Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘Grace’

The Lessons of Nature

Most everyone has seen a Saguaro cactus either up close and personal or in pictures of the deserts of western North America. I see them daily and marvel at their uniqueness. Each one offers a distinct silhouette against the backdrop of an otherwise barren landscape. These amazing plants can tolerate temperatures over 100 degrees in summer yet can perish from long periods of below freezing weather. Their root systems are shallow so they can be toppled from what one would think would be a good thing in the desert – rain. It seems that too much of a good thing – heavy monsoons that happen occasionally in late summer – can topple even some of these huge plants that weigh over eight tons. Their growth is slow but steady taking 75 years to grow their first arm.

The thing that strikes me is how these cactus serve as a metaphor for human existence. Each of such is unique – we are truly one of a kind with our own strengths and differences. We all have our prickly side that can, at times, keep others away. Maybe it is self protection or maybe it’s simply fear but we can be quite good at it. Each of us has a distinct look, behavior and growing experience. We too can tolerate extremes but for us it is in behavior. At times we are able to withstand the slings and arrows of life and continue on growing and developing. Yet, just like the freezing temperature renders the cactus lifeless, we too, at times, can be rendered helpless or hopeless from life experiences. We have learned that it is true…there is such a thing as having too much of a good thing.

The major difference, in seems, is that when a cactus has fallen it is simply and completely done. There is no opportunity to raise it to its once majestic form. For humans, on the other hand, we can find a person, place or situation that can help to renew our broken spirit. We may be down for the count but we are not out. We can once again not only survive but thrive from the care and concern from another. When others offer their hand to us in our time of greatest need everyone benefits. The safety net of another’s heart allows us to stand upright and move on with grace.

Nature offers so many examples of the commonalities and differences that exist in our world. We are dependently independent on the uniqueness of each other. When we accept that each of us plays a definite and unique role in making the world a little better place we reflect the lessons of nature. We survive not in spite of but because of each other. How fortunate we are to be alive and living on planet earth and aware that, All Is As It Should Be.

Have a great few days!

Accepting the Uniqueness of Others

Did you know that due to the density of pure ice only 1/9th of an iceberg is above water? It puts in perspective the saying ‘that’s only the tip of the iceberg’ doesn’t it? Icebergs and people have a great deal in common. Each is totally unique both above and below the surface. Most importantly, what we see on the surface is but a small part of who they are deep down on the inside.

As people, our differences are huge. Culturally, ethnically, birth order, family background, our physical and emotional issues and other life experiences are just a few of the significant variances that add up to what is beneath our surface. Yet, how many times do we know or even stop to wonder ‘from whence a person comes’ before making a decision – judgment even about them? As we move at the speed of light to get our laundry list of ‘to do’s’ done in any given day we rarely, if ever, stop and think about the other 8/9th of the person – the rocks they are carrying, invisibly, in their backpacks. We may wonder in frustration WHY are they acting like this? Therein lies the opportunity for us to take a deep breath and remember…

Everyone has their own unique story, their own lessons in life. Some have chosen paths of great challenge and are barely hanging on just to get through another day. Yet, on the surface, we may have no idea of their issues and we question their behavior… It is good to remember that although our paths are totally different we are all struggling to get by and make sense of our life experience.

Luckily, the similarities in people are not as complex. Love, acceptance and understanding are needs we all have in common. We are all learning about ourselves and the world one step at a time. There are no short cuts to finally getting to the ‘Aha’ in life. It is, indeed, a rigorous journey – not for the faint of heart. But, survive – even thrive we will. Our road is significantly less difficult when we feel recognized for the value of who we are and allowed our idiosyncrasies to surface without judgment.

We are, after all, simply children of this magnificent Universe who are motivated to make the world a little better place by having been in it.

Have a great few days!

Gratitude, Grace and Love

Life is temporary for all of us. We have chosen our expiration date and various lessons for reasons known only to ourselves. The commonality I see in all the lessons is gratitude, grace and love. There is no better way to see these attributes demonstrated than to help those less fortunate. For many, circumstances and challenges seem to pile up and yet they seem to be able to see beyond and believe in a better tomorrow. These people recognize the importance of living one day at a time and are such positive examples of grace. They have so little in material possessions and yet they have boatloads in gratitude, and love. The various charitable organizations exist to lend them a hand as they continue to face the struggles in their lives. Maybe those less fortunate have chosen to live their lives to teach us to remember who we are, to learn what inspires us and to find our purpose in the things we can do for others.

Whenever I pass the bell ringers for the Salvation Army that we see outside the stores during the holiday season I stop and put something in the red collection buckets. Today at one of the big box stores a woman was sitting and ringing the familiar bell. As I was searching in my purse to get to my wallet she simply said, ” Thank you!” She had no idea what amount I was going to offer but her gratitude came shining through with her smile. She went on to tell me that of 30 people walking pass her maybe one would stop and drop something into the bucket. I was shocked. I know that times are tough financially for all of us but would giving a dollar or even a few coins to this worthwhile organization be too much to ask when we realize that it goes directly to someone in need?

I see this same ‘attitude of gratitude’ when I make my runs to Goodwill to drop off things I no longer need. The appreciation and gratitude on the faces of the workers once again comes shining through. I asked a man at Goodwill the other day what time the drive though drop off closes. He responded, 6 P.M. but explained that he is there every night until 9 P.M. so I could just go in and get him and he would gladly unload my car for me. I though to myself, once again, what a positive, uplifting attitude! If I tried to define gratitude I wouldn’t need to use words but simply use a picture of these two individuals. No matter what we have or do not have it really is about gratitude, grace and love. It really does make the world go ’round.

Have a great day!