Posts Tagged With: help

It’s The Little Things

small kindnessIt’s the little things that reveal the true character of a person.  Believe me not? Consider this, you are exhausted from manual labor; you are sweaty and stink; you have lines in the dirt on your face where the salt from you sweat has left a trail; your breathing is labored and your whole body aches.  Then two people come by…the first is your boss who greets you with “Take off an hour early so you can rest up to get a jump on this in the morning.”  The second person pulls up in a large pick-up truck with the bed full of ice and cold bottles of water for you.  Which small act would you most appreciate?

Consider this: when we do things to be seen or just for a photo-op or just for the Facebook post likes, what good is that other than self-aggrandizement?  It is in the small acts of kindness that we reveal ourselves.

During the flooding in Columbia, South Carolina this past week, I witnessed many grand gestures and have noticed how many people post photo after photo of themselves “helping in the community.”  Truly?  You want everyone to believe your acts that you had photographed and posted were completely altruistic? In my mind, it would be better if you just stayed home and out of the way!

I saw one young boy who looked about age 4 or 5 walk up to one of the First Responders and gave them his juicebox he had just gotten from the Red Cross Truck, and then he hugged that humongous firefighter’s leg.  Let me tell you something, that enormous man who would not hesitate to run into danger, broke down and cried because of this one simple act of kindness by a child who wanted nothing in return.

Small acts of Appreciated Kindness:

  • buy coffee for the person behind you without telling them.
  • send a Thank You Card to someone because they helped you out.
  • give someone a hug who could use one.
  • smile at someone who normally doesn’t smile.
  • If you see someone reading…don’t start talking to them…let them enjoy the peace and quiet.
  • how about the simple act of saying “Thank You”

It really isn’t expensive or difficult.  It just takes a little time and effort.  Give it a try!  Reveal your true self by your actions!

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Categories: Perspectives | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coffee Chats With Morty…

Coffee ChatToday is one of those days where my schedule is pretty full of sessions to conduct, but they are far enough between that I have the chance to think and ponder.  This is very important for an Introvert, because quiet time to process is almost akin to breathing. But it is during these productive thought parades that I have an internal coffee chat whilst I sit quietly with my coffee.  My internal “Keeper of the Brain Flame” is named Mortimer Farnsfoxington Irakafenfeld-Smythe.  Or for those who are familiar with such an inner companion, “Morty” will do.

Morty and I have been having talks since I can remember. Not the psychotic “break-out-the-strait-jacket” type of conversations, but just trying to see a situation from as many perspectives as possible. This method of perspective seeking has been quite handy during my current occupation as a Law Enforcement Chaplain. Let’s face it, people are quite the odd critter, and some are nuttier than a bald duck on ice.

Morty and I were having a bit of lively debate a while back, partly regarding where to have lunch, and partly about a situation I was dealing with due to one of my counselees feeling they were “not good enough.”  I could empathize with this person, because for most of my life, I have been told that I, too, was not “good enough.” Painful though those times were, and still are, the debate was on.

Me: “What do you think about Jill? How would you handle it?”

Morty: “The question might be about Jill, but the reason you question is closer to home.”

Me: “I have locked that away! Right now, I must help Jill.”

Morty: “By teaching her to lock feelings away? Doesn’t sound very helpful at all.”

Me: “Okay, smart guy, how would YOU deal with Jill!”

Morty: “By facing my own demons first. It’s not a good idea for a blind monkey to lead a blind person through the minefield.”

Me: “Okay, but when that door is open, you know there’s no closing it again.”

Morty: “I do. But let me ask you something before you swing that door open wide, what qualifies you to help anyone?”

Me: “Well, I have several degrees and training and understand the way people can get stuck in these mind traps…”

Morty: ” Oh REALLY? So all that book learning and training, while impressive, helps you deal with other people’s locked doors, but not your own. Interesting!”

Me: “I can’t face mine while I’m trying to help someone else.”

