Giving Up or Taking On…or Both?

Lent giving up taking on

Image courtesy of ulleo on Pixabay.com

The beginning of Lent marks the season of getting ourselves ready for Easter. Many Christians view it as a time of increased or contemplative prayer. Others consider it a space to pare down the busyness of our lives and minds to focus on our faith.

According to LifeWayResearch.com, most Americans who observe Lent do so as follows:

Give up favorite food or beverage

Attend church services

Pray more

Give to others

Fast from a bad habit

Fast from a favorite activity

It seems the more “popular” topic of Lent is a time of fasting from (giving up) something we enjoy OR taking on something to enrich our closeness to our faith.

In the giving-up category of food and drink items, alcohol and chocolate usually head the top five list. Other items include meat, soda, sweets in general, coffee, fast food, and chips. (There are some people that I pray do NOT give up coffee. You know who you are.)

I have a friend who posted on Facebook that she’s giving up dropping the F-bomb for Lent. Just like last year. Since this friend is one of my nicest followers, let me say this: Give it up for good! You’re smart so you know it takes just 21 days to break a bad habit. The church is giving you 40 days. Use that time to your advantage. Imagine that one of your girls is always within earshot. OK, I’m done with the nagging. At least I know you won’t be cussing at me for a while.

Another friend told me that last year she gave up looking at her cellphone at every red light. (Funny how those habits can sneak up on us, isn’t it?)

Making rounds on Facebook right now is the 40 days = 40 items Lenten challenge. You’re to get out an industrial-size trash bag and each day place an item of clothing or a household item that you no longer wear/use. After Easter, donate the bag to a charity such as the Salvation Army.

I’ve decided to give up and take on several things.

I’m giving up three “sticky page” photo albums created in the 80s before we knew that wasn’t the best way to care for our precious photographs. In the same category, I’m giving up two large boxes of loose accumulated unmarked photos situated in an upstairs closet.

No, I’m not disposing of these photos. I’m taking on a labor of love by creating a number of scrapbooks with the various photos that make the cut to tell our family stories so that they’ll never be forgotten.

I’m giving up the need to hold on to every single photo just because it’s there. The blurry, unfocused, too dark, too light, who-or-what-in-the-heck-is-that photos will be culled.

I’m taking on reading a chapter a day of Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life. Conveniently enough, there are forty chapters.

I would love to hear what my Christian readers are giving up or taking on for Lent. I’m hoping that there is just that one F-bomb entry.

~~~~~~~

Article on ChristianityToday.com

 

God Works In Mysterious Ways

 

God works in mysterious ways

God does work in mysterious ways, and many people believe that the phrase is from the Bible. But it is not. Rather, it’s a paraphrase from the poem Light Shining Out of Darkness by William Cowper. In 1773 he wrote, “God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform; He plants his footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.”

I recently watched a nine-minute clip of former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow telling an intriguing “God works in mysterious ways” true story. I’ll paraphrase it here and include the link below.

While playing college football for the University of Florida, Tebow noticed that other players were wearing personal messages on their eye blacks. Those are the black grease or strip that players wear under their eyes to reduce glare from sunlight; also, it makes them look like fierce warriors. Deciding he wanted to play along, he grabbed a silver Sharpie and wrote Phil. on one and 4:13 on the other to reflect the Bible verse from Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

They won that game.

Moving on to the championship game, Tebow says he felt called by God to change the eye black message. He ended up with John on one eye black and 3:16 on the other, referencing what is likely the most well-known Bible verse. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (NIV)

His team won that national championship on January 8, 2009.

And 94 million people Googled “John 3:16.”

Yes, 94 million.

And now pay attention to these numbers:

Exactly 3 years later to the day, January 8, 2012, Tebow was quarterback of the Denver Broncos when they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Tebow passed for 316 yards.

The yards per rush stat was 3.16.

The yards per completion were 31.6.

Time of possession* was 31.06.

And at the moment Tebow threw the game-winning touchdown pass to the receiver Demaryius Thomas, CBS, who carried the game, showed their final quarter-hour overnight ratings to be (wait for it) 31.6.

So yes, I do believe that God works in mysterious ways.

And I also believe God has a sense of humor. Because that *time of possession was how long Pittsburgh, not Denver, maintained control of the ball.

I’m just saying.

