Friday, January 16, 2015

I Know I Should Be Happy, But I'm Not

 Have you ever felt down when you really don't have any reason to be?  I mean,    we all have our share of daily annoyances and problems, but when life is going    pretty well, by basic standards, yet there's this underlying feeling of...well...what    do you call it?  "Ehhh." It's kind of a flat-lining?
 The thick muddy feeling that seeps inside your life and covers over all of your joy.  Ya, I know that feeling too.

 There was a time in my life when everything was going well...I should have been  so happy. Family was healthy, business was doing great, marriage was on an  even keel.  All good things around me.  Problem was, I was not good around me.  I think what made it worse was the fact that I DID have all the right things that are  supposed to make me happy and yet....this foggy unsettling was settling in my  soul.

 At this point in my story, some religious folk might want to boldly interject - "All  you need is Jesus!"  Problem with that, I already had Jesus. Yep, I'd been a  Christian as long as I could remember.  My grandpa, who's long since passed  now, was a preacher and pastor of a humble little church for many years. He was  a very dear man who was loved by so many, including an entire basketball team  from the local high school.  But that's another story --

 But maybe, on second thought, it might just be the point of this story...

 You see, my grandpa was a happy man.  

 Now that I think of it, Grandpa was so known and loved by those high school  teens, that  many took the time to come honor him at his funeral several years    later.

 So what was it that drew Grandpa to that high school? It wasn't because he had  grandkids that attended there. It wasn't because he had a part-time job on  campus. He wasn't there trying to raise awareness for any popular cause. 

 He was there simply because he loved people.  He gave out the most prized  resources he had.  He freely gave of himself and his time.  My grandfather would  go to that high school week after week to cheer those kids on while they played.  After the game, he was known to stick around and encourage them with a joke or  two, (even offer them Lifesavers candies if they'd had a bad game.)  I heard that  He would bake and deliver celebration cakes to the kids as well.  For all of  this,  they loved him.  He never asked for anything in return.  He just sat there on the bleachers in that gym, making a quiet yet impactful difference in those young  lives.

 He was always  

 He didn't have a lot of money, but my grandpa was indeed a happy man.  He    knew the secret that would take me two decades to really grasp... sadly long after  he was gone to heaven.  That secret?  We are truly happy when we are truly  loving others.  Love is spelled "G-I-V-E."

 In a "selfie" world, where it's all about me, everyone wants to be happy and we  are determined to have it our way, no matter what.  Maybe we could benefit by  taking a moment to stop all the self focus and listen to the lesson of my grandpa's  quiet but profound gesture.

 The bible says that there is no greater love than to lay down one's life for a friend.  (John 15:13)

 So, we say we want to be happy and we want to feel loved? We must learn the  lesson of give. Choosing to take the focus off ourselves we just GIVE.  We don't  need money, all we need is a moment of our "precious" time - forgetting our stuff  for a minute (laying it down) and genuinely engaging (giving) into another's  life without any strings attached.  (That last part is the key - no agenda.)

 A simple concept, but yet, so many of us have trouble with it. We are choosing to  spend our moments on selfies - focusing on what we don't have, projecting what    we aren't, and not knowing who we are

 And then we wonder where is the love and why we are so unhappy. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

The One Good Thing.

Strewn toys and scattered papers (that I failed to place out of his 19 -month-old hand's reach) surround me.   For this moment, I choose to stop the "busy"ness of reacting to the dictates of the clutter and the deadlines and the messes. This time I don't run to the next thing.  I don't sigh at the overwhelming demands.  I breathe as I take this moment in.  I just breathe. Now mentally present where I've been physically standing, I look down...

He's playing here near my feet.  He's brought his color book and crayons to play near me. To be near me...   I bend down and pick up this whirlwind love bug. There's scribbles on his little man arm.   He's decorated himself in tangerine orange crayola.  I find myself smiling and a peace washes over us both.  His blankey is in tow.  I pull it up onto my shoulder and immediately almost magnetically his cheek nestles right into it.  This room of crazy and hectic, just moments ago, has now transformed into a quiet and still preciousness.  

Take this in, Teri, I remind myself.   This gift, this moment, is but a moment.  I know this far too well.  My four, now grown babies are walking reminders of how fast the time of babe-in-arms passes. So, what have I learned in the whisk of all the years passed by?   My baby's baby now rests on my shoulder.   

Those dew drop eyes that make me say yes to cookies look intently into mine.  What are you thinking of, little one?  I wonder. Do you know how very much your Nana loves you?  I pull him close and kiss his head, praying a thankful prayer for this precious gift of a grandson in my life.  Breathing in the smell of his tousled hair, I'm certain there's not a sweeter scent on this planet. 

Lingering here, taking it all in, I'm so grateful I chose to stop for this moment.  This moment hidden amongst the busy. This moment... not on the to-do list. This breath-in-time doesn't demand for itself. To think I almost missed it. 

The whisper in the chaos invited, "Find the gem."  Thankfully, I've stopped long enough to discover, yes, preciously tucked in this moment is hidden the one good thing.     

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

So I learned a lesson today and wanted to share it...

We recently had a bit of a snafu with our room at the hotel we were staying in recently. I don't like to be a complainer, so I didn't make a big deal about it, other than to respond when the clerk chirped upon our checkout, "So was everything satisfactory?"

I mentioned the situation with our room, but he smiled with his autopilot reply of, "I'm sorry about that" and "Have a nice day!" but offered to do nothing more.
I dismissed the experience at that point.

Later I received an emailed auto survey from the hotel. I deleted it thinking I didn't get anywhere when I expressed it before. The next day they followed up with a second request for my feedback. So I took the time to be honest...

They quickly and apologetically responded with a comp for the room and an invitation to give them the opportunity again in the future - also stating that they were working on the situation with my room so that future guests won't share my same experience.

So, here's what I learned and I think it can be applied in ALL relationships:

BEING HONEST GIVES PEOPLE THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO THE RIGHT THING. Sometimes we think it more polite to just smile and say everything is fine when it's not.  When we do this, others are immediately robbed of growth opportunities and the chance to make things right.

We risk that our honesty will be met with denial or blame, but it's worth the risk. Sometimes it sinks in may even take years...but start the ball rolling. Dont' speak from fickle emotions, be authentic always. It protects you from bitterness and resentment which is half the battle in bringing resolution. And at the end of the day, isn't that what we all want anyway?

Wounds from a friend are better than kisses from an enemy. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Life is a mixed bag...beautiful moments and difficult times all tangled up together.  But, at the end of the day, if we've learned to find the good and then give away what we've learned to others, it can be worth every single moment.  

It's not what happens to us, but what we do with it that makes all the difference.

I want to make my moments count for something good. :)

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
                                                                                                                   Romans 12:2 (NIV)