“When we own our stories, we avoid being trapped as characters in stories someone else is telling.” - Brene’ Brown, clinical social worker, author, professor
If your friend writes a book about your life, what will it say? Then if you write your memoirs, how different will that book be compared to your
friend’s book about you? I think that the two books will have some similarities, and probably many differences. My hope is your book will have many happy moments, and minimal sad moments. Your story is still being written so own all your moments and write the best book you can.
“One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between man and nature shall not be broken.” - Leo Tolstoy
Are we dependent on nature, or is nature dependent on us? We take care of nature (defined as plants, animals, the landscape and all the other features of the earth and its products - anything that is not made by humans). In turn, nature provides us the resources to meet our basic, and not so basic, needs. We take care of our environment so nature and we can thrive. The link between humans and nature is vital for our happiness.
"First steps are always the hardest but until they are taken the notion of progress remains only a notion and not an accomplishment." - Aberjhani, American historian, columnist, novelist, poet, artist, and editor born in 1957 in Savannah, GA.
At first, I was thinking about the reopening of our congregation's services. We are taking the first steps toward having all members and friends come to our services on Sunday mornings. There was a lot of discussion, planning and work to get to the first service. We continue to evaluate our next steps for improving the next in-person services. Our accomplishment will be when we can all meet safely together in person.
Also, this quote has meaning in all our lives. We need to take the hard first steps to accomplishing our goals, no matter what they are. From this, we will know more personal happiness.
"The true secret of happiness lies in the taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life." - William Morris, British textile designer, poet, novelist, translator and socialist activist associated with the British Arts and Crafts Movement. (1834-1836)
I typed in the quote, and autocorrect wanted me to change "lies in the taking" to "lies in taking". I propose that "the taking a genuine interest" is very important. The more that we take possession and become aware of what we are doing and are thinking each day, the more we can enjoy the moments that make us happy. Hopefully on the other hand, we can eliminate or at least spend much less time on those moments which do not bring us the happiness we all deserve.
For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
This is putting our emotions in perspective. We all get angry from time to time. My hope is that we feel the anger, we deal with the anger, do what we need to do, and then move on to happiness. The more time we dwell on being angry, the less time we have for happiness. I think we all know happiness can cure a lot of ills, so lets hope we all feel much joy in our lives.
"Love is active, not passive. It is our love for one another, for Mother Earth, for our fellow creatures that compels us to act on their behalf." - Laurence Overmire, author of The One Idea That Saves The World: A Call to Conscience and A Call To Action
On Sunday Dr. Neal Jones spoke to us about taking responsibility for our environment out of love, not out of fear. Isn't that how we should live our lives, not just for our environment but for ourselves, our families, our friends, our community, our world? I suggest we would feel better about our day-to-day life if most, or all our actions were done out of love, not out of fear. We may not succeed in achieving all of our goals, but we will know that what we did was done with love and came from a good place.
“As I walked out the door towards my freedom, I knew that if I did not leave all the anger, hatred and bitterness behind that I would still be in prison.” - Nelson Mandela
Many people feel anger, hatred and bitterness towards other people, their situation, a missed opportunity, you name it. I’m also sure we all know how liberated we feel when we let those feelings go. Reverend Charlie Tyler spoke about Lee Horton who spent 25 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Lee was recently released, and he now speaks about the jubilation he feels just walking down the street. My hope is that we all feel that jubilation. We will continue to walk away from our bitterness, and enjoy ourselves and our relationships with each other.
“Writing free verse is like playing tennis with the net down.” - Robert Frost
Recently the net in our lives is very high. COVID has separated us physically. Social issues have separated us from some neighbors, friends and family emotionally and intellectually. The past year has taught many of us just how nice it is to be on a court with a very low net. Our congregation offers us the place to enjoy life with the net down, and that feels so good.
“May we think of freedom not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.” - Peter Marshall, Presbyterian Minister, appointed Chaplain of the United States Senate (1946-1947). (1902-1947)
Recently, people’s freedom has been a hot topic. The beauty of our congregation is that we see freedom as the opportunity to do what is right. We wear masks to protect ourselves and others, we actively volunteer to help others, and we stand up for the rights of people just to name a few of our pursuits. We continue to work for freedom for all so they have the opportunity to do what is right.
“When someone you love becomes a memory, that memory becomes a treasure.” - Unknown
This is beautiful. We all have good memories of the people that have touched our lives, and in those memories we have many treasures. As life goes on, we learn that the very best moments come when we treat each other with love, respect and dignity - up to the very end. I hope we continue to create and cherish these new memories, and find joy in knowing that no one can take any of the treasures we have collected. They are priceless.