Saturday, August 27, 2011

Forgiveness; Easier said than done.



People who know me and know me well would have a hard time believing it but I have a problem with forgiveness. Yes it's true. These days, when someone does something that bothers me I let them know right away and go on with my life. So I am not adding people to “the list” these days even though one of my favorite sayings is; “You just made the list.” (a line from the movie "Stripes") And truth be known, that list is my hate list. Yes I have one and I have always had one even though it is no longer growing.

As I matured, I was able to clear my list for the most part but there were a few people who have remained on it. These were people who over my life hurt me deeply, leaving scars that have stayed with me. But I recently realized that keeping this hatred, even tucked deeply away is robbing me of my ability to totally be happy. So I have decided to let it go, to forget and forgive. So let me clear the air and get some things off my chest and put this list behind me. Some of these may sound foolish or meaningless to you but for me they were huge.

First was that little red haired boy in grade school: You know who you are. You chased me around and hit me every chance you got. You took or smashed my lunches whenever you found where I hid them. Many times you didn’t find my lunch bag hidden deep in the bushes but it would be full of ants when I went to eat lunch. What you didn’t know was that we were poor. My parents had to scrape to make that jelly sandwich. I didn’t mind the punches but I needed that food and often went hungry. And to this day if I get an ant in my food I won’t eat it. I throw it away. But since you were probably a product of bad parents and doing it to get attention, I forgive you.

All you jocks that picked on me in Junior high and made fun of me by playing mean tricks on me, and all those “it” girls who laughed when I was the brunt of those jokes: You just don’t know how much you changed my life. You set the stage for my shyness and I crawled inside my shell and refused to reach out to anyone for over 25 years. It wasn’t until I was in my 40’s that I realized that people do like me and not all people are evil. So you took away a big part of my life but I still forgive you.

My baseball coach, I hated you in the worst way: You never gave me a chance to prove myself. You only let me play when the game was already won and you sat there quietly while the players played jokes on me in the dugout. But the biggest thing I ever hated you for was the time that you embarrassed me like I have never been embarrassed before or after that day. It was most likely nothing to you but those scars have stayed with me for over 40 years. All I wanted was a chance to prove myself.

So when the big game came and we were behind by one run in the bottom of the 9th with the bases loaded and me up, I just knew it was going to be the day. But you told me just to stand there and not swing. You told me to lean into the plate and either get hit by the ball or take the walk. A walk means we tie you said, and the next guy may get a hit. You told me "if I swung I was off the team" and I wanted to belong to something so bad that I did as you told me even though they threw easy pitches over the plate that I knew I could hit. So I stood there while they called; strike one, strike two, strike three, you’re out, as my father watched from the bleachers and I listened to the sound of laughter. I couldn’t even look him in the eye on that ride home and I never played organized sports again. But I forgive you for putting that game above my feelings. It was wrong but I forgive you.

My ex-wife. Wow you sure messed up a lot of people’s lives. I won’t go into details but it was the lying that made me divorce you. To this day I still don’t know how you could put your hand on a Bible and swear to God that you didn’t do what you did. And then when the evidence came out that you were lying you couldn’t find the words to say; I’m sorry. But all that is behind me now so I forgive you too. But you better ask someone else for forgiveness.

My mother: What can I say? Most people would find it hard to imagine that you can love and hate the same person. Trust me though, it is possible. My mother’s favorite nursery rhyme was; “There was a little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead. And when she was good she was very very good but when she was bad she was horrid. “ I think she was talking about herself. We had good times when I was young, lots of them. And not that many bad times either. But when they were bad they were very very bad. My mother was bi-polar back when bi-polar wasn’t cool. And that was back before they even knew what it was so there was nothing to take for it. Needless to say, I had to dodge a lot of thrown dishes. So for all the times you hurt me, I forgive you. Just because you are my mother.

Some would naturally assume that I hate my brothers. The ones that are hooked on drugs that is. But the truth is I don’t hate them. I pity them, pray for them and keep my distance but I don’t hate them. I do however hate the drugs, and I hate what they have become.

I saved the best for last. Or should I say the hardest to forgive for last. “Me”. Over my lifetime, I did a lot of things that I am not proud of and there were a few people that I hurt as I went along my path. It was never malicious or intentional but I hurt them just the same. And even though I said; I’m sorry, I never forgave myself. If you are one of those people, again, I am sorry. Would you please forgive me?

So today I am throwing away my hate list because it is just too heavy to carry around anymore. I am putting hatred behind me. And if you were one of the ones on my list I hope you forgive me for hating you in the first place. In reality, I am not sure if ever really hated you personally as much as I hated your actions. There, it's done and I feel better already.


And as always, have a great day,

Greg


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thankful Thursday, just being thankful

As are most people here in Charleston, we are very thankful that Irene is going to pass us by. Of course there is always a possibility that she will change directions and come our way. Most people are confident but only God knows for sure so I am keeping an eye out.

I am also thankful that I finally took the leap and went to a Yoga class. I was hesitant because I wasn't sure what to expect but I loved it. I have been talking and thinking lately about letting my inner light shine more and wouldn't you know it but that is what the instructor kept saying in the class. So I take it as a message to me and I will do just that.

