Confessions of a creative mind….

On writing, reading and pretty much anything else

Archive for the category “Opinion”

10 Lessons from 2011.

Yes, 2011 had it’s challenges. I was part of the group cheering it off the clock yesterday. But there’s no denying the lessons I learned during the worst–and best–times. Here are my top 10:

  1. You CAN lose power for days–weeks, even–in this day and age.
  2. There is always something to be grateful for, even when it takes a while to find it.
  3. The universe is always working, if you’re open to it. Even when something seems like a catastrophe, it’s probably working for your highest good.
  4. It is possible to become debt free and build wealth. On any salary. Thank you, Dave Ramsey!
  5. It’s okay to not be who others want you to be, or act how they expect you to act. I can be immune to those opinions.
  6. My voice does count.
  7. Families should love each other unconditionally. If someone in my family doesn’t, it’s on them. Just like if I don’t, it’s on me.
  8. No one is going to hand me confidence. I have to decide to have it.
  9. Dreams really can come true – thank you, John Talbot!
  10. Having your health is everything.

Let’s all have a healthy, blessed, prosperous, productive new year….with lots of lessons.

Father’s Day, and Forgiveness

Yesterday was Father’s Day. I didn’t call my dad. I thought about him a lot, though, and it was bittersweet, as most holidays are these days. Last month ticked off an entire year I haven’t spoken to either parent.
We’ve had periods of estrangement before, but this one has been the longest. There are a lot of reasons for it, some of which matter, some of which probably don’t anymore. But as I struggle with the guilt that comes with the recovering Catholic territory, I have found I’m learning valuable lessons on forgiveness.
I used to think forgiveness meant I had to suck it up, take whatever anyone felt like dishing out without question, and go back for more. I could never quite comprehend the idea of forgiving someone without actually being in their presence again, or telling them I’d forgiven them. And when I repeatedly completed this cycle, I never quite found the peace or happiness I’d been expecting–and most times, I’d be just as frustrated again soon after, when the subject of my generous forgiveness did something suspiciously similar to what I’d just “forgiven” them for.
Now I realize the concept is much different. I haven’t by any means mastered it yet, but I’m getting better at reconciling it. Forgiveness is for me, not them. It’s there to give me freedom, not give them absolution. If I forgive someone, they don’t even have to know about it. That’s a pretty big breakthrough. Now if I could just figure out how to do the actual forgiving part, I think I’ll be well on my way to healing.
I do hope my dad had a happy day yesterday. I’d like to think something was missing on his end, as it was on mine, but that’s something he needs to figure out. And maybe he has some forgiving to do as well.

Do people REALLY want to be helpful?

I had a conversation with a lovely gentleman today who reminded me of my grandfather – and he said something that stuck with me for the rest of the day. “I believe,” he said, “that most people do want to help each other.”

And so, skeptical, cynical me (who is trying to be better about being skeptical and cynical) spent the rest of the day thinking about this concept. It’s true I’ve met my share of unhelpful people, but that’s actually not what’s been sticking with me lately. I’ve been working really hard to turn that thinking around and focus on the people who have been helpful. From the people in our world – the wonderful friends who donated to Ferris the cat’s surgery and the people who offered to sponsor the stray cats who (continually) wander into the yard –  to the people who help others more broadly, like the staff and volunteers at the Women’s Center of Southeastern CT, the Red Cross rescuers, animal shelter workers – once you really start to think about it, this guy may be on to something.

Like the really good friend who gives up his Saturday to put a fence up for the dogs, or when my boss picks me up a coffee to brighten a crazy day. Or the friend who will drive two hours to do electrical work, or the random neighbor who comes to plow the driveway during the (many) blizzards.

So yes, I think my new friend is right – most people really do want to help. And it makes you want  to help them right back.

Has someone helped you out recently?

Rapture? Not today, folks.

Well, it’s taken me long enough to get this blog up and running, so what better night to officially launch than post-non-existent Rapture? It’s got to be fate. Or something. But it’s actually really fitting, because when I finally got up to speed on this whole Rapture thing (hey, I had a busy week, what can I say?), I couldn’t help but wonder what my parents were doing about it. I mean, I know the believers are part of the special Camping religion, whatever it’s called, and my parents are staunch Catholics, but still. They spent enough time telling me I was going to hell as a kid, so this would be right up their alley. And my mother is a firm believer that all natural disasters happen because God wants to punish the sinners who are ruining the world. (Yes, I had a fun childhood.)

But really, Rapture talk, in my humble opinion, was simply another way for these fanatics to have a platform, to take gullible, insecure people’s money, and ultimately, to instill fear. I mean, really, people – 6 p.m. eastern time? You think the Bible gets that specific?

Whether you’re a Camping follower or a fanatic subscribing to another religion, understand this: Your fellow humans who are inherently good people doing mostly the right thing every day don’t want to hear your preaching, your doomsday  prophecies, or your judgments. We’re okay. We’re still here. And I, for one, would rather put my energy into doing something worthwhile for a person or an animal – not predicting their fiery destruction. I’m not an expert, but I suspect that might be a better way to get into heaven.

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