I always enjoy sharing some of my favorite quotations. They are usually words that have helped me through a situation or two. Sometimes they have presented themselves as words of comfort and encouragement, sometimes as words of inspiration. Frequently they have improved my understanding of a particular set of circumstances. More often that not they have been “light bulb” words; words that have given me that “ah-ha” moment.
No matter what the moment may have been, these words have been important enough to me to have caused me to write them down for future reference. I hope you may find some gems of wisdom among the following quotations that will enlighten your heart and your day.
- You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give. (Kahlil Gibran)
- Let him who is without sin cast the first stone. (Jesus Christ)
- Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy. (Thich Nhat Hanh)
- Faith is a desperate dive out of the sinking boat of human effort and a prayer that God will be there to pull us out of the water. (Max Lucado)
- Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way. (American Indian Proverb)
- As long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down there to hold him down, so it means you cannot soar as you otherwise might. (Marian Anderson)
- If you love yourself, you love everybody else as you do yourself. As long as you love another person less than you love yourself, you will not really succeed in loving yourself, but if you love all alike, including yourself, you will love them as one person and that person is both God and man. Thus he is a great and righteous person who, loving himself, loves all others equally. (Meister Eckhart)
- Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
- Encouragement is awesome. It has the capacity .. to actually change the course of another human being’s day, week, or life. (Charles Swindoll)
- I have found that when I am willing to trust and follow my energy it leads me into relationships with people from whom I have the most to learn……. I don’t need to enter or stay in a relationship that is not good for me, but if I choose to leave I can still acknowledge the gift and the teaching I received. (Shakti Gawain)
- One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words. (Goethe)
- Death seems so wrong, dear Lord
Couldn’t You have remedied it?
Have you forgotten, dear child?
There is Easter!! (Ruth Harms Calkin)
- The uncertainties of the present always give way to the enchanted possibilities of the future. (Gelsey Kirkland)
- If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one. (Mother Teresa)
- Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive – it’s such an interesting world. It wouldn’t be half so interesting if we knew all about everything. (Lucy Maud Montgomery)
And one final quotation to carry with you through the day, which also links with the posting I did yesterday Self Nurturing- Program Yourself Positive.
- Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives. (William James)
Have a wonderful and blessed day!
One of my morning readings yesterday carried that title: Your Father. And although it was referring to God as Father, it made me instinctively think of my own father. His name was Alfred, but everyone called him Alf. He died 9 June 1997.
I know that unfortunately there are many people who do not have a good relationship with their father. The sad statistics on child abuse the world over reflect this situation. And I have read that these statistics do not give a true picture of the enormity of this problem because much child abuse goes undetected or unreported.
I was very blessed. I had a very good father but I did not have a very good relationship with him. We didn’t argue or fight and he certainly never abused me. He wasn’t strict or stern. He was just a very quiet person who didn’t have a big personality, and he wasn’t big on showing his emotions – good or bad. (He died without ever having said “I love you” to me.) I used to describe him as nondescript, the kind of person who faded into the furniture.
He was also a product of his times and of his family background. I do remember that his mother, my grandmother, always had a twinkle in her eye. My grandfather, however, was the absolute opposite. I do not remember him with a smile on his face. When we visited them at their house, he was always seated at a table in the very small, very narrow, very dark kitchenette/dining room, staring morosely out the window and drinking a Guinness. They lived in a very small rather bleak apartment and did not have much money. There was not much joy present.
As I made changes to my lifestyle and began to mature (at the grand old age of thirty five!) I began to review the perceptions I had of my father. I realized that I had played a part in the non-relationship that we had. I am guessing that my father did not live up to whatever grandiose expectations that I may have laid on him, and therefore I probably, for the most part, dismissed him.
I need and want to rectify on paper right here and now any mistaken perceptions I may have perpetuated. My father was a totally good man. He worked hard, at two jobs, to provide for all of us. Actually, when I think about it, he worked at four jobs. He had his fulltime job in a civic agency and he also worked a part time job as a supervisor of ticket sales at a dog track. Then at home he also ran a small shoe repair business for friends and family, and when he wasn’t busy at any of those jobs, he created, planted and maintained an incredible garden, providing us with at least 50% of all our fresh vegetables, salad, and fruit. (This was how he said his “I love you’s.”)
As you may imagine, my father was not a “Johnny-go-lightly”. He just didn’t have the time or energy. The only time he left the house was to go to one job or another. He did not go out “with the boys” and he didn’t even go out, as in “on dates”, with my mother. (Even if they had had the money, which they didn’t, they didn’t have the time or the energy.) He was always at home when he wasn’t working. He was always available if we needed him.
