Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘Loyalty’ Category

How Do You Love?

Last night Greg and I watched the movie “Three Men and a little Lady” – made some 20 years ago or so. In the last part of the movie – the leading man finally finds the courage to tell the leading woman how he feels about her. She wonders what took him so long (5 years later) in fact on her wedding day to another man – he finally confesses that he loves her, not just for her 5 year old daughter, but for himself alone. Complicated? Yes. Self serving? I’m not sure. Does he have the right to love for just how it makes him feel? With no regard to how anybody else does? Because it brings him happiness to love her?

This has always been a topic of conversation around our house. Greg has always claimed that love in its most stripped down mode – is selfish. I’m not sure I have always agreed. I’ve had my share of relationships (in the love department) gone sour and very bad. And though I agree with the premis – I have trouble coming to grips with loving someone just because it feels good or because they love me. Aren’t people worth loving even when they don’t love back? How about those who choose to walk away? Are we to stop loving them?

The Bible tells us that God loved us while we were still sinners – and far from Him – Christ died for us. That kind of love is far beyond our comprehension. We as human beings have trouble with it. Most people who hurt us, mistreat us, stop loving us, turn away, love someone else, stop speaking, etc. – we write off as being unlovable and unreachable. Even when we have had relationship with them that has been good at one time. How different we are from the heart of God. God loves even when it is not returned.

Marriage – especially a long-term one is a great example of unconditional love. You don’t always feel like loving all the time. There are disagreements and differences. There is not always romance. You don’t say: “I will love you as long as it feels good for me and as long as you love me back – otherwise all bets are OFF!” Love is so much more than that – it is a choice. 7 days a week, 12 months, 365 days a year. Every year. Through rain and shine – thick and thin – in sickness and in health. Even when the person does not love you back in the way you think they should. Even when they don’t always understand you. Even then.

How do you love? Does your love have conditions? Is your love a selfish love that says: I will love you only if you love me back? I will give of my time only if I get something back from it? Are people worth loving just simply because they are?

I think they are.

 

God Bless

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Is Your Guard Up? Should It Be?

Signature of Eleanor Roosevelt.

Image via Wikipedia

If someone betrays you once, it’s their fault; if they betray you twice, it’s your fault. ~Eleanor Roosevelt

 

We are really big into “self-protection” these days.  When someone hurts us – the first thing that we want to do is either lash back at them – or run, duck and cover.  And while neither of these options are good choices and ultimately can leave a residual effect that follows you for years – it is good to know just how to handle your emotions when this does happen – if it has not happened – wait for it.  It will.

We all have people and situations in our lives that bring us distress.  Life is made up of imperfect human beings – from different backgrounds and families.  To expect that everyone is like “me” – is unrealistic – and yet somehow we expect that people will act and react like us.

Betrayal can come in many different forms.  The most important thing that I can do is to keep my own heart from bitterness and wrong motive.  How do I do this?

1.  Be more concerned about relationship than about being right How often have I felt justified to tell someone off – knowing they were DEAD WRONG and I was RIGHT?  Holding my tongue was hard in those situations – but it also  quickly diffused a very sticky situation.  Words cannot be retracted – even with theatrical apologies.  We have a funny and uncanny way of remembering.  Words remain imprinted on the mind.  Therefore – be slow to speak – careful to weigh each word and keep the relationship at the top of the priority list.  If you HAVE to speak – do it carefully and with a lot of love.

2. Be the first to forgive Not easy to do.  It writes and sings well – but putting that into everyday practice takes an act of my will. And living it day after day especially after I’ve said that I forgive – is even more difficult when things pop up from time to time that remind me of a nasty situation.

3. Maintain a standard of right behavior and don’t lower your behavior to compensate for others who don’t get it. We must model right behavior to others.  Retaliation and the “blame game” is a junior high tactic that never worked very well when we WERE in junior high.  Don’t resort to this as an adult – it never works – and makes you appear “smaller” to others.

4. Be loving – but not gullible. I’m guilty of this one.  Where is the line?  It’s hard to detect it sometimes.  I have learned a lot – but have still not arrived.  I love to get involved with people and hear about their lives, dreams, goals etc.  I find it fascinating.  I empathize with hurting and broken people.  I’ve been told that I am naive and can be “played” – or at least that is what has happened on occasion.  I’m wiser now and have learned a lesson or two about just whom I can have close to me or whom I can confide in, etc.  It is like walking a “tightrope” for me – because I love to engage with people and believe that God made me like this for a reason.  But gullible I am not – at least I have had to work very hard at it.

5. Accept that others will sometimes get it wrong – misjudge, jump to conclusions or turn away based on faulty information. Even Jesus was misjudged, treated badly and betrayed.  He is our ultimate example.  He still loved – He still gave – He did not compromise Himself – He did not blame or try to deflect – He was who He was – and even though others treated Him badly and ultimately had Him killed – He never tried to defend Himself, was never nasty to anyone – He told it like it was – that is all.  He lived a life of love and acceptance of others – giving freely of Himself.

