No Where Else To Go

IMG_0234I’ve spent a lot of time home alone with Jon the last fifteen years. But this ‘home alone’ is entirely new territory. Mike’s physical presence missing in this house is tangible. Knowing he will never walk through the door again is haunting. It’s just me and Jon now.

I have no idea what our future looks like without Mike here. We depended on him greatly. He was fiercely loyal, responsible, a get it done kind of guy you could lean on. It’s hard getting up in the morning and going to bed at night without him. The days ahead seem long and dismal.

Everyone around me tells me I’m doing good. I don’t know what they are seeing. Nothing seems good or right in this. I don’t feel ‘good’. The initial shock and numbness of Mike’s sudden death is wearing off and the reality of doing life alone, without him in it, is settling in heavily. I wear it constantly, like a thick coat in a hot desert place.

Yet in my constant sorrow, there is no struggle to trust God. So much I don’t understand but I have not once blamed Him for any of it. There’s no where else to go but to Him, so why would I push Him away? Why would I turn my back on Him? And knowing Mike is with Him gives me hope.

I proclaim as did the disciple Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You alone have the words of eternal life” John 6:68.

All the hard places in my life have taught me God can be trusted. This one is the highest level of learning so far. Leaning. Reaching. Longing for my Heavenly Father to fill me up with more of Himself. There’s no where else to go. But to Him.

So here I am Lord. The sun has risen again and I’m living another day you’ve given without my husband at my side. I surrender it to you. I surrender me to you. I surrender Jon to you.

I have no answers. So much I don’t know.

But of this I am certain: TODAY we are Yours.

Roller Coaster Ride

IMG_0232Most of us have experienced sorrow  in our lifetime. I certainly have. A child born with a disability. An illness that stoled my ability to do certain things. My grandmother and my parents when they died. A brother who has struggled with mental illness most of his life. Dreams that haven’t come true. Loss of friendship. Circumstances that took me down paths I never planned on.

This current grief has taken me to an entirely new level, like nothing I’ve ever faced before. It is complicated. And messy. And confusing. It takes my breath away. Makes my heart feel like a rock inside my chest and haunts me with thoughts of packing a bag and fleeing to outrun it. It wakes me up in the night, fills me with dread, fear and tidal waves of sobbing I never knew were humanely possible.

I never would have suspected anger to be part of grief. This emotion has surprised me the most. It sneaks up on me at the most inopportune moments and is triggered by ridiculous things. Like struggling to open a jar that I would normally hand to Mike and when the lid won’t budge I’m overwhelmed by a sudden urge to throw it across the room.

I don’t know how many times in the past few weeks, I’ve said out loud to my missing man, “So where are you when I need you? Sure, you’re prancing around on streets of gold having the time of your life and I’m stuck down here with all this mess! Thanks a lot for leaving me!”

I’ve found myself angry for having to do all the things he usually did. Taking the trash to the roadside on Tuesday nights. Dealing with the hurricane roof that needs to be replaced. The endless amounts of paperwork and phone calls and cleaning the pool.

Most people hate pool maintenance but Mike liked it. Maybe because It’s mindless work. He used his brain so much overseeing the finances of entire organizations and managing people that cleaning tranquil water had a relaxing effect on him. Almost every night after work, he’d come home, change his clothes and go scoop out the pool. In the hot summer months he’d clean it while he was in it.

The disadvantage of having a garden inside your pool screen is the leaf debris that ends up in the pool. Last week after a windy rain, I went to scoop leaves and floating flowers out of the water. The scoop pole is long and awkward, I kept smacking the screen frame and kitchen windows with it and it took me longer than I expected. Debris I just picked up would escape the net and I was getting frustrated. Mike always made it look so easy.

I finally finished, slammed the pole back onto the hooks where it hangs and yelled up at the sky, “There! I cleaned the stupid pool! I did YOUR job and it looks nice! Aren’t you proud of me?!” Then I went back in the house and slammed the door. One minute later I was sobbing.

It’s so confusing, this grief. While I’ve considered myself to a pretty stable person, the roller coaster I’m on right now surprises me with twists and turns I don’t see coming until I’m in them. I don’t like roller coasters. They fill me with fear and make me sick. I avoid them. But it seems I’ll have to ride this one out for a while.

I do know God is in the seat next to me and He’s not surprised by any of it. He know’s I’m flesh. I’m week, flawed and tired and  He doesn’t add guilt or condemnation on top of anything I feel right now. And I’ve lived long enough to know feelings are only reactions to stuff we don’t want, like or understand. They are the like mist rising off my pool on a cool Florida morning. Ascending, dissipating and rising again while the water remains, solid and steadfast underneath.