I had very few possibilities to make up for lost time in my relationship with Dad. Once I came to my senses I lived for many years overseas so did not get much opportunity to rebuild a close relationship with him during my visits home. And, sad to say, by the age of sixty five/seventy he had lost most desire to be a happy person and was rather difficult to be around.
Because of this I am so grateful to have a deeply intimate and personal relationship with that “other Father”. It did not come easily to me because I carried old ideas from childhood education of a stern and vengeful God. I thought He was a God who would point His finger at me and who kept a running tally of my sins.
I have been blessed a thousand fold since then to have been given teachers along my path who have helped me to find a Father who loves me passionately. In the Old Testament God is called Father only six times, but in the New Testament, through the words of Jesus, He is called Father over sixty times. Jesus himself brought the Father very close to us.
I was also encouraged by my teachers and spiritual mentors to create a personal picture of this person I called Father. If any of you have read the classic story of Heidi you will have a clear idea of how I see my Father. He is the big, Yogi-bear-like Grandfather who takes care of Heidi. I know I can climb up into His lap and pour my heart out to Him, leaning my head on his shoulder and feeling His protective arms around me.
One of the writers whom I have quoted in previous postings has written a beautiful poem about the Father. Written by Ruth Harms Calkin it is titled I Have A Father . I will quote just the last verse here:
But the great triumphant truth is –
I have a Father.
My Father protects and upholds me.
He strengthens and supports me.
Nothing can happen to me
Outside my Father’s will.
My Father is greater by far
Than he who is in the world.
Once and for all it was settled
On a rugged cross
On a lonely hill:
I have a Father.
If you are struggling with father issues I encourage you to seek help to resolve them. You deserve that as a worthy human being. And in the meantime I urge you, from the depths of my heart, to seek a relationship with the one true Father that nobody can take away from you and who loves you dearly.
If you are a regular reader of my entries, you will know that I have just been through a brief (thank God) tough time. It spanned no more than two weeks and, compared to say, someone facing a cancer and chemo diagnosis, or someone involved in a long recovery from a really bad accident, it was just a blip on the horizon of life. That didn’t make going through it any easier.
Just yesterday, in the reading from one of my daily meditational books, Linda Picone wrote, “Tough times can make us stronger and wiser. Knowing this doesn’t really make tough times any easier, though – at least not while we’re going through them. But it’s worthwhile to remind ourselves often of this truth. Of course, we get stronger not simply because we go through tough times, but because we call upon our best selves to find our way through them. We draw on our humor, patience, courage, and other qualities and, in doing so, learn the power of inner resources.”
I totally agree. However, just based on my personal experience in life, I think there are two strong ingredients missing from the above recipe: prayer (which, for me anyway, indicates a turning to God, a higher Spiritual Being); and asking for help.
My dear daily companion (in book form at least!), Max Lucado, talks about habits that we should develop. He recommends four habits that are worth engaging in on a regular basis to help us grow in our spiritual life. The very first of these is prayer. I cannot agree strongly enough with this statement. Since developing my prayer habit my life has definitely changed for the better but, more importantly, I have changed for the better.
I have written a couple of blogs on the subject of prayer (Prayer: A Tool Of Spirituality and Sacred Riding: My Harley Prayer Time), but I’m sure that I could write a whole book about it and the difference that prayer has made in my life. So when I hit tough times today an instinctual reaction for me is to pray.
Even though I am fully aware of “Mr. Censor” (see my blog Musings: Life And Lemons) snarling away in the corner of my mind, “I don’t want to make lemonade!” (or pray, or help someone, etc…), prayer is my first line of defense against whatever difficulties life chooses to hurl at me. It is on these occasions that I get down on my knees physically or mentally and I ask God to help me through.
And there is that second ingredient that I referred to – asking for help. One of my biggest human deformities is pride. “Human deformities” sounds so much more intellectual and suave than “sin”, doesn’t it? (Did I mention that I suffer from pride?) However, I’ve learned not to beat myself up about this seeming lack in my otherwise perfect character (did I mention that I suffer from pride?), because I realize that 95% of the human race has difficulty asking for help, and I’m so close to being in that other 5%. (Did I mention that I suffer from pride?)
Over the years, and with a lot of assistance from God and myriads of angels that He has sent across/along my path, I have slowly managed to arrive at a point where I can usually ask for help from others before being forced to my knees by the weight of whatever cross I am bearing. This has usually saved me a lot of heartbreak and loss of wasted energy.
Asking for help also brings me to right size and helps me put my problem into perspective in the bigger scheme of things. When I ask another for help, I am admitting (finally!) to myself and to others that I don’t have all the answers. I am acknowledging that I am not the “be all and end all” of the universe, which in turn allows me to chip away at my pride and acquire a little humility. I am also offering to someone else the opportunity to come out of themselves and to do something good for another. It is a win-win situation.