I continued to pursue the multiple dimensions of respect this weekend. My Concordance is leading the way, as we lingered at leadership for a couple of days. Likely, because I live with it every day, I wanted to see if there is wisdom I may, perhaps need, in the current climate and times of the many things I am doing.
Would you agree that leadership is a boat-load of wisdom and understanding? And with respect as the adhesive that holds it together? 'Respect' could be the the air that dries the clay we have been molded from or the fire of the furnace we are made strong in. It is also in our choices of the leaders we follow, connect with, and glean our wisdom from.
Today's particular stop in the road was at patience. I wondered how that might fit into today's world or the details of my own life, and what jumps out in clear view is the 'getting ahead of the natural order'. I am not going to shout my personal views about the way commercialism has taken control of traditions. Gray Thursday is just not acceptable in my view. At the end of the day, it is only my view, and understand that I am only speaking because I am not sure I can NOT say something. I am thankful that I can vote with my dollars, speaking very clearly going forward, with my respectful view of a lack of patience and the lack of acknowledgment that we need our traditions. Someone said to me yesterday, "What about you? You are open (speaking of the hotel)" My reply was, "We are in the 24 hour business. We are expected to be open." There is a hefty price to be paid for always being 'open'.
My team pays that price every holiday. These are our choices. Our votes are part of the multiple dimensions of respect.
Unpleasant words, an elevated volume, deadlines passed, 'first day' forever, so much work; are all part of the job. You would think as long as I have been at this leadership game, I would be better at it. I would have the sense to go into my office, close the door, bury my face in my sweater and scream to my heart's content.
Let's just say that hasn't happened in a long time, for a few reasons, least of them being there is so much of other people's things in front of my office door, that I cannot close it. I am an open-door manager to my own peril at times. This means I have to always be 'on stage'. Hiding is not an option.
Still pursing the 'gentle' road today, I had a lesson visit me in the flesh. You know the kind…frothing at the mouth and nails that grew an inch every time I thought to myself, "Seriously??" I was still holding on to my ears to keep my head from spinning around and around. I have struggled to be Christ-like over the last 24 hours. I stayed in the book of 1 Peter a while this morning to come back to the place of confidence. I can say that I do feel better about the trials of yesterday now. There are still issues to be resolved, and a kinder, gentler heart from where the resolution can rise from. At work, as in the matters of the heart, trials refine faith. Yesterday's angst was more directed at me for choices I had made than anything else. The inner fury that only a good talk with the Holy Spirit can help resolve has occurred. And an office door that I can close is steps away from where I sit.
No harm, no foul resulted in the explosion. I am blessed that it was a one-woman battle. I am thankful the bullseye was nowhere to be found. My goodness and consideration went in for routine maintenance this morning. Being a good example is part of the job.
Planting what you want, where you want it, takes just the right touch.
When I was very young, I considered gardening to be work. Hard work. Out in the sun, sweating, hoeing, pulling weeds, bent over in uncomfortable positions. I loved it, just the same. I was fascinated by the process of planning, which usually began in the winter when the seed catalogs would come in the mail, and we had time on our hands, and there was usually snow on the ground. A big plot of dirt was selected for it's access to sun and water. Seeds were selected for health and nutrition consideration. What would be consumed, picked and pickled in the upcoming months by us as a family and occasionally what would become contributions to other family members and friends began it's lot as a simple seed.
Amazingly, the rows were fairly straight. Water generally flowed to it's intended target zone, and was a large responsibility if you were told to go 'change the water'. The majority of the plants sprouted and proliferated from the gentle touch that placed them in the soil before the sunshine and moisture pressured them into germination.
Farm life, in general, was like that for me. Now, in my older years, I wish I would have been more thankful for the bounty that was produced by gentle hands that had just the right touch.
My 'gentle' journey continues today as my Concordance suggested Titus' teachings where Paul instructs Titus to "be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men"; being gentle and humble in heart.
As a character trait, humility is elusive, and often misunderstood. Often confused with 'humiliated', which can send a negative shudder throughout the spirit. If we can have an honest estimate of ourselves before God, humility is a gracious gift. Sober judgement is advantageous.
Thinking more highly of anything projects negative worth on ability and effort. Pride gained from inflating the value of efforts serves naught. "Recognizing that we have succeeded in an effort need not be pride," as stated in the Life Application Study Bible Commentary.
This was a lesson learned for me over this past year, and I am very thankful there is peace in my heart about many efforts. Pride and achievement have been task-masters in the past. I have found that journaling the way an accomplishment 'feels' has been very beneficial. Then reading it out loud for the greatest impact to see how it sounds to others. Boastful? Arrogant? Self-importance? Superiority? Rewrite it if you must until these are settled, and peace returns because you are now gentle and humble in heart.