~~~~~~

Tim Tebow nine-minute clip

Original eye black

 

Requiem For A Dog

Requiem

Riley Thatcher, 2016

Before I ever started blogging, I did my homework. One of the rules from the experts was this: It doesn’t matter how often you write; it can be daily, once a week, twice a week, once a month, whatever. But pick a schedule and keep to it. Most bloggers fail because they can’t keep up with the schedule; once a week may turn into once a month which fades to every now and then.

Since I started writing nearly three years ago, I have been pretty darn faithful about writing every Tuesday and Saturday. But you may have noticed you haven’t heard from me since January 12. Since I consider my readers as my friends, I wanted to share why I have missed writing.

My canine best buddy Riley Cramer Thatcher, who had been mistakenly diagnosed with an upper palate injury in the fall, actually had an aggressive oral mast cell tumor. He went downhill very quickly in mid-December and the tumor diagnosis was finally confirmed just after Christmas.

Although we tried to beat the cancer with chemotherapy treatment by a caring oncologist, we lost the fight and had Riley put to sleep on Saturday night, January 19.

For the last week of his life, I stayed by Riley’s side nearly all the time, sleeping downstairs with him so the frequent middle-of-the-night trips outside were easier. I hand-fed him scrambled eggs when it seemed difficult for him to eat from a bowl. There were some dark  January days and a few days when he seemed to rally a bit, even enough to walk in the park.

But if you’ve ever had a beloved pet who has been seriously injured or come down with a usually-fatal illness, you know the gut-wrenching decision that is part of being a responsible master. It’s not about keeping them alive because you can’t bear to let them go; it’s about doing what’s best for them.

In 1890, Robert Louis Stevenson penned the poem Requiem. From the Latin, requiem means to rest from labors.  The word now refers to a religious ceremony performed for the dead. The poem is as follows:

Under the wide and starry sky, Dig the grave and let me lie. Glad did I live and gladly die, And I laid me down with a will. This be the verse you grave for me: Here he lies where he longed to be; Home is the sailor, home from sea, And the hunter home from the hill.

