Sunday, June 20, 2010
What's a replenisher? Oh, it may not be a proper word, but it reflects a helping, caring attitude, one we all should perhaps strive to exhibit regularly. For in raising up others, we elevate ourselves as well.
A replenisher strives to bring out the best in other people by encouraging their hopes and dreams and by applauding their achievements without jealousy. A replenisher refreshes others' spirits with their positive attitude and inspiration. It is someone who makes others feel they can accomplish anything they set their sights on.
In Biblical times, a replenisher would have been a person who would invite a weary traveler into his or her home, wash their feet and provide a meal, beverage and lodging.
What is your attitude toward your friends, family, co-workers and strangers? Is it one of being standoffish or is it one of helping others however you can? A kind word when someone is troubled. A pat on a shoulder as you tell them, "I'm really proud of what you have accomplished." Sending a greeting card on a birthday or anniversary or other special occasion or to only say, "I value our friendship."
A replenisher is like reported in the 23rd Psalm: "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want; he makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads be beside still waters; he restoreth my soul."
When I read that passage I recall the times when I was young and my friends and I would lie in the grass and watch the clouds in the sky overhead. We didn't worry about being fed or clothed or loved -- we knew our parents would be our shepherds and care for us. We knew they would allow us play time to replenish ourselves and our sense of adventure and camaraderie. When we were hurt or upset, our parents restored our souls by calming us and made everything better, sometimes merely with a kiss on a boo-boo.
Have you assumed such a role in your life? Do you show true concern for those with whom you come into contact every day? Do you extend yourself to try to build up others by encouraging their efforts or calming their spirits when they are troubled?
"I've always thought that people need to feel good about themselves and I see my role as offering support to them, to provide some light along the way." Princess of Wales Diana
That's a replenisher.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
"The opinions which we hold of one another, our relations with friends and kinsfolk are in no sense permanent, save in appearance, but are as eternally fluid as the sea itself." Marcel Proust
* * * * *
I read many blogs today with a common theme -- relationships. A couple of writers were upset at their husbands. One was angry with her son. Another was frustrated at her aunt and nieces. Then there were the two that hit home the hardest. One was about a friendship gone bad because of a wrong interpretation of the relationship by the writer. Another was about forgiveness.
They brought to mind the job from which I took an early retirement. It was a high risk position, one which was supposedly built on implicit trust of others as potential backup in emergencies. The problem was that there were three co-workers who enjoyed generating conflict, spreading rumors and making up gossip. It was difficult to take the high road with them as anger and bitterness and mistrust overtook the relationships I and others had with these three.
But one day I had had enough and picked one of the three to talk to, privately, to try to learn what I had done to cause him to backstab me so much. Then I went to the second one and finally the third one, each time speaking only for myself, even though I knew others were as angry and upset with them as I was.
After some uncomfortable moments we finally began having a conversation, getting to know each others backgrounds and interests. In every one of the three situations, it turned out that they had been told things about me by the other two that were not true, things they chose to believe rather than, in today's vernacular, "Man up" and talk with me directly. It was like a closed unit cabal with the three of them the only members, thus what one said must be true.
Things did not improve drastically at first. I believe it was their personalities to want to put others down in order to make themselves appear more important than they were. But, over time, as we asked each other about our hobbies and our fears and hopes, what had been perceived as mountains turned out to be nothing more than short molehills.
Sure, interpersonal conflicts will arise, often frequently, because as one writer today said, we all come to a relationship with our own set of beliefs and interpretations. Bitterness is an evil that eats at our insides. So is anger and resentment. But, as Catherine Porter once said, "The forgiving state of mind is a magnetic power for attracting good."
"Anger repressed can poison a relationship as surely as the crudest words." Dr. Joyce Brothers
Let's try to eliminate the anger in our lives and remember that another person will react, as we will, based on their individual experiences, fears, hopes and dreams and that often these experiences and feelings will color the relationship, creating apparent conflicts that seem to be mountains but are in truth nothing more than small molehills.
Friday, June 18, 2010
In a land far, far away in a time before time there existed two groups of intrepid souls -- the in-shapies and the over-weighties.
The in-shapies wore brightly-colored Spandex and jogged and rode bicycles and were careful about what they ate, consuming modest amounts of lean meat, fish and chicken, fruits and vegetables.
