Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Buliding Memories Not Monetaries

What exactly does Christmas mean to you this year?  Does it mean you are scurrying around finding the perfect gift for your loved one?  Shopping on line with anticipation that your package arrives on time?  Maxing out your credit cards to pay for those  sacred gifts to take a couple of months to pay later?  For many people the stress is too much to endure.  For many years I was that person, stressed to the hilts.  I am sure I added a couple of grey hairs and a wrinkle or two in the process.  Why why why did I put that stress on myself?

This year is so different then any other year for some peculiar reason. I have come to realize that Christmas is not meant to be about stress of the size of the gift or how much money was spent on the gift.  Christmas is a celebration of life  and at the end of the day are you going to remember every gift forty years from now?  Likely not. It is December 12th and I have only bought one gift and oddly I don't care.  

I have told my adult children this year was going to be different., These children whom have always received everything on their wish list.  From laptops to televisions IPhones, PS4's designer clothes and the list goes on and on.  There will be no more expensive gifts that will eventually break and become a distant memory.  Don't get me wrong it is a wonderful moment watching your child's eyes light up on Christmas day when they receive that perfect gift. Perhaps I was over compensating for the hardship my kids had to face.  So many losses and so many bouts of cancer. Too much for kids to see and even understand. Maybe I was trying to fill my Mother's shoes, Mrs Christmas herself, but as much joy she embraced with the season it did cause some stress.

As the year comes to a close I realize I had a great epiphany and I could not be happier.  For much of my life I have been a people watcher, but this year I paid close attention to people. Observing their behaviors and sadly many people are either caught up how much stuff they have or how much better they are or so they think are then others. It doesn't eat me up as it used because I know that I do everything with a kind heart with no intentions and never expect anything in return. I have learned that not all people operate the same way. If you have no value to offer them, suddenly you have no value in their life. It was a hurtful lesson to learn at forty nine, but sadly enough I realize many do not do things with good intentions. I am okay with that though.

So back to the reason of this blog.  Since I realized some people are less than human I decided to do something different this year for Christmas. Instead of focusing on what is under the tree I will switch my focus on who is around the tree.

Let's build memories lasting memories.  Lets laugh and enjoy each others company and realize that we are not all from the same pod, but we are all equally loved regardless of what circumstances we endure.  Intelligence, success, and money do not offer more favoritism nor love when you enter our house.  No judgement is welcome here only love and acceptance.  We have no idea what others are facing behind closed doors so we have no right to judge if someone is in a bad place at the time.  This is when people need us the most and this is when they deserve love without judgement!

Oh he or she is an addict they are unworthy.  In whose opinion?   What people fail to realize is that addiction is an illness and these people are facing their own demons and no doubt have some feelings of shame.  There is no need to make people feel worse by ostracizing them. I am so glad you have the perfect life, but do you really?  Just because you do not have an addiction does not mean you are perfect. I have provided money to the homeless and the smile on their face was worth every penny.  I will continue on my voyage of kindness not judging others and not wanting anything in return.  I like to see smiles.  I like to see people have hope even if it is only for ten minutes.  It is better than no minutes. I would rather walk alone in kindness than to be surrounded in pretentious.

As we grow closer to Christmas remember the reason is for the season.  Look back and reflect and the year gone by.  Could you have done something differently? Treated someone better? Forgiven the unforgivable? Random acts of kindness? Accepting without judgement?  If so then a new year is dawning and you can reflect upon what you may do differently.  We all have a purpose in life otherwise there would be no life.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Breaking Down The Barriers

It has been nearly three years since my best friend has departed from my life.   No one made me laugh the way you had.  All of late dance nights ,the laughter and sometimes the tears.  Time does mend the aching heart, but it does not erase the emptiness I still feel within. 

This emptiness has created an unpleasant barrier in my life.  I am a prodigy of positive energy, however as I study some people and their behaviors it deflates my faith in humanity and for that I tend to keep my distance from people all together.   This barrier is even creating more emptiness and one that I must overcome, but how?  How do I overcome this when my greatest friend is gone?  

This was a friend like no other.  A contagious personality and a flair for life where absolutely every soul was on the same playing field regardless of the status of their bank account or their looks . Because we all know that a gorgeous face doesn’t always represent a gorgeous soul.  And over the years I have crossed paths with many wolves in sheepskin so that would explain my distance.  No matter what difficult circumstance I faced my friend brought a smile to my face.  When I was with her the world did not matter because with her in my life the world was a much better place.

She was in my life for forty six years.  We had some solid and exceptional memories over that time and she kept me humble.  I have learned that life is about building memories and not things because things are nothing if you don’t have someone to share them with.   I would trade every possession I have to just to have one more memory with my friend.  From time to time I hear her in my head saying who gives a crap Jen.  She was proud of me and she always told me that and perhaps I miss that positive reinforcement in my life too.  She was intelligent with people too and she would guide me who was good and who was not so good, but she still always had a smile and I don’t give a crap attitude.  I hope one day I can adopt that attitude too, perhaps as I age I will care less who knows.

