Watch and Learn

December 30, 2016

It’s been another beautiful day!

Like every day, today has been another day to hopefully grow and look at things from a new and better angle.

I’m not trying to get all morbid in my postings. The last thing I want to do is bring more gloom to the world. I know we need more sunshine and love but we also need to understand the power we have over others

I don’t know how to explain how the holiday season reminds me of Griffen. I have some super happy memories and I do my best to focus on those. Sadly, an experience with a family member on Christmas day burst open the doors of my mind of how people sometimes do things without a thought of the consequences and without thinking of how their behavior may or may not hurt or help another. All of those kinds of thoughts lead me right to my sweet little brother.

I know that every moment is just one moment in time and I also know that everything passes. We get to decide whether to spend our lives on one bad incident(s) or not.

Winter is a hard time for a lot of people. The past few winters have been extremely hard for me too. We get sucked into old movies and find it difficult to remember the past is just that — an old movie we are watching — one that we can turn off or step away from at any time. It isn’t as easy as it sounds and what I’m learning is that sometimes even when we turn it off or step away, the movie keeps right on playing.

I had a friend who used to live and relive a moment from her childhood. She could not forget it. She said that once she found out there was no Santa Claus as a child, she doubted everything and everybody. “If your own parents would lie to you, then everyone else will too.” She spent her life watching and waiting for everyone to let her down. Cynicism, doubt, and anger became her response to most everything.

There is a shadow side to all of us. We do and say things never recognizing the power of our words and deeds. We can take the position of the worst or the best in everything that happens. My little brother’s death taught me that. He taught me that smiles and forgiveness and kindness go further than judgment, criticism, and self-righteousness. Even knowing that I still stink at it sometimes.

Living life from the positive takes work — a whole lot of it.

I sadly watched as my friend lived out her disappointment, anger and mistrust over and over, situation after situation, person after person and year after year. Nobody could be doing something because they had good intentions. They had to be doing it because they had an ulterior motive which would ultimately wind up with you getting hurt.

I want to believe that everyone is doing the best they can. I see those who don’t mind hurting others, and I continue to try to give them a break too. Why? Because I have no idea what might be happening in their lives. Someone in their household could be sick, and no one knows, there could be depression issues, or work issues or a lot of issues that people keep to themselves. Not everyone can say how they feel or what is going on with them. Not even me — the share everything queen.

Lee and I were talking about how people are so quick to pounce on you for what they think you are doing wrong and completely miss all the things that you are doing right — even family and friends

In a flash like my friend and Santa, I went back to 2007, when we got an enormous lesson on how others fail to realize how hurtful their actions can be. There is no better example of that than Griffen. He really is a gift that has kept on giving in life and in death.

I thought of something totally innocent that turned into so much more — a watch.

Life — it has a funny way of showing us different ways to view things. You think of a watch as a time tracker. I think of a watch and then of my brother. I think of how a watch and some other “fun” markings lead to something totally different than what the people who partook meant for them too. Death.

In 2009, I was invited to speak at a school in Anderson to a group of fifth graders. I wasn’t going to use Griffen’s morgue photos as I normally did because I thought they were too graphic for that age group. The principal and the guidance counselor insisted that I use them. They wouldn’t take no for an answer and so I finally agreed.

It was eye-opening for me. Quite a few of the students admitted to getting drunk on the weekends and having parties or watching their parents get drunk and have parties and drinking along with them. These were upper-class kids, not poor inner city ones and I realized why the principal and guidance counselor insisted on my showing the photos. They were hoping to instill in these young minds, the bitter reality of their choices.

After my talk, the guidance counselor came forward and asked the students the following questions. They were sobering.

Who would you have been in this story? Would you have been a Griffen or would you have been one who chose to have fun and shame him by grabbing a Sharpie, with no thoughts on the outcome? Would you have been one of the ones who stood by and did nothing? There is nothing deadly about a Sharpie, a watch or even harmful about some of the things we say — unless there is more to the story which is usually the case.

Alcohol isn’t deadly unless it is misused and words can be used to soothe or sear.

We are not all fifth graders but we all are students of Earth School and life. Which role do you play? The role of my former friend who sees the worst or the role of believing that everyone is doing their best? Are you a bystander and critic or are you an observer seeking Truth?

I can and have been all of the above. I feel so much better when I see from the side of God’s love and Light. I feel worse when I do not. I’ve assumed the worst of people only to discover that they were in a battle with depression and couldn’t say it. I’ve made decisions based on what is right in front of me only to find that my judgments were off because I was having issues that affected me in ways I didn’t even see at that particular moment in time.

Everyone is battling something and most likely doing the best that they can. Words and actions can send a person off to a better day or maybe off into a horrible depression — that depends on the person and what is going on in their life.

As we get closer to the end of another year, my determination grows to follow Dr. Maya Angelou’s advice, “When we know better, we do better.

I don’t want to leave this world as I am sure my former friend and others will with a cynicism that darkens every little bit of light. I surely don’t want to be the critic who is quick to judge with no idea of the truth. I want to watch my words, and my actions and live every possible moment thinking of the boy above who didn’t get a long life to do that.

I want to watch and learn

I owe my Soul and my Creator that much. I’m thankful for my friend and the lesson she brought me and I am forever thankful for Griffen. Everyone teaches us something and our sweet boy has been one of the best teachers of all.

Happy Thursday! I hope it’s the been the best day ever!

Much Love,


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