The Impact of Words

Something has been in the back of my mind for a while.  It’s about the words that people say.  Words are funny things – they have different meanings depending on tone, different meanings depending on who says them, different meanings based on where the recipient is in their head.  What sounds perfectly reasonable to one person is completely irrational to someone else.  Is that right?  Not necessarily.  A speaker can’t be responsible for controlling where the recipient is in their head, but a speaker can be cognizant of the words they use and how they could be received.  On the flip side, a recipient may need to consider the underlying message or thought behind the words.  It’s up to both parties to be aware.

(from Pinterest)

(from Pinterest)

Words spoken in anger or disappointment can hurt – even if that’s not the intention.  Words spoken with the wrong tone can hurt.  Even words said sweetly can hurt if the words themselves aren’t right.  Words spoken with contradictory actions leave the recipient wondering what is true.  Actions speak louder than words, but actions are diminished if the words don’t match.

One of the things I am working on this year is patience.  For those who know me, patience is not one of my strengths.  I tend to want things done immediately and to the highest standard possible.  This is difficult for me to convey without being frustrated when things don’t happen the way I want them to.  Working on this is going to be a struggle – I know this.  Add in a busy schedule, two little kids with busy schedules, as well as the number of distractions that are in today’s society and you can see that being patient is larger than just taking the time to breathe or count to 10 or relax.

I am trying to be patient with my words and actions.  I am trying to consider the impact that my word choice and tone has on others.  I’m trying to pause in important conversations to seek the truly right word or phrase.  Too often, I speak before I think – or rather, I’ve thought, but my brain has moved on to the next thing and my mouth is trying to catch up.

I’m also trying to make sure my words and actions match.  I don’t want to send contradictory messages.  If I say I am going to do something, I’m going to do it.  I don’t want to over-commit, but I want to make sure I follow through on those things I have agreed to.

It’s daunting to think that the words you speak (or write) can influence more than just yourself.  Those words travel throughout time and space to impact those around you or those you don’t even know.  Take the time to consider your words.  I know I will.

My “Farewell to Fat” Tour Continues…

Maid Rite (from the Marion, IA restaurant)

I’m a fan of cheap, kitschy restaurants that serve greasy food.  Yep, I know it’s not good for my heart, but they are still good.  There’s just something about a local greasy spoon restaurant that makes me happy.  And if I can get fried vegetables there and eat outside, even better.

 

If you know me, you know that I can be found about once a week at a local restaurant called El Allende.  They have the best Mexican food in town (really – no lie).  The problem is that their tacos, while delicious and filling, can be sooo greasy.  So invariably, while I enjoy my meal while I eat it, I spend the rest of the afternoon in a taco-induced coma regretting that last bite because I am so full.

As part of my “Farewell to Fat Tour”, I am visiting my favorite local restaurants one last time over lunch.  I am also allowing myself to eat whatever snacks I want.  But I am paying the price.  I can literally feel my body screaming out in protest.  Have you ever gone to a really restaurant, had a good meal, and later you could feel your arteries hardening or your liver screaming at you?  That’s me right now.

Why am I allowing myself to do this?  Here’s part of my thinking….if I can eat my fill of the stuff I know I will crave once the diet starts, then I won’t want it later.  I had a friend who decided to quit smoking once.  She decided she was going to smoke until she couldn’t smoke anymore.  Basically, she was going to chain smoke until her body rebelled and even the thought of smoking turned her stomach.  In a way, I am doing the same thing.  Yeah, it probably doesn’t make much sense, but I have burned myself out on restaurants and foods before (Mac & Cheese, I’m talking to you), and I’m hoping for the same thing now.

I’m not being completely stupid about it.  It’s not like I am on a 3 week binge where I am eating every waking moment.  I’m just eating those things I want and those things I know I will miss. 

I know that this weight loss program is only going to work if I give things up.  If that means no more El Allende tacos, then that’s the way it has to be.  If that means that I allow myself Cheri-Top drive-in once over the course of the summer, then so be it.  If it means I can’t darken Maid-Rite’s door, then farewell to a Muscatine institution.  Will I miss them?  Probably.  But this has gone on too long and my body is paying for it, my sanity is paying for it, my wallet is paying for it, and IT IS GOING TO STOP.

