MattAndJojang's Blog

God. Life. Spirituality.

Posts Tagged ‘Acceptance

Happy Birthday, Matthew!

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Matt

14 June 2012

 

Dearest Matthew,

God is so good that He gave you to me as my husband.

Indeed, we are just the perfect match! And to you, I am grateful…

…. For loving me in spite of my weaknesses

…. For constantly being there for me.

…. For understanding me, even when I can really be so silly.

…. For not mocking me for my fears.

…. And so much more.

Today, on your birthday, I sincerely pray that the Lord will grant all that your heart may wish for.

Looking forward to many, many more years together!

I love you…

 

With all my heart,

Jojang

Written by MattAndJojang

June 14, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Life Is Beautiful

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Photo: Yvonne U.E./Flickr

And you must be able to bear your sorrow; even if it seems to crush you, you will be able to stand up again, for human beings are so strong, and your sorrow must become an integral part of yourself; you mustn’t run away from it.

Do not relieve your feelings through hatred, do not seek to be avenged on all Germans, for they, too, sorrow at this moment. Give your sorrow all the space and shelter in yourself that is its due, for if everyone bears grief honestly and courageously, the sorrow that now fills the world will abate.

But if you do instead reserve most of the space inside of you for hatred and thoughts of revenge – from which new sorrows will be born for others – then sorrow will never cease in this world. And if you have given sorrow the space it demands, then you may truly say: life is beautiful and so rich. So beautiful and so rich that it makes you want to believe in God.

~ Etty Hillesum, Holocaust Victim

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March 23, 2012 at 10:56 am

The Dignity of Difference

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It seems to me that one of the things we most fear is the stranger. And at most times in human history, most people have lived among people who are mostly pretty much the same as themselves. Today, certainly in Europe and perhaps even in America, walk down the average Main Street and you will encounter in 10 minutes more anthropological diversity than an 18th-century traveler would have encountered in a lifetime.

So you really have this huge problem of diversity. And you then go back and read the Bible and something hits you, which is we’re very familiar with the two great commands of love: Love God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your might; love your neighbor as yourself. But the one command reiterated more than any other in the mosaic box — 36 times said the rabbis — is love the stranger for you were once strangers in the land of Egypt. Or to put it in a contemporary way, love the stranger because, to him, you’re a stranger. This sense that we are enlarged by the people who are different from us — we are not threatened by them — that needs cultivating, can be cultivated, and would lead us to see the 21st century as full of blessing, not full of fear.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Written by MattAndJojang

December 10, 2010 at 8:52 pm

Coping With Depression – A Story

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I had folks coming to me, of course, who wanted to be helpful, and sadly, many of them weren’t. These were the people who would say, ‘Gosh, Parker, why are you sitting in here being depressed? It’s a beautiful day outside. Go, you know, feel the sunshine and smell the flowers.’ And that, of course, leaves a depressed person even more depressed, because while you know intellectually that it’s sunny out and that the flowers are lovely and fragrant, you can’t really feel any of that in your body, which is dead in a sensory way.

There was this one friend who came to me, after asking permission to do so, every afternoon about four o’clock, sat me down in a chair in the living room, took off my shoes and socks and massaged my feet. He hardly ever said anything. He was a Quaker elder. Somehow, he found the one place in my body, namely the soles of my feet, where I could experience some sort of connection to another human being. And the act of massaging just, you know, in a way that I really don’t have words for, kept me connected with the human race.

And it became for me a metaphor of the kind of community we need to extend to people who are suffering in this way, neither invasive of the mystery nor evasive of the suffering but is willing to hold people in a space, a sacred space of relationship, where somehow this person who is on the dark side of the moon can get a little confidence that they can come around to the other side.

Parker Palmer

Written by MattAndJojang

November 10, 2010 at 8:56 am

Reflections On Channel Surfing

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My husband Lee and I almost came to blows in our living room last week over his love affair with the channel selector. It was an old issue between us and we skirted dangerously close to ending up in couples counseling over it, but finally, some changes were made.

