Love Not Hate

SPRINKLE LIFE1This morning as I was writing in my gratitude journal I noticed my quite for the day and it was “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” I am very blessed to have over 700 friends on my personal page. In that number I can count on one hand those that post comments that incite and fuel the flames if discontent that is fueling what is happening in this country. I believe they don’t do this to cause problems but to point out how they feel and to try and bring people to their side if thinking. They aren’t bad just want to be heard. Unfortunately sometimes the way it is posted fuels the fire. They may choose to I friend me but I choose to keep them as friends because I like them and there is the chance that the kindness and positivity of my other friends will change the way they present their opinion. Think of it, out of 750 friends I have three only that post negatively. I have watched as those friends have posted that they have dropped people as friends because if the spewing hate if the posts. Today I am going to choose joy and I am going to make a commitment to advocate peace instead of hate. I challenge you to do the same and to test those who feel hate in their hearts and choose to share that hate, treat them with kindness too. As my quite says we don’t need to wait a single moment to improve the world” The quote was by Anne Frank and if she could make that commitment during one of the most hateful times in history, we can too.

The Final Good-Bye

IMG_3258The truth is you don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. Life is a crazy ride, and nothing is guaranteed.” — Eminem

The quote above was certainly true in our lives the last couple of weeks. We had a fun vacation up north and the next day we were sitting by the bedside of my brother-in-law who was in his final moments.

As I look back on the week it was a week of blessings. We spent time with good friends. We laughed, ate the fish the men caught, explored shops and took the time to relax and enjoy life. It wasn’t the fact that we were on vacation that made it special; it was the fact we shared the week with close friends creating memories.

We got the call that we were needed  at the bedside of my brother-in-law, Evan, as we were driving home from the lake. The next few days by his bedside we  prayed, cried, reminisced and waited for God  to call him home. As hard as it was, it too was a blessing because we could be there in his final moments. We could connect with others who loved this man. We don’t always come into this world easily at birth and we don’t always go out easily either. The last few days were a struggle for him and we didn’t want him or his wife  being alone at this difficult time.

I wondered as we sat there waiting, what he would have said to us if he would have had the power to speak. What would he say about what we were saying? What was he thinking? Were we giving him comfort? Or would he have told us to go away?

It had been a long journey for Evan. His diagnosis was Alzheimer’s. It wasn’t the first in the family, and I suspect it won’t be the last. He was not the person the last few years we all remembered. Yet, he was still loved in his anger, quietness and joy,  remaining the husband, father and brother in our lives.

Everyone deals with a loved one’s decline differently. Some stay away because they can’t handle seeing their loved one in this changing state. They want to remember them as they were. I get that. And again I support those who have to do what they do to take care of themselves. For myself at this time in my life I think about the person going through the process of leaving this earth or who is in declining health. It isn’t about me; it is about them and what they are feeling if those they love stay away.

We all need someone to share the rough spots of our life, to help us get through the hills and the valleys, whether it is an illness where we are healed, or an illness where God chooses to take us home. We need someone to care.

I have not always been by the side of someone I loved, or visited a friend when they are going through their final weeks. I too have stayed away. When my friend Mary was ready to leave this world I stayed away. I was sick and suffering depression and I couldn’t handle it. I so regret that I stayed away and didn’t say goodbye, but I get it when seeing someone you love in pain is too much.

I haven’t always helped those who needed help. I haven’t always had the help of those I thought I could depend on, but I know it is not because I didn’t care or they didn’t care, but because of where they were or where I was in my life, there was nothing left inside of them or me to help someone else.

This time, I was able to say goodbye to the man who was the first person besides my mother-in-law to welcome me into the family and accept me as I was. I felt privileged to have the time to say goodbye to the man who was godfather to my children and took that role very seriously. My children all have special memories of their Uncle Evan as do all his nieces and nephews.

If we needed help, Evan was there to lend a hand. He was there to give his opinion and we could take it or leave it. He left us with sayings we will never forget and memories that will always have a hold on our hearts.

Don’t be afraid to hold the hand of someone you love in their final moments. You will find you won’t remember what they looked like in their final days, but you will remember the lifetime of memories that you were given and the smiles that came before.

Rest in peace, Evan. When we asked you how you were, you always replied, “Not as good as some, but better than most.” In our eyes you were always the best.

Christmas In June? Really?

I thought I was seeing things. I am older you know. My eyes are probably not as good as they used to be. As I gazed down the aisle of Hobby Lobby yesterday I thought my eyes were deceiving me.

It was around 90 degrees outside. The cool air hit my face as my friend and I walked into the door of Hobby Lobby. One of the first things I saw in the aisles ahead of me were all different shapes of cute metal and ceramic pumpkins. It didn’t hit me at first that they were preparing for Halloween. You have to remember that the calendar on my cell phone said June 26!

Ok, I thought, It is a little early  but…… and then I turned into an aisle. Lo and behold, it was Christmas!!!!!! Again, I had to blink my eyes. When they stopped blinking the scenery hadn’t changed.

I looked at the store clerk and said “Really?” He shook his head in agreement and said “I know. Nothing I can do.” And he kept shaking his head as if he agreed with me.

To be fair they did have fourth of July trappings out too, but not in  as many aisles, but Christmas? I know I have seen the Christmas in July displays but what I saw was Christmas and Halloween. What happened to Thanksgiving?

Why can’t we enjoy today without rushing the seasons? Are stores so desperate that they need to push Christmas on us now? Or are we the ones that are so desperate for that Christmas feeling in our lives that we want to rush the season, which makes stores rush the seasons, which perhaps makes life more bearable because of the peace and joy feeling we are searching for in our lives that we connect with the Christmas Season.

I, for one, am not ready to let the summer go yet. As I write this it is June 27 and I want to enjoy each day. If we look for it, we can find the same feelings today that we get in the Christmas Season. Look for those feelings inside of yourself and find what feeds your soul to keep that Christmas Spirit and the feelings of peace and joy with you all year-long.