Tag Archives: life

Mowing Musings

30 May
Mowing musings:
 
As I was out mowing my yard this evening, I had time to ponder some statements and situations that have come to the forefront of my life the last few weeks. And I just kept thinking, if only every person could have empathy, kindness and understanding for the people in their lives and the people that cross their paths.
 
You see, we all have different stories – we all are at different stages of life – we all have different levels of responsibilities – we all are on this journey called, LIFE. And to each of us, our struggles are real – our worries can be overwhelming at times – there are things we wish we could change. We all have experienced loss of some kind – there are different kinds of loss…. loss of dreams, loss of health, loss of finances, loss of relationships, loss of loved ones. Every loss leaves a hole and an empty space in our lives – no matter what kind of loss it is.
 
The world would be such a better place if we didn’t place more value on what we are dealing with and where we are in our present situations bigger and more difficult than everyone else and his or her situations and place in life.
 
My story is not your story – your story is not mine. For me to think my story is better than yours or more important than yours is very selfish. To each of us our story is big and important and hardships are difficult. I should never place more value on what I’m going through over what you are going through. To each of us, our hurts are real – they cut to the bone. To each of us, our loss is very painful…no matter what that loss is.
 
When we say, well, people just don’t understand where I am and what I’m facing and what I’m dealing with”, we are really staying stuck in a pity party that is going to do nothing to move us forward. I may not have gone through exactly what you have gone through but I can empathize because I’ve had my own disappointments and struggles.
 
Each of us is writing a story and our story is very real. Let’s respect one another’s story and let’s not compare. But instead, let’s extend kindness, understanding, and empathy. Let’s not demean or place lesser value on other’s stories and think that our story is the most important story. Let’s build up, support, and encourage and truly listen when someone else is sharing where they are and what they are feeling.
 
I hope we will place value on every person in our life – whether it’s family, friends, colleagues, the person at the grocery store, etc. Every person has worth and value – let’s recognize that!
 
From my heart……
Thanks for reading!

Haiti, Thursday, February 23rd

28 Mar

Thursday was the “off-day” for the team.  It was a free day and we discussed the night before what we would like to do.  The options were presented and we chose to visit the Musee de Pantheon National Haitian in Port-au-Prince so we could learn more of the history of the country we were visiting.  

The city was in the middle of celebrating Carnival days so the drive from Bon Sam was full of things to see.  Lots of traffic, lots of sidewalk vendors and lots of trash from the festival goers.  Again, I was grateful that I was not the one having to drive!!! Driving in Haiti is not like driving in the US.  I know the Haitians understand how it works but I would be in multiple accidents in just one hour’s time if I had to drive.  I was in amazement at how the traffic works and that the vehicles were not full of dents and fender benders!!!  We could still see some of the devastation from the 2010 earthquake; they haven’t been able to fix all the buildings.  This was very evident in the Cathedral of our Lady of the Assumption.  It was destroyed but part of it was left standing.  There are talks of reconstructing it but nothing has been finalized.

The Museum only took about one hour to go through but it was very informative.  Of course, I love history and love learning about other countries so some people may not have found it as  fun 🙂  We walked to one of the areas that had been one of the tent cities where people lived in after the earthquake.  It was eerily quiet even though it was in the middle of the city.  At one time it was a very nice park in front of the presidential palace.  There were several monuments but there’s a wall around it and not many people are allowed in there.  Delta, our security man, was able to argue his way and allow us to gain access and walk around the grounds.

We left there and headed back to Ti-Marche so we could check on the lady who had suffered the stroke on Tuesday.  We were also going back to the house where we had left Bruno.  I had already determined that they may have chosen to use Bruno as food and was prepared for that reality.  I was SO excited when we turned the corner and I could see Bruno under the tree munching on some grass.  The lady came out and greeted us with a beautiful smile and she came to me and took me back to see Bruno.  I can’t even describe the joy I felt that shewas happy to see us and remembered me and wanted me to see Bruno.  We were saddened to hear that the lady whom had suffered the stroke did not make it – she was only 52 years old.   Grim facts that the average woman dies at age 65 and the average man dies at age 60.  Strokes are the #1 killer.

We left there and went to a fishing village on a beautiful lake.  I do not know the name of the village.  Our drivers could only go so far on the dirt road and then we had to walk.  It took us about 30 minutes and was downhill as it took us to the water’s edge.  Lake Azuei (or Etang Sumatre) is the name of the lake and it is simply breathtaking.   As we made our way towards the lake, we attracted village children, teens and animals.  Most of them could not speak English but that didn’t keep them from trying to communicate.  They all knew what a phone was and all knew how to pose for pics.  They loved seeing the pics of themselves after we would take their picture.  Their smiles were beautiful and it reached into their eyes – they may not have much but they are happy.  Their was one young man – about 17 years old – who knew English so he walked with me and chatted for a while.  His name was Francois.  He wanted to know where I was from, what we were doing, etc.  We caught up to my friend, Dena, and he wanted to know her name and asked her if she was a grandmother.  She replied that she was.  He then turned me and asked if I was a grandmother.  I replied, no, I’m not…I don’t have any children.  He was astonished and quickly asked, “What’s wrong with you???”  I laughed and laughed – I’ve never had anyone ask that directly of me…although, I’m sure people have wondered.  I told him that I wasn’t married and really didn’t want to have children without a husband.  That question was the highlight of the night as I shared it with the team at our evening devotion time.  

