It was only an accident. Accidents do happen. Sometimes they are of minor consequence in our lives, and sometimes they are tragic. Since God has given us minds and the need to conduct ourselves properly, sometimes accidents carry great responsibility as well. Last week, a jury in Bastrop sentenced a man to prison for at least 17 ½ years because he had killed two people with a speeding automobile. It was an accident, yes, but the perpetrator was very responsible because he was driving while badly intoxicated and had a history of such. Two lives were snuffed out. Two families turned upside down because of this man’s bad judgement. Yes it was an accident, but such accidents have great cost, and society has learned that even accidents are not devoid of culpability.
Yesterday I made a brief comment about the common human failure of “carrying a grudge”. This typically flows from a single source that many of us experience. We have been hurt, and sometimes when we are hurt we tend to put the worst possible movitation on the person who generated that hurt. The fact is that most of these little social mishaps are accidental or unintentional. Even if we know a person intended the slight, it’s usually not an important thing to us except that our overly sensitive ego reacts and our pride is hurt.
So what? Go back to the opening statement. Mistakes are made, left and right. Some generated by us; some by friends; and yes, some by enemies. Will it matter tomorrow? Choose not to let it matter.
Don’t let those grudges pull you down!
How can you tell an Irishman has Alzheimer’s? He forgets everything but the grudges!
Yes, I know it’s a poor joke, but it does bring up the subject of grudges and I want to say a word or two about this topic. All of us are willing to admit that we all make mistakes. Implicit in that oft repeated statement is the willingness of the speaker to point out that he should be forgiven for his recent mistake, because, after all, he is only human, right? Have you ever noticed that many of us are not quite as easy in forgiving the mistakes of those around us as we are those which we have made ourselves? Again, that’s human, natural, and extraordinarily common. That does not, however, make it right.
Make the world a brighter place! Make the day a happy blessing.
LET GO of your grudges!
One of the most destructive forces that frequently appear in individual’s lives is anger. I am nearly eighty years old, and have been observing human behavior throughout all of my life. There are very few situations where anger is part of the solution. Anger blocks our vision. It gives us bad judgement. It can be woefully painful in the lives of those around us, and is something to be avoided by anyone who wants a moderately happy life.
Anger’s danger is vastly increased when mixed with another human weakness- paranoia. Put the two together, and disaster will appear on the horizon. This is the tragic reality of Timothy McVay. Last week we marked the 15th anniversary of his killing nearly 200 innocent people, many of whom were children. McVay was bright, skillful, and in a warped way, idealistic. BUT, his perverse anger- when joined with his serious case of paranoia- exploded into the lives of his innocent victims.
Sometimes people say “I have a bad temper.” More accurately, they should say, “I fail to control my temper and have chosen to put up with it to the detriment of those around me. Acute paranoia is a serious emotional disorder, and usually cannot be assisted without medical help. It flows from narcism. We all have a little of that, but given the difficulties that these two blemishes can generate, we have to take firm control of our own thought processes, emotions, and conduct. Please, seek professional help if you are wrestling with these demons.
I have known very few people in my life who would not admit that their own personal finances could make good use of a reform program. So, it should be no surprise that with an economy this large and volatile, we might require a technical overhaul from time to time. The economic collapse of 2008 was brought about by the way powerful interests manipulated our system. Luckily, the collapse was not fatal, and we are showing encouraging signs of recovery. Unless substantial corrections are put in place in the near future, we may very well be doomed to repeat the economic catastrophy of two years ago. Our leaders who are working on this reform need to be encouraged to go forward. Let’s pray for them.
Last week’s New York Times had an excellent article by Nicholas Kristof , who, while bemoaning the mismanagement of the sex abuse crisis, went on to point out that Church leaders are not the whole Church. He pointed out that the early Church was inclusive and democratic, including giving women important leadership positions. With the passage of time, authority has been more and more centralized into the office of the bishops, especially the Bishop of Rome.
Kristof suggested that the Church would be very blessed to make even greater use of women at all levels than is currently the case. He described his extraordinary experiences in third world countires where that amazing battalian of caregivers (Roman Catholic nuns) are busy with the orphans, the elderly, the diseased, the ignored, the helpless and the dependent. Hundreds of thousands of such people find their life made a little easier, a little less burdensome every day because of the extraordinary competence and generosity of these heroic women. Kristof’s final line is “they’re enough to make the Virgin Mary smile.” Indeed!
Do you remember last month when every tv broadcast and every paper blared forth the agonizing news about the suffering in Haiti? Did you see any of it today? Haiti has been so devastated that it will take more than a generation to restore it to its pre-quake status. The world, especially the western hemisphere, must structure a long term commitment to Haiti. Surely all of us together can set up structured program to assist this poverty stricken country until it’s at least back on its crutches. Could you make a commitment to do something for Haiti every month for the next five years? That’s what it will take to get started.
“I think you have Alzheimers.”
These words from a physician strike fear and pain into the minds and hearts of those diagnosed, as well as who hear it when they realize they will be the caregiver. The other day I mentioned what a great gift memory is, and how we only appreciate it when we begin to lose it. Losing memory is the essence of Alzheimer’s , but it carries with it other painful effects as well, not the least of which is a powerful and frequently destructive feeling of anger. I’m no physician, but I’ve dealt with a lot of Alzheimer situations, and I’ve always felt that the patient was imprisoned, knew that he was imprisioned, and was furious about that reality. Regardless of the cause, the Alzheimer patient frequently takes out this anger on the caregiver.
Do you know a caregiver for a victim of dementia? Pray for both of them today.
Dementia can mean many things, but mainly refers to loss of memory. Do you ever think about the fact that you never hear kids in their twenties complaining about their memory? The reason is easy- their’s works! But get around a group of people in their later decades, and you’ll find a non-stop bemoaning of memory loss, or at least memory weakening. The difference between the two groups is that as long as this gift is working, we take it for granted. Once it ceases to work perfectly, we immediately begin to pay the price.
Where are my glasses?
Oh, I’m sorry, I thought you said Wednesday…
And most of all, where are the car keys?
Memory is an awesome gift that enables us to function day by day with minimum tension and fewer mistakes. Let’s try to remember to thank God for it!
In the life of each one of us, June the 21st is looming- more than looming, it’s hurtling towards us like an engine out of control. Summer is coming! If that wasn’t bad enough, we know that in quick succession, fall arrives with winter aggressively snapping at it’s heals.
Winter. The winter of life. The leaves begin to fall, the sap drains out of the limbs, they become brittle and are easily broken. True for trees? Yes. True for you and me as well.
I’m at an age where I check the death notices daily and am startled as to how many fellow citizens depart at very young ages- 18, 33, or 40. Many of us hold on till the winter, facing the cold winds and sometimes the isolation. An ever-growing number of those holding on find themselves beset with the burden that they never imagined they would carry when they were playing softball or ice-skating in the park- dementia.
Enjoy each season for the special blessings each brings.