Thursday, January 21, 2010

Household Reboot


A fresh start.

These Thursdays I have to myself are extremely helpful. Once again, the entire house is clean, all the laundry is done, the dishes are drying in the dishwasher, the recycling has been sorted and taken away, the furry dog has been brushed, all of my household necessities are finished and I can start anew. I can think again. I can breathe. This is like what communion is for the soul. I shall deem Thursdays my household reboot.

Maddeningly, I still haven't finished a book or even really begun "Under the Tuscan Sun". I thought I'd have some time to read today. I listened to "Firstlight" on the way to the recycling center and back, and while I was sorting. I'm on the last disc so it shouldn't be much longer.

Today there was another story that struck me. This was about Sue as a child. She found a little turtle near their pond and brought it home and her mother allowed her to use an old basin to keep it in. Sue put dead flies and some water and leaves and grass and rocks in there, her ideas of what would be Heaven on Earth for a turtle. Despite her efforts, the turtle spent days circling the basin, trying to get out, only to succumb to the pointlessness of it. Finally the turtle, defeated, sat still and didn't leave its little spot in the corner of the basin. Sue's grandfather told her that the turtle missed being a real turtle, and that the best thing you can do for the ones you love is to give them their freedom. They took the turtle back to the pond and released it, where it scampered as quickly as a turtle can scamper back to its home and sunk down into the water.

How often we try and impose our thoughts and ideas on others. We think, always, that we are the ones who know best for others. If only we were in their position, we would do things THIS way and everything would work out just fine. If only they would take our advice, meet our expectations, do things our way -- they would be happy. The bitter truth is, however, that if we truly love someone we have to accept that they are who they are, and any sort of control we attempt to exert over them to MAKE them happier, or to MAKE them better people, is pointless in the end. Our job is to love, to listen, to give the best advice we can, but not to force them into a mold. That goes for friends, children, and sometimes most importantly, our spouses. Children we must guide, as parents, but still allow them to express themselves and become who they are meant to be. Spouses we must stop placing expectations upon and learn to give 100% all of the time to being loving and kind, and accepting them for who they are instead of trying to change them to fit the mold we want them in.

In the Gospel, Jesus is asked what the greatest commandment is. His answer, in Mark 12:29-31 is this:

29 "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' 31 The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'There is no commandment greater than these."

Practice love. Practice kindness. You wouldn't think of picking up a set of bagpipes and being able to play them perfectly if you'd never practiced before in your life, would you? Or being the star quarterback of a football team? Or re-wiring a house? What makes us think we can be perfectly loving and kind if we've never practiced it before?


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