Riley, the fearless and tireless squirrel hunter, has come home from the hill.

~~~~~~~

“Pie Jesu” (Requiem). Taken from the DVD André Rieu – Under The Stars

 

 

The Sounds of Christmas

Sounds of Christmas

photo by Norma Thatcher

Please note:  Today’s post is based on the Christmas letter I included with my cards this year.  So if you are a close friend or family member on my card list, you may be reading this twice! But there is additional information contained here plus there are some great links at the bottom.

Jingle bells, silver bells, church bells, sleigh bells, the Salvation Army Kettle bell—they’re all part of the sounds of Christmas.

We create the crinkly noise of placing a gift in tissue paper before it’s placed in a box. Roll out that giftwrap…cut, fold, fold in the sides, then fold, fold the top and bottom ends. The tape makes a zipping sound as we tear off pieces to seal up our offering.

We chop, measure, and pour ingredients into the bowl. There’s the whirring sound of the mixer, the rattling of the cookie sheets. The timer dings when the cookies are baked to perfection.

If we listen, there are many sounds of Christmas besides the familiar carols and hymns.

I wonder what sounds were heard as the first Christmas arrived. Was it noisy or quiet?

The book of Luke is quite stingy with details. Did Mary and Joseph make the hundred mile trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem alone or perhaps travel with others making the same trek to their ancestral hometown? We like to assume they took along a donkey to carry their belongings and for Mary to ride.

And yes, we are accustomed to the “no room in the inn” story, but there are Biblical scholars who insist that Bethlehem (off the beaten path) could not have supported an “inn” in its accepted meaning. The New Testament Greek word used (kataluma) actually means guest room; so it may actually have been no vacancy in the guest room of someone’s house.

Luke doesn’t actually state that Jesus was born in a barn. The statement of Jesus being laid in a manger (an animal food trough) is likely what brought forth that understanding. Did Mary and Joseph, as some scholars insist, end up staying in a lower room of a home that housed both people and animals? It would have been terraced to separate the animals from the human living area. It makes sense there would have been a manger.

The truth is we don’t really know about Jesus’ actual birth. Maybe Mary and Joseph weren’t even alone. Perhaps other women, per custom, assisted Mary while the men waited elsewhere smoking cigars.

We can’t be certain of any specific sounds of that night. And that’s OK.

I choose to believe the time just after Jesus’ birth was peacefully quiet. The new little family of three was settling in for the night. The cattle were slowly shifting around trying to adapt to the change in circumstances. Light from the magnificent star overhead cast about, cutting the darkness.

Quiet. Stillness. Peace.

Advent, done well, helps prepare us for the arrival of our King. When the commercialization of Christmas seems intent on overwhelming us with the non-stop noise, we need only step back into that moment of quiet, stillness, peace…and reflect on God’s gift of his Son to the earth.

The name says it all: Immanuel – God with us.

May God continue to be with you at Christmas and in the coming year.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Over a thousand people came together for this video – a must watch!

Amy Grant’s “I need a silent night”   

One view on inn or guestroom

 

 

Play It Again, Viktor

hope

Photo courtesy of Mika on Unsplash

Last night I gave a presentation on Viktor Frankl, and I thought to myself: I need to write about this!

The issue is that I already wrote about it two years ago in my September 2016 post called Searching.

This message is one we need to hear more than once, plus I have added new readers in the past two years. Besides which, even if you have read it before, you have a new mindset and new experiences with which to measure it against.

As I tell the kids in Sunday School when they say we’ve already had that lesson, “Yes, but you heard it when you were five and now you’re seven. You’re listening with new ears.”

So readers, please read with new eyes.

Dr. Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychologist. In 1940, he was the Director of the Neurological Department of a hospital in Vienna, Austria.

He was a Jew in a time and area where it was dangerous to be Jewish.

He and his wife Tilly were forced by the Nazis to abort their unborn child in 1942. Later that year he, his wife, his parents, and sister were rounded up and deported to the Theresienstadt Ghetto, north of Prague.

In 1944 he, Tilly, and his mother were moved to the concentration camp of Auschwitz. His mother was killed in the gas chamber, and Tilly was moved to the Bergen-Belsen Camp where she died soon after at the age of 24.

Dr. Frankl was moved from Auschwitz and held at Kaufering and Türkheim (subsidiary camps of Dachau). He was liberated by US troops in April 1945. Soon after World War II ended, he wrote Man’s Search for Meaning, which has sold over ten million copies and has been translated into 24 languages. At its core, part is devoted to concentration camp life and how the average prisoner coped.  How did they keep living under such horrendous conditions?

My favorite passage of the book tells of a terrible incident but is also enlightening. Dr. Frankl has been restrained naked to an exam table while some untold experiment is being performed on him. He has a sudden realization that he has nothing left. Nothing. He has lost everything.

Think about that for a moment and consider the enormity of his loss. He had lost

  • Family: his unborn child, his wife, his parents, his sister, his brother, his sister-in-law
  • Other people: friends, neighbors, his staff, his patients
  • Status as a member of the community: his career, his writing, his volunteer work
  • His way of life: leisure time, the pattern of spending his days, eating
  • Every single possession: his books, his socks, his pen, his car, his home

Everything.

In that moment of total clarity comes my favorite Frankl quote: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

We are blessed with the freedom to choose how we will respond to any circumstance. That is an awe-inspiring freedom.

And so, Dr. Frankl used the death camp experience as a way to help others. The idea that he is best known for is that everything in life has meaning. We are to find meaning not just in the happy, contented, all’s-right-with-the-world moments. No. There is meaning in the dark, lonely, miserable, pain-filled times as well. Even in death, life never ceases to have meaning.

That’s a difficult message to believe when a traumatic event unfolds before us,  grabs us and shakes us so hard that we feel our vision has been damaged. We are left not quite the same.

And sometimes, we too feel as Dr. Frankl did — as though we have lost everything. His anchor, believing his work could help others and that there was hope for some kind of future, helped him survive.

So to those who are hurting right now, know that my prayer is that you too will find even the tiniest spark of hope and encouragement to believe that your life has meaning.

Because it does.

~~~~~~~

Article on Frankl

 

This Much I Know

Tim at 18

Today is the tenth anniversary of my son Tim’s death at the age of 22. I’m sharing that with you because ten years is a milestone. It’s a time of reflection, a time to look back over a decade to see what I’ve learned that might help someone else.

I spent last Saturday with a mom new to the grief of losing a child. She’s just six months into her new life where one less person on earth calls her Mom.

Every person’s process of grief and mourning is unique. Even if you’ve lost a child yourself, you don’t truly understand what another person is feeling.

