Love is a Song

” Love is but a song we sing, fears’ the way we die. You can make the mountains ring, or make the angels cry. Though the dove is on the wing, and you may not know why. Come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, and try to love one another right now.” ~ Chet Powers

Some songs stand the test of time. “Get Together” is a song where the words and their meaning rings true even today some 50 years later.

You may have noticed that people are fighting everywhere these days. Whether it’s in another country or right here in our own communities. What is everyone fighting for/over? You name it. More land, more money, politics, religion, who did what to whom…the list goes on. What’s sad is that most of us were taught when we were young how to share and behave around others. Seems to me we that we forgot those things when we left the sandbox.

In a perfect world everyone would get along and there’d be no fighting, or we’d agree to disagree. We need spirited debates to make changes but not when it’s sister fighting sister and brother killing brother. If we’re not careful there will be no one and nothing left worth fighting for. When the fighting ends, we regret things we’ve said or done. By the time we decide to do something about it, we are to late. We never see the person or worse – they pass away.

Thought for the day: Don’t let pride get in the way of a simple “I’m sorry”. A friend once told me, “Swallow your pride, it contains no calories.”

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Love

“Love is patient; love is kind and envies no one. Love is never boastful, nor conceited, nor rude; never selfish, not quick to take offence. Love keeps no score of wrongs; does not gloat over another’s sins … In a word, there are three things that last forever: faith, hope, and love; but the greatest of them all is love.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13.

Think of someone you love. Pick anyone. What if that someone you love is sick or has fallen on hard times? Would you love them then? How about if that person made some bad choices that took them down a path in life that’s not good for them? What if that person you love hurt you in some way? Would you still love them?

If you said yes to any of those questions you are practicing unconditional love. Loving without condition or limitation, under any circumstance and despite disappointment. It’s also caring about the happiness of another person without any thought for what we might get for ourselves. It’s seeing past whatever “bad” a person is going thru to their true self and still loving them.

I’ve been blessed to feel this kind of love during a time in my life when I wasn’t so loveable. I’d done and said a lot of things to other people in my life that couldn’t be taken back. Some people turned their backs on me but others…the others loved me no matter what I did. If it were not for those people who loved me when I was at my worst, I never would have made it thru those dark times to be who I am today.

Thought for the day: Because of this love I am able to give unconditional love to others who may not be so loveable too.

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Unconditional Love  

“My relationships with my cats has saved me from a deadly, pervasive ignorance.” ~ William S. Burroughs

Humans learn something new just about every day. We learn what to or not to do, how to or not to do things, what to or not to say and much more. We learn these lessons from a variety of teachers starting with our parents and teachers in school. When we leave school and home we don’t stop learning. We continue to learn from other people around us but did you know that we also learn lessons from animals too? Believe it or not we can and do learn some of life’s lessons from animals, specifically our pets.

How many of you own a pet, rather have a pet that owns you? Have you ever noticed that no matter how you look or feel, what you’ve done in your life or what mood your in that animals don’t care? They still come up to you anytime, anywhere and give you lovins. That’s called unconditional love – affection without any limitations or conditions.

I’d known about unconditional love for many years but I don’t remember really feeling and understanding it until I needed it the most. I was laying on my couch feeling sick, depressed, and like nobody loved me. My two cats didn’t care. Despite how I looked and felt, they came up and curled up next to me. Until this point I had a hard time treating others with unconditional love. These furry little teachers taught me to love others, and myself, warts and all.

Thought for the day: If you ever feel like nobody loves you, look into the eyes of your cat(or dog, etc). They will love you until you can love yourself.

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Love One Another

“It is not mandatory to like someone to Love them.” ~ Anonymous

I heard something like this a while ago but I didn’t truly grasp it until one day when I was put in a position help someone I didn’t really like. I share this story because I hope others who hear it will get inspired to do the same thing for someone needing help.

There many females, who have my phone number in case they need help. One morning I woke up to a message from a woman I knew but didn’t really like for various reasons. She needed a ride a couple hours away to get some help for herself. I tossed the decision for awhile. Much as my head told me not to take her, my heart said I needed to take her. So I did.

On our ride out, after she thanked me profusely, we talked about life. Then we started talking openly about why I didn’t like her but why I was helping her. She understood and said if the roles were reversed she probably wouldn’t help me. I knew if I were in her shoes and needed help, I’d hoped someone would be there to help me – even if the person didn’t like me.

Many people need help with various things in life, even life saving help. Unfortunately because we don’t love, let alone like, the other person, the call for help goes unanswered. It’s not so much a “What Would Jesus Do” thing as it is a “What would I want someone to do if I needed help?”

Thought for the day: In the end, we wound up being friends after all was said and done. I don’t regret a minute that I’d spent helping her out even tho I haven’t heard from her for some time.