"When the student is ready, the teacher appears." It's been said many.
My 'gentle' quest continues this morning. I cannot shake it, which must mean I have much more to learn. My concordance lead me to 2 Timothy this morning, a teacher from long ago. His encouragement to avoid quarrels and foolish debates may be sage advice for me today. I'll take it.
He also encourages 'gentle instruction'. Respectful teaching delivers a powerful message regardless of the subject matter being taught, often more than one. The words that leave our mouths teach more when the student can identify with what they also see. As in an advertisement for any product we are being encouraged to buy represents, the image is used to connect us to the product. Are the students you are teaching today seeing the image of the words you are using?
I am thankful for the many teachers that are always available and the ones that I have yet to meet. I hope I am the best teacher that I can be today. I acknowledge the "official teachers who made great sacrifices to teach us all.
Think this may not apply to you? Not the teacher-type? Everyone you encounter today benefits from the wisdom and knowledge that you have been taught or learned from all the people in your life who had any minute influences: Family and friends, classmates and team members, neighbors and clergy, members and associates. We all are teachers. What are the lessons we are teaching today? Who will you be in front of today that will benefit from something you know? And will you gently deliver it? The learning environment changes significantly when gentle listening and hearing are part of the lessons learned. Will you be the student or teacher that presents or acquires something of great value today? Remember the teacher appears when the student is ready.
More often the bull in the china shop, it is on my heart today to be gentle in what I do. There is a feeling of the need to be gentle. It is a word I have on my heart that continues to linger. As I continue on my own personal journey and Awaken, the urgings of my heart are more profound and they go on to answer many of my questions.
Perhaps the feeling is what remains after the Rise Up Event this past weekend, where my spiritual bucket was filled. Perhaps I am fending off the virus that so many others are fighting around me. This is not my typical Monday morning, shot-like-a-rocket attack on the day. I feel the ease of a gentle breeze today that almost feels odd and out of place.
So much so that I looked it up in my "Strong's Concordance" and then went to my big red book ("Life Application Study Bible") for more insight. Simply stated, we are encouraged to maintain a gentle attitude in our relationships with others.
Perhaps age is mellowing me. I'd like to think that it could be a direct reflection of the company I keep these days. I am thankful that the days of the rat race are waning, making time for more reflections and learning to enjoy the feeling of the 'ease'. At least for today, I am going to follow the gentle urgings of my heart and be gentle in what I do.
In today's world of instant answers, I am compelled to query if I am asking the right question. I had an interesting experience this week that was such an eye-opener. I have made my peace with the answer. It was the question that lingered and kept nagging me and nudging me in a direction that I didn't think I wanted to pursue.
“He explained to me with great insistence that every question posessed a power that did not lie in the answer.”
― Elie Wiesel, Night
As I struggled to make sense of the 'mind-chatter' that looked like a clear answer, out into the great unknown went an inaudible SOS, that was received, and returned in the form of the right question. And the new question was what I was really seeking! I needed the assistance of another human to help me translate it. And voila! Peace! (Good thing it wasn't a bus!)
My take-away in this instance was when something nags at me to that degree, I need help! One of the toughest questions that crosses my lips is 'will you help me?'. I probably need more help than I ever admit to. My personal struggles indicate that I waited longer than I needed to in finding out the help was always at the end of that simple question.
And when I asked myself, "Why didn't I think of that?", I was immediately reminded (through a new awareness), 'Am I asking the right question?'
In the whirlwind of the last few days, I am having mixed feelings about all this sharing stuff. Almost daily, I feel compelled to either like it or loathe it. At the beginning of the day, I awaken and anticipate virtual good vibes from checking in with my 'posi-peeps'. You know who YOU are! I can count on you to be part of the fuel that I add to my engine to carry me to the other end of the day. What seems to happen often along the way, the 'negi-nags' appear and cast the long shadow across the path I travel. Although it only looks like they are taking more than their share of the path, I give them a wide berth, and take the longer way around. Mixed in with all of the day-to-day trials and errors, ups and downs and making progress, the shadows appear strictly for the purpose of being seen and heard, sterile of any real value. The less attention I pay them, the louder they roar and the darker they get. There have been a couple of days lately when I spent more time in detour than arriving at my destination. I am thankful for arriving safe and sound. The end of the day is right where I expected it to be.
And then, along comes someone to help me awaken fully and put it all into perspective, because it is, really, all about perspective:
“This life is for loving, sharing, learning, smiling, caring, forgiving, laughing, hugging, helping, dancing, wondering, healing, and even more loving. I choose to live life this way. I want to live my life in such a way that when I get out of bed in the morning, the devil says, 'aw shit, he's up!”
― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience
In my case 'She' is up and at 'em! And just that easy, all of this sharing makes perfect sense.
Janet L Arnold