I hold these truths to be self-evident (and freeing):
1. None of us are normal.
2. All of us are more screwed-up than we realize.
3. It’s okay to be a work-in-progress. (Embrace criticism.)
4. We make things worse by pretending to be normal and projecting blame and shame on everyone else.
5. Delighting in each other (and ourselves) in spite of the crazy is the way out of self-inflicted torture.
6. “The only way to beat my crazy was by doing something even crazier.” (from Silver Lining Playbook) Translation: By focusing fanatically on a larger goal and larger world outside of my suffocating angst, I overcame it.
Accept it and laugh on.
If you haven’t seen this delightful 2013 movie About Time, it is a refreshing reminder to relish life, one ordinary day at a time. If you don’t want to see the movie, or feel like your life is too ordinary to get excited about, try this:
- Look out your window as if you were on vacation, traveling to your city and your neighborhood for the very first time
- See your family and friends as if for the first time
- Forget about what you want them to do differently and delight in them just as they are
Stay tune for great joy. And…it’s about time!
This is one of the major themes of Gregory David Robert’s experience as portrayed in the book (soon to be movie), Shantaram. Also in Tim Tebow’s book, Shaken. Although, one book deals with the dark realities of life and the other, mostly with those of a fallen football player, the lesson is the same; losing is often the win we need for the long-haul. Accept the pain of losing as it comes, and our character development and re-direction will have countless beneficiaries.
I was pleasantly surprised with that reality recently when my challenged nephew was invited to an event sponsored by Tim Tebow’s ministries; ministries that would not exist if Tim Tebow had not been kicked off of three NFL teams.
The most moving moment in the movie Hacksaw Ridge was the prayer for “just one more” from the medic who needed the strength to rescue just one more of the seventy-five wounded soldiers he saved on Hacksaw Ridge during World War II. I thought of that resolve and request for strength today when I was facing my weensy little tasks and feeling the lack of motivation and energy.
So when I am overwhelmed by the prospect of making it through a “difficult” day, the answer lies in simply making it through the next step, not the whole frickin list.
Just this one breath. Just this one task.
“Just one more,” seventy-four times, saved seventy-five lives in impossible circumstances.
Whether we know it or not, our willingness to persevere will always make a difference for others.
In the movie Blast from the Past, Brenden Frazer’s character comes out of the bunker he has lived in for thirty years and just stares with awe at the sky. Everyone around thinks he’s crazy…except a small child.
I included the link, just in case you need a laugh and want to feel marvelous.
In this blog, I try not to waste your time with platitudes about gratitude. But, I wouldn’t mind if you felt just a little guilt after reading the following quote by a blind/deaf/mute woman:
Do an inventory. Get real.
Make other people feel marvelous.
Right before my sister’s body convulsed in the terrible grip of death, I received a gift from her learning-challenged son. He had been with me at her hospice bedside saying goodbye. After asking his mother to say hello to Elvis for him in heaven (which even garnered a wisp of a smile from her solemn, sedated face), he gave me his mother’s hand and said, “She’s gone. God took her with Him. Couldn’t you feel God here in the room?”
His confidence that she was no longer in that body has saved me from reliving the strange savagery of her end…over and over again.
I was reminded of this mystery of our souls’ departure by Temple Grandin’s story of Autism and her sensitivity to the death of animals. When the body of a euthanized horse collapsed, limp and empty, she asked about the spirit, “Where did it go?”
Also in Elizabeth J. Church’s words about the heroin’s father’s death in The Atomic Weight of Love: “Where did all of that energy go? What happened to the bounty of his being, his love for us, for me?”
It’s an important observance and question. Those who see a bit differently often see more than the rest of us.
It’s the name of a New York Times Bestseller, the name of a movie coming out in 2017, and a quote from the true story that needs to be told.
It is also something that I need to hear when I am down on myself, when discouraged, when thinking my life doesn’t matter, or when it seems there is no hope. I need to remember that we are all in this together and that what I think and do matters in ways that are not obvious.
You are needed. We are needed…whatever else we may be thinking that contradicts this truth. Hold on. Reach out. There are hands reaching out to yours that desperately need you to reach out to them.
Watch the trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8MWxtpjVp8.
10. He was uniquely weird.
9. We both loved Gilda Radner and Ella Fitzgerald.
8. He was a human and he owned it.
7. He played well with others (most of the time).
6. He did nice things for people.
5. He did his work with reckless abandon.
4. He was outrageous.
3. He was passionate.
2. He was real.
1. He was real funny.
Not a bad list for anyone to emulate.
And they wouldn’t go away
just by turning on the light
And sometimes they came out of our mouths
and ruined relationships
Or bred other monsters
until there was no room for anything else
But fear and anger in our head
the monster food that kept them fed
Until, finally, we had had enough one day
and promptly kicked them out on their arses
Preferring to spend our lives for better things
than ghostly fantasies and zombie farces
I don’t know about you, but when I hang out in shallow water with guppies, I start thinking and acting like a guppy, and forget there are bigger fish to catch.
The pressing issue is…I won’t realize it.
So, what are the warning signs that this is happening?
- Talking about petty things (my little guppy interests) all the time
- People in my life seem boring or bored with me
- Attempting to relieve the pain of my impotence with addictions
- Living vicariously through sports, games, movies, or TV
- Complaining, criticizing, condemning, and comparing myself to everyone
- Obsession about my own safety
A frequent depth-check routine.