Tuesday, April 27, 2010

TURNING THE PAGE


Memory is the diary that we all carry about with us. 
Oscar Wilde

Bad memories, everyone has them. Of course there are many different levels of bad memories. I’ll deal with those that we can do something about, however, there are memories caused by violence and trauma that require therapy. Those of you who are plagued with these kinds of memories should run, not walk, to a therapist. Promise me you’ll do this.
I have a bad memory that haunts me. It is one of tremendous regret. It was when my son, Charles, married. His fiancĂ©’s mother and I were asked to write something about our child to be read to them during the ceremony. I jumped on this, besides being a writer, Charles’ birth taught me something special—about how God loves us unconditionally.
I wrote that I had wanted a girl, but the minute they put him in my arms, I felt guilty for ever wanting anyone but him. I told of when they brought Charles to me for feeding, how demanding his cries were, how he looked like a little old man, and that he spit up on me when I fed him. But even though he was demanding, wrinkled, and messy, I loved him so much it hurt. That is when I realized how God loves us. Even when we are demanding, pouting, and messy, He loves us because we are His. Then I went on about how Charles has been a consistent reminder of God’s love.
When I emailed it to the pastor performing the ceremony, he emailed me back saying he was a writer also. Then he asked if he could edit it a bit to make it shorter and I answered, “Of course.” After all, he was a pastor and a writer. I could trust him. Right?
Before the ceremony he gave me his edited version while we were doing the last minute things. I was busy and since I “trusted” him, I scanned it and said it was fine. I “assumed” he kept the integrity of my piece. NEVER ASSUME!
When it came time to read what each mother wrote, to my horror he had cut out the heart of my message. He read that I wanted a girl, that Charles was demanding, wrinkled, and messy, but over the years had been a consistent reminder of God’s love.
I about died.
In fact, I get sick in the pit of my stomach every time I think about it. My precious son was made a laughing stock on one of the most important days of his life, and by his mother no less!!!!
I profusely apologized to him, and on occasions I still do. But, I think I’ve finally done something that will make up for it. I sent what I wrote the pastor to Chicken Soup for the Soul Devotions for Mothers and I’ve made the first cut. I’ll know in a few months if I made the final cut.
There are many sources to our bad memories. We may have been:
·      Hurt by someone
·      Embarrassed
·      Betrayed
·      Disappointed
·      Frightened
According to an article I read about getting rid of bad memories the author says to identify the source of why it haunts you.
If there is anything in your house that triggers the bad memories like letters, pictures, or cd’s, get rid of them.
Dwelling on bad memories interferes with focus. When you feel it coming on, shake it off. Remind yourself that you need to finish what you are doing, call a friend and talk about something else. I usually take a walk.
My pastor, Steve Dixon, spoke about offenses. He said we can “rehearse it, nurse it, or REVERSE it.” That can be true of bad memories. I reversed mine by writing that story for Chicken Soup as an inspiration to other mothers. Plus, I consider it a lesson on being more mindful and never assuming anything!! Ask yourself, how can I use this thing that has caused a bad memory wrinkle in my brain to help someone else?
Friends are a great resource. Talk with those you trust. Often by talking it out, you find peace.
Forgive. We are all made of dirt. We all fail. Don’t let the past continue to hurt you. Do you really want your pain to define your future? Use what you’ve learned from those dark times and help others.
I chose Oscar Wilde’s quote because our minds are like journals that we carry about. This week, let’s all “turn the page” together and start another entry that makes us smile!

Next week: MAKING GOOD MEMORIES! 

TURNING THE PAGE


Memory is the diary that we all carry about with us. 
Oscar Wilde

Bad memories, everyone has them. Of course there are many different levels of bad memories. I’ll deal with those that we can do something about, however, there are memories caused by violence and trauma that require therapy. Those of you who are plagued with these kinds of memories should run, not walk, to a therapist. Promise me you’ll do this.
I have a bad memory that haunts me. It is one of tremendous regret. It was when my son, Charles, married. His fiancĂ©’s mother and I were asked to write something about our child to be read to them during the ceremony. I jumped on this, besides being a writer, Charles’ birth taught me something special—about how God loves us unconditionally.
I wrote that I had wanted a girl, but the minute they put him in my arms, I felt guilty for ever wanting anyone but him. I told of when they brought Charles to me for feeding, how demanding his cries were, how he looked like a little old man, and that he spit up on me when I fed him. But even though he was demanding, wrinkled, and messy, I loved him so much it hurt. That is when I realized how God loves us. Even when we are demanding, pouting, and messy, He loves us because we are His. Then I went on about how Charles has been a consistent reminder of God’s love.
When I emailed it to the pastor performing the ceremony, he emailed me back saying he was a writer also. Then he asked if he could edit it a bit to make it shorter and I answered, “Of course.” After all, he was a pastor and a writer. I could trust him. Right?
Before the ceremony he gave me his edited version while we were doing the last minute things. I was busy and since I “trusted” him, I scanned it and said it was fine. I “assumed” he kept the integrity of my piece. NEVER ASSUME!
When it came time to read what each mother wrote, to my horror he had cut out the heart of my message. He read that I wanted a girl, that Charles was demanding, wrinkled, and messy, but over the years had been a consistent reminder of God’s love.
I about died.
In fact, I get sick in the pit of my stomach every time I think about it. My precious son was made a laughing stock on one of the most important days of his life, and by his mother no less!!!!
I profusely apologized to him, and on occasions I still do. But, I think I’ve finally done something that will make up for it. I sent what I wrote the pastor to Chicken Soup for the Soul Devotions for Mothers and I’ve made the first cut. I’ll know in a few months if I made the final cut.
There are many sources to our bad memories. We may have been:
·      Hurt by someone
·      Embarrassed
·      Betrayed
·      Disappointed
·      Frightened
According to an article I read about getting rid of bad memories the author says to identify the source of why it haunts you.
If there is anything in your house that triggers the bad memories like letters, pictures, or cd’s, get rid of them.
Dwelling on bad memories interferes with focus. When you feel it coming on, shake it off. Remind yourself that you need to finish what you are doing, call a friend and talk about something else. I usually take a walk.
My pastor, Steve Dixon, spoke about offenses. He said we can “rehearse it, nurse it, or REVERSE it.” That can be true of bad memories. I reversed mine by writing that story for Chicken Soup as an inspiration to other mothers. Plus, I consider it a lesson on being more mindful and never assuming anything!! Ask yourself, how can I use this thing that has caused a bad memory wrinkle in my brain to help someone else?
Friends are a great resource. Talk with those you trust. Often by talking it out, you find peace.
Forgive. We are all made of dirt. We all fail. Don’t let the past continue to hurt you. Do you really want your pain to define your future? Use what you’ve learned from those dark times and help others.
I chose Oscar Wilde’s quote because our minds are like journals that we carry about. This week, let’s all “turn the page” together and start another entry that makes us smile!