Morty: “You can’t help anyone until you face what you are hiding from.”

Me: “Like what? What is so pressing that I have to face it right now?”

Morty (imitating every voice who has said this to me): “You just aren’t good enough.”

Immediately, my mind recalled the baseball coach who made me play “bench warmer” for three seasons because, no matter how hard I tried and practiced, I just wasn’t good enough.  I remembered the teachers who told me math was not ever going to be something I would be “good enough” to grasp.  I remembered my own parents reminding me that I was the “Number 2 son” and all the times I never was “good enough” to equal my brother’s achievements.  I remembered all the times I had tried as hard as I could, offered all that I had, and was still labeled as “not good enough.”

The door had been opened, and I sat in my car in the far corner of the parking lot, and took punch after brutal punch again for all those times of not being “good enough.” 

Finally, Morty said: “Okay, maybe you weren’t good enough then, but now you understand what it is like to feel not good enough, and you can help.”

Me: “HOW? I feel lower than the bottom of an outhouse pit.”

Morty: “Now that you know how it feels. Why were YOU called by Jill to help?”

Me: “Because I have spoken with her several times, we have developed a rapport, we have mutual respect…”

Morty: “Nope. Here me loud and clear…Jill contacted you because she knows you are good enough to understand and good enough to offer her perspective that can help.”

Me: “Wow, you are pretty insightful to be imaginary.”

Morty: “Yeah, someone has to be, you’d be nuts without me.”

The point that I got from this entire exchange, that was heard by NO ONE, is that we are each here for a reason and a purpose. For that reason and purpose, we ARE good enough! Might take us a long time to reach that point and know why we are here, but at that point, we will be more than merely “good enough.”

Categories: Hmmmmm........, Koffee Klatch, Perspectives | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

When Life Feels Too Hard

candle light

Of late, life has felt overwhelming. There never seems to be enough time or energy to accomplish all I want, and there is never enough money to help those I want to help. The busier I get, the more I know a difference is being made, but it can be overwhelming.

You see, I am a Law Enforcement Chaplain. Yes, I have theological training and am credentialed by a religious entity to perform the rites and rituals. But, I don’t try to convert anyone or preach to anyone to become part of my way of belief.  My job is to take my training and experience (lifetime of making mistakes) to listen to Officers and their families and offer counsel (if requested).  It’s a lot more difficult to listen and NOT speak than one might think.

When I first began this life adventure, I didn’t think I could possibly make a difference. The best I could do was offer encouragement and perhaps a little different perspective. Then one night after spending an entire 12 hour shift with one of the Officers, I was walking to my car and heard the cruiser back up and get ready to pull away. But then I heard the cruiser stop for several seconds.  I turned to wave to the officer, and the officer rolled down the window, grabbed my hand and said, “Thanks for listening Padre.” And with that, the officer drove off home, leaving me standing in the dark parking lot next to my car.

When I got into my car, I sat there for a minute and just looked at the sky watching the stars flicker.  Then an image came to mind that I hadn’t considered: One can only see the stars when it’s dark.  Hmmmmm….  The more I thought about it, the more I kept remembering some of the lessons I had learned over the course of my life. A single candle doesn’t produce much light, but in the darkest place where there is no light, it’s almost blinding.

From that day, I have remembered that even though I may not understand or even see how my light may help someone else, in their darkest moments, hopefully they will remember.

Watch this video and see what I mean:

Light Up The Sky

 

 

Categories: Fortress of Solitude, Hmmmmm........, Koffee Klatch, Perspectives, Wanderer's Wonderings, Wandering Mind | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Please Return My Mind To Its Original Upright Position

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Last night I was perched in my spot, you recall that I have a particular spot at my favorite watering hole where I sit, enjoying a quiet sit and soaking in the words of a book when my peace was shattered by……a chatterer!  Please don’t misunderstand, I have nothing against conversation in and of itself, but I find small talk, chit chat, and chattering for the sake of making noise, to be extremely disconcerting and quite annoying. When this person sat down next to me, I did look over and nod acknowledgement of his existence and place in proximity to my personal space. And, upon said acknowledgement, returned my attention to my interesting tome.

