Kindness When it’s not easy

There is a friend of one of my kids’ who has been very difficult to handle in years past. After many attempts to have this child around I got frustrated and did not want to deal with him. He acted out, did not listen to repeated requests to behave, did not demonstrate the most basic manners, had no social skills with my other kids, at times he was flat out rude. I should have tried harder, could have turned the other cheek and found a way to tolerate him but I selfishly chose to not make him part of our plans when I tired of unsuccessfully dealing with him. I thought it was self preservation then and now I think it was a lack of compassion. Yesterday we gave him a ride when none of his family could be reached and no one was at pick up for him and I looked into his big eyes and felt sad. I had not seen him for almost a year, he has grown and he can be a sweet kid. During our ride he had trouble getting some words out and I realized he had started to struggle with a stutter, something he did not do last year. My heart sunk. How to reach and find the kindness and compassion when the recipient is challenging, difficult? I read something interesting at a site I found on tumblr about being compassionate when people are difficult and it said “Try to see them as people who also suffer and struggle in many ways.” Reminders to be kind are everywhere, it’s up to each of us to listen to them, to reach for kindness sometimes when it’s difficult to do. -smilingbug

image from http://www.thehappyproject.com

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The Helpers

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Probably like many Americans most of what is on my mind is those innocent people killed and injured at the Boston Marathon finish line yesterday. Lives changed forever because of a coward or cowards, maybe mentally ill, maybe filled with hate. I like to be compassionate and think of all people as dealing with something, so don’t go so hard on them. Thinking of the trauma and pain caused yesterday, it’s difficult to think of compassion when wondering who caused it. I saw some tweets that mentioned how other countries deal with these type of attacks regularly (Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria, Pakistan) and it is truly sickening. Then there was the image of Fred Rogers with a quote that read “Look for the helpers. You’ll always find people who are helping.” When Dr. George Velmahos and his colleague addressed the press today about the status of their patients, feelings of admiration and awe for these helpers filled my heart and made my eyes swell. He told stories of patients who woke up missing a limb and expressed feeling “lucky” to be alive. He explained that the whole of Boston was traumatized but the medical staff set their emotions aside and took care of the patients. Dr. Velmahos described the patients as “amazing people.” That is coming from the man who literally was saving some of their lives. Thankful for amazing medical professionals and modern medicine, always. Praying for the family who lost an eight year old son and the one who lost a 29 year old son. Thinking of the innocent people in the hospitals healing, fighting for their lives. Proud to be a part of this great country where people are donating blood, offering their homes to travelers in Boston and yesterday, were running towards the bomb scenes to save lives. -smilingbug

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photos from the internet

Conversations of the Heart

photo from Tumblr, no photo or art credit was listed.

During an interview that Paul McCartney recorded with Howard Stern in October of 2001, Paul mentioned consulting with the deceased love of his life.  He said one night he was asking Linda if he should be with the woman he was dating and he said when you do that “of course you are just talking to yourself.”  That sounded sad to me, how he wanted to share and talk with his deceased loved one but then just feeling he was talking to himself.  Then McCartney explained that after he asked Linda the question he heard an owl off in the distant say “who, who” and he took that to be a yes.  Of course we all know how it went with that girlfriend he was asking Linda about, Heather Mills.  During the interview, while Heather was Paul’s fiance, Howard joked that he would have heard that owl’s answer as a “no” and everyone on the set laughed.  Sounds funny but seriously, who doesn’t wish they could communicate with someone who has passed away, someone close to their heart, share stories and have heart to heart chats.  When I sit to write letters to my relatives who appreciate snail mail I still want to write one to a special aunt.  No more letters, emails or phone calls with someone, ever, hurts.  Then there are the feelings that the person we miss is all around us, in every reminder and in our hearts forever.  But the missing never goes away.  -smilingbug

Sex and Death

I heard an interview last week that Howard Stern did with James Taylor, recorded in the early 1990’s. I am not old enough to have been a James Taylor fan when he had his first number one hit “Fire and Rain” but I bought his greatest hits CD in the 90’s (when people were still buying up CDs) and I was addicted to it and a fan ever since. The feeling that I got from hearing him in the Stern interview was total peace. He spoke so serenely and seemed to be at total ease with life. The sound of him playing his guitar and singing was hypnotic. All I could do was say “wow” while I listened in awe. But the thing that stuck with me the most was what he said his songs were mostly about: sex and death. Sex being the magic potion in life and death being the undeniable finality to life, this made me admire him and be sad for him all at once. Sex and death. It so poignantly reminded me of how awesome and fragile life is, all of it. James Taylor is an amazing person. I wish he was still writing lots of songs. “How sweet it is” to hear his soothing voice. -smilngbug

Life and Relationships

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I phoned my father and right at the start of the call he said “so listen to what is going on here.” I heard the excitement in his voice that I had heard other times, it’s awesome to me in a way that few things are.  My heart filled with joy and love for his happiness.  How many people in our lives can touch our heart in that way? And what makes it so with some and not so with others?  It takes me back to being a small child and it also makes me think of my children and how they view me.  Like a lot of people, my parents were larger than life to me when I was a kid.  Also like most people, by the time I was an adolescent I started to see them with their strengths and weaknesses.  As a grown person, I can admire and feel for them on many levels.  Meanwhile I think of my kids’ view of me.  It’s a foreign thing to imagine I’m viewed by my children the way my parents were viewed by me, being that I never feel like a grown up no matter how old I am.  I remember thinking that my parents looked the same in every old photo when I was a kid.  Even if they were ten years old in the photo it seemed the same grown parent I knew was staring back at me in that photo.  It’s been said that life is all about relationships and if you think about it, what would this life be without them? -smilingbug