So Many Broken Roads We Don’t Know About

My niece, Susannah, found an archived Decatur, Illinois newspaper article about an accident my mother was in at the age of 22. The name of the driver was a man my mother would marry the following year. Another article revealed that man drowned in Vegas at the age of forty-eight. My brother was sixteen when this stranger died. He wouldn’t know the man was his father until years later.

The info triggered an uncomfortable realization; I didn’t give my mother enough credit for her difficult life.

Or, my brother for his disjointed life.

Or, so many others for the painfully broken roads they have traveled.

Maybe the realization will help me be nicer to my fellow screwed-up traveling partners.

Tall Order

How calloused of me to expect human beings to be “normal” when most of us have gone through debilitating pain.

How naïve of me to expect people to be “mature” when most of us were raised by flawed and confused adults.

How short-sighted of me to be intolerant of people who are trying their hardest to make sense of their own crazy circumstances.

Image result for doing the best we can quotes

Too Much Inexplicable Evidence

There are days.

There are days when I come face to face with the ugly side of life; when my heart asks, “So where is your God now?”

In order to survive, I have to do a quick tour of the inexplicable things that have happened to me over the years: times when…

  • resources have come out of nowhere
  • people were extraordinarily generous
  • pain-relief came in the nick of time
  • I was miraculously rescued from threatening circumstances
  • life was overwhelmingly beautiful

Then, I can relax into what I don’t understand.

How to Instantly Improve Communications

A disgruntled employee told me she could write a book about the dysfunctional communication in her company. After finally accepting some of the responsibility for the dysfunction, she is now sending me copies of praise emails she is sending and receiving from her team. The latest ended with this exclamation:

“…tears of joy! How can you not feel positive when you’re making other people feel good?! Thanks for having such a positive impact on my life – work and personal.”

 

There is only one big obstacle (ourselves)

Separating us from this joy (ourselves)

But, when scaled

Leaves us with more

Than we ever

Dared to dream

Image result for the power of thanks

Image result for the power of thanks

The fast train to better, sweeter, and richer communication…

I Pledge Allegiance to Living Stress-Free

I pledge allegiance to living stress-free

Remembering worry doesn’t work for me

And neither does angry fretting (unfortunately)

I pledge allegiance to living stress-free

Because controlling people and things 

(I don’t control) is the job of Kings

Not me.

Truthfully

My worry and stress never helped one single soul

Only pulled me deep into a sucking hole

Where there was no benefit for me or anyone

Just an embarrassing waste of adrenalin*

*Some of us, who insist upon worrying, believe, erroneously, that the opposite of worrying is not caring. However, this is not the case. Often, surrendering is the only wise way to effectively care…and much more efficient.

If I Want a Big Life

If I want a big life

It starts with a smile on my face

Not in that very small place

Where everything I see

Is bigger, better, or more than me

If I want a big life

I can’t wallow in some small slight

What someone said, or what isn’t right

If I want a big life

It’s me who must live 

Worthy of big

Worthy of noble

Worthy of strong

Furnishing My Inner Life

“Suffering always brings new furniture with it.”

I woke up from a dream where this phrase was being spoken to me by some sort of sage. What the heck?

As I thought about it throughout the day, this was how it decoded:

When suffering comes into my life it always brings new “furniture” for the remodel of my inner life, and (after the pain subsides) my “accommodations” are improved. Afterwards, I will reside more comfortably with myself or be able to provide hospitality to someone else coming into my life later.

In the middle of suffering, I cannot see the new furniture while attempting to light my way with the “matches” of my own wit. But, when I give up trying to fathom the unfathomable, there they are: ghostly, shrouded, half-faded, and half-formed shapes of new wisdom, awareness, and sensitivity.

Tread softly

For this is holy ground

Could we see with seeing eyes

The place we stand upon

Is Paradise

-Christina Rossetti

Image result for christina rossetti quotes 

When You Can’t

When you can’t do it for yourself

Do it for those who never had a chance

Who died before their time

For those who had to push through the pain

Every day

Or trudge through battle fields, cold, and rain

For those who kept going when there was no light

Who kept fighting

After they had lost the fight

 

Do it for them, if you can’t do it for you

Be the ball, take the shot, cop the attitude

You’ve always had enough to master today

Now go and give it away

Whatever it is

You got this.

Image result for i got this meme

The Crazy Truth

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.

Image result for it is what it is quotes

Image result for abnormal is the new normal

Accept it and laugh on.

Shantaram, Shaken, and Surprised

Image result for shantaram quotes

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.