Why Do We Wait to Think About These Things?

I had the most amazing conversation during a recent visit to a dear friend who is in the hospital. She is very ill and her prognosis is worse. Fortunately, her pain medications are not affecting her coherency and ability to speak. The words she shared were profound. She knows what the future holds. Her wisdom and advice made think about things I never imagined. I now ask myself, “Why do we wait to think about these things?”

I’ll give you one example from our conversation. I told her I was preparing a speech and was concerned about saying the right things to connect with the audience. She asked, “What do you have so far?” I began to answer and she soon started shaking her head. She said, “No, no, no. Say little and connect eye-to-eye with just one person in the front row. The rest of the audience will then know your amazing heart. They will feel your love.” I was stunned in silence.

During the rest of our time together she shared wisdom about different aspects of life. I was in awe. It’s not that those things she shared were not always in her. It’s just that they came out now…and delivered in a way that really got my attention. Why do we wait to think about these things?

She has for years been a frequent participant on Facebook. To give you a glimpse of my dear friend, the following is a recent post of hers. Enjoy!

“Pushing a “like” button on Facebook means nothing.

Get off Facebook. Go into the world. Hug your mother. Buy food for a homeless person. Water a plant.

Open your heart. Go do a minimum of one good deed per day.

Your liking my pictures is bullshit.

Use your body mind and spirit to make your one little corner of the world better.

Speak truth to power.

Fight for the oppressed.

Teach people to read.

Give a hand up not a handout.
Stop being cowardly.

Either use your life for good or get the hell out of the way.
Your selfishness nauseates me.

Unfriend me if that’s who you are. I won’t miss you. 

If you don’t use this amazing life to do the amazing good for which you were put on this planet, why are you here?

I know my answer.

Go figure yourself out what the truth is for you.

Restore your corner of the world.

I am going on strike until you figure it the fuck out.

And I’m not waiting around to make sure you do.

Thanks for the love.

See you next time.”

Thank you for the life lesson, Debbie. I love you!

P.S. If you want to know more about Debbie and her award-winning books (you should buy all of them!), check her out at  www.sociosights.com and www.winegarten.com.

Proper Perspective in Tough Times

I was at a Board of Directors meeting last night for a very active, productive and wonderful organization, The Zachary Scott Theater (http://www.zachtheatre.org). As a responsible Board, we are mindful of economic changes as they relate to our task at hand. Some of the thoughts brought up last night reflected some of the members’ concern of what tough economic times are in our near and distant future. I even heard some predictions of “doom and gloom” that the media has recently been flooding the airwaves and print with.

I was instantly reminded of one of the most beneficial things I learn from the LifeStory interviews I conduct … perspective. Whether it’s the Holocaust survivors describing their experiences in Nazi occupied Europe or the 90-plus year olds describing what the Great Depression of the 1930s was really like, I gain a true perspective of what’s going on in the US today. If you came from another planet and merely read the newspaper (or listened to prime time news on television), you would think that the second Great Depression had begun.

I suggest that anyone should merely open their eyes and describe what they see tomorrow on the downtown streets of your community. Do you see bread lines of hungry people waiting for a meal? Do you see your bank locked up and out of business? Do you see signs on the recently closed businesses that say “Juden” (“Jews” – indicating a closed business because it is now unlawful to own a business because the owner is of a certain religion, race or nationality) spray-painted on the building? Absolutely not!

What you see are people working and moving about like there is little difference from a few months or years ago. Yes, they might have less money in their pockets. They might even have a portfolio of investments that is worth a fraction of its value of a few months ago. But what you don’t see is what happened in the 1930’s. The lesson learned is that while we should be aware of the economic reality that we face, we should keep in perspective what it could be … a lot worse! Which also means it is a lot better than what we hear and read through the mainstream media.

If we proceed with a view of the glass half full, rather than half empty, our glasses will fill up before we know it. Then we will all look back at these times and wonder what the perceived panic was all about. If you have any doubt, just visit with a 90-plus year old and ask them to describe what it was really like in the 1930s. 

The current President of the Zachary Scott Theater Board did a great job of adding perspective to our situation. We are currently achieving our goals, serving the community well and are responsibly moving ahead with positive attitudes. Proper perspective is a great thing. Let’s use it and keep smiling as we do.