait because somehow I didn’t like the other option so well, even though it was cheaper and was giving me a similar trip. I am trying to teach myself to follow my intuition.
So two months into the wait, and 10 days before the day I still heard nothing from my favourite tour company. I was in a quandary as I didn’t want to waste that day, what if I waited and they never go and then when I am ready the other company is fully booked? In fact these days I am learning to make the most of a moment, the most of a day, the most of an opportunity. I decided to fall back on my second option…….reluctantly and to my chagrin. But my mistake was, I didn’t pray about that….I acted without guidance. As fate would have it, the very moment the booking confirmation came to my email, would you know it, that my first option advised me they would be going on the day I wanted and that the were inviting me to book. What should I do now? I thought about it, and thought about it and the unmistakably small voice whispered……make the most of the time. This was then confirmed in my next day daily devotional from Ephesians 5 v 15-17. Opportunities are either seized or missed…..it was up to me. I decided that this one I would seize despite the obvious costs. I have a feeling, just a little feeling that this particular configuration of Rita and I, Banff and Calgary may never occur again………too many other places to visit, too many unforeseens and just that life sometimes gives you only one chance. These days too, I am making an effort to do things right, the first time. Rita of course, graciously agreed to do whatever I decided. I have great friends……that I am sure of.
DECISIONS DO NOT IMPACT THE MAKER OF THEM ONLY……….
Choice comes with consequences and actions have reactions…….no escaping, this is a cause and effect world. I have been seeing examples of these types very frequently in my readings……so much so that I am wondering if they were there all along and I just wasn’t seeing them, or whether it is I am choosing to read now that which has these undertones.
Either way, what is coming to the fore, is that mine, yours and all decisions impact multiple persons……..it is never about you alone. It therefore means we must ‘ look not only to our own interests but also to the interest of others’. I have had many many things that I have forgone because I was thinking about others- and some of them regrettably so. I am not blowing any trumpet here, or seeking any likes I am just very cognizant of the fact that ‘I reap what I sow’. Now that I live in an apartment building, the sense of shared community is even more in my face and this thought resonates with me deeply. I have had hives wondering if I turned the stove off and unplugged the iron, left the pipes on, am laughing too loudly and vacuuming too late……. I guess the neighbors feel the same (maybe)………living like this has certainly taught me how important it is to be my brothers’ keeper, even though I don’t know my brother.
In the same stead too, when I left home I didn’t understand fully how many persons would be touched by such a personal, individual decision. First and foremost. everyone I know must have been asked by me, at some point of another, to get my mom to call me. Secondly, my cousin has to accompany my mom to Kingston to see the doctor and then all my friends up there have had to pick up and drop her off at the doctor or bus terminal thus far…………
And one other thing, our attitude impacts others around us too. Have a cheerful, positive outlook and demeanor and you will attract a lot of ‘bees’, goodwill and content. But a negative, complaining, grumbling spirit is like poison. It seeps into your bones and before you know it, it has started distorting your facial features. Whilst I can concede that on some days there is nothing to smile or laugh about……..we can still be vestibules of joy and peace. Easier said than done I know, for joy and peace are fruits of the Spirit. They are not automatically displayed and especially during trying times.
LIES, LIES, STUPID LIES………….
I believe the biggest obstacle to a relationship is a lie or lies ……..no matter how difficult it is to say something- say it, don’t allow the other party to assume……speak the truth, speak it sooner, speak it often and connections are bound to flow. You owe no one any obligation but still- respect is due, at least if the relationship means anything to you. Albeit all this, we find it easier to lie, way easier to lie. It always seem like the better option but only until the lie is told or omitted. I am a Christian so I believe there is never a good reason/excuse to lie……but cut me some slack here, it hard not to lie especially by omission. The worse kind of lie though, in my mind is the unwarranted one. It stands to reason therefore that it is most inimical to relationships, as it breeds all kinds of contempt, mistrust, confusion and anger……..the person on the receiving end cannot fathom it, and we all know that when we cannot find an explanation for something its worse, never mind the fact that there is always a reason. But worst than that, often times the liar doesn’t even know they are found out…………this is exactly what happened between two people I know recently, who obviously are no longer friends. That you see was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
And there is something else too, when you lie, you always tend to want to overcompensate…….either way, you are not on the right path.
We all have these. Some are restricted by law, others by conscience but at the end of the day, we find some way to express our opinions. Its the one thing we own, that’s for sure. However, in these days of human and animal rights, pro- this and anti- that, semantics and ambulance-chaser lawyers, some people are afraid to say much as someone is always offended. Now I don’t know of a time, when there wasn’t some repercussion for speaking your mind- overtly or covertly. The only thing that is different now, is the Internet and social media. And here-in lies the problem, as so many people now have wings to fly, a voice to speak, and a smart phone to take videos…………….so many opinions abound and people are abused…….maybe I am late, but I have never before heard of so many people being criticized for their views as they are nowadays, and anonymously too.
The thing is, if I cannot get to voice my opinion I may just get shingles. There are many days when I don’t feel free and at peace until I say what I need to say…..I don’t know if it’s the same with others. Now that said, I also know that sometimes saying anything at all to some people is like flogging a dead horse, save your breath. And still in other cases, it is wisdom to restrain your words, don’t try to teach a mule anything new or anything at all. For some others still, they already know everything and cannot learn anything from anyone who they perceive as inferior to them. I struggle with not speaking my mind because as a Christian, difficulty is trumped by trust in God and obedience. If I need to speak I must speak, however I am learning too that I must not throw caution to the wind, take a look at Proverbs 23 v 9, chapter 9 v 8 and 12 v 15……..
And one last thing, when you have the opportunity and the privilege to speak your mind- be grateful, for I know a few persons who have no voice…….and these persons do not live in either North Korea or Russia. Persons who over time have voluntarily given their voice away to others……..and are now swimming in regret, what a painful existence that must be. That said, I don’t know how to describe someone who would want to hold someone hostage like that……….
“We learn body language before we learn to speak”…….that’s what I read recently. The other day as I washed dishes from the upstairs window I looked down on the conversation that was ongoing between two ladies and a gentleman in the apartment foyer. I had no idea who they were or what they were about, but what was interesting was the fact that they were speaking inaudibly to me of course, but with their body in such a way I could almost get the gist of their conversation. Hands were pointing, and fingers were twirling, heads were nodding, eyes were focusing and bodies were moving. It was so enthralling I stood for longer than I should, just to watch……..their body language in fact told me it was a professional/business meeting and not a casual exchange. And just to confirm, yes I love to people watch……….
Since this is something I know a little about, it hit a nerve when I found this scripture. Proverbs 23 v 6-7….. I didn’t even know this was in the Bible, but I can assure you that I know a few people who are like this. Now since Solomon knew some too, then I can surely believe that there is nothing new under the sun………..