FORGIVENESS IS a basis for healing
So much hurt, harm and danger is sweeping our world. Frankly, we have been in this state for a very, very long time. We are only experiencing, now, the continued momentum of an ugly movement.
As much as we would like to, and could, discuss all that is wrong, point the finger of blame and hold discontent - and much worse - against one another, until we, first, forgive we cannot move forward in a positive manner. Not with solid, long-term results, anyway. Admittedly, there are serious actions to be taken to address wrongs and hold wrong-doers accountable but we must begin from a place of strength and self-resolve. This basis is found in forgiveness. Forgive them.
Forgiving others is a gift of healing you give yourself. Forgiving yourself is where your healing begins. We all do the best we know how to do under the circumstances. Give yourself the break you deserve to begin anew. Forgive yourself. Then, forgive others.
Forgiveness slows the momentum of ugliness. There is power in forgiveness. Plant the seeds and watch them blossom.
Recently, I was having a conversation with my mother. We were talking by phone as we do many times a day, every day. I know. I am blessed to have my mom still with me physically and, even more so, to have such a bond with her. We pick up the phone and call each other for everything.
One evening, as I was cleaning my kitchen, something stopped me in my tracks. I had a yearning to hear “a word” from my mom. So, I called her and picked her brain for a moment. I had one very specific question for her.
I asked her, given that she has lived over three quarters of a century, what top 3 pieces of advice would she had given me 40 years ago if she’d known then what she knows now. Her answers did not disappoint.
I had no expectations yet she surprised me. Honestly, I was in need of a lift and I wanted it from my mother. My mother is a soft-spoken, gentle, kind and loving lady. But powerful, strong and wise, she is.
My mother’s first words of wisdom were to always be honest. Her second bit of guidance was to always treat others as you want to be treated. The third piece of advice was to always be respectful no matter what.
I know many of us have heard these or similar words throughout our own lives. What is most significant to me is that they come from one who has been through the test of times, again and again, and, yet, she stands firm on these principles. It is so much easier to spout rules and standards in our younger days. But anyone who can maintain such values in spite of what life presents, that person demands attention. Their words must be given careful and serious consideration. They must be respected, just as the speaker must be respected.
My mother, herself, must have been inspired because she acknowledged having shared the three top pieces of advice I requested of her but she had one more to offer. I was eager to hear it.
My mom advised to always hold on to your beliefs, making sure they are your beliefs and not someone else’s. I was moved. My mother had served up a three-layer cake with a delectable icing.
My mother inspired me on the phone that evening. She always does. She inspires me not only with her words but also by her example. I want to be that graceful lady full of wisdom and force when I grow up. In the meantime, I will settle for doing the next best thing. I will follow my mom’s words to live by.
Thank you Mom and Happy Birthday!
I love you!
This time of year is so special. Magical, in fact.
The holidays tend to bring out the best in people. Somehow, we muster the humanity to be a little kinder to others. We are helpful to strangers. We feed the hungry. We clothe the tattered.
We sing more. We laugh a little heartier.
We love more.
The outcome is a life lived more generously.
In the past, I have shared with some that I grew up in a family that lived the Christmas Spirit each and every day. I was taught to live more generously everyday.
Giving when we can and where needed is what we did. It is what we still do. Loving others enough to share food and clothing when in need and not waiting upon a holiday or react to a national disaster is the hallmark of my family.
I am so incredibly grateful for these values instilled in me. I am, honestly, really proud of my family. My mother and maternal grandmother were the backbone of our small but running-over-with-love family.
Sometimes, it is the lessons of love that teaches us to make room for others. Sometimes, it is the challenging experiences that present opportunities to grow into that mindset. The year of 2020 is certainly one case in point.
The tragic events of this year brought out the best in many. Where entities, governments, representatives and others failed its people, individuals and organizations stepped up. They stepped up in huge, unimaginable ways.
Our worst brought out our best. Those who never served before found creative and magnificent ways to help children in need of desks to study at home. Some provide electronics so those without tools or resources could have the means to continue their studies remotely. Children who relied upon school meals were amongst families who received boxes of food from caring individuals and organizations.
The extended helping hands across the street and across the country go on and on.
I am left with the question I ask myself each year? If we can step up to be our brother’s – and sister’s keeper – during the holidays and when faced with challenging and devastating times, why do we not do so all the time?
We prove every year we can. This year, 2020 in particular, we proved that we should. The odd thing is if we would always do right by one another, the “step-ups” would not have to be so massive. It is because we systemically create such major gaps in wellbeing for people that, when tragic times come upon us, the assistance needed and recovery time are an overwhelming and long road.
This message is about the hope and capacity of what we, as “a people,” can do. Let’s remember something. Holidays are wonderful. The magic they hold is so mystical. We should also not be mistaken of their power.
Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa all hold the power to carry us well throughout the remainder of the year.
As I wish you my heartfelt Season’s Greetings, I leave you with this food for thought. Christmas, and no other holiday, is merely a date on a calendar. Christmas is a state of being. Hanukkah is a state of being. Kwanzaa is a state of being.
Spread your love and live more generously year-round!
Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa!
Be grateful for what was for it brought you to where you are and taught you what you didn’t know you didn’t know.
Be grateful for what is because it is speaking to you to grow right where you are – for your sake and the sake of others.
Be grateful for tomorrow no matter what happens because it will hold something wonderful even you do not see it.
Be grateful for the opportunities to look beyond yourself for there are unanticipated wonders awaiting you.
Be grateful for the push outside your comfort zone because the push is really a pull to people and experiences you otherwise would never have had.
Be grateful for what seems wrong and bad because it makes you search for what seems right and good.
Be grateful for those who are no longer with us in body because we now have them with us in spirit working with and for us with great power.
Be grateful for those who are journeying along with us in this life experience, though along different path, for they are inspiration to keep doing what we do.
Be grateful for others’ wins because they are all our wins which lift up the collective body we call humankind.
Be grateful for who you are – exactly as you are – because you are the perfect ingredient for which there is no substitute in this delicious, savory pie of life.
~ Carol L. Stokes
With love and gratitude, I send you greetings for a Happy Thanksgiving!
THIS 2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION AND ALL OTHER ELECTIONS UP AND DOWN THE BALLOT COULD MEAN LIFE OR DEATH -- MORE SO FOR SOME THAN FOR OTHERS SO
Carol's life journey has always been one of service. There have been a number of avenues but the mission is the same. Particularly, with respect to the disadvantaged populations, Carol works to engage, inspire and enhance.