I learned today of the passing away of George Jones on April 26th, 2013.
I had known of him for many years and in recent years become a fan. ’Why’? I wonder. Perhaps because he is widely documented as an imperfect man, and often a scoundrel.
He had been nicknamed, “No-Show Jones”, for a period due to his late concert cancellations or simple no-shows. Reportedly due to him being caught up partying or carrying on in some fashion. What a selfish jerk, no?
Yet, isn’t our world made up of selfish jerks? Selves included? And aren’t we selfish jerks the one’s God reached out to and loved anyway?
I too had been a No-Show Scoundrel when I was drinking. God loved me anyway.
George, you will be sadly missed. Thank you for your contribution to our world for over 50 years.
Why can TV sitcoms be funny while life is painful?
Could it be that we don’t feel the pain of a circumstance when we are watching it on TV while we do when we are going through it? When the circumstance isn’t ours, it can be uproariously funny. But when it is, and we are in the midst of it, we often feel only pain and confusion.
Let me explain what is prompting this… we have a neighbour with some annoying and disruptive behaviours. Behaviours that are often carried on late at night or early in the morning. Behaviours involving noise and a lack of consideration for others peace, time, and energy.
These behaviours are not illegal, one can do nothing about them, and they have been going on for years, much to the upset of several neighbours.
This week, the disruptive neighbour complained to my wife and I about our friends parking on the street in front of her house. Basically saying we were disrupting her. Now, where our friends parked, and it was only for an hour, was near a part of her house that nobody ever goes, does not block access, and frankly is neglected. But, for some reason, she complained to us and even placed rocks on the gravel shoulder to prevent anyone from parking where she didn’t want.
My wife was furious. I was ticked. We thought of calling bylaw enforcement since the rocks were technically on public land, only a few inches from the paved public road, and frankly a danger. Plus, there still was no law against our friends parking for short periods by her house.
We schemed, strategized, and fumed over it for maybe a couple hours. We thought of reporting her to bylaw enforcement, throwing the rocks in her pool, hiding them, and a variety of other energy-sucking schemes. Then it occurred to me, if this were an episode of, say, ‘Home Improvement’ with Tim Allen, it would be awfully funny. I began to picture this as a scene from home improvement, where some unreasonable, disruptive neigbour could be accusing Tim and his family of being disruptive and then making a silly gesture to make their point.
I sat down with my wife and shared the notion and she too began to laugh. I then asked her, “Are we really going to declare a Jihad over all of this”? And also, “How much of our energy are we prepared to give this… even just to fume”?. And finally, “How about, instead of being mad, we find a way to have fun with this”?
So, at a time when the neighbours were mostly at work, I simply walked over and moved the rocks about 6″ further away from the street and more onto her lawn. A day later, another 6″, and then another and another.
Each time we laughed and genuinely had a good time with it. I even had a slight inkling that I hoped the neighbour would catch me so this could really turn into a farce. Here I am, a late-40′s suburban Dad, husband, business-owner, and responsible, tax-paying member of society, sneaking over playing the rock game.
So today, the rocks are a safe distance from the street and, in fact, well onto her un-kept lawn, and she seems none the wiser. Our friends park there with ease and even join in on the laughter of what has been going on.
Do we not have at least somewhat of a choice as to how much pain we feel over unfair situations? If we remove ourselves from the inconvenience of it all, and treat it as if it were the silliest sitcom we know, wouldn’t it be just plain funny? And wouldn’t we save ourselves a whole lot of grief and emotional energy by doing so?
I can’t account for all of life’s circumstances, but in this one, we did
Great post that really resonates to me regarding the use of profanity including in AA meetings. Also available on podcast…. just cruise the http://www.sponsortosponsor.com site.
My staple-remover went missing at work the other day. One I had had for years and came to rely on. It also had sentimental value.
You may be wondering why a post on such a trivial matter. Well, isn’t life made up largely of trivial matters? Small matters that we blow up into big things. Numerous small matters that accumulate and affect how we feel and eventually form who we are and how we treat others? Often it is. Very often.
And experience has shown me that we won’t handle the big things any better than we do the little things, so why not perfect how we handle the little things?
At first I was frosted. Then quickly realized…. it is a staple remover for crying out loud! And the person who borrowed it and lost it is a wonderful person! They just made a small mistake.
I laughed when I saw where my thinking and attitude were going. A staple-remover for crying out loud! Worth $2 at most! Replaceable!
