hafacenturyncounting

Motivated by a lack of material.

Archive for the month “October, 2011”

Private Wars In Public Places

Have you ever walked in on an argument, be it a couple or co-worker, family, friend, acquaintance, or stranger? What’s your first thought…. AWKWARD, huh …..

I am not a finger-pointer, I consider myself a being who observes and reports. I am opinionated, thus the blog clearly states what it is and I can be about. If you come in here this is what you will get; do not be surprised, do not be offended, do not be afraid to comment, and if you don’t like the way it feels/sounds/reads do not feel as though you have to come back.

Ah, the internet a tool that has made it possible for us to travel the world and never get out of our underwear or brush our teeth. Bad news for the fashion industry and the field of Dentistry. The internet has given us another way to peek into people’s personal lives and relationships too. Social networks do a variety of things; they help us date, find long lost friends, loved ones , etc. However, you have to beware.

There is a danger in living your life out on the web. It is just like opening up your mouth too soon and once it is out there well then it is too late. I have seen  sexual innuendos, personal loss, and fights. The fights are the ones I am addressing here. While with the other two it is debatable as to whether they belong in a private setting, the fight definitely should  be taken care of in a “one-on-one”. It is childish, cowardly, petty, embarrassing and it serves no purpose other than to fuel more fighting and misunderstanding. Unless the intention is to produce more ill feelings, this is NOT the way to go.

If you have personal battle handle it in a personal fashion. Be direct and upfront; conduct the discussion between the parties that it concerns, for they truly are the only ones who matter. If you put your life on the web like this for support, so others will tell you that you are right and the other person is wrong; consider this these outside people are ONLY getting your side of the story and at best most of us give a diluted version of what really happened, what is really going on, and other insignificant little things like FACTS.

Putting personal disagreements on the web turns your life into a “soap-opera”, and while the “soaps” are entertaining people soon grow tired of them and change the channel.

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And Yes Christians Do Get Mad At God

We are only human. We need someone to blame and who better to bare the burdens of our lives than God. However, when things go wrong this is a place where we cry out to God. We scream to the tops of our lungs  for His help, and then when things do not go our way we blame Him.

Where does this all come from?In our faith journeys lots of us misunderstand our positions as well as our relationship with God. Saying you are a Christian and actually doing something active that demonstrates it are two very distant and different things.

Think of  the happy, good times; there is joy in your life and all is well, you couldn’t ask for more. Yet during those times do you stop and thank God, do you look to do something unselfish for someone else? If you do is it in a passing thought, and with the feeling you will get around to that later.

Let’s switch reels here and go to the down, sad times. When you are in the place of need, when you cannot see any way out. Do you look for God? Of course you do.  If He does not answer right away or in the way YOU think He should, how do you feel? Probably disappointed, maybe abandoned, perhaps betrayed, and what about anger.

Whew, who are we to be angry with God? We don’t have the right, but I am guessing this very thing  may have happened to most of us at one time or another. I think a good place to find and examine this phenomenon is in our state of loss. It is a very sensitive and vulnerable place, but I have to ask you to go there. Think about the person and the time, recall all the emotion if you can. Did you realize that God was right there with you? Through the turmoil and anguish  did you realize that if it were not for the Lord you could not survive.

The good news is God is full of grace and forgiveness. He understands us and our flaws. He knows that during bad times our weakness will overtake what we know is right, but that is why He tells us that He is always there for us. Best of all He actually is. God’s comfort and presence are beyond compare. In those difficult times when you are looking for someone to blame for all of your pain; look to God, engage in serious prayer, you will find the understanding and peace you need instead.

Back To Where We Started

“The more things change the more they stay the same.” I was once told this in passing by a friend. At the time it was directed at me, now the tables are turned and I will redirect that same statement at this same friend and a couple of others. I wonder how astute they are, I wonder if any of them will know or even suspect that I am sending  this out to them. This is not mean, it is not a “dig” at any of them. Simply stated, it is just an observation.

