Monday, September 24, 2012

New Year's Resolutions - Part Six

If you happened to read my last five blog posts on New Year's Resolutions (Really, you are quite desperate for entertainment, and I love you for it...truly.), you'll be happy to hear that the end is in sight. Here, forthwith, is my final entry.

Always be there for those you love…especially when it’s not easy
Some people are easier to love than others. Your kids? Pretty easy to love them. Unconditionally. All of your family members? Well, in my case, prescription drugs certainly help. Hear me on this one: you need to start by loving your siblings. No option. You don’t have to be the best of friends with all of them, but you do have to love them and have their backs when times get tough. Period. Love them for who they are, don’t hate them for who they’re not. My parents taught me that you stick it out as a family, for better or for worse. For those of you with children, DO NOT let your kids off the hook on this one. You need to teach them that loving their siblings is not an option. It’s the first vow you learn to take and not break. And if one of your family members lets you down, don’t wallow in self-pity. Speak your truth and move on. A few years back, I read this great quote and it went something like this: When you need to say something that’s difficult, first ask yourself these three questions: Is it true? Is it kind? And is it necessary? You only proceed if you can answer yes to all three questions. I suspect if you answer all three truthfully, you’ll find yourself with a lot more time on your hands. And a lot less arguing with your family.

Find someone to laugh with...
This one could also be called Choose Your Spouse Wisely. When I was young, about 15 or 16, I distinctly remember my parents telling me, “Don’t choose a mate based solely on looks. That’ll fade. Just be sure to find someone who makes you laugh and someone you can talk to about anything.” And I muttered something back, equally intelligent like, “As if. Whatever.” Thankfully for me, it all worked out. I found someone with whom I had instant chemistry in all departments. Are there days I want to throw a crescent wrench at his head? Absolutely. But I’m a farm kid. I happen to have several crescent wrenches at my disposal.

When times get tough, remember what brought you together in the first place. What do you like about that person? Love is the foundation, but like is the day-to-day stuff that builds strong relationships. I know I hit the jackpot because I actually like my husband – if given the choice, I would still choose to spend my day with him. I like hanging out with him. I like what he stands for. I like who he is. Simply put, he’s my best friend.  

And for gosh sakes, have a sense of humour! I believe angels do weep the day you stop laughing. In the past, people have told me that if I ever want to be taken seriously, then I had better stop fooling around. What about the hazards of taking yourself so seriously that you forget how to laugh? I’m not sure who ever decided that you can’t be intelligent and have a sense of humour...likely someone who didn’t have either.

Let me close by telling you this…we’re only here for a short while, so show up for the game. Have faith, be intelligent, be humble, be kind and compassionate, be courageous, earn your keep, persevere, follow your dreams, always be there for those you love and find someone to laugh with.

I've shared this with you before, but I think perhaps Margery Williams penned it best when she wrote The Velveteen Rabbit back in 1922. Can you believe it? This book was written almost 100 years ago, and the message is still relevant, even more so today. In case you aren’t familiar with this childhood classic, two toys are having a discussion in the nursery. Here’s a paraphrased version:

“The poor little Rabbit was made to feel very insignificant and common-place, and the only person who was kind to him at all was the Skin Horse. The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out…and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it. “What is Real?” asked the Rabbit one day, “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?” “Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become real.” “Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit. “Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.” “Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?” “It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

Above all, remember this. Beautiful people don’t just happen, they become. It’s only after someone has dealt with life’s hardships and trials that they come out shining. Flaws are beautiful – they make you raw, they make you real, they make you human. Don’t ever confuse beauty with what you look like; that’s just genetics. Rather, beauty stems from that inner light that burns brightly. Beauty comes from being the best part of someone else’s day. Beauty comes from being real. And this my friends, is what will make you unforgettable.

I’m going to close by sharing the inscription from the tomb of a bishop in the Westminster Abbey… the inscription on his tomb reads as follows:

“When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits,
I dreamed of changing the world; as I grew older and wiser I
discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights
somewhat and decided to change my country, but it too seemed
immovable. As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate
attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me.
But alas, they would have none of it!

And now I realize as I lie on my death bed, if I had only changed
myself first, then, by example, I might have changed my family. From
their aspirations and encouragement I would have then been able
to better my country, and who knows, I might have even
changed the world.”

My wish for all of you? May you live a long and joyful life…may you live until most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes have dropped out (well, maybe not entirely dropped out…) and may you live until you get loose in the joints and very shabby. Many, many, many decades from now, when you’re lying on your death bed, don’t be lying there wishing for one more moment to make things right. Because friends, that won’t be your choice. Rather, may you be peaceful knowing that you used every gift you’ve been given, may you find comfort in all the choices you’ve made, and may you have lived your life in a way that let Him know that you fully appreciated the gift.


Kristy Kurtz said...

Beautifully written Janita! I loved it! I had a really good laugh out loud moment when I saw the photo of all of you dressed up in your "sunday best"!! I noticed you and Joanne of course immediately and then I saw Jeff!!! LOL!!!

Wynter said...

I can never explain how I end up reading your posts exactly when I need them most. Thank you...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...