Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Being Good

The Mystery within...
Just as Kermit the Frog sings, “It’s Not that Easy Being Green,” I have been thinking this past week it’s not that easy being good.  My daughter recently gifted me with New York columnist David Brook’s latest book, “The Road to Character” in which I read we also need to help others be good.  I thought, wow, it’s hard enough to be good and then I have to help others be good too.  And doesn’t that then open Pandora’s box because what my idea of good is not always true for another.  But I am learning there are some guiding principles to promote goodness in myself, and relate to others in a good way.

It seems the first necessary understanding is that I am flawed.  In realizing and confronting my flaws, I build character.  Knowing that everyday presents opportunities to build character, and serve others, comes through disciplined daily reflection that exposes my limitations, shatters my illusions, and leads to humility.  Ironically the gift becomes dependency--teaching indebtedness, knowing that I am just a part of the greater whole.  It also teaches me, regardless of the flaws of others, I need to affirm each person’s inherent dignity.  And then like Kermit’s other famous song I understand we are all part of the “Rainbow Connection.” 

So being good is not all that easy.  Worthwhile things aren’t.  Real suffering can be involved.  But it is the kind of suffering that eventually leads to a larger purpose beyond myself and reveals some of life’s deepest truths where joy is found.

What if our flaws, and those of others, teach use how to be good and help other be good too?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Hope and Sadness

The Mystery within...
I can’t remember the last time I felt so hopeful as I did this past week with Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change.  His admonishment of developed nations' carbon emissions, the link to climate change, and its effect on undeveloped nations and the poor, lightened my heart and filled me with hope for the future.  I felt anew, the connection we have with our earth and everyone on it.  I listened to the conservatives respond to the Pope’s plea with fascination as their words so blatantly exposed their agendas.  I know there is still a long road ahead, but I have hope that this renewed struggle shows how deeply connected we all are, and will eventually lead us to revere and respect one another and our precious earth.

Real sadness touched me as well with the mass murders in a South Carolina black church by a young white man.  My heart ached for the young man, full of hate, who wrought so much death and grief for the affected families and our nation.  This Sunday’s “Meet the Press” discussion of this tragedy revealed a startling fact regarding South Carolina’s flying the confederate flag from its state capitol.  The fact was that it first started this practice in the early 1960’s in defiance for the passage of Civil Rights legislation. 

I either read or heard it once said that when evil is exposed to the light, it dies.  That gives me hope that we are on our way to creating a society where it is easier to be good to one another and our earth.

What if we all felt hope that eventually good will prevail for one another and our earth?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Emerging from Knee Replacement Surgery

The Mystery within...
Six weeks have passed since I became resigned I could not get ready for my impending knee replacement and keep on blogging.  I thought I would have so much time while recuperating to write and read but have recently returned unread, or partially read, overdue library books.  There are still six weeks of unopened Center for Action and Contemplation daily meditations in my computer’s inbox.  The same is true for Krista Tippet’s On Being podcasts.  It has truly been a slow emergence back into living, as I knew it.  I became keenly aware of how much in life I have taken for granted when after surgery I had to be supervised while taking a shower.  And I am still not able to take a walk in the woods.

Patience is what I was told I needed most after this surgery.  I am working on it.  Grueling outpatient physical therapy three times a week, with high power pain medication onboard, continues with minimal range of motion progress.  Patience.  I’m working on it.  Hours of at home exercises claim my days.  Patience.  I’m working on it.  And although I still no longer try to make phone calls on the TV remote control as I did when in the hospital, my mental clarity is returning slowly.  Patience.  I’m working on it.

I remember blogging "I will accept what follows my surgery, including the pain."  I should have been more specific and added, “without being cranky.”  I’m working on it.  What I am hoping I have learned so far from my knee replacement is to accept another’s crankiness, knowing it comes from their pain.

What if we could all accept another’s crankiness, knowing it comes from their pain?