Over in a second


Moments fly by and by.

We often wonder, why do I try?

We cannot complete all that we want.

Our endless lists continue to taunt.

We miss little moments in the time that we waste.

Fussing and fretting, forgetting to taste.

For each little second could offer us glee

If we could only stop, embrace the present, and. just. be.

 

iPhone photos edited in Hipstamatic and Snapseed.

Fighting the clock is something we all do. We wish for more time to complete our to-do lists. We need more time to prepare for a test/meeting/event. We pray for more time with a loved one.

Time is precious and it waits for no one. Regardless of your wealth, character or intentions, the time you get is the time you get. Therefore, you can use it wisely or waste it. In this statement is where problems arise though.

When you use time wisely, does that mean you are always busy? Do you have to be productive in those moments of time for your time to matter? Or can you simply just be in the presence of nature or a loved one, embracing the sounds, smells, and tastes of an experience for the moment count?

I think the answers to those questions depend on the person. Only the individual can decide what is worthy of their time. And those answers can vary depending on the day, the situation and the people around us…

Have you thought about your time and how you use it and what you want to do? Go ahead. Think about. The clock is ticking…

 

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Ironically, I wrote the poem part of this for Linda G. Hill’s Prompt ~ Seconds. I saved it as a draft and then set it aside.

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A couple of weeks later, I took the pictures of the clock for Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge ~ Black & White.

They seemed to match up, so I figured, there was a reason I saved the poem. I just didn’t know in that second that I would be writing about time this week. So here we go, two challenges in one post. Now THAT is using your time wisely:)

The innocence of love


Think about the first time you felt love. No, not the first time you ate pizza and thought there was no more magical food. Not that kind of love. But rather when you looked at another person romantically and thought, they were perfect. Aaaaahhhh, yes, that feeling. Remember it?

It’s the feeling of hope, joy, pleasure, and kindness all wrapped together. It’s the feeling that makes you want to stare at them, kiss them, and just BE with them. You listen to their every word and discover they are fascinating. You want to give them gifts or do little things, silly things, just to make them smile. Soon their happiness outweighs your own. That’s when you realize it, you are in love.

Love, sweet love is the subject of countless songs, books, movies, poems, Pintrest boards and heck, even coffee mug messages. Love motivates us to act. Loves gives us patience. Love is all most humans ever really want in the end. So its power is understandable. Its power is even declared in the Bible for goodness sake.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love. (1 Cor. 13:13)

This tremendously powerful feeling can inspire us humans to do nearly anything. When we have love, we feel complete, invincible and true happiness. The problem is, sometimes the other person does not feel the same way. Sometimes we fall so deeply in love with someone, and then it ends…or frankly, was never in there in the first place.

When this happens, no matter if it’s our first love or some other attempt, our hearts are broken. Our pure innocent hearts of love are shattered. And our spirits are devastated. And a little piece of us crumbles.

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This is when our goggles of love drop to the floor. Our eyes are opened. Maybe we see the other person better now. Maybe we realize their habit of texting 72 times a day is not cute but rather clingy and shows their insecurity and need for control. Maybe we realize the novelty of their Comicon obsession is not fun but rather sad since they are a 32-year-old without a job and seem to have no intention of getting one. Or, maybe the lack of love goggles reveal something about ourselves, which can be an even more harsh reality.

Whatever the case, the loss of love scars us. It shatters our innocence and casts a darker image on the world. In our pain and mourning, we look at the world differently. The once glorious and wonderful world fades away to a more cynical and gloomy place. We cannot dare trust another jerk with our heart. We cannot waste our time on another loser. Or even worse, we cannot dare risk another chance at loving someone because we believe we are not worthy of happiness. After all, no one can seem to love us. Therefore, there must be something wrong with us.

This is a temporary pain though (hopefully). As we lick our wounds and hibernate away, the world continues. So eventually, we have to make a decision: to join the world again or continue to hide. It can be hard to look at the world with glee in our hearts after it is broken. The world looks like a more dangerous place now and we are not as innocent about love as we were the time before. But we cannot let our failure at love ruin our futures.

After some time, we have to try again. So we gather our courage, and the pieces of our hearts, and we take a risk, and then another. Sure, we may not be as innocent as the time before, but we realize, it is worth the effort – that WE are worth the effort.

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…and, in the end, we all hope to fall in love again. Don’t we?

innocent love

 

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For Writer’s Quote Wednesday’s Writing Challenge ~ Innocence.

 

Resilient like a flower


“Keep your face to the sunshine

and you cannot see the shadows.

