Look Up

I was at a retreat of sorts one weekend, and I was deeply troubled as to how to sense Christ. Though always sensing Christ was not required, I was looking for something.

I do not remember which question I asked, but I remember the answer. It was “Look Up.”

IMG_0480I lifted up my eyes and I could see, in my minds eye but even more clearly, the loving gaze of a loving God looking into mine, seeing my soul, and loving me there. My image and heart shifted merely by looking up.

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Smeagol was a hobbit who rarely looked up, and we can see where that got him as many of us know the character “Gollum” that he turned into. Though not everyone reading this is a Christian, the message, “look up” can remain.

Humans have more than physical needs, we have emotional and spiritual needs. We need Truth, Beauty, Goodness, and Love. How are we to see these if we focus always on what is mundane or difficult? We need sometimes to look up.

One way of looking up is to make a point to pay attention to beauty. Another is to read something beautiful, deep, and/or encouraging. Another is to make a gratitude list.  Another is to do what I did, simply look up and notice The One Who Is Love delighting in your presence and loving you.

Today, let’s pick just one way to “look up,” and see what difference it can make.

If you are looking for a way to see more beauty, feel free to CLICK HERE to see my Pinterest Beauty page.

May God bless your day.

 

 

 

Happiness Not Required

This is a picture of a friend of mine . . . hee hee. It is the picture of a certain cat, who is known for being grumpy. I took this at Christmas.

What is the appeal of this cat? The humor is one appeal of course. But what is it about the humor that speaks to us? I would be interested in hearing fGrumpy Catrom people on this.

I have a couple of ideas. I think it helps people to feel free to feel what they feel. Here is a cat who is a grump and is respected for it.

I also think that this cat has great boundaries, and there are many people out there who simply don’t know how to say “NO.” The memes say, behind the scenes “hey,  it’s alright to say ‘no.’ its a good thing.”

I’ve been learning about several subcultures that people I know have grown up in where they are taught that you have to be happy all the time. Some small church communities may give that impression, but Jesus said “Blessed are those who mourn.”  He understood we aren’t happy all the time.  And the secular message that we should always be “OK” is created by those who are trying to sell products.  Other psychologists and support group organizations know that this isn’t so. It takes time to heal, and being angry at oneself or feeling guilty for having feelings is to be angry at oneself for being human.  If we start with self acceptance, we begin to find peace.

This is not to say that we should dwell on as many horrible things as possible, gathering them in to make ourselves anxious and glum, but when we are hurting, it is OK to hurt. It is who we are. It is where we are at. And we are being truly human with all the beauty of the sorrows as well as joys. We humans feel things. That is good.

It seems to me that this particular cat represents this in all of us. It is OK to be grumpy. It is OK to be where you are in your life. It is OK to feel what you feel.

May God bless your day.

What We Perceive

What we perceive isn’t always what is.  I have noticed lately that it is incredibly easy to listen to what someone says and hear something very different.  I am listening with damaged ears, and this is something so many of us seem to do.

For example:  A woman is sitting down.  A man walks in the door. “The dishes aren’t done. . .” he says. The woman, feeling that her husband find her inadequate, gets angry and defensive.  It has been a very hard day and she has been working nonstop.

The man had, the whole time, the intention of saying, “The dishes aren’t done. That gives me a chance to do them. You’ve been working so hard!”

Many of you may think  that most of us would interpret this statement the same way as she did. And maybe he could have phrased it better, and maybe he didn’t know what else to say. But the point is that she heard what she was expecting to hear based on her understanding.

This is a problem in communication and relationships. How often do each of us look for love in a certain way, and not notice that the people in our lives are giving it to us, but it is not how we expected?  Just as our listening can be broken, so can our ability to notice love and to realize we are loved.  It’s a perception problem.

I hope that, today, we can each go through the day trying to perceive what is, separated from our expectations. I hope we can pause and just think, hmm… what else could have been meant by that?  And I hope we can give our loved ones the benefit of the doubt if they’ve been trustworthy in the past. Don’t give up if you don’t get it right. It is not easy. But I think that even knowing that our perceptions tend to break down can help make the day a little better as we realize there may be more good and love in our lives than we see.

And healing from some of the roots of the confusion can be done in the long term. It is a process. We don’t have to get it all right. It will take some time.

May God bless your day.

 

A New Season

I went to write in a coffee shop one day.  As I was going to leave,  an elderly woman smiled at me and told me her name. So unused to talking to strangers was I that I passed right by her. Surely she was used to the culture and would understand.

Upon leaving and reflecting I was a bit haunted by the look in her eye, and I realized that my failure to respond would be considered rejection by her. She isn’t from the same time as I am; she seems to be from a time when people were kinder. I then decided to say “hello” the next time that happens. Several weeks later I found out that she was with a group that visited from a group home, and I felt even worse.

A bit later I met a man at a certain grocery store. I like to go there now and then when I can afford it and write while I sit looking out the window. It is a nice area.

The man is young, and he is also challenged in some respect. He asked me all the places I’ve been and told me all the places he’s been. I can tell as well that he most likely also isn’t in touch with the “social norms” and, in order not to repeat the same mistake, I made a point to talk to him.  He is positive and friendly, and it made my day so much better to speak with someone who was very wide-eyed and who appreciates other people.

Every person reading this is from a different area with different cultural ways of being. Ignoring people may not be a thing where you are, and there is prudence in doing that sometimes. But there is also charity in simply smiling, giving a greeting, or actually taking a few moments to chat. We never know where the other person is coming from, and often reaching out in “charity” ends up making our own day much better, and we see that it is not really “charity” but an exchange between two human beings, making the world a bit brighter.

May God bless your Day.