Tuesday, August 30, 2011

There but for the grace of God Go I - Again

When I am feeling that someone has “pushed my buttons”, I find a quiet space within my being to take time to figure out what is up with me that I need to examine these feelings that are emerging?
What is it that I need to learn?
It wasn’t always this way. I used to actually think that someone else had that kind of control over my feelings. That it was somehow her fault! I have learned that it doesn’t really matter what anyone else does or says, but how I handle it… how I behave… how I feel... that really matters.
The other day, once again, an acquaintance told me an outright lie. The first time I noticed that she had lied to me, I was absolutely shocked, and I pondered about it for far too long. And then it happened again… and again… and again…
What causes someone to lie?
Is every lie equal?
When I sit with my dad through surgery and he asks me if there is a lot of blood, which I know if I answer affirmatively is going to cause him even more stress, is calmly saying, “No.” an acceptable lie?
To cite the humorous words of Jerry Seinfeld, are there must-lie situations?
As a teacher working with young ones, if a child lied, I felt that it was important to call her or him on it so that a pattern would not be set. This can be done with absolute gentleness and support. In my experience, children lie to protect themselves or to protect someone else and the more that they “get away” with a lie, the more they seem to do it. And yet, if I knew a child would be treated harshly at home for an incident at school, I too have lied, by omission of details, to protect that little one.
But when it is an adult who is pulling me in for what appears to be no particular reason, what then?
As I write, I am only beginning to come to terms with this, knowing that it is not for me to judge the liar as I too have lied and may lie again, but to hold her with compassion in hopes that she realizes the burden that her lying is creating for her. In the interim it is also crucial for me and my well being to step away from this person.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

On Being a Snob - There But For the Grace of God Go I

     One morning a good friend gave me a virtual slap in the face. He didn't realize this until later, but it was a gift that I am grateful for. We were discussing advancing communications technology and our mutual love of gadgets and I was listing off all of the “stuff” that my teens possess. He began to wonder about those children who come from “have-not” environments and at what a disadvantage they might be at in ways surrounding belonging but also worldly knowledge and academically. His thinking immediately went into a “what can I do” mode. Mine did not. My thinking immediately judged particular families I have known, who do not provide the basic nutritional needs nor do they provide proper winter clothing for their children and yet with the resources that they do have, they buy them lots of electronic gadgets. 
     I live an abundant life and am grateful to be able to offer my children so much and in turn I know how grateful they are to have a safe and loving home that provides them, not only with their basic needs, but many wants. When one has the extra wants, it is easy to say that love, food, and shelter should always be the priority before any of the extras, but this is viewed through these privileged life eyes of mine.
     It is not for me to judge.
     There but for the Grace of God go I.

     Just as I am parenting to the best of my abilities, in this moment, with what I know right now, so are other parents. Just as my heart bursts with joy when my son opened up his electronic drum kit and my daughter her iPad, so do other parents’ hearts burst with joy to watch their children open up their treasures. 
     There is no hierarchy in this life that we live, no one person is better or worse than another and there are no excuses for being a snob and judging how someone chooses to parent. 
     Thanks Tim for the reminder as something could befall me and I too could be in a similar position.
     There but for the Grace of God go I.