Previously I have written about how we treat others is truly a reflection on how we feel about ourselves titled ‘Self Reflection in Others”
This post was about how we feel about ourselves is manifest in the way we respond and interact to those around us. When we accept this self realization we can become kinder and more gentle, yet more powerful and confident.
The other side of this spectrum also holds true. When we are treated poorly by others, we often react to the stimuli, whether this reaction is silent or outspoken for the world to hear, we all react.
The difficult part of this comes within ourselves. Do we choose to see and listen to the abuse from others, allowing them to ruin our day? Do we shy away from someone due to potential conflict? Do we deny ourselves experiences based upon someone else’s behavior?
Many times we choose to allow others power over us in the way that they treat us. We teach others how we want to be treated based upon what we will accept from them. When we hold our ground, kindly, firmly, yet peacefully we have more power in that moment than the other person could ever have.
Power comes from confidence and knowing who we are. Part of this knowing is understanding this dynamic of how we treat others is a reflection upon how we feel about ourselves.
So true is how others treat us is how they feel about themselves. Those that are angry or mean spirited individuals in reality have terrible self esteem and do not like themselves. Whether it be the waitress that was rude, the tire tech that called you a jerk, the guy that flipped you off on the highway. These individuals who go through life bulldozing over others are so disgusted within themselves that they react to their own internal struggles and guilt by abusing those they come in contact with.
As we lift and serve one another we can find that we actually become stronger, more confident individuals as this manifests beauty within ourselves. We see ourselves in the people we serve with heartfelt kindness and genuine intent. We can improve our own self loathing through this service.
The way we treat others, including strangers, not only reflects how we feel about ourselves but also creates within growth in those feelings. If we treat others in a negative fashion, we will certainly see ourselves worse than we did before. If we are kind, we too see that within ourselves. We gain confidence, strength and humility along the way.
Or do you credit everything in your life to coincidence?
Coincidence is defined as “a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection.”
Is this not what a miracle is?
Miracles happen every day of our lives. Those who have eyes to see them can see them, those who do not falsely give credit to coincidence. Many falsely believe that a miracle must be grandiose, large in scale and immediately recognizable. Miracles are most often small and simple, the Lord uses small and simple events to provide the daily miracles in our lives that we are all entitled to.
Many years ago I began making a conscious decision to recognize the small wonderful miracles occurring each and everyday of my life. Sometimes it was as simple as finding a few dollars when I desperately needed it, (not simple at the time) to making every light on the way to a new job interview. I replaced my thoughts of thinking of them as coincidence and giving credit with gratitude and thanksgiving to my Heavenly Father. This decision has been instrumentally powerful in my life as I am now more clearly prepared to recognize and receive miracles as they occur, and as I need them most. I am able to ask for them with a knowledge and assurance that they will be granted in proper time. I have seen it many times over in my life.
I do believe that in this decision of mine to give credit to my Father in Heaven for the miracles in my life, no matter how small they might seem has allowed me to receive the much greater blessings and miracles that He truly desires to give us. Our acts of gratitude and recognition of our Heavenly Father actually provides a greater increase in our lives, more than we can ever truly repay.
This past week in my life I was blessed to receive from my Father in Heaven, a grand miracle, one that truly impacts my life and my health. The surgery that I had carried an extremely small chance of death, yet the outcome of my surgery held a higher chance of death, than the miracle I received.
Miracles continue to happen each day of our lives. By recognizing the small, we can better prepare ourselves receive the big ones in our lives. Give credit to our Father in Heaven and recognize his hand in all things and the world will open to you.
We have all heard the old adage that it is always darkest before the dawn. I wonder if that is largely due to the fact that by the time dawn comes, we have spent considerable time in the darkest night, and as the sun shines the light is warm and bright, penetrating our souls with a renewed energy.
I love sunrise as much as I love sunset. It creates a perfect balance in nature when the sun sets on one day, a new dawn is just around the corner. As the sun sets, we gradually witness a dimming and diminishing light, we are never thrust from the light to the darkness, it is a gradual process.
Conversely, the same is true at each sunrise. The sky slowly begins to glow in the horizon with the coming of the sun, it gradually increases in brightness and brilliance and then we are able to bask in the warmth of the sun after it has risen.
