Life

Life’s Curve Balls

Dear readers, sometimes life throws at us a curve ball.  The unexpected happens and leaves us confused and to an extent shocked.

Nonetheless, that pitcher was getting ready all along to make his move. What happened is that player at home didn’t see it coming.

In a sense life is like that sometimes.

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We think we’re positioned correctly on that home base,  living flawless lives from our point of view.  However, when those life events come around that don’t match with whatever plans we have in our heads, we are left confused about what to do next.

It’s easy to judge from afar when something happens to people that surround us in a way or two,  but I’ll rather learn from those experiences any given day.

Recently a childhood friend passed and I felt sad about his too soon departure from this world, my daughter pointed out quickly that everything doesn’t have to be a learning experience.

Well, for me it is.  That’s who I am.

Some life lessons are not learned once, but many times through the course of our lives.

Resilience is one of them.  We have to get out of those comfort zones so we can reconnect with things and people who are an important part of our lives. It’s never giving up to whatever circumstance we have in our lives.

It can be loosing your job, facing an accident, or having to deal with loss. As to mention just a few of the multiple things that happen to everyone in exponential terms on this blue ball.

Let’s reach out, learn and love.  It sounds just right out of “Barney”, but it feels darn good to do something good and not be petty about things.  We can’t control life, it just happens.

Next time life throws one of its famous curve balls, instead of being confused let’s hit a one of a kind home-run.

So my dear friends, be good to yourself and to others, recycle to conserve this beautiful planet and find compassion to deal with everything we have to deal with on a daily basis.  Today is here and tomorrow is a surprise, don’t let today just slip away between your fingers, live intentionally.

See you around the corner.

 

 

 

 

Presbyterian Church

“Do you really think God cares?”

This question popped up recently during a conversation with one of my sons.

It actually popped up when he was talking about how one of his classmates each time they were working on an investigation would say, “With God’s help” at the beginning of each lab session. Even though he kept his thoughts to himself, he really didn’t agree with her.  He thought, “Do you really think God cares about this?”.

Well, immediately he landed the question, I gave him the “I’m going to have to knock some sense into you right now” look.

My immediate reaction was,  “Whoa, what’s gotta into you today?”

He said,  “Stop Mom, what I’m trying to tell you is that there is so much going on in the world that my investigation isn’t God’s priority right now, we’ll just have to figure it out on our own.”

He went on to tell me that everything in our world is about balance. He believed in a Superior Being that guided us through life, but it wasn’t really about us as individuals.

His words stayed on the back of my head for some weeks.

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In developed countries like ours, most of the things we tend to worry about are basically stupidities.

It’s not a secret that I’m one of the Frozen Chosen and we’ve made the news lately because our denomination is open not only to non-celibate homosexuals being ordained, but also to same sex marriages.

Well, for some that makes us  the chosen from hell kind of Christians.

Well, if you think about Jesus and what and who He preached to,  it’s not that bad.  He taught us through example to love the outcasts and those who have no worth to society.

There is a saying in Spanish that goes, “Lo menosprecian” meaning people who think others are worthless because of how they’ve acted in the past.  Wow! Are we full of it, or what?

People aren’t perfect and that’s part of our humanity, when the time comes we’ll know if we were right or way wrong.  However, the only one that will set our record straight will be God.

Moving on to our main discussion, which is,

“If God really cares about the menial stuff we worry so much about?”

My answer would probably be, that he cares about us.  The rest He tends to rely on our practicality and good judgment to deal with the rest.

In a world where famine is basically the major problem that leads to major issues.  Professor Michael Chossudovsky perfectly outlines the situation when he writes,

“The New World Order feeds on human poverty and the destruction of the natural environment.  It generates social apartheid, encourages racism and ethnic strife, undermines the rights of women and often precipitates confrontations between nationalities.”

There is much more where this came from and we can go on forever discussing the reach of all these factors, however, the important thing here is that we really don’t know first hand what famine is.

We’ve become God’s spoiled brats.

The United States government issued the poverty line for Puerto Rico to be fifteen thousand or less. IN other words, if you make $1,250 per month you are going to face economic prejudice.  In Puerto Rico sad to say, it’s not really about education, or your ability to land a great job, it’s more about who you know and the connections you have.  So many of us have to make ends meet with an yearly income of more or less twenty thousand.

We need to step out of our insularism.

Let’s look at Haiti, not very far away from Puerto Rico, with a major per capita income of $400 a month.  In other words my friends, a monthly income of $33.

I feel wealthy in comparison, but what do I really do about it?

Does God care about all these dramatic issues?

YES!

