Saturday, July 17, 2010

Who Are You?

We have all heard the stories about “so and so” being such a nice person – polite, sensitive, compassionate, helpful – just the perfect gentleman or lady. Mostly we hear these comments about this person from co-workers, friends or neighbors.

Unfortunately, all too often, when in counseling, I speak to the wife or husband of this “angelic” person and the opposite characteristic or behavior is described. The complaints range from impatience, sarcasm, selfishness, rudeness, short of temper, and in some cases, vulgar and nasty.

It appears there are two personalities contained within the one body. Is this a rare situation? No, I hear these complaints quite often.

An example: “He is willing to help the neighbor in moving a heavy piece of furniture, but I can’t get him to take the garbage out the door.” Or “his/her friend needs to talk, and he/she listens for hours, BUT I can’t get five minutes of attention."

The complaints and comparisons would fill up page after page if I listed all of them. The question always asked is, “Why can he/she not treat me the way he/she treats others? This is not the way I was treated before we got married.”

I get really concerned when after a while this type of behavior effects not only the couple, but is witnessed by the children and has a tremendous effect on them. Is this how married life is? How many of you have a split personality? Are you aware of the person who leaves the house, and then the person who enters the house? Are you one of those people who is possibly beginning to take their partner for granted?

I have recently witnessed a couple up close for the past three days with these exact symptoms and problems. If you meet both of them casually, or even in the workplace, believe me, they are very polite, helpful, and compassionate people. Yet, after 10 years of marriage they have lost the sensitivity towards each other, which of course has lead to a lack of respect for each other. All too easily they disperse sarcastic statements to each other, are short tempered, and in some instances rude to each other.

I know they love each other, BUT there is a quality of love. And, I don’t see the quality of love when they got married so many years ago. What happened? When I inquired, the excuses were “different work shifts, no time for each other, too many credit cards and outstanding debts,”… and the list goes on.

Are these really justifications? … Of course not! I have seen this same behavior in elderly couples and senior couples that have been together over half their lives. There seems to be a complacency setting in which has built up over the past years.

As you know, being aware of these behaviors allows one to take stock; however, the deliberate efforts to change must go far beyond simple recognition.

I would like to hope that none of the couples I have married have entered this phase as of yet. Be aware when you enter your home and see your family that you show them, not just the same respect, sensitivity and compassion, but rather ten times more because they ARE YOUR LIFE! … and why would you hurt your own life?

This is something to think about ….

While thinking about it, allow me to share a poem from A.L. Alexander’s book, Poems that Touch the Heart. This a keeper. Store it in a folder and visit it often. Love…Elisheva

The Tone of Voice
It’s not so much what you say
As the manner in which you say it;
It’s not so much the language you use
As the tone in which you convey it;

“Come here!” I sharply said,
And the child cowered and wept.
“Come here,” I said –
He looked and smiled
And straight to my lap he crept.

Words may be mild and fair
And the tone may pierce like a dart;
Words may be soft as the summer air
But the tone may break my heart;

For words come from the mind
Grow by study and art –
But tone leaps from the inner self
Revealing the state of the heart.

Whether you know it or not,
Whether you mean or care,
Gentleness, kindness, love and hate,
Envy, anger, are there.
Then, would you quarrels avoid
And peace and love rejoice?
Keep anger not only out of your words-
Keep it out of your voice.

Author Unknown

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Tears

Some of you may be familiar with the TV series “The Golden Girls.” One of the characters is Sophia, the mother of Dorothy. Sophia is an immigrant to this country from Sicily.

When Sophia tells a story, the opening is always, “Picture this … Sicily 1920 …. “ Now, I am asking you to picture this:

A beautiful Saturday late afternoon in the month of June 2010. The scene is a lovely garden setting, beautifully decorated for an elegant wedding. The guests are of all ages and appropriately attired. The groom is handsome, trying to contain his nervousness standing there awaiting the arrival of his bride. The bride, looking like a goddess, radiating beauty and love. A Mona Lisa-like smile is upon her face; not too much, not to little – almost trance like.

After some opening remarks by the minister, the father places the bride’s hand into the hands of the groom, and takes his place next to his wife. Up to this point, everyone has displayed a spirited joyfulness.

So, why are there now tears flowing down the faces of the families and guests - even down the faces of our beautiful bride and handsome groom? It’s because the group has tapped into that well of “Happy Tears!”Those are the tears which are the pearls of the soul. Perhaps it’s that point where the smiles need a splash of added happiness, and behold, it’s a gusher and it’s contagious!

Later while preparing to leave, T. Wade was inside the house collecting our items for departure, when Abbey (age 5) came up to him while he was alone, pulled on his pants leg and asked very quietly, "Will you be my minister at my wedding?" Wade said he had to bite his lip to keep back his emotions, but assured her that he would make every effort to be present. He said the smile came quickly, but a deeper feeling was hiding with that happy little face which had just seen so much joy surrounding her. She wanted that joy in her future.

All tears are representative of some deep emotion. Some are summoned by painful, hurtful events. They come from a place of sadness. Thank God – some are flowing from our sense of the beautiful, the invigorating, the healing and the rejuvenating. They are coming from a place of happiness.

Happy tears are often seen on the faces of parents when their baby enters the world. I remember seeing young mothers weeping as they shared with friends and family the day their little one took that first step. I’m sure there are many more life experiences which create happy tears – tears of relief.

I would love to hear your stories of your happy tears. Take a moment and share with me.

Reverend Elisheva