Have you noticed how you tend to think of people in the time and state in which you last saw them? You see a child of a friend and first thing that comes out of your mouth is, “Wow, you sure have grown”. Why do we think everything revolves around us? That question asked and once answered that may explain how we can allow our minds to get to such a place.

Reuniting with people allows us an unique opportunity to visit a place that no longer exists. It seems the older we get the more we want to be in that place. It is safe and always open for alterations, even if these same alterations are not true to form. I can, at last, now say that my visits to this Xanadu has become less intriguing. The inhabitants have changed so much due to the inevitable, I sigh with relief that I  can always make a non-committal stop-over and not be bound to that place with them.

To the afore mentioned individuals I laughingly acknowledge and point out the avoidance. It was unnecessary; for we as adults are afforded what escaped us as youths, the ability to say we have had enough or even no just because we want to without further explanation. We must welcome and encourage change, because change is progress. I do not desire to be in numerous places of my past, but there are some parts of it and some individuals that I would like to remain CURRENT with. By saying I would like to remain current simply means, there is a point of interaction where we can be in the now and it is safe.

If You’re Going Stare, Wave.

Didn’t your parents tell you it was impolite to stare? When my contemporaries and I were small children, not listening to or disobeying what Mom and Dad said to do met with serious consequences. We learned at an early age that looking at someone for an extended period of time generally was not complementary, with that being said one puts oneself in a very precarious position and no small child should have such an option.

On that note I am going to make sure it is understood that staring is something that I RARELY do. While my preference would be to say never, I refrain from using such an adverb. Human Beings do not exist in a state of absoluteness when we talk about emotions, personality traits, and such. Therefore, I am sticking with “rarely”. It is just plain rude.

Now I am sure we all can reference doing this very same thing and it was far from insulting. There are some very beautiful beings and they are very worthy of taking notice of. One can be easily caught off guard and in those cases excused for the act.

Upon our move south some 18 years ago we met a very  southern woman and her equally southern husband. We will call her CeeCee and her husband Carl.  To characterize CeeCee, she was a curly-red haired imp. I imagine there was a bit of Scots-Irish in her. She and I hung out together for a bit.  Our families even traveled to the North Georgia mountains, that was a trip and a half. We were introduced to, in my opinion, horrible boiled peanuts and dining with strangers. CeeCee and Carl loved these traditions. My spouse, forever the “yankee/militant former black panther” type, was not so enthused. He had noted on numerous occasions since our arrival of the locals extended gawks. CeeCee said,” We do stare a lot in the south”. Let me get back to what this was really about though. Staring was just a jumping off point for me. Is there ever really an excuse for being rude?

You see given enough time one can find an explanation for virtually anything; but just because you can explain it, doesn’t excuse it. You may say, “I didn’t mean anything by it or I always do that”. You must understand that perceptions play a key role in how particular acts are dealt with, so you don’t get to tell someone else how they should feel about a given situation.

Culture, age, region, and religious influences will affect the way we respond to one another. If only “When in Rome do as the Romans do” were a practicable rule of thumb; unexpected release of gas,  loud outburst of laughter, and yes  lengthy uninterrupted looks would be accepted and disregarded. Since that is NOT the case the next time you find yourself involved in such a situation, if you are the one  staring do a save and throw up a greeting with a wave. If you don’t there is a possibility the one who is being stared at may in a not-so-subtle way throw up a greeting to you, but keep a few of their fingers in the down position.

When To Say When

Joe Louis comes to my mind, not because I remember his career or admire the sport of boxing. I think of him because my parents talked about the way he went out.

The Limelight has to be a fabulous, enchanted place. Countless celebrities and athletes cannot seem to  be out of it without a real fear of “turning to dust”. Nothing seems clear to them as the “light” begins to fade, not records, not history, not fame, fortune, or family can rate with that light.

I am a football fan and I fondly recall how Steve Young, Phil Sims, and a couple others of the era begged “to go back in” even after multiple concussions. CONCUSSIONS!!!!!!! Love of the game, lack of regard for life or just plain insanity. More recently we have seen this with Donovan McNabb and Brett Favre, the same type of desire to “go back in one more time”.