But, I might just wonder for a second, that He’s going to care more about Haiti than for us.  Specially in a world where large areas of our global population live below the REAL poverty line where famine is just a step away.

Rosa Robles and her family.

Does he really care about our Church’s Anniversary itinerary or about what we think is sin, or all the debate that has our local synod buzzing or does He care a bit more for Rosa Robles who lives in sanctuary in South Side Presbyterian Church?

A temple that not only is where people gather to worship, but also is a home for a woman and her family.  Where it’s members protect and become our Lord’s hands and voice to help one of his children facing the government.

Our denomination has such a strong social justice calling and basically one of the things that makes me Presbyterian.

That’s why not only do we believe in equality for ALL of God’s children, we also care enough to donate our time and resources to a small  Kitui (Kenya) area for it to have  enough water to build a strong community where resources like water are now close and not miles away from home.

Less then thirty people were able to work with this community to help them complete this project.  God cares enough to move our spirits towards generosity to give freely and joyfully to this and other projects through One Great Hour of Sharing.

If we have to deal with chronic illness, homosexuality, divorce, separation, grief, economic hardship, family issues, deciding to get married or not, our children, our personal projects, money or jobs and so many more other things then let it be.

All of these situations are particular to each one of us and all come in boxes that our Lord places in our hands with ribbons.  The ribbons are the many opportunities He gives us to handle them.

The truth is, we want our lives to be perfect, and that my friends is not going to happen. So, in a sense you can say God cares, but not as much as He does for those who struggle each day for survival.

So my dear “amigos” and “amigas” please let’s get over ourselves and open up to a global world that has more to the eye then we can possible see.  Life is full of endless opportunities and blessings,  just stretch out your hand to catch some of them and never stop believing in yourself or life’s beauty.

“Hasta la próxima.”

Death

One Foot In Front Of The Other

A day like today we were at my beloved father’s in law burial.

It’s been  a year since his passing.

We’ve moved on by placing one foot in front of the other.

Out of us all, my mother in law has endured the hardest part. If I chose a mantra for her, it would be “one step in front of the other”.  With each morning she’s had to get up and get going, placing one foot in front of the other to walk the difficult road of life. Most of all adjusting to living without her life long partner.

What have we learned along the way? I would say PLENTY.  For starters there is so much to do in regards of the legal things, it’s pretty complicated navigating through the paper work. It gets emotional when we stumble on a note here and there, touching and looking at things that are private.

Trying to figure things out, specially when we don’t know where to begin.

Out of all his papers, the one that got to me the most was his plans to celebrate his 50th anniversary.  He had made a detailed list of the people who would attend, and was working on a budget. For a second, that blew me away.  In a sense, that simple piece of paper became a “shout out loud” on life’s fragile state.

Mostly all of us think we’re bigger than life, when really nobody can give us guarantees that we will be able to see the next sunrise.  Bottom line, we’re just plain stupid when we don’t grasp the now and here to pursue at least some happiness.

True and real happiness doesn’t really exist, what we get are moments where we feel happy and in peace with ourselves and the world that surrounds us.  Life would not be life if we were happy twenty-four/seven.  Don’t you think?

We’ve had a year of lessons taught from the grave and others right at the grave literally.

Why?  Well, one of the first lessons my husband and me learned was sitting under a raving sun painting his grave and cleaning a bit around it some time after the burial took place.  I recall clearly one afternoon, when we got there my husband said,

“Aqui estoy otra vez, papito.”

He talked to the grave as if he could hear him and know that he was back again.

He was teaching me how he mourned the loss of his dad and showcased the profound love he felt for him.  For some reason his words are locked up in a place he has only the key, but his actions yell at full voice how deep his feelings ran for his father.

My husband literally cried for the first time the last time we visited after finishing all the work.   He made sure he was in a nice, freshly painted grave. It may seem nonsense to some, but that was his first step in healing.

He loved to write everything, he could have been a scribe in another time.  His thoughts written here and there, many which linger at the back of our heads serving as guidelines to how to live.

One of my favorites is “With each passing second life begins all over again, let us happily walk to its encounter.  We need to keep on moving further even if we don’t want to because that’s better than staying behind.” Palabras de un abuelo He battled cancer from the get go till the end.  He did it the same way he lived, proud and vigorously.

He set great examples for his children to follow. He taught them kindness, compassion, love, hard work and above all sacrifice.  He never abused his wife or children in any given form.  Nevertheless, he was far from being the perfect man, husband, father or grandfather basically because nobody really is .

As a mother of adult children I fully understand what he went through to give his own grown children a helping hand.

His greatest legacy is his continuous effort to always try to reinvent who he was with fierce honesty and integrity towards not others, but to himself.

