Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Beginning of "Hopeful Thoughts"

Has God ever asked you to do something? Or have you ever just had the same persistent thought to do something a bit out of your comfort zone eat at you?  I am not talking about parting the Red Sea or calling any Roman emperors to repent or anything. But something small, like asking you to write to a friend and apologize for the fight you had 5 years ago that made it hard to be friends, even if it wasn't your fault? Or to go talk to the person living alone in your neighborhood that you have never met and only see pulling in and out of their garage?

Well God has asked me to do something small, that scares the crap out of me. I am supposed to share a weekly Hopeful Thought with you guys. 

I know. Huge, right? 

Now it's not that I have any problem telling anyone about what I am thinking. Usually it takes a gigantic effort on my part NOT to say what's on my mind. My issue here is simply that I am afraid that talking about my view of the Universe will make you guys think I am crazy  people's eyes glaze over with boredom. Or worse, bring out people's argumentative natures. I really, really want to be a source of hope for my readers. But I have no idea what you guys need to hope for. Or that I can accomplish this lofty goal. I am not an academic or prophet or expert. I am simply a basement philosopher who talks to everybody. But not quite like the homeless guy on the corner. He doesn't have a blog.

Still, my experience has been that when I do these hard, small things that God asks, crazy amazing things start to happen. And I am too curious to see where this goes to let my fears win.

So here goes, my first Hopeful Thought:

I recently found out that a friend was in the process of getting divorced. I was shocked. They had always been a "best friends' type of couple. They shared everything, liked the same things. They were even in business together. As the shock has ebbed and I have thought more about what this means in their daily life, I have wondered what to say to my friend. I have no details about what happened, or who instigated the divorce, and frankly, it really isn't any of my business. 

So I started thinking about what would be helpful, as these days of duking it out over business rights and home ownership and child custody roll on. What blessing would I want when my whole life was shredding right before my eyes?

And I had the oddest thought pop into my mind. I saw waves of fire consuming a forest, and then a little girl planting trees and wildflowers in the soil enriched by the fresh ash. 

This image reminded me of a time when a dear, dear friend and I had to part ways. It was an explosive separation that rocked my life like a nuclear bomb going off. But one very unexpected thing happened. I was blessed to see how hard my friend, a vivacious, private, passionate woman, was holding back her wrath, keeping her words, as our relationship dissolved, as kind as she could bare. It was one last beautiful gift, in honor of the friendship we had shared for so many years. And it is something I have tried to cultivate in myself, especially with my husband and children. There is tremendous power in being kind when you are trying so crazy hard to just be civil. That kind of respect builds bridges that we don't see until we are standing on them.

That ability is what I would wish for my divorcing friend. That she and her former spouse can remember to be kind, even as the fires rage all around them. For they are much more likely to be able to build a loving, if separate, world for their children, where kindness was used even in the hours of greatest darkness. And if they cannot be together, than a peaceful co-existence would be the next best thing, I think. It would pave the way for light to return to all of them and mitigate so much pain. 

I thought Cinderella's lovely motto "Have Courage and Be Kind" was nicely relevant. 
Plus, they are such a dreamy couple... 

As for being a hopeful thought, I think that if we can have enough sense to be kind in our words and deeds when all hell is breaking loose, then we have a lot more going for us than we thought. It is amazing to me how far our efforts can reach. The good we all are capable of. And how powerful our actions Now can be to change the future for the better.

Talk to you soon,
CM Shaw


  1. Wow! I found your site while I was looking for how to make bookcase doors, of all things. Going through a personal crisis myself and this post today about kind thoughts is such a keeper. I'm hooked; this is exactly what I needed to read and think about today.