Our lives too are never thrust into darkness. As we sin, we move away from the light until we find ourselves surrounded in darkness, unable to feel the warmth nor experience the brightness of the light available through Jesus Christ. As we partake of the Atonement and correct our course, we too must allow for the gradual increase an light as we move toward our Savior. As we continue on the path leading to his love, we enter into more and more of the light and leave the darkness behind. Oftentimes, it is this journey through the darkness, back towards the light that can seem the darkest for us as our lives readjust to the warmth that is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
What motivates anyone to protest the religious beliefs or meetings of any religion? This issue seems to come up semi-annually in Salt Lake City during the conferences for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Each session of these conferences are met with protestors and picketers making various claims against the church and its members desiring to worship in peace. It seems as though the primary focus of those who protest during these conferences are there attempting to disrupt the meetings and create altercations with the attendees. These protestors thrive on conflict and do all in their power to create it.
I have never been one to protest the personal or religious beliefs of any individual and quite frankly find enlightenment from friends who have differing viewpoints. I have many friends from nearly all religious and non religious backgrounds. I have never seen the need to protest or speak against their personal beliefs. I respect the differences in our beliefs and opinions, and most of them respect mine. This creates a great opportunity to learn, understand and accept one another.
So what truly motivates an individual to desire creating conflict with others as they worship and attend religious services.
Are they afraid of the teachings? If so, why? Most people are afraid of that which they have no understanding of. If one is fearful of something, wouldn’t trying to understand that difference of belief aid in reducing that fear? Or could it be a fear that they know they are incorrect in their own personal beliefs and are afraid to recognize that within themselves?
Is it merely a lack of knowledge and misunderstanding? If so, why would anyone be foolish enough to protest anything they do not understand or have knowledge of? Wouldn’t this make them foolish?
Is it driven by hatred? I believe so. I believe that for anyone to protest the personal religious beliefs of another, (this includes those who claim to have no religious beliefs for that is their belief) there must be a deep hatred within them. Contention is a form of expression for hatred and animosity, and anyone who claims otherwise would find their argument difficult at best to prove, when love is best expressed through peace and understanding.
We all carry within us differing beliefs. No two people believe exactly the same thing as everyone has their own opinion and interpretation even within the same religions. To protest another’s beliefs for being different is the truest form of hypocrisy.
It was a cold and stormy wintery night as Bill tiredly climbed into his car to head for home. Work had been exhausting as Bill navigated the slippery snow covered roads leading to his home, where his devoted wife and 2 boys anxiously waited for his return. Bill’s mind raced as his thoughts were on work and the many tasks that were before him. Bill had always dreamed of being an executive and was driven by the many deadlines and the extreme overtime he gave to his employer. Bill’s satisfaction in life came from his work as he took tremendous pride in his career.
Meanwhile across town, Myron had quickly left his work anxiously longing to get home to his sweetheart and adoring children waiting for him. Unable to contain his excitement for the weekend fast approaching, Myron mentally planned out the weekend and the time with his family that was most sacred.
The treacherous roads were barely navigable while the two men made their journey home.
Bill quickly approached the bend in the road where the ice beneath the tires caused him to spin out of control as he slammed into the oncoming car headed in the opposite direction. The impact so great that neither car was recognizable, the force of the collision ejected both drivers from their vehicles,
Bill and Myron were rushed into the hospital as the doctors frantically went to work to save their lives. As both men lay there, unconscious and unmoving, a bright light appeared before the men. It was immediately discernible that their Savior stood before them. Both men recognized now that they were dead as both pleaded for more time with their loved ones on earth.
Greatly desiring to return to their families, Myron turned to the Lord and asked him if we would please allow him more time to share with his loved ones on earth. The Lord replied, “You have been a faithful and loving steward for your family all these years, they have been your life and your priority. Your time spent with them was never wasted nor squandered as you understood its importance to them and yourself. As a result of your priorities and proven desire to love and be with them, you may go and enjoy more of this time that was so wisely spent.”
Bill desiring the same then made the same petition to the Lord to which the Lord replied ” you have squandered the time and love that you have been given on this earth. You have chased money and fortune. Your family was never a priority on earth when you were alive, why would you desire now to go back to that which was so unimportant in the first place?” Bill hung his head and replied, “I took for granted that my time with them would always be tomorrow, I wanted to give them everything they asked for and needed.” “Did you not recognize that they needed you more than they needed the money and power you sought for?” asked the Lord. Quietly Bill replied, ” I was blinded by the foolish desire for wealth while neglecting my most precious treasure, my family.” The Lord gently and lovingly replied, “your time on earth is up Bill, your family will be watched over and protected from above”
It’s 2 am when the light in the darkened room turns on. The darkness of the night is chased away as you immediately shield your eyes from the brightness of the light now shining in your face. Painfully you open your eyes as they begin to adjust to the brightened room around you. Minutes pass by as you slowly become accustomed to your new surroundings.