Through his journals, I saw glimpses of a man who tried to live the best he could.

So you see “my dear amigos” we are not eternal beings, and even though life is fragile  we shouldn’t let go of our own moments of happiness. Let’s always move forward, letting the past to rest and grasping each second of the beauty of this life and our wonderful blue planet.

There is always more to the eye, then what we see so it’s important to never stop believing in the beauty of life or yourself.

“Hasta la próxima.”

family

When Home Becomes Hell

As almost everyone else I’ve read about the Rice family  domestic violence issues. I didn’t want to watch the video because it would bring back awful memories that make me hate scenes with aggression or violence.  Memories blurred by time and the defenses children erect so things hurt a little less.

I’ve chosen the word family because all of this isn’t only about a man and a woman, but there is a child lurking in the back seat of this melodrama.

Right now she is blessed because she’s young enough not to know exactly what’s happening, but as time passes she will learn to deal with the violent home she will be raised in.  She will learn how a woman is suppose to behave, what makes her father angry, when to talk, when to remain silent,  and the most terrible of all she will learn to cry on the inside.

She will carry out tears of frustration and years of violence into her own relationships and world.

Men and women who are brought up in these types of family begin life with the wrong foot.  It takes time, effort, and love from someone other than mom and dad to help them move on.  Out of that love (if he or she gets fortunate) they may end up feeling compassion, tenderness and wanting all the things they didn’t have growing up.

I should know because I was a child that was brought up in one of many families with these issues.

My parents had a vicious relationship, they were both angry, frustrated and I could probably go on forever.  However the bottom line is, that they didn’t get out of it.  After more than  fifty years together things have certainly calmed down, but there is always a hint of aggressiveness where they are concerned.

But I’m not going to really talk about my parents or the Rice marriage, or of abused wives or women.  I would like to discuss the real victims here, children!

Many of them are scared, embarrassed and don’t even know why such horrific things are happening.  Worst of all, many think that’s how things are supposed to be.  In other words, it’s the norm.

One of my early memories in my childhood is listening to my brother (then in Kinder) asking my mom ,  “Why did dad leave?” Not in a calm voice, but wailing as only a five-year old is capable of.

He had come home from school and my dad had left.

Thank God for that, we had a couple of years of solace.   My mom took him back when we were in 5th and 4th respectively and from there on it was literally hell.

I pleaded her many times, to divorce him.  She never listened, and after some time I just didn’t care anymore, it was about  living one day at a time.

However,  I learned an important lesson, I would never be like my mom or my dad.

We were a torn and damaged family and stay as such today.  We tiptoe around each other because habit is the darndest thing.   You know I’ve never spoken to my brother about this and basically with nobody else, except my husband.!

I hesitated a bit to publish this on my personal blog because I felt vulnerable and I felt that in some twisted way I was breaking the code of silence that surrounds our type of families, but after all I thought, -What the hell! It’s time we begin to stop being invisible and find our voices to denounce and try to heal not only ourselves but all who are involved one way or the other.

I married my best friend, someone who would love and cherish me and I was lucky enough to land some passion along the way.

My children don’t have an idea that their beloved grandfather was the worst husband or father.  Through the love I learned elsewhere I also learned to be compassionate and have tried to understand the reasons he might have had to being such an abusive and aggressive man.  Giving him on the way a second chance by letting him be a loving grandfather.

The cruelest thing is that my mom never divorced him because of us.

Guilt assailed me many years, just thinking about all she endured because she wanted us to be a family, but I’ve learned to put that behind because nothing or nobody can erase time.  Life is life and those were our set of circumstances and nothing would alter that.

This discussion will go around for some time, probably as long as Robin Williams’ demise when everyone blogged about depression and all that.  However, even if it buzzes down  there will be many homes in America living their own personal hell,  for Heaven knows, how much time.

My only hope is that these children as myself did,  find people who love and nurture them to end the cycle of violence.

You would think healing is impossible, but it isn’t.  Even though children caught in this terrible tangle become casualties, healing is possible.  How? A great question, I really don’t know how to answer.  But truth to be told, I hold no grudges against my father and as time passed and we grew older my dad stopped his abusive behaviour it took many years, but he did it.  Does he feel remorse?  Who knows, it’s never been out in the open.

So you see, “mis queridos amigos” its all about perspective.  If anyone really wants to focus on the resolution of all this, where they need to be looking is in the eyes of the children who witness it every day of their tender years as they grow up learning from mommy and daddy the wrong things and they desperately need someone who can teach them the way things are supposed to be.

See you around the corner, and always have hope that help is on its way if we let ourselves open to the possibility of believing.