The over-weighties clothed themselves in baggy dresses and shirts and spent their time sitting watching television and eating high-calorie cupcakes, potato chips and fatty cuts of meat. To these people, eating fish, chicken, lean meat, fruit or vegetables was avoided at all costs. One day, in search of Ding-Dongs and pepperoni pizza, one over-weightie happened to cross into land occupied by in-shapies and saw people rollerblading, running, cycling, walking and going into a strange building filled with exotic machines that made the in-shapies grunt and sweat. Some were lifting steel bars with circular metal pieces attached to each end of the bars.
The over-weightie was astounded. Never had she seen such activity and, oh, all of those muscles everyone had and such pretty clothes, too, that weren't baggy and shapeless.
"May I help you?" an in-shapie asked her.
"What is this place? She asked, astonishment showing on her face.
""Why, it's a gym. Those machines are weight-lifting machines and the others are what we call free weights because you can put more or less weight on the bars. Would you like to try a workout?"
The over-weighty reluctantly allowed the in-shapie to run her through a light workout on the machines. When they were finished, the over-weightie's face glistened with a sheen of perspiration, her heart beat rapidly and she felt an exhilaration she had never felt before.
"That's the endorphin high you get from exercising," the in-shapie told her. "The more you exercise, the more you'll want to exercise and you'll love losing weight as these people did. Many of them have lost 50 or 100 or more pounds."
"WOW!" was all the over-weightie could say.
"And," the in-shapie continued, "they track what they eat on an Internet site called SparkPeople.com where they can get a daily breakdown of how many calories they eat and how much of what they eat is protein, carbohydrates and fats. They read inspirational articles and profiles of members who have successfully become in-shapies. But the best part," he lowered his voice, "is that it is all free!"
The over-weightie couldn't believe what she had been told -- 50, 100 or more pounds. She decided she no longer wanted to be an over-weightie and wobbled back to her village to tell everyone about the land of the in-shapies and about SparkPeople. Some people didn't pay attention to her but a great many others did and gathered around their village's central computer where they logged on to this strange, life-altering web site.
They read the articles and profiles and watched the videos then collectively yelled, "WE CAN DO THIS!"
As the next day dawned, women and men, boys and girls met in the village's central compound. As the computer played a beginning level exercise video they moved and grooved and soon experienced their own individual endorphin highs. Afterward, they all agreed that it must have been fate or destiny that exposed them to this new way of living. They began having group cook-outs with fish, lean meat and chicken and planted gardens of vegetables and trees for fruit.
Soon, some ventured forth to the land of the in-shapies to buy some of the colored Spandex exercise outfits. There, they met many in-shapies who encouraged the over-weighties to continue to exercise and eat right and told them personal stories of success.
As time passed, more and more of the over-weighties became in-shapies and lived happily ever after. If they can do it, so can we.
Believe it or not.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Cest la vie la conchon.
I do not speak French except to be able to say "French fries" or "French bread" or "French pastries" but a friend of mine told me the above phrase means, "Such is the life of a pig." I'm not exactly sure what that means, if he's accurate, but it seems an appropriate oath to mutter as life tries to overwhelm us by piling on problem upon problem, nearly daily.
Keep the faith? Most assuredly. Stay positive? Absolutely.
Still, as with lifting weights, there comes a level beyond which the weight becomes too heavy no matter how much we want to believe we can lift it. Perhaps we didn't notice at first that we were handling heavier and heavier weight, especially if it was increased a little at a time. Soon, though, we all reach our limit.
It's like an old story that the way to be able to lift a full-grown bull is to pick up the baby calf daily so as to build up the muscles needed to one day heft the bull. But it doesn't work that way. Eventually the baby becomes too much for us to handle.
Just like our problems, especially when they continue to creep up on us and become a heavier and heavier burden, almost without our noticing. So what do we do when life tosses us difficulties beyond our capacity to handle?
We can continue to express faith in a greater power and believe that there is a grand plan for our lives and that things will eventually work out for us. We can continue to seek all things positive in our situations. We can remember and draw on the inspiration of the times we read about feats of extraordinary strength, such as when a mother lifts a car off of her small child, a show of muscular prowess that would not be possible under normal, non-stressed circumstances.
Most of all, when life begins to become overwhelming, we need to hang tough.
But, if we feel we have reached our limit and can not handle the weight of any more problems there is another solution. We can give a primal shout loudly to the sky, "Cest la vie la conchon. "
Doing so will not change our overall lives but may make us feel a whole lot better.
Even if we don't understand what it means.
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