I am, I said. Part II

The ‘I am, I said’ title to the initial post was from an old Neil Diamond song many of my generation may have recognized. It’s always been a favorite of mine:

“I am I said, to no one there. And no one heard at all- not even the chair”.

I guess I was thinking along those lines when I decided to write a blog- putting my thoughts out there into the public realm for all to see.  I am. And I have a voice. There will, no doubt, be those who’s reaction is…”who cares?”. I understand that reaction. And you are free to choose not to partake.  I won’t blame you. There are plenty of people who are saying things that I don’t care to hear…that’s the beauty of having choices in life! Delete buttons. Off switches. They work….I know.

In my work I have the opportunity to meet many older people. It’s always fascinating to hear their stories- to learn a bit of who they are. I am always amazed to learn that many of them- the vast majority, in fact; live in very close proximity to where they were born. They were born “just up the road there”, or “my dad built this house”. Folks in their seventies and eighties…folks who lived simple lives; never did “big things” or went many places. A man in a small town a few hours away, when he learned I lived in Nashville, said: “yeah, I went there once, back in the fifties”. He said it like you and I would have talked about going to Moscow, or to the Bahamas…

Others have been many places. Mr Johnson, I learned- as I talked to him and his wife, had been on the beaches at Normandy- in WWII. He was a POW in Germany for 5 months. He gave me one of his favorite cigars after we had talked for awhile. I was awestruck.  Mrs Armstrong worked in the school cafeteria for 40 years- “just up the road there”. Raised her family and now is mostly alone; living out the twilight of her days. Mr McGrath “farmed a little and worked here and there”. Different people; different stories. Each unique.

I am prone to attach more value to the people who have “done more”. It seems unlikely, however, that God does the same thing. Most of us simply do the best we can with what we have. And who am I to judge that in another person? How do I know what that person has had to overcome- just to get up every day…

We have value not because of what we have done. We have value not because of what we believe. The pressure and the effort exerted to measure up to certain ideals; placed upon us by others who claim to have an inside track to the truth…I have seen it do untold damage. And it cuts to the core of who we are as an individual, unique person.

I’ll accept you as you are- in the beginning, but then I’ll try to change you- into who I think you should be. Because I know better than you who and what you should be. And I’ll do it in the name of Love. No. If you have been wounded by those who would say and do things to you in the name of God- in the name of Love, just say no. Trust your instinct and realize that you deserve better. You are worth more than that.

“we accept the love we think we deserve”. I heard that recently and it had the ring of truth to me. It’s a trap we can easily fall into. Don’t accept a lesser kind of love; one that is shrouded in manipulation, control, or shame. You deserve better. Maybe what looks or sounds like love really isn’t.

We need to know that we matter, because we really do. We each have significance…worth…value. We each can- and should; cry out: I AM.

Another Elie Weisel quote: “the opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.” If you have had the unfortunate opportunity to experience both- as I have- you will agree. Being ignored hurts the worst.

I agree with Mr Gump when he says:

“I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is…”

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