Empathy In A Mean World #59

“In my view, the best of humanity is in our exercise of empathy and compassion. It’s when we challenge ourselves to walk in the shoes of someone whose pain or plight might seem so different than yours that it’s almost incomprehensible.” Sarah McBride

True empathy requires that you step outside your own emotions to view things entirely from the perspective of the other person.” Anonymous

In Heartbreaking Moment Perspective #33 I wrote about how the sight of homelessness affects me. A few days ago I had another experience with the sight of homelessness. One of my Facebook friends shared a small portion of a video documentary about Skid Row in Los Angeles, California, watching that video broke my heart. This video literally brought tears to my eyes and it made me realize how much empathy I have for all people, especially those who are less fortunate than I am. I have seen dozens of documentaries on Skid Row, but this one really made me emotional for several days after watching it. Just as I did after seeing the homeless man that I wrote about in perspective #33 I began to question why is it that I am blessed with a nice home, and a comfortable bed to rest my head on at night, but there are so many others who aren’t blessed in the same way. I wonder if I am too empathetic.

I look at the sight of homelessness and I wish that there was something I could do to provide all people with a decent roof over their heads so that there wouldn’t be a need for people to be living in tent cities or simply laying on the street. I realize that some of the people who are living homeless are living that way because of choices they’ve made that ultimately changed their way of life, but even in those cases it still bothers me deeply to see anyone who is living on the street and doesn’t even have a clean bathroom to use. At the time that this video documentary was made there were over 2,000 people living on Skid Row with only a small number of portable toilets that the city government had placed in various areas for all of those people to use. That’s unbelievable to me, I really can not even imagine what it’s like living like that. As the young woman was walking down the street there were people shouting angrily at her and her camera person and I honestly didn’t really understand that. I thought maybe its embarrassment of how they are living, but I’m not sure. After posting perspective #33 I had a conversation with my mother about the many reasons why some homeless people make the choice to live on the street like mentally illness or worrying about being taken advantage of while in shelters or other facilities and I thought what an extremely difficult life it must be. Is it selfish of me to have empathy for homeless people and others who are less fortunate than me, but at the same time be grateful and thankful that hasn’t been God’s plan for my life thus far?

In this world we live in unfortunately there is a down side to having empathy for people who are less fortunate than yourself. I recently saw a news story about a couple who were driving in their city and stopped to help a couple who appeared to be in need, well that wasn’t the case, those people who appeared to be in need of some kindness had malicious intentions and ended up killing a pastor’s wife who empathized with them and only wanted to share some genuine compassion and kindness. That was a heartbreaking story to see as well. It made me think of myself, because I am that person who is quick to empathize with someone who appears to be less fortunate than I am. I probably get that from my mother because she is the same way. Whenever I see someone who appears to not have had a bath or shower in several days and is carrying what seems to be all their worldly possessions I quickly feel sorrowful. We all pass by those people who are carrying handmade signs that say “will work for food” or something similar. The empathizer in me is always quick to have sympathy for those people and want to do something for them, give money, food, anything to make their lives better or take their troubles away for a moment. Sadly we are living in times where my second thought to myself is always, “I wonder if they are legitimately in need?” It’s awfully disheartening realizing that this world has become a place where it’s necessary to second guess having empathy for someone, because being a kind, compassionate, loving empathizer can get you killed.

Who ever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered. Proverbs 21:13ESV

That’s just my perspective!💜

Another Journey Around The Sun #58

I can’t believe it is the last day of 2018. I’m sure it sounds crazy, but to me it seems like this year went by much faster than usual, although I know that it was 365 days just as all years are.(except for leap years of course) This year has definitely been a year that will remain unforgettable because so much has happened in the world around me near and far. I have been thinking a lot about myself and my place in this world. I feel like I am 36 years old and I have yet to figure out where I really fit in this world and what my purpose is in this life, but I know that God has a specific purpose for my life. I think writing this blog and sharing my thoughts and feelings about various things has helped me to learn a lot about who I am and who I wish I could grow to be. For a long time I felt like God didn’t give me a talent or at least he didn’t make me talented in a variety of areas like most of my family members, but writing this blog has helped me to realize that expressing myself in writing is something that I’m pretty good at and maybe that’s my talent.

Each time I post something here on Perspective By Zena T. I hope that it is something that in some significant way helps the lives of those reading my words, because I want my life to help others. Looking back on my blog posts throughout 2018 I realize that I have written a lot about how the negative things going on in this world affect me and my thoughts. I hope that in the new year God will inspire me to write about much more positive subjects. I always try to be someone who attempts to spread love, kindness, and compassion to others and I don’t think there was very much of those things being spread around the world throughout the 365 days of this year and I just couldn’t deal with all the hatred that was being spread around so I needed to write about it just to purge it from my mind. I have tried my best to be 100% honest about my thoughts and feelings about whatever it is that I am writing about. At times throughout this year I have felt like maybe I write about grieving my father a bit too but I have decided that it is impossible for me to write about my daddy too much. His death had a tremendous effect on my life and I write about him because it’s cathartic for me and I hope to help other people who are grieving their fathers or other loved ones.

