On growing older

If you’re anything like me, you spend quite a bit of time watching older folks and wondering if you’re going to be like them when you’re their age.

You look at their shape and wonder if you’ll be shaped like them. You gaze at their posture and wonder if you’ll be able to stand up straight.  You glance at their smile and wonder if you’ll have all of your teeth.  You watch their gait and wonder if you’ll amble along with a cane or a walker.  You wonder if you’ll be useful when you’re older and if you’ll still have your hair.

But mostly, you watch them struggle to remember things and think about how increasingly often you forget why you’ve walked into a room. Then you pray that your own memory holds out.

Does that sound at all like you?

Getting older is a blessing. Few people would argue that.  But, for some, the golden years can be anything but golden. For some, due to health issues, loss of loved ones, mobility and income, the golden years are a dark shade of blue.

No one knows what tomorrow will bring, or even if there will be a tomorrow. But there is something we can do to improve life for ourselves and others, at any age.

Though wrinkles may come, body parts may betray us and our metabolism and thought processes may slow to a crawl, the love in our hearts never fails.

Love is an ointment that soothes old wounds, heals broken hearts and breathes life into old and young alike. It’s the ultimate resuscitator. You can feel it, receive it, hold onto it and best of all, give it.  And no matter how old we get, it will always be useful. There is always someone who needs it.

So as each day passes and we’re blessed to grow old, let’s share with each other the gift that never expires. Love on somebody today.

Love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:8

 

 

 

Spoiled rotten

A friend brought up a very good point to me today. I told her about a choice I gave to one of my children and how, when my child’s response was less than grateful, I told my child they couldn’t have either choice. I thought that was good parenting.

The problem my friend pointed out to me was not my child’s ungratefulness (after all, that was the thing I was upset about), but it was the fact that I had given my child two options, in the first place.  After all, the options had to do with something nice I wanted to do for my child.  Something they’d like, that was a gift, not a necessity.

The truth is that I should not have given my child an option. I should’ve just said “This is what we’re doing, and when,” not “I’d like to do this nice thing for you, when and where would you like me to do it?”  After all, it was going to cost me time and money and their only job was to sit back, smile and be grateful.

So I decided to write about this today, because I know I’m not the only one who has done this.  In fact, I’ll bet someone reading this has done it today. Parents have been engaging in this type of behavior for years and it has resulted in an entitled, spoiled and ungrateful generation.  We see it in other families and shake our heads, but wear blinders when it comes to our own.

We say to our kids “You’d better be glad my mama wasn’t your mama because you’d be getting off the floor right now,” or “My parents would’ve never spent that kind of money on a pair of sneakers.” Then we let their rudeness slide and dig deep into our wallets to make Michael Jordan richer.

And heaven help us if the kids are good students. We use this as an excuse to buy them whatever they want or take them wherever they want to go.  Or we let bad behavior slide because they’re getting A’s and B’s and are “a pleasure to have in class,” while forgetting that doing well in school is their job and they need to be a pleasure to have at home, too!

And how about those cell phones?  You know, the one thing we can take away that will really get their attention?  When we take it away for bad behavior, how long do we keep it before we give it back?

Oftentimes, it’s not for long because we’re still allowing them to hang out with their friends and we want them to have their phone so we can reach them in case of an emergency.  Isn’t that what we tell ourselves?

Let’s get real, folks.  They’re spoiled rotten. We’ve allowed it and, in fact, created it.  But we don’t have to continue it.   The world already has its fill of people who won’t get along if they don’t get their way. Let’s stop contributing to the problem.

Thanks to a friend today, I’m going to be mindful of these behaviors.  Won’t you join me?

My Lupus Monologue

I have a disease with a five-letter name.  It tries to annoy me and cause me pain.

It messes with my insides, my hair, and my feet and thinks it’s something that I can’t beat.

Many have died from its complications and I know it thinks that scares me. It makes me tired and weak sometimes, I must admit it wears me.

Some nights it’s hard getting up the stairs, with lupus and all of my other cares.

But guess what folks; I’m here to say that lupus can kiss my butt today.

I keep on running, when I feel beat and tell lupus to get under my feet.

I tuck my children in their beds and keep up on my lupus meds.

I praise the Lord as each day begins and with His help lupus never wins.

Most people do not know I have it, but it’s not that I’m ashamed.

I call it out as the punk it is and call it out by name.

I grab that lupus by the leg and make it get behind me.

It may be something that I have, but surely won’t define me.

So call out what you have today that may seem way too large.

Let it know that you’re the boss and that YOU are in charge.

Your ailment may not be physical; it might be in your head.

It may be keeping you up and night, although you’re safe in bed.

Let it know that you’re no joke and tell it in a hurry.

For life’s too short to fill your days with anxiety and worry.

(April drops the microphone and walks away. Lupus fades to black)

Listen up!

Communication.  We’re all about it. We write, we call, we text, we email, we post on social media.  We communicate.  Right?

We communicate to learn, we communicate to socialize, we communicate to express ourselves, but do we communicate to listen? When we ask questions, do we really listen to the answer? When we say “How are you,” do we hear the reply and do we really care how they are?

Communication is not a lost art form, but it can be a one-sided affair. It’s kind of like being in love with the Fonz from Happy Days or a conversation with the cheerleaders from The Middle or watching Nikki and the professor from The Parkers. One side is passionately tuned in while the other is disengaged and wondering if they should stop for ketchup on the way home.

The part of communication that’s sorely lacking today is listening.  Not the occasional “um hmm” listening, but active, attentive listening.  Listening that involves eye contact. Listening that involves putting down your cell phone, or looking away from your laptop. Listening that involves stopping what you’re doing when you’re in the middle of a thousand things. People want to be heard and acknowledged when they’re talking. They want to know that they’ve made a secure connection. They want to know you care.

So, if you’re like me, and guilty of all of the above, let’s work together to get better at listening. Everyone needs an ear sometime. We never know when someone is telling us something too precious to miss. So let’s look up and listen up.

Thanks for listening!