Monthly Archives: April 2013

Do it for Love

We usually don’t stop to analyze why we do the things we do, especially for other people. Too often, we do things out of fear. We do things because we are afraid that someone might be upset or that they might be angry if we didn’t.

In our personal lives, we did things when we were young because we knew that if we didn’t our parents would be upset. So, if we did not want to get in trouble and be yelled at, we made sure it was done. Then there were times that we did something, like make a card, out of love. Remember how that felt? There was no anxiety, just joy and the hope that the person receiving the card would be filled with joy as well.

Even when we grow up, we continue to do things out of fear. We do things at work that we might not appreciate because if we didn’t, it might cost us a raise or even our job. We do things at home because we don’t want to hear our partner complain about it not being done. And we might behave a certain way because we are afraid that God will punish us.

It is so much better to do things out of love. The fear part comes out of expectations of how others might react, especially if they have demonstrated that behavior previously. We might have learned that connection. I very much prefer to do things out of love. I want to do things that make someone happy. That takes a mind change. I have to think to myself, “I am doing this because it makes her happy” instead of “If I don’t do it this way, she is going to be upset and I’ll have to hear about it.”  The former is much better for my soul, but sometimes the latter sneaks in there. Besides, are we really doing our best, if we work from a place of fear? Our hearts and minds are more invested when we work from a place of love. Doing things out of fear just makes everything more difficult.

Even at work, a mindset change is essential. Think ‘I need to do this for the customer. The customer deserves the best.’  Instead of ‘If I don’t do this, my boss is going to yell at me and I might lose my job.’

And most importantly, many people are raised to ‘fear’ God. They are afraid that God will punish them if they do not behave in a certain way. We were not meant to fear God in a way that makes us afraid, but in a way that we revere and find God to be awesome. Thus we should behave to please God just as we would want to please our parent by making them a card, not because we are afraid.

Fear is a big part of our human life. It is the dealing with our fears and overcoming our fears that lead to confidence, self-reliance, and ultimately peace within ourselves. May peace be with you always.

What color is your world?

When I was young, my Uncle Harry (after whom I am named) came to live with us because he had lost his greenhouse nursery business. He stayed with us quite a while and as a gift for our family’s kindness, he left behind a black and white television set. It was the first television we had.

Black and white television depended on shades of gray to create contrast. We fooled ourselves into believing that we could tell the colors that should have been there by the particular shade of gray. Whether or not we guessed the color correctly didn’t really matter, as we painted the grayscale picture in our mind.

Like today, there was an annual showing of the Wizard of Oz. I did not know until years later that the dream sequence of the film was in color. That Zenith TV my uncle left us lasted a very long time.

There are some people who live in black and white only, others in grayscale and still others in technicolor. Of course, all of us have episodes of all three. Those that live in strictly black and white have a very hardened set of rules which establish right from wrong. Basically, anything that isn’t right must be wrong. That’s it – no argument. They write the script for the rest of the world to follow and become upset if they don’t, despite the fact that the rest of the world had no opportunity or desire to follow their script in the first place. So, they spend much of their time being consumed by the world’s inconsideration of their beliefs.

There are others that live in grayscale. They have a defined concept of right and wrong but know that there are motives, reasons and situations that create circumstances that dilute the rigidness of those concepts, hoping that grace will provide trails to the right path. The gray in their lives comes from wishing for better and playing the ‘if only’ game. I would be happy, if only I were married. I would be happy, if only I got a raise. I would be happy, if only I had another job. I would be happy, if only I had lots of money. Instead of looking at what they already have and the relationships around them, they always see what they are doing without or things they don’t or cannot have. They miss out on the joys of life.

Then there are those that live in technicolor. They know that the world is full of wonder and mystery. They want to see the colors of the orient. They want to hear the music of the African plains. They want to feel the tropical breezes. Creation is alive and vibrant, pulsing with color: to be experienced by all of our senses. They have defined concepts of right and wrong but understand that many cultures exist. That backgrounds and experiences shape the lives of each one of us – that grace belongs to all of us; that love and God are not limited; and beyond our full comprehension. They understand that two people can listen to the same music and be moved differently. They accept the diversity as the wonderful mystery of God and creation.

Now everyone has episodes of all three of these examples. Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, her dream world was vibrant, beautiful, and at times a little scary. As exciting as it was, she was still tied to a place called home. Her relationships were important. She had tasted the Technicolor life, and it is my hope it remained an important part of her psyche.

I try very much to live a technicolor life, but I admit, I sometimes fall into the grayscale (probably more than I would like to admit). Each morning, when I wake up on the right side of the grass, I am thankful and blessed – anything beyond that is a gift. I wish to continue to see all these little gifts as blessings, trials as lessons that give me insight and strength, and relationships that promote love and understanding. My world is full of color and you shine brightly. You can be a gift to the world no matter how you see it through your own eyes. The reality might be gray, but that does not mean you can’t live a technicolor life.

Take care, be well, and be blessed.

Healthy Laughter

You have probably heard that laughter is the best medicine. There is truth in this statement. There are many benefits of laughter, and the best part is that it is mostly free. You might buy a movie ticket to a new comedy or pay to see a comedian, but mostly, you can harvest laughs around you. You might even laugh at yourself. I know that I sometimes laugh at myself.

You might know people who easily laugh, both at themselves and the absurdities of life. Spend time with them, their laughter is contagious. Count your blessings, it is easier to be positive and enjoy life when you don’t concentrate on what you don’t have. And if you are one of those who laughs easier, feel free to ‘infect’ others with smiles and laughter. You will be exercising their souls.

I find that laughing allows me to see situations more realistically. Often the crisis of the moment won’t matter at all months from now. Adding humor to the situation may help keep it from becoming overwhelming.

Sharing laughter helps us keep our relationships fresh. It usually strengthens the bonds that we have with others. It can help heal resentments and hurts. I enjoy laughing with Theresa. We watch romantic comedies, silly Bollywood movies and comedy shows. Sharing laughter helps us relax, attracts us to each other, and adds joy to our lives.

Trigger the release of endorphins often through laughter. Endorphins are your body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Their release promote an overall sense of well-being. This release of endorphins has also been known to reduce pain. Laugh every day and laugh often.

A turtle was walking down the street when he was mugged by a gang of snails. When the police officer asked him to explain what happened, the turtle admitted, “I’m not really sure, it all happened so fast.”