I miss my Mike with everything in me and my tipsy, flimsy faith, reaches for the Solid One who undergirds me in all of life. God has been and always will be the constant who provides an anchor point where my faith and reality collide. This roller coaster will come to a stop and eventually I’ll get off and say, “Whew, what a horrible ride. But I made it.”

Looking forward to that. A lot. I’m honestly admitting I don’t like where I am right now but when “I walk through valleys as dark as death…the Lord is with me” (Psalm 23:4). He’s with me in the anger, the sorrow, the sobbing, the confusion and even brief moments of joy. He’s bigger than my emotions and greater than my circumstance.

He is my God. He weeps with me, loves me and isn’t freaked out by anything I feel or how I react to this new normal I’m adjusting too. I trust Him to carry me through this process and bring me out on the other side because “[my] Maker is [my] husband: the Lord Almighty is His name. He is [my] redeemer. He is called the God of all the earth” Isaiah 54:5.

Fighting The Good Fight

IMG_0858David and I brought Mike home in a 3X6 box yesterday. For now he is resting on the top shelf of the closet we shared covered in that silly Panama Jack hat he liked in Seaworld’s gift shop. Forty two years of a life together and when it’s done you’re handed a box. Talk about putting things in perspective!

My son and I sat in the car and cried together, feeling as if we’re living the book of Ecclesiastes right now. The things of Earth have become extremely dim and eternity seems very near.  Nothing here matters In this moment; not our homes, our cars, food, money, the long, long, long to do list, or even David’s soon to be published book. I admit, I’m saddened the death of his father has stolen David’s excitement for his accomplishment.

“Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?” Ecclesiastes 1:1.

Heaven is near and reminding us of what really matters. Obviously we must continue living and find provision for our journey here, but all of that is far less important than knowing the Father Heart of God and loving people.

Whatever time remains for us, we will continue honoring Mike’s legacy by doing just that, until it is our turn to proclaim:

“ I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing,” 2 Timothy 4:7-8.

Welcome home, Michael Connis!

What REALLY Matters

IMG_0572Mike’s first job was a newspaper route, trudging through snow, dodging rain, walking the streets where he and I lived as neighbors in upstate New York, As a kid, I remember seeing him walk past our house with a loaded newspaper sack over his shoulder, each paper removed quickly from the bag, efficiently folded into a tight missile and hurled from the sidewalk into doorways and onto front steps. He saved the money he made and bought a motorcycle, his first ride, when he was finally old enough to drive.

He never stopped working after that. When we were first married money was tight, as it is for most couples starting out. Mike took a second job delivering newspapers but now had me to assist. We’d get up at 3 AM every morning. Yawning and blurry eyed, I asked him “Why so early?” He replied, “I guess people like to read the paper with breakfast.”

He taught me how to fold a newspaper into a threefold locked and loaded missile and he’d fire them from the open window of our 1967 Chevy Impala into doorways and and onto front steps. He rarely missed.

Every employer Mike worked for through the years, moved him quickly into a management position. They saw the same diligence in him I did. My husband was always a hard worker and wise money manager. I never had to worry there wouldn’t be a roof over head, food on the table, a car to drive, clothes to wear.

If there was such a thing as a Proverbs 31 man, he fit the description perfectly. He was a Superman provider. He took care of everyone he loved, mostly at his own neglect.

I can’t stop thinking about how he left me several weeks ago. They handed me back his wedding ring and the few items in his pockets and took him away with nothing but the clothes on his back. Every material thing he worked for, our home furnished with craigslist.com bargain treasures, two cars in the driveway, a closet full of clothes, all of it, left behind. He took none of it with him.

There are moments in life that create a seismic shift in priorities and this is one of them. While I’m grateful for a home and the things needed to live on this planet, I’m acutely aware of what matters most.

Jesus summed it up in Luke 10:27, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself.”

In the midst of all his hard work, Mike loved his Heavenly Daddy fiercely and he cared deeply for people. His most recent sermon, preached several months ago, was titled, ‘People Matter,’ and many are now calling, writing or stopping to tell me how he touched their life. Everywhere we lived and everywhere he worked, he made a positive difference.

When the last breath leaves your lungs, when all is said and done, the only thing you take with you is the spirit God placed within you and the impact of the people your life has touched. If we are meant to invest in anything between birth and death, it is these.

