Feeling Trashed

Image

Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts?

Confucius

It’s been about four years since one family member stopped talking to my wife and me.  At that point we asked what we did wrong and we were told that we knew.  Umm, NO WE DID NOT!  Sigh.  That’s why we were asking.  Of course that really seemed to be a way to say “I’m not talking about what the problem really was”.  I send them friend requests, birthday greeting etc… but without response.  I am still hoping they will respond someday.  Once their entire family came to the town where I live and everyone but that person came to see me.  This made me feel like trash.

Recently another family member got ticked off at us when we came out of the closet in support of gay rights.  Never did any family member ask us why.  In fact this is really the only member that talked to us about it and all they did was quote Leviticus 18:22 and say “it’s a sin.”  When I tried to explain my thoughts and what the Bible said through the Hebrew, Greek and its original time period, I was told that I didn’t listen.  (Sigh).  And now we have been cut out and tossed aside by yet another.

This past week a family came to my school.  I work with special needs kids.  The students we have are the students that the general school districts can’t deal with.  This family has had two children in our program.  The mother is in her 40’s, dying and now in a wheel chair as this disease slowly takes her away.  When the mom and dad came into the school she motioned to me and slowly asked me to go get her son and do it quietly.  So I went to his room and got him without telling the teacher.  The reason was that they had roses to give to the teacher and they wanted it to be a surprise.  That’s the kind of family they are.  They truly love everyone.  They have support from both sides of the family as they take care of their farm, two kids, and everything else that goes along with what they are going through.

I wish my family was more like that.  I wish my family took family more serious.  I wish they cared about me.  They aren’t the only ones but they are the ones that most affect me. I don’t know what it will take for my family to get anywhere near this point.  I’m guessing it will never happen.  My grandmother spent 50 years not talking to her daughter because my aunt married the wrong guy.  By the way my uncle and my aunt were married for 50 years.  Guess grandma didn’t know everything.

That’s the thing.  Others don’t know how you or I feel or why you or I do things if they don’t take time to ask and REALLY listen.  Instead they have just thrown us into the trash.  They make us feel totally that we are worthless to them and they don’t seem to care one iota.  The second sibling above even posted on my facebook page how wonderful it was to be able to block people from his life.  This bragging (at least it came across as bragging) came shortly after blocking my wife and right before unfriending me. I can find no other reason for writing that other than they wanted to hurt me. They did what they wanted.  That hurt me a lot!  But when I confronted them, they again said they did nothing wrong.  And again I felt like I was tossed out like all the other refuse they had tossed to the trash.

Why is it that people don’t talk out their problems?  Why don’t people care about family?  Why do people just want to hurt others?  I will probably never know.  I really doubt that either of them will ever tell me.  I doubt I’ll ever hear from them again except at funerals.  Then again I doubt they’ll speak to me then.  Wonder if they will even acknowledge my presence?  Would they come to my funeral?  Would they even care?  I’m sure they wouldn’t come to my wife’s funeral.  They made it plain with their actions as well as words that they both hate her.  Again I have absolutely no idea why they would hate such a loving person.  And if they don’t come that’s ok.  I’d only want people who actually care to come, but maybe something like that will have to happen to wake them up.  I hope not.

Hopefully those that read this aren’t people tossed in the trash.  If so, remember you are not alone.  Maybe we can lean on one another.

If you’re one that has tossed others in the trash, please figure out what is really important.  And it’s not whatever grudge you’re holding on to.  What matters is family and friends.  It’s love.  It’s caring, kindness, listening and spending time with people.  Hopefully you’ll understand that before it’s too late.

“Strength of character means the ability to overcome resentment against others, to hide hurt feelings, and to forgive quickly.”  Lawrence G. Lovasik

Advertisements

How hard is it to be kind?

Image

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.    Mahatma Gandhi

After I had written my first post about kindness, or the lack of it, I thought of my life and times when I was not so kind.  The first one that comes to me was an incident while I was in college.  I am a sarcastic person and with sarcasm often comes meanness.  Sarcasm often puts others down.  I feel it is because I had such low self esteem at the time I just wanted to make myself look better by making others look bad.  One day I was eating lunch with some friends and made some kind of sarcastic remark.  Several people laughed but Jen looked at me and told me how mean I could be.  I haven’t seen Jen since college, can’t even remember her last name, but her words stuck with me.  I wonder how many of my sarcastic words have stuck with others.  I have tried to cut down my sarcasm but I still have a long way to go.

I go for walks around my neighborhood.  Mostly for my health.    Sometimes this gives me opportunities to be kind to others.  I toss a stray ball back to some kids, help a gal corral her loose dog, or simply smile and say hello.  However, sometimes I just pass by opportunities to help someone fold up a canvass or tent that I can tell they are struggling with, helping someone lift something heavy into their pick up etc…  Then I feel guilty for not helping but if I go back it’s too late.  They have already accomplished the task.  What makes us some days willing to help and others unwilling?

I believe it is a daily choice.  Philippians 4: 8  and 9 says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

We often quote verse eight, but the key is in verse nine.  Paul says that we need to put them into practice.  To make a new habit we cannot simply think about doing it, we actually have to do it.  Maybe that’s the hard part.  Our thoughts and actions must go together.  When I find myself faltering in areas, I try to consciously wake up thinking about changing.  When I do, I am able to find those opportunities to help others.  When I am not concentrating on helping others, I don’t.  Maybe God places those missed opportunities to remind me and you about what we really should be doing.

I could have easily gotten mad at Jen, when she told me that I was mean.  I could have ignored it and moved on.  After all, I really didn’t hang out with her that much anyway.  I don’t have to help people or be nice to them.  I could simply choose to go my own way.  However, I believe I am a better person than that and I believe you are too.

The Dalai Lama once said “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.  If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”  Since I have started to change my life from ignoring people to being involved with them I have gained self esteem.  I no longer have to put others down to make myself feel better.  Instead I lift them up and it lifts me up.  We get better together.

For those who struggle with similar issues, I encourage you to reach out to someone in need.  It will be well worth it.  A simple card, smile or opening of a door to start.  Small steps bring about big change.  I would love to hear your stories about how you made a simple difference.