It’s what the sunflowers do.”

~ Helen Keller~

There is something to be said for resilience. It is the grit that makes us work harder after failing. It is the motivation that gets out of bed after something devastating. And frankly, it is the reason why many of us are still alive today.

Just think about where we would be as a human race if we were not resilient. I really can’t imagine that world. For without resilience, we would not, could not have moved passed so many events in history: slavery, war, genocide, epidemics and economic collapse. Generations of people have endured some horrific experiences.

Yet, the human race is still here. We have learned, or so I like to think, from our history. We have created a better world. We have learned to survive.

One of my mom’s biggest lessons to me and my sisters was to “be a survivor.” As kids we used to run around teasing each other and singing, “Be a survivor. Be a survivor.” We never took it seriously. I look back now and think, Mom may have been onto something there.

When I joined the Army Reserve, I quickly learned the phrases, suck it up and drive on and embrace the suck. I’d laugh and think, man, the Army must have talked to my mom!

Regardless of the source, the message was the same. Shit will happen in life that you cannot control. So, you can either learn to deal with it and move on or you can let it destroy you. That doesn’t mean you look at life like a Polly Anna and pretend the bad does not exist. No, that is just dumb advice. You can’t ignore abuse, racism and crisis. However, you can survive. But you can only do that with resilience. Because without resilience, would you ever get up after being ruthlessly abused? Would you ever want to leave your house after watching a loved one die? Would you ever want fight after a debilitating diagnosis?

I don’t think we could.

My mom survived a lot. Her mother was a mean spirited woman. She was not allowed to go past the 5th grade because she was “too stupid to learn.” (Ironically, those “smart” adults just couldn’t figure out that my “stupid” mom could barely hear out of either of her ears. Yeah, who was stupid in this scenario?) She was blamed for stealing something at a store by a “cool” kid. As a result, she was then sent off to a detention home where she was molested. Then, when she was married off, her then-husband cheated on her and beat her when she confronted him about it. So there she was in a foreign country, a near-deaf girl with a 5th-grade-education trying to figure out how to get divorced and go home.

Fortunately, my mom was resilient, and later met my dad. As a kid, I didn’t know her struggles. And naturally, I thought I knew more about the world than her. (I was a teen after all. Don’t they know EVERYTHING?) However, now, I look back and think, wow. This woman was a survivor, like literally.

According to the Helen Keller quote above, my mom survived by following the sun. She didn’t focus on her shadows, her pain. She didn’t let the dark experiences lead her life. After dealing with them the best she could, she followed the sun, the light of hope and moved toward a future. Like a sunflower, she focused on the light (good).

I will admit, before today, I never realized that sunflowers actually followed the sun throughout the day. I  mean I knew they, like other flowers, grew towards the sun, but I never thought their heads actually moved throughout the day as the sun moved.

So when I was looking for a fun quote to accompany my macro shots of some sunflowers in my yard, I found more than I planned. I found some quotes, some facts and some inspiration. (So thanks Sally for hosting this challenge!)

The Army found this inspiration a number of years ago too. The embrace the suck phrase has been replaced with a lot of talk about resilience. It is more acceptable to seek help/counseling now than when I joined 15 years ago. As a matter of fact, the old stereotypes are fading away. Asking for help or taking a break is no longer a sign of weakness. As a matter of fact, taking a knee is a good sign of leadership. It shows that a leader is self aware enough to realize they need help or a break. It shows that a leader can recognize the signs of the stress in their Soldiers if they can see it in themselves.

That makes sense and is certainly more realistic than just ignoring all the bad. The Army even teaches us resiliency classes now. They instruct us on various techniques to be grateful, find happiness and endure the bad. Essentially, they teach us to survive the bad and find hope in a better tomorrow.

And according to Helen Mirren, following the good/light/hope is a wonderful life lesson.

“I don’t think there’s anything on this planet that more trumpets life that the sunflower. For me that’s because of the reason behind its name. Not because it looks like the sun but because it follows the sun. During the course of the day, the head tracks the journey of the sun across the sky. A satellite dish for sunshine. Wherever light is, no matter how weak, these flowers will find it. And that’s such an admirable thing. And such a lesson in life.”

~Helen Mirren~

And I when I put all this information together it makes me laugh a little, and even a little more resilient. Because, now when I look at sunflowers, I will forever think of my mom, Soldiers and hope.

Forever, I will think: I am a Soldier. I am survivor. I am a sunflower. I am all three at once, and no matter what, I will focus on the sun (and Son).

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For Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge ~ Macro.