If you don’t have a personal relationship with God, get one. Now! He has waited since eternity to love you. He wants you with Him when you leave here. So did Mike. So do I.

And every morning when you greet a new sunrise, be intentional in positively impacting every person who enters your day. Lift a life. Love them right where they are and show them they are valued.

Because in the end this is the conclusion of the matter.

This is the ONLY thing that counts.

The Final Vow

IMG_0011The first two promises Mike and I made to one another weren’t always easy to keep. We laughed, cried, fought, rejoiced, struggled, walked together and at times, far apart through “for better, for worse. In sickness and in health.”

Many years ago we stood at an altar and repeated, “Until death do us part.” I was a young, starry eyed, romantic, full of warm, fuzzy dreams of how my life would play out with the guy I loved. Those five words, stated so innocently, so glibly have now come full circle.

“Until death do us part.”

Forty two years later I’m experiencing the final vow. This one I get to keep without Mike by my side. That’s how it usually works. After decades of sloshing through the history of our life, one of us got to go. One got to stay.

“Until death do us part.”

My covenant promises to Michael Connis ended abruptly a few weeks ago. The last vow has been fulfilled. The stark, harsh reality of it has left me reeling, gasping, longing.

But the living of it in between the “I Do” and this parting, I will never regret.

The combining of two bodies, souls and spirits is a most wonderful, difficult thing. If you’re still privileged to be living between the first two vows and the last one – BE. ALL. IN.

Love ferociously. Struggle determinedly. Give it all ya’ got until the final vow comes calling.

In the deep grief of a broken heart and the loneliness of long, sleepless nights there will be a spark of joy in realizing you kept the promises.

And it was worth it!

Matthew 19:6 “So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Mashed Potato Grief

IMG_0215I’ve gone to the grocery store almost every week in my forty two years of marriage and family raising. Multiplying fifty two weeks in a year by forty two years equates to two thousand one hundred and eighty four times. Other than a parking lot ding on my car’s bumper, an occasional broken jar, squished peach or the bottom falling out of a full bag, it has been a nondescript task.

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017, I came home from the grocery store to find my husband dead in the front yard. There is absolutely nothing nondescript about that and I’m not sure I’ll ever look at buying groceries the same again.

Mike’s last words to me were, “I’ll see you when you get back.”

He didn’t.

Now I attempt to navigate from here. The shared weight of responsibility Mike carried for Jon has been added entirely to me. It is heavy. I feel as if I’m suffocating right now. I’m hanging on to Jesus like the leaf of a tree in a hurricane.

I see and feel the concern, love and prayers of those around us and am incredibly grateful to all who are rallying around me and Jon. But I’ve noticed the frequently asked question seems to be, “How are you doing?” So I’m feeling the need to explain to those who have yet to experience this particular type of storm, the difficult answer to this question.

Quite honestly, I don’t even know how I’m doing. There is no answer.

However, an attempt to put it into words might go like this. I am a bucket of mashed potatoes. I have been picked, peeled, quartered, boiled, whipped, shoved through a sieve for extra fine-ness and tossed onto Florida’s Interstate 4 at rush hour to be run over by three hundred vehicles a minute.

For the unforeseeable future, my answer to the ‘how you doing’ question will be “Mashed Potatoes and God is still good!”

Just have a spatula to peel me off the pavement and a little salt and butter when you see me. I’m hoping these mashed potatoes will eventually be able to feed a hurting, desperate soul somewhere on the interstate of life.

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

When Love Isn’t Easy

IMG_0201“How do you do it? That’s hard.” This is the reaction I usually get when people ask me what I do. When told I’m the full time caregiver for my son, Jon, and I can’t leave my house unless someone replaces me, the common response is, “I couldn’t do it.”

What? Of course you could. That’s your child. You’re telling me you wouldn’t do whatever was necessary to take care of your child? Hard or not?

Whoever said love is easy?

Most songs written about love are suspended in the infatuation phase, the dreamy, it’s all about how it makes me feel beginnings or the, this ain’t working and I’m outa’ here endings. Not too many start in the middle, where follow through, determination, faithfulness and plodding reside.

Love can feel scratchy as a tag in the neck of a new shirt or painful as open heart surgery. Love is often messy. Complicated. Gritty. It’s sacrificial action, not just starry eyed feelings. It’s giving up much of yourself without giving up on another. It’s relinquishing your desires for the well being of someone else, even and especially when you get very little in return.

Sometimes it IS just plain hard.

