Gratitude Sunday: Think Beyond Yourself

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

Sunday Haiku
Equinox pending,
autumn sweeps fire through valley.
Nature has her way.

Sunday Musings
This week I have struggled with how much misinformation I see. Not misinformation so much as all the same information is out there, but the way there are so many differing perspectives and perceptions and opinions and misunderstandings and actual twisting, skewing, and distortion around the information that makes me wonder if I have even read the same stuff they have.

The hate bothers me the most. Why do people resent helping others? They think the other person hasn’t worked as hard, or sacrificed as much, or doesn’t deserve as much, because they are different (read: haven’t lived their lives the same way). For example, I do not understand why any person could say or believe any other person does not deserve quality health care in this wealthy nation, just because that other person has a low or limited income or whatever other reason. I promise not to rant on about health care here today.

Maybe that’s the point. Deservedness. Do you deserve to be treated as lesser than because you are less able, or born with different skin, or have different beliefs? Do you deserve to be treated as better than because your plans have worked for you and you are outwardly successful? Aren’t we all still from the same class of mammals called human beings, whether we work hard or not, whether we succeed or not? How does a difference make someone less deserving of dignity or honor?

For myself, the person who deigns to see me as less deserving has revealed their true colors of judge-mentality. When I have finally worked up the courage to ask for help, how does the state employee who has a job get to judge me as undeserving when they go by the numbers and by the book and do not know my story? I know we have rules for assistance for a reason, but statistics reveal most people follow the rules; individuals and their circumstances and opportunities don’t always fit inside a narrow group of rules. How does the politician who has vastly more than enough get to say those who have vastly less are undeserving, and make policy only supporting the investment of the wealthy because the fruits of their labor are so much more visible and thus they deserve it more?

Who are you, who are any of us, to judge another? We don’t know their story. We don’t know how hard they’ve worked, what hardship they’ve faced, what trials they’ve overcome. We cannot make assumptions based on physical appearance (or difference thereof), income (or lack of), intellect (or lack of), or outward trappings (or lack of). We don’t know what lies behind the face. We don’t know what lives in other people’s hearts. We don’t know what we hide from each other.

Even when we share our stories often they are not heard. We are accused of lying. To a person who has never been through those sorts of hardships or tribulations, they can hardly believe the words we say, the true stories we report, because they have never been through similar challenges. That’s if we can overcome our imposed shame to share the stories at all. I say imposed, because the word shame should not be applied to what we’ve been through with so much in this world being out of our control. We are shamed if we are poor, if we are fat, if we are ugly, if we are women, if we are old, if we are young, if we are weak, if we are too forceful, if we are shy, if we are loud, if we are silent, if we are different. How many of us walk through this life in shame, not because we have done anything shameful, but because the shame of being undeserving is judgmentally imposed upon us? How many of us are strong enough either to throw off unwarranted shame or to live well in spite of it?

It seems to me it’s all about trust. We don’t trust each other. How can we, in this world of judgment and disconnection, when the village is given lip service, but it doesn’t actually exist anymore, when neighbors don’t know neighbors until after the disaster happens? Men don’t trust men, men don’t trust women, women don’t trust men, women don’t trust women. If you dare to share and put your faith in someone how long will it be before that trust is broken and you are right back at square one? Then how do you learn to trust again?

I’m the once burned, twice shy girl. Once the trust is violated, I am unable to go there again, even with other people who weren’t involved in the original violation. I draw into myself, unable to risk the hurt involved in trusting enough to share. It’s like Maya Angelou said, when people show you their true selves, believe them the first time. This has bitten me more than once when I have naively trusted too long people who reveled in being untrustworthy at my expense.

Distrust is such a sad state, but it’s how we operate in this United States. Politicians lie and want the lies accepted as fact, disregarding how those lies hurt others. They don’t have to put any care into their lies because they have their own wealth, which isolates them from caring. Low income people struggle to make their way in the world and are then labeled as undeserving when plans outside their control go awry. I’m not talking about making poor choices, as sometimes the best laid plans do not go as planned. I’m talking about being blamed for the very condition you are actively working to reverse, or being placed under the never-good-enough-no-matter-what-you-do label. We deserve better. All of us.