I simply do not have the patience nor the time to surround myself with pretentious two faced people regardless of whether they are nice or not.  If you talk smack about someone behind their back then chances are they are talking smack about you behind your back.  I would rather walk alone without drama then be in the company of drama.  I had lost sight of that lately and it never is the quantity of friends it is the quality.  Someone once told me I was to honest.  I wasn’t aware that honesty was a weakness I thought it was a strength.  My friend always respected my honesty because I had the courage to say things no other would. I do everything with an honest heart and with good intentions. If I talk smack I have the courage to do it to your face. And everyone is on the same playing field with me as well.  Things don't impress me people do.  Honest real people do!

Perhaps I am searching for things in others that I am missing from my friend.  I have come to realize there will be no one like her.  I cannot let my disappointment in humanity define me any longer she would never want that for me.  I have to accept that there are self-fulfilling conniving jerks out there and move on.  Just because there are many bad people I suppose there is equally as good people out there.   I also have to accept that no one will be like the friend I lost.    I miss you my dear friend. That friend was my “mom”.

Friday, December 8, 2017

The Leap of Atheism to Faith Who Am I?

Much of my life until early adulthood I was lost and had no real purpose. I was always in some sort of trouble making poor decisions.  Many of these decisions were reckless, however I blamed my childhood for these terrible decisions.  So much of my life was wasted being a victim.  In fact, at that time in my life I really could not see any good in the world.  I was very bitter and angry at the world. I was an atheist and never believed in God.   I believed in science and there was not enough evidence for me to support the bible, the crucifixion, Jesus nor God.  I believed in evolution as that was the only acceptable explanation as how we evolved as humans.

I was happy with my beliefs and went about my life even though my fathers side of the family was Roman Catholic.  I had zero interest in God and thought that he was superficial. I had so many questions.  Like why do small children get cancer, or why are small children sexually abused and so much more.  If we are God’s children, then how could he leave his small children vulnerable?  It didn’t make sense to me, so I abolished him from my life.  I won’t lie there were moments that I reached out to him, but every prayer it seemed had gone unanswered.

My parents never really pushed religion on us and I did not see them practicing religion, so it was normal for me not to believe.  I thought the people who believed in Jesus were freaks and delusional.  It really bothered me and if any one spoke of religion and I would shut it down.  I mean come on if Jesus can heal the sick then why is there so much illness?  This was just preposterous.  I now know my non-belief was fear and ignorance as I did not want to face my own demons. I believed if I did not believe in Christianity I was safe from persecution and judgement.  I could not have been more wrong!

I continued my path of self destruction feeling a sense of entitlement treating people like garbage.  I was extremely judgemental of others giving zero concern of their circumstances. I made fun of the homeless and the poor. I was an evil person and the funny thing about it all is people liked me and thought I was cool.  That really does not say to much about the people I kept in my company. In fact, one of my college professors said that I was a free spirit.  What does that even mean?  Was this supposed to be the path in my life?  Was I supposed to be riddled with bitterness?  It seemed normal for to me to behave this way and quite honestly, I did not know any other way.  I was not mature enough to understand that these behaviours stemmed from a dysfunctional childhood.  We are prodigies of our childhood and the environment we are exposed to.  Regrettably this destruction lasted for many years.

When I became a young mother, I was still wallowing in my self pity.  I would continually position myself to terrible situations believing that this was my life and I really did not deserve any better.  I was impatient and bitter and unfortunately my daughter was amidst it all.  So, the cycle perpetuates and now she plays a victim and blames me for all her inadequacies and poor decisions.  She claims she is over it, but in a heartbeat, she will quickly remind me and others how horrible I was or am. I suppose that is to be expected at that age because I did not have the level of maturity to identify were my anger and bitter stemmed from so it was easy to blame others for the bad decisions I was making.  That is one of my biggest disappointments is perpetuating a cycle I never wanted to repeat.  

Sometimes I think we don’t even do it consciously as it ingrained in is so deeply it becomes habit. Thankfully I have realized this. The journey that took me there though was not what you may think, and it took considerable strength and self discovery and most of all faith.  Yes faith!  I think these trials and tribulations in life was a journey a journey I had to live to value the true meaning of life and sometimes loosing life makes you realize how sacred our life truly is. 

At twenty-nine the word “Cancer” hit home.  I had heard it before, but it did not even mean anything it was a disease that had devastating outcomes, but it surely would not affect me nor my family. The diagnosis was not just cancer, but terminal cancer.  What did that even mean? I had no idea I was na├»ve, so I instantly went on a quest to educate myself on the diagnosis of my father.  The outcome was grim and then it hit me.

