A while back a colleague’s comments encouraged me to revisit the book, The Road Less Traveled, by M. Scott Peck. I am very glad this happened because it resonated much differently with me twenty years later. I’ve decided to end the year sharing some excerpts from the book which I have found especially enlightening and helpful:
It is never easy to lose someone or a pet that you love. It’s a sad aspect of life that when we become close with another living being, that at some point, it ultimately comes to an end.
A mother is a very special person in a child’s life and if you are lucky, a lingering positive presence throughout your adult life. Much of what we first learn comes from our mom. She is often the calm in the midst of the many storms we encounter. She is there for you no matter what. I am blessed that my mom had so much to offer. The following lessons are just a small sampling of her overall impact on my life:
Since 1944, “Ideals Christmas” has been a tradition in thousands of homes across the USA. The book contains traditional poems that explore the meaning of the holiday and recall special times with family and friends. I came across the following poem which resonated with me (Thanks Mabel!):
In my line of work you know you have tapped into a serious problem when you encounter disproportionate emotion. There have been many times where I have sat across from someone and literally watched them break down. I learned a long time ago to let the other individual have their moment and not try to downplay or negate their emotion. You don’t make someone feel better by making them feel embarrassed or disappointed about how they feel. All of us hit an emotional “brick wall” at times and become frustrated/upset with the rigors of life and work. We all need people we can turn to let us be our authentic selves, even when this isn’t pretty or easy to watch.
I’ve always believed that children are a gift from God or whatever higher power you choose to believe in. They are here to teach us as much as we are here to guide them. Sometimes it’s like looking in a mirror and seeing yourself being reflected back through their actions, attitudes, etc. In other cases, you gain entry into the wondrous world of their own individuality. My hope has always been that they will take the best from their mother and me and leave our flaws behind for us to grapple with on our own.
I’m just back from a family reunion and had a great time. It was nice to reconnect with people I haven’t seen in awhile especially members of my extended family who I don’t see all that often. It’s much more enjoyable to see people during times of fellowship and celebration than only when something sad has happened or to wait for a wedding. Unfortunately as we get older it seems to get harder to stay connected: people move away, careers get more demanding, kids keep us busy, and there is only so much free time.
I have only ever really been a “dog” person when it comes to pets. In my humble opinion, they are the rare pet that actually brings out our better nature and ends up teaching us things about life. There are three things in particular that “Buddy” and his predecessors have taught me: 1) the power of unconditional love; 2) the importance of loyalty and trust in our relationships; and 3) managing the inevitability of grief and loss in life.
I sincerely hope your homes are filled with love, friendship and joy this holiday season. And, in the midst of all the unnecessary consumerism that accompanies the holiday, I wish for you moments of clarity and peace around what’s truly important in your life. I also pray your hearts are filled with compassion and charity for those who are less fortunate.