Keep on the Sunny Side

“Keep on the sunny side,

“Always on the sunny side,

“Keep on the sunny side of life…”☀🎵

“Do you always smile?” This question has been asked of me many times in my life.  My answer is typically, “I sure try.”   And don’t we all smile at times we don’t feel like it?  

Are you optimistic?  Can you think yourself happy?  What do you do to cheer yourself up (or can you?)?  We’ve been taught “we are what we think”. Do you allow the energy of your mind to be taken over by toxic thoughts that keep swirling your brain?

Are you anxious, moody, or nervous?  Are you struggling with finding your purpose?  Or are you running on auto, numb to anything, because you feel you have no control over your situation?   

What have you learned because of the pandemic?  Do you feel stunted and fearful? Or are you exhausted?   I’m going to supply my own statistics.  Out of 10 friends in which I’ve asked simply, “How are you?, 100% shared that things are challenging.  Friends, we need to get real with one another.  The pandemic, and life in general, has put us all back on our heels at times.

This last week for me has been full of fun, friendship, and fellowship.  It had been a year since I experienced such a full week of activities with others.   All of us came crawling out from under the heavy rocks of restriction together (and wearing our masks and being wise 😉).   This was not a dangerous game of chance with the virus (and every sneeze of allergy season being treated as such).  But it was still a matter of health.  Of mental health, physical health, emotional health, and spiritual health.  While we have all stayed “hunkered” down the cases of anxiety, depression, and other mental stresses have risen.  Nearly 70% of the country suffered together with the wicked winter storms and I would guess 100% of us would say 2020 brought new challenges.  And the storms of life will keep brewing on–for all of humanity.  If we’ve learned anything it’s that we ultimately can only control ourselves and our reactions. When will we let go of what we can’t control?  Do you try to stay busy to just stay distracted?  Are you trying to keep a routine, whether healthy or unhealthy, because it’s the only normal you have in your life?  I’ve always tried to be a “glass half-full” human.  Even if I drank the other half (and I’m thankful just to have a glass). I’m ok being called Pollykarla. My comeback is optimism with a huge tank of faith and hope. The alternative is misery.

We know joy because of pain.  We become wiser because of poor choices.   Our circumstances are all different. We view only through the lenses of our experiences-can we all wear glasses of grace? Don’t expect others to understand YOUR story. You’re more than just the role you keep-you’re more than a paycheck and what you can do for somebody else, you’re more than just being a caregiver, you’re more than just being a worker, you’re more than just a filler for someone else’s loneliness, you’re more than what the world tells you that you have to be, you’re more than an invisible person that no one can see, you’re more than just a diagnosis, you’re more than just survivor, you’re more than just a spouse, parent, or loved one. You are everything; without anything. 🤍

Do not let someone else dismiss your feelings.  If you’ve been minimalized, shamed, or invalidated, I’m sorry.  Feelings aren’t right or wrong.  What we do with them can lead us down a path of danger or serenity.  We can exhale a collective sigh that we’re in it together.  We can nod our head and smile at a stranger (keeping in mind that we have no idea what he or she is facing).  It may have taken EVERYTHING in them to just get out.   And to those who are trying to go so fast to avoid stopping to feel ANYTHING, know that there are people out there willing to give you space to slow down, breathe deep, and recollect your thoughts and actions (versus giving up).   We want it all, we want it fast and now, and we forget that we’re missing out on just living in the moment.  Worry is consuming; and on the opposite end, complacency can creep into creation.

I have faith.  And when I end my posts with those two words, I’m not dismissing the fact some of you may not have it.   You may not have hope. May the void in your life become filled with a presence of a Spirit and a love that is unexplainable.  That void for me is in Christ alone; it’s true love.

I have faith in you.  I still have faith in humanity.  Don’t lose hope.  Know you are loved.  I hear you and I see you.  No one else can give you your happiness-do you know where it lives inside you?   Surrender to the sweet spot meant only for you.  Not because you feel forced or pressured.  Use your 6-foot space to truly stand apart from anything that is keeping your hope hostage.  Use boundaries to be your best; and respect the rules of engagement with others. Don’t just know someone; understand them. While you’re swimming so hard for others, don’t let yourself drown.  We’ve all swirled in the waves of uncertainty, fear, health, relationships, and other dangerous “rocks” in the river of life.  Throw a life preserver and support a soul.  Don’t pull someone under because of your own riptides of repression.  Give them a hand of hope. 

 I smile thinking of my family (great news-I’m going to have another grandbaby in August 😊).  I do love smiling.  And if I cry, I’m ok with it.  Tears feel good sometimes; they’re needed.  And I give myself space to sit with my emotions.  And by taking care of myself mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally, I’m better prepared for the jagged jams on my river journey.   The sun is shining bright today.  I think I’ll just think about that and soak it in while it’s here-care to join me?

