Be still and know that I am God.
Psalm 46:10

Friday, January 14, 2011

Do Good Anyway

I've had so many recent questions and comments about the young boy named Breoine that I met a few weeks ago that I thought it was time to give an "update" about him.

But before I give you that, I must back up a bit first.

I want to extend a sincere Thank You to those of you who reached out to us to share your love and concern for us, as well as to share how much the story inspired or touched your heart, like it did mine.

To be honest, I was quite surprised by the different responses and reactions. I was actually taken quite off guard by the whole thing (I come from a long family history of people working in law enforcement). In fact, I even started to question whether or not I had a "thick enough skin" to continue to be a "Blogger". I have since worked through all of those issues, thankfully. It has taken me some time to process all that has transpired  (and I can't share all of that here, unfortunately) since meeting Breoine that I haven't been even able to organize my thoughts well enough to post - until now.

Basically, what I learned from my "coincidental" meeting with that sweet 11-year old boy a few weeks ago, that I also want my kids to hopefully learn LONG before I did, is to:

Do Good Anyway

You see, I came across this "poem" which was credited to Mother Teresa, back in 2009 when I was working with Dr.Gebhard (more about that whole experience in another post....stay tuned). Here it is:

Anyway

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. 
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.
   In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
   It was never between you and them anyway.
 
Dr.Gebhard introduced me to this idea at one particular appointment. Basically, I was "venting" to her about a person I was having to deal with. I wanted to repay evil with evil, really. This person had hurt my feelings and I wanted to teach this person a "lesson" by not extending a gesture I KNEW was the right thing to do, but I was angry! I wanted this person to feel the hurt I was feeling. Of course, I was trying to get Dr. Gebhard to agree with me, but instead she said, "Have you ever read the book called Anyway? Surprisingly, I had not.

We talked a long time about the whole premise of the book and how I could apply this concept to my current situation. I left with a "homework assignment" (an explanation for this in another post...) to start practicing Random Acts of Kindness and to report back to her next time. I remember leaving that appointment just feeling awful about myself - seeing my selfishness and pride for what they really were.

After reading the book and discovering this beautiful poem written by Mother Teresa, along with completing my homework assignment from Dr.Gebhard, I noticed a "shift" in my thinking, if that's what you want to call it. I remember making the decision to really start putting forth a good effort to Do Good Anyway, regardless. Gulp! What was I getting myself into? I thought.

At first it was simple things like holding the door for someone. Simple, easy stuff to do just to see someone smile. It was fun to see the look on people's faces! There was one time where I actually saw Joy on a woman's face, just because I let her skip me in line (she must have been in a hurry).

Anyway, the whole process became quite fun and even challenging to come up with new ideas. I, then, involved the kids and Mark in the whole process because I was being so blessed in return by doing this and I wanted them to share in this experience with me. This is what led to the Advent Calendar Project.

After my time with Dr.Gebhard came to an end, the whole idea of practicing Random Acts of Kindness or Doing Good Anyway just sort of became a habit, really. A part of my life.

And then I met Breoine.

After dropping him off that day at the McDonald's, I honestly didn't think I would ever hear from him again. In my mind, I thought he would call me in an EMERGENCY ONLY.  But that was not to be the case. You can call me naive, and you would probably be right.

After all, we had given him a glimmer of Hope, hadn't we?

In fact, we've had contact with him and his family since, and the needs are overwhelming. I AM overwhelmed because I do understand now and am completely aware of the REALITY of the situation ... how extending an inch can turn into a mile ... how this could all turn into a "scam" ... how I can't "save the world" type stuff. But I also know that sometimes you have to just Do Good Anyway.

So we are proceeding with caution, as we have been so lovingly and wisely been advised to do. And I do know that sometimes Doing Good Anyway involves taking a chance. But, I also firmly believe that Love is a chance you should take.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Shalom in 2011

Did you know that the dictionary meaning of the word "resolution" is: a resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something.

I have never been one that made any New Year's "resolutions."  Not that I don't think they are important, but rather because I figured I probably wouldn't stick to them anyway. I know many people do make them, and do a pretty good job of fulfilling them. It's never a bad idea to set some goals for yourself no matter, what time of year right?

Growing up, I remember my dad always going on his yearly "diet" starting January 1st to lose all the extra  pounds he had put on that year. I recall him being quite successful at losing the weight year after year (good job Dad, keep up the good work!)

I've always noticed that at whatever health club I belonged to at that time, there would be an in-flux of new members or returning members - all ready to tackle their New Year's 'resolution' of either losing weight, getting in shape, or getting healthy. Unfortunately, (or shall I say fortunately for me :), by mid-February or so, the exercise and locker rooms have pretty much cleared out and the club is a lot less crowded.

So for 2011 I decided to make a New Year's "resolution" for the first time and I plan to stick to it. Why THIS year all of a sudden? Why NOW? Why NOT now? I thought. No time like the present.

Maybe because a New Year, starting January 1st,  feels like a fresh start in someway - a New Beginning.

A chance to 'begin anew'. The opportunity to let all of last year, all of the ups and downs, get stored away on your bookshelf of Life, and then to focus on a making positive change in your Life for the new upcoming year.

Okay, so which ONE do I pick? For Pete's sake, there are so many I could choose from. And I want to pick one that I can REALLY focus on so I can feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the year, right? I pondered. This is the first time I'm doing this, after all. I want to give it a good shot, my best effort.

In the stillness (this is still SO hard for me to do), I asked myself: What do I NEED most in my life right now? What positive change do I need to make in my Life that I KNOW will be used for good in someway, no matter how hard the pursuit is?

  The answer came in a whisper, as it always does:

   Pursue Shalom (the Hebrew word for Peace)

Well, I KNOW I definitely NEED that in my Life, that's for sure. I am so so so tired of that rushing around feeling (Ugh! I HATE that!); never feeling caught up; feeling like I failed somebody, in someway, at the end of the day; feeling like there is just not enough time in the day to get it all in; feeling like I was so busy that I missed the moments that are really going to matter at the end of my Life.
So this is my New Year's "resolution" for 2011: to pursue Peace in my Life.

And for me, that is going to look like getting my priorities in order. And not only getting them in order, because on paper, they already are, but in my Life, I am NOT living them out. We all say we have them, but how many of us, me included, actually give at least the top 3, our ALL? What about #1 on our lists? Do we even give that ONE, 100% of ourselves? Probably not. Life just gets in the way somehow.

In my evaluation of MY 2010, I realized that I don't have Peace because I haven't given my #1 priority on my list ALL OF ME. And I know for me personally, IF I do THAT, then I am promised Peace.

And I am willing to pursue that, however it looks, and whatever it takes. Because I NEED Peace desperately. Don't you? I know we all want World Peace, but what about Peace in our souls, in our lives, in our families, in our homes? Don't we all WANT that? Well, I know I do.

Wow! Talk about taking on my very first New Year's "resolution" with a 'take charge attitude'!  ;)

But for those of you who know ME and my personality, I tend towards the side of the "Type A's", and therefore, I am pretty driven to accomplish my goals, which hasn't always been a good thing for me, unfortunately. However, I am still in the "learning process" of how to work with (instead of against), my strengths AND weaknesses, as best I can. I may need to be held accountable to this resolution because I can easily get out of balance (I'm still working on that one, too!). So I will end my first "official" blog post of the New Year with these words:

May we all find Shalom in 2011!

Happy New Year!