Saturday, May 25, 2013

What We Can Learn From a 7 Year Old

Sophia paints Evan's face

Yesterday, my neighbor Lorie pulled me aside and asked if my son Evan had told me about the bench.
“No, what bench?” I asked.
“The bench in front of my house that he broke,” she replied.
Uh-oh, I thought.
She continued, “Evan knocked on my door and he said ‘Miss Lorie,  I was riding my scooter too fast and I couldn’t stop in time,” He pointed to the bench in front of her house, “and …I crashed into your bench and broke it. I’m sorry.”
At that moment, she said, his little friend Sophia piped in, “That’s called integrity.”
Lorie was so tickled by the two of them that she wasn't mad at all.
Today, Troy took Evan next door to teach him how to fix a bench.

Integrity is something taught in Evan and Sophia’s second grade class, and yet it’s rare to find that quality in adults.

Ghandi famously said, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” If that is true, then integrity equals happiness.

Living without integrity may very well be that the reason happiness eludes so many of us.

Are you living with integrity?

Do you take responsibility for your own actions?
Are you impeccable with your word, both to others and yourself?
Do you make promises (to yourself and others) that you don’t keep?
Do you gossip and talk bad about others (but smile to their face)?
Do you blame others for your unhappiness?

If you want to be happy, try taking a lesson from a seven year old. As Sophia said- it’s called integrity.

So's child's play.
Evan and Sophia with Snowcone tongues

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Best Days of Your Life

The first moment reuniting with Ayumu at the airport

Today is May 18th. It's early morning and my grandson Ayumu is at the kitchen table doing a puzzle with my son Evan. And what is extraordinary about this? My daughter in law and grandson had return tickets to Japan yesterday.

They are staying, at least for now, while she works on renewing her green card. For those who have been following my blog for a while, you know this is a miracle that I have prayed for steadily for a year and a half (the backstory is here).

A year ago, I was so deep in grief over losing my grandson, it was nearly impossible for me to see today as a possibility. This is the point of my blog today. Sometimes when we are mired in a problem, we can't imagine a positive solution exists. But we have to remind ourselves that when the sun is hidden behind the clouds, it doesn't cease to exist. We just can't see it for a while. There is truth in the old saying, everything will be okay in the end. If it isn't okay, it isn't the end.

I don't mean to minimize the validity of anyone else's hardship. There are deep and painful experiences that we all endure at some point in our lives. Death, illness, loss. I've been there. These things weigh heavy on us, change us forever. But even when we are drowning, there is a shore somewhere. If we don't give up, we will get there eventually.

One thing I know for sure- to be happy, I have had to move out of fear and into faith. I've had to give up my negative thinking and open myself to possibility. I have had to pray like crazy, and believe. And never has there been a downside to this.

The truth is that no matter how bleak a situation may be at the time, some of the greatest experiences in our lives haven't even happened yet. I could not have imagined my grandson at my kitchen table doing a puzzle on May 18th. When I think back, ten years ago I could not have imagined becoming a mom again in my 40s, and having a grandson. Think back to ten or twenty years ago in your own life. Could you ever have imagined some of the beautiful things that have happened since? Life is so full of possibility.

And here is another possibility to ponder:  Some of the best days of your life still lie ahead. Isn't that a beautiful thought?
My son Taylor with his son Ayumu, my son Evan, and our Ben, enjoying a sweet moment.