Wednesday, June 22, 2016

sticking up for the little guy

 St Francis believed in preaching the Gospel...but it wasn't by using hate filled words filled with threats or snide innuendo. How do you also show your love of God towards another?

Since social media has become the norm, people think they can use it to bully others. Now that it is "election season" in the good ol' USA, I have seen so much virulently hateful posts on Facebook and if anyone dares to take a stand (maybe for common sense) that person gets shot down in many truly sad ways.

In just the last couple of weeks this has been so among my friends and family. And it's not just social media. There are many who feel that they can go through life without a filter on the mouth! Anything they think, many times impulsively, that they have the upper hand of knowledge on a subject, thought or feeling, BAM! out comes some pretty nasty words that about 30 years ago, no one would never have even dreamed of letting loose from their lips let alone from their thoughts!

What is happening to humanity?

Case in point: my husband, a hard working high school custodian, was cleaning classrooms for the summer. This is no easy feat as desks need to be removed, shelves must also be cleared of materials and wiped down, and when the old floor wax has been stripped and reapplied, everything must go back to its place. It's original place...and every classroom may have a slightly different "place" for what was taken out.

Huge sigh.

Enter a teacher, who returns to  her classroom for whatever notion she had, and while she is there, makes a snap comment about how when she returns in August to get ready for classes, she will also bring with her a white glove and that room had "better be spotless!"

Now, I shake my head at that caustic comment. Number one, custodians work hard during the summers as they have a lot more cleaning to do, more so than during the school year. Would it have taken any more time out of not only HER busy day, but his also, for her to make a NICE comment? Think about it: a nice comment...which would have buoyed his spirits and maybe given him a sense of worth. Instead, he carried the effects of her bold, yet caustic comment the rest  of his shift. Imagine carrying a sack filled with rocks for the next several hours...snap comments have the same effect. You can jjust feel that weight as it drags your shoulders lower...and lower....
why? Why add that burden on to another human being?

Filters. You know what it is, it is thinking first then speaking, if indeed words are even necessary at that point. Gosh, I keep going back to that line in "Bambi," where Thumper is reminded by his mother that "if you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything at all." I think that the world would have a lot less sorrow if only people could remember that.

What power is it to hurt someone's feelings? How do you feel when you cut someone down to size? Are you even aware that you have just done so? This applies to most anything we see or hear in daily life. If someone made a comment about race, religion, elections/politics, or whatever, it seems there are three more who will be sure that they are not only heard, but also that, even if the facts are wrong, they are right. They will swear up and down that they are right and nothing can sway them from that belief. This religion is better than that! That politician is better than this! That political party is better than any other!

 I dare you to stick up for the little guy! I dare you! Will you? If you overheard someone cutting someone else down, what would you do? Do you just wilt like a flower under intense heat or would you stand up and say, "this is just wrong!" and do something to make it right?

I am reminded of St. Francis of Assisi. He admonished his followers to "spread the Gospel. Use words, if necessary." What does that mean to you?

In short, it means that ACTIONS should do our talking for us! People will more readily follow you if you use actions to show your love and concern. You will be the most popular person in your neighborhood if you practice kindness towards all. It doesn't cost you anything and it takes as much time to be mean and nasty as it does to be mellow and loving.

In today's world, with the media blasting at us from all corners, be it a smartphone, an iPad, a computer, the TV or newspaper, everyone it seems has an opinion. Wonderful! But also please use common sense! Ask yourself, "will anyone be hurt be what I have to say?" If so, then maybe practice prudence, just swallow that thought and forget it even blipped into your conscience. Truly...the world is hate-filled enough, how about if you add some some empathy. After all, we all travel the same roads. I don't know about you, but I'd prefer a traveling companion that I can laugh with and share some happy moments.
Are you with me?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

who do you focus on?

The news lately: massacre in Orlando, Florida. Gorilla harms child. Alligator snatches child from shallow water in Disney World. Paris under attack. Terrorists everywhere....