That being said, I’ve listened to enough personal sharings from grieving moms to know that there ARE strong similarities in our stories, regardless of how young or old our children were when they died or by how they died.

Sometimes just knowing you’re not alone in your thoughts and feelings and reactions can ease the pain just a little. And that’s what most of us are seeking initially. So I’m sharing three thoughts.

And if you’re on the outside looking in, wanting to help someone else who has lost a child, these ideas may help you be more truly empathic.

1) The first year of grief is the hardest. There are so many “anniversaries” to get through: the first birthday that your child isn’t alive to celebrate, the first Christmas, the annual family vacation, other holidays your child especially enjoyed, and of course, the anniversary of their death.

Believe me—it’s a flat-out horrendous first year filled with landmines. And it doesn’t even have to be a special day. It can be anything that reminds you of your child. For instance, hearing a song on the radio that your daughter was crazy for or scrolling though the tv menu and seeing your son’s favorite movie pop up…little instances like this can send you reeling.

I remember once in the first year driving behind a pickup truck with its windows down. Just the way the young man driving had his left arm resting on the sill with his fingers extended upward reminded me of Tim’s hairy arm and the long fingers on his hands. I dissolved into tears.

2) People mean well and they may be trying their best to show empathy, but you can count on some to say stupid, hurtful things. Just try to forget what they say because it will drive you crazy otherwise. Here’s a true sampling of what grieving moms have been told:

“I know how you feel about losing your son. My cat just died.”

“I feel sad like you; my 98-year-old grandmother died last week.”

“It’s been four months. Are you feeling better now?”

Some people will say nothing at. You may even have friends drift away from you because they don’t know how to be with you anymore. And that’s OK. The friends who stay are the true friends anyhow.

3) You may be angry. In fact, you may be furious. You may keep a list of people with whom you’re angry. Here was my list from ten years ago: God, Tim, my husband, the “friends” who helped propel Tim down a worsening spiral, and myself. Yes, the person I felt the most loathing towards was, in fact, myself.

My first and constant thought each day for several months was this: I was Tim’s mom. I should have been able to save him. If only I had done this or not said that or made a different decision anywhere along the road, things might have turned out differently.

No one else said those things; it was just me shaming myself. That is a terrible burden to carry. So if you are holding on to any thoughts like that now, please…just set them down and walk away. Because it’s just not true.

I know I just wrote about forgiveness, but I have to talk about it again here because it plays a huge role in my own story. Forgiveness was one of four savings graces on the lifeboat that buoyed me above the waters of despair and hopelessness and carried me to the shores of grief recovery.

Forgiveness may take some time. Again, situations are unique and I understand emotions run deep. If you can’t forgive right now, how about if, just once a day for five minutes, you pretend to forgive. Imagine how your life would be if you could forgive.

Take that tiny first step.

And know that many others have walked that path before you.

This post is dedicated to Tim’s memory and in honor of all the courageous moms who have entrusted me with their stories.

 

 

 

 

What Stuff’s In Your Wallet?

stuff

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

An unexpected gift came my way ten days ago: $50 cash. It’s been sitting on an upstairs table as I’ve been thinking what to splurge on. Something for vacation, maybe, like a pair of comfy walking shoes? Or put it towards a facial, perhaps? I was obviously leaning toward first world creature comforts.

Then came Father Ben’s sermon this past Sunday. The Gospel reading for the day was the hard-not-to-fidget-through story of the super-rich guy asking Jesus how to inherit eternal life. Jesus reminded him to follow the commandments, and the guy basically waved his hand in a “been there/done that” response.

Then Jesus told him to give up his “stuff.” It seems the man’s riches were so important to him they got in his way of following the way.

The story ends badly since the man with the earthly riches just could not come to grips with the aspect of letting go. As on the old television game show Let’s Make a Deal, he was the player who walked away from the game with what he had instead of choosing door #1.

You and I are just like that guy; we have stuff that separates us from focusing on our faith, on what really matters, too.

We may not lead overindulgent lifestyles, and we may not be considered wealthy, but we have stuff. And it’s not necessarily the big physical items that command our money, time, and attention. It can be serious addictions to drugs, alcohol, or gambling. Or smaller addictions like paying more attention to our screens than to our family and friends.

In the end, it’s all stuff.

I’ve included a link to the sermon below. It takes eleven minutes to watch. Do you have eleven minutes?

