There is power in the word love, like no other. But there are different kinds of love, and love means different things to different people. Lovers love each other, parents love their children, bloggers love each other’s work. One thing is for certain though, love is more powerful when it is backed up with action.
If lovers do not spend time together, their love can fade. If parents say they love their children, but don’t show it, don’t take care of them, they are lacking love. And if we say we love someone’s work, but don’t tell them, then the words are empty.
There is an ancient saying that shows this love-action connection. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” So simple, so powerful, and yet so difficult to do at times. Other people are just as important as we are, and when we love them, and show them we love them, we truly can make a difference in our world. Another way of saying this is – love can be a verb. Love needs to be put into action. So when you have a chance, show someone you really do care.
Nobody cares how much you know, until they know much you care.
We see a lot on the TV news about what people think, offering their opinions. To be honest most of them seem very removed from the problems they are discussing. Are they really down in the trenches? Or are they simply thinking about different problems from an academic standpoint?
Some religious people seem to have a problem, with wanting to teach us, and with trying to show us what they believe is the right way. Many have good intentions, but it seems like there is often something missing. I’m not sure if Roosevelt was thinking about a particular group of people, but he saw clearly that people, who think they know a lot, need to have compassion. Without love and compassion what good is our knowledge?
We need to make a difference in our world, not with our arguments proving how right we are, but with our actions and attitudes. This includes showing in practical terms that we care, such as offering to help in some way, which might mean standing with them shoulder to shoulder, being right where they are.
Whether we are religious or not, showing compassion to others, can not only make a difference, but can literally change our world for the better, one person at a time, one circumstance at a time.
I love my country. Most of us do, unless we live under a dictatorship. We have so many freedoms here, including the freedom to worship the way we choose, or to choose not to worship at all. Regardless of where we live, our country is a part of who we are. However, I have two big concerns about the United States.
The first concern I have is prejudice. I am shocked, horrified, and disgusted. Hatred towards any group of people is wrong. I simply can’t believe that in 2015 we have such a horrible problem. Do we really have the right to criticize other nations, when we have such hatred in our own backyard?
Secondly, I am concerned about the lack of compassion here. There is simply not enough, of caring about people. I thank God for government programs to help people. Many people hate the idea of paying more taxes. If it was your mother in the nursing home, or if your wife needed an operation and couldn’t afford it, would you be so concerned about taxes? Of course not. I’m sure that a lack of compassion has happened over a period of time, but we need to reverse this trend. Maybe it’s from focusing on our hand held devices and TV, so often, that we’ve forgotten people are people.
Still, it’s ok to love your country, and to do some flag waving. Maybe we can do so, keeping in mind where we need to change, and work towards making our world a better place.
Staff Sargent Gordon McConnell (retired) woke up in the veteran’s hospital the next day. He was a bit disoriented and did not remember much about the day before, only that he had been yelling. There was an IV in his arm, along with a lot of doctors and nurses, running around.
They asked him a lot of questions. Was he taking his diabetes medication? He couldn’t remember. Had he been diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) in the past? He honestly couldn’t remember much of anything, but he did remember taking pills every day, that is until……until his wife…died. Everything went downhill after that.
The Army sent psychologists to his room to ask him questions but he wouldn’t say much. He didn’t trust them. He never did trust officers, they seemed to know more about paperwork, than about war, at least that was his experience. Besides he knew he had a memory problem, and he didn’t want to trust anyone except the nurses, because they gave him the medication he needed and they were nice to him.
He had a visitor everyday as well. A nice guy – he wore a suit all the time, and a fancy one at that. What was his name? Was it…..? Yes, it was John. He trusted John. He told John everything, day after day, at least what he could remember.
He told John that he did have an apartment once, and told him about where it was. One day he had gotten lost and days later, when he thought he had found it, his key did not work. So he had been on the streets ever since. “Was that after your wife died?” Gordon couldn’t hold back the tears when John asked him that, but he shook his head. “Was her name….Beverly?” John asked softly. Gordon shook his head yes again, and wept with his face in his hands.
John Stancill worked quickly to find Gordon’s apartment, and to see what had happened to it. The woman at the rental office wasn’t too friendly, and seemed to enjoy telling him, that Gordon McConnell was in the process of being evicted. The rent was two months past due. He held back his anger, but he did ask, if she knew that Mrs. McConnell had died recently. “Well…no…I’m sorry”. She changed her tune even further when John got out his check book, and took care of everything.
John and Gordon became good friends. The Army wouldn’t release Gordon to go home by himself, so John promised to pay for in home nursing care six days a week. John himself would be there on Sundays. At first the Army said no, but then John showed them his investment portfolio. Even John was surprised at how much he was worth now. This got him thinking that maybe, just maybe, he could try a different type of work, and do something he always wanted to do.
