Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Few Life Lessons On A Sunny Mother's Day

My Mom, Debbie Alward, & I

First of all I would like to wish my Mom, Debbie, a Happy Mother's Day.  We have always had a close relationship and she has always been there for me no matter what, with love and understanding.  Who could ask for more from a mother?

I thought I'd sit down and write a few thoughts down, as my last number of entries here have been quotes from other people, particularly the Catholic writer Henri Nouwen and the Quaker writer Philip Gulley.

So, here's a few things I am learning about life, in no particular order:

  1. I think that rather than running away from pain, be it emotional, mental, or otherwise, we must learn to engage our pain, to feel it rather than suppressing it and trying to bury it farther into ourselves, or distracting ourselves from it as we are tempted to do.  We need to talk about our past wounds and our present pain. Like me, maybe you have been through some type of abuse. Rather than stuffing it inside or trying to pretend like it never happened, as painful as it is, it helps to talk about it. Perhaps the only person we can do this with at first is a therapist, and that's ok. But the more we talk about our pain, the quicker the healing. A physical wound can't heal without first being cleaned out, covered by a balm, but eventually getting some fresh air.
  2. It's hard to know when to stay at home and be by yourself and when to allow yourself to be distracted. In general though, especially in today's world of Androids, iPods, Blackberrys, Tivo, etc, we easily can get disconnected from God and from our true selves. This leads to the next point.
  3. Only God (or whatever you wish to call the Divine) can truly satisfy me (I'll personalize this point because I know there are readers who don't believe in God).  The problem with many relationships or activities that we occupy our time with is that we expect them to heal our minds and heal our hearts. And we get mad when they can't do it. The author Nouwen says that we must turn to God in solitude, but also that a spiritual discipline is that of community. Although not one person can truly fulfill all of our needs, the community can hold us up when needed.
  4. Trust in God is something that we only learn as we practice it; it doesn't just fall into our laps and all of a sudden everything is a bed of roses. I must work on this a lot.  We can give God whatever we are struggling with at the moment, and God knows our needs. We can seek first the kingdom of God (and God is Love), and all things will be given to us.  It is, then, our job to trust God in the face of all sorts of circumstances, and then to leave them with Her. It's like dropping something off at the laundromat. We don't drop a suit off, then 5 minutes later go back and ask for it back. There can be a waiting involved.
  5. If we learn to live in love, our needs, as deep as they may seem, will be satisfied by God. There is a power at work in our world, and in our lives that is profoundly deeper and wiser than we imagine.
  6. What we believe in, whether it be a theology or a philosophy, does not matter as much as how we are living our lives in the world. I can blog all I want about theology and religion, but if it is not making me a better, more loving friend, then what's the use?
Anyways, those are a few things that I am learning. A Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there, especially my Mom, because she is the best. :)