Generally, I write to share my feelings, views, observations with the intent to help someone else that may be dealing with something similar. Well… Today’s letter is all about me. It is for me. I am not going to proofread it because whenever I do things are changed. I still hope you are blessed, encouraged and all of that.
Yesterday, I was talking with my wife about our relationships with people. Remembering that everyone that comes into our life is there for one of three reasons – a Reason, a Season or a Lifetime. The interesting thing that I see is that most of the times relationships are based on locality and activity. The problem doesn’t come until that locality or activity changes.
For now, I’m going to use church affiliations but please understand the same principles apply to every other area of life, as well…
I have been a member of several different churches over the last 20 years. Unlike my Dad, I didn’t move to a city, attend the family church and stay there. I’ve moved several times from Columbus, OH to Elyria, OH to Miami Beach, FL to Homestead, FL to N. Miami, FL and back to Columbus, OH. During these times, I was not only a member of a church but I was a part of the staff as a musician, music leader or something. The smallest church that I’ve attended had a good 10 members. The largest had over 8,000. The size of the church has never been the issue but it’s all about the people. I’ve been in touch with and impacted by a lot of people of the years, many of which I worked with hand in hand, many I considered friends. But, why does it happen that the moment you no longer attend this assembly that your connection with these people ceases?
I tend to do things hard. I work hard. I play hard. I love hard. I try treat everyone as if they were a lifetime friend. The cruel reality is that not everyone IS a lifetime friend. Knowing this and applying this is especially difficult for me because of my understanding of time. Time is the one commodity that cannot be given a price, value or worth because once it is used… it is gone. You cannot capture time and sell it. You cannot regain any of it that’s used. And, you cannot find any of it that’s lost. We spend an incredible amount of time finding, nurturing and building relation-/friendships. And for one reason or another these ships sail and we are left standing on the port wondering why we’ve not on the ship together.
I’ve always been a reacher (one who reaches out to people). Whenever a person comes across my mind, I’ll call them. If I see a person that looks like someone I know, I’ll call them. Basically, I’m the guy that actually contacts you when I’m thinking about you. I think I’ve done this because I care not only about the person but I also care about my investment IN that person. The investment of time and emotion is extremely important, I just can’t say it enough.
Because I have had these repeated experiences over the years, I tend to guarded with the whole establishment of lasting relationships. People are people. The Bible says that it isn’t good for man to be alone; to gain friends we must be friendly; we are to love our neighbor like we love ourselves; but, it also says put no confidence in man. It’s like the swinging of a pendulum. Damned if we do and damned if we don’t… at times it is very confusing. But, as I sit here, I realize that the confusion is only there because of emotion, not because of the facts. If we know that 2 + 2 equals 4, then why is it confusing when we get 4?
People will always be people. Generally, people are there for YOU when it is convenient for THEM. This is a truth. It is very uncommon for a person to go out of their way for you. That’s why it is special because they “went out of their way”. The reality is that when you expect people is usually when they don’t come.
There are several times in our lives when we take a pause, sit back and re-evaluate where we are. These times generally happen around child birth, birthdays, sickness and someone else’s death. Well… I’ve been dealing with my own health challenges and I am there. I asked for prayer AND support from a very select group of individuals that I trusted with my back. They may have prayed for me BUT I ended my petition with “email or call me”. Maybe, a quarter of them did and that hurts. Some didn’t even read the email. But, we strive to be like Christ. Jesus selected twelve and one of them turned on him. He is a much better judge than we are.
I remember a joke that speaks of diapers and how when we are born we wear diapers. As life progresses, we change diapers. As life continues to progress, we are back in diapers. The constant about that isn’t the diaper but the need. As a baby, or a seasoned adult, we don’t care if we have a diaper on. We know that it is needed. It isn’t the need as much as it is the attitude. I remember changing baby diapers and the anxiety about is this child going to wait and pee WHILE their exposed. To him, it’s fun creating your own mini-fountain. Or having the conversation with an older adult saying, they better get me some more Depends or I’m going to poop on this floor. To him, it is a reality and a truth.
How many of us have known that older person that just speaks their mind. They may be rude, crass, tacky and sometimes downright nasty. But, you never have to wonder where they’re coming from. I’ve known a few of these folks and what makes them special is that when we get past that exterior, we find that they have a sense of peace that is unmistakable. They’ve dealt with enough stuff throughout their lives that they just aren’t taking anymore. The gruff exterior isn’t them being mean. It is their way of not carrying other people’s garbage, as they see it. They are still concerned about others and love unconditionally but, they aren’t going to internalize things that, in the grand scheme of things, aren’t important. So, yes, your feelings may be hurt from time to time but you got the truth.
The greatest harm that we do to ourselves is within ourselves. No one has control over your thoughts, emotions and feelings… you have that control.
In psychology there is a method called Guided Visualization. The purpose of this process is to relax and relieve stress. When I first started using this method, I would visualize a wooded area with a stream in the Autumn with leaves dropping from the trees into the water. The birds would be chirping. I could hear the wind blowing the leaves on the ground… all that. Well, I would mentally place the negative thoughts, concerns and issues on a leaf, watch it fall into the water and float away. This would help me go to sleep. The interesting thing is that the more I used this method the better I got with it. Now, not only do I practice this for going to sleep but throughout the day. I not only put the bad stuff on leaves but the good as well. Putting both there allows me to focus on what is important, not just the passing thoughts. Here’s an example: Regarding my health concerns, I don’t focus on healing or not getting healed. Why? Because, the Law of Attraction says that we receive what we focus on. Whether I’m thinking about healing or not, I’m focusing on the issue not the outcome. I don’t want the issue. So, I’m not going to focus on the issue because I don’t want it attracted to me because of my thoughts of healing or not. It may be confusing to some and I’m sorry. The principle is extremely simple…
Some may call it a having a nonchalant attitude, or not caring. I don’t love anyone any less today than I did yesterday. The truth is that I care soo much and I love soo much that I have to protect myself, from myself.
Do something wonderful for someone else today. You never know how ‘going out of your way’ will be a true blessing for someone else…
I love you ALL!!!
Check out my website… http://www.JackieSmithJr.com