6. Always believe the best in people – even when they betray Again Jesus is our great example here.  Jesus trained 12 men while He walked this earth.  He knew they were only human and that some of them would turn away – He even knew about Judas betraying Him – and Peter denying Him before they did it.  Still He believed the best for them and prayed for them. He lovingly restored Peter.  How much more should we be able to forgive, believe the best and want to restore others to a healthy relationship with God and with us?

7. Find your worth and value in God alone I am in trouble the minute I have an expectation in someone and they let me down.  Or they do not validate me like I think I deserve to be – or worse yet – they betray me.  My worth is not based on what someone else thinks of me, says about me – or does to me. My worth and value come from God alone. When I remember this – it puts everything into perspective for me.  Since I am highly valued by God – I can risk loving you too. There is no fear in stepping out and doing the right thing – because God LOVES ME.  I am valuable to Him – He made me exactly like I am – and no one is just like me!  There’s freedom in that!

8. Live a peaceful life – do not spin in other people’s drama How many times to we spin with things we should not?  We get involved in other people’s lives in such a way that it is unhealthy for us and our family?  We press in – where we have no business.  Some things we need to walk away from – in order to have peace in our homes – and that includes good friends and family.  Jesus bring peace to us and wants us to find that rest – He doesn’t call us to “spin” – but to be peacemakers in a lost and dying world.  When we have peace and are restful spirits – we can minister to others in a more effective way.

9. Love your family and friends God has entrusted us with our spouse and our children.  They are precious “gifts”.  We are called to support and love them.  God also gives us the “gift” of friendship too – those who do not HAVE to love us and be in our world – they choose to be.  Be a good friend and it will be returned.

10. Be trustworthy When someone confides in you – BE TRUSTWORTHY.  “Loose lips sink ships” was a phrase during WWII – and the enemy was able to break down our defenses because people “talked”.  I take a confidence very seriously and I hope you do too.  I have risked telling someone close to me too much about my personal stuff – only to have it told to someone who I did NOT want to know anything about it.  It was horrible and painful and now it has made me wiser and much more determined to be a trustworthy friend.  I hope your friends and family can trust you.  I love it when people just know they can come to me about anything and that I will pray for them – but most of all – I will keep it to myself.

 

Remember – like Eleanor Roosevelt said above – be careful – guard yourself and take precautions – once is “shame on them” – but after that – it’s “shame on me”.  Can you keep your guard up – and still love?  Yes.

 

God Bless

What Are You Waiting For?

richard  gere and hachi in Hachi

Image by WorthingTheatres via Flickr

Last night I re-watched a true story about a dog named ‘Hachiko – a dog’s tale’ with Richard Gere.  A special bred of dog who bonds so uniquely with one person his whole life.

Such was the story of this dog and his master.  A dog that would wait for his master to come home each night on a train – sometimes waiting hours in the same spot across from the doors of the train station – just waiting until he saw him come out.

The dog even sensed something bad was about to happen and acted strangely the day that his master left for work one day on the train.  It was the day his master had a fatal heart attack – and never came home.

Undaunted, Hachi spent the rest of his life waiting for him to come off the train – sitting and waiting everyday for him to appear and walk out of the train station.  He waited – and his master never came.

Such fierce loyalty and devotion.  He would not be dissuaded.  Dogs do not understand death – or absence of someone they love.  Others tried to get him to go on with life, take him away – but he would always run away when he had the chance and continue to wait, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.

This was based on a true story – and made into a movie – the real ‘Hachi’ waited for 9 years for his master and died in 1934.  It was so unusual that a monument was made with a likeness of the dog – waiting outside the train station for all to see.

Do we have the same fierce loyalty to other people in our lives, or to what we believe in – or to God himself?  If someone observed us – would they say of us that we were eternally optimistic about life – waiting for the day?  Not allowing other events, people or circumstances to sway us from our faith – our life?

I’m almost embarrassed to admit it – I HATE waiting for anything.  I can not just ‘wait it out’ when I’m in a terrible spot emotionally – or physically.  It is very difficult.  I pout and rant and rave – and claim, ‘UNFAIR’ – when I know deep down inside that waiting for things I don’t understand will produce things in my character and help me become more like Jesus.  But I am unwilling to do it – at least with a good attitude.  And wait in silence?  Never.  Patience and waiting for things – like the reasons and answers for the questions – never comes easy to me.  I want so badly to be more understanding in my ‘waiting’ – to know God more – to let go of myself and my limited perception and just….trust.  But like you – it is a struggle for me.

What are you waiting for?  Do you have the courage to hang on – when you may never get the answer you seek? Can you just…..wait?

 

I am praying for you

God Bless

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