Have faith 🤍

Newsworthy

The news I waited on four days ago was worth every second. Patiently I tried to keep busy knowing that my granddaughter would soon be making her grand appearance. At 11 p.m. that evening my eyes brightened at her beauty (viewed on my tiny screen). Longing to be there, I was still “over the moon” with her pictures. Such a tiny little princess was delivered into this crazy wonderful world! “Welcome to your life precious Whitley from Washington. I can’t wait for you to meet your first cousin, Asher from Alaska (his beautiful arrival last July officially made me “Grammy K”). And of course your great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and many others.” I’m blissfully blessed.

Most news I don’t care to know about~ does anyone else try to avoid it? The inquisitive side of me~the learner, the researcher, and the “want-to-knower”~wants to stay on top of current affairs. And this “dread” is felt, I’m sure, by many. And then yesterday happened.

I did it. I tuned in the news on T.V. (R.V. living requires a literal “tune”-a twist of the antenna). Proven were the reasons why I shouldn’t. There wasn’t ONE thing learned that impacted my plans for the day (except the weather-but that changes every hour too). The latest headlines seem to always contain controversy-beliefs cemented by a political stance, where you live, the color of your skin, and decisions made by our higher authorities. Karla, turn it off. Slowly I opened the camper door. The birds were singing and the sky was still in place. Happily I headed out to escort my sister to a doctor’s appointment.

Despite my frustrations with drivers driving the last few weeks I considered myself, or so I thought, positively prepped. Listening to uplifting music and glueing on my smile I zipped onto the 2-way lane of life. Oh boy. Just like my newborn grandbaby, I did not feel prepared for entry.

Just like the news, the headlines on the highway were controversial (to say the least). The right lane didn’t like the left lane. The left lane tried to pass the right lane~the fuel of their discontent clouded my view even from a short distance. Apparently the speed limit signs are suggestions only. And if you recall my personality type, I’m not a speeder. Within 40 minutes I felt closer to my maker than I had the whole morning. Safely, I landed at the pick-up point. The remaining 20 minutes on the road with a happy companion made for a better trip.

Unfortunately the air around the health center was pretty stale. Rudeness, discourtesy, and unprofessionalism; they grate my skin like the sound of someone chewing on styrofoam. What REALLY had me hot under the collar (or even hotter under my required mask) was the nonverbal communication towards my sister (I’m protective to a fault, my background is special education, ALL OF US have challenges, and I have too high of expectations for kindness). And then I tell myself, “All God’s children have a place in the choir”!

“Father God, humble me, give me strength, and thank you for loving me and everyone in this place,” I pray to myself. Have we relied so much on “behind the screen” communication that we’ve forgotten that our NONVERBAL is just as powerful (insert eyeroll here if you want; but include tone of voice, loudness, inflection, etc…)? I was so appreciative of the kind and professional individuals that helped us. They deserve praise and a raise! Their kindness definitely helped soothe the sting of the rude ones.

Isn’t this our world anyway? Not to sound too simplistic, but some folks are nice, some aren't. Some hate their jobs or themselves so much they’re going to deflect their feelings on everyone around them. This isn’t “new” news; it is sad news though. Some come from abusive backgrounds, broken relationships, financial crisis, loss of loved ones, or other things in their lives that have caused sorrow and pain to turn to anger and lack of empathy (or sympathy). Perhaps their hope is gone? They can’t see it in this topsy-turvy world. Sometimes a glimpse of hope is all you need to spark a flame of faith.

My sister and I said good-bye. Soon after completing a call, I noticed a police officer loading his trunk. There was a voice whispering, “Encourage him.”

“Officer, I’m sorry to bother you. But I just wanted to tell you that I appreciate all that you do.”

“Thank you, Ma’am. I don’t always hear that.”

“Have a great day and stay safe!”

“You too. Thank you again!”

As I was leaving a man walked out of the gas station extending his hand to the officer. Tears immediately filled my eyes. Quickly I put my car in park and got out. They both looked at me when I said, “This is the hope I needed to see today.”

“We’re not all alike and we don’t all believe or act the same!” the man exclaimed.

“And we’re not all that bad either,” the officer said.

I stated, “I love you both for who you are.”

I have good news. There’s someone that loves you NO MATTER WHAT. There is love when you don’t feel like you deserve it. There was a sacrifice beyond my comprehension. We don’t have to understand it. We just have to believe it. It’s free. And you my friends are worthy.

Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.

Hebrews 11:1

Have faith 💚