I took Jon back to the sedation dentist the other day. This guy who ignores me half the time and rarely lets me touch him, hugged me long and hard before he went down and out in that chair. He was afraid. Needed reassurance. He held on tight ’cause when life gets tough and scary, he knows who’s there for him. He knows who loves him, who sacrifices for him, who would do whatever it takes to assure his well being.

Yet, I’m aware of a love far greater than mine could ever be.

For God so loved the world that he gave..(John 3:16). This is how we know what love is, Jesus Christ laid down His life..(1 John 3:16).

Love nailed Jesus to the cross, not people. His painful, bloody, horrific love, went all in.

..he [Jesus] gave up all he had, and took the nature of a servant. He became like a human being and appeared in human likeness. He was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death—his death on the cross. Philippians 2:7-8

He didn’t choose the easy way. The comfort and sunshine path. The all-about-me road.

This love was hard as nails, thick as blood and strong as death.

How does 1John 3:16 continue? We too, then ought to lay down our lives for others. Ouch! That’s some tough stuff right there! I can’t produce sacrificial love in my own strength. My selfish humanity rebels against such a thing. I need more of Him. His grace. His transformative power. His love in me, poured out to others.

Be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:5

Real love isn’t easy or cheap. It isn’t free. True love costs everything.

The famous 1960’s song proclaimed, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love.”

Yes. It’s still true. But not more of ours. More of His!

You’re Crazy to Live Down There!

IMG_0190People tell me this, especially when a hurricane is coming. Folks north of us watch the weather and think we’re all nuts for living here. The Weather Channel has the entire state of Florida breaking off, floating out to sea and everyone dead by Monday.

You have to remember the weather people in Florida love hurricanes. They wake up excited because they actually have something to report besides, “Well, it’s another sunny day in Orlando. Highs will be in the 80’s and lows in the 60’s. Great day to go to the beach. Tomorrow too. And the day after that. And the one after that. And next month. And for the next year..” (Yawn).

Hurricanes need to be taken seriously of course. They’re dangerous, and Irma barreling down on us as I write this, is nothing to laugh at. But every place has something. Fires in the mid-west and northeast. Earthquakes and mudslides in California. Tornados in the plains. Blizzards up north. The planet seems bent on keeping us on our toes.

We grew up in upstate NY. The remnants of Hurricane Agnes came through in 1972 when I was 17 years old. Torrential rain fell for days and the Chemung River overflowed it’s banks. Half of my home town was destroyed in that flood. Proof you don’t need a tropical climate to be in danger.

Other than the four years we lived in Portland, Oregon, where it was gloomy and rainy, like a London fog, from fall till spring, we spent many years in New England. Mostly New Hampshire with a short stint in Maine. I loved New England. It’s a great place to raise a family, beautiful mountains, lush landscapes, quaint towns, awesome people and of course, Autumn, when the leaves put on their color show and apples are pulled right off the trees, juicy and sweet.

But then comes winter to ruin everything! I froze my tush off nine months out of twelve, shoveled snow and chopped ice until my back hurt and fingers were numb. Bought truckloads in rock salt and sand so I could walk outside without slipping on a patch of ice and cracking my head open, then spent the other half of the winter sweeping the same salt and sand out of my house and garage.

I’d go grocery shopping on a January day and get shopping cart wheels stuck in six inches of slush. And holding that icicle cold nozzle while pumping gas sent waves of pain all the way up my arm to my eyebrows. It’s like a brain freeze for your upper body. Some winter days I’d open the front door and a blast of demonic cold air sucked the breath right out of my lungs and pinched my nostrils together until they defrosted thirty minutes later.

Then there was the constant pile of snowy boots, mittens, coats, scarves and snowsuits dripping by the kitchen door. It smelled like a wet dog died in the house and someone forgot to bury him.

And don’t even mention the snow banks so high I could barely see my neighbor’s house across the street. Or, yeah, the ice storms, coating the world in a winter wonderland of treachery and taking the power down with it, so I wore three layers of clothes under six blankets and refused to get out of bed until someone turned the heat back on, days later.

Last year 450 car crashes happen because of ice and snow conditions just in Minnesota. Sixteen people died in a March, 2017 winter blast that extended from the northernmost midwest states to the northeast states. It was so cold in December 2013 and January 2014, 33 people died and it cost 5 billion dollars in damages.

Is there any perfect place to live? Maybe we’re all crazy to live anywhere!

