Monthly Archives: September 2017

Gaining Perspective Through the Eye of a Storm

Everyone enduring the last two weeks here in central FL with Hurricane Irma have stories, situations and scenarios. Though specifics may differ most of us are simply fatigued with decisions, disruptions and distress. We are spent, so to speak. That is, our budgets, our sleeplessness, our patience. Though we understand ‘it could be worse’, there is no denying we our uncomfortable and exhausted. Thousands are still without power (including Michael and I) Some are temporarily relocating and others have found themselves unemployed. Last night after working late, I stopped at the store for our elderly neighbors. The bread and water aisles are bare (still) again. Store clerks look tired. Freezer cases have thawed and ‘slippery when wet’ cones border their aisles.
Young parents are scrambling to find sitters since day-cares and schools are flooded or without power. Some are searching for lost pets. Today, a woman roamed our generator-deafening neighborhood calling for “Mocha”, her half blind, lost kitty. Yesterday, two of our neighbors crashed their cars short-cutting through a nearby development since our street was impassable. Mobile homes are unlivable. Cars have been crushed by fallen trees. Bodies are hot, sore and tired from raking, hauling and clearing debris. Simply sitting here typing, I feel the sweat beading up on my skin and the thought of our cold (only) shower is somewhat appealing.
Inconveniences challenge our ‘normal’. It’s one thing to be uncomfortable and quite another to endure greater suffering. Those facing life-threatening illness, hospital stays, incurable disease wish their only struggle was tree clean-up and power outages. I read daily reports of a friend battling serious post-surgery infections. I watch our neighbor endure pain knowing his cancer has returned. I’ve seen the tears in my co-worker’s eyes grieving the loss of her newborn. Perspective gives us the ability to gracefully endure the uncomfortable. It gives us the motivation to come alongside those hurting – to share supplies, cook a meal, watch their children or simply listen with compassion. I’ve heard some say how guilty they feel for not having suffered loss. Those who have need you. They need relief. They need to know they haven’t been forgotten. They need to know someone cares. Simple acts of kindness especially in troubled times makes a wilting heart bloom again, for both the giver and the receiver. Gain perspective whatever your situation so that your life and the lives of others in your sphere of influence can be blessed.

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I’m Not Emotional. It’s Not Hormonal. It’s …Hurricane-al!

It’s simply out of my control …the hurricane, the empty shelves, the gas shortage. I can’t control frantic drivers, rude shoppers or panicky procrastinators. I can’t prevent fallen trees, power outages or damaged property. And when the storm has finally passed, I am at the mercy of the power company, the roadway crews and clean-up management.

 
I can’t force neighbors to be neighborly, landlords to care or employers to understand. I can’t predict the safest place to park my car, the best room to hunker down or whether my sleeplessness will exaggerate irrational fears. I don’t know which trees will remain rooted, which might topple on the house or which might dive into the above ground pool creating a tidal wave our sliding glass doors could never contain. I can’t predict what might happen to ‘our’ feral cat or the elderly and sickly couple next door or those we dearly love in more dangerous and flood-prone areas.

 
The forecast is obvious, the scenario is typical, the possibilities are predictable but the exact outcome is unknown. The individual damage is still a mystery. The recovery time questionable. So much is out of my control, (and your control) and perhaps that is part of our stress (at least my stress) — the extent of unknown damage and the lack of ability to control it.
When uncertainty lingers; when warnings alarm; when darkness surrounds, I shall try to control the one and only thing I have control over – and that is the atmosphere of my mind.

Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

 

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Happy Birthday Michael

I haven’t lived through it all with him but I know enough about him. He is a collection of risky and rebellious, coupled with sincerity and gratitude. He’s had ups and downs, highs and lows, success and uncertainty. He’s enjoyed riches and survived penniless. He’s seen rock-bottom, made some mistakes, took the hard road for a while but climbed out of life’s valley on the steps of mercy and lessons learned. He’s been positive and protective, generous and thoughtful, patient and determined.
He has wandered, returned, loved and lost. There were beginnings, endings, closed chapters and fresh starts. There was sorrow, uncertainty, grief and desperation, yet through it all, the years were punctuated with glorious hope, renewed strength, family blessings and a teachable heart. He is a result of everything that has transpired over the years and without regret gives thanks for it all for it has led him to become the man he is today.
Michael celebrates his 60th birthday August 23rd and many things about him make up the reasons why I love him . . . There is never any hesitation when it comes to his selfless giving. Rarely, do I hear a negative word from his lips about any thing or any one. He finds strength in solitude, beauty in nature and energy on barefooted trails. He has taught me by his own example to take care of myself and challenge my limits in order to survive and thrive each day.
He will endure just about anything for the sake of others except drama and negativity. The intolerance of such things reveals one way he protects, respects and cares for himself, for us, and the healthy, happy atmosphere he is determined to maintain. He welcomes fresh starts and clean slates without accusation, judgement or blame because he is all about celebrating today not wallowing in the past or casting shadows on the future.
He continues to learn new things, make new plans and go new places. His calm, no-worries outlook continues to challenge my fears and tame my wild imaginations. He reads, watches webinars, tries new recipes and seeks better habits, continually, leaving no time for TV in over ten years.
He cooks, bakes, washes dishes and laundry, mows, cleans the pool, gardens, fixes just about everything, shops for groceries and irons (yes, he irons).
He feeds the backyard birds and squirrels, keeps the neighborhood kitty coming back for breakfast and talks to reptiles like most people speak to adorable puppies. He gathers pine cones from his trail running for the pre-schooler’s arts and crafts. He keeps the favorite foods and drinks of others in the pantry just in case they come to visit. He’s territorial about ‘his’ kitchen and wishes there were two ovens for those ultra-eve baking marathons. (Then volunteers for those races, cheering others on for hours).
He wakes much earlier than I and though I’ve never seen it with my own eyes, I think he’s doing Yoga on that mat in his office. He drinks green tea and smoothies but brings me coffee, in bed, every single morning. He happens to be a pretty good listener, too, though I don’t talk much (HA HA).
Michael is a kid at heart, which is the reason why little ones love to be around him. He’s found his passion and purpose working with the families and children society calls the poorest of the poor. He serves on a local board to advance early childhood reading and supports another community endeavor helping the homeless get back on their feet. He boasts about nothing, absolutely nothing. He knows a great deal more than he speaks and when he does he articulates well and communicates with sincerity.
He is not a perfect man (and will admit it). Just like everyone of us, he has degrees of tolerance, days of tiredness and occasional forgetfulness. But the man he is today, though imperfect, is genuine. What you see is who he is and who he is is a result of life’s experiences, lessons and choices. The man he is today is welcoming, fun, thoughtful and kind. He loves life and wakes each morning thankful for another sunrise and grateful to be alive.
For those of you who truly know him, you understand why he is so easy to love. Happy “60th” Birthday Michael. The world is a better place (and I am a better person) because of you.

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