Dare I broach a favorite of so many as Michael Jackson? I dare, for Michael’s incessant need to be in the limelight, to be adored by thralls of people made him make and be subject to countless looks altering surgeries, odd lifestyles, relationship catastrophes, and medicinal addictions which ultimately would bring a too early end to his very life. A life  already filled with loving and adoring fans, successes of his industry that have and could continue to go on for years, still it was not enough.

I can liken this desire to that of a drug or alcohol abuser or to one that over-eats, the benefits of proper use quickly can turn disastrous when control is lost and one runs rampant. Obsession and /or addiction become your reality. You cannot take control when you have none to possess.

When one allows others and outside forces to be the sole  and/or significant guide to determine their success and self-worth, the danger of failure becomes inevitable and one puts oneself at the mercy of a source that is  flighty and uncertain.

I watched some of these same athletes raise their fists to the Lord, I have heard the interviews where the glory-seekers give God all of the glory, but yet their master is NOT our Heavenly Father. God gives you peace in times of turmoil, he provides you with warmth and safety if you let him in, and He will never leave you in good times or bad.

When I see these people running toward the limelight, I know they are not in touch with the Lord. If they were the light they would be running toward would be His; their life would be fulfilled beyond the full stadiums and auditoriums, adoring fans, crowds screams. The fulfillment would come from the inside to the out not the reverse. They don’t know when to stop, because they really do not know what they are chasing. How can they ever know when they have had enough?

While this piece began with the focus being on celebrity and fame, it does touch those of us who are just “Everyday-Joes”. If one does not know when to say when; if one does not know when it is time to stop or even go in a different direction, it is simply because they are searching for the answer in the wrong place.

Deal With It

I read an inspiring piece this morning, it was in regards to relationships with loved ones. It was not unusual; for it dealt with how limited and uncertain our time on this Earth is, and how we ought to let loved ones know they are loved every day. For as certain as it is that we have loved ones, there is or will be turmoil.

My personal friends and family know that I am an active participant in conflict on a daily basis. I welcome debate and exchanges. They also know I am a “head-on” type and this clashes with my attempts to be a more “gentle-christian” type of individual. I cannot say I have mastered the art of being direct with compassion, and if I am honest I have to say there are often minimal efforts made depending on the circumstances and individual (s) involved. Big surprise, partial confession; no on part one and affirmative on part two.

I completely agree with what I read this morning. I learned that lesson long ago and began practicing what I learned. The problem is the challenges of dealing with individuals. What about the exceptions and the “what-ifs”? What do you really do when those loved ones that you cherish so much happen to be taken from you during that time of turmoil? Truth be known it is not that easy to say at the conclusion of an argument, “yeah well I love you so much”. Be realistic, in most arguments one is caught-up in the moment.

Now I have to get away from sounding so callous and mechanical, now I have to talk about one being the bigger person. There is a pregnant pause here, because I had to take in air. It is not ALL ABOUT YOU, let me make that clear. Now stop taking yourself so very serious, stop feeling sorry for YOU, and look at the big picture. This means saying I am sorry when you are not necessarily the one at fault. It means actively pursuing someone who seemingly does not want to be sought out.

In some cases one has to be away from their normal character, but in this process  the strength of that same character is demonstrated. I am not by any stretch saying this will be easy, but it is easier than some of the other alternatives.  Don’t sell yourself or the ones you love short here. In this direct “deal with it” attitude you come face to face with real feelings and emotions, this allows you to get to some things instead of running away from them.

“I love you but I don’t like you”, may seem cliche’ at times yet often times it is so very true.  You just don’t loose that love for someone because they hurt you or made you angry. Yet that anger and hurt are all so real as well. It is not unheard of or terrible to get or be angry with people you love and care about. Padding that anger with an automatic “I love you” does not change that anger. I think the best thing you can give to ones you love and yourself is honesty, and honesty is a tall order.

Therefore, I say be honest, direct, and real with these people and these feelings. Have compassion and tact in the process, but if by chance something occurs in the midst of some turmoil in your relationship and you do not have an opportunity for a “do over” be comforted in the knowledge that these folks do know you. More than likely at some point they may have been faced with the dilemma of dealing with it as well, but afforded the luxury of time to get through it.

