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furbles November 28, 2011

Posted by needinc in General.
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Furbles. Only special people are aware of them; most are not. Furbles are soft, cuddly little critters that crawl inside us to carry warm feelings, comfort, cuddly joy, and funny little giggly tickles. Furbles get inside little people most easily. They sneak in at Christmas, at the beach, through hot-chocolate in front of a warm fire, birthdays, or under the covers with flashlights in “the cave.” It’s harder for larger people to let furbles in; they’ve forgotten to how to make a way. They’ve become preoccupied with the weightier matters, with the business of life, with responsibilities. Inner giggles and tickliness have been set aside, supplanted by seriousness.

But there remain some adults who yet leave a keyhole open for furbles to unlock their hearts and scuttle inside. These large people understand the critical importance of furble-refurbishing. Small folk often surround their rooms with stuffed animals, fanciful furble fill-ins. Large folk just go buy something…, a new pair of shoes or a Wii, to feel good about themselves. Sadly, their substitute satisfies only momentarily at best. What they really need to do is to unlock their keyhole again. But that is too difficult for so many. Eventually, they lose any inner sensation of warmth, cuddly joy, or even the giggly tickly chuckle. They are adults, after-all.

My furbles are still around. I even have my first-ever teddy bear—Bongo. He may be tattered and worn; but my furbles can still find their way inside to comfort me when I’m sad, make me feel safe when I’m afraid, and tickle my heart when I need to laugh a little more at myself.

How do some of us larger people make it without little critters to comfort and console? How do we get through a day without taking a deep breath? Without refurbishing our souls? Without laughing at ourselves a little? What drove us to take life so seriously that we’ve lost our ability to day-dream, to play within our spirits, to chuckle at things that are so weighty that they could use a little giggle. I wonder if it is because we have lost our perspective on our place in the cosmos? We are not the Creator. We are not Master of all that is in our world. We are not as in control as we believe ourselves to be.

There is a wonder and a mystery in this great expanse of time and space that challenges us to accept a less-secure posture—second. And that just might require a trust in the unknown. Scary, huh!?! We each need our own furble who can creep into our souls and quell the fears of a very uncertain world.

Remember that keyhole? Find your key. Open it. Furbles aren’t the only ones who might want to find their way into your soul to bring comfort, warmth, relief, and that funny little tickly feeling. Refurbishing one’s soul is a cooperative effort.

Have a nice week,

Gary

_________________

vampires November 21, 2011

Posted by needinc in General.
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Vampires

Recently a friend of mine described some of the people in his life as vampires. “All they want to do is suck you dry of your life’s blood, of everything you have.” We all have these kinds of people in our lives; be they certain relatives, workmates, or people that simply leech onto us and never let go. They suck us dry of strength, time, and energy until we have had enough; then follows a period of being polite…, but terse. These are not easy relationships to maintain; and it may come to a point when the tie must be severed.

Dealing with vampires is a complex matter. One can be gruff, and directly inform them you have no time for such a draining person. Another approach is to rebuff them with the silent treatment; no returned tweets, messages, or voice mails. (This, of course, may result by them sending you an “I’m sorry.” card, further complicating the relationship.) Being polite can only take you so far before it wears out; some people just do not get the hint. More directly, graciously telling them that they are draining your time and strength will undoubtedly hurt them. This action might also draw you into more responsibility to address their demanding nature. Offering a vampire more blood will not satiate them.

The actions required are twofold. First, each of us needs to plug-in afresh to our own resource for strength. Do not look askance the symbiotic relationship established when God created us. He never meant for us to live outside of a strengthening relationship with Him. Draw on His strength: He is the source for all strength. Second, direct your vampire to other resources of strength— groups of people with similar blood types (vampire clubs?), physical exercise (sweat blood), anti-depressants (use caution here), and, of course, direct them to establishing a relationship with the God who created them. If strong people need God in their strength, how much more do the weak need Him in their weaknesses.

None of us have it completely together. We will all be weak at one time or another in our lives. We will also each rise-to-the-occasion and surprise even ourselves. Some of us will indeed remain in our vampire state until challenged to get out of our self-absorption, to serve, to care about something or someone other than ourselves. And to those who are stronger, remember to be gracious, kind; but do not lose sight of the reality that you cannot save everyone. That task belongs to Someone else. It’s OK to say NO.

And, oh yes, vampires do suck…, really.

Have a nice week,

Gary

what lies beneath? …..courage November 16, 2011

Posted by needinc in General.
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When it comes to our inner lives there are things that no one knows but us. Not that we conceal them from the outside world; though to be sure, we intentionally hide some things— our failures, malicious intentions, lusts, and anything else that might eject us from the mainstream acceptability of our society. We harbor private thoughts; thoughts which we would rather no one learns.