Irma will be my sixth hurricane since moving to Florida, seventeen years ago, and I’ve been calling myself a Florida wimp for quit some time now. Hmmm….hurricanes, snakes, gators, creepy crawling critters, fire ants and humidity so high in the summer, it makes you sweat just looking outside from your air conditioned window? Maybe wimps don’t live down here. Maybe we’re a tougher bunch than we think. Maybe Florida ain’t for sissies after all.

What I do know is while my friends up north are shivering and shoveling, in a few months, I’ll be sitting on the pool deck having breakfast and picking fresh veggies out my garden.

Guess we all get to pick what we’ll put up with in this life. As for me, if it’s my time to exit, I’d rather blow away warm and shouting “Glory!” in a hurricane than freeze to death, shivering in a snow bank. If that makes me crazy, then I guess I am.

Gotta’ go toughen up some more, so I’ll talk to you all soon. On the other side of Irma.

https://weather.com/storms/winter/news/winter-storm-season-so-far-january-2017
https://weather.com/storms/winter/news/snow-winter-storm-stella-news-updates
https://www.scribd.com/mobile/document/201347851/2013-2014-North-American-Cold-Wave

Why I Switched..

..to a mostly organic lifestyle.

IMG_0189In 1980 two life changing events took place. Our first child was born with Down syndrome and I was diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis. The next twenty years of my life were all about conventional treatments: drugs, shots, surgery, drugs, shots, more drugs and drugs for the drugs.

In spite of all these ‘interventions’ my joints were on fire, cushioning between bones disappeared, tendons shifted, fingers and toes drifted out of place, neck bones began to shift and constant headaches radiated from the back of my head across the front. There were days it killed to comb my hair, button my shirt, hold a pen. Simple tasks became monumental. Pain dominated my life. Shoulders. Elbows. Ribs. Jaws. Anywhere bone met bone, pain and swelling existed. I cried a lot. I was angry a lot. I felt hopeless. A lot.

In the year 2000 we moved from New England to Florida. The sun and year round warm temperatures helped, but I was waking up to the idea that doing the same thing and getting the same results seemed stupid. I wanted to live long, especially for my son who will always need me. I needed to be healthy. What I’d been doing barely managed symptoms and I was afraid for the future if I continued down this road.

So I prayed. I asked God to help me. To show me what I was missing. What I didn’t know. A friend made an appointment for me at her chiropractor’s office and there I began to learn what the body needs to heal itself, to stay healthy. I started to exercise (carefully), cut many inflammatory foods out of my diet and had gradual success. I’ve been off all medications since 2005 and have learned I can live just fine without fast food, processed food, sugar, dairy and excess meat consumption.

Then in 2011, I started having reoccurring episodes of hives and rashes. Urticaria hives, an auto-immune condition, are large marble to golf ball size bumps that rotated around my body to any spot they chose. I could have one or ten of them at in a time in varying locations. They burned, itched and swelled my skin to uncomfortable tightness and would last 24-48 hours before vanishing. Then more would appear. Misery! I drove myself to the emergency room one night because I thought my throat was closing up. I had hives in my throat. The doctors didn’t know what was wrong with me and prescribed steroids.

Tiny, burning, itchy cluster bumps began popping up on my ankles, legs, arms and around my nose and mouth. I went to my primary care doctor and was sent to a dermatologist and an allergist. The dermatologist gave me steroid cream. The allergist ran all the typical allergy tests. Everything came back normal. When I went back for the follow up to discuss results he told me there was nothing he could do but give me steroids. He also told me I had about a 2% chance of finding the cause. By then I had totally lost faith in mainstream medicine. How can all these doctors not know the cause of so many chronic conditions? I thought they went to a zillion years of school to learn this stuff. I realized, once again, I was on my own. I’d have to figure it out for myself.

I began reading and researching and discovered how our food supply is being poisoned by large corporations. How the FDA, USDA, pharmaceutical giants, food corporations and chemical companies are in each other’s pockets. They do their own (not independent) short (not long) term safety studies then release demons into the food supply with no idea of long term intended or unintended consequences. They tell us everything is safe but the fox is guarding the hen house. Profit is more important than health!

I was eating all the right foods, fruit, vegetables, nut milks, lean meat and fish, but now I’m reading about gene splicing, genetically modified plants, toxins sprayed all over commercial farm fields and plants genetically implanted to withstand the pesticides sprayed on them. Wheat that’s sprayed with weed killer three days before harvest (gluten intolerance anyone?) and the animals who are fed GMO grains they’re not meant to eat in the first place (such as grass eating cows fed GMO corn and soy!) and then given antibiotics to keep them from getting sick from what they’re eating, not to mention the crowded living conditions of commercial stock farms. They’re given hormones to fatten up faster, probably so they can get to the slaughter house before they get sick! Then we eat the animals and the toxicity travels up the food chain.

