“I am sorry”…….”Thank You”

Sheryl Sandberg in ‘Option B’, spoke to the fact that there was a point during her period of acute grief when she was apologizing for everything to everyone…..As I read that, It reminded me of a recent experience with a friend. She had the courage to ask me what I was sorry for, on one occasion when I said “I am sorry” out of context. It then struck me that I involuntarily and regularly apologize out of turn, out of place and for no apparent reason……I had to fix that.

As I ruminated, I realized too that I tend to say “thank you” in the same way and its not that I don’t know better……..but I seem to live in a world of gratitude and apology overkill. I grew up with my grandmother constantly telling us “manners carry yuh thru the worl”……., although at the time I had no idea what she meant by that.  I took that to heart undoubtedly, as I found and still do, that in the instances when I don’t say ” thank you, please, hello, excuse me, you are welcome, good morning…..” its because I choose to be impolite, stubborn and rude. And it doesn’t feel good.

My thoughts on the matter were punctuated by questions such as… Are there specific/appropriate instances for saying ” I am sorry or thank You?” When we say “I am sorry” because we feel overly dependent, or feel that we are a burden…….. is it rational?

Are these just relics of the past? And why does it become a platitude or why do they lose value if they are repeated too often? But then why are you frowned upon when they are not said at all?

Are there cultural differences and rules? Thus are ” no worries, sounds good, for sure, sounds like a plan, et al ” suitable alternatives?

As I introspect, I think of Paul and what he said at Romans 13 v 8………….and I got my answers……for love is one of the most nebular terms I know and is the underpinning of  trust and respect on which relationships are built. So isn’t it the irony of all ironies………that in our very impersonal, idealistic, selfish and individualistic world Facebook, Twitter, Snap Chat, Instagram etc…are such big successes? And why do we need numerous research to tell us how to create employee engagement and grow sales when those are the very simple, honest-to-goodness things our grandmothers taught us?

 

 

Friendships

For a long time, I had a very closed view on the topic.

I didn’t know your spouse should be your very good friend if not your best friend. Didn’t think you could be friends with your parents , siblings, aunts, uncles or your boss. But who was I kidding? God is our Father and calls us into a friendship with him………I was of the view too that some relationships were etched in stone and cement- that’s true but only for the one between us and God through Jesus. Paul said it aptly, at Romans 8 v 35-39. Now that I am enlightened, I thus do my best not to sacrifice my friendships on the altar of expediency, pride or complacency.

I have been blessed with some great friendships- I won’t go as far as to say I don’t deserve them (I may not) but I believe I do, because I make a great friend too. I will add this caveat however, I may not be the most friendly person you ever meet. My mom has many friends and they have been friends for many moons now. She doesn’t lose her friends, only to death and migration as far as I can see. I think I inherited that condition from her, if that’s at all possible.  Only difference is I have way more male friends than her. But I may be compensating for the friendship I wish I had with my dad.

My journey has taught me that friendship is about giving, giving, giving. Giving of your love and support, giving advice, giving your time, giving your ears, giving of your favourite things……especially when you don’t feel like doing it. And for me, real giving is not about sharing what I don’t want, or for what I can get in return. I use 2 Corinthians 9 v 7 as my giving guide. I once heard Oprah say this, “if it isn’t right, your whole body feels it”.  Friendship is about that, and intuition and also freedom; each person must have wings to fly and we can’t fly if our wings are too heavy. I need friends but I have lost some friends too,  we all do along the way. De-cluttering is not just about cleaning out our closets ………

My friendships and the decisions I make regarding same, are supposed to honour me and the other party. If I am to compromise, I must do so willingly and lovingly………Of course, you may at times disappoint and annoy each other, but there should be enough empathy between friends to ensure that in those times you can talk about the issues TO each other and not around or above each other. Gossiping is inimical to a friendship, so too silence; although at times silence is golden.

Friendships may be diverse. I share different political views, religious affiliation, socio-economic background, generational gap, ethnicity and educational achievement with my friends. I learn from them and they from me. But I must confess, I avoid discussing religion and politics with friends who share opposing views. Oh I get too riled up about that and I really really can become the worst of myself.