But alongside those thoughts are the beginnings of greatness, seedlings that just need the right ingredients of opportunity, danger, and determination to flourish. Courage is one such planting. It lies dormant until it is needed. Then it manifests its demonstration in the oddest of people and in the most unlikely manners. But what lies beneath— courage!?!

Sometimes it is a deep conviction that I have seen something that no one else has seen and I have a responsibility to show it to the world. For others, it is a loyalty unto death that their cause is worth dying for. And thus they do. Not unexpectedly, the absolute, sustaining foundation for courage is LOVE. If you have love for someone, or something, you defend them with your life. Whether it be your comrades in arms on a battlefield, or your family in the safety of your home, or your little sister being attacked by bullies, you will rise to the occasion of defense because of courage…, based in your love for your buddies, your wife, husband, children, or siblings.

One who does not rise to defend that which he loves has no courage. And truly, truly, does not love properly. Genuine love does not express itself to gain something in return: courage might cost you your life, and it will be an act well offered. Actually, if you are a lover of men and a lover of God, courage is a natural expression that flows from within, deep within. So train your soul to love, and whatever courageous deed you are called upon to do will flow naturally from what lies beneath, deep, inside the core of your soul.

            So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  ~Isaiah 41:10.

Have a nice week,

Gary

the dog, the bone, the cat November 10, 2011

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the dog, the bone, the cat

What is it about a dog and his bone!?! Some dogs will give a warning snarl and growl if you get to close to them when they are gnawing away on their skeletal delight; others will tease you to try to take it away. Its veterinary declination is known as CSOD—CANINE SKELETAL OBSESSION DISORDER. Most humans are immune to such species-specific diseases, but there are some corollaries.

Similar to their mongrel counterparts, humans will often gnaw away at ancient animosities, past hurts or grievances, or unresolved issues. They will not seek resolution or forgiveness. Their only response is one of persistent loathing or neurotic retribution. They chose to do one thing—gnaw on their bone. In the end, like the dog, they will wind up with a knot in their stomach and even sharper teeth to bite any future wrongdoers who cross their path. Endearment and reconciliation are not words in their vocabulary. To this observer, only broken relationships, seething internal anger, and spiteful conduct will result.

IF, any of the above even vaguely describes you, you need serious help. Bad things happen to good people. Most of us have been wounded, hurt, betrayed, or whatever by someone or some organization in our life. [This is particularly true within some religious institutions.]  It is never a pleasant experience. But it happens. The pain we feel is real, searing, and deep, cutting soul and flesh to the bone. But we do not have to respond to it with bitter enmity and retaliation. It is not necessary that we allow this pain to produce in us a simmering, smoldering, ferment of vicious revenge. We can also react like the dog that plays with the bone, allowing others to pull it out of its teeth. Instead of gnawing silently and snarling at people who care about you, let them rip it from you and throw it away. Of course, you’ll fetch it, like a good dog, but bring it back to them—don’t retrieve it and slither off, cowering, with your bone once again clutched in your teeth. Gnaw, gnaw.

OR, you could just get a cat! You know…, something else to play with, chase, and tease. Or, maybe even become close cuddly buddies. At the very least, cats are curious, unpredictable distractions. Playful companions have a funny way of interrupting that persistent gnawing.

So let go of that bone you are gnawing— and go chase a cat! Leave the past in the past.

Have a nice week,

Gary

How to get things done! November 2, 2011

Posted by needinc in General.
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How to get things done!

“I have too much to do.” Overwhelmed! Behind. Yes, I have a plan; but I got off track. I need help! Words & phrases we use far too often. Between family responsibilities, demands at work, and financial constraints, most of us are not at peace within our souls. Here are a few suggestions to keep you from going over the edge.

  1. STOP! First, you will have to quiet your soul, your heart rate, your busy schedule, & that jumbled glob of thoughts that rumble around in your mind. PLEASE, start by taking one hour alone in a quiet, comfortable place…, with tea.
  2. Pad of paper, pencil (not pen), or a laptop. List everything on your plate. Categorize—Family, Business, House (repairs?), Vision, Projects to complete.
  3. Pick ONE THING. FINISH IT!
  4. Pick something else. CUT IT. It can wait.
  5. Reshuffle. Realign your check-lists after you’ve thought through it for a while.
  6. Always allow EXTRA TIME to accomplish things. Remember, distractions will come!
  7. SHARE THE LOAD. If possible, surround yourself with people who can help. At work, hire; at home, friends & neighbors can get things done BETTER together.
  8. TAKE BREAKS. Do not try to get everything done at once; you’ll wear yourself out.
  9. Fight to stay ON TRACK.

It is quite difficult to maintain focus in this era of over commitment and over-work. Leading a simpler life is not possible (or desirable) for everyone. But we do have a responsibility to manage what is on our plate. God has given us certain things to do on this planet and we must be about getting them done. MAKE a DIFFERENCE. Ergo, one more suggestion—

  1. GET OUTSIDE YOURSELF. Help someone else with their list.

Have a nice week,

Gary

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