Easy to love…

I heard this phrase once before but I heard it again this past week. I was talking with a guy about pets and he said that he preferred dogs over cats because they are ‘easy to love’. What he was referring to was their disposition. Dogs generally are right there under foot whereas cats show a sense of indifference. The more that I thought about this phrase, the more I feel it is a lie. When something is easy to do then it can easily not be done.

My pastor spoke today regarding relationship. He talked about some of the differences and similarities between men and women. It was a very good teaching. One of the things that he said was how people need a release. One thing about men is that by nature we don’t do a lot of sharing of our feelings. Especially, with my generation, and before, we were taught not to cry. We were taught to “suck it up and be a man”. We were taught to be ‘strong’. So…. when a man begins to share his emotions, that is an extremely powerful and vulnerable moment. This doesn’t happen often so whoever he opens up to is a very special person.

Unfortunately, people don’t listen. There’s always a reason that they can’t talk right now or something is going on and they’ll talk to you later or they’re just busy. Another reason is that people don’t care about YOUR point of view they’re only concerned with THEIRS. Finally, people may be available TO you but they don’t care ABOUT you.

As you’ve seen, I’ve been doing a whole lot of self-evaluation lately. One of the greatest areas for me is ‘friendships’. I was thinking the other day about all of the different “friends” that I’ve had over the years and something occurred to me… If they are your friends then where are they? Why are they not in your circle today? I think it goes back to ‘easy to love’.

I think back to one particular friend that I grew up with. He and I have shared some great and turbulent times. When traveling we’d always stop in to see him and his family. As a preacher, when he would be anywhere near where I was… I’d drop everything to support him. We’ve had decades of relationship… Another friend same type of deal except we were like telephone buddies. She and I could talk for hours. We gave each other advice on different situations and life events. We shared a lot of stuff. We had years of relationship… These are just two examples of both men and women friends. The most hurtful thing to me is this… During the time that I thought that I may have had cancer neither one of them reached out to me. I sent a direct email that simply said, “Please call me” and NOTHING. But, I was there for YOU. I could be dead right now and YOU never thought to call me to see what I wanted or needed but you’d have plenty of tears at my funeral…

You see, I truly love my friends and when you truly love someone, it’s not so easy just to walk away from them. What’s crazy to me is this… They may have physically walked away from me but my heart is still attached and in the oddest ways I’m are constantly reminded of them.

It really boils down to this one teeny tiny fact. I miss my mom. Not only was she my mom but she was my friend. She was my best-est friend in the whole wide world. She took time to talk when I wanted or needed her. She would give sound advice (whether I liked it or not). She made me feel like I was special. And she knew she was special to me. She listened to me. She and I were soo cool that things would happen and all we’d have to do was look at each other. That look was an entire conversation. I remember sitting by her bedside in the last moments of her life. My dad asked everyone if there was anything that we wanted to say to her because she was ‘leaving us’. When he came around to me, all I said was, “I don’t have anything to say. Mommy already knows.”

Normally, I’d ask, “So, how do we fix it?”… Not today.

The cool thing about God is that he prepares you for every season in your life. I will never stop loving my friends from yesterday. Separation doesn’t diminish what’s truly in your heart. Many times it only increases it. But, God just keeps presenting us with new people. Some will be acquaintances, some associates, and some will be friends. Which will you be?

I love you ALL!!!
Stay blessed,
Jackie

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I didn’t realize that I needed that…

Because of our schedules, our rituals, and our habits… we don’t always get to stop and smell the roses. We don’t really appreciate the little things that occur in our lives. So, when our stuff is interrupted, we are forced to step back a take a look at what’s really going on…

Today is the 51st day of my 90 day fitness Challenge. I was talking to my wife about this journey and all that has happened since it started. When I decided to start my fitness Challenge, I felt good (or so I thought). Health-wise, I had some minor concerns like the possibility of being placed on cholesterol meds and being borderline diabetic. I called these concerns minor because it seems like almost everyone I know (family, friend, co-worker and other) is dealing with these issues. So, being told that I had these issues was concerning but in the back of my mind there was a sense of expectation because everyone else has it. My energy levels were fine. I could do everything that I wanted to do with little effort. The key with that was I really didn’t want to do much. When asked about exercise, my response has been, “My idea of exercise is walking to the car!!” or “I do sit-ups… I sit up at the table”… you know offshoots of living a mediocre life. But, guess what? I was fine.

Then, I started getting rid of weight. In my first 30 days I got rid of 22 lbs. and an amazing thing happened. I realized that I didn’t have a lot of energy before because now instead of walking up the stairs… I run, I skip steps and I even challenge myself to see how fast I can go up and come back down. I would have NEVER done that before. I’ve been seeing my doctors and a consistent theme has been this… all of your vitals are perfect. Perfect? Yes, no more borderline anything – cholesterol or hypertension!!! It’s a great feeling going to the doctor now because I know that these “issues” aren’t really an issue anymore. In short, I didn’t realize that I needed to get rid of the weight until I started getting rid of it!!!! My life has truly changed!!!

BUT, it doesn’t start and end there with physical fitness. Yesterday was my brother’s birthday and I have a standing appointment to have lunch with him. So, he and I went to lunch with his pastor. We shared, cut-up, laughed and talked. We had a really good time. Normally, going to lunch for me is going out with clients, customers or business people of some sort. The time is well spent but it is still business. All parties involved have that feeling of let’s get to the matter at hand, do your presentation, let’s get to the particulars and let’s get outta here. These luncheons can be as short as 30 minutes and a marathon luncheon an hour and a half. There was soo much freedom for me yesterday. It was a complete turnaround because there were no agendas, talking points or anything like that. It was great AND we ended up hanging out in J. Alexander’s for over 2 ½ hours!!! We arrived in the heat of lunch and when we left there was hardly anyone there! Upon getting into the car, I told my brother… I didn’t realize how much I needed that.

In seeing just these two examples in MY OWN life, I am looking for other places in my life that need shaken up!!! Check this out… we’ve heard all too often that life is short and that we should enjoy it. My question is this, how do we know if we’re truly enjoying life if we aren’t doing anything different from one day to the next? I dare to say that MOST of us aren’t LIVING life, we are SURVIVING it and that’s no way to go.

So, how do we fix it? One thing that I’ve learned is that since we are a schedule-based society, then we need to sit down with our planners and SCHEDULE some shake-up time. Don’t set it way off into the future either. Plan some down time, TODAY. Plan a one-day trip for THIS weekend. Plan a party for next week. What would you be celebrating? How about having a New Month Party!!! We celebrate the New Year, what’s the difference?

Let’s not forget that every day is a gift. Are you going to unwrap this gift and enjoy it or just sit it on the shelf?

I love you ALL!!!
Stay blessed,
Jackie