I am incredibly lucky to have a wonderful, understanding, non-judgemental (at least not to my face, right Mom?) mother, who is also one of my best friends. Honestly, I always feel supported and loved by her. She is my go-to person for advice on anything, and my sounding board when I'm having a tough time. She always seems to have the right thing to say. Today she is sharing with us some of the "wisdom of the ages."
Sometimes I Act Like a Coward.
There are times when I know I should do something for someone who could use help or extra attention. But sometimes I become paralyzed by fear that the person will not like what I have done or offered, or that what I do or say will not be the right thing to do or say. Sometimes I do nothing rather than risk it. And I have found that doing nothing often gives the impression that you just don’t care. I have learned it is better to do something, say something, offer something even if it is not quite right, than to give the impression of not caring.
God help me not to act like a coward. To do so only brings on misery and loneliness. Give me the grace to offer help and encouragement wherever it is needed.
The Gift of Patience
Is it really necessary to be in that much of a hurry? Do we have to blow through that yellow light, knowing it will turn red about halfway through the intersection? Do we really need to turn left after we no longer have the green turning arrow? Do we really need to pass a car when we aren’t sure it is safe to do so? Do we really need to exceed the speed limit, especially when road conditions are hazardous? Many tombstones across the country should read as follows: “If only I’d had the patience to wait for 10 more seconds, I’d still be alive today.”
God grant me the gift of patience. Someday it could be the difference between living and dying. More importantly, it could be the difference between someone else’s living and dying!
At times, broken friendships are difficult if not impossible to repair. I think that is because sometimes not enough of a foundation has been established underneath that friendship to allow for repairing the cracks and making them hold. Family rifts are often easier to fix because the foundation underneath has been cemented by years and years of love, allowing it to bear up under the weight of stress and conflict.
God grant me the ability to understand that not all friendships will endure and not all family rifts will be mended. But please also give me the ability to cherish friends and family enough at least to try to fix what’s broken.
Making Fun of Old People
Recently I’ve seen some stuff on YouTube and in TV commercials that depicts older people in a light that one can interpret as either adorable or offensive. There’s such a fine line – seeing a Grandma in her 90’s who can still dance. Is it adorable to put her on YouTube? Are you laughing at her or with her? Are you glad for her that she can still dance, or are you thinking how stupid that old person looks trying to dance at her age? You have to remember that if she can still get up to dance, she still has feelings and likely would not appreciate someone making fun of her. After all, this is a lady who could probably “cut a mean rug” when she was young. In her heart of hearts, she probably is still that young, beautiful girl who could glide across the floor effortlessly. Maybe the next time you see something like that, you should try to picture what this lady was like when she was your age. If you’re lucky enough to live that long, you’ll be her age soon enough; and then and only then will you understand the true meaning of “young at heart.” Many older people tend to have a great sense of humor. They’ve lost so much of what they once had – family, friends, the ability to do things easily and effortlessly. But one thing that has the ability to remain strong, to keep them strong, is a sense of humor. If they can maintain their ability to laugh and smile, they can keep going. Never tread on their sense of humor – and never assume that just because they are laughing at themselves, it gives you the right to laugh at them too. Making fun of old people is not cool.
God, I’m heading fast in the direction toward becoming an old person. Grant me a sense of humor. Until I get to that state of “older than dirt,” please grant me the ability to respect those who are older than me.
Making the Best of What’s Left (Written in 2012)
As I was going through my local newspaper, I spotted the greatest headline: Making the Best of What’s Left. (We haven’t had a lot of snow this winter and it’s been much warmer than normal, so what snow we did get didn’t stick around long. Once in February, though, we had a storm that dumped about 9 inches of snow, and it did stick around for a while. But gradually, that snow too began to fade away.) Underneath the caption was a picture of a young lady trying to saucer down a small hill still partially covered with the fading snow. I thought about that picture for a long time – and the caption. I thought about what it’s like to grow older and how the ability to do what you used to do so effortlessly begins to fade. Oh sure, you can still do things, but they take more effort, longer periods of time. But if you can keep on keeping on, making the best of what’s left, life can still be interesting and fun. You can’t give up on life as long as there is still something left, just as the girl in the picture wasn’t giving up on the snow as long as some of it was still there!
God grant me the ability to make the best of what’s left and to never give up on life.
What Does Your Dad Do?
When our children were little, they didn’t have the slightest clue what their Dad did for a living. He was a maintenance man, and he worked at a steel plant. That’s all they knew. And they might have been just a teensy bit miffed that he wasn’t a rich doctor or lawyer and we didn’t live in an elaborate house and they didn’t have just EVERYTHING they wanted! Now our children are grown. They call on Dad frequently to build stuff for them, fix stuff for them, solve problems that sometimes seem to be insolvable. Now, many, many years later, they can finally answer the question “What Does Your Dad Do?” Maintenance is a heavy, all-encompassing word. It doesn’t mean sweeping floors, emptying wastebaskets, and cleaning toilets, as some people think. That’s what a janitor does. A maintenance man (or woman) builds stuff, fixes stuff, and solves sometimes insurmountable problems. It’s an honorable profession – one to be envied by everyone who is all thumbs and doesn’t have the slightest clue how things are made or how they are operated. In its own way, being a maintenance man (or woman) is every bit as complicated as what a doctor or lawyer does. In its own way, it is a profession to be honored and respected just as much as any other.
God grant all children the ability to respect their parents’ professions. Grant all of us the ability to honor those who perform honorable labor.
First, I was a student, and after graduation, I became a stenographer. Then I got married and became a full-time Mom and later, a grandmother. In my “spare time,” I was a part-time keypunch operator, a temporary worker for an office services firm, and a secretary/staff assistant for 29 years at a university. Then I retired. Now I am a CPA. No, not a certified public accountant. Nothing as grand as that! I am a Chronic Procrastination Artist. Come to think of it, out of all the things I have been in my life, being a CPA has always been my greatest (?) profession!
God, grant me the strength to eliminate Chronic Procrastination Artistry from my life. It definitely is NOT an honorable profession!
Thanks for making us laugh, smile, and think, Mom. Read another beautiful guest post from her here.