The Institute For Living

Tag: failure


When Love Walks In

by on Oct.29, 2010, under Core Values, General Updates, Politics/Economics, Relationships, Spirituality

I’ll never forget the time when my oldest son was about 15 years old and he had done something that made me so angry I was seeing fire (I cannot remember his crime, because forgiveness has washed it away). I had determined that when I went to pick him up I would give him the tongue lashing of his life. Something strange happened, though: the moment he came walking toward my car, feelings of love washed over me. All I could say to myself was, “Yeah, that’s my son!”

At that moment, whatever he had done didn’t really seem to matter when measured against the lifetime love that I have for him. Events will pass; love stays.

We all know that among our families and friends we have numerous experiences where friction occurs. The true measure of our love — of various kinds and dimensions — is our ability to deal with those tests and trials constructively or destructively.

Often relationships are based on rules. A rigidity around those rules is the cause of the end of many relationships. However, when love walks end, patience, kindness, understanding, and other qualities help us enlarge our tent to embrace each other in our humanity.

Many people feel that rules are necessary to have order in and  among a group of people. And they are right. If we stop there, however, it becomes somewhat like a bed frame without a mattress. And certainly we are left without a warm quilt for long winter nights. When love walks in, our humanity is recognized, and we feel protected –not just supported.

People in the Christian faith often use the Ten Commandments as the basis of their living. The paradox, though, is that the very churchmen who were the arbiters of that code of law killed its heir — thus rendering the law null and void.

Before this heinous crime was committed, though, that master teacher said, “I’ll trade you ten commandments for two: just love God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself.”

When we begin to understand that all of the chaos and abuse we are experiencing from the personal to the group to the national and international levels is coming from this one stem, then we will be on our way.

Fear and Love sit at opposites: one destroying the other.

Our economic policies, our culture wars, and our political struggles all reflect our inability to let love walk in.

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Major sponsor to ‘limit’ Woods’ role

by on Dec.12, 2009, under News Commentary, Politics/Economics

Tiger Woods, on his Web site Friday, admitted to infidelity and said he is taking "an indefinite break" from professional golf to focus on his family. This story is a major "water cooler" conversation. People love to gossip and render opinions about these kinds of situations. I have even heard news commentators suggest that we must "forgive" Tiger for what he has done. This is -- in part -- responding to his statement of contrition. Still, I find it amazing for me to think I have anything to forgive. After all, whatever did or did not happen is really a private matter between him and his wife. Whatever forgiveness there is to be done, must be done between Tiger's family, himself, and his God. I must stay clear of the situation. Too often, we spend an inordinate amount of energy and attention on weighing in on the private struggles of other families. This energy could be better spent in humility, recognizing that whenever a member of the family of humanity is weakened it points to the weakness of us all. My spiritual energy is best spent, therefore, in self-examination: what personal struggles -- spoken or unspoken -- should I be dealing with?
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Thanks for the Pain

by on Nov.25, 2009, under Core Values, Spirituality

Tomorrow, people across the U.S. will gather together for Thanksgiving Day.  Most of us will reflect upon the good things and good people that have been in our lives for the past year, and we will express our gratitude to the One who provides these gifts to us.  It is a day of gratefulness and appreciation.

This year, as you count your blessings, remember to include the painful elements of life.

I know that it sounds a bit odd, but remember to give thanks for the unpleasant times you have had along with the pleasant ones; show appreciation for your painful experiences along with the joyful ones.  Good times and pleasant people are easy to appreciate because they give us happy feelings, but bad times and dificult experiences are also vital to our health, for they compel us to grow.

For instance, what are the possible end results when a romantic relationship passes through a difficult stretch?  Either the couple will stay together through the ordeal and find their love for one another deepened through the shared experience, or they will realize that the relationship has no staying power, and each will go his or her own way.  Is not either outcome preferable to a shallow, stagnant relationship?  Or think about difficult economic times.  While we prefer the ease and comfort of wealth, it is when we financially struggle that we learn to appreciate what we have.  Rough economic times force us honestly to sort through our priorities as we stretch our resources, and having less money available to run all around town means that we end up spending more quality time with our families.

The same kinds of blessings may be found in any type of hardship.  In losing those things and people that made us comfortable, we begin a journey into the unknown that provides us with freedom, growth and change.  Entering into new life is difficult and painful, but it is good for us; it grants us wisdom and understanding and experience, all of which help us to become better people.  Profound insights emerge from the depths of despair, if we are open to them.

This Thanksgiving, as you list the blessings in your life, remember to give thanks for your sorrows.  They may not be pleasant to experience, but if you have the wisdom to learn, they are shaping you into a better human being.

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