Each friendship serves a different purpose and strike varying chords but each is special and important to me. I don’t have a best friend (actually I think I do, but there is a non-disclosure clause), I have many great friends. Most of my exotic experiences have been courtesy of friends and I treasure them for a lifetime. Most of my challenging experiences have been due to friendships too….I didn’t welcome them but I am grateful for them. I know for sure my life is on this trajectory because of the friends I chose, or who chose me. I give credit to the Giver of friendships for giving me just who I needed at the right times. Reminds me of Psalms 32 v 8….

There are four horsemen of the apocalypse for friendship (these are taken from the four horsemen of the apocalypse for Marriage by Dr. Gottman). Contempt, Defensiveness, Criticism and Stonewalling. That said, I believe each friendship has an unwritten contract and it’s each person’s job to know what the terms and conditions are. Once you do, then respect them.


 

 

When I look into your 👀 

I can’t help it, they pull me in.

Pearly and beady, brown black penetrating eyes.

They tell me you are sincere and that you care.

Nothing much has changed, it’s all the same. Even though many years have passed, and much tears came.

I need to tell you, things work themselves out so bury those fears,

But I can’t, you have to do this your way.

 

You will cry, laugh, gain and lose friends, hurt and heal, gain and lose weight. And all the negative stories you are told, don’t believe them save yourself some time.

You wont change much as the years pass, and you will create some fond memories too…..

You don’t speak much now, but that will change. And there will come a day, when that’s all you will have.

You don’t need to people please, let love be based on who you are. Don’t give too much attention, only the weak requires that anyway.

The longest ride will not be what you think……..but hop off and on and it will be okay.

Listen, learn to be silent, pay attention, taste and observe……. life is much more introspective than we think.

No one makes it alone you will have to learn that differently, as an only child.

You don’t control much, that’s just how it is…..learn to decipher and not to belly-ache.

So I will end with this prayer for you.

I hope you can live with your decisions and that they don’t hurt others too much, I pray you accept the choices of others with grace. Do things the right way and never take the path of least resistance. You are secondary in another’s story and so are they in yours. Learn to hear and obey God’s voice and never forget how easily the oppressed can become the oppressor. So never let anger, arrogance, fear or pride dictate.

 

ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE

All you need is love, love. Love is all you need. Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love. All you need is love, all you need is love, All you need is love, love. Love is all you need. ( excerpt from the Chorus All you need is love- the Beatles ) It’s a fact, it’s the truth, its uncontestable, all we need is love, unattainable, misunderstood, misinterpreted, love. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant  or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful,  it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13 v 4-7 

I experienced love, I need love, I see love, I give love, I live love, I know love, do you?

GOD’S LOVE- THE STANDARD, THE UNCONDITIONAL There is no fear in this love, as his perfect love casts out fear. (1 John 4 v 18) A pure, peaceful, sacred form of love. Importantly, according to Peter “cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5 v 7), how easy is that? Love from God is undeserved kindness and mercy, just meditate a little on this. God had no need to, but dedicates this love to us, in that while we are/were sinners, while we are/were very unrighteous, Jesus came and died for us all. (Romans 5 v 8). Ponder a little more, he did not wait for us to promise, contract or do anything, he volunteered. We can’t earn this, its free. Yes, he acted first, without warranties, guarantees, or conditions; nothing therefore, nothing, nothing you can conceive- can separate us from this love. (Romans 8 v 39) So since he first loves us, it should be so easy for us to reciprocate, in fact its incumbent on us to love him, and then because of this overarching love, to love others too. ( 1 John 4 v 19) Try it, just try it, if you truly love God your only response will be to love others.

PARENTAL LOVE One of many earthly blessings, a sweet, demure and protective barrier, that gives without taking. A privilege to each, a gift to all.

ROMANTIC LOVE – The thrill, the rush, the energy, the bliss,………….the highs without lows, the yes and no nos, deranged and wild- fickle, transient and unrealistic.

LOVE FROM FRIENDSHIP I can depend on you for honesty laced with compassion……. I depend on you for objectivity when I am not……I can depend on you to listen to my every rattling and wrangling……. I make sacrifices for you, we inevitably argue- we disagree, we fight, then we quickly forgive. I scratch your back, and you scratch mine. No judgment, no name calling, no undue pressure, no quid pro quo. Unaffected by borders, distance or time.

