It was a beautiful sunny morning when I paused to enjoy the reflection of trees on a smooth as glass pond. On the other side of the water, something caused me to stare in disbelief.
My eyes must be deceiving me, I thought. A closer look was needed. Unfortunately, my initial impression was confirmed. Although we were still in the first half of August, the leaves on a small tree had turned from green to a reddish orange.
I knew that summer would come to an end but wasn’t ready for it to happen yet. Shouldn’t we have another month before fall arrived?
Over the next week, the temperature dropped and so did the leaves from that particular tree. Its branches were now bare. Other trees seemed to have a few more yellow leaves each time I passed by.
I’m reminded of the game of Hide and Seek. When the chaser is finished counting and about to start seeking, he opens his eyes and says, “Ready or not, here I come!” This is true for more than the seasons or a childhood game.
While talking to a friend about something completely unrelated to weather, he said, “We knew it would come to an end one day. We just thought we could choose when and how it would happen.” Life is often like that!
I’ve lived long enough to know the world does not revolve around my timetable. I don’t have to like it but I do need to accept and make the best of it. Because, ready or not, change is often just around the corner.
They say confession is good for the soul, so here goes.
Although I make my best efforts to stay positive, sometimes I fail miserably. Yesterday was one of those days.
To my mind, negativity dominated the conversations in the room. The popular opinion was opposed to my beliefs. I shouldn’t have let it get to me. After all, everyone is entitled to their opinion, right?
Instead, I became inwardly critical of every thought expressed. My judgments of how wrong these people were, took over. I didn’t open my mouth but am sure my body language spoke loud and clear. When a final comment pushed me over the edge, I quietly slipped out of the room. Without even a goodbye, I left.
I’m not proud of my reaction. In fact, I was still unsettled when I awoke this morning.
I stood at the kitchen window and watched the sun rise. The beauty reminded me that each day I have a new opportunity to start again. To do better than I did yesterday. I was determined to make the most of it.
In order to do this, I needed to figure out what had gone wrong. I thought of my husband gently pointing out my lack of tolerance. That certainly got my back up. Couldn’t he just acknowledge that I was right?
Realization struck me like a lightning bolt. I couldn’t accept other viewpoints because I knew I was right! I had chosen to be right rather than be happy. This is something that does not help me live my best life.
This confession is a way of holding myself accountable. When I know better, I can do better.
I am grateful today for the uncomfortable lesson that resulted in a renewed commitment to stay positive and to treat others with love and respect.
I’ve heard it said that expectations are premeditated disappointments; or premeditated resentments. It wasn’t my intention when I set out, but I just proved that statement true!
We were Christmas shopping and I had a definite plan of what I wanted for someone, where I’d find it and how much it would cost. Although my ever patient husband suggested we look in other stores, I refused. I was so sure of myself that the other shopping was done first and this item left to the end.
I’m sure you can guess where I’m going with this. When I came to the designated store, they didn’t have what I was looking for. I was frustrated and knew I’d have to start all over again. This meant going back to stores I’d passed by earlier. My expectations had caused unnecessary stress.
When I finally entered one store with an open mind, the number of options surprised me. My only difficulty was narrowing down the choices.
I’d like to tell you that this is the only time expectations have caused me trouble, but that wouldn’t be the truth. In all areas of my life when I set expectations on how something has to be done or how it needs to turn out, I’m facing the risk of disappointment. This is not to say that I should never have a plan, only that I need to remain flexible and open to other options. Sometimes the best solution is something I would never have thought of.
“My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations.” Michael J. Fox
Our church has started using two different bulletin covers each Sunday. I was greeting and handing out bulletins when one woman noticed the two covers. With confusion in her voice she asked, “Do we have more than one bulletin today?”
I explained that although the covers were different the insides were the same. Then I added, “Just like people.”
People come in all shapes, sizes and colours. No two are exactly the same. Even identical twins have subtle differences in their appearance.
On the inside we are basically the same. Each one of us wants love, acceptance and a feeling of belonging. Fear, loneliness and illness can alter our outward appearance. The face we present to the word is not always inviting.
When I am feeling ‘less than’ I tend to withdraw from contact with others. It may seem to you that I am aloof, hostile or grouchy. The truth is I want love and acceptance but don’t know how to ask for it. It’s easier to keep my distance than to be vulnerable and risk rejection. I end up creating the opposite of what I most desire.
Jesus knows my thoughts and needs even when I’m unable to express them. Before I call his name, he’s there for me. He doesn’t necessarily give me what I want but it is always what’s best for me. The everlasting love of Jesus means I am accepted unconditionally and never rejected or alone.
The LORD is near to those whose hearts are humble. He saves those whose spirits are crushed. (Psalm 34:18 GWT)
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me! (Psalm 139:177-18 NLT)
The date was May 3rd. I was attending a weekend retreat. When I looked out of my window in the morning I was greeted by the beauty of snow-covered evergreen trees. The snow, soft and gentle, continued throughout the day.
While this is not typical weather for this time of year in Central Alberta, it was no use being upset. There was nothing I could do to change it, so instead I chose acceptance. Mid-afternoon I decided to embrace the weather and went for a walk in the beautiful surroundings, enjoying the peace as the snow covered everything under a blanket of white.
There was a deeper lesson for me here. My life does not always go the way I had envisioned it. Sometimes the sun I long for disappears for a time. I can grumble and complain but the only thing that will accomplish, is to make me feel worse. What I need to do is not only accept my situation, but to make the best of it. God is always watching over me. Nothing I go through is a surprise to him. When I willingly leave it all in God’s hands, acceptance comes easier. He is able to make everything work for his good.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Corinthians 4:17 NIV