Tuesday, December 23, 2014

                                                            Gifts in Space     

     I used to think when things went wrong that my world was falling apart. Having lived through a time when that actually happened, I now know that when it feels like that again, it may just be residue that got stuck in my thoughts all those years ago. At that time, everything that went wrong was a crisis--from the garage door breaking to getting stuck in the snow. I now know that a crisis would have been if the garage door had fallen on me. I now know that getting stuck in the snow is better than being buried alive in it. When my car rolled backwards down the driveway as I stood watching it,helpless, I now realize that a small dent was nothing compared to the possibility of its running over a child. 

     I would have previously labeled today a “bad day.” It really wasn’t the day’s fault--the day was the day. After I received bad news in the morning, I got in my car, angry, and went about my business. The bad news didn’t go away, but the day went on, and so did I. With each block I drove, perspective began to peak its head out from under my rage, and by the time I got to my destination, I was relatively calm. I even laughed about it with a friend. I was far from over it, though, so I tucked the rest of my rage in the angry box in my gut where I apparently store other residue from days and years past.

     On my way home, I was looking for something in my purse and came across a disc of one of our minister’s sermons. I thought, “Hmm. This would be a good day to listen to one of his inspiring sermons." He spoke about “the spaces between our thoughts” as being a place of calm and peace-independent of the angry or hostile thoughts that might be cataracts on our perspective. I thought about those spaces for a moment, and I realized that if I focused on the spaces, maybe they would get bigger, and my negative thoughts might dwindle in comparison. Sounds great in theory. If we are, according to some guru I read, what we think, then today I was a good person to avoid. If, in fact, the spaces are truly peaceful interruptions of whatever thoughts we might be having, then this might be a new plan for me to get through the bad news days.

     The minister also spoke of the five-second judgments that people make about others. Oh, Lord, I do this. Yes, I do. I put people in little boxes (most of them good boxes) when I see them for the first time. I don’t mean to do this, but who knows at what age judgment begins? Maybe it comes from the FOO (family of origin). Maybe it comes from the way we’ve been treated. I have no clue. The point is, however, that making instant judgments is a bad thing. Maybe the person you think is selfish is really saving his gifts for a sick child or an invalid mother. Maybe the person you thought had a negative “edge,” had just been abused by a spouse. We never know, and those five-second judgments can be very wrong. I’ve decided to start putting my first impressions into a neutral, non-judgmental box in my head, suspending opinion and withholding judgment. As I am my own worst critic, judgment of myself seems to transfer to others without intention. 

     Now I have a box in my head and one in my gut. Maybe I ought to just wrap them both up in Christmas paper, put a bow on them and send them to up to the Big Guy to do with them whatever he thinks best. Yeah, I know He’s busy, but I trust He doesn’t have many “bad days,” so I am sure He’ll get around to it. In the meantime, I will just move on and spend time focusing on my “spaces.”