Memories and a Christmas Cactus –
My riend Mary, before she passed away, gave us a Christmas cactus. This year it’s finally bloomed. The simple beauty reminds me of her. My Facebook places memories on my start page and two days ago they were of the winter we brought Mary up to our house in Pennsylvania and she stayed with us for the winter. Mary, it seems, is making her presence known to us this Christmas season.
My wife had a birthday yesterday and we had a fun time joking she was rolling down the hill to a big age milestone. We also talked seriously of life and its quick passing. Death, whenever it comes, is closer than ever.
Wisdom teaches us to number our days. This is not a morbid discipline but a joyous one. Each day is precious, not one is to be taken for granted. We are to enjoy and embrace every day as a gift, like the Christmas cactus blooms and pictures which seem from a lifetime ago.
Life is never predictable.
I was talking with someone yesterday about having “blinders” on when it comes to certain people. Some folks we see in a mostly positive light. We emphasize the good, minimize the bad, expect the best and see their potential. For others it’s the opposite. We are blind to their goodness. They are viewed by us in a mostly negative way. We don’t expect the best, focus on their weaknesses, anticipate what and how badly they’ll mess up, hurt us and take advantage of our generosity.
Blinders often come from good relationships or broken ones. We put them on and rarely question if we see the whole picture as it pertains to certain people, cultures and our worldview.
The discipline of viewing life as blessed rather than cursed can be one of the hardest and most important wisdom lessons we learn and put into practice. This is true especially when our journey has been difficult and we’ve seen “more than our share” of heartache, pain and loss. To look for the good, the beautiful, the “miracle” of everyday life influences each breath and every moment.
Some people drive us crazy! Others makes us want to put our fists, or heads, through a wall. For whatever reason there are folks who rub us the wrong way, frustrate, anger and cause us to react in ways we don’t want to or would normally do. However, we find our words and actions harsh, brash, careless, harmful and detrimental to connection and harmony.
It is especially important, as we deal with people with whom we struggle finding common ground, to remember the discipline of the “space in between”. This practice centers on the realization that there can be, should be, a pause between what happens to us and our response. This gap is used to measure our words, evaluate our actions and choose those which do not harm ourselves or the other.
A lesson wisdom tries to teach us that, if learned, will save us a great deal of regret and heartache.