This point of the sermon was not that we should give up everything we have, wear sackcloth, and live in caves. The point was for us to be aware of how we feel about and how we think about our stuff. What is our relationship to it?

$50 is not life-changing money. But I gave much thought to that sermon. Thoughts of spending it on shoes or toward a facial now seemed so petty.

So I drove to our local Hospice and made a $50 donation in memory of my son Tim. And maybe that will transform into life-changing money by how someone’s final days on earth are eased.

We can’t begin to understand how our words may affect others to respond.

~~~~~~~~~~

Father Ben’s sermon

 

 

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

prisoner

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

High school reunions can stir up old emotions.

The summer between my junior and senior year of high school I went away to a cheer camp for a week. My steady boyfriend waited until I was gone about five minutes before he cheated on me.

Of course, when I got back my friends broke the story gently. I was furious at both the boyfriend and the “other woman” (girl).

When was the last time I thought about the incident? Last weekend at the reunion when someone else brought it up, because, well, it ceased to matter to me decades ago!

I actually married that boyfriend, my high school sweetheart, when I was about 20. He continued his nefarious ways of cheating, lying, and manipulation which is why we didn’t stay married very long.

Many months after everything was over between us, he asked to see me to talk. When we met, he apologized for all of his transgressions. Everything. I offered up my forgiveness and wished him well.

I’m not sure he ever forgave himself though. And that is sad.

I’m circling back to my post on forgiveness as a character strength. Because I see now that I was a bit flippant when I shared that, according to a psychological assessment, my main character strength is forgiveness and mercy.

I joked about it which clearly wasn’t an authentic response. Looking back, I think I was embarrassed as though somehow that strength made me sound sanctimonious as in, “Why yes, I am highly evolved because I forgive.”

I had reverted to the old habit of discounting myself. When others say: “Congratulations on that achievement!”  I may think I was just lucky.

“What a great job!”    If you only knew how easy it was for me.

“I love your dress!”  This old thing?

The genuine emotion I feel about forgiveness and mercy being a strength is heartfelt gratitude. Being a forgiving person frees me to lead a happy life.

Being someone who refuses to forgive and lives as a “stuck-in-negative emotions” person takes up a ton of time and energy.

That’s why forgiveness truly is the gift that keeps on giving. We forgive others AND ourselves.

Matthew West said it best in one stanza of his song (appropriately) titled Forgiveness.

Forgiveness — It’ll clear the bitterness away. It can even set a prisoner free. There is no end to what its power can do. So let it go and be amazed by what you see through eyes of grace…The prisoner that it really frees is you.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The song Forgiveness

The story behind the song Forgiveness 

Part 2 of the above story

 

 

 

 

 

Get Well Soon Even If You Can’t

Well

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

When someone we know has broken her arm, we send an optimistic get-well card that conveys our good wishes for quick and complete bone mending.

If a friend has the flu, we commiserate and say we hope he feels better soon.

But what do we offer up when we learn someone has been diagnosed with a debilitating disease from which there is no recovery? And what kind of card can we send when we learn that someone we know has been pronounced terminally ill?

Too often we say nothing because we don’t know what to say.

I remember five years ago when my friend Jonathan, diagnosed with terminal cancer, came to the home office to sign papers, turn in equipment, and say his goodbyes to people he had worked with for many years. When he reached my office toward the end of the day, I enfolded him in my arms. Letting go, I felt compelled to say something.

“Jon, I’d be honored do a Bible reading at your funeral.”

I’ll never forget the look on his face. At first I thought it was shock because the two of us hadn’t really been friends. Then I realized that clearly he was relieved that someone had verbally acknowledged that he was dying.

It’s difficult to talk about a life that will be ending. And it seems even harder when we know that the person’s final days will be marked with extreme pain.

I realize that each person has his/her own level of privateness and that not everyone would want to or choose to talk about the soon-to-be-end of their life.

But if I were ever to be in that position, I would hate for people to tiptoe around the subject. I would not want people to send me cheery “get well quickly” or “feel better soon” cards if that was not a possibility.  I’d rather hear the truth—“I know you’re not going to get better and I’m so sorry.”

And then I’d want to hear what I meant to them. “Because of the time that you…When you took the time to…You were a tremendous influence on my life because…”

Over this summer I attended a hands-on healing service for a dear friend. Throughout the service the priest recounted all of her strengths and virtues, the unselfish way she has lived her life, the role model she has been for the rest of us.

At the close of the service, one by one each person went up to our friend as she knelt at the altar. We touched her head and whispered something special to her.

Afterward she shared what a moving experience this service was for her. She was quick to explain that her tears were ones of joy. “I wish everyone could experience a life-affirming event like this. When someone is gone from the earth, it’s too late. How wonderful to hear this when I’m still alive!”

When someone you know has a serious health issue, especially if the outlook does not look rosy, remember my friend’s pure elation. Summon your courage and speak up from the heart.

