Reflections, Remembering and Responding

What a year!  Here it is almost mid-March and it seems like time doesn’t wait for anything.  My life has changed so much in a year and I know I’m not alone.  I went to work two years for a company on a part-time basis.  I love my job and I love the woman I worked with.  We made a good team.  In October I was given a promotion to where I’m now a manager. My responsibility has increased

School challenged me more than it ever has.  I didn’t do well in two of my classes but I still managed to pass.  The other two courses I passed fairly well and was invited to a competition.  I placed 4th in the state overall.  That should make me feel exuberant and to an extent it does, but more importantly, I’m relieved.   The stress is behind me. Or should I say one chapter ended and I’ve picked up the reins and am back in school to obtain more certifications and knowledge.

As I reflect over the last few months, I’m reminded that assumptions are a dangerous thing.  It’s easy to assume that things are not as you may believe.  It’s easy to see the world through tunnel vision but it is never easy to step back.  It’s never easy to recognize that you hurt people without even meaning to.  We are human and we make mistakes.  The question is are we willing to own those mistakes and not blame the world for those errors?

I’ve watched people I care for greatly, bicker because of their political and religious affiliations.  I’ve diffused many conversations about immigrant issues – reminding others that we were all once immigrants.  Our ancestors came from overseas.  Granted, they eventually became legal citizens but the laws were different back then.  Government control has gotten to the point that everything is so nit picky but if we don’t adhere to the laws then why not let everyone have their way?  It sets a dangerous precedence.

We could start a debate with this and other hot topics.  But the point then becomes who’s right?  Does it even matter who’s right and who’s wrong?  We are so busy throwing stones at each other and belittling each other that we have forgotten what we really are.  We are people.  We are people who crave knowledge, learning, acceptance, love, forgiveness, equality, and I’m sure I’m leaving out more but you get the idea.

Is it really worth humiliating people just because we don’t agree with them?  I look to God for guidance.  He always tells me to shut up and listen and sometimes that is really hard for me.  I process everything out loud.  I get that from my Dad.  God tells me he’s in charge and I don’t like it one bit.  I like to fix things.  I don’t like change and yet everything is consistently changing.

I remember being a very little girl in the first grade.  My parents told me that we were going to move after the semester.  I was so excited.  I didn’t know that my teacher was living with a man.  She knew my Dad was a pastor and for whatever reason, she chose to humiliate me every chance she got.  I don’t know if my Dad’s profession made her feel judged or not.  I certainly hope it didn’t.  I was very proud of my dad and still am to this day.  Anyway, she took it upon herself to make me cry repeatedly.  I couldn’t do anything to please her.   I would wet my britches, I would go home in tears for the way she chastised me in front of my classmates and she would make me feel so inferior.  I was a very smart child but a very emotionally stunted one.  I suppressed her treatment of me for years.  In fact, I was an adult before I was willing to deal with the emotional scars she inflicted on me and I still struggle to this day because of her.  But you know something?  I forgive her.  Because even though she made me feel that way, I was a child.  I didn’t understand what I did to warrant her behavior and while I now know that it wasn’t me, it was her, it does me no good to hold onto a grudge.

I’ve helped more people than I can count over the years financially, personally, professionally, and spiritually.  I know that I’ve been abused in those relationships.  I forgive them too.  More importantly, I forgive myself.  I’m not willing to be someone’s punching bag.  I’m also not willing to allow their abuse to dictate my life or my circumstance.

God tells us that we have to learn to forgive ourselves and others at least seven times seventy.  There are days that it’s really hard to do this.   Sometimes people think that others will get their due with karma and more or less this is correct.  But then we put ourselves in a role of judge and jury.  “Let he who is among sin cast the first stone”.

I’m grateful that God sees me as his child.  I don’t have the answers.  I don’t claim to be a know it all.  I do know that as long as I’m willing to own my mistakes and own my faults, that I will be alright.  I’m willing to take the journey that God is laying before me.

In finding my journey, I’ve had to learn to respond to what God tells me.  When my dad died, our church was all but non-existent on social media.  I heard God tell me to change this.  I had no clue what I was doing but out of his whispers in my ear, I’m learning new skills every day that will enable me to flourish and not only help the church to continue to reach outside its walls but to change lives.  Communication is a necessary tool and if we don’t find a way to convey information frequently, then people are left out of the loop.  Just because I think I’ve informed someone of something doesn’t mean that they received that communication.  I could have information in my mind and not thought anything else about it and forgot to relay that information.  It all comes down to time-saving modes.

This isn’t about what we want to do.  This is about what needs to be done.  We all need to learn to be a little nicer to each other.  We need to find our own voices and speak up when we are being abused in any way.  We need communication.  We need each other.  What we don’t need is bigotry, bullying, complaints about everything and everyone, judging each other, and negativity.  We don’t need drama.  We do need God.  There are some people who don’t believe in God.  Okay.  That’s fine too.  But you believe in something.  You may not share a religious view but at the same time, don’t rule all Christians, Muslims, Islams, Judaism, and other cultures in a box.  Not everyone is the same.  Not everyone is a hypocrite and chances are if you are judging those people who believe in what you don’t that you have nothing better to do than to instigate issues.

Yes, there are bad Christians.  When I say this, I mean that there will always be folks who claim to be followers of Jesus, yet their actions state otherwise.  There are also bad people in this world who are not Christian.  The same is true for any other religious group.  My point is that unless you walk a mile in someone’s shoes that you have no way of knowing what set someone off.  We are a society of dreams.  Some of those dreams are met while others are crushed.  We are a society of love and yet through that love heinous acts happen.  When they do happen though, love helps pull us through the ashes and we are able to regain a part of our lives.  The question then becomes what are we willing to do to respond to our callings?  Try to be a little more understanding of each other.  Patience is never easy but it’s a necessary tool in order to succeed.  Enjoy the rest of the week.  Peace.

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