Remembering a lesson learned – "Be yourself!"


Remembering a lesson learned – Be Yourself!

In my first book, The Gospel According to Mamma, lesson 20 is “Be yourself.” I wrote about my step-dad who is actually step-dad number three and my current step-dad. I praise him for being “one of those fortunate grown-ups who has managed to hold on to his childlikeness.” For example: “When he is in church and inspired by a soloist performance, he lets out a resounding “Amen!” It doesn’t matter that his is the only voice heard. He follows his heart. No one is a stranger to him. Everywhere he goes – restaurants, grocery stores, church – he speaks to anyone who will listen. And he hums constantly!”

Step-dad number three is in the hospital for the second time this year. This time around he had surgery and is currently in the ICU. I think perhaps what has disturbed me most about his health struggles in the past few weeks was there have been no hums. (Actually his hums are more like “do-dahs.”) No “do-dahs” had me very concerned!

Both my mamma and step-dad are comfortable in their own skin and never worry about what others think of them. I’ve often longed for their self-comfort so I could also not worry about what others might think about what I had to say or what I did. My worries have often kept me from being true to myself – from following my dreams, going after a goal, sharing my opinion, or from dancing at a community concert when I really, really wanted to get up and dance.

With my sweet mamma and step-daddy as role models, I’ve been learning how to recapture the unbridled freedom I had in my early childhood. And I’ve been learning how to be my genuine self – the kind of self that children innately know how to be.

As I wrote in my book, “Mamma says God created us childlike – full of wonder, in a state of perpetual discovery, curious, compelled by fascination, satisfied by simple joys, spontaneous, trusting, obedient, confident, expectant, innocent, eager to learn, with a humble spirit, forgiving, ready to explore and investigate, filled with the spirit of adventure, unconditionally loving. She says people sometimes accept other traits and opinions about themselves that aren’t part of their nature as a child of God. We stop remembering our childlike self. But to be childlike is what we truly are. My mamma says we need only be willing to rediscover this self.”

I’ve been giving my mamma’s words of wisdom a daily “Amen!” as I endeavor to follow.

I’m also happy to report that my dear step-daddy let out a couple of “do-dahs” during my visit yesterday. He also joked with his nurse saying, “I don’t have my wallet,” when she brought his dinner tray, so “No tip!” And his legs and feet would not stop moving. When asked about them, he declared, “I’m dancing!” Now I’m convinced he is on the road to recovery. His childlikeness has saved him!


The election is over! Now what?

My mamma has a philosophy that attempts to see the good in everyone. And in that spirit, perhaps when struggling to see the good in somebody, she would say, “We just have to love the hell out of them.” In fact, “Love the hell out of folks” is a chapter in my new book, The Gospel According to Mamma, which is a collection of twenty-one extraordinary lessons learned from my charming and captivating mamma.

My mamma has always been quite exceptional at finding and appreciating the good in everyone, except during an election season regarding a candidate who wasn’t her choice. And to be honest, I must admit, I have shared her dilemma.

I recall the first election I was eligible to cast my ballot. Election Day was over. The votes had been counted. A winner declared. And my candidate lost the race.

I was devastated. I was sad. I was mad. I was dismayed that the majority of the citizens in my country didn’t agree with me. But this would not be the only time when my preferred candidate didn’t win.

Undoubtedly, now that the US Presidential Election is over yet again, there are those who are happy and those who are not. And perhaps those who are not are finding it difficult to know how to gather their thoughts and emotions.

I’ve come to believe that voting provides us the opportunity to agree to disagree and respect each other’s differing opinions. Hopefully, at the end of the day, we can set aside our differences and be grateful we had the privilege of participating in a democracy. I’m always grateful for this privilege very aware that it is one that women have not always had. Certainly, my love for American democracy is far greater than my opinions on who should lead this country.

But it’s not my patriotic resolve that helps me to hold and practice these beliefs. Patriotism and respect for the democratic process doesn’t help me deal with my emotions following an election, especially when my candidates loose. Frankly, only a prayer-filled conviction can take me to a more centered place and give me peace of mind.

I believe there is a higher power than the presidency that could be called the divine commander-in-chief for all humankind. I believe there are spiritual laws and divine rights that are established and available for everyone. And I believe good is omnipotent and that peace can and will ultimately reign.

After an election with my civic duty completed, I’ve come to realize that I now must implement my spiritual duty to prayerfully support good government, noble and just motives, unselfish ambitions, and high aims for all of our leaders, whether we voted for them or not. This is actually what it means to love the hell out of folks – or it’s how I’ve interpreted my mamma’s instruction.

So when my candidate of choice doesn’t win, for example, I can still have great expectations for the good of my country. I can determine to believe the best about a new President before I believe the worst. And I can expect the best from a new President, too. I can hope and trust that as I faithfully fulfill my spiritual duty and pray for all of my country’s leaders, good, wise and just decisions will be made.

And for my fellow Americans (including my mamma) who may have voted differently from me, I will remember what Abram said to Lot as he attempted to settle a difference of opinion between them, “Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee…for we be brethren.” (Genesis 13:8) I will pray that Congress also remembers these words!