"Do you ever notice that there are 'happy people' peppered throughout the world whom, I have no doubt, are put here for the purpose of lifting spirits as they go about their daily lives? They could be the tea lady in the office, the rural postman on his daily rounds or indeed a DJ on the radio. I like to think I have been blessed by them." ~Francis Brennan
We know well that not everyone is happy as we start this month of July and we know some who find it hard to put a smile on their face for many different reasons. We heard over the past few days that inflation is now at 9.6% across Ireland and many families have to deal with a dramatic increase in the cost of everything. If the pinch is being felt now, it will be a sharp bite when autumn returns. Let's be honest our weather has also been very poor and not great for holiday makers. The Covid story just won't go away either. It is important that we balance some of this bad news with some good news as well.
Thankfully we are blessed to know many people who touch our lives by their smile, their bubbly character, their sense of fun and energy and their positive upbeat approach to life. These people often don't realise what they bring to our lives and our world. But what they do bring is special and our lives would be all the darker without what they bring to us. They are in ways an outreach of God's care and love in our world. In a world where negativity so often dominates, we must all make a determined effort to bring some balance back in.
Are you one of these people? If you are thank you and keep doing what you do naturally. Do you know someone in your life who brings you a smile, keeps you going, gives you a lift when you need it and is someone who makes the world of a difference in your life? If you do count your blessings and if appropriate thank them and tell them so. We say a prayer for them too and ask God to bless the people in our lives who make today special. May they be blessed in their own lives and in everything they do. This week could also be an opportunity for you to be a blessing to someone else as well. It can be done quietly and without fuss. But your smile, your word of encouragement, your word of thanks, your call or text or you reaching out to help will be a beautiful blessing to someone else too.
'Let go of the desire to control. Let go of anger. Let go of shame. Let go of guilt. Let go of worries. Let go and let things follow their natural course. Let go of the need to use every second to the full. Let go of fear. Let go of tension. Let go of the need to be right. Let go of the need to be successful. Let go of the need to seem strong or know it all. Let go of the future you had charted out for yourself. Let go of the need to be the best. Let go of self rejection. Let go of the impulse to do more than can reasonably be done in the time available. Let go of regrets and disappointments. Let go of trying to change others. Let go of criticism. Let go of being harsh on yourselves and others. Let go of prejudices and biases. Let go of interfering.' ~Joe Armstrong (from Reality Magazine)
What a powerful reflection. Don't we carry so many unnecessary burdens with us each day. What can I let go of today?
'There's a disappointment and anger inside every one of us and unless we find it in ourselves to forgive, we will be bitter.' ~Ronald Rolheiser
The constant invitation throughout the Gospel stories is to allow life help us to become a better person and not a bitter person. It would seem that as we become older we increasingly become more resentful. That is why Jesus said we must become like little children. They have no hidden agendas and do not carry the resentments and hurts we tend to carry.
At times a needle of resentment can get stuck in the record of our lives and it keeps churning out the same old story. This story is always negative, critical and sarcastic. It drains us of vital energy and long term it is never good for our health. All the good and positive moments that make up our day simply get lost in this. Joan Chittister described it as an "acid that is poured on our souls eating away our peace within."
Forgiveness sees the wrong done but does not condone or brush it away. It has often been said God loves the sinner and but not the sin. Forgiveness allows us to let go of the resentment and begin to get on with our lives. What do you need to let go of in your life? Can you begin to let go of some resentment?