Tracks In The Dust

A Father's Advice About Learning the Mission of Life

Archive for the tag “Kindness”

“Mad” or “Sad”?

20120527-201954.jpgI was in a grocery store over the weekend and I heard a lady exclaim to her husband how “really mad” she was about the fact that a cracker company had discontinued her preferred sized box.

I had to laugh a bit because I couldn’t think of a situation such as that where it would make me be “really” mad. I always thought that “mad” was reserved for horrific things that happened to people or circumstances that became unable to control or ultimately did not turn out the way we expected. Even then there is a fine line I think between mad and sad (or disappointed I suppose).

It seems like more and more people are “mad” at things that really stretch the idea of or being angry.  There is room for anger in our lives; applied to those things that may some how stimulate us to a better life, to be more conscientious or be stronger for someone or some cause.

It seems the “madness” I see stems from something else. Perhaps the frustration of the moment or the feeling of helplessness. More than ever before, there seem to be a lot of people who are more angry over things that they cannot change. That is likely because in this “information age” of constant incoming data we are increasingly more exposed to things we can get mad at.

Maybe that is the idea of what someone means when they refer to the past as “simpler times”?  Maybe because of ignorance (which I have heard is bliss) or maybe though intentional avoidance, some people just didn’t have to deal with being angry in those simpler times.  As time has changed, and war, poverty, hate, disease and the like have come 24/7 into our lives, maybe we have become an angrier society?

Whatever the path, seems like something to be sad about. Perhaps mad; but likely sad…because the ability to turn off that 24/7  input has passed many people by. Unless we ourselves make a choice.

Be mad if you need to, but remember to be sad when you can. Either way  you have to find a place where you can move on…. make a difference, change what’s happening, or focus on something else that you can effect. Getting “stuck” in mad is maddening enough.

Be Thankful

ThankfulSo there are so many ways to say “thank you”. For some it may be a sincere hug. Are you a hugging person? Maybe not as personal for some, but perhaps a genuine handshake or some other physical way.

There are people who show their appreciation with special words of thanks, pointing out very directly how they feel. They may go out of their way to reach out and be sure someone knows what it means. There are others who send cards or notes, communication to make sure to be specific about what they felt and why they want to say thanks.

But there are some  people I have met that seem to have lost the art of saying thank you. They may nod or say “thank you” and smile, but they believe that are just trying to be polite. They really expect things to come to them, to be provided to them because they deserve it. Perhaps they think  “after all” they have struggled to get where they are, they may have even worked hard to be who they are. But really, it may not be sincere, it may be lost in the point of view.

My kids are adults now. And I hope that I have taught my kids what it means to be thankful. What it means when someone else does something for them. What it means to do things for others as well. Is it an art? Is there a science to it? Not sure that there is, it is just something that has to be recognized. It is a way of life that allows you to recall and  remember what others lives are like around you. It’s not a sign of weakness, it is not a sign of submission. It is the proof that you are in the place you need to be in humankind.

You can be the ingredient of the essence that is grace in action.

So simple and so complex at the same time. Thank you.

Changing Lives One Day At A Time

decisionTime seems to stand still once in a while. There is nothing special happening, nothing monumental. Yet all around you are people who are experiencing quite the opposite. They may be having a life event, a special moment perhaps. They may have run into the depths of failure, or the heights of success.

But there you are. Living in one of  those nondescript days where at the end of it, you have to ask yourself how it got so late at night and it is “time for bed”.  It seems like a throw-away day. Just moving through the day like the sun overhead. Moving from east to west and finally being done warming the day.

Sometimes it makes me feel sad. It’s a day you can never get back, no chance to have a “re-do”. Could there have been opportunities to make a difference in someone else’s  life, to strike a conversation, help someone you may not even have known by offering an act of kindness?  Could you have spent a moment to call a friend, make someone laugh or just tell someone you haven’t seen in a while that you were thinking of them?

All of those things seem so simple and somewhat insignificant I guess. But they are not, are they?  They are reasons for the chance to live the day. To provide forgiveness, to show kindness, to create a new timeline of events for someone else perhaps, a possible very small thing for you- that sends someone off in an entirely new direction in their lives.

Then you can still say it “seemed like an uneventful day”. But not… it seems for everyone.  I will work to make that day happen. How about you?

No Drama Zone

No Drama ZoneThere are days when it isn’t welcome. The drama and urgency of others hits you square in the head. You just want to leave it alone, let it be something someone else needs to know, someone else needs to deal with.

It’s really not that you don’t care, close family and friends deserve the critical points that make up drama in their lives as much as anyone. We all have those moments, those days, those situations that put drama in our lives.

Sometimes it seems it is self inflicted – we can attract drama in our lives like a magnet.  We even are unaware and unconscious about it coming and are surprised when the drama arrives. Things do go another direction than we expect, things find their ways into our lives that just make things so much more difficult than we are expecting, than we are wanting.

But there are times when our friends and family want to share drama. Even more unexpected than our own, it comes with the needs and wants of their expectations, which sometimes just.. aren’t… yours. You just can’t deal with it and you take a deep breath. Because after all it is a loved one… you have compassion for their plight. You understand your dilemma but it just isn’t something you can deal with at that time. Maybe some other day, but not today.

So then you feel like you don’t care. It tips the scales on the things you are dealing with at the moment, and makes it even worse in some ways because you want to be there for them. But it is that moment when you can not. It feels wrong.

As a person who cares about things (like most of us do), especially your family and close friends… it feels frustrating -yet is probably better for them that they know there are those points in the day, week, month. moment that it just has to be a… NO Drama Zone.

The Last Words You Say


These days I am so much more aware of what I say to everyone every day. Time and time again I think about how those things I say and how I say them could be the last words I ever say to them. ….Oh, I know that this sounds like this is so filled with dread, like the world is so fatal. But it’s really not that.

If you have a choice with your loved ones on what you would say on the last day you are alive, before you leave this earth for a better place ahead. What would you say? ….. then ask yourself why you are waiting?  Say it now.

There aren’t very many reasons to consider waiting, and your life is a gift that allows you look inward and provide love and care to others while you are here on this planet. We all are looking for a greater meaning of the whole thing called life, but the simple things can and should be at the center of it.  It is the reward here.

So think about the next time your son or daughter or spouse is leaving out the door for the day. Consider the next time you see your family and friends. Are you telling them what you would tell them if it were the last words you would say? Are those bitter feelings, or small worries worth spending that valuable time? Or would you rather make sure that your precious time together always be cherished?

Don’t take your time for granted. Make it count. Be sure to reach out and say what you mean. Whether it is in-person or on the phone, whether it is an email response or just a random meeting in a store. Never let it go without being sure that you appreciate their love, or the part they play in your life, focus on the reason they mean what they do to you… It doesn’t take a million words. It doesn’t have to be a deep speech or long drawn out oratory… just tell them you care…

Thank you for visiting tracksinthedust. It’s always nice to know how much humankind really needs the same things in life. Blessings to you!

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