Next week: MAKING GOOD MEMORIES! 

Monday, April 19, 2010

MEMORIES


“It’s surprising how much of memory is built around things unnoticed at the time.” ~Barbara Kingsolver

While planting my garden last Friday, a couple of Blue Jays swooped overhead and perched on a crabapple tree close by. They called to each other in what most people think is the most irritating bird call ever! However, their piercing voices transported me immediately from a hot, dusty, garden to my grandmother’s little gray house on Broadview Street in Jackson, Mississippi.

I remembered playing under her huge Magnolia tree in the back yard while she hung towels on the clothesline. Blue Jays scolded her for being too close to their nest the entire time she worked. She had only disgust for the irritating birds. But, over the years, long after her death, their call takes me back to her. I find myself helping her water the tiger lilies, pink azaleas and Rose of Sharon bushes in her front yard. Sometimes my mind goes back to playing in the water sprinkler while she gathered figs from the tree in the back yard. Then, when I return to my present state, the rest of the day is flavored with the sweetness of that memory.

Memories.

There is a saying that we cannot take anything with us when we die. I have to disagree. I think we will always have our memories. The reason I chose the quote above is because we are making memories without realizing it. Good memories, and sometimes bad ones.

When I was around four my mother and father divorced. Mom went back to work and her dear friend babysat me. I’ve always heard how this friend loved me. So much so that she even asked if she could adopt me. Single moms weren’t the norm way back then. The sad thing is I only have one memory of this woman who loved me so much. I can still see it all in my mind. Her son, who was a few years older, and I were eating chicken noodle soup for lunch. I complained that he had a larger bowl than I did. She took me by the hand and led me to the basement door. When she opened it all I could see down the dark stairs were three red lights. She said, “Do you see those red lights?” I nodded. She continued, “Those are the three bears and if you keep whining, I’m going to lock you up down there with them.”

I know this dear lady would turn over in her grave to know that one day had traumatized me so much that it shut down any other memory I had of her. But I really should thank her because when I realized the impact that had on me, I’m more careful with children.

For the next couple of weeks, I want to explore two things. What to do with bad memories, and how to make good memories.

Memories.

Money can’t buy them. Thieves cannot steal them. Everyone has them. At the end of our lives, it is the good memories we wear like a warm blanket on a cold day.

Next week we will take a look at how to make good memories and what to do with bad ones. I invite you to join the discussion on the Inspire page. I would like you to share the catalyst that sends you back to a certain place or person. Is it a bird call? A fragrance? A song?

I look forward to hearing what you have to say!



Monday, April 12, 2010

CHOOSING TO FORGIVE

       “Without forgiveness, there’s no future.” ~ Desmond Tutu

As a child, I always heard the phrase, “Forgive and Forget.” As an adult, I learned that forgetting is physically impossible. Our brains are not designed to forget. I discovered that forgiving is both a choice and a process.
When we’ve been offended, hurt, and even abused, what we do with the strong, and often justifiable, emotions? How will they determine our future? Will we allow our lives to be darkened of deepened?
Steve Dixon spoke about this in such a clear way. When we’ve been hurt we have a choice to nurse that hurt and rehearse it over and over making it a permanent wrinkle in our brain. OR we can reverse it.
How do we reverse it? By getting perspective. Do we really want to allow that person or situation to continually hurt us, even years later? I know the answer to that—of course not.
As I said earlier, forgiveness is a process. Imagine the offenses rolled up in a ball. You throw it away from you. Sometimes the ball bounces back. Dodge it! But should you catch it, don’t nurse it or rehearse it, reverse it! Throw it away again.
Another way to reverse hurts is to help others. We live in a broken world with millions of hurting people. This weekend I learned that every 20 seconds a child dies from complications because they drank dirty water. Dirty water! We can focus on helping end that problem. We can help the homeless, the fatherless, the hungry, the illiterate, and when we’ve healed from our particular hurt, we can help those in similar situations to what we have suffered.
Helping others helps us to put our lives in a better perspective. Our correct response to it deepens our lives. A rose releases the most fragrance when it is crushed. It is possible to forgive. To forgive not only heals us, it matures us.
This week, roll all the offenses you’ve carried into a ball and CAST them from you. If they bounce back, DODGE THEM.
Be the fragrance of forgiveness

Side notes:
For more information on how to help provide clean water please visit:
www.greaterworks.me