Tag Archives: family

Forgiveness is the key to happiness

For the better part of a decade plus I let anger and bitterness fill my heart when it came to a certain family member.  The reason for my anger is neither here nor there but suffice to say it was Ironic that despite the fact I was harboring a grudge I knew that the result of their actions played out to my benefit.  So much so that it laid the very foundation of the man I am today and I am very proud of that man. Yet despite this indisputable fact I continued to curse the decision and the way it was revealed to me.

Hebrews 12:15 – “looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.”

Not acknowledging my bitterness and true feelings during this time robbed me of a family bond that should never been broken. My anger cast a giant shadow on my very being. The rift between that family member and myself by its very nature spilled over to that family member’s immediate family. In essence I cut myself off from them while not acknowledging to myself that was doing exactly what I was doing. I missed the birth of many children and the growth of others.  I became a stranger to an entire branch of the family tree. I can never put into prospective what those losses have had on me as a person but I know it could not have been positive. Family is always family and through anger and bitterness I had forgotten that.

A recent health issue was the catalyst for me to re-examine and reenergize my faith. Through prayer the Lord spoke to me and guided me to the realization that the very lack of forgiveness is sin. That very lesson is taught to us in “The Lord’s Prayer.”

Matthew 6: 12-15

12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation,[1]but deliver us from the evil one.[2] 14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

As it is explained it is explained in Bible.org href=”https://bible.org/article/issue-forgiveness-sermon-mount”>https://bible.org/article/issue-forgiveness-sermon-mount it appears that what Jesus is really saying is that God, with a view toward loving the unforgiving child, refuses to forgive him in an attempt to get the child to come face to face with His sin of an unforgiving heart. The person who is unwilling to forgive will soon meet his Equal. The goal of this is to re-establish the broken relationships between God and the people involved.

For me this realization was like a bright light shining onto the darkness in my heart.  The very next day I picked up the phone and called that family member to start the healing process and mend the rift between us.  I expressed how wrong I had been and how I really wanted us to go back to being a family again. It was an emotional call, for both of us, but upon saying the words I want us to be a family again I could feel the weight lifted. My heart had been released of the bitterness it had stubbornly held for over a decade. I understood that I had finally done the right thing. After all family is family and nothing should break that bond.

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The secret to overcoming setbacks. Embrace the whole and rely on your faith

The reality of life is that we all will face setbacks and obstacles. It is our reaction to this that defines who we are. We can accept it as our fate, we can take it on head first alone or we can face it with the help of those around us and with a faith that whatever deity you believe in will give you the courage and strength to overcome.

For some going at it alone is the best course of action. You believe you got yourself into this you can get yourself out.  You believe it is a sign of weakness to rely on others. But this way of thinking is flawed as the universe connects us al on higher plane. We are part of the whole and choosing to reject this limits what one can accomplish.

Tapping into the power of the whole is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength. You understand that those around you will provide your soul with a motivation to press on when you might be ready to give up. That they can provide you with sounding board to express the range of emotions you are going through. That they are the light that will help guide you even in the darkest of times.

Your faith is equally important. You will be stronger simply in the belief that a higher power is working to provide you with the strength to overcome. You will be comforted in knowing that a higher power is touching and uplifting your soul. You will be relived of your worry because you believe that the higher power is working to heal your body, clear your mind, remove your obstacles and provide you with a roadmap toward a better life.

So embrace the whole, rely on your faith and your problems will be a thing of the past.

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As you can see I’m still alive…Thanks to the lord, family and friends

So I haven’t had a new post for the blog for a bit and there’s a good reason. After a routine medical procedure at the hospital something went terribly wrong and my heart stopped. Luckily for me I was still in the hospital and they worked on me for 40 minutes. It was still touch and go after that and I was heavily sedated for about a week, let me tell you if you’re heavily sedated your mind takes you to some weird places, but here I am today. Doctors and nurses called me miracle man because of how quickly I rebounded from where I was. No doubt this has been a tough year for me  medically after dealing with legionnaires disease last summer, still wondering where that came from, but I believe the hand of the lord has saved me twice now as if he was telling me ain’t your time yet kid you have big things yet to do. These set backs may seem difficult but it’s all part of the overall plan. I truly believe that I have the faith that he will help me through this rehab part of my healing and guide me to finding my ultimate purpose for being on this earth.