We live in a world of darkness and sin. One that continually abandons its God in search of the immediate yet fleeting desires of the flesh. As the world gets darker, those that stand firm in the faith become brighter and brighter. Each of us is born with the light within us. This light grows brighter and brighter as we keep God’s commandments and serve him. The light diminishes as we sin and follow the darkness of this world.
Those in the world chasing after darkness will undoubtedly feel uncomfortable around those with whom the light resides. Darkness will always be repulsed by the light. Try is it might, the light always prevails over the darkness.
As the world looks for and finds more and more ways take us deeper into the darkest abyss, the light within us can shine forth to lead us and others safely out. The brightness of our light is directly proportionate to our commitment to Jesus Christ and our adherence to his gospel and commandments. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven.” Mathew 5:16
A friend of mine shared with me a story the other day… A man living in Africa spent much of his life searching for diamonds. Each day after countless hours working on his farm he would venture off into the mountains in search of his fortune. Fascinated by geology he continues his quest. One day while tilling the ground this man finds a strange rock, rather large in size yet unlike most he had pulled from the ground of his crops. The uniqueness of this rock and the size was rather impressionable so the old man decides to clean it off and place it upon his mantle as a conversation piece.
As the years go by, the old man continues his routine and each night after a long days work he would continue his search for his fortune in diamonds. After each hard day, he would relax in his old rocker in front of the fireplace where upon the mantle sat his conversation piece. Many visitors would seem impressed by the uniqueness of this rock, then the old man would place it back upon the mantle.
As the decades passed, the old man grew ever more tired with each passing year, yet his desire to find the hidden treasure he knew was out there drove him ever onward each day.
One day, an old friend whom he hadn’t seen in many years stopped by to visit. The old man pulled down the rock from the mantle and showed his friend. Somewhat bemused and slightly bewildered his friend asked the old man if he knew what he had in this unique rock and what was inside of it.. The old man replied.. It’s just and old odd shaped rock.. His friend replied, quite the contrary.. this rock contains within it a diamond, a rather large and priceless diamond hidden under the roughness of the rock surrounding it.
This old man had spent his lifetime searching for that very rock that he had placed on his mantle decades before, yet not knowing the value of the possession he held, he left it sitting there unused except as a simple conversation piece…
This story resonated deep within me this week as I have contemplated much upon the many lessons learned from this story. We all have priceless treasures in ourselves and in our lives, that many times we leave sitting on the mantle unable to fulfill their full potential. Many times, we spend a lifetime searching for that which is right in front of us.
Karla and I love to stop and see the old ghost towns as we travel. As we visit them we often discuss what life would have been like in each particular town and imagine both the hardships and memories of living in such a town during its heyday. Each visit brings a new perspective and appreciation to the people that inhabited these now empty towns. Some of these ghost towns have been 100 of years old while others have only been decades.
Each ghost town shares one particular trait in common with all the others, They each represent the end. There is always a story behind each town, some simply faded away over time while others were vacated due to some specific event. Some towns experienced periods of great prosperity and wealth, while others never seemed to get completely started. Some feel spooky and haunted while others seem exciting and full of wonder. The more we know of the story, the less spooky each town seems. In the end, they are all simply shells of their former existence. There are some ghost towns that have much left of their history and story while others, little is known. They each represent a specific period or events in the past. Ghosts of the past.
In each and every town, there are wonderful stories to be taught, lessons to be learned and wisdom to be gained. The end of each town represents a specific moment in time of change.
Our lives are much like these ghost towns. We all have moments in our past where our lives have changed. We each have times in our lives that we have moved on from, that are in past. We each have ghosts from our pasts. Much like the stories, lessons and wisdom to be gained from the history of these towns, there is much to be gained from the lessons and experiences of our own past. If we allow those moments to die without learning from them, then like a ghost town where little is known, it can haunt us. If we learn and study from these moments in the past we can gain wisdom, knowledge and great lessons can be learned when we can stand in amazement, awe, and wonderment at the history we see before us.