Sunshine After Pity-Parties

The other day it took Robin Williams to shake me from my doldrums. As I was mindlessly channel surfing, seeking something that might appeal, I happened on the movie Patch Adams, just as it was beginning. Have you ever seen it? I saw it years ago and remembered really enjoying it, so I settled down to watch.

If you have never seen it, it is the story of a man who, realizing he is suicidal, checks himself into a psychiatric hospital. While there, he realizes that he is able to help those around him and he decides then and there to check him out of the hospital and enter medical school. His unconventional behavior produces as much angst for him as it does satisfaction. In the overall message of the movie, I heard the words “follow your heart.” It is the uplifting kind of movie that gives you that kind of feeling that you can do anything. It was the message I needed to hear.

I had been feeling sorry for myself because of physical limitations which are slowing me down and making me feel less effective. Robin Williams, in his wonderfully inspirational way, caused me to re-realize that there will always be those who are stronger, smarter, and more talented than me. But life has graciously been given to us, and we have been blessed with certain gifts that are uniquely our own to share.

I just needed a reminder that there are things I can do to make people feel better, and I can still do them even if my body isn’t feeling quite right. I can still send a ray of sunshine into a life no matter where I am, or how un-able I become. I guess the moral of my story today is that we all have our “down” days, but we need to pick ourselves up, throw off our depression, and keep on trying.

Yes, the sun will rise tomorrow morning and it will be a new day…a new day to start all over again being the person I was meant to be.


The Ultimate Blessing

Forgiveness – the ultimate blessing.

This weekend I’ve been consumed with a story that has lain dormant for years. I still don’t know how the saga will end, but I’m hoping for a happy ending.

Years ago, families seem to have been much closer than they seem to me to be today. I remember annual family reunions and I KNEW who my cousins, aunts, and uncles were. We visited often and were close. Today, families don’t seem to be so closely knit.

One of the fun things some of my family members would do as I was growing up was go to stores looking for sales. One of my aunts was what I would call a real “garage-saler.” That was just the way she was. When her sister-in-law died, she acted accordingly. I totally believe she meant no harm or disrespect in what she did and said, but her unthinking words at the time, when feelings were raw, cut some of my cousins to the core. Being the “deal seeker” that she was, she asked what was going to be done with certain items belonging to the aunt who died. Unfortunately, this was while people were still gathered together, either prior to, or just following the funeral. Sadly, her words and my cousins’ reactions created a gaping rift. What had once been a closely-knit and fun-loving family, now became a family hurt and torn apart. This went on for years. I don’t believe Aunt #1 or her husband ever understood what caused this rift, which, to the onlooker (myself), seemed extremely painful.

Fast forward a number of years. Aunt #1 died. Uncle #1, now carrying the hurt of two persons himself, still not understanding what happened so many years ago, asked me to not relay the news of his wife’s death. Respecting his wishes, I complied.

Now three more years have passed. A few days ago I received a phone call from Uncle #1. He is now 91, is being treated for multiple health problems, and, I believe, he feels his life is nearing an end. My sense throughout the phone call, and afterward, was that it was a call to say goodbye. He asked for nothing else beyond prayers. However, I felt, and still feel, helpless. In the conversation, however, he did NOT ask me to NOT say anything about him to anyone. So I contacted one of my cousins.

I didn’t mean to “dump” on my cousin, but if there is a chance that hurt feelings of long ago could be repaired on both sides, I believe now is the time. I’ve hoped for years that that would happen. I would love to write the last chapter of this story on the power of love, forgiveness, and healing. For now, though, all I can do is to hope and pray.

Our Comfort and Our Guide

God prepares us for life. I’m certain of it. We are right where we need to be!

I’ve been reflecting on pathways – books read, people met, experiences had, and lessons learned. Every single thing prepares us for the life ahead.

As I trace the pathways in my life, I am becoming more and more aware of how things of my past prepared me for my present. I would not have felt as comfortable relating to certain alcoholics, without having known a man who was a chronic alcoholic. I signed up as a volunteer to respond to prayer requests, long before I knew I would one day be writing prayers for prisoners! Without joining a prison ministry group, I would have missed knowing some individuals who are now dear to my heart.  Without having had the many, many jobs I’ve held over the years, I might never have learned to do a variety of things that prepared me for the job I do now.

I believe in a loving God, but a God Who allows us to make bad choices. It is from those bad choices that we learn how to make good choices. Our God welcomes us with open arms whenever we run (or even walk) to Him. As with parents who allow stubborn or headstrong children to make poor choices, He permits us to forge ahead…and when we realize our errors, He comforts us and loves us unconditionally – also as a good parent would do.

I pray this day that we have the foresight to ask Him to be our guide each day, to accompany us through all of life’s ups and downs, and to thank Him for always being there for us. May we know wisdom and understanding, recognizing His ever constant care throughout the years, and may we grow to know Him as the Loving Father He truly is.