Shifting Our Focus

“Life seems sometimes like nothing more than a series of losses, from beginning to end. That’s the given. How you respond to those losses, what you make of what’s left, that’s the part you have to make up as you go.”

– Katherine Weber

I came across this quote today and it hit me like a slap in the face. I wasn’t searching for quotes; it was just there like it was meant for me to read. I really started to think about my life, my thoughts, and my attitude towards certain things. For the last number of years (too many years to put an exact number on), I have said to myself, “my life is a series of losses.” It is all I have been focusing on. My losses. My life has been one loss after another. Whether it is a loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, the loss of money, or a number of other things; my life is a series of losses. However, I am not the only one who is alive on this planet. So many others feel the same way as I do. So many others have it worse off than I do. Our eyes are sometimes open only to our pain and closed to the pain other people go through. We get lost in our own pain all too often. We forget what matters. We give up. Once we start shifting our focus to others and helping others, our own lives improve as well. Not only do we make someone else feel better, but we feel better for helping someone else. I will slip and lose my focus from time to time, but before my life ends, I am hoping to help other people see things in a more positive light. After all, isn’t that what we were put on this planet for?

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Does God Ever Need A Beer?

He watches over us from above. He sees everything we do and knows what is in our hearts and minds. He notices when we do good and knows when we do bad. No, I am not talking about Santa Claus. I am referring to God. He is all around us whether we notice or not. He built this world for us hoping we cherish it and do something positive in it and for it. What happens when we don’t?

Most of us have good intentions and we mean well. We live our lives to do good for our family, our friends, and our community. There are more decent people doing good than the other way around. Day in and day out, we try our best and don’t mean any harm. “Our best” is different for every person. Our talents, motivations, intentions, needs, and wants are all different from each other’s. We are put on this Earth to grow, learn, help each other out, and do good. What happens when we don’t?

I often wonder how God, All Knowing and All Mighty, deals with things and handles things when we as humans, mess up. When He points us in a direction and we go the other way, does He shake His head? When we miss the obvious, does He put His hands over His eyes? When we do something negative, does He take a deep breath to calm Himself? Having a whole world to watch over, does God ever need a beer?

I sometimes picture God in His throne with a beer relaxing “at the end of a day.” I wonder how He could not need a beer when us as humans are constantly needing help, redirection, advice, and improvement in our lives. In my opinion, He must be so great and so strong in order to deal with billions of people. How great is it that He loves us no matter what we do or what we say. Even with that said, I still wonder if God ever needs a beer?

Look and Learn From Each Other

There comes a time in everyone’s life when it really hits them that not only is there someone else out there going through something worse, but there is someone else going through a situation in which no one wants to trade places with, regardless of how much or little drama is involved. It opens up their eyes and helps them realize everyone has something to deal with. Everybody has their own set of issues. Some problems are more serious than others, but it does not mean they are any more or less important. Everyone has a cross to bear. There are people who are struggling to survive. Not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. There are other people just going through the emotions of life and not really experiencing life to the fullest. They are either too busy, going through life too fast, or not paying attention. There are few people who live life to the fullest no matter what is thrown at them. Every single person has high points and low points of their life. It is not necessarily the actual high points or low points of a person’s life that matters, but how a person deals with those high and low points. Do they grow and learn from those high and low points or do they act out and ignore the potential lessons that come from those things in life? Every single person has done both. This is how people grow and learn.

Picture the homeless man living in a box on a dangerous corner downtown. He lost his job and not able to pay his bills. He was forced out of his home. Now people pass by him, judge him, and look at him with contempt.

Picture the loving wife and mother addicted to alcohol. She hides bottles in the attics, closets, and under a loose floorboard. She easily explains away lost money. She tries to quit over and over, but keeps relapsing.

Picture a troubled teenager. She comes from a loving, close family. Somehow she starts hanging around with the wrong crowd. She doesn’t do her homework and discovered drugs and alcohol. She is out of control, angry, and unhappy. Her parents are doing everything in their power to try and help her, but she refuses any kind of help.

Picture a healthy, elderly man living alone. His wife passed away recently. He is lonely. He pushed his friends away. He doesn’t want help from his kids. He is depressed and tired all the time. He has little interest in anything. He doesn’t want to talk and doesn’t want any outside help.

Are any one of these situations more important than the other? No. How many people would want to be in any of these situations? No one. Life happens. There are some situations in which people have no choice in how certain matters turn out. People have control over some things, but then there are other things in which they don’t. People need to judge less and leave the judging to God. People need to realize they are not the only ones hurting in this world. We all are. We are all dealing with something. Learn from each other. Put yourself in another person’s shoes and picture what they are going through. Look at what they are dealing with. Everyone is in this world to help each other. What matters to everyone in the four scenarios described above is that they are not alone. They want to know someone cares for them. They want to know that when they are ready to change their life and turn it around for the better, not only is not too late, but at least one person will be there to help them. Look around. What can we as a society and individuals do to help someone today? When people help others, they not only help improve someones life, but they improve their own as well.