This was, evidently, the incorrect move on life’s chessboard, because “Tim” (as I learned his name to be), thought I looked lonely and he had a story to share rather insistently (story, I quickly discovered, was actually a wandering through bits of his recollection where time, space, and coherency are irrelevant). I admit to the occasional chuckle with some “hmm”-ing, a smattering of “you don’t say”, and many “uh-huh”.

I seriously considered completely ignoring Tim because, first, I am an introvert and interacting with people I don’t know or particularly like, is exhausting; and, second, I was attempting to relax having spent my work day, as per usual, talking with and listening to others. Thus, as the opportunity presents itself, I find a place where I can invoke my Fortress of Solitude in order to maintain my sanity.

Since Tim kept jabbing me with his elbow during his wide ranging tale, I had reached the point where I was less than a breath from acting on the mental images I had envisioned over the past hour of his story (the visions of me beating Tim senseless while the Gilligan’s Island theme played in the background), when I was rescued by a friend (a large hulking mass of humanity) who sauntered up, blocking out the sun, and poked Tim with a finger about the size of my leg, and said “Buddy, scoot down one.”

Okay, I admit it….the expression on Tim’s face was priceless. He left fairly quickly for some reason or another, as my friend and I sat for the next two hours in silence as we read our books.

Categories: Fortress of Solitude | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Diatribe of an Introvert (Ponderous Pondering)

Diatribe of an Introvert (Ponderous Pondering)

Since yesterday, I’ve been singing “I’m An Introvert And I’m Okay” (in my mind). It’s a catchy little tune that has stuck to the walls of my noggin and resonates throughout every corner of my mind.

Honestly, I was truly astounded by some of the emails I received. People telling me that they, too, are introverts in an extroverted world. So while Dyslexics can “Untie” we, Introverts, can Unite separately.

There’s nothing wrong about being quiet and thoughtful. It’s usually a good idea to think BEFORE you speak (it helps one cut down on the amount of crow they have to eat later). Introverts are thinkers. We are ponderers. We are observers. We are unobtrusive. We are quiet (usually). But never underestimate an Introvert. As my Grandfather used to always tell me, if there’s going to be a fight, watch out for the quiet one.

Being an Introvert does seem to have a few drawbacks in that people sometimes think that, because we are quiet, that we don’t care or are cold-hearted, or even apathetic. Quite the opposite is true. We do feel, we do understand, and just below the surface is a raging storm of feelings we aren’t sure how to let out. We feel comfortable in our shell and letting feelings out is very uncomfortable. We do make good listeners though. We are like sponges sometimes, soaking up everything within range (which can be completely exhausting too, btw).

Please understand, I’m not and will never say, being extroverted is wrong, just as being introverted is not wrong. It’s how we are wired. For me, being an introvert during the high school years was absolute torture. As if being the “quiet one” wasn’t enough, add in acne, body changes, and an obnoxious elder sibling who took great delight in the fact of being an extrovert, and you have a completely miserable introvert. Because of being constantly told that I was “creepy,” “heartless,” “zombie-ish,” “stupid,” and the like, created in my mind a cloud of despair. Let’s face it, if you tell someone something enough they will begin to believe it (look at the advertisers who tell you that without their product you are doomed to look old and aged).

Introverts may be weird or odd or unique or just quiet and thoughtful. But the fact is, we are who we are!

Categories: Hmmmmm........ | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

What Do You Mean I’m “Normal”?

I was born, you seem surprised, in a time when society taught us to question everything. While the actual year or decade of my birth is not relevant to this diatribe, the fact is, I’ve never understood complete conformism. Don’t get me wrong, there are some points of conformity I embrace wholeheartedly. Take the whole, murder is a not good thing, is a truly good idea. I firmly believe that bungee jumping is for the truly insane, but that’s more of an opinion, not a definite rule.

