The Joy of the Season

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            Tis the season to be jolly. That is after hand-to-hand combat at Black Friday sales, cooking, cleaning, decorating, dealing with kids hopped up on sugar, stopping the political debates, and escorting drunk uncle George outside. OK, maybe there is some additional stress in the season. But there is stress in everyday life as well.

            There are jobs, and in-laws, and the expectations of others. Parenthood is stress. There is never enough time or money. It can cause friction with your spouse. No matter what you do, you will always be wrong according to someone. And everyone has an opinion. All you can reasonably do is your best; and keep your kids alive until they turn eighteen. Even after that, you can’t help but worry for them.       

            Then, don’t be surprised if your grown-up kids blame you for how tough life is. I used to do the same thing. Over time, however, I realized that my parents struggled as well. They did the best they could and always loved me. Besides, part of being an adult is realizing that, what happens in life each day is totally up to you. Time spent blaming others is wasted time. As Anne of Green Gables was fond of saying, “Every day is new with no mistakes in it yet.”

            One of my daughters recently sent me a rather “New Age” book on how to live and take care of yourself. “The Four Agreements” offers a wonderful perspective on how to address life’s challenges. The agreements are: “Be impeccable with your word, Don’t take anything personally, Don’t make assumptions, and Always do your best.”

            I have been working on applying these to my own life. I think I’m getting better at it. However, there have been occasions, even with my own Mary Poppins family (practically perfect in every way), which made me question the theory. Let’s just say that, some things were taken personally, assumptions made, and no one was doing their best. Occasionally, an impeccable four-letter word may have been uttered.

            I believe the basis of that particular disagreement is that, we are all in different places in our lives, and can no longer relate to each other’s circumstances. Unless you have a common frame of reference (walking a mile in someone’s shoes), you have trouble not taking things personally, or making assumptions, or being impeccable of word.

Self-improvement is always a good goal. However, looking inward for answers is difficult and often painful. We may have to admit that we are imperfect. But we all are. Admitting that will help make us more tolerant of others. That includes those we love, and who love us.

            One final point of the book was, none of us are guaranteed one more day of life. Therefore, it is best to live each day as if it is our last. As I will soon begin my seventh decade on earth, I am increasingly aware of my mortality. I do want to enjoy as much of my remaining time as possible. I plan to stop wasting time on petty people and arguments. I want to contribute only positive energy into the world, and leave no loose ends. That includes helping those who must continue their earthly struggles. That is especially true for those I helped bring into the world.

            Another book, the Bible, has helped me through numerous tough times. Jesus, and this is where the Christmas message starts, had some answers as well. His ministry was all about giving grace, patience, kindness, and forgiveness, doing onto others, etc. He went on further to promise that, in this life there will be tribulation. AMEN! But He has overcome the world. And, as we are called, we should attempt to do the same. Maybe it won’t stop the fighting but, it can possibly speed up the healing. I believe that love is the ultimate answer, no matter the struggle. Love has the power to end bickering, bring people together, and heal any riff. You may still have to deal with Uncle George.

Have a Very Merry Christmas and/or Holiday Season

Our Thanksgiving get together. It’s getting bigger all the time.

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