I still have the daily trials and tribulations just like always but I am getting things under control. And yes I am thankful that my blood pressure is down. So what are you thankful for today? Won't you join me in saying thanks.

Have a great day,
Greg

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ilene go away

Well the latest storm track has Ilene missing us. But the bad news is that it has the eye only missing us by 15 miles. That means if it stays on track, it will pass right over us. Just pray that it stays relatively small and that it passes at low tied. The storm surge is what we worry about here in "The Low Country". Our house though is about 15 feet higher than the houses in the City of Charleston so if we flood then Charleston will be under water.

I am not too worried about this one but then I was going to ride out Hugo in Ga. if it had hit there. And I was living in a trailer at the time. I know not too smart. Lucky for me it turned at the last minute but not lucky for Charleston. Right now I also have friends in the Bahamas so I am sure they are scrambling to get out.

We could use the rain and all but the wine festival at Irvin House Vineyards is supposed to be next Saturday and it is supposed to hit on Saturday. It doesn't look good so if you are here looking for festival information please come back in a few days and I will update you on what is going on. And for the rest of you....

Have a great day,
Greg

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thankful Thursday, It's what I am thinking.

Wow I have so much to be thankful for today but let me start with a story.

This morning I got to get up late because I had blood-work scheduled around 8 am. Compared to my regular schedule of being at work at 6:30 this was like heaven. I got to sleep in until 5:30, whooo hooo. The only bad part about my morning was that I couldn’t eat before the blood work. But since I had extra time this morning, I made breakfast for my family before I headed out.

So there I was on my way to the appointment and I see a big cloud over the ocean with the sun behind it. It would have made an awesome picture if I had my camera with me but I didn’t. As I drove, I kept looking at the cloud from time to time trying to see some kind of shape in it. (maybe a dog, or a face or anything that looked like something other than a cloud) But all I could see was this dark cloud with a bright silver lining. And that is when the thought popped into my mind; If only it looked like “Tater Baby Jesus”.

Ok for those who are just joining me, way back in my early days of blogging, I grew this potato that looked like the Baby Jesus. I swear I am not making this up. It was about the same time that someone saw Jesus’ face in their ultrasound but that had nothing to do with my discovery. So I named this little spud; Tater Baby Jesus. And I kept it for the longest time until my wife said I was insane and she made me throw it out. I told her that "you can't throw away Jesus" and she threatened to have me locked up.

Anyway as I searched the clouds for shapes, the thought of TBJ popped into my mind and it made me smile but the smile didn’t last long. Less than 10 seconds later, the radio announcer said: “Here’s an interesting story and it has to do with potatoes and God. Again I must say I am not making this up. So within 10 seconds of me “thinking” Tater Jesus, the radio announcer said “Potato and God”. Isn’t that amazing? I know it gave me chills too. The story turned out to be about a man that said he was working for God and he began throwing potatoes at a woman in Wally World so she wouldn't go to hell. And you thought I was crazy!

So this happening made me think about thoughts and actions. I have always tried to think before I act and I do think it is a good philosophy to have. I know lots of people who don’t do this and they often end up with egg on their face or they have to apologize for something they did without thinking. If you give it a few seconds of thought then you may hold off on doing something that deep down you may not want to do. And there is always the other side of the coin where some people who act without thinking may not care who they offend or make mad. It’s possible. But I am one of those people who care about what others think and I care about how I make others feel. So I take those few seconds and check the runner (myself) so to speak and decide what I want to do.

But this radio thing made me wonder about my thoughts. Over the past few weeks, months and years I have had some major trials and tribulations. And although I have for the most part kept my feelings to myself, (could this be why my blood pressure is so high?)I still had those feelings? Sometimes I felt like getting even, getting revenge or just coming back with a nasty comment. Like I said, for the most part I didn’t do it but I did think it. So does this make me a bad person? The Bible says that God knows your thoughts even before you think them so He must know them after you brought them into your mind. That means just thinking bad thoughts is a bad thing. But fortunately God knows what is happening in my life and maybe He is testing me and understands why I thought the way I did. And who knows, maybe I will get extra credit for not acting on my thoughts. I wonder if I passed the test?

So I guess what I am saying is this week, I am thankful for being able to remain calm most of the time and I am thankful that God will forgive me for my mean thoughts. Don’t you wish everyone was so forgiving? Oh and I thank God for such an awesome sunrise. Maybe that was a picture of God.

(Disclaimer; my family may disagree with me being calm most of the time but if they only knew what I go through sometimes)



Have a great day,

Greg


Monday, August 15, 2011

Now it makes sense

Through all this budget debate, I kept wondering what could be so difficult about passing a budget? I mean it's dollars and cents, nothing more....or is it?

Today I heard that they took the gray wolf off the endangered animal list. Funny, I never heard anything about it. How did something like this get passed without anyone knowing about it? Hmmm here is a hint;

Sen. Orrin Hatch expressed, “I couldn’t be more pleased with the inclusion of wolf-delisting language in the budget bill that passed this week.

Milkawhat?