What do you deserve? You deserve dignity, and being treated with dignity. You are a human being, however that looks for you. You deserve respect, regardless of your gender identification, your ability, your heritage, your beliefs, regardless of anything except the sheer fact you exist in this world. We might not all agree what is “right”, but we are all worthy. There are few exceptions, though unfortunately some people never learn how to not hurt others.

As you read and study and listen to the news, I challenge you to open your eyes, your heart, and your mind. We can’t help but read through our own biases (and everybody has them – even me), but look beyond your biases; do not look at differences. Do your best and help others do their best. Think beyond yourself. Think of what you want for yourself and then beneficently apply that to everyone else you meet. You deserve dignity and respect. So do they. Every one of us.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – I don’t know the name of this bush that looks like a tangle of pink butterflies to me. A greened, pink tipped sedum garden and a water catching spider web. Variations are fun like this yellow buddleia. Prescient shiny green and vivid red getting ready for the next season.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} The Apostle (1997, rated PG – 13) with Robert Duvall. A preacher’s life falls apart and he runs from the law preaching all the way. Meh. * Binged through season 5 of Netflix’s House of Cards (2017, rated TV – MA) with Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey. Powerful production and powerfully close to truth. * Trying to finish Wiseguy (1987-1990, not rated) before it’s due back at my local lending library. Vincent Terranova is an undercover cop with his supporting crew and technology. Through several seasons and multiple story lines, it’s interesting how some of those plots from 30 years ago contain social commentary we are still dealing with today such as racism and white supremacy.

Currently ReadingAfter Birth (2015, fiction) by Elisa Albert. Strong start, petered out, quick light read. Perfect for ending summer reading. * Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good (2016, humanitarianism) by Chuck Collins. Collins has suggestions for the wealthy and the not wealthy to find common ground and a meeting of minds. * Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body (2017, memoir) by Roxane Gay. Ms Gay is one of my favorite authors. Her expression of assaults upon her body and the female body are universal. A must read for every woman.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Giving myself permission to rest when my body was struggling.
  • My local aquatic center re-opening after being closed for a two week maintenance period.
  • One of the life guard/instructors who was safely delivered of a precious, healthy boy. The family is doing well.
  • The luxurious quiet and calm feeling those nights when I have the pool almost to myself.
  • Having access to a pool even when sharing.
  • The cooling of summer into autumn.
  • Taking some medical news in stride. It is what it is.
  • The abundance in my home, which is not the same as cash flow.
  • Having the patience to deal with people whom I have to ask for help from when they treat me as inferior or undeserving.
  • Finding the Saint Christopher medallion I was sure I had while looking for my mother’s wedding ring. I think it came from my uncle. So much abundance of stuff.
  • Books. Authors. Bravery. Hearts.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

This entry was posted in abundance, Aging, Education, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Photography, Poetry, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Gratitude Sunday: Think Beyond Yourself

  1. Tee says:

    I agree. Free healthcare for all. No one should have to go without quality healthcare. It’s ridiculous already, look at Canada, look at all the countries in Europe with free healthcare. Have you ever watched the documentary Sicko with Michael Moore? A must-watch.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Megan says:

    Well said and well enjoyed.

    I have a friend in another city who is extremely wealthy and although I am not poor, sometimes there is no money left at the end of the month, repairs are put off on the house and so on. It is becoming harder and harder, to relate to one another as she just does not get it – she is living in a different world/reality.

    Health care in Canada is better than the States, but if you do not have a full time job with benefits you are paying for prescriptions, eye doctor and glasses, dentist, physio, psychologist and so on. We could use some improvement here.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Gratitude Sunday: The Dignity Of Being | Sassy Kas

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