New Directions

When considering new directions in life, it can be overwhelming.  Sometimes a decision is forced on us such as when someone graduates from college or when someone loses a job without warning.  But sometimes these decisions are not so “time sensitive” – for example, you might apply for another job and wonder if you should really leave the job you’ve had for years or you may be considering a move to a different city or town.  These types of decisions require taking a chance.  Will you like your new colleagues, will your kids succeed in their new schools, will you be able to make strong friendships again, etc?  These types of decisions are much trickier in several ways.  You have the power and the ultimate decision to make these decisions and therefore you can either make an excellent one and your life will subsequently improve and be fulfilled or you might make a mistake and then question your decision and lament about what you did and wonder why you thought this was the right decision in the first place.  But of course, when you step away from these two sides to a coin and see the situation from the spectator seat, you know such a decision will neither be the best of your life or the worst mistake.  Things are not that black and white in life.  And regardless of the decision and the outcome, there will always be good and there will always be “not as desirable as wanted” aspects. 

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All decisions usually result in growth if you allow that part of your spirit and personality to be receptive.  The grass may not be as green as you originally thought on the other side, but it is a different shade of green from where you were and that can make all the difference.  And this difference, this newness, can be a challenge, but in a good way.  You can learn new things about yourself and step out of your comfort zone in order to grow.  And if things turn out to be brown instead of green, a completely different type of grass than you imagined, realize you will also grow and learn from this experience.  Then, take charge to move more quickly on to that next new direction in your life.  Your life is yours only and if you allow it to be shaped and turned based on other people and other events, then your life really becomes “other” and rather than being a victor and controller of your life, you become a victim and a passive pawn for someone or something else.

As we just celebrated the birth of our country with our annual July 4th celebrations, I reflect on the birth of my next year.  I usually consider this on my birthday itself, but for various reasons, I waited a few more weeks this time around and it came on our national birthday instead.  There are so many reasons for celebrations in general.  Our birthdays, birthdays of loved ones, the birthday of our country.  Celebrate your life too – your whole life, not just your birth into this world.  Celebrate your actual journey of how you got to where you are today and celebrate the events that you choose to take you down the road in the future.  Good or bad or somewhere in between – those events and decisions are yours to make and your life to celebrate.  Happy Next Direction!

man with fireworks

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The Umbrella

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What does someone decide to blog about?  I have been asked this question much over the past many years.  Often the topic comes to me as something has been occurring that makes me pause or strikes me in a way that I think needs to be expressed.  Other times I think about something that fits this mold and then decide other people may not be interested.  And sometimes there is a blank and I am unclear of what is worthy of trying to express.  Lately I feel like I am in all three of these areas at the same time – there is a topic that is vague but my thoughts on it not as well defined as I would like (the blank category); this general topic has made me contemplate much lately (the pause category) and at the same time, I’m not sure anyone would be interested in hearing my opinion (the interest category).  So even though this general topic could be discussed, I decided to go more broad with this blog and not focus so much on this topic, but about the broader umbrella under which it falls.

So what is the Umbrella?  I think I can define it as people being judgmental.  With this comes close-mindedness and unwillingness to hear, to compromise, to have compassion.  Much of this started in the political arena.  Listening to one news program, switching to another, reading the newspaper.  All different slants.  Even reporters using offensive words to describe or identify a person.  On one news station a reporter stated the news event and then at the end of the segment said something like “I really can’t believe the nerve of this “leader” – he should be ashamed of himself” (or something like that).  I was shocked.  Truly.  And I think it takes a lot to get me to that point.

The wall.  The border.  The shut-downs.  The hearings.  The non-ending investigations.  The money we are spending on such things, when it could be put to better use. 

All of them wild.  Interesting.  And sad. 

The very fast nature we all seem to have to come to a conclusion.  And then when evidence is presented in a very scientific, objective way, there is no acknowledgement from the close-minded holder.  The inability that we seem to be showing currently as a people unwilling to see the broader perspective for a win-win for everyone grows every month it seems.  No longer can we argue a point, truly listen and weigh the evidence and then make a decision.  Instead it seems to me that we have our minds made up, and by golly we are correct – no way you will change our minds – and any argument or data point or counter logic is shut down immediately.  The judgement was made even before the story was told. 

In these days of googling a question for immediate feedback (which of course is biased and slanted based on the words we type, the algorithms behind the search, etc.), we have lost the art of searching and pausing and reflecting and discussing in order to eventually make a conclusion.  I miss the days of the slower-paced and the reflection over what you were reading and hearing that came with this. 

So what to do given the circumstances?  I will continue to switch between my news radio stations as I have my long commute to work and try to see all sides of an argument.  I will continue to try to teach my kids to think for themselves and to be cautious about what they hold to be dear and true to their hearts.  I will try to show love and compassion for all people of this world, regardless of how much we differ.  And I will do my best to remain positive and hope that things come around again to a more civil culture.  And finally, I will remind myself and others of the wise scripture that tells us to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger (James 1: 19).

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