Faith

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Faith

Came across this on the internet and it is hitting home today. We all have those days where we feel “blah” and I guess today is my day, or shall I say, I guess it has been my month! It is hard to change your course of life and hop on another road in a different direction, especially when other people in this world seem to have it all. As the saying goes, my life has been cloudy lately. I feel like I have lost myself. I feel like I am not living my life, or living it the wrong way. It can be difficult to find your way back after running off course. However, not impossible. Holding onto a little faith is enough to lead you in the right direction and back on the path you are supposed to be on.

I Am Not the Norm

I am not sure why today of all days, but a thought was pushed into my head like a slap on my face. I have heard it before, thought of it before, and I might have even typed it before, but I don’t think I grasped the real meaning behind the thought. The thought came to me this morning while brushing my teeth and looking out my front window. Brushing my teeth is quite the activity for me. It is not just a quick brushing, spit, and be done. I can thank my mom for this. I brush my teeth twice a day and each time, I do some sort of combination of walking around my house, pacing, and sitting down to looking out my front window. Whatever the combination is, brushing my teeth makes me think about things. So, back to my “slap across the face thought.” It really hit me at that moment. I finally realized it. I am who I am.

Thinking back to my first day of kindergarten, I remember being scared and crying. I didn’t want to go and once there, I didn’t want my dad to leave. Back then, it was only a half day and even that half day was too much for me. Once sitting down at the tables, I looked around at all the kids who were strangers to me. I was terrified. As the school days went on, they did become easier. I made some friends and started to like school. Even from that first day of school, all you want is to fit in. You want to make friends and you want kids to like you. I was always trying to fit in and be like someone else. It didn’t matter what I did, I didn’t fit in. I wasn’t the skinny, popular runner in school like my brothers were. I am who I am! As the school years went on, I made friends, but I still always wanted to fit in with everyone else.

College came and left. Jobs came and left. Friends came and left. Life continued. No matter what I was trying to do, I was always trying to be like everyone else. I wanted to fit in with “the norm.” I wanted to be like everyone else. Well, that didn’t go so well! Nothing seemed to work.  My life was not going well. I struggled through depression and personal crisis after personal crisis. I was always worried about what someone else might think. I wasn’t even sure what I wanted out of life and even if I did know, I was scared to go after it. After struggling through personal crisis after personal crisis, my motivation and ambition was gone. Just when I was starting to gain some of that back, another crisis slapped me across the face and threw me to the ground. Just when I thought life couldn’t get any worse, it did. I felt like I was back to square one. All the progress I was making in moving forward with my life, just set me all the way back. Life does go on though. The world does not stop. The days went on and the weeks went on. Things are a little better now. I learned many, many things from this. I even relearned something: I am who I am!

It has taken me 35 years to realize I am who I am. I am done trying to fit in with “the norm.” I am not the norm! I am different than everyone else and I have different wants and needs. My parents had three boys before I came along. I have three older brothers and I am the youngest and only girl. That should have been my first clue that I am different. I don’t want the traditional 9:00 to 5:00 job, five days a week. That is not me. I am not doing that just to fit in with “the norm.” I want to write. I want to be published. I will write and I will be published. I don’t entertain a lot on the weekends. That is not me. I love lazy weekends where I don’t always have to talk to someone. I am not changing that just to fit in with “the norm.” I don’t like to talk a lot on the phone and I don’t always like to text. That is not me. I am not changing that just to fit in with “the norm.” I don’t always like to talk and be friendly when I am out shopping and running errands. Sometimes I just want to get done what I have to do and get back home. That is who I am. I love actual books over e-books. I’d rather hold a book in my hand than read an e-book. That is me! That is okay! So you see, I am who I am. That is perfectly fine with me and it doesn’t have to be fine with anyone else. I am who I am!

Faith, Hope, & Love

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Faith, Hope, & Love

“The darkest night is often the bridge to the brightest tomorrow.”
– Jonathan Lockwood Huie

We never know why some things happen in our life. It is forever a mystery to us as to why we are thrown such curve balls. We may not like it, but we don’t have a choice to go through “the darkest nights” in order to arrive at a “brighter tomorrow.” There isn’t a problem out there that someone has not already gone through or encountered in some way. When you feel like giving up and throwing in the towel, remember there is a light at the end of the tunnel…or at the end of the bridge! This photo of the Mackinaw Bridge, helps me remember that having faith helps us realize that all things are possible. Having hope reminds us that everything will work out and without love, we have nothing. Don’t jump off the bridge half way through. Keep going and your brighter tomorrow will be waiting for you.

“Be patient eno…

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“Be patient enough to live one day at a time as Jesus taught us, letting yesterday go, and leaving tomorrow till it arrives.”
– John F. Newton

What a great piece of advice, but something I do not follow. In today’s world of being busy with work, family, kids, and other priorities, how does one let yesterday go and concentrate on only today? How does one not think about tomorrow and what it will bring or what it could bring? I do not have  the answers because I have never been able to only think about today and live in the present day. I would love to hear from people who can live in the present day and not worry about yesterday or worry about tomorrow. I do think it is time for me to start living in the present moment, in the present day. It is difficult sometimes to let yesterday go and leave tomorrow until tomorrow. However, if we don’t let some things go and leave other things until it happens, if it happens, life will become harder to live. It sure seems that way to me. So if you have any advice on how to do so, I’d love to hear from you!