What did this have to do with the budget? Not much I have to say. Apparently by taking an animal off the endangered list it saves us thousands of dollars. Hmmmm Trillion/Thousand. Sounds like a drop in the bucket to me. Maybe it's time to take senators off the endangered list and save the country millions of dollars.

It make me wonder what else was in that bill. I am going to do some research and find out. Enquiring minds want to know.


I'm just saying.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thankful Thursday

You know I have said it before and I will say it again. I could sit here pouting and complaining about all the things that have gone wrong today, this week, this month and this year but I'm not going to do it. I still have a choice and my choice is to be thankful for the little things in life.

Take this afternoon for example. My chipper shreader needs repairs so I spent the entire afternoon, from the moment I got home until it was dark working on it. So what could be the positive side of this? Well just before I began working, I put a pile of pears from my tree out back by the woods. About a half hour later, I saw something brown out there. Ok I didn't have my glasses on which is why I only saw something brown. I picked up my binoculars and guess what I saw? A good sized doe with twin fawns. About a half hour passed and they were joined by another doe and then by a buck. All in my back yard. Take that city folks. :)

No it didn't help me fix the chipper shreader but it did make me feel good seeing the deer in the yard. I am so thankful that I live in the country where I can see God's creatures like that.

Have a great day,
Greg

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Isn't outsourcing great?

Please allow me to complain but I promise it will be short and to the point. Is it just me or is everyone outsourcing these days? And I have nothing against talking with someone from India or Brazil but when I am trying to communicate with someone about something technical wouldn't it be better to talk to someone who speaks the same language? And I think it should be their primary language not a second language.

The other day I called a company that had the word American in the name. So when I called the 800 number I assumed that since it was American XYZ company I would dial through to someone in America. Wrong. The person on the other end was in India and we had trouble communicating. She kept saying; So what you are asking is......and I kept saying no. After about a half hour I gave up.

A few months ago I called a company in California and they had a Mexican operator. Now how smart is that? So the first person you talk to in California is from Mexico and doesn't speak English very well.

Now a friend of mine, actually two friends of mine have told me that I can ask for an operator in the United States and they have to connect me to one. Does anyone know if that is true. I mean I like talking with people from other countries but not when I am trying to do business. And that won't help with the California thing.

Have a great day,
Greg

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Thankful Thursday, Thank God for Grandmothers


We didn’t have a lot to be thankful for when we were growing up. We were pretty poor, my parents often fought and to say that our house was neat and tidy would be a gross misrepresentation. One thing we did have, was great grandmothers. Not Great Grandmothers but great “Grandmothers”. You know what I mean. And both of them for the most part raised their families alone. One grandfather left and the other was an alcoholic so the grandmothers did what they had to do.

This past weekend I traveled to the town where I was born to attend the funeral of one of my uncles; Russell Cushing. He died at the age of 95 and he lived a good life. He was a great family man and kept himself physically, mentally and spiritually active right up to when he died. Had he not had cancer I am confident he would have lived well past the age of 100. He was the oldest living native of Ormond Beach at the time of his death. Even though he will be missed I am sure he is in Heaven and smiling down on us. I am thankful for all the family that I had growing up but as I said it is the grandmothers that I am most thankful for.

I spent many hours with my grandmothers as I was growing up. I loved talking with them and hearing stories from the past. They were both special people and held the families together. My grandmother Green had it especially hard because she was a TB survivor. Back in those days they just took you to an asylum to die when you got TB but somehow she survived. I often spent the day with her talking about gardening and birds and nature in general. She died the same year that I retired from the Navy but due to my mother being mad at me at the time she purposely didn’t let me know.

So Grandma Green passed away without me being able to say goodbye and it was weeks before I even knew she was gone. Every time I visited the old town I meant to visit her grave but I just never found the time. I was always on a tight schedule when I was in town so I never made it to see her. It’s hard to believe that so many years have passed. So this time since I was in town and not on a schedule I promised myself that I would visit her grave and say goodbye.

Grandma had selected her grave site herself and I have to say she did a great job. My sister took me there and I was happy to see a well maintained cemetery. It was on one of the few hills in Daytona. Grandma’s grave was at the top of the hill overlooking the entire place.


There was a huge oak tree nearby and a statue of Jesus just to her left. So the first thing that came to mind was “she is at the right hand of Jesus looking down on us”. I knew it. If anyone was going to be there it would be her. But it was so symbolic that it made me feel good inside.


We talked for a while and I said I just wish I could have had the chance to say goodbye. Then
something very unusual happened.

As I was just about to walk away, a huge hawk appeared out of nowhere and flew up and landed on the statue which was about 25 feet away. Now I don’t know if you know anything about hawks but they don’t like being out in the open like that so close to people unless they are hunting. But this hawk wasn’t hunting. He was just sitting there looking at us. And I mean looking right at us. I had my camera with me since I wanted to get some photos of the area so I raised it and took a photo and he didn’t even fly away. I turned to my sister and said; What do you think? She just smiled and said; Who knows, it's possible. We walked to the car and the hawk remained perched on the statue until we were out of site.


I whispered Goodbye Grandma as we drove away but I am sure I will return. So I thank God for Grandmothers.

Have a great day,
Greg