Thursday, January 31, 2019

Seldom As It Seems

Can you believe we're wrapping up the first month of 2019?!

I've been looking forward to this year with great anticipation for several reasons.  So, today I'm in shock that an entire month has passed already.

In looking over my calendar once again and shaking my head in disbelief, I was suddenly struck with this truth:  Life is SELDOM as it Seems.  And trust me, that's true for every human being.

For example, my calendar preference.  I still prefer a hard copy format with a single square for each day.   I know.  I know!  On-line linking and sinking is THE way to go.  My little black calendar that travels with me everywhere is an antiquated relic.  But it's what works best for me.

I have stepped into the 21st century with at least one foot.  I've exchanged my rolodex for a directory IN my phone.  I've learned to text.  I appreciate the many methods of connectedness afforded by my I-Phone. I can even Facetime my grandchildren.  But still I cling to the one old-fashioned office element I most love . . . my slimline, At-A-Glance calendar. 

If we were sitting in an airport and you happened to notice my MacBook Air computer, you might conclude I'm very tech-savvy.  However, those who really know me understand nothing could be farther from the truth.

This computer was a gift.  I work across the hall from a patient son-in-law who set it up for me and then slowly explained each pretty icon and it's function.  I live with a patient husband who can help me find my way back to the page of lovely icons when I lose my way while working at home. 

It seems like I should be able to accomplish much more with this state of the art piece of equipment than I actually can.  Life is Seldom as it Seems.

Another example can be found in pictures.  I have many friends whose pictures make them appear to be flawlessly beautiful, living magical lives and working completely care-free jobs.  But for those of us who know them well, we also see the price of a smile offered in spite of serious pain and disappointment.

I've had a fascination with beautiful front doors ever since I was a child.  Mom told me (as an adult) how I would comment routinely on the many lovely doors I would see as she and I drove around my hometown of Pensacola, FL.  She must have become concerned that my vivd imagination was creating an unrealistic world all associated with magnificent front doors. 

So one day she tried to bring correction.  We were driving along downtown when I said excitedly, "Look, Mama! That door is absolutely Beautiful!" 

Her response was sharp; intense even, "Sheri, there's sorrow behind those doors!" 

It was such an odd, out of place statement that I laughed out loud.  "What in the world do you mean, Mom?" 

Her timing was a little off and her declaration a bit extreme but she had her reasons.  Mom wanted me to understand the simple truth I'm sharing with you today:  Life is Seldom as it Seems. . . for anyone! 
Maybe I'm writing to someone today who has been wondering why everyone else is living a life of near perfection while your own life seems such a mess.  You scroll through social media, listen to friends talking or read blog after blog and think, "When will my situation get better?"

While I can't answer that question, I can assure you Life is Seldom as it Seems for any of those "Perfect Life People," either.  Take time to get to know them better.  Listen as they talk, really listen.  Slow down long enough to look beneath the surface.  I'm pretty sure you'll discover more to the story than you knew.

And when we know one another better, it makes us kinder toward one another.  When we stop complaining about our own situation long enough to listen to someone else's story, we suddenly find compassion we didn't know we had.

I once read an illustration about perspective and complaining.  It went like this:

"After patiently listening to them all, the Wise Man helped everyone pack their personal troubles into large see-through bags.  Then each person in the group brought their bag to the circle in the center of the room.  Some bags were small and were easily delivered to the circle.  Other people had to have assistance in dragging their massive bag of troubles to the center of the room.  When they had all been collected, the Wise Man gave them these instructions, 'Walk slowly around the circle.  Take a good look at each bag and the troubles contained in it.  Once you've carefully looked at each bag, you are to choose the one you wish to take as yours.'  The people moved hesitantly toward the circle following the instructions of the Wise Man.  Quietly and without fanfare, each one reached for their own, original bag.  After looking at what the others were coping with, their own bag of troubles seemed like much less of a problem than they had before."

Dear Friend, Life is Seldom as it Seems.  Perhaps that little mantra will be a help for you this year. 

Blessings!  And please stay warm!!

What about you?  Have you ever been surprised to discover the REAL story behind a perfect life?  Do you have a favorite saying that helps you with perspective?  We'd love to hear about it. . .


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