My brother in law Tony helping the poor

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Encouragement - We all Need It!

A woman was in my office last week and told me about this story, "after 20 years of marriage my husband came home and said, 'I'm not in love with you anymore' and that was it!"  Did you ever notice how we would rather replace the people in our lives who have disappointed us, rather than deal with the issues that have separated us?  I must admit that I am a BIG abuser of my own observation.  Often we have a parent who has let us down, a child we have given up on, or a spouse who has left us for a younger woman.  Unfortunately, I know way too many people who have experienced the ladder.  Too many men get to an age where they realize they are getting old and going to die so they start looking for someone to replace their aging, aching wife who is their constant reminder of them getting old.  

Replacing people has become much too common place, not only in our culture but I've seen it in the Latin, Italian, and Irish cultures as well.  I have a feeling that if people really wanted respect, they would learn to respect others.  It is disrespectful to throw someone away.  It is insulting to have shared your life with someone and then have them say "I don't need you anymore."  Chances are, that person you are discarding or trying to replace IS the very person you NEED in your life!  If someone accepts you fully and completely you should get on your knees and thank God because that is indeed a blessing and a gift.  But still we look.  Why?  I think it has something to do with discouragement.  

When we get frustrated or discouraged we can either fight to make a change or quit and look for something better.  Many quit and look for that better wife, better friend, better personal relationship, because there is some excitement in the mystery of finding out if the other person is interested in you.  "Hmmm," we say, "now she might be able make me feel the way I want to feel!"  True, new people talking all nice and sexy to us does make us feel young and exciting, but give me a break people!  Look in the mirror, you are probably old, bald, wrinkly, and out of shape. What the other person probably sees in you is not sex appeal.  You know what it is?  Here it comes....ready?  It's the attention YOU give them that makes THEM feel young, exciting and sexy!  That is the humor in the whole thing!  It's not about YOU at all, it's about THEM!   Damn, that hurts when you figure it all out.  

I think if we all just took a little bit more time to encourage the people God has put in our lives, they would be more than happy to encourage you back.  If you told them how beautiful they were or how much you appreciate them, they would shower you with the same affection.  

Encouragement is not the opposite of self-loving, it is a synonym for self-giving.

Let's try to remember to thank the people God has put into our lives.  Let us take the blinders off and look with loving eyes at one another.  And most important, let us look beyond the outside and beyond our own discouragements to see the inner beauty God has given us.  That is seeing others through the eyes of Christ.  

Saturday, January 16, 2010

What is Truth?

Webster defines truth in the following ways:

1 a archaic : fidelityconstancy b : sincerity in action, character, and utterance
2 a (1) : the state of being the case : fact (2) : the body of real things, events, and facts : actuality (3) often capitalized : a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality b : a judgment, proposition, or idea that is true or accepted as true s of thermodynamics> c : the body of true statements and propositions
3 a : the property (as of a statement) of being in accord with fact or reality b chiefly British : true 2 c : fidelity to an original or to a standard
4 capitalized Christian Science : god

It is the first and last definition that catches my attention.  Fidelity, Constancy, and GOD, the basic definitions of truth...and God.  It is interesting to me that God loves us constantly and with fidelity and asks us to do the same.  The Bible tells us to "put no trust in man, trust in God alone."  

I had very good friend once.  She was perfect in every way...on the outside.  She talked about Jesus, did many things for the church, went to Mass everyday, she was the perfect I thought.  I really admired her and wanted to be with her because she seemed so happy, positive, and charming...always joking around.  One day she lied to me.  I didn't say anything to her I just pushed it aside.  Then she lied again.  Soon I found she lied about everything, even things she didn't have to lie about!  She was not the person she appeared to be on the outside.  I saw her in dishonest relationships with others and eventually I had no idea if she was lying to me or not.  She did not know how to be her true self.  It seemed the more I got to know my friend on an  intimate, personal level, the more her perfect image seemed to be a facade.  

One day I stopped talking to my friend.  It seemed that she was embarrassed that I knew she was not her authentic self and I just got tired of caring for someone I really truly did not know.  There was a study done once that stated that 90% of the people you will meet in your lifetime will never reveal their true self to you.  That means when it comes to relationships we are all pretty much used car salesmen.  We put on the face we want others to see.  This is what Jesus meant when he said, "put no trust in another man, put your trust God alone."  God shows us his True self and He wants us to be true to him but how can we be true to our God whom we can't see when we are not true to others whom we do see?  We fool ourselves into thinking that there is some advantage to deceiving others but there is NO advantage in trying to deceive God!  He knows who we really are even if we don't know ourselves.

In the end, lying and deceiving people you meet is really just a waste of time because eventually people always figure you out.  They may keep you around after that, and they may even continue to spend time with you, but make no mistake about it, they are only there because they are hoping and praying that you choose to leave the lies behind and join God in His light of truth.   If someone truly loves you they will not let you live in darkness very long before they challenge you to come into the light and become that best version of yourself that you are called to be...your TRUE self.    

I challenge you to look at your life and ask yourself the following questions: "Do I live in the light of truth?  Am I an open book for all to see holding nothing back?  Am I a TRUE witness to my faith and beliefs or do I wear my "faith" as a mask to hide my true self?  Am I accountable to others for my actions so that they can correct me when I stray? Am I the kind of friend to others that Jesus is to me?  

I think this is what Jesus meant when He said, "trust no man."  He created all men (and women) and He knows their nature.  I think Jesus knew that people would deceive one another if they had the chance, like Eve deceived Adam.  I will put my trust in God alone, and I hope that it leads me to Truth and to my authentic self, even if others should reject me because of it.  Without Truth, what else is there?  Oh yeah, lies.