Monthly Archives: June 2014

 

 It is an unfortunate fact of life that we simply can't get along with everybody. If we are lucky, we have good relationships with our family and friends and in-laws, but every once in awhile, there is someone who becomes a literal ‘thorn in our side.' Sometimes, it is apparent why this happens. But other times, as much as we analyze and pick the relationship apart, conversation by conversation, we can't understand totally why this happens. Call it karma, call it fate, call it 'that's life in the big city' ~ it can play havoc with our lives. This is especially so, if it is a family member, a spouse, or an in-law. What do you do when it is a sibling, a parent or God forbid, a spouse?

I was immersed in a dysfunctional relationship where emotions on both sides overrode logic. I tried my best to avoid social encounters with this person. When I couldn't or didn't, I either bit my tongue in all conversations, held back lashing back to a minimum, or feigned sickness to avoid him. On occasion, I worked more, socialized less or buried myself in a book.

When he was present, I felt stressed and prayed that the day turned out okay and not into a fiasco. Others were counting on me to mend the gap and just 'keep cool' or 'chill out' or anything short of sitting on me and duct-taping my mouth. They told me silence was golden. Even silence was stressful.

I tried many different avenues of being civil, thinking it may work out. But, when it didn’t work out, there was always a ‘stress situation.

He was a 'long-history person' in my life. We simply were like mixing oil and water. We always were. Words spoken were not taken the way they were meant. Get togethers became strained. Attempts to make it better made it worse; and the chasm opened wide and threatened to swallow us.

This relationship caused additional spiritual stress for me: didn't God tell us to forgive seventy times seven? Aren't we supposed to 'love one another as He loves us"? How could I reconcile this fractured relationship with my faith? How could I change into something I wasn't or accept what I couldn't. I knew I could not or want to change him. Over time, it was apparent it was futile and there was no solution.

One day, at church service, there was a vtisiting minister. His topic was "You Can't Get Along With Everybody." I was all ears. His sermon was loving, prayerful, scriptural and reality. He looked out at all of us and said, "You have to face the fact that you won't get along with everybody in life - it could even be someone close, a loved one or even a child of yours or a parent. You simply will not have a good relationship with him or her."

And then he offered, "Even Jesus did not get along with everyone. As a native Nazarene, he was not always welcome in his own neighborhood; people mocked him that "he was a carpenter's son - how can he think he is a Son of God; we knew him as a child playing. Jesus left his hometown and started traveling with his ministry. And when he and/or the Apostles were not welcome in a town, he told them to 'wipe the dust off their feet' and move on."

I talked with the minister after the service and told him how badly I felt about this relationship that I just couldn't seem to embrace or change. He answered, "There are some relationships you can't fix. Thank God they are few, but they simply will never be what they are supposed to be. Sometimes you have to walk away and leave them. Withdraw from them; they will eventually harm you. Wipe the dust from your feet and move on." BUT, he continued…."Always ~ ALWAYS, pray for that person, forgive them and forgive yourself. But always pray for them."

Please understand that this minister was not suggesting that I disregard any and all people that I had difficulty with and wipe them off like dust. Remember, we are all imperfect. And this wasn't a case of one being right or one being wrong - we were simply incompatible.

I found a serene feeling of letting go that day. And I followed his advice. I also began praying for that person. And that was very difficult for me. The first few prayers were stifled and stiff and seemed to get stuck in my throat. It felt so insincere. But I kept at it and in time, sincerely meant the prayer. I pray for this person to this day. I pray for his peace; I wish him well-being and remind myself that he is loved as a child of God just as I am.

With my change in attitude and prayer, I feel differently about this person. We may never be close but the awful feelings of animosity and dread are gone. There is no judgment or blame here -- it's just that...."As one face differs from another, so does one's heart."

But even different hearts can learn to live in peace.

Marie Coppola June 2014

Many members of the  Y generation and Mellennials  [born 1977 to 1995]  say they do not want to be viewed in a casket after they leave this world.   They think caskets, viewings, funerals and people getting together when they are grieving is distasteful to them and not their expression of sympathy.  They also feel that attending a 'gathering' or 'luncheon' afterwards is like 'having a party' and is not something they want any part of for themselves.   They don't want anyone to see them laid out - and they don't want to have a lot of folks around them if they lose a loved one and are sorrowful  - they want to just go home - and be alone with their loss/grief.

As I was growng up, I used to dread wakes, and the traditions surrounding them. As I got older, I realized the need for the grieving family and loved ones to process the loss they were going through.  Attending the services is an expression of respect for the deceased and their loved ones.  Some people die unexpectedly and the wake is the reality that the loss did happen.  When a wake is not attended, there could be a thought or denial that it did not happen, ie, ‘I did not see it therefore I can’t believe it’.

Wakes, viewings, and services are a part of life for many Generation X members [(born 1965 to 1979] and Baby Boomers [born 1946 to 1964]  and Traditionalists or Silent Generation born 1945 or before.