The more I researched the more horrified I became! I realized my body was in rebellion against the toxic sludge it was ingesting, so I went on a total, organic only, plant only, eating experiment for three months. No cheating. And guess what, all the hives went away! After slowly introducing foods one at a time, back into my diet, I discovered I’m allergic to chemically grown foods. I made marinara sauce with GMO tomatoes and immediately got hives. Made the same sauce with organic tomatoes, no hives. I continued experimenting on myself until I was sure.

I remember asking many doctors through the years if what I was eating had anything to do with my chronic conditions. All of them said no. If only I’d known then what I know now. As long as I eat mostly organic, I’m inflammation, pain and hive free.

Is it expensive? Compared to misery, agony, and piles of medical bills? No. I’d rather forgo other unnecessary wants to have my health. If you see me wearing the same clothes over and over it’s because I’d rather spend money on good food.

Is it easy? Not at first. Old habits die hard. But the longer I do this the easier it is. It becomes a normal lifestyle after a while.

I’m sharing this for several reasons:

  • People need to know. We’re busy living our lives, trusting the government, medical community and those who are supposed to be smarter than us, but we can’t trust that anymore. We have to be aware, informed and educated. We have to take back our health and the health of our children. I don’t want my grandchildren or yours, to end up like me, years of misery and pain, crooked joints or worse, especially if it can be avoided by something as simple as what we put in our mouths. I want my family, friends, everyone I care about, to live long, healthy lives.
  • I post often about health awareness on social media. I am a living, self taught science experiment and this information is too important to keep to myself (those who are tired of it can unfriend me or call me crazy or tell me to go jump. I’m ok with that). If you have any chronic conditions from cancer to diabetes, I dare you to try it and see what happens. I’m not guaranteeing a total cure for all, but I’m certain of a large turn-around for many.
  • We can change the toxic stranglehold on the food supply with our buying power. If we all start buying more organic, if we all start demanding no GMO, pesticide and hormone soaked food, with our wallets, WE can change the grocery store shelves faster than those in Washington, DC, can even think about it. Supply and demand still talks in a capitalistic economy. We can make organic, toxic free food affordable for all.

Do yourself and your family a favor. Buy organic, non GMO as much as possible. As much as you can afford.

Eat For Health! It could save your life.

The New ‘Hater’ Speech

I have a fascination with words and how they evolve over time, how culture redefines them. Lately, as I scroll social media, read articles and hear news, the latest descriptive word is ‘Hater’.

IMG_0180“Your a Hater!”
“They’re Haters!”
“The Haters are here!”
“He/she’s a Hater troll!”
“Ignore the Haters!”

Here a Hater, there a Hater, everywhere a Hater, Hater!

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of hate is – a very strong feeling of dislike, intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury, extreme dislike or disgust : antipathy, loathing, to express or feel extreme enmity or active hostility.

Is it possible those who call other’s a ‘Hater’ aren’t themselves being one, just by this definition? I don’t know, but it’s something to think on.

It seems to me, the new cultural definition of the word Hate is – you disagree with me/us/them, therefore you hate. Have we really become this thin skinned and easily offended? It is possible to disagree with another’s opinion, beliefs or position and not hate them? I disagreed with my husband a few days ago, and last week and probably last month and probably last year and I still love him. Imagine that!

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of the word disagree – to have a different opinion, to fail to agree, to be different, to not be suitable for or pleasing to someone. Something/someone being different, not suitable or pleasing does not constitute hate, unless we choose to make it so.

There are some valid haters in the world. Obviously. There always has been. But when we start labeling everyone who doesn’t see things our way as a ‘Hater’, when we silence opposing views by mud slinging and name calling or worse, free speech, free thought and healthy debate are diminished if not extinguished. No compromise can be reached and no problem can be solved.

Unity is not uniformity. Unity in it’s simplest terms means we all desire the common good for ourselves, family, community, nation and world. How we get there is always up for debate. But we’ll never get anywhere if we can’t even talk about it.

Let’s put the ‘Hater’ speech aside and listen to each other. Try to see issues from another’s perspective. Then think on it, pray on it and be compassionate in our convictions.

Speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) does not include labeling and name calling. And if you disagree with me here, you are not a ‘Hater’. Just sayin’.

 

Romans 12:14-18. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.