~~~~~~~

An aside: Finding a card for someone who is terminally ill isn’t easy. Although I haven’t ordered from them yet, I did find a site called GreetingCardUniverse.com that has a nice selection of cards for Hospice patients. Last night they noted a promotion called Fall189 where the cards are $1.89 each if you buy a minimum of five cards, and there’s free shipping for ten cards. I do not receive any commission from purchases. I’m simply passing along what appears to be a site that offers cards for a wide range of circumstances.

 

 

 

 

If You’re Happy And You Know It…

happy pope

Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ve heard the wisdom of finding a vocation that you love.

If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.      — Marc Anthony

Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still. — Henry David Thoreau

I like the thought behind that premise, I really do, and I also recognize that it’s not always practical. Sometimes we end up in a career and we’re good at it, but not quite sure how that happened. It’s not what we intended at the beginning.

Then the thought of chucking away the years we’ve invested, the built-up salary, the four weeks of vacation….losing all that can be intimidating enough to keep us in place.

Maybe if you feel you’re stuck in a job or a career, you can do what I did for many years: Make your dream vocation a part-time job or your hobby.

Throughout my years in finance, I taught and spoke on my own time. I became engaged with organizations that offered opportunities to do so. It wasn’t every week or even every month, but it was enough to satisfy the longing for fulfillment of the purpose I felt was my true calling.

In Dr. Martin Seligman’s book Authentic Happiness he posits that to truly lead a happy and productive life, we should do work that encapsulates and makes strong use of our five greatest character strengths.

Dr. Seligman is associated with the University of Pennsylvania and the site noted at the end of this post offers various free psychological assessments. Figuring that I already knew my strengths, I decided to confirm them by taking the VIA Survey of Character Strengths questionnaire.

Because most of us DO feel we know ourselves, right? We’re typically not blind-sided by taking online personality quizzes.

But this is not a pop personality quiz. At 240 questions it takes about 20 minutes. The test results rank a total of 24 strengths from high to low. The higher number the strength, the more you need to incorporate it into your work to be happier.

Since I felt I knew myself, I assumed my top strength would be creativity (actually #8). Or maybe optimism (#11). Leadership? (#9).

My results left me looking like a dog who hears a sound he can’t identify. I stared at my results, head tilted, eyes squinting.

My #1 strength would leave me either relatively unemployable OR I would need to usurp the two men currently holding the only positions that would make my #1 strength a strict job requirement. Since my #1 strength is forgiveness and mercy, I figure I would need to replace either God or Pope Francis.

Because when I Google “What career requires forgiveness and mercy” (in quotation marks meaning that EXACT word search), there are no results found. Substituting vocation or job brings up the same zero findings.

Eliminating the quotation marks brings up job openings at Our Lady of Mercy or an application to become a nun at Sisters of Mercy. Since I’m not Catholic, I’m married, and I don’t like wearing black, the nun gig will not work out. Also, would they even allow my hound dog at the convent?

Enough kidding. (Humor was #12.) I DO want to understand how forgiveness and mercy can help me be a better speaking coach.

As any of us travels the road of forgiveness and mercy, we come to a place of transformation. Because forgiveness is transformative. It’s this tremendous letting go of a weight within your heart. Even if the person being forgiven isn’t aware that he/she had done something that needed to be forgiven…even if the person is aware but isn’t sorry…even if the person is no longer in your life. Yes, even if whatever scenario you can imagine.

So as I’m encouraging people to find their own voices to tell their individual stories, I will remind them to be kind and merciful to themselves as they learn. That when they’re watching the videos of their presentation, to be forgiving of whatever flaws show up, note what they want to change, and take the positive steps to be a transformed speaker.

And as always, I will encourage each student to be a good audience member…forgiving the flaws in other speakers and offering mercy by applauding first and the loudest.

~~~~~~~~

Authentic Happiness site