The bereaved need the comfort of family, friends and acquaintances during this most grieving time. As difficult and tearful as it is, it gives the bereaved an opportunity to give needed expression to release the grief that most of us feel at these times in order to heal and accept their loss.

it is your presence that will be remembered and not your words.   Acts of comforting via touch, hugs, or listening help heal the loss feelings – which could be overwhelming into a depression if they are not expressed – and your presence may foster acceptance and healing.

In today's culture,  wake or viewing times have been shortened to sometimes to just one day [it used to be 3 days followed by the funeral the next day [or fourth day].  It may be a drain on a family who may have not slept in days or experience long travel times or accommodations  for out-of-time relatives. There are closed caskets, cremations and different memorials for the deceased.  Wakes are a part of a person’s life just as baptisms or weddings are.  Attending Services are acts of respect for the deceased and their loved ones.   Sometimes there are quips and laughter in remembrances of the deceased and is not meant disrespectfully but in remembering and cherishing memories of him or her.

There are lunches after the cemetery or interment....It’s closure.   It is better to be with people who knew and loved the person who died than to go home right after the cemetery – alone with a heavy heart.  It reconnects people who have lost touch. Shared grief will share the loss for all.   Wake viewings and funerals serve this purpose.

If you are a faith person, the viewing and church services are a celebration of a new life in eternity with God.  Many churches focus on this positive affirmation instead of the negative of loss. If you believe in the resurrection of the dead, then the wake is a celebration of their life here on earth and the new life they are entering.

Marie Coppola July 2017

Yogi Berra - Beloved Catcher for the NY Yankees -- Here are some of his well-known quotes:

1. “It’s like deja vu all over again.”

2. “We made too many wrong mistakes.”

3. “You can observe a lot just by watching.”

4. “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”

5. “He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious.”

6. “If the world was perfect, it wouldn’t be.”

7. “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might end up some place else.”

8. Responding to a question about remarks attributed to him that he did not think were his: “I really didn’t say everything I said.”

9. “The future ain’t what it use to be.”

10. “I think Little League is wonderful. It keeps the kids out of the house.”

11. On why he no longer went to Ruggeri’s, a St. Louis restaurant: “Nobody goes there anymore because it’s too crowded.”

12. “I always thought that record would stand until it was broken.”

13. “We have deep depth.”

14. “All pitchers are liars or crybabies.”

15. When giving directions to Joe Garagiola to his New Jersey home, which is accessible by two routes: “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

16. “Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.”

17. “Never answer anonymous letters.”

18. On being the guest of honor at an awards banquet: “Thank you for making this day necessary.”

19. “The towels were so thick there I could hardly close my suitcase.”

20. “Half the lies they tell about me aren’t true.”

21. As a general comment on baseball: “90% of the game is half mental.”

22. “I don’t know (if they were men or women running naked across the field). They had bags over their heads.”\

23. “It gets late early out there.”

24. “Yogi, you are from St. Louis, we live in New Jersey, and you played ball in New York. If you go before I do, where would you like me to have you buried?” -Carmen Berra, Yogi’s wife. “Surprise me.” – Yogi25. “It ain’t over till it’s over.

June 2014


 

When I graduated from college, someone asked me what was the greatest thing  I learned?   In truth, the greatest thing I learned was how little I knew about all there was  to know.

Faith works like that, too.   The more I learn about God, the more I feel  there's so much more to learn and know about Him.

If you live in a country like the USA, as I do, the average person has a home, a car, clothes, and time to travel and to entertain.  If the average American wants something special for breakfast, he can go to a restaurant or a food store and buy it.   To people who live in poor countries, they might not have any of these things ~ they may not even know what or when they are going to eat from one day to the next.

How blessed we are.  Do you ever wonder, like I do, why I live here in comfortable conditions, when others live in poverty?

We know God through His Word, the Bible and His Reasoning.  Our Life Plans for us aren't written in contract form. He does give us many mandates, commandments, parables, and teachings from His Son, Jesus, to give us a pattern and way of living. It doesn't say anything in the Bible about having the biggest house or the best furniture or making the most money. He does tell us how to have traditional relationships in marriage and love; he tells us how to raise our children, and what makes us happy in life and what is good and what is not good for us. He is our Father.

He sent His Son, Jesus, so we would know what The Father is like so we can communicate with Him.

I ask why has God blessed me so?   I've had my share of trials and tribulations, but my faith in God has always sustained me.   He has given me an abundant life - why does He do that?   He loves everybody and we're all equal in his eyes....why are some in unfortunate situations and others always griping they want more?   And why do some who have plenty want more and more?

What about you?   Do you live an abundant llife?   Do you always want that new car, latest technology, or fashion design?   Do you feel blessed?   Or are you OK with what you want and have but need something else to make you happy and fulfilled?

Perhaps a quiet time with Our Lord seeking his Will and Plans for you would put your life in a different perspective.   The more you get out of your time with Him , the more you will seek it and understand it.

© Marie Coppola June 2014

 

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