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Freedom of the Past

“You wanna fly, you got to give up the “stuff” that weighs you down.” ~ Toni Morrison

Everyone has been hurt by someone in their lives. Perhaps someone has hurt us so bad that we harbor a resentment towards them. The only way to get past resentments is to forgive that person – not for their benefit, for yours – so you can move on to the future.

When my husband wanted a divorce, I was SO ANGRY at men I swore I was going to stay single until the day I died. My other best friend, a male, heard me saying this to someone and told me I would change my mind. Somewhere between me saying that and what happened was something I hadn’t expected. A man I’d been friends with for a few years started talking to me more often. Somehow between coffee dates he snuck into my heart when I wasn’t looking.

There was just one problem, my heart, angry as it was, still belonged to my ex husband. I realized I couldn’t go into another relationship with the weight I felt in my heart. I needed to forgive my ex husband for all of the hurt I felt. Forgive, not forget, for me, not for him.

When I began to forgive, I started to feel the weight fall from my shoulders and heart. I even spoke to him in a civil tone of voice. Do I miss the good times? Of course. Do I want to punch him in the nose? Hell yes! Do I miss him and want him back in my life? Definitely not. After a little while my heart healed and I was open for love again.

Thought for the day: We must learn from and forgive the past so we can live in the present and can look towards the future, whatever it may hold.

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Why Do We Hate?

“…and why? Because I’m a Jew. Doesn’t a Jew have eyes? Doesn’t a Jew have hands, bodily organs, a human shape, five senses, feelings, and passions?” ~ William Shakespeare (from the Merchant of Venice)

How does you feel when you’re called names like rock star, angel, hero and sweetheart? Pretty good right? Now, what if you’re called names like racist, bigot, homophobe and misogynist? Not so good, I’ll bet. So if each of us knows that it hurts, why do we call each other derogatory names? Do we not know the pain these words cause? Or do we just not care? Just because we disagree on religion, politics or the weather, does not mean that I am some name that clearly does not reflect the real me.

Perhaps Shakespeare said it best in his 16th century play titled “The Merchant of Venice”. In his monologue in Act 3, Scene 1, one of the characters,  Shylock, says, “…Doesn’t a Jew eat the same food, get hurt with the same weapons, get sick with the same diseases, get healed by the same medicine, warm up in summer and cool off in winter just like a Christian?…” As divided we are as a nation, and even as a global community, we forget that each of us is the same under our skins. We each dream the same dreams and feel the same feelings.

We also forget something that unites us all. It also strengthens us. We forget that thru our diversity, we find strength. Rarely do two humans agree on all things but we each have ideas that can work together, if only we try.

Thought for the day: One person can’t save the world. Why not try today to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

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Caregivers

“There are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver.” ~ Rosalyn Carter

What is a caregiver? What defines them? According to my favorite online dictionary, vocabulary.com, a caregiver is, “Someone who takes care of a very young, elderly, or ill person. If you make sure your ailing friend eats every day and is relatively comfortable, you are her caregiver. Being a caregiver is sometimes a paying job – a home health aid and a nurse in a hospital both work as caregivers. When a family member is ill, you may become a temporary caregiver, bringing hot soup and warm blankets.”

Caregivers also have a few distinct qualities like compassion, empathy,  and integrity. They are people who often care more for their patient(or client) than they do for themselves. There is a passion inside them to help others with whatever they’re going thru. They are there thru thick and thin until the very end, literally.

Sometimes we get a bad reputation because not everyone who is a caregiver is honest. Far too many of these kinds of people steal things from their clients. Money, valuables, etc. Sometimes a person goes into the caregiving field to prey on the weakest among us. Thankfully they’re far and few between.

I have been on both sides of the fence – the caregiver and the employer. I had to find others to help care for my mom. Fortunately I knew then that not all caregivers are good.

I learned early on in my career of caregiving how important it is to have a positive attitude and to maintain the person’s independence and dignity. Let’s face it, most of us don’t ask for help let alone be dependent on another human to care for us. I’ve also learned that to be effective, the caregiver should have the ability to read their client. This way you know how much you can or can’t joke around with them or push them to care for themselves more.

In my 15+ years of caregiving I have had the pleasure of taking care of many different types of people in different stages of life. The hardest client to care for is the one you get to know well who goes into the end stages of their life. I’ve been privileged to make them as comfortable as possible and I’ve even held their hand as they pass away.

Perhaps the best reward was what one client did in her final hours. I was working the evening shift and she was very restless. I set a chair next to her bed and held her hand while comforting her and trying to alleviate her anxiety. When I got up to fix her pillow she asked me to come closer, so I bent over more. In her most lucid state that evening, she put her hand on my cheek and simply said, “I love you. Thank you.” That moment was worth more than a paycheck any day.

Thought for the day: Caring for another person can be the most heartwarming experience, however it can be heartbreaking too. It truly does take a special kind of person to do it well.

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