Yet somehow, my subconscious wanted me to ramp up emotion and turn this into an incident.
In light of years of sobriety, a deep belief in grace and forgiveness, and more emotional balance than any other time of my life, there is still evidence of remnants of un-health and immaturity that pop up from time to time.
My task is to decide what to do with them. My solution for today… laugh at them.
Newsflash…. Wonderful people will continue to make mistakes in my life. Minor inconveniences will continue to happen. Laugh at it and move on.
“Hello darkness my old friend(s)”
I had been revisited by these two familiar friends recently. I didn’t panic, I didn’t jump in with both feet. I just said, “Oh, you guys again”, and sought a new solution.
Pharmaceutical anti-depressants have never worked well for me. Side effects negate their value. Maybe there is a good one out there, but I haven’t found it.
Nor has the medical community around me encouraged me this way. They have all felt that the basis of my conditions are not primarily chemical. And this has proven true in the amount of help I have found in non-pharma solutions such as cognitive behaviour therapy, 12-step processes, exercise, and just old fashion “pressing through”.
Yet there must be a chemical component because I get revisited at consistent times and under consistent circumstances. So I consulted a Naturopathic Physician as an exercise in open-mindedness.
My biases feared a “Mother Earth” approach. A lot of natural remedies, in my experience, are folklore and wishful thinking. Then again, I have no trust for the mega pharmaceutical machine either.
So off I went to the ND expecting to meet a guy with a beard and birkenstocks. Well far from it. He was a soft-spoken southeast Asian fellow who proposed a couple of possible reasons why I battle these two enemies at certain times and under certain circumstances.
Complete with diagrams of science-supported process of brain chemistry. Then, rather than tell me he had the answer, he proposed a first approach to address the most likely cause of my symptoms.
It was simple, and rather than some crazy hemp suppository, he recommended a few simple supplements that, in fact, my regular Dr. could prescribe so my health benefits would cover them. None of them were patented, commercial pharmaceuticals.
For the past two weeks, I have felt better. Go figure.
Is it the placebo effect? Could be. Time will tell. But Just for Today, I feel better.
I have posted on this subject before. It is relevant in my life again, but perhaps at a healthier level. I have grown in my ability to press past fear and pain, and just do things anyway. Do them while you are scared and/or hurt.
This advice came to me from an unlikely source, at an unlikely time, when my life was falling apart. I was paralyzed by fear and would often stay in bed for days, feeling I could not face the day or anything in it.
The advice was simple, “Why don’t you just do it scared”? By ‘it’, the teacher was referring to whatever life task you were dreading at the time. Whether it be brushing your teeth, working, exercising, going to an appointment, or whatever.
I had never up til that time thought of the notion of simply doing things scared or hurt. I always figured that fear or pain were indicators that what I was doing was a mistake.
Fast forward to a couple years later when ads for the anti-depressant, Cymbalta, started airing. Now, I am not on Cymbalta, nor any other pharmaceutical anti-depressant, nor do I even know much about it. But the ads jumped out at me with their amazing representation of what depression looks and feels like. The blank stares, the pain, the preoccupation with darkness, the loss of interest and motivation in pretty much everything.
The pics in the this post are all from Cymbalta ads. Why? Because I related when I saw them. They described verbally and visibly what I felt.
Thank God antidepressants didn’t work for me. The numerous side-effects made me a bigger mess than not taking them. But this ineffectiveness forced me to look for other answers. Most of them non-chemical.
My strain of depression turned out to be largely cognitive. Non-medically speaking, my thinking sucked. And I had rehearsed these lousy patterns of thought until they were embedded deep in my subconscious. They became my defaults and I suffered because of them. So did my family around me, not unlike the image of the child onlooking his depressed parent above.
I revisit this topic because I am fighting some negative thinking these days. So I am going back to basics. I am making sure I am eating and sleeping the best possible. I am filling my mind with positive thoughts. I am keeping positive company. I am taking some natural supplements that help me a lot.
And where some hurt or depression work their way in still, I just do it scared or do it hurt.
It is amazing when you confront an enemy how puny he becomes. A line from an early episode of the TV series Mad Men was, “Our greatest fears lie in anticipation”, speaks to this point.
Pressing through the pain, and just doing it even though you hurt, or are twisting with fear, is probably the way of many a great achiever.
I am grateful today for the coping tools I have picked up in my journey of recovery. And for how quickly they are effective if I pick them up again.