There was a old wooden boat pulled up to the shoreline.  We gathered around it and the wind was coming off the lake and the waves were choppy and we could hear the waves coming up to the shoreline.  We could hear the laughter of the children – the bleating of the goats – and the sky was blue with puffy white clouds and the sun was just radiant.  Ashley asked if we could have some prayer time, so the team stood in a circle and one by one we just openly prayed what was on our mind at that moment.  It was the most peaceful, serene moment I have ever experienced.  It was almost as if we were experiencing what Jesus may have experienced on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.  We just stood there for a few moments taking in the scene, the mood, the peace.  I wish I could truly share with you all what it felt like.

The sun was beginning to go down so we needed to make our way back to the vans.  It was uphill all the way and we all had several children holding our hands and wanting to help us up the hills.  I had a little boy on each side of me and another little guy tried to come up and hold my hand and the other two would not let him.  It was as if they were my personal bodyguards and were taking it upon themselves to make sure I safely got to the top and didn’t stumble on any rocks.  When we got to the vans, we shared all the cookies and snacks we had and then we began our way back into the city.  We knew that we were going to stop at Vol cafe and have pizzas (it’s a cool little cafe that serves various food…including pizza AND they had an espresso machine so Dena and I were able to get a much-needed latte!!!) but what we didn’t know was that the kids from Bon Sam were going to meet us there.  After not seeing them all day, it was so much fun to have them surprise us and then we were able to see them enjoy the playground and eat pizza.  It truly was a full day and one filled with so many blessings.

As I was trying to find the name of the village we stopped at, I came upon this website – click on the link and go read about Dr. Abe who is helping to bring sustainability back to the fishing families who live in these fishing villages.

 

www.poutimoun.org/empowerment

A moment at the Y

17 Mar

Today, I subbed for another instructor.  I’ve subbed for her before and noticed an older gentleman that would come in close to the time that class was to start.  I perceived him to be more on the quiet side – but he would always thank me at the end of class.  Someone had something to me at one time that caused me to form a preconceived idea of him which is something none of us should ever do.  We shouldn’t form an opinion until we have taken time to get to know someone for ourselves.  We even have to be careful of taking our friends’ word about someone and not making sure we find out for ourselves.

There were only two participants today – it’s Spring Break here in Knoxville area.  And they were chatting about his recent trip back to India.  He was sharing how he had attended a wedding that lasted for six days.  He was giving details about the beautiful flowers and all the food and that each day there were 500-700 people in attendance.  I was fascinated because I truly enjoy hearing and learning about other cultures.  I started class and so the conversation stopped.  I taught and then was cleaning up and waiting for him to get his mat and put his Equalizer away.  I decided to engage him further in conversation and that one moment turned into an hour-long conversation that left me with my mouth hanging open as I listened to him share about his life and all that he has done.  I mentioned to him several times that he needed to write a book  and share his life’s story.

His name is Arun Arora and he was born in India but moved to German when he was 23 to being his work as an engineer.  He’s lived in 20 countries – moved to the US about 34 years ago and has traveled to every state and every major city.  He said Colorado is the most beautiful place in all the world in his opinion and lived there for 15 years (I hope I’m remembering  all the details…I was listening intently and trying to take it all in!).  He worked for ABB, which is a Swedish-Swiss multinational company that operates mainly with robotics and automation.  However, he also mentioned building substations and transmissions for utilities.  He’s consulted for many companies – and the list goes on.   It appears as if he never married and he only moved to Knoxville because his brother became ill.  Otherwise, he would still be in Colorado…skiing, skating and backpacking.  I could have listened to him even longer because I’m sure there is so much more that he could share!

Our Y association in Knoxville is wanting us to share moments and stories that members tell us so I knew this was definitely a story I needed to share because I’m not sure very many people at that facility know any of this about him because he’s just one of those quiet people who come in for class and never says too much.  I emailed the director of that branch and recommended that he sit down for a cup of coffee with this gentleman and block out some time just to hear some of the history and wisdom from this member.

It was truly one of those moments when I was reminded that every person we come in contact with has a story and that we need to look beyond the outward appearance and go past the accent we hear when they talk and be more aware of these eye-opening moments that fill our days if we will just take the time to pause and listen.  My life became even better after spending one hour listening to Arun and hearing some of his fascinating life that he has lived.  This meek and quiet man has had so many adventures in his 75+ years of life that he could probably write one book for each year of his career.

Did I have that one hour blocked for him on my schedule of the day?  No.  In fact, I had several projects that needed to be finished for my online classes and had planned on being home by a certain time.  But as he began sharing with me, I consciously made the decision that I was just going to be present in the moment and listen to the life experiences and wisdom that I was being honored with as he chose to share with me his life.  I do not take that for granted and feel very blessed and grateful when people like him cross my path and cause my life to be enriched because they’ve spoken into.  You never know what one moment will hold and if we aren’t careful, we can miss it.  What moments will you choose to act on?