When it comes to being far from perfect, I’ve got imperfection in the spades. I often beat myself up for having so many flaws and petty insecurities. It’s tough being human. (Do you ever get down on yourself for being less than perfect?)
In his homily this past Sunday, Fr. Tony addressed the challenge that is posed to us by All Saints Day. With tremendous understanding and the right amount of humor, Fr. Tony reminded us that the canonized saints were human too. They struggled with jealousy, anger, fear, and weakness (among other things). In his narrative, Fr. Tony dared us to be like the saints. His All Saints Day challenge is to live with love, compassion, and faith at the center of our thoughts and actions in spite of our struggles.
Nobody is born a saint, but we all have the power to be saintly in our words and works. In the bulletin “Message from Fr. Tony,” he thoughtfully stated, “The simple but reassuring fact is that nobody was born a saint. It’s something we have to strive to become… All Saints Day calls us to something beautiful. It reminds us of our great potential – the promise that lies within each of us. The promise of holiness.”
It’s only when we fail to stand our ground that we cave.
Only when we fail to be true to ourselves, we cave.
When we fail to be honest, we cave.
We fail to believe; we cave.
Fail only when we cave.
The times when I have felt least successful are those when I felt I caved to insecurity or scrutiny of others. It was in allowing the foundation of what I knew was right to crumble. I let my emotions cascade in an avalanche of uncertainty around me. I caved.
One instance from junior high, where I personally caved, still haunts me.
In 6th grade, recess changed the social dynamic for everyone at my school. The 6th grade girls were assigned the parking lot between church and our grade school along with the 7th and 8th grade girls for recess. There were no soccer goals, basketball hoops, or kickball fields in this lot. As someone who always loved sports and being active, this move was not an exciting one for me. The other girls seemed perfectly happy to sit on the steps next to church and clump in tightly knit circles gossiping away our precious free time. Recess was not much fun as far as I was concerned, but I made the most of it floating from group to group, checking to see what the topic of conversation might be, or if there was a chance of athletic ambition from anyone.
One day I ran to talk to one of the 8th graders, who played basketball on the school team with me. She was talking to two others girls and I was excited to see if they wanted to talk basketball.
As soon as I entered their circle, one girl took me by the arm and turned me around. “You are like a wart. We want to burn you out of here,” she said and pushed me in the opposite direction of their conversation. Continue reading “Cave”→
Humanity is a colorful lot; not just in skin tones but in the relationships we build, the actions we take, and the habits we form. Within each realm of humanity there are always those assigned to protect and supervise the masses. Who better to observe the practices of other humans than someone who is responsible for keeping them safe?
Through my blogging exploits I have made some tremendous writing friends. One of the individuals who I am proud to call my friend is Lucy Brazier. While Lucy and I have never met in person, we have exchanged comments and compliments via our sites and I am excitedly close to finishing her first book A Portergirl Novel: First Lady of the Keys.
As the book points out, we Americans believe porters are just people who carry bags, but in England porters are guards of a sort and protect and manage the safety and security of properties as keepers of the keys. Through the adventures of Deputy Head Porter, the first ever female porter at Old College, the idiosyncrasies and interactions of those in a most unusual academic setting are brought to light. It is in her chapter “Suited and Booted” that I found an exceptionally powerful statement about the importance of understanding and being an active part of humanity.
“You need a ‘safe’ word for when someone is doing things or saying something that hurts your heart,” – Kim Borgmeyer
As all parents do, some friends of mine and I were discussing school and the upcoming school year. Some were concerned about the amount of “just kidding” that the kids were doing and how uncertain we were that most would consider their jibes or insults as “jokes.” In addition there were some comments made about when teachers “joke” and the words do not come across as “funny” to the students.
My friend Kim suggested that each classroom have a “safe” word. A word that any student could use to the teacher or other students to signify that what was being said or done was hurtful to them. It could be anything from “rotten apples” to “pink giraffe,” but whatever the word was it would always show that the other’s behavior was not okay.