The other thing this incident has taught me is the overwhelming amount of love my family and friends have for me. Even friends who live outside of New York traveled to be by my bedside. Others who stopped by everyday and of course my sister Carole who has been my rock. She has not missed a day, she has slept overnight in the hospital only to have to get up at a ridiculous hour to go home and get ready for work. I don’t know what I would do without her and I won’t even try to use words describe how thankful and how much I love her. It is truly overwhelming to know how deeply my friends and family care about me. Their visits, their words of encouragement, their prayers all have been such a positive factor in my overcoming this latest test of faith but thanks to them I am well on the way to doing just that and I thank all of them.

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A long distance conversation

Mom? Dad? Where am I? Have I crossed over?

No son you haven’t “crossed over” it’s not your time yet.  And who talks like that crossed over? Anyway come and sit with us.  We know the last several months have been difficult for you health wise and we thought now would be a good time to pay you a visit.

Well it’s a little unusual to say the least but you’re right about that the last few months they have trying with one thing after another with my health.  Sometimes I say to myself why even try and take care of myself at the end of the day does it really matter.  I mean if the big man wants me to suffer I’m more or less powerless to stop it.

Is that what you think?

That’s what I know I mean I pray to him I ask him to heal me I’ve tried to live my life the correct way yet here I am dealing with this.  It’s like he has forsaken me.

So you believe that if you simply ask for good health he’ll look at you and boom like that you’re healed? Interesting? Would make for a kind of crowded Earth after a while but I can understand how you may feel forsaken.  You know your mother and I have always believed you to be special.  Someone born with the unique talents to accomplish whatever you set your mind to.  The empathy to treat others with love and respect and not expect anything in return. The intelligence to see a problem and reason out the best solution. So it is surprising that you do not see the obvious.

Which is?

That the Lord will help you by showing you the way, guiding you to right path. But you must be willing to walk the road. There are no easy fixes.  If you believe in him he will believe in you, he will show you the way. But showing you is not the same as doing for you.  Sometimes we forget that.

So you’re saying this is a test of my faith?

No, what you will soon come to understand son is he does not crave your belief.  If he did he would not have given you free will.  What he does desire is that you live your life in accordance with the principles he has laid out.  That you treat others with the respect and love you desire.  This is especially important in times of darkness.  How you treat others when it appears all things around you are failing is a look inside your soul.  You see it is not a test in your faith of him but a test of yourself.  If you pass it does not matter if you say you believe in him or not because your actions will show that you believe in what is good and pure and that is what he desires for each of us.

I get it, live my life in a righteous way and the Lord will lead me in the direction of good things.  Thankfully I was raised by two beautiful people who instilled in me the righteous way.

Well it is good to see despite some bumps in the road you have chosen to live your life adhering to the principles your father and I set for you.  But what you must remember is that as a living being your definition of “good things” might differ from the definition of good things on a spiritual level.

Whoa that seems like a cop out.  Are you saying that no matter what you do you may find you do not always get the happy ending you search for?

Yes and no.  If you define your happiness as only what you can measure on the plane of existence for which you currently reside than I guess you could say no.

What?

Look at it this way, your mother and I are talking to you now.  This plane of existence is very different than the one in which you normally reside.  Yet the look on your face when you saw us.  The feeling of love that is emanating from your heart and the happiness you feel right now exist but in quite a different way than if we were on your normal plane of existence.  Stay still for a minute, close your eyes, and listen to your heart. Now let’s go back to the very beginning when you first saw us and you asked have you crossed over.  Suppose you had? Would that feeling of happiness and love you have right now cease to exist?

