Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Chilly Brrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Winter again. It is so cold out there. Over the weekend, it snowed but I didn't scrape my car off until this morning - we all drove the van, and it took me almost an hour to do so since the ice was frozen on under a layer of snow. Winter has become my season of dread because it involves having to do more - check the weather, warm up the vehicles, scrape them off, wear more layers and boots... All these other extra steps to add to my already overburdened shoulders.

I had to go out to an appointment that led me through a strip mall. I noticed a number of elderly men dropping off their wives at the doors of various stores. It made me think back to the days when my husband scraped the cars and filled them with gas. Such a blessing when there was another pair of hands to assist with chores and duties. I went on thinking that I sure hope these women realize how nice it is to get dropped off in front of a door, to have someone pay you attention with kind, meaningful gestures that make a task or duty a little easier. I always say that if I am fortunate enough to remarry and live with a husband again, I will be way more thankful for gestures such as this than I was with my husband. I pretty much took his filling the tanks for granted.

I feel in general that all of us need to be more kind, gentle and tolerant of others. We seem to be so quick to snap to judgments and to be right. I hope these women are kind and caring wives at home. Carolyn Myss suggests that when we are ready to criticize someone, that we take those words and turn them on ourselves - try them on for size so to speak. Then after saying them to ourselves, we need to see how we feel. Chances are the criticism we're dishing out doesn't feel so hot. She then advises that we modify our words to be more gentle and less harsh. I really like this idea. To take a moment and step back and think about our words before delivering them. I know it is sometimes easier said - when we're angry or upset words tend to fly out pretty quickly. But with practice, change becomes easier. Just having this idea in my head will help me the next time I am ready to fling some words that would probably be better not spoken. I have a plan in place to step back and reflect. If I don't like hearing the words/advice/criticism I'm giving out if it is directed at myself and it is hurtful, why would I want to pass that on?

Step back for a moment and listen to the words being stated with your head. There is then time to modify those words with kindness from the heart.


  1. I have glaucoma, and since this is a eye disease that mostly older people get, when I go to the doctor, I see a lot of couples together. This is when I miss my husband the most, and it I come to realize that I will never be one of those women who have their husband with them to hear what the doctor has to say about their eyes. I do have to remember that I am relatively young (52 years), and it could happen that I will meet someone later on in life when I am ready. Ready is not what I am right now, however, so I don't really look for these things.
    I am definitely going to try the idea about changing my words before I criticize. I worked at a high school, and there are times when I am very frustrated, and am sure that my words come out in a way that is hurtful, not helpful. This could spread over to my personal life as well.

  2. Jeanne - It is so nice to be in contact with someone my age. Remember that 50 is the new 40! I had to go to court last week to pay a traffic ticket and mentioned to the clerk I was a widow. She exclaimed, "You're too young to be one!" and I told her it has been seven years. I too, have a very tough time seeing couples together (for me it hits when I go to school events for my sons).

    Don't put yourself into situations you're not ready for. Trust yourself to know when to be more social. The other aspect of this post I was thinking about is that besides being kinder to others, we really need to be kinder to ourselves too. I know that I am very critical and need to ease up and give myself a break. If I don't, who will?

    Take care and hope to hear from you again soon.

  3. Wise words from Carolyn Myss. Like you, a lot of my critical nature vanished when I realised how precious kind people in my life are, even with flaws(!) First take the stick out of one's own eye before taking the splinter out of someone else's, to paraphrase another wise person.

    I have avoided letting myself care as deeply as I did when I loved my late husband, so I am not wounded as deeply. But I am extending myself a bit more, realising I really like social contact in small doses. I hope I can bring kindness and not bristles with me as I let people into my life.

  4. Flo - That is a great comment and I can't wait for a chance to pass it on verbally to someone. I let myself fall in love again and was brought down to my knees when my remarriage ended in divorce. It is what really led to the start of this blog - the grief from loss of love following the death of my husband. It has been a two year torturous climb out of the sewer of my despair but I am getting there. Like you, I realize that I need social contact and love in my life. And yes, it is worth the risk of being hurt.

    Loss and grief change us profoundly. But like you too, I hope I am a kinder more compassionate and caring person to those people in my life.

    Love to both you and Jeanne, WITM