What happened was I joined Lee and our dog Hootie on the couch in front of our big, flat screen TV in anticipation of Bill Maher’s: Politically Incorrect. We snuggled comfortably with Lee’s arm around me, my head on his shoulder, and Hootie’s little head resting on my curled-up legs. The show began and was laugh-out-loud funny. I was enjoying myself. At the first commercial break, Lee grabbed the remote and began channel surfing.

Question: is the channel selector just one more thing in this world for the male animal to explore and take charge of?

Anyway, the instant the commercial break came on, my generally considerate husband went through some kind of metamorphosis; his channel selector finger got itchy and away we go; surfing’s the name of the game! Click! We’re watching a scene from a love story that moved me to tears; then are treated to a selection of details from a police report on serial killing. Nice. Click! Click! A fleshy woman in pink is sautéing shrimp with garlic; four fifty-something’s are back packing, gaily, through Eastern Europe; five expressionless people stare at their cards during a tense moment in an international Poker championship. Click! We’re in the middle of a bloody fight in an exciting film preview that Lee saw two nights ago—at full volume.

By the time he returned to Bill Maher, the show was already in progress, the audience was convulsed with laughter over what funny line I would never know. Now to me, TV commercial breaks are inherently evil and should never be dignified by being watched by anyone. That’s what mute buttons are for, with time spent productively, in peaceful silence, fetching drinks and munchies, visiting the bathroom, or even, as I told Lee snidely that night, for actually talking to each other.

“Will you please stop jumping from channel to channel?” I demanded nastily, turning to face him. “You do that every time we watch TV. It drives me nuts!

Looking back on it I could have made my needs known more diplomatically, but despite the series of cool talks by my yoga instructor, Gail, regarding the maintaining of equanimity within—regardless of circumstances without—those were, unfortunately, the words I used. Consequently, a rather stupid argument ensued with each of us biting down on our respective positions, like Hootie bites down on a bone.

“Why does it bother you so much?” Lee asked, annoyed. “I was curious about what else was on. I was exploring. Can’t you just tune it out?”

“Why should I tune it out?” I asked righteously, glaring at him. “Why can’t we have silence during the breaks? What would be wrong with that?”

The argument continued. I, somewhat pompously, stressed the physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits of meditative silence. Lee rose to the occasion and defended, with vigor, his apparently inalienable right to the extremely, annoying activity of channel surfing—which I have no doubt, comes with being born male.

We watched TV again a few evenings later, Boston Public was on. With the air of a martyr about to be set on fire, Lee muted the commercials and without once touching the channel selector, sat silently through each break. He didn’t even click on the sound for a preview of a new show we hadn’t seen yet. He didn’t say a word, but I could feel his pain.

I have to say the silence was enjoyable, but somehow I didn’t feel good about how pushy I’d been about getting my way. “Look, that’s a preview for a new Clint Eastwood film.” I told Lee. I ruffled his graying hair fondly as I got up from the couch. “You haven’t seen that one yet. Why don’t you turn on the sound and check it out while I get us some desert?”

The moment I left the room I heard Clint’s voice as the preview came on, then the familiar click of the channel selector, followed by the sound of sirens, a woman screaming, and finally, a dog barking. At the blue tiled counter in our kitchen I sliced German Chocolate cake and scooped strawberry ice cream on top. When I returned to the living room with dessert, Lee—a happy man—was surfing channels rapid fire, like it was something he was born to do. “Does this really bother you?” he asked a little plaintively.” I can turn it off…..”

Loving him, I shook my head no and remembering to breathe and remain calm, I sat down beside him and offered him cake. Images whizzed by me like some psychedelic dream sequence, but this time I put Gail’s words of wisdom to practice and focused my attention on my breath. Surprise! I wasn’t irritated. I wasn’t annoyed.

Channel surfing, I decided, may not be the finest of Lee’s masculine qualities, but does appear to be part of who he is, so my best move is to live and let live. Click! Someone on a reality show was chomping down on an insect the size of Rhode Island. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply, in and out, in and out; then I opened them and smiled at Lee. For this moment, at least—and the moment, I understand, is all there is—I have achieved some measure of acceptance, maybe even equanimity.

Lynn Sunday

Written by MattAndJojang

March 10, 2010 at 4:43 pm