I cannot believe that I wasn't there for you when you were feeling so low.
That I didn't support your goals or cheer you on.
I'm so sorry that I didn't insist that you are enough--even if perfection is unachievable,
but that what you provide is absolutely close enough.
I wish I had looked at your face and always seen beauty,
expertise and competence.
But when I look at the eyes staring back at me from the cold glass,
I see the tears tremble there.
As the wetness hits my face my guilt and sorrow consume me.
Curses or Blessings???
They are opposites. They express what a person would like for another person--ill will vs. good will.
Curse someone these days, and most people shrug it off. They might get angry, and return the favor, stringing expletives damning someone to hell, or hammering them with the "f-word." (I can't help it. I just can't say it. Don't judge. :-) There are a lot of curses that seem to have formed a new language for people.
But when someone offers a blessing, "God bless you," it can sound so trite. It is so hard to say, and it is so hard to hear. Why do you suppose that is? Is it because the other person seems holier than thou? Is it because we don't feel we deserve someone's good will? Is it because, it is often said by people you don't even know in the same way someone would say, "Have a good day?" Of course, when you sneeze, people welcome "Bless you" from people they don't even know. But can you offer your blessing in other ways, that don't say, "Bless you!"
You can say, "I hope you are feeling better soon!" or "Good luck on that job interview! Knock 'em dead!" or "I hope you have a wonderful vacation!" But there are no colorful blessings. The only canned blessing we have is, "Bless you."
It’s not me; it’s you. . .
A woman was cruel, demeaning and condescending to me. I let her comments, insinuations, and nastiness roll off. What she said didn't matter. It upset a colleague of mine, but there was no reason for the woman to behave this way. I was doing what I needed to be doing. "It has nothing to do with me," I said. "It's all about her."
I was in my skin, and I looked around me and was comfortable in it. I was in the moment, and what that woman said simply didn't matter. I felt sorry for her. I really did! I'm not hiding my vexation behind a screen of holiness. She was pitiable, because she only knew how to alleviate her inner turmoil by sharing it with others. She was in pain. An old friend said it best, "Hurt people hurt people, but blessed people bless people."
It took a class on zen meditation to help me understand that the world doesn't revolve around me. Each of us feels like the sun with planets orbiting around it, and in a way, each of us is. Truly, we each can only truly understand ourselves. Our own feelings and agendas, our own motivations and vulnerabilities.
That being said, that also means that we see each other through me-colored glasses. "I understand," we say. "I sympathize," or "I don't believe you." Every connection we make with one another is based on our own observations and understandings of ourselves. And oftentimes. . . we are wrong.
Me-colored glasses are worn in different shades of Me. Sometimes we are so busy thinking of ourselves, we don't see the person we are looking at. We see the person we expect, or we want, or we fear. But who is that other person really and truly? How do we make our glasses less opaque with me-ness?
Our society today is burdened with very dark me-glasses. Individuals cannot see past their own sensitivities and fears, and see other people through those close to opaque lenses. My kids cannot say, "Look at that black car!" at school these days without other kids shouting, "Racist!" because they are white. Clearly, people are not seeing my gentle kids for who they are.
When I approach people who are nasty to me, the first thing I do is to assume that whatever they are nasty about is not my fault. Then, I am unfailingly kind.
Anybody can get up on the wrong side of the bed and be a grump. Other people have been through so much in their lives that they expect nastiness from everyone they meet, so they dole it out first. There are many reasons people can be ugly.
The greatest lesson I've learned is this: Kindness is never wasted. . . even if it is something that ends up being for yourself, because the other person is in too much pain to understand. Someday, the seed you planted might spring up in that person and blossom into a rare orchid. That's what you pray for.
Upon the pew in dignity,
We four did sit, our family
My man and I, and children two,
Braced for noise, complaints, or goo.
Our twins were small, a squirmy pair,
And why most Masses passed unshared,
We marveled at their quietude,
and hoped that this time, peace ensued.
We proudly sat, as readings were read,
the homily finished, and prayers were said,
Then row by row the the basket passed by,
And my husband dropped in our weekly tithe.
Then loudly one angel was heard to declare,
"Papa, your wallet still has money in there!"
She reached for the wallet as if to give more,
Then the congregation shook, and it roared.
We both slithered lower into our pew,
Our faces burned, but still, we knew
We had paid for our quiet, peaceful Mass
(embarrassed we were, but still in all,)
it wasn't too bad of a Sunday we passed!
Surrounded by papers
Screen covered in unclosed windows
Two lines are on hold,
As I listen to the cradled handset,
and people outside my door wait for me.
And all the work I've already finished
handed back to me
for no other reason
boxes don't line up perfectly.
the words aren't his.
the style isn't his.
and no one will read it anyway.
I live in an invisible world
that walks parallel to yours
I can only see you,
crowds of people all around--
My world is a bubble
in which my soul quakes in despair.
You laugh and smile,
You throngs of joy,
to tunes intertwined.
Unknowing the heart waiting. . .
Waiting to be known and loved.
Hope stretches her limbs to the sky,
yawning and reaching to elongate her body,
to stretch her joints and muscles,
to awaken her spirit and mind.
Her branches sprouting young leaves,
in the chilly morning new,
breathing the misty air,
carrying her smile to the sun.
As the day warms
she gently sways
with the tree
that encompasses her days.
Time to awaken.
Time to do.
Time to live.
Time to be.
(Image is part of Maxfield Parrish "Ecstasy")