Perhaps one of the most difficult things we ever have to deal with in life is serious illness, whether the illness effects us or a loved one. It is almost as bad when a loved one is ill as when we ourself are ill.
At first there is the initial shock of finding out that we or a loved one is seriously ill with cancer, heart disease, or another major illness that could be fatal. Then there are the endless trips to the hospital, the doctor's office, and the pharmacy for medicine. There is the fear and uncertainty, and often the pain and disbility if there is surgery or other complications involved with the illness. There can also be the stress of confinement and loss of mobility. Our whole life and way of living is changed as we try to cope with the illness.
Our outlook on life and the world changes. Little things we took for granted like time with our family, recreational pastimes, and moments to ourself, become more precious and important. We become acutely aware of our own mortality, and the fact that our time on this earth might not be much longer.
We notice the flowers and how beautiful the world is. We notice the people in our life and how wonderful they are, and how precious they are to us. We begin to find more comfort in our faith and to trust in God more. For perhaps the first time in our life we come to understand what is really inportant.
Dear God, I pray, help me,
To be the person I ought to be,
Help me to see the light,
Help me to do the right.
I come with humble heart,
Please help me do my part,
To help others in need,
To be more like Christ I plead.
Take away my selfish pride,
In thy love may I abide,
Help me find the peace I seek,
And with love to act and speak.
Sometimes when we see no light,
But only darkness all around,
Then like from heaven above,
A special angel can be found.
A kind word, a kind deed,
Can pull us from the brink,
And give us hope to go on.
They are our special angels I think.
Though they may not have wings,
Or fly through the air,
nonetheless they have wondrous power,
To save us from our despair.
Nothing Is Unimportant
Our world is so constructed that nothing that exists or happens is unimportant. Creation is all tied together, and bound in the broad sea of being. All about is inter related, and substances of common heredities. Taken a step farther we perceive that nothing that happens is really unimportant or insignificant.
This can be applied even more significantly to the inter actions between people. Who knows what the resulting consequences and reverberations down through time of a kind word or deed, and how it may beneficially effect countless other people for untold good. On the other hand the resulting repercussions of an act of cruelty or evil may be the cause of terrible and monstrous crimes and evils to be perpetrated on countless future generations.
There are times when I feel low that I reflect upon memories that are sweet or pleasant.
My thoughts hasten back to moments in spring,
To blue skies on crisp autumn days,
To snow pure and sparkling in the sun,
To the smells after a rain,
To summer evenings long and cooling,
To flowers along the road,
To fish jumping from a stream,
To glistening grass at dawn,
To a lighted city far off in the night,
To a bluebird's nest in a hollow limb.
By this reflection on life's more pleasant memories I arrive at some equanimity.
Life Is Funny
We never know when we are up,
Until we are down.
We think we have it bad,
Until we have it worse.
We don't know we were really happy,
Until we are sad.
One of the most difficult things in the world is to accept criticism. By nature we become upset when we are criticized, even though we know the criticism might be somewhat justified. Strangely enough we can accept and be quite unperturbed when someone else is being criticized, it doesn't bother us at all, but when we ourselves are criticized, even slightly, our anger flares.
Do we hold we are perfect beings? Absolutely not, we readily admit our shortcomings, but we just don't like anyone else telling us about them. Criticism seems so much like abuse, that we can't or we don't try to accept it, or see the difference of whether it is justified or not. After all at times there are people who seem malicious in their criticism, and who just pick and pick at every little thing we do, who appear to have a personal dislike for us, and who criticize us constantly. On the other hand there are those who only criticize judiciously, and with good intentions, when they think it is appropriate, and for our own good.
Whether the intentions are good or bad, we still don't like criticism. All of our defensive mechanisms rise up at the very hint of criticism, and we plot how we will defend ourself from what appears to be a personal attack upon us as an individual. Of course there can be vast differences in the way criticism is done, and also of who does the criticizing. If the criticism is done in a polite and respectful manner it is more readily accepted by us. Also we accept criticism more easily and readily from certain people, such as close or trusted friends, beloved family members, or people we admire or respect, more than from someone else we may not know or someone we might dislike.
I think it is important that we learn to accept criticism, and use it to our advantage as a means of improving ourselves. Criticism can be a great help to us. Constructive criticism is helpful in pointing out our flaws and weaknesses, and helping us to achieve our goals, or to change ourselves for the better.
Actually we should be grateful to someone for pointing out our errors and flaws so that we may take steps to correct them. The person who points out our mistakes is perhaps more of a true friend than someone who sees we are wrong, and says nothing, letting us continue on in our error to our own detriment.
Selfishness, while seeming to be in our best interest, can actually be quite harmful to us. In pursuing selfish ends and pleasures we ultimately find that any satisfaction we gain from them is only temporary, like over indulging in sweets, and that in the long run they are bad for us. Selfishness always leaves us with an empty feeling, while giving and caring for others leaves us fulfilled and happy.
Our affections were meant to be extended, not focused inwardly, but expanded outwardly toward loving and helping others. Expanding our feelings in the direction of others gives us a happiness within that selfishness could never do. When we only care for ourself we shrivel up into a lonely little person, but when we reach out with love and kindness toward others our loneliness goes away, and we don't feel frightened and miserable any longer.
To receive the blessings of life we must give ourself up. We must die to self, in a sense, to truly live as a caring and compassionate person. Selfishness prevents us from really caring and giving of ourself to others. It is like a chain around our neck which pulls us back from helping those inneed or having compassion for those who suffer and who reach out to us for comfort and kindness. Selfishness prevents us from really having selfless and unconditional love for our family and friends. Selfishness in the end is really a form of self destruction, while selflessness and love for others and love for God is our salvation.