“For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.” Ecclesiastes 9:4
I am troubled in my spirit by the lack of appreciation I see all around me. When we begin to fail at delivering even the most common of courtesies, we are sliding into a morass of complete ingratitude for everything we have been given. We fail to say “thank you” for something as simple as folks holding a door open for us. We fail to say “excuse me” when we walk between someone and an object of their fascination. We fail to show the most common of these courtesies to others and then feel we have the right to vent when someone is remiss in fawning over our token acts of kindness.
I went to the store a while back and on the right side of the isle-way stood a woman, a teenager and a cart piled high with items to purchase. The item I needed was directly in front of where they had stopped. They were checking out some items on the left side of the isle but still standing on the right side of said isle. I waited for some of the traffic to clear and then moved around them. As I walked in front of them, I said “Excuse me.” The teenager asked the adult woman why I said excuse me. The woman’s response? “Apparently, she still knows her manners. I sure wish you did.”
My mother was very strict when it came to teaching me to mind my manners. She taught me manners in word and in deed. She talked the talk and she walked the walk. I do not recall one time when my mother was rude to anyone. I have tried to instill manners into my children and their children through the same method. Walk it while you talk it.
I have a “friend” whom I tried to help one time. She could not get any traction for her career dreams and from what I could see, she seemed continually frustrated. I made a suggestion to her, something she might want to check out, but also admonished her to talk to others who had followed the same path before making a final decision. Since the moment she made her decision and followed her path, she has been unhappy with her choice. Apparently, things have not gone the way she imagined they would go. I have been maligned over and over and the past few days and been at my wit’s end to put a stop to the constant gouging at my heart.
I have considered walking away from her on a daily basis, because the relationship at it’s best was not worth this pain. I have had to develop tunnel vision and avoid all the places she “hangs out”. Every single time I have tried to pursue something beneficial for my own development, she has been there to point a finger and cause more pain. I have apologized for ever bringing up any possible avenue to her and have no idea what more could be expected. I have been consumed with what the future of this relationship, and I use that term with reservation, may bring.
Ecclesiastes is an amazing book filled with bits of wisdom. Ecclesiastes 3 talks about the appointed times of our lives. There is literally a time for everything. Even in reconciling the smallest decisions we have made, we must consider that God’s hand was in the action. If we put HIM first in our lives, we trust that all things pass through HIS hands before they touch our lives. HE is perfect and HIS timing is perfect.
For now, I am in a time of refraining. I am to take no action. I must stand still and wait on God to make clear when the time of refraining has passed. I cannot help but ask HIM how long must I wait. I enjoy hanging out with some of my friends on facebook, but it is nearly impossible to even go there right now. Though I have had an intense headache for days and pretty much want to sleep most of the time, this break has given me a lot of time for introspection and to work on my latest book.
I spent years in tremendous emotional pain when I was younger which left a huge vacuum in my heart. Then I learned gratitude and how to experience it rather than just expressing the feeling. I learned to let go and move on. If I could teach one person just one thing, I would attempt to teach them how to actually feel gratitude. Even when moments in life are perceived as bad we can pull all the emotion away from it and examine the incidents for what they were and find something good on which to focus our attention.
There is an old proverb first attributed to John Ray. “A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.” That proverb is very similar to the proverb in Ecclesiastes 9. “A living dog is better than a dead lion.” If we could but learn to appreciate all the moments, be they all we dreamed of or so insignificant we forget them, be they joyous or painful, we would learn the beauty of contentment and waiting for the Lord’s plans for our lives. We would no longer have to play the blame game. We could be at peace knowing all things are in HIS hands and will come to us in HIS timing.
“For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.” Ecclesiastes 9:4. Learning to be grateful for what we have and where we are brings hope for the future.
“Show me your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.” Psalm 25:4