“There is a period of life when we swallow knowledge of ourselves and it becomes either good or sour inside.” –Pearl Bailey
A few weeks ago I participated in an interesting group activity. The participants were distributed in groups of twos and instructed to face one another. One person was directed to ask the question “Who are you?” The other person would then respond with one word that describes him/her. This sequence would be repeated as much as the 30 second allotted time frame would allow. Once the activity commenced, a cacophony of vocabulary rhetoric ensued that mimicked that of the unpredictable clamor of thunder and lightning during a harsh electrical storm. When my opportunity came I spewed out words like “strong”, “intelligent”, “confident”, “visionary” etc. However, at the end of the exercise the instructor posed a thought-provoking question that hit me like a pillow case full of bricks. He asked, “Did anyone give any negative responses?”
“One secures the gold of the spirit when he finds himself.” – Claude M. Bristol
As humans we prefer to accentuate our positive qualities while neglecting or masking our faults. As we paddle down our river of life we experience feelings of insecurity, fear, confusion, or brokenness. We choose to leave our weak areas hidden so that we will not be at risk of having to face the brunt of society’s harsh criticism and ridicule. We all have negative traits that could use some polishing, buffing, or a good scrub.
We must first know who we are, before we can make the changes needed to become who we want to be!
I found myself in a conversation with a friend who recently experienced a loss in the family. We have all been impacted by its untimely, unfair and ruthless nature in some way, shape or form. Death occurs in so many forms; natural disasters, illness, trauma, war, etc. No matter how fast we try to run from death, we cannot cheat or escape it. Whenever I receive news of this nature from friends or colleagues I struggle because I never know what to say. I perform several sifts through the frontal lobe of my brain in an attempt to find comforting words to say. What do you say to someone that has just experienced a loss? Are there right words to say?
Of course there is the typical response: “I’m sorry for your loss. I offer my condolences to you and your family”. This response is usually initiated or followed with a hug or handshake of some sort. Those words are of good intent but they won’t automatically or immediately extract the pain one is experiencing from his or her loss. A greater influx of genuine compassion is needed to help these individuals. We also should pray for the person, be supportive of them during the time of mourning, lend them our shoulder if they need one to cry on, and help them any way we can.
“Tis after death that we measure men” – James Barron Hope
We as humans have no clue when our time on this earth will end. However, we have an opportunity while we are alive to do great things and leave an indelible mark in this world. How do you want to be measured?
Define your legacy such that it would be one that would be put on display as opposed to one that would be swiftly disposed.