Even when I was in Military Service, I embraced the “shoot at me and I will shoot back” mentality, but didn’t see the point of going out of our way to find people to piss off enough to make them want to shoot at us.

Growing up, (which is a work in process), trying to fit in was not a huge concern. Having never been part of the popular crowd, the freedom from their constraints of blending in has been such a relief.  Although there do seem to be some societal conformational dictates that must adhered to in order to stay out of trouble. For example, showing up for a doctor’s visit naked, even though it does save time, is rather frowned upon.

It’s also, apparently, not wise to speak or look at anyone when you step into a lift. Chatter all you wish up until the doors close, and then the quiet rule takes over.

So imagine, after a few years of being rather a free spirit of sorts, being told by a co-worker that you are, and I quote, “just so normal.”  Seriously? Just go ahead and stick me in a museum with the rest of the relics from the past!  Then, the more I thought about it, the more it hit me….weird IS the new normal! So that means weird won!

HOORAY FOR WEIRD!    But stop calling me “normal” it might give me some sort of social disorder.

Categories: Hmmmmm........, Koffee Klatch, Perspectives, Wanderer's Wonderings, Wandering Mind | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!

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“I just want to be happy.” Let’s face it, we’ve all heard it and we have most likely said it. Happiness is something we pursue with every fiber of our being. But what if I were to tell you that happiness is a state of mind, not a state of accumulation? Would you think me to have gone completely mad?

Nay, I assure you that this has been pondered and contemplated thoroughly and a secret has revealed itself. Happiness does not come from outside influences. Now, outside influences trigger feelings which enhance the happy state of being, but they do not, in and of themselves, cause our happiness.

If you find yourself unhappy, change what you can (thought processes are a good place to start), either accept or ignore what you cannot change, and keep moving forward. Why? There are some things that are within our power to alter. We can change jobs, for example. We can also change locations. We can also change our perception. We can change our “friends” or we can choose to avoid this who try to bring us down.

There are some things we cannot change, like what others think about us, what the company will do with our position, the overall economy, how other people feel and even the weather.  Let me ask you, stressing over things we cannot change helps how? Okay, it burns up time and lots of energy. But does stressing make it better? Probably not. In fact, it probably makes it worse for you and thoe around you. So why stress over the things you cannot control?

Happiness is a journey, not a destination.

Categories: Hmmmmm........, Koffee Klatch, Perspectives, Wanderer's Wonderings, Wandering Mind | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Stand Out

Stand Out

Blend in and go with the crowd or stand out and make a difference. You’re choice.

Categories: Hmmmmm........ | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“What Do I Do With My Life?”

One of the questions I hear fairly often is, “What am I supposed to do with the rest of my life?”  Let’s think about that for a moment. What ARE we to do with the rest of our lives? Shoukd we seek fame? Should we work endless hours so we can be wealthy, but too exhausted to enjoy it? Should we toss it all aside and try doing nothing?

For the rest of your life, what should you do?  My question to such enquirers is simple….what are you passionate about?  Here’s why I ask that, we are, by nature, fickle beasts. Our feelings change on breath; our desires change on an impulse (which is why I try to take a list with me to the grocer. Impulse shopping leads to spending more money than you planned on things you didn’t plan). Some change relationships about as often as they change socks.

Thus I must offer what tidbit of wise nuggets as will fall from my brain when I shake my head. When asked “What am I to do with the rest of my life?” My initial response is “keep breathing.” While that may sound idiotic, it isn’t as stupid as your rolling eyes and derisive snort indicate. Breathing keeps us busy while our brain sorts through the implications. If you don’t believe me, wrap your head in a plastic bag and seal it off at the neck until you answer the question posed.