He visited Gordon almost every night, and brought pizza, Gordon’s favorite. Gordon became like a father to him, and gave him great advice, including about women.
One night John came visiting without his suit and tie on, instead he wore a sweater and blue jeans! He told Gordon he had left his rat race job that made him work around the clock. He had enrolled in a cooking school, and loved it. He loved the fast pace of it, and more importantly the aspect of being creative. He felt alive again!
He had time now for reading books, going for long walks, and yes even dating. He met a girl at school he really liked. Her name was Susan, and she had a great personality. She was always making jokes, which forced him to not take his self so seriously (a problem he knew he had). She was sensitive though too, and well…um….there was also her appearance! Gosh.
Gordon didn’t know if John would marry Susan or not, but he was hoping he would live long enough to see it if they did get married, and that there would be enough of his own mind left, so he could remember it all.
Please remember the homeless this holiday season. Just one life can make an incredible difference, and we all have value! Peace!
He hated the homeless. Why should he feel guilty about wearing a suit, and having a good job in the financial market? After all he worked hard for his money. Even when he wasn’t working he was working, at home on the computer, or on the phone. He was always trying to find out which way the market was leaning.
Yet every day there they were, with their signs, saying “Need Food, God bless”. Each one seemed to have a particular corner, like a salesman with a territory. He wondered if they ever fought over which corner to be on.
He noticed one of them in particular, on the corner of Independence and Main Street. He was an old man, and had to be at least 70 years old. What was he doing out here? He was much too old to be out in this weather. He always needed a shave and a bath, and wasn’t there some kind of government program to help the man? Even with these thoughts though, he never gave a dime. He rushed past the old man every day in a hurry, to get to his office around the corner.
On the day after Christmas though he thought he would do the kind thing, and talk to the man. He slowed down his walking pace, and stopped. The old man seemed to be in a daze, and didn’t notice him. He had a walking cane, and instead of holding his sign up, it hung by his side. “Hellooo!” he said sarcastically. The old man looked up slowly, and squarely into eyes.
He found out the man’s name was Gordon. When he asked the old man about his Christmas (which was stupid, and he regretted saying it) the old man said, “Christmas? What Christmas?” Did he know what day it was? This was worse than he thought, and he realized this man needed help! For the first time in his life he was able to pry his wallet from his back pocket, and gave the old man a ten dollar bill. The old man thanked him, but was mumbling something as he walked away. Did he hear him say something about the Viet Cong?
Over the next few days the old man’s mumbling and acting confused got worse. At one point he was yelling the name Beverly. “Beverly!”, with streams of tears rolling down his face, “Beverly!” What should he do for the old man? Should he call someone? Who? The police? That didn’t seem right. The old man dropped to his knees, and sobbed.
He was already late for an appointment, so walked he further down, near the door to his office, but he could not do it. He just didn’t care about the office right now. He turned to watch the man from a distance, still weeping, and calling the name Beverly.
Suddenly the old man stood up with terror in his eyes, leaning over his walking cane, and started yelling, “Enemy fire!” “Enemy fire, get down everyone!” “Help us God!” “Get down!” He was yelling at the top of his lungs now, “Enemy fiiiiire!”
He could stand it no longer and reached for his phone. He dialed 911 with tears in his own eyes.
The conclusion to the Old Man on the Corner next time!
Her mother spoke very softly to her now, “Rosa, sweetheart, don’t cry….Lucinda has turned out to be a beautiful woman. When you see her you will cry – but from joy.”
Her Momma continued, “I need you to do two things tonight”. “Yes?” Rosa listened intently. “I need you to go to church – it’s Christmas Eve, Rosa.” “You know how we used to do on Christmas Eve.” “Church?” “Are you crazy?” Rosa started talking to her mother like she did as a teenager. “They will call me a whore, and throw me out of there, Momma!” “Ssh, …Rosa calm down.” No they will not do that, calm down, ssh.” Her mother always did have a way of bringing peace to her.
Rosa looked at her mother’s face, and noticed a soft glow about her. “What else Momma?” “Rosa sweetheart this will take time, but you need to stop depending on men…and… how much they want you…. as the source of your value.” “You are valuable already, don’t think you are nothing if you don’t have a man…” Her Momma’s voice was trailing off now and she was turning grey again. “Momma?” The last thing she heard her mother say was “….remember Rosa you are already valuable….get someone to help you with this…” She faded, and was gone.
Fifteen minutes later, a half drunk Rosa was outside waiting for the bus that would take her 10 blocks to the Catholic Church. She couldn’t believe she was doing this, and she wasn’t sure where she was getting the courage from, but she was doing what her Momma had said.