So I am asking for my body’s forgiveness as I go through my own mourning process.  Mourning the loss of foods that I like, but that I know are not healthy;  mourning the lack of grease; mourning the loss of atmosphere.

So long……

What I am Thankful For – Day 5

Today, I am thankful for people who are patient with me and help me to understand.  Sometimes, it’s hard for me to put into words what I want.  There are those who try to figure out what I want, and others who try to assume they know what I want.

Life is sometimes about taking what is given to you and making the best of it.  In the famous words of Tim Gunn “Make it Work!”.  I think that is going to be my motto for the next week or so.

This President Had it Right…

Quote

“Let every man, every corporation, and especially let every village, town, and city, every county and State, get out of debt and keep out of debt. It is the debtor that is ruined by hard times.” – Rutherford B Hayes, US President

As someone who is trying to get out of debt and stay out of debt, it’s nice to see a government official, albeit one from the 1800s, who recognizes that debt is a burden not easily lifted, and that government debt is not a good thing.

I wonder who the Dave Ramsey of his day was?

My Thoughts on the Act of Contrition & My Faith Journey

As our church prepares to change to the new Roman Missal on November 27, one of the prayers that is changing is the Act of Contrition, or the Confiteor.

I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned,
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done and in what I have failed to do,
through my fault, through my fault,
through my most grievous fault;
therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,
all the Angels and Saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.

The above text is the new version. They have been practicing it at Religious Ed classes with the kids so they become familiar with some of the new prayers. One of the things that is changing back to pre-Vatican II is that during the mea culpa, there is the option of striking one’s breast as a gesture of sorrow. For me, even if my parish doesn’t adopt that option, I will probably take that option. To me, it is a way to internalize the prayer and to remind me that it is truly my actions that I need to watch. No one can ask forgiveness for me except me.

What does this mean for me? When we said it this morning during Mass, it struck me as being something that should be said every day. In the last few days, there were several instances where I have had to ask forgiveness for my actions. It is a humbling experience, to be sure. This prayer brings it to the forefront and reminds me that although I can and should seek forgiveness from the person I wronged, I also need to seek forgiveness from God.

I have been every type of Catholic you can be…the ardent church-goer, the lapsed Catholic, the C&E (Christmas & Easter) Catholic, the angry Catholic, the cynical Catholic, the questioning Catholic, and now I am trying to rediscover my faith. The Catholic Church is where I want to be, I just need to learn more. I have been on this journey for about a year. I am stumbling my way through, but I hope to be successful.

Do You Give Up?

Quote

Let us not become weary in doing good,
for at the proper time we will reap a harvest
if we do not give up.

Paul the Apostle
Galatians 6:9

Thanks to Sam Parker (www.givemore.com) for the quote this morning. This has stuck with me all day.  Too often, I stop trying to do what I know I should do because it gets to be too hard.  This has made me realize that I need to keep pushing through and do what needs to be done.  The effort will be worth it, even if I don’t see the end result for a number of years.   I need to stop giving up.

Is it too late?

“We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood — it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, “Too late.”- Martin Luther King Jr.

Tomorrow never comes.  All you ever have is today – this moment in time.  You can’t go back and fix what happened a minute ago, much less a week ago.  What you have to do is to live your life as though every moment is your last.  It is too late for me to fix my relationships with those friends I have lost to the sands of time, but it’s not too late to work on my relationships now.  That needs to be my focused.  That means that I need to balance what I want and what others want from me.

The idea of balance is evident in the above quote.  The stark imagery of the “bleached bones and jumbled residues” as well as the fluid imagery of life as a tide that ebbs and flows.  There is both excess and want throughout our lives.  The key is to balance the two and make sure the excess will last through the periods of want.

We always need to keep in the back of our minds that we never have a chance to go back and fix what has happened.  We can’t take illness away; we can’t wish and make our finances better; we can’t waive a magic wand and fix all that is wrong in the world.  All we can do is push forward, unless we want to be found left behind.