At first, I became numb and was in total disbelief. In a heartbeat in my life forever changed.  I was consumed with the cancer diagnosis and spent every moment researching the disease, the prognosis and the outcome.  I refused to accept the prognosis I believe this is what we call denial. It just didn’t seem fair. So, the bitterness within me escalated to new heights. I kept it at bay, but there was a poison there.  I was a volcano spilling out lava ready to erupt. I could not fix this, and it tore me up inside.
Words can not even express the helplessness I felt.  As I saw the disease progress the helplessness grew I became desperate. I was so confused and displaced and that is when I turned a corner in my life.  I went to church to pray.

For twenty-nine years I ostracized religion, but this was my final plea for healing.  I went to a church at lunch time and there was no one there.  I walked up to the prayer rail and wept for healing.  I felt a warmth in there like I never felt before and then father Mark came up to me and asked if I was okay. I was still weeping, and he was so kind and spoke to me with such passion. It was then that I discovered I was facing my own mortality and it scared me.  It was that faithful day my life changed for ever.

I wanted to learn about religion to see if I could extinguish my doubts. Immediately, unexplainable events were happening in my life. I kept seeing Father Mark every where I went.  As these events were occurring I was like wow there is no scientific explanation for this. I turned a corner in my life and leapt over to faith in Christianity.  I was now doubting the theory of evolution and there was more solitude in believing in eternal life.  Knowing that I would be reuniting with my loved ones was much more fulfilling then the other.

 Now I am on the other side of the fence and face the same persecution I once gave others.  It saddens me that others think that the church is just a cash grab. It those very people that have no clue what churches do for our local communities.  Food banks, foot-care for diabetics, winter jacket programs, refuge relief and so much more.  How could they possibly know?  Is helping people less fortunate a cash grab? I don’t think so.  Another thing is everyone is welcome without judgement nor your wallet.

Does the church want more people? absolutely they do.  Why? Because  more fortunate people can absolutely make a difference. Not only that, it can bring hope to people that have no longer have hope, or a facing some other challenge in your life without judgement.  I remember a time at church when there as a gentleman sitting in the back.  I never saw him before, but it was clear he was there to seek solitude. Although there is no stereotype at church he was different not someone you would see there.   My son could not help but notice his presence.  There was something evidently wrong with him.  I think he felt awkward, but the community welcomed him as all others. Later when I looked over at him at the last hymn he was sobbing, and my belief is they were tears of hope. This resonated with me for awhile and it left such a good feeling in my heart. I never saw him again, but it demonstrated that the church is always there to embrace whom who need to be embraced.

This by no means is me advocating for the church its me advocating for hope when the world can be a cruel and unkind place at times. When your circumstances seem bleak then the warmth of a church may give you the solitude you need at that time. Guaranteed you will feel a sense of belonging and what seemed to be a bleak situation now becomes a distant memory.  

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A Contaminated Soul Healed

There are times in our lives that there seems to be no end to our hardships.  There is one mountain after another to climb. Sometimes each mountain seems higher then the one before.  It is so easy to get discouraged with the endless journey of hardship and bad breaks. If we let our hardships and bad breaks define our present and our future then the hardship will continue to progress into even bigger mountains.
I spent most of my life wallowing in my hardships and continuously focusing on my problems it was nearly impossible to see the good.  My thoughts consumed me day and night and I honestly thought that there was no end to the hardship.  I had accepted that this was the way of my life and that nothing would come easy.  Life was a battle a very difficult journey.  This journey was turning me into a very bitter and vengeful person. I did not have the capacity or the know how to snap out of it. It just kept perpetuating and eating away at my soul until there was virtually nothing left of it.  Just an angry bitter soul that did not even know what happiness was anymore.  Anger was the only emotion I knew and happy people just annoyed me. I felt robbed and cheated and hated life. I went about my daily business, but did so miserably.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Suicide Kills Another One

When I woke up Friday it was like any other day.  It was 4:00 am and I sipped on my coffee with my husband and felt blessed and grateful to live another day. Just opening your eyes are two blessings to be grateful for.  I grab for my phone to see what the world was up too while I was sleeping.  Social media is far more informative then the news or the newspapers. I  generally start with Facebook and then move on to the other outlets.

This day though was drastically different then all the others when I was browsing Facebook because I came across some really troubling posts.   They are below and I have changed the names to protect the privacy of the family

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Ugh I Am A Facebook Junkie I need An Intervention

Sorry for the long-winded post, but I just feel compelled to say something and it may enrage you so if it does feel free to remove as a friend I promise I will not get offended. I joined Facebook in 2007 or when ever it was deployed. I was so excited because I could connect with some people in my life that I had not seen nor spoken to for a long time. At first it was great, but now I am plagued with utter disappointment.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Mirror Mirror On The Wall

Are you happy with your reflection?

After speaking with you last week I took your advice and thought about it and you were right. I should look inside myself as opposed to others and it was great advice, but since you are so busy giving great advice then I suggest you take it yourself. When I dig down deep I find a compassionate, caring non-judgmental person whom chooses see’s the best in everyone despite their evident flaws.