Dave and I are both a little sad as, even though we had found an amazing Episcopal church to attend in our neck of the woods (near us in the hill country of Texas), the head priest was just elected to be the Bishop of West Texas. So, he will no longer be our priest at our church, but his "net" will definitely be more widespread (which is truly a blessing for more people in Texas).
Dave and I feel strongly about the pull towards a church being based on a couple of really important criteria, to include: great music, a good vibe or feel from the congregation, and (most of all) a powerful message from the priest that resonates with us throughout each week following Sunday services. We know it's a good message if we find ourselves bringing it back up on Tuesday or Wednesday as we are walking the dogs to talk about it further, for example. Father David, whose final Sunday was last Sunday, talked quite a bit about saying "goodbye" and telling each other how we care about and love them. He made the joke (not really a joke because it is oh-so-true) about how Texans who live in the hill country often tell one another they love each other by saying, "Watch for deer". In the hill country, it is all too common to have deer dash out in front of your car during dawn and dusk hours. I have joked many times over the last couple of years of being back in Texas that I feel like the deer will literally stand right on the side of the road as we slow down (to allow them to cross), seemingly thinking, "It is so nice that these people are slowing down to say 'hello' to me". But then, when they don't move at all, we will begin to slowly begin driving again, only to have the deer (seemingly) say, "I have chosen right NOW to run into the middle of the street" just as we get going again. Wait...what?? We just gave you ample opportunity to cross (with or without several of your loved ones, babies, or group of best friends, by the way), but you just stood there and stared at us. NOW, you choose to run across the road?? Needless to say, we have had several very close calls with these beautiful creatures, and I would be sick if we hit one (although we have resigned ourselves to this likely being a "when" not just an "if" happening).
Father David reminded us that we have begun using that phrase "Watch for deer" to each other and other friends and family when one of us embarks on a journey that occurs around the dawn or dusk time period. It truly has, at times, replaced the common salutations "Goodbye", "Love you", or "See you later". We all know what we mean when we say "Watch for deer", as we know too many people who have either been injured or worse from hitting a deer in their vehicle or have simply been traumatized by hurting the deer themselves by hitting one. I think it might fall under PTHD (Post-Traumatic-Hitting-Deer), although I haven't experienced it....yet.
So, what does that mean to me today? It means that I am an extremely affectionate person, and I love to love other people in my life. I am personally one who says "I love you" quite a bit----so much so that Dave will often joke with me, saying, "Who don't you love? I think you tell everyone you love them". That is not true, by the way. I do not, in any way, shape, or form, feel I am diluting my message of love by using that three-word phrase as often and with as many people as I do. I t just so happens that I do, truly, love a lot of people, and for that, I am eternally grateful. My dear step-mom (I call her my bonus mom or just "friend" these days, but she was married to my dad for over 10 years many moons ago) said to me, not too long ago, "I love how much you show you care about the ones you love". I suppose that I wear that as a badge of honor (not that I have earned a badge; more that it shows that I am a lover not a fighter) instead of a fault, for sure. I believe that telling people how much they mean to me is a super-power. I do not get the least bit intimidated by doing that (kind of like it doesn't intimidate me or make me nervous to pray with or for people in public), even though I know a good many people who do.
There are so many ways people I know show their love for one another--- bringing flowers or other sweet gifts when they visit (or sending them if they are far away)---I'm pretty good with this, as well, but definitely not top-ranked in this activity as some of my friends and family are; doing acts of service for others (Dave will make his now-famous banana bread on the day I return from a work trip away from home, and I adore smelling the delicious scent of baked goods upon entering the house; he will also go fill up my car with gas or (better yet, even) wash my vehicle and try to get some of the Lab hair out of it (an activity that is truly not for the faint of heart); he has no problem cooking dinner while I am grading a batch of papers written by my graduate students or doctoral students, etc.); or hugging and holding hands (do you have a hand-holder in your life? You definitely know it if you have someone who is a toucher in your inner circle). I have experienced some people who are closer talkers than I am (think: Seinfeld episode that I have attached if you click on the "closer talkers" words). I simply have to maintain my boundaries if it bothers me. I have also experienced the lip-kissers (my theory is that kissing on the cheek or the forehead is lovely from and with people I am close to, but the only one I want to lip kiss with is Dave and our pups----sorry!), and that is a delicate move---trying to turn my head without offending the person. We each have our personal ways in which we say "I love you" or "I care about you", and we each have ways that don't resonate with us as well.