SELF-LOVE The most obvious, and yet the most elusive…..finding the clean, clear and crystal space inside.  Its the pre-requisite, without which- you can never truly give your heart away, without which you can never really experience love at all, because you cant give what you don’t have. Look inside, search within, you will find it lying latently there. Careful though, as if feted too much you can become ‘drunk in love’.

THE TRUTH ABOUT LOVE Know its form and content and you will never go in search of it, know its form and content as the counterfeit is all-pervasive. After all ‘the heart wants what it wants’, with real love there is no need to abuse or numb, no need to be clingy or needy, no need to be overbearing or self-indulgent, no need for arrogance. Know love and you easily recognize and quickly discard the phonies, you can never suffer from delusions, then and only then will you find strength to let go and courage to break free.          

SELFIE

Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love at all  is to be vulnerable.” C. S. Lewis.

Love……. an enigma, a peculiar emotion, but we cannot live without it. Love matters, and if you go to the core of human existence  it is what we are perpetually searching for. It fills us with joy, makes us smile, gives us hope, wrings us up, spits us out, hurt like hell, and still we traverse its slopes without reserve and thought. Is it any wonder then that we have seen a a shift in emphasis to ‘loving myself’, ‘loving all these girls’, ‘loving me’……………. the selfie.  According to the authors of ‘The Narcissism Epidemic’ narcissistic personality disorder has more than doubled over the past 10 years in the USA.  Jeremiah long ago contended that the heart is treacherous.

The Millennials, those fortunate or unfortunate enough to be born in the knowledge era, are of a different ilk.  They are more tolerant of the extremes, they explore, are extremely radical and liberal, grossly impatient, lack inhibitions, selfish to the nnnnth power, and very adventurous. Homosexuality, oral sex, ‘sex-capades’, bungee jumping, space exploring, cyber bullying, cyber sex, and cyber just-about-everything are commonplace and ‘cool’. Makes me wonder if this an offshoot and or unintended consequence of Capitalism, and whether these Generation “Y’ers are the engineers behind Data Analytics, Facebook, Whats App, Google, Instagram, and Twitter et al. Did social media and the Internet create Generation ME, or is it the other way around?  Have we gone too far? Is there still further to go?

In this culture of exceptionalism we have seen a frightening level of disregard for others (the demise of the Golden Rule), a total belief in individual supremacy- with a penchant for the ‘Right’ to do this and ‘Right’ to do that and ‘Right’ to do just about whatever you please.  Never has there been a time before now, when rights are posited as such – never mind the fact that you live under my roof and are a minor! Never mind the fact that rights are umbilically connected to responsibilities.  Never mind the fact we are told ‘No man is an island’. Can anyone help me with any of this?

Is the gradual dependence on self, due to disillusionment or fear?

Has every generation been the same in one way or another?

Are you an anachronism if you are out with friends, on the bus/train, or simply walking and you are not plugged in? Are boundaries, etiquette and good manners old fashioned words?

Why do we need selfie sticks and selfie cameras- is it because we are selfish or self-centered or none of these?

What’s the threshold or protocol for posts, likes, comments, or following on social media? How far will we go to get same, and what happens when we don’t get ‘enough’ or the right ones? How many pics do you take before you get the perfect ‘postable’ one?

Why do we film or photograph our sexual encounters? Is it that our ‘smart’ phones are powerful enough to manipulate/outsmart us?

Is this why hair extensions, make-up application, manicures, pedicures, cosmetic surgeries, and facials important priorities?

Is greater exposure doing more or less for our self-concept and self-esteem?

Are we more or less grateful, humble, reflective, peaceful, contented, empathetic or happy?

Are the increasing rates of depression, suicide, crimes of passion and abuse linked to this phenomenon in any way?

Are we living in an upside-down, inside-out world?

Do you follow the herd or find your niche?

I would like to think that C.S. Lewis’s theme can help us bob and weave through this space, Worse case scenarios – get your heart broken or avoid all entanglements? You decide.

C.S. Lewis, possibly a prophet for our times.