When she got there she heard the bells playing Silent Night, and people were singing as she walked in. There was a warm glow about the place, like the warmth she remembered from the church in Mexico. Nobody called her any names, and no asked her to leave. In fact they appeared to be genuinely glad to see her, especially during the part where the congregation offers peace to each other, and shakes hands.
The buses were no longer running, after the service was over, so she walked home in the cold but she didn’t mind. She was thinking about what her mother had said the whole way. It was sinking in now, and she understood about not depending on someone else to give her value. It began snowing as she walked, and Rosa smiled. She loved the snow.
The first thing she did as she walked in the door of her apartment, was to take the bottle of pills and throw them in the trash. She breathed a sigh of relief, and said “Thanks Momma”. Then she looked up and said, “Thanks God…for… sending her my way.”
Rosa did find the courage to get some counseling. She is working on seeing herself as a whole person. It is a gradual process, but she is putting the pieces of her heart and emotions back together.
She has also located her daughter Lucinda, by using the computers at the library. Right now they are corresponding by email, and getting to know one another. In the future they will both meet, hug each other, and cry some great big tears. They will become very good friends, and Rosa will feel released from her past.
She has also been improving her English skills, and next week she is starting a new job as an administrative assistant, at the local community college. They love the fact that she can speak Spanish.
She has plans to buy her first laptop, and hopefully not only to write to bloggers, but begin her own blog. Her target will be women that need help realizing their full potential. She would like to call her blog, “Roses from Rosa”, and she is hoping that no one else is using that name yet.
Christmas blessings and peace to everyone! Feliz Navidad!
Microfiction in the spirit of the Christmas Season
Rosa Gonzalez was finished with living, it was simply too painful to keep going. Carlos had left her in the middle of night, and she thought he was a good one. Now she knew, there were no good ones. Love just didn’t make any sense, it was garbage.
She managed to get herself ready for work, and she forced herself to keep going. She walked down the street all bundled up, to her job at the fast food restaurant. She was going to end everything for sure, but right now she just needed more time to think about it.
It was a miserable day at work, with the younger women on her case again about being too slow. What made it worse was, they put her down in Spanish, so the manager never knew what they said. They called her names like “grandma”, and much worse, even though she was only 47. Their words were like knives, and hurt deeply. They only made her more determined to end it all.
As she walked home that evening she stopped by the drugstore, and bought some sleeping pills, realizing they would put her to sleep forever, just like she wanted. $6.99 was a small price to pay. She went out into the cold again, pulling down her knit hat, over her ears, and slipping on the gloves with holes in them.
What a terrible place to live she thought, Mexico had been difficult, but nothing like this. At least she had family back home, and the people were not mean to her. As she walked down the street she heard music, coming from somewhere. Were those church bells? For some reason she thought of the church she grew up in, and being a little girl, running around the village. She pushed those thoughts aside though.
When she got back to her apartment, she did try watching TV, looking for some hope. But the TV preachers made her sick to her stomach, talking about being wealthy, and that a Christian should never have any problems. “Nonsense”, she said, and she turned them off. After she had a few drinks, she prepared her table in the bedroom. She put the pills there, and her mother’s picture. She wanted her mother to be the last person she saw before passing away. She picked it up and held the picture close to her, with both arms embracing the image.
There was that music again – where was it coming from? It was like a choir singing close by. Was that Spanish she was hearing? She sat on the edge of the bed, thinking about her mother. Momma had passed away 20 years ago, but she still missed her so. For some reason she decided to wait on the pills until morning, she was half drunk, and tired. It was too much to think about. As she reached over to turn out the light, the music got louder. She sat in the dark and listened, holding her mother’s photograph.
Then, someone sat down next to her, on the bed. Out of the corner of her eye, she did not see anyone, but she felt their presence. As she slowly turned to look, she did see a faint outline – like maybe a shadow of a person. A grey shape turned to look at her, and became brighter, almost white, a soft shade of white. She could make out a woman’s hair, and then she recognized the face. The image said, “Rosa…”, Rosa was shaking now, and said “Momma?”
“Rosa you cannot do this…” “I have no choice Momma, I cannot deal with this pain anymore. And don’t tell me I have a lot to live for, because I don’t.” Her mother said, “Listen to me – Lucinda is looking for you, she wants to know her real mother.”
Hearing the name of the daughter she had given up for adoption, was too much for her, and all of the pain of giving her to someone else to raise, came like a flood. She was broken. All the guilt, all the sadness, washed over her, and she wept bitterly. She covered her face with her hands, and felt the shame of it all.
Later today the conclusion of Rosa Gonzalez! Christmas blessings and peace to you!