What is your preference or your go-to way of telling someone you deeply care about and love them? I'd love to hear some examples.
Just be sure to watch for deer, and please don't be offended if I wipe off my mouth if you try to (and almost succeed, because you caught me off-guard) lip-kiss me! :)
Dave and I just got back from Palm Sunday church service. Our Episcopal priest was recently chosen to be the new Bishop of West Texas, as the previous Bishop is retiring. We have two weeks left with Father David, and I, for one, have been pouting. Yep, I said it.....pouting.
We moved to Texas, we built our forever home, we found our church home, and our priest gets snatched up by the Diocese of West Texas. Poor me! Uggghhhh! Lent has been a time that has really made me think this year, more than many years in the past. Part of it is due to Dave and I taking on some new habits; part of it is due to sacrificing something (so miniscule on my part, it is definitely not worth mentioning); and part of it has been watching "The Chosen", a mini-series about the life of Jesus. It has really put this Easter season in perspective for us, and it makes me think about sacrifice, in general.
Dave has had to sacrifice many times for me, as my work takes me on trips around the globe. I jokingly say he has sacrificed a couple of times to come with me to the Virgin Islands for work (he never seemed to have a conflict with those particular dates), and he has had to sacrifice when I traveled to North Dakota (yes, his homeland) in the winter by staying home with the dogs (he seemed to have a conflict with those dates). But seriously, he does sacrifice when I am gone for work, because, while he is retired and he might go play golf, all of the daily chores of "life" are left to him. I absolutely love what I do, so it is a small sacrifice to be delayed by air travel or have to settle for a hotel room versus a suite (are you rolling your eyes yet? If not, you should be), but the truth of the matter is: sacrifice need only feel sacrificial if I choose to look at it that way. I have often heard, "Pain is inevitable; misery is optional". I think this is so true for so many of us. We will go through hard times, but we can still know peace if we choose it.
I talk with my graduate students and doctoral students a lot about sacrifice. All of my graduate students are going to become school leaders (either principals or superintendents or district personnel) and my doctoral students are giving up a couple of years to write a dissertation. The best school leaders I have ever known are the ones who are truly servant leaders and put students, teachers & staff, and families first. My first assistant superintendent, when I became principal, always reminded me that if we put the child in the center of the table of any discussion that is being held, we cannot go wrong. I think we can sometimes forget that when other "stuff" happens or seems to take priority. The 5% of the loudest voices take up 95% of our time....if we let them. Likewise, I think it's true that, in our own personal lives, we can let the 5% of crummy stuff that happens in our day take up 95% of the space in our heads. I have a choice, though. I can choose to put the ones who need my support the most in the forefront of my mind, not just the ones who scream the loudest. What voices do you listen to most in your own life and work? Being a servant or a servant leader means, for many, the ability to say, "My will may not be the most important one on the table right now." Even if I want it to be so, looking at the big picture might actually mean looking at the most vulnerable needs in front of me. Sounds a little bit like the Beatitudes from the Bible, if you ask me.
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
I am eternally grateful for all of the people in my life who have sacrificed for me, in order that I could get to a place in which I feel physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy. I pray that you feel the same way about those people in your life.
Just for today, perhaps consider reaching out to one or more of them and thanking them for their sacrifice.
Happy Communicating and (for those that celebrate it) Happy Holy Week!