A collection of distilled sarcastic wisdom, numerous photographs, discussions of books and stuff to learn and more stuff to think about from a retired economics professor turned blogger and photographer.
Every day I go trolling through my thousands upon thousands of photos on my hard drive to continue weeding them out and seeing what I can find to resurrect and save from extinction. I found this gorgeous rose in the 2009 archives, just patiently waiting to be deleted.
You have my permission to print this picture for your own use or to give to someone else who might need or appreciate the message of Psalm 30:5. This permission applies only to this photo. For all other photos, please ask permission. Please don't sell it after I give it away. Thank you.
In case you missed yesterday's Do List Task, this week's tasks focus on what we can do for others. The first task on this week's list yesterday was to think about the ways you plan to help others throughout the week and, thereby, get in the habit of finding more ways of helping others.
We start today with a simple request: Write a love letter. You know what a love letter is. A love letter is the mushy note someone handed you in the seventh grade and your heart went all pitter patter and you could hardly believe your good fortune. She, or he, loves me! How could I be so lucky? The seventh grade now takes on a whole new meaning. Life is more interesting and exciting. Somebody notices me. I am important to them. The sun is shining. Maybe I should pay attention in class.
We all know the anguish and pain when the object of our adoration and love turns fickle on us and decides to love another. That happened to me in the eighth grade. By ninth grade algebra, I was over the lost cause my former third grade object of affection turned out to be and was more interested in the cute girl who just moved to our town from Butte, Montana.
Then, at some point, many of us, if not most of us, decided we were infatuated enough with the One and Only that we managed, somehow, to convince her to marry us and here we are. Or, if we were on the receiving end of the proposal, we let ourselves be convinced that we had snared our Prince Charming. Perhaps the butterflies of new romance have long since fluttered silently to a halt. Every day is a repeat of every other day. Cold cereal for breakfast. Get the kids up and watch them drink milk directly from the carton and get them out the door for school. Get ready for work. Same boring commute. Same boring job. Home for dinner. What's for dinner? I thought we had that last night. Well, we did. We're having reruns. Again? Eat reruns. Head for the couch and basketball, football, or, depending on your interests, the Pioneer Woman showing you how to cook. Get kids off to bed. Yawn and go to sleep on the couch. What an exciting day. And, come to think about it, I don't think I paid a whole lot of attention to anyone else from the time the alarm went off this morning until I heard Letterman's last gasp tonight.
On a more positive note, perhaps you have already told your kids and your spouse and your dog and anyone else that you care deeply about that you loved them. And hopefully, they all reciprocated with a return expression of love or at least a lick on your face. Whatever your own situation, tell those you love today how much you love them. If you are irked at one or more of your near and dear ones, get over it. Your gripe was probably inconsequential anyway. Life is tough when we feel unloved, when we have doubts whether anyone really cares about us. With freely expressed love, we can float on air, we can accomplish anything, we can do good things for others, we can sail through the day with a glow and a smile, our hurts don't hurt as much, and our life takes on a whole new meaning.
Of course, writing a love note or telling one or more children, friends, parents, grandparents, or anyone else that we love them is just a start. You can't just float the words out there on paper or speak them out loud and then just let them sink and die. You can't treat these wonderful words like I mistakenly treated my sourdough starter, since I just let it die without feeding it and now I have to start all over again. You can't assume your duty is done if you finally uttered or wrote an expression of love or affection. You have to prove to one and all that you meant those words, that you weren't just making them up to get on their good side, that those words came from your heart and not from a figment of your imagination. Love is just simply too precious to make light of, to treat with indifference.
There are so many ways that we can show our love. We can show concern. We can show sympathy and empathy. We can dry someone's tears. We can pick them up when they fall down and put a band-aid on their knee. We can read a bed time story. We can offer to cook dinner and clean up the dishes. We can repeat the words daily. But we can't be a phony about it. We have to mean it. Love is not something we can tamper with, something we can make up. Love is the glue of life, the foundation of who we are and who we want to become.
So today, your Task Number 82 is to write someone a love letter. I like to make photo cards of my photographs and occasionally leave one on my wife's chair so she will see it when she gets up. But I know I need to do a lot more to reinforce our love for our extended family and for many other important people in our lives. I hope you will do the same. Good luck, write a love letter, and keep going. The Curmudgeonly Professor.
Some lilacs for my wife. And for anyone else who can benefit with a nostalgic touch of spring.
Surprise! The Curmudgeonly Professor is not going to beat on you today for not losing weight or for not fixing the toilet paper holder for years. Today we are beginning Help Others Week, or you might call it Good Samaritan Week. So change the focus of your pronouns from Me, Myself, and I, to You, Yourself, and Them. If you can't focus on what you need to do and then do it, you can surely focus on what you can do for others.
To begin with, make a list of all of the ways you can and intend to help other people this week, starting today. If we have a successful week, who knows, we may just prolong the helping others routine into a longer stretch. We will just have to see how it all works out and if we discover that by focusing on others, we are helping ourselves immeasurably to accomplish our own goals.
Our next door neighbor lady spends most of her time helping others. When she is not helping others, she spends her time thinking about other ways she can be of service. She spends two days a week with a former neighbor who lost her husband and who needs help with personal errands, doctor's visits, and home tasks. When I was unloading groceries the other day, she saw me and came over and said, "here, let me do that for you." She visits the sick at the hospital and in their homes. She does chores for people. She brings us pieces of cake. I asked her when she intended to slow down. She said she couldn't slow down, she has too much to do.
Today is Sunday, so Sunday is a good day to start doing good deeds for others. Forget about your own precious self today. Forget about the fact that you say you don't have time for this or that or anything else. You are supposed to be resting and, possibly, going to Church, or at least considering ways during your rest that you can shape up and do what is right. While you are at it, think about what else you can do to spread some sunshine into someone else's day. A handwritten note, a telephone call, an overdue apology, a twenty dollar bill for someone who really needs it, a hug, an I love you once or twice or thrice, you can think up more stuff do do. Think about all of the things you are always complaining about that you don't have time to do but feel that you need to do. Now think about all of the things you are spending time on each day that you could just as well forget about. Then make a few substitutions, easy as pie: Substitute some of the stuff you need to do for some of the stuff you are doing that just kills time and accomplishes zero.
Each day during Help Others Week we will feature one or more ways that we can brighten the lives of others and, by so doing, lift ourselves up. Comments and suggestions are helpful. You could start by brightening my life with some help on this blog.
Task Number 81: Make a list of all of the ways you intend to help others today, this week, and then, forever afterwards. Keep going, spread some sunshine, and never, never give up. The Curmudgeonly Professor.