Life is Delicious!

Enjoy getting older! It can be fun!

Do families and holidays go together?

As I was growing up, thousands of holiday pictures like those of Currier and Ives were everywhere.  They portrayed holidays at Grandma and Grandpa’s perfect farmhouse, surrounded by fields of mounds of hay with frolicking animals in the yard.  Grandma was smiling at the stove ~ her white apron perfectly tied at the waist and her gray hair in a bun! Grandpa was sitting in a chair by the fire enjoying his pipe and admiring his newly set logs on the roaring fire.  You could practically smell the food cooking in these tempting pictures.

The pictures were the ideal.  They were also unrealistic.

The reality is that when families get together, usually because they live some distance apart these days, what people expect and what they find are likely to be two different experiences.  The expectation is to be surrounded by loving, caring, perfectly wonderful people who fit into our image of how picture-perfect families should be.

The reality is that the same things that irritated us about each person in the family previously tend to come alive again as people revert back to their younger days and repeat their same old bothersome ways!  They trigger the very emotions and thoughts – Oh, how we hated them! – that we hoped had been forgotten and left far behind us!

Some family gatherings might be like visiting with one or more of the seven dwarfs, where you have Doc (the philosopher or know-it-all), Grumpy (the complainer), Sleepy (the drowsy one), Bashful (and a little ashamed), Sneezy (the hypochondriac), Dopey (the easy going and lovable one), and Happy (the one who smiles through it all).

It’s easier to love the image of families and holidays in our minds than it is to love the real live family members themselves.  The image is perfect.  The people are not!

Then there is always the endless list of excuses to avoid family gatherings.  “Let’s stay only two hours and use the excuse of such-and-such to get out of there.”

It is very comfortable and satisfying to love people who are lovable and who love us.  It is easy to love people who do nice things for us and joyfully serve us.  That takes no effort at all.  It takes hardly any thought!  Anyone can do that.

What about another option?  A more pleasant one for ourselves and for others?    

To love people who are not easy to love is to move to a much higher level of living.  It is a maturing process that is very serene and peaceful.

It means appreciating people just because they are human beings and part of the living group of people who reside on the planet with us during our lifetime.  It means setting aside individual likes and dislikes and just letting people be as they are.  No judging.  No condemnation. It means respecting other lives in spite of the fact that their choices are not our choices.  They live life this way; we live life that way.  They do things this way; we do things that way.  No big deal!  It really doesn’t matter!

The priceless gift that comes with this new option:

Simply loving people just because they are people brings to you a beautiful serenity and a divine peacefulness within.  That is the ideal, and that is realistic!

Categories: Uncategorized

14 replies

  1. ML-loved your article, especially the paragraph
    about Doc, Grumpy, Dopey etc. It made me
    laugh. I appreciated the truth at the end also.
    Blessings.

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  2. Dear Charlene, I appreciated your reading the post, and I enjoyed your reply! You have a refreshing sense of humor when it comes to family situations. Good for you! Laughter is definitely good medicine ~ for all of us! Thanks for that reminder!

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  3. Mary Lu – You are a wise realist, a comedian and a lover, that’s why I like you! Thanks for speaking the truth with humor so we can actually accept it! You inspire many. I want to be just like you when I grow up!

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  4. Thank you for sharing this! I love the bit about the Seven
    Dwarfs and, of course, the reminder of how important it is for our spiritual growth to make an effort to embrace those who are more difficult in our lives, a practice that can have a profoundly positive effect on all those involved in the relationship!

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  5. Thank you, Diane! You are an amazing woman yourself! I treasure you and your words!

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  6. Dear Sharon, I so agree with you! Honoring others by accepting who they are – and where they are in life – has such a beautiful fragrance about it! Everyone is on a journey of their own, and everyone needs as much love and encouragement as possible! It is a win-win because we can strengthen and inspire others and retain our own inner tranquillity. Very pleasant!

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  7. Soooooo true! I even loved the title — a good question to ask!! What a wonderful reminder to accept each other in love! Great post!

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  8. Dear NJ, Thank you so much for your comments! It feels good to take life off of auto-pilot and look at people and events in fresh, new and inquisitive ways! It allows us to live more in the “here and now” and opens the door to new options. Every one of us is somewhere on his or her journey of life. We can be that breath of fresh air and drink of cool water to each other!

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  9. Mary Lu, Such a well thought out and written article, and so appropriate for all of us at this time of year. The 7 dwarfs was so humorous, and loving the “ideal” rather than the “real” is so true! This is real food for thought!! Thank you so much. We all want the holidays to be “perfect” but there is no such day on this earth. Perhaps accepting each for who he or she is will make it that much better for each of us!!

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  10. Dearest Margee, I am pleased the post spoke to your heart, and I thank you for sharing your wisdom! Just plain loving others is what we were created to do, and it keeps our own hearts and minds free and clean and clear to understand the bigger picture of life on earth! There is no fear in love, only light and joy. That makes joy possible every moment!

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  11. Mary Luise – Such a great post. I used to want to live in the Norman Rockwell paintings of this type because I loved the ideas that these paintings portrayed. But today I cannot ever get myself into those paintings because none of the other people in my world are perfect like me!!!!! LOLLLLLLL Actually, those paintings are such beautiful images but have led us to a society of thinking that everything is perfect. Families are the least perfect entity that I know of and to expect perfection can only lead to one thing – anger! Perfect families and perfect people are not going to happen! Just resigning myself to that fact helps me – thanks for your post, and I read your book over and over and even recommended it to others who love it!! THANK YOU!!!

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    • Dear KK, Thank you so much for your comments! Your sense of humor is delightful and sooo healthy! You made me laugh! Thanks also for sharing the book with others! I love encouraging others, and I love it when they encourage me! You encouraged me!

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  12. Mary L – this is a great point and exactly what I needed to hear about now. I am getting together with family this year and each year is more painful instead of getting better. I will follow your advice and love them for who they are. I will also try to be a little different this year, and hopefully we won’t upset each other. I would love to sit around the table and read parts of your book to them but we will see if they are open to it. Thanks for your wisdom – it can help anyone.

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  13. Thanks, Bob, for your reply! I think a lot of people can relate to you. I am hearing from you that your heart is willing to connect in a more kind and loving way with your family and that you are looking for paths that could make that happen. I am hoping that connection happens for you – and for them! Don’t ever give up! Many people are in bondage to their old habits, but good intentions keep many doors open!

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