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#521: Life is Like an Empty Glass

Saturday, December 31, 2011

With respect to Tom Hanks and his Forrest Gump quote: "My momma always said, 'Life was like a box of chocolates emoticon. You never know what you're gonna get,'" there is another way of looking at life.

Recently, I expressed my disappointment to my friend Patty that my relatives didn't have more of a sense of family. emoticon

Our dad died in 1976. When Mom passed on in 2004 I expected that my brother (who is 20 years younger), his children and my sister (five years younger), all within 20 minutes drive of me, would bond together laughing and perhaps crying as we sorted through Mom's and Dad's things, maybe sharing a pizza emoticon as we looked at photo albums while I told them stories of our relatives.

But in the seven years since, my brother has never come to the house to help; my sister only one time. Neither has shown an interest in knowing who our grandparents, uncles, and others were or in seeing their pictures or hearing about their lives.

I told Patty how frustrating that was and how unhappy it made me feel, along with my sadness that my nieces and nephews do not call or email, even once a month to tell me what's going on in their lives and that I was pretty angry with them all. emoticon

She said her daughter complained one night about her friends letting her down and that she expected more from them. Patty told her that life is like an empty glass emoticon and that it is up to each of us to fill our glass of life with what makes us happy. emoticon

I must have looked confused. She explained that she believed life is like having an empty glass sitting on a counter, that it will remain empty until we begin filling it with happiness and that if we wait for others to come by and put something happy in it that we will likely be forever disappointed.

But if we fill our glass with water, maybe add food coloring to brighten the water, perhaps add a flower or two emoticon, or tie a brightly colored ribbon around it, then we will have made ourselves happy without relying on others. emoticon

I have thought of what she said and, while it is still disappointing that the relatives haven't lived up to what I expected, I have finally realized I cannot control their behavior.

Yes, it would make me happy if they added quality time together into my glass of life, but that is going to be their decision to make, not mine.

So as we head into the new year of 2012, I will not look to them for my happiness. I will fill my own glass. I may begin writing stories of our family members and leave those stories with their pictures. Then, when I am gone, perhaps my brother and sister will read them and finally come to know the wonderful people who were our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. emoticon

That, then, may add some happiness to their glasses, but for me, now and in the future, I will add beauty to my glass with that colored water and some fresh flowers and enjoy memories of those who have gone before.

I will expect nothing from my relatives and thus will not be disappointed when that is what they offer.

Yes, I like a box of chocolates, but I think a glass of happiness will be a healthier and more attractive way of brightening my life. emoticon

What about you? Are you waiting for someone else to fill your glass of life with joy or will you begin filling it yourself with beauty and self-satisfaction?

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NEEDTOLOSE100LB 1/19/2012 9:34AM

    I too can relate to the relative thing. My family is pretty wide spread, though I have a brother and my mother within an hour of me. I was always close to my father, but he has been dead for 18 years and I never got close to my mother. I keep in touch with my older brother who lives about 10 hours away, but don't get to visit enough. His wife is like the sister I never had. We email and text all the time. My daughter and I are close again after some issues for a few years and her husband is like a son to me. I have in the past "worried" about the relative issue, but after contacting them and getting a "I will call you" and never hearing from them, I kind of shut it off. Sure, I miss having a close family, but sometimes it is my own doing. Not sure why I am that way (a little aloof, some would say), but I guess maybe it is deep-seated issue from far back. Doesn't drag me down too much...I have gotten over it. Live, love and laugh. Make life the best I can and leave it at that.
Love the empty glass vision...I guess I have been doing that lately and now have a vision to put with it. Thank you for sharing your friends humor and insight.