I thought, “Man, that’s brilliant.” Using a “safe” word is a terrific way to signify the impact of the moment and keep everyone aware of the power of their words and actions.
Of course everyone would need to understand that the “safe” word should only be used in real instances of bullying or disrespect. It should not be a word or phrase to be used lightly or in joking situations and everyone would have to abide by the understanding that it really was a “safe” way to say, “Hey, that’s not okay.”
This reminded me of a time when I gave a nickname to a student. All of my yearbook students had nicknames. It was our tradition. The nickname given to this particular young man was awarded completely out of comradery and friendly ribbing but, as things sometimes do, the nickname evolved to become something that was negative in my student’s life. It was not until after the spring awards banquet that I learned he thought the nickname meant I didn’t think he was smart.
Often we don’t notice what others are doing unless it is out of the ordinary. Kind acts aren’t out of the norm for many of us, but they are definitely something that makes us stop, watch, and listen. Kindness communicates beyond words.
Earlier this week I wrote about digging for the gold in others. Finding value in each person makes our days richer and brighter. Adding kindness to our gold diggery enhances the quality of our lives. Digging for the gold in others unfortunately is not something we do all the time. Hopefully we can all start to look and listen for the “golden” traits in those around us.
The Intentergy Challenge for today is to break away from the norm and commit acts of kindness that speak beyond words. Seek past your regular routine to make a positive impact on the life or lives of those around you. Hear cries for help or love that you don’t normally hear and answer them with compassion and understanding.
While we cannot always see the hurt or troubles in the lives of others. We can see the impacts kindness makes. While we don’t always have the right words, our compassion and positive energy echo loudly with love and appreciation.
Ray Bradbury’s short story “All Summer in a Day” takes place on Venus and at a school where the children eagerly await the one day that summer will occur. On Venus summer comes once every seven years for just a matter of hours. The rest of the time the weather is stormy, windy, and overcast. This day is especially important to young Margot. Margot’s family moved from Earth and are considering the costly and arduous process of returning to the third planet from the sun for fear of losing their daughter to heartbreak. Margot is small, pale, and all too lonely. ‘She was an old photograph dusted from an album, whitenedaway, and if she spoke at all her voice would be a ghost.” The school children tease and ostracize her for her homesickness and taunt her about the only artwork she creates, pictures of life back on Earth. (The other children have no memories of what life is like on Earth.)
As the time nears to go outside and enjoy the rare sunshine, plants, and warmth, the children think it funny to lock Margot in the closet. They do not intend to leave her there but forget the grief-stricken girl as soon as the first rays of sun appear. Continue reading “Don’t Keep All Summer in a Day”→
This week my focus is on insurance. Weird, I know, but I hope you will understand my need for this coverage. (pun intended)
In October my son was involved in a playground accident that sent us rushing to the ER for stitches.
The school provided us with a completed form to submit any out-of-pocket expenses to their insurance. I dutifully photocopied our bills and carefully checked and double checked all the information. Within two weeks I received a letter that our claim had been processed. Woohoo! (That was in December.)
The first week of January I received a bill for the October ER visit. This was stressful. I just knew I was going to have a fight on my hands with the insurance and/or hospital.
After a quick review of the claim notification from December, I found the column outlining the exact amount of the bill. It was marked “Amount Denied.” Dang it! How could I have missed that?
I called the number on the claim notification and spoke immediately to a customer service rep. She was polite and explained that the $87.02 was the discount amount agreed upon by the hospital and their company. She did not know why I received a bill but would put me through to their company’s adjuster Jennifer.
Jennifer was unable to take my call at that time so I left her a detailed message.
Adjuster Jennifer called back the next day confused about my question. She said I had nothing to worry about unless I received a bill. I explained that I did receive a bill and was really hoping she could help me. Jennifer told me to email a copy of the bill to her and she would call the hospital. I figured it would be a week or so and I would have to call back. 😦 Continue reading “Undeniable Claim”→