Sunday, December 6, 2015

and so it is Christmas...and what have you done?

It's almost the end of yet another year. Time to stand back and take note of what has happened in the last almost 365 days of your life. How could you improve? What would you change?
The seven questions that you could ask yourself are:

When did I not give up?
Did I do something that scared me?
When did I have fun?
How did I deal with messing up?
Who did I lean on this year?
When did I forgive someone? and last..
What would I have missed out on had I not lived this last year?

Take each one separately or as a whole. For me, I did not give up on my health. Although my chronic conditions of both Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis could have had me sidelined, feeling sorry for myself, I chose instead to keep going, keep moving. I planted a garden, helped my in-laws with their yard work and even took on a part time job working once again with students in my school district. Lesson: Never give up...never give in. You are as strong as you allow yourself to be!

I did allow for fun also. I visited my grown children in the cities. I love to garden, to watch birds and just "be" in the moment. Whatever you can find beauty in, go for it. You don't need a plane ticket or a bus pass. The best things in life are within your reach!

Messing up? We all do that. The best thing I did was keep going forward. Forgive yourself and move on. If you live in the past, you will miss the joy of the present. Each experience is a stepping stone to something better. Go for it!

Who did I lean on? My bestest friend in the whole husband! He lifts me up to more than I can be, as the song goes. Without him, my world would be so much darker.

Forgiveness. It isn't always the "I cut you out of my life and now you have returned, thus I need to (or should) forgive you, my prodigal son/daughter/ex-spouse/former friend" scenario. Sometimes, it is the day to day slip-ups that can catch us fuming. For example, at work recently, it was a tough day. I was being pulled in many directions by many people, all who thought they knew best what I needed to be doing. Finally at day's end, my nerves fraught, I broke down in frustration. I felt anger, sadness, confusion and just plain exhaustion. The next day, I told myself that the one who was most responsible for my previous day's pain, I would give the cold shoulder to. But as minutes became hours, I realized this was not what Jesus would do. I caught my co-worker in a quiet moment, went to her and apologized for my silence, explaining how I had felt the day before. Her face fell...I think she was taken aback by my words of "let's just say we all had a hard day yesterday and begin anew!" Note, I said a "hard day," not a "bad" day. Bad has a negative connotation, whereas a hard day means just was tough, but also do-able. We got through it, we can do it again if need be Now that we know what we may expect, it may actually turn out better than we had thought! Always leave room for positive outcomes! and this is what forgiveness teaches us...leave room for positive outcomes, and admit it...we always feel better after an apology, don't we?

Last...what would I have missed had I not been here? Oh my! Sunrises and sunsets and shooting stars and hugs from children and words of love from oldsters and compliments that I gave out and words of appreciation sent my way and much more. Again, you don't need a passport to create happy moments. Live IN the moment...create JOY daily..and you will see joy returned many times over!

God did not create humans to be miserable. He gave us the best of Himself, a garden of plenty and Love to grow upon. It was an insidious Evil that crept in like a snake, stealing that goodness from humans and turning Love into something awful. God created Goodness...Evil stole it. It is as simple as that...but it is also complex in that we daily have that good vs evil war waging within each one of us. However, daily we can overcome evil with good...we can make choices that will make us better..or bitter.
I like "better" myself. How about you?
Here's to another happy year soon to be upon us. Again, what can YOU look back next year at this time and realize..."wow, I truly did have a wonderful life!" May God be with you and bless you!