Laurie

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ILOVETOCRUISE 1/10/2012 7:35AM

    This is a great blog and so much of it relates to me. I have finally decided my sister will not talk, or write to me, but the past three years I send her a Christmas card and a Christmas letter. One good point, she has not returned them or maybe she just threw them away. I am a friend with her daughter on Facebook and her granddaughter asked to be my friend on Facebook so I do have some connection. By the way, I still do not know why she has not spoken to me since 1999. We live in different states.
I also kept the family pictures of the in-laws and do the family genealogy.
I will keep a copy of this blog. Thank you for it.
emoticon

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CAROLYNVIL 1/9/2012 8:41PM

    emoticon to the new year and new understandings

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IAMWINNING 1/9/2012 8:40PM

    Hi Lou, Your friend had a good point. I'm also a person who believes what/who has gone on before is important. When my Mom was 'downsizing' her belongings, I was the only one of the four of us sisters who cared enough to take many of the old, old pictures of family. I'm slow in getting it done, but I plan to have everything put into albums so my kids will be able to see photos of our ancestors. One precious posession is a New Testament owned by my great-grandfather - back in the mid-1800's. I hope some of your family awakens to their loss (of not keeping in touch) before it's too late to enjoy your company.

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YATMAMA 1/9/2012 8:30PM

    Wise words, for sure. God save us from going through life blaming others because of our own unhappiness or, likewise, being blamed for someone else's unhappiness. Excellent blog!

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-CHERYL 1/2/2012 9:53PM

    Family can be weird. That's why we have friends that we get to pick due to actual interests and personalities.
I keep up with my nieces & nephew on Facebook because we are to far to visit and I really hate talking on the phone.
Some people have no interest in genealogy but it would be cool to make each family a family tree and mail it to them. It might get them interested!

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WENDYSPARKS 1/2/2012 3:16PM

    Hi Lou, I filling my glass with happiness myself. I try to bring happiness to others also....doing or saying things that will make someone feel better. I am a only child with no brothers or sister but have cousins. Am close to my dad too. My mom passed away in 2001...but she close by in spirit. My in-laws do not call much at all...but send Cristmas cards once a year. Wishing you a Blessed New Year!

Wendy emoticon

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LESLIES537 1/2/2012 2:25PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

Thank you for sharing your emoticon with us! I would love to hear some of your stories once you have them written. emoticon

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JMARIES51 1/2/2012 11:16AM

    Hi Lou, Your blog made me realize that I haven't been to see my sister since my Dad's memorial. I will take time to add that onto my list of things to do. What I might add to reasons why families don't stick together after parents pass away, in my case, I live about 75 minute drive from my family. We don't get together for holidays anymore, so the everyday life stuff seems to get in the way of taking time to go visit. It isn't a good excuse, but it is what happens. You know, work, Dr's appointments, pet health problems, all these things take time and get in the way of making plans to visit family. Then I think this just becomes the habit instead of making visiting the family a priority.

I think that I have always filled my own glass - being a very independent sort of person. When I have spare time, I just walk outside my house and start working in the yard, or take a walk, listen to music, and my life fills up with my own happiness.

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GOODHEALTH4EVER 1/2/2012 6:46AM

    VERY THOUGH PROVOKING AND TOUCHING BLOG LOU! I'VE SPENT MY LIFE WAITING FOR OTHERS TO MAKE ME HAPPY. I'M FINALLY GETTING THAT WE MAKE OUR OWN HAPPINESS:) I LIKE THE THOUGHT OF THE GLASS WITH FLOWERS:)

I TOO WOULD LIKE A FAMILY THAT SHARED. IT IS TRULY THEIR LOSS. KEEP TRYING IF IT IS NOT TOO HARD ON YOU. THEY MAY COME AROUND. IN THE MEANTIME, WRITE ABOUT YOUR RELATIVES AND SHARE THEM HERE OR IN OTHER VENUES. I FOR ONE LOVE TO READ ABOUT PEOPLES MEMORIES AND LIFE EXPERIENCES:) emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/2/2012 6:48:03 AM

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MARYANNSQUEST 1/2/2012 12:32AM

    Hi Lou, I agree with Lori, your blog has so much meaning for me at this time. Its a keeper in my favorite blog book. Thank you for sharing. emoticon

