The Everyday Things

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This morning the routine I followed was the normal one.  I was logged into my computer and plugging away by 6:00am.  Knowing that I am the most productive in the morning, I try to make the most of my “prime” hours.  Phones, emails and IMs are usually pretty quiet until around 7:00am so I was surprised when at 6:26, I saw an IM blinking at the bottom of my screen.

Quickly, I opened it to scan the contents and smiled to see it was a nice guy from up north and the question he posed was relatively easy, so it shouldn’t take much time.  I hurriedly typed out my response, scanned for typos and hit “send”.  I was done and could now move on to another task.

He thanked me, and then he said something that would change my morning.  He said, “by the way, Lisa, how are you?  Sometimes I ask a lot of questions and forget to ask the really important one, of how one is doing.”

Suddenly it occurred to me that I’ve known this man for many years and had no idea how he was doing either.  As usual, I hadn’t taken the time to stop and ask.  Why are we often too busy to be polite?

This man had (probably unknowingly) just preached an entire message that went straight to my heart and exposed, once again, the selfishness and “much too busy” attitudes lodged there. 

So, I replied, “I understand what you are saying; we all get too busy to slow down and really care, don’t we?  How have YOU been?

He began to tell me that 2013 had been a tough year for him and he was glad to see it go.  He had lost his mother in law to cancer, and while he and his wife were cleaning up her estate, his wife of 37 years fell ill and was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer.   He lost her in August.

Wow!  I hadn’t known and my heart ached for the grief and pain that must still resonate within him.  With the tears that now filled my eyes making the screen almost too blurry to see, I did my best to convey my heartfelt sympathy and congratulated him on such a long-lasting marriage.  He advised me to cherish every moment of mine and I told him I would heed his advice and take it to heart and we said our goodbyes.

Only a few moments had passed, but I looked at the day ahead with a fresh perspective.  I wonder if he even had a clue how his words affected me today or how grateful to him I am.

Everyone is going through things and I want to know, I want to care and I want to bring comfort when I can. 

Look someone in the eyes and ask them how they are today or tomorrow, and then give them time to respond.  If and when someone asks you the same, give them the benefit of an honest answer.  You might give them the opportunity to comfort you.  We all are blessed when we give or receive.

And, always look for the lesson or the reminder in the everyday things.

Vultures of the human variety

White-backed vultures (Gyps africanus) feed on...

White-backed vultures (Gyps africanus) feed on a carcass of a wildebeest in Masai Mara National Park, Kenya (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Several times a week I walk, at least a 2 mile stretch, sometimes more.  Today was my “lunch walk” so I only had 30 minutes and was determined to make it count.

I was clipping along at a rapid pace, my body already on melt down alert from the blistering FL sun, when I smelled it.

It was a rotten, dead animal smell that caused me to pick up my pace even more.   This was partly because of the horrid smell and partly because of the large assemblage of hideous vultures beside the road gawking at me as if I were after their dinner.

As I continued around the bend, happy to be rid of the stench and the stares, I began to think about buzzards.  We all know that they are scavengers.  What I didn’t know that I read today and found interesting is that a group of vultures is sometimes called a wake.  Very fitting!  Another note is that although they rarely attach healthy animals, they may kill the wounded or the sick, which brings me to my point and what I was pondering during the remainder of my walk.

Have you ever noticed that some people are like vultures, looming over a mess, waiting for their opportunity to run and congregate to observe catastrophe close up, feasting on bad news and then regurgitating it (like the vultures do to feed young or when scared) wherever they go.  It smells even worse by then, I imagine.

Sometimes these people take a weak or injured individual and try to finish them off just to satisfy their appetite.  They thrive on rottenness and death, walk all through it, supping until they are full and there is nothing left.

When someone is weak or downtrodden, they need encouragement and when every situation around them reeks, they don’t need more gossip and exposure.

They need understanding, love and a true friend; someone to defend them when they can barely stand beneath the weight of despair.

I am so blessed to have friends like that and a God who watches over His children.  One of my prayers today is that I will never feast on someone else’s pain, but instead that I will come alongside and share the burden.

Missing you

Wishing you were here

Knowing you can’t be and you’re in a much better place

Thinking of all the things you missed

Wondering if you’d be proud

Smiling when I realize I know you would be

Missing your advice and guidance

Grateful you taught me so well

Feeling that knot in my throat and knowing tears will follow

Thankful for the wonderful years I had with you

Memories that still grip my heart like it was yesterday

Someday I will see you again in heaven

Wishing you were here

Mitch Teemley

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