Are you becoming place to turn, no sanctuary to call safe?

"Fear not! For I am with you always!"

As if life isn't scary enough for each one of us just living and breathing and doing what we usually do, along comes the six o'clock news!

"Behold! For I am with you until the end of time!"

I do believe the news media, in their efforts to win ratings, loves to escalate the news just by how it's presented. Their eyes wide, voices full of alarm, you're afraid to use the bathroom during a commercial break for fear of missing something, am I right? Yet this is the reaction the media hopes to elicit: fear. Fear of the known which then becomes fear of the UNKNOWN. Terrorists causing rampage in one part of the world; "when will I be the next target?" you may wonder. Oil prices going up, "can I afford to even drive to work?" you ask. and so on.

My friend...stop worrying! Please. The mayhem created by evil forces shall never win, so long as good people worldwide can triumph over that evil. Read that again.

People ARE basically good people. We are a compassionate bunch in this thing called Life. When tragedy strikes, people are quick about responding in a positive way. Unfortunately, the ONLY time the news media pounces on this IS during a tragic moment. Why this hypocrisy is allowed to co-exist is beyond me. Be that as it may, I do believe that good can be found as close to you as the nearest street corner, coffee shop or grocery store. I believe that good happens because I have seen it. I believe that good perpetuates even more good. I believe that if even more people focus on the good, creating more good for others that it will continue to envelop the world.

"I am a little pencil in the Hand of God." ~Mother Teresa 

Stop what you are doing for a moment and ask yourself, "when did I last do a good deed for another?" As the peace prayer of St. Francis states so well, "I seek not to be understood as to understand. I seek not to be loved as to love."

When tragedy strikes, as it has done since the beginning of time and will probably do until the end of time when God intervenes, we must remember that God is with us. Each one of us. We are not alone. All we need to do is to seek Him out in prayer, asking how we can be a channel of His peace plan. How can we intercede for another? How can we spread His message of Love around?
It isn't that hard, if only we focus less on our own desires...and more on how to make the desires of others more felt.
May God bless you today!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

in the end, it's all about common sense

Everyone knows all about the "five senses:" taste, touch, sight, smell and hearing. But we have other senses as well, how often do you use these?

A sense of compassion, of caring, of empathy, of gratitude?

I have been watching how the current elections are playing out. I have not seen anything that even resembles compassion, nor of respect. Instead I have seen bigotry, disrespect, vitriol, all manners of foul play displayed for all the world to see. It is much akin to watching preschoolers in a sandbox, flinging as much hash at each other as possible.

How about if you and I set the example? Compassion. That means to literally walk in another's footsteps and see where they are coming from. What are their needs? Do you see someone coming up from behind you as you enter an establishment? Will it ruin your day if you waited those few extra seconds to hold the door smile at them and maybe bid them a good day?

Caring. You're at the grocer's you see the box at the exit, the one that is asking for donations to the local food shelf? Do you walk right past it...or even if you do drop in something, is it more than just a box of mac n cheese?

Gratitude. Do you cultivate a sense of gratitude? "There but for the grace of God go I." If you have been blessed with much, are you grateful? Do you pass that on to someone in need? Luke 3:11 admonishes us to do this. “If you have two coats, give one away,” he said. “Do the same with your food.”

Jesus made it so easy for us. He basically gave us two commands: Love God and love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. He also said to do unto others as we'd have them do unto us. Go ahead...repeat that slowly. Now think to the you see these electoral candidates reaching out to others? They sure do love themselves! And that's where it seems to end. "Pride goes before a fall." Again, Jesus tells us, "those who humble themselves will be exalted, while those who exalt themselves shall be humbled." That statement was so powerful that ALL FOUR GOSPELS mention it, probably the ONLY passage of Jesus' ministry on earth....and it was exhorted by all four Gospel writers.

Humility. Now there is a sense that we all need to cultivate more of. It is not all about me. It is not all about you, either. Instead it IS all about what we can do for OTHERS that matters.
How about it, shall we begin?