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LITTLEFARMMOMMA 1/1/2012 11:08PM

    Lou, this is PROFOUND!!! I think this is a VERY VALUABLE, very wonderful discovery! Thank you for sharing it! Maybe it's timing, I don't know, but it has really touched me and I won't forget it! Thank you for giving me a whole new perspective on things in life! I don't know about SparkPeople, but this blog has my vote for a first place medal! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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RORYLYONS 1/1/2012 8:33PM

    I learned a long time ago Lou I have to fill my own glass with the many blessings I have had and refill it each year. Many blessings to you my friend for a healthy & Happy New Year! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TEDYBEAR2838 1/1/2012 1:18PM

    WHen was the last time you called them?
Maybe if you keep adding a spark to their life, they
may wish to join yours?
Just a thought, as I certainly don't know the whole
story.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2012!

LET'S TOTALLY 'ROCK IT'!

WALKING THIS ROAD 'TOGETHER'!

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GOSPELCLOWN 1/1/2012 1:02PM

    I like that you have realized that your talent for writing can do the very thing you want accomplished!

What a wonderful project for 2012!

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LINDAINOHIO 1/1/2012 12:51PM

    Hi Lou, Good Blog. Yes I have tried for years to make myself happy because if I wait for others I will feel let down and disappointed. I understand what you are saying that you would think your family would want to get together with you but for myself I have found that what I would think others would want is not always what they want.

Happy New Year and hope it is a great one!

emoticon Linda

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BOVEY63 1/1/2012 12:45PM

    Lou, I want you know that you always help fill my glass with flowers and plenty of colors; and I value your friendship. Sending flowers and color your way my friend.
emoticon emoticon

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CARRIEANNE1027 1/1/2012 9:23AM

    Great post! I'm filling my glass right now :) Happy New Year my friend..

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MALEXANDER4 1/1/2012 8:19AM

    I may have at one time, but since my grandson came along and I had to choose him over my family( he is mixed) and my son in law I have learned to make my own happiness and my own "new" traditions. so today and everyday my glass is filled with much happiness for the choice I made. My grandson will not have to be hurt by his own family, there is enough of that in this world, and I'm not the one missing out. They are. God bless lou.

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GABY1948 1/1/2012 6:50AM

    As always, Lou, a MOST wonderful blog. Funny, I did know that I can't rely on family or ANYONE to make my happiness, it comes from WITHIN, but this was a glorious way to realize it...a glass with colored water and a flower! Thank Patty for me...she is someone GREAT for you to have around! And thank YOU for always being so enlightening to me...Happy New Year, my friend! oxoxox
Gaye
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JUSTDUCKY1405 1/1/2012 1:10AM

    Great and timely blog, Lou! I can really relate to this for my own reasons, and something I've been thinking about a lot the last little while. I may need a few more life reminders now and then, but... for the most part, I'm thinking if I'm happy, those around me will blossom too... and may than even add to my beautiful bouquet of flowers!

Thanks, Lou!

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CHATTIEGIRL 1/1/2012 1:06AM

    Hi Lou;

With getting older and people passing away and moving away we are left sometimes with very few people around. I am next to the oldest of 8 children now 7 and I have 3 daughters and a lot of other relatives. If I talk to anyone except my adopted daughter I call. So this year I am going to find new friends to fill my glass and things to do. Keep healthy and make your new plans for this years goals. Make this year fun and explore new things to do. God bless you always and enrich your life.

Smile Joyce

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MOMMA_BEAR_69 12/31/2011 11:29PM

    Sounds a lot like my younger brothers and sisters. I come from a large family so there is an awful lot of history and information just waiting to be passed on.
My glass is always half full and I am filling it myself with help from the Lord!!!
Have a Blessed, Happy and Healthy New Year, Lou!!!

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SLIMMERJESSE 12/31/2011 11:08PM

    I'm still tryin to find my glass. (smiling) Once I do, I figure it out from there. Happy New Year, Lou. (sounds like my family)

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