You see, the answer to the question is not something anyone can give you. Why? Because it is YOUR life, like it or not. You were the one given this life. If I tell you what to do with yours, then you will miss out on so much potential. Now I don’t advocate mooching for years off someone else while you “find yourself” either.  The odd part about living your own life is that you can plan for the future, but you must be flexible enough to deal with detours. If you carve your life plan in stone, you are most likely going to spend a lot of time being frustrated and angry.

“All we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given us” – J.R.R. Tolkein.  These are decisions we make breath by breath as we live.

Categories: Hmmmmm........, Koffee Klatch, Perspectives, Wanderer's Wonderings, Wandering Mind | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Dun Dun Duhhhhhhhh!!!!

Your phone rings. You look at the caller ID and you suddenly feel the cold splinter inserted into your heart.  It’s Susan. She likes to chatter like a monkey with engorged hindquarters (and resembles that in so many ways).  Your neighbors warned you that she would be calling with an invitation to the annual neighborhood block party, she happens to be hosting.

 

Your mind races through your catalogue of excuses not to go. Then your other catalogue of reasons not to answer the phone; as beads of sweat pour from your every pore, soaking your clothing as though you just ran through the carwash sans the car.  You’re instinct overrides on the third ring and your thumb touches the green key on your phone. Before you can get the phone to your ear to say “Hello,” Susan has already launched into her chatter-fest seemingly running in a loop through every phone call she makes.

 

“So I was talking to Lisa and Jim and you know how they just LOVE parties and I told them that I was hosting this year’s block party and they were just ALL into helping me but you know how I LOVE doing these things myself I mean if you want something done right now what I mean anywho I just called to invite you to come to the party we’re going to have SUCH a blast with all the games and fun it’ll be THE social event of the season look forward to see you there gotta run bye” *click*

 

By now you’re nerves have frayed to the point of crawling through your skin and off to Texas all on their own.  You practice deep breathing to try to calm your racing mind and restart your heart.

 

Finally, the day comes and you have just had an epiphany: small talk can be fun if used properly and it might just deter further invites from Susan and her ilk. You arrive at the party with your usual crockpot of chili and you are greeted by a disapproving “Susan Clone Committee” who seem to be in a dither that everyone brought chili instead of the smorgasbord of delicacies they had meticulously been assigned.  Hey, they should be happy you brought extra cornbread for your chili!

 KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Then the fun begins with Susan grabbing your arm and dragging you into her group of intimates.  She begins cooing about each person’s attributes, sounding more like a used tire salesperson working on commission. When she FINALLY takes a breathe for you to give each of her group the “once over” you make your move! You turn to Susan and in a loud, but conversational voice, say something to the effect of: “WOW! That zit you had earlier this week has come along nicely. You can barely see it with all that make up!” Followed by your pointing it out and looking closely at the spot (real or imagined).

 

The sad thing about “small talk” is that the same inevitable questions are asked:

  1. Where do you work?
  2. What do you do there?
  3. What did you think of the game?

 

Then the evaluation begins of:

  • your clothing
  • your shoes
  • your job
  • your job title
  • your salary
  • your cellphone
  • your cologne, aftershave, and/or deodorant
  • your hair
  • the amount of product in your hair
  • where you will fit into the “desirability” list with the female guests.
  • your car
  • where would your car finish if you raced the other guys.

 

Now….when you hang out with YOUR chosen friends, there’s a mutually agreed upon activity (usually eventually involving a couch), an unspoken (but quite regulated) menu of assorted foods that will raise your cholesterol, and the all accompanied by various sounds, cheers, various exotic forms of greeting (knuckle bumps, noogies, butt smacks, belly bumps, or the extensive menagerie of handshakes), and lots of quiet.  Not the awkward quiet, but the quiet that comes from having an unspoken conversation between friends.

 

Did I mention I am socially awkward when it comes to small talk? 

Awkward

Categories: Hmmmmm........, Koffee Klatch, Perspectives, Wanderer's Wonderings, Wandering Mind | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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