I think I understand. I truly miss you and how you always explained things to me.  How you are able to make me understand things other could not, how you always showed me what is right is wrong. Most importantly no matter how stubborn I was how you never gave up on me.  How you loved me like no other two people could ever love me.

You were our child, special in that you were not born of us but in that we chose you to be our child.  As much as you think we impacted you, watching you grow into the man you are today brought happiness to us as well.  And do not think we do not continue to benefit from that as we continue to watch you.  We even cheat a bit, where permitted, and help you through some rough moments.  The day will come when we all exist together once again as a family but that time is not now.  You have much to accomplish yet and we will be looking on proud parents. But for now we must leave you.

Wait, will I even remember this

Of course I wouldn’t go around broadcasting it, spirituality isn’t what it used to be and some may want to have your head examine so let this be our little secret son and remember this is not goodbye it’s only till next time. We love you.

And I love you Mom and Dad till next time.

Still walking with me, still looking over me, after all these years

Hard to believe my dad would have been 105 years old today plus today is also dad and mom’s wedding anniversary. Over the years I have said how much they mean to me and how much I love them so I won’t rehash that narrative. Suffice to say there are moments when even In a room full of family and friends I feel alone but then out of nowhere I feel something that tells me I’m never alone they continue to walk with me to look out over me. Should I expect any difference? Not really after all they are my parents and great parents they were

I am who I am because you were who you were

You read to me when I was a child. You wiped the blood from my knee and the tears from my eyes when I fell as a boy.

I am who I am because you were who you were.

You encouraged and believed in me when I was a teen. You were always there for me when i became a man. Through it all you put up with my nonsense and loved me unconditionally. You may be gone from this Earth but you walk with me everyday.

I am who I am because you were who you were.

You were: Loving, Caring, Demanding, Forgiving, Understanding, Supportive, Nurturing, and a million other things I could never list.

I am who I am because you were who you were and you were Frances Cooke my mother!

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Facebook feed jealousy and regret

Over the past few weeks my Facebook feed has been filled with pictures of my friend’s children graduating elementary, high school or college. Going to the junior prom or the prom. All of them accompanied by posts expressing pride at their children’s accomplishment or bemoaning the fact that the years have gone by so fast. I admit that I look at these posts with both jealousy and regret. Jealousy that I don’t have what they have. Regret that I made so many wrong turns in my relationships that I screwed up any chance of having it.

Growing up I believed that I would live the fairy tale, marry the love of my life, have two children of our own and adopt one to provide a loving home to a child in need. But life more often then not is not a fairy tale. The character Sonny in Bronx Tale said – You’re only allowed three great women in your lifetime. In my life I have had three long term serious relationships each of which started out with the thought that this might be the one, my soulmate, the woman I start a family and grow old with. Each ended with a broken heart and me thinking well here I am again. Each one was devastating in its own way but none more than the last one.

She was the first and only woman that I asked to marry me and when she said yes I thought finally I had found the one, my soulmate, the woman I would grow old with. The woman I would post pictures of our children’s accomplishments on Facebook with. She came into the relationship with two children and she was upfront that she wouldn’t have another child. Despite that as time went on I started to feel more and more as I finally had found the family I always wanted. I knew I could never take the place of their father, who was still very much in their lives, but still it felt like a true family. Only weeks before the breakup the oldest child drew four pictures. Her mommy, her sister, herself and me and put them up on the refrigerator. Looking at those pictures brought a huge smile to my face because it was confirmation that not only did I see us as a family but they did as well. So when only a few weeks later my fiancée informed me that she was now my ex fiancée it wasn’t just breaking up with her it was breaking up with my family. I won’t lie it was my lowest point I had never been so depressed and it took me awhile to find myself again but I eventually did. Despite that I still wonder if my window has closed. That I will never find that woman to grow old with. That I never will be able to post with pride pictures of my children’s accomplishments on Facebook. Not that I’ve given up hope and I’m still out there swinging but I still wonder and hope that my window is cracked open just a little bit.