Let us step away from media, and thankfully spend time in the here and now

            “For the beauty of the earth, for the beauty of the skies

             For the love which from our birth over and around us lies,

            Lord of all, to Thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.”—Folliott S.

Pierpoint

 

“Stop worrying, Mom. It’s Thanksgiving week. You’re supposed to be thankful!” Madelyn, my daughter, home from Bethany College for a week of rest, chided me with a teasing voice and an ornery look on her face.

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I had chosen to rise somewhat early on Saturday in order to go to the gym, run a couple of errands, and return home to complete a few household tasks. This would allow me to be available to talk with Maddie once she was awake. I’ve learned, as she has grown older, that it is more important to be available during time periods she is most likely to be home before she takes off to be with friends.

 

Near 4:00 pm, as she was getting ready to head out the door to spend the evening with friends, it occurred to me I had not completed any writing. I often try to begin writing on Saturday morning, but on this morning, I was so focused on spending time with Maddie, I had completely forgotten about my side-gig!

 

            “Oh, no! I completely forgot to do any writing!” I said more to myself than my daughter. That is when I received her admonishment to be thankful. Which led my mind down the rabbit hole of thoughts . . .

 

            In an evolving, rapidly changing world in which the media, world leaders, and businesses vie for headlines, tweets, and other forms of attention; and, in which citizens strive for “likes,” “followers,” and “friends,” it is all too easy to allow these images, and they are that, mere images—not necessarily reality—to enter our psyche and plant tendrils of thought-control. The more of these images our brains take in, the more the vines and wisps of social imagery subconsciously subvert our minds until we forget to fully focus on the here, the now, and the visceral reality of our own life.

 

Appreciation, gratitude, love, and joy for our life, and all of the Divinely created earthly resources, are often forgotten—or sometimes viewed as a prop for a media-driven image. My daughter was right to call me out. I had spent time with her rather than writing. If I didn’t make my self-imposed blog deadline or the newspaper deadline, life would not end. What was the motive behind my worry for not writing? Furthermore, what is my intent for the writing in which I do—create an image, or increase genuine good will. It was worth exploring, reflecting, and self-checking.

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           “For the beauty of each hour of the day and of the night

            Hill and vale and tree and flow’r, sun and moon and stars of light,

            Lord of all, to Thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.”

            I do possess a passion for writing. I discovered it during the angst of my teen years. Writing gave voice to the thoughts, words, and phrases stuffed into my head and heart; words that I could not, would not verbally express. During those developmental years, I did not (and often still don’t) clearly articulate my words, especially if there was a perceived negative emotion attached to them. Often, I unintentionally offended people, or “made them mad,” as my immature mind thought of it, when I spoke.

 

Furthermore, when faced with another person’s strong emotion, I am intrinsically wired to feel their emotion. While this is a good thing with regards to teaching students, as a youth, I could not separate (and still often struggle) another person’s emotions from feelings of my own. As a teen, I tried to speak, but as I simultaneously experienced both the other person’s feelings and my own gut emotions, my words became jumbled and never came out the way I intended. After several negative experiences of saying, “the wrong thing,” the fear of my own spoken words greatly magnified. Thus, words, words, and more words began to jam my soul like the traffic on I-95 attempting to evacuate Florida during a hurricane.

 

Writing became my safety net; but as I entered young adulthood, I honed my writing skill for the benefit of my education, not self-expression.   Once I was finished with formal education in my early thirties, I abandoned my writing for many years. Still, the words continued jamming, jamming, jamming and damming my heart and soul like the Greenup County Lock and Dam holds back the Ohio River.   It wasn’t until my mid-forties that a dear friend suggested I write again.

 

“Not only would it help you, but you might also be able to help others,” she had insisted.

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I have written weekly ever since, and I am grateful to that friend for helping me reconnect with my writing voice. Writing allows me to work past emotions of self and others–leading me to important life lessons and revelations that I may not have otherwise learned; and, it is my hope that these reflections, that I so publically share, help others too. However, I must ask myself, am I attached to the image of my writing or to the lessons I continue to learn and experience?

 

My daughter was right to call me out.   If I am to write, I should do it with a heart of gratitude and the humble intention of allowing Divine Providence to lead me to the lesson, the heart, and purpose of my words, rather than the need to meet superficial deadlines, images, or other worldly imposed standards.

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It is Thanksgiving week. My writing should give voice to gratitude, gratefulness, and appreciation for the tangible and intangible alike—from the beautiful rolling tree-covered hills surrounding us, to dear family, friends, co-workers, and students; from the God that created our beloved Earth and our dear loved ones, to the sweet joy felt during an embrace, kiss, or handshake, there is much for which to be thankful. Furthermore, I encourage all, including myself, to step away from social media, the headlines, and all the other hullabaloo surrounding us; and instead, on this day of Thanksgiving, make time to appreciate, love, and savor the here and now—the reality, rather than the image.

“For the joy of human love; brother, sister, parent, child.

Friends on earth and friends above, for all gentle thoughts and mild,

Lord of all, to Thee we raise this our hymn of grateful praise.”

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