Do Ya Feel Me?

I want to write something positive. I would like for it to be thought provoking, but most of all I would like for it to make the readers think of something that makes them smile and appreciate some thing or some one. This could be a difficult task because I have to draw on my feelings for these words.

As I stare upward at the clear night sky and take in air, it all seems so familiar. This autumn night gives me a feeling of deja vu and while that is generally a good feeling it is still unsettling. I make myself ignore the unsettled part and surrender to the good. Over these past  52 years how many of these type of nights have I been blessed enough to see and appreciate.

Maybe it is the view of Pacific Ocean after a steady, cleansing rain.  Watching the waves crash into coastal rocks and give way to the tide, knowing this is so massive that all you can do is take in the splendor with your eyes, but being grateful you are able to enjoy it in this simple manner.

The things you cannot buy or possess, but you can be in the moment. The moment that could amount to hours if you choose to stay, or it could end in a few seconds if you choose not to.

As a child who grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles, I cannot tell you how excited I felt when I watched a doe and her two fawns grazing on my clients property in North Georgia. Not roller coaster excitement, but the amazed and awe struck excitement of experiencing nature first hand.

Perhaps yours will be a child’s birth, and your first one on one meeting with this new tiny being. Maybe it will be the flashing colors of wild flowers growing along an interstate highway as you drive by. Whatever it is take it in and hold on to it. If you are lucky you may revisit that spot again in person, but if not you will forever have it to hold in your mind’s eye forever.

Disconnected

Going through the motions of life. When you do things so often it becomes automatic, “I could do this with my eyes closed”, it is not hard to see how one might become disconnected. Without supervision or intervention, the most reliable machinery might run into problems. Thus a disconnect becomes inevitable. Right in the middle of the process something goes wrong and then there is silence.

The clutter and dust build up daily on what was once your pride and joy. You are preoccupied with other things right now, but you will eventually get back to it. RIGHT… Remember when you spent hours making sure everything was perfectly situated? Now look at what once was important to you. Unattended to, unsupervised, and neglected it is out of control and falling apart.

Have you found yourself feeling this way about people who are or once were close to you? It is an odd feeling. The “Love” that was physically and mentally beautiful; your very first love experience, the one who single-handedly holds your youthful sensuality, and now the only significance is you once knew this person. What about your” best friend”; you were always together and still you had time to talk on the phone , when was the last time you spoke or visited.  “Oh they understand because we are so close” is the excuse you give yourself.  Are you really being honest with yourself here?  After all, we are talking about being disconnected aren’t we?

Why do you always have to be the one who calls? If your friendship meant anything your friend would make the call every once in awhile. A month has gone by and perhaps you spoke once. This is rapidly becoming a norm for you all. Yet, it is okay.

We complain that there aren’t enough hours in the day to do things, but we crowd our lives with devices and methods that allow us to do more things at what we deem the same time. The results are we are just as tired, the projects we have are done in a rushed inferior manner, and the people we just never get around to talking with them. For the sake of efficiency, we call it multi-tasking.

When I began this piece little did I know that our pastor would be speaking about this similar subject, but he took it in another direction. He said we are so wrapped up in texting and multi-tasking that we forget what is important, and we need to DISCONNECT; while my approach was do you wonder why you feel DISCONNECTED. In either case the main focal point is that we need to slow down, stop, and re-evaluated the way we are doing things and handling people in our lives.

No matter how rapidly you do things you still have that same 24 hours in each day. No matter how slowly you move yourself, time will continue to go forward. Therefore, what is important is that you make the most out of whatever you do whenever you do it. That means bother to give each endeavor the needed, required and desired attention for optimal results.

Finally, realize you are only going to get out what you put into anything. Cramming things together, trying to do it all at one time, and making empty gestures( I’ll call you later). The less time, effort, and/or heart you delegate will NOT magically yield positive results simply because you want it to be so. Hang up the cell, get off the internet, log off the computer; disconnect from technology for a while so you won’t feel disconnected with life.

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