I was at a recent family gathering where the conversation was bordering on gossip. As the negative comments and judgments started to fly, I jumped on the bandwagon and offered my assessment of the situation only to be quickly called out for my comment.
Not a person involved thought twice about what happened, but my sensitive side was crushed. I am not an unkind person, so what would cause me to make such a comment? I spent the afternoon doing some self-reflecting. It may not seem devastating, but it was a harsh reality check for me. The feelings generated from this experience have lingered in the back of my mind for weeks.
Have you ever had that happen to you before? Some seemingly small incident creates a tidal wave of emotions? I’ve played this interaction over and over in my mind as I have considered my choices for change this year. I’ve contemplated who am I becoming? What do I need to focus on to be a better person? How will I develop my “To-Be” process this year?
Years ago, while study abroad in Israel, a field trip landed us just along the beaches of the Red Sea in the small town of Eilat. With a warning to keep our distance from the coral, we were given a snorkel, flippers and brief “how to” before being left to explore on our own.
Having never snorkeled or even experienced the painful beauty of coral, I ineptly worked my way into the water. I was not 10 feet away from shore when I witnessed another student exiting the water with blood running down his leg – the result of getting too close to the coral.
Early on the morning after a big rain storm, my husband and I set out on a road trip. The clouds were still churning and trying to determine if they had anything to leave behind. As we started over the mountain passes, I could see the sun struggling to make an appearance, and soon I saw my first silver lining. For years I had heard the metaphor, but I hadn’t witnessed one. I tried to capture the glowing edges of the clouds, but my phone didn’t do it justice.
As I’ve thought about the metaphor and the magnificent image now in my mind, I couldn’t help but compare it to the perspective I’ve had from an airplane. From a different vantage point, I’ve watched the sun’s rays reach out and blanket each puff and swirl. Instead of the sun appearing to move around the clouds, it was constant.
Three years ago my husband and I started riding a tandem bike together. It has been a great hobby we can enjoy together. This last year, when my husband upgraded his single road bike, and I inherited his old one. My role has changed from a backseat passenger to being the one in charge.
This spring my daughter and I decided to plant a flower garden. This was not to be just the typical garden filled with store-bought seedlings. Rather, we wanted our garden to flourish with plants we had nurtured from seeds. Moving ahead with our vision, we purchased the little growing aquariums and seeds for a beautiful flower garden. We watered and placed them in the sunlight where they would feel the encouraging rays beat upon the soil and then kept a vigilant eye as the first signs of growth started to push its way through. This process of growth has caused me to reflect on hope.
There is a story, of a grand piano that needed to be moved in a German church many years ago. The community of church members were not skilled professional movers, only volunteers working together. Because of the size of the piano, the job required a carefully orchestrated plan using their strength and coordination. They tried several different techniques, but each resulted in making the piano unstable and it remained immovable.
As they stood around the piano trying to determine the next tactic, one man suggested they stand close together and then lift where they stood.
The solution seemed too simple to work, but they gave it a try, and to their astonishment they found success! The profound truth to their quandary was to lift where they stood.
The Giving Tree tells the story of unconditional love as a tree gives all: her apples, branches, and trunk to a growing boy who is in search of happiness.
Last fall my husband woke up with the idea that he wanted to learn to play the ukulele. Within 12 hours he had a used one in hand and was watching YouTube videos to learn to play. His instructor promised that anyone could master the instrument with just just 10 minutes of practice a day. Initially the 10 minutes seemed reasonable, but soon the path to mastering the new instrument seemed filled with obstacles. The lack of immediate progress did not help to console the pain in his fingers or the pain in our family’s ears. But over time and with daily practice, my husband’s perspective changed from being frustrated he wasn’t “good enough yet” to simply enjoying being able to play – loving the path he was on. Time has also taught our family to appreciate the small improvements and progress he has made.