One of my favorite quotes is by Nelson Mandela, it says “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” My constant prayer is that God will use my life to put some good into the world. I want to provide some positive light in the lives of others. Through my writing this year I have actually taught myself a valuable lesson and that is to try to stop being so critical of myself. I feel like God is constantly working on me and molding me into who he wants me to be. I hope that those of you who have chosen to read my words throughout this year have learned a little bit about who I am and I hope that something you have read has brightened your perspective. Thank you for all of your kind and thought provoking comments on my posts. In 2019, I hope to make my blog better by writing more often and continuing to share my honest thoughts on everything under the sun. I hope that you all will continue to take a moment to look at life from my perspective.

That’s just my perspective!💜

I hope that the 365 days of 2019 bring you and your loved ones all the love, joy, happiness & prosperity your hearts and hands can hold.💜

Disheartened, Frustrated & Angry #54

img_0685Lately I’ve really been struggling with what to share with you all. I think in the last week, almost two I’ve been subconsciously distracting myself to refrain from sharing anything on my blog, because I just haven’t had anything uplifting, enlightening or inspiring to share. As the saying goes, honesty is the best policy so I’ve decided that as usual I’ll just be honest with my blog family, hoping that someone will understand my feelings. Some of you may even be feeling the same way.

I have spent the last few months wishing that God had made me a little different. I wish that God had not made me a person who is so deeply affected by everything that is going on in the world around me. I really don’t want to keep writing about all the extreme negativity going on in the world, specifically in the United States, but unfortunately right now that’s what is constantly on my mind. Several of you in my blog family know me personally and know that I am not a hate filled person. I am a quiet person who tries to live life getting along with all others even if I disagree with something you’ve done or said I try to avoid conflict with others. I feel like most of the time I am pretty easy to get along with. I wish it was that simple for everyone.

Last Saturday I laid in bed once again watching news coverage of yet another mass shooting, I’m sure many of you were watching. Since I am being honest I have to admit that I laid in bed crying because I’m so tired of living in a world where people use guns to murder other human beings simply because they believe in something different or because they are of another race. A week earlier there was the man who decided to make and send bombs to politicians through the mail, thank God that situation wasn’t as horrific as it could have been. Oh let’s not forget the two people who were killed in Kentucky simply because they were two African Americans at the grocery store. Yes, that’s the world we are living in, all of that happened within what, a week.

I just do not understand how someone can be so filled with hate that they want to kill others simply because they are different in some way. I wish that I understood what’s going on in not only the United States, but all over the world, the hatred that exist is appalling to me. Why is it that we don’t take the time to understand each other? We are all so vastly different and in 2018 nearing 2019 there are still people in this country and in this world who can’t seem to understand or maybe just refuse to accept it. Apparently that’s the way that God wanted things to be, God made us all in his image (read Genesis 1:27) obviously God didn’t mean for us all to be exactly the same.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said “Let no man pull you low enough to hate.” I don’t want to live my life hating anyone for any reason and as naïve as it may seem I wish I could cure all the hate that has existed in this world for far too many generations. We live in a time where you aren’t completely safe anywhere, not your house of worship or your own home. It makes me angry and sad all at once. Something is wrong in this world and we have got to fix it. The hate and division has got to come to an end.

I really don’t have the vocabulary or full capacity to tell you all just how massively frustrated I am with the state of this country and the world around me. I want my five year old nephew to be growing up in a better world. I know that right now he doesn’t even understand any thing other than the life of a happy kindergartener, he’s not yet focused on what’s happening in the world around him, but by the time that he is I want this country and this world to be so much better. In ten years when my nephew is a teenager I don’t want him to be living in a world where young African American males are being killed by the police or where young people who have been bullied choose to go into their schools and murder their teachers and classmates. I don’t want my nephew living in a world where Jewish people are afraid to go and worship at their synagogue or where African American people go to Wednesday night bible study and can’t be Christ-like choosing to invite in a stranger because that stranger just might be a young man who has been taught to hate and has malicious intentions. I want my nephew and all the children in this country and throughout the world to have better leaders who actually genuinely care about the welfare of others. I am angry and frustrated because the world has been in this state for far too long and it doesn’t seem to be any change near, it seems each day its only getting worse. Change has to come soon, its imperative.

That’s just my perspective!💜

Friday Night Feelings #10

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I haven’t been able to make my original plans for this blog happen because I have allowed life and it’s many twists & turns to get in the way of my dedication to writing something at least once or twice a month. I think I have mentioned it before but it literally shocks me to my core when someone tells me that something I have written has helped them in some way and that occurred this week, I had someone tell me that my random thoughts that I post on Facebook helps them to see things from a different perspective. I can’t truly explain how flabbergasted I was being told that my words, my random thoughts about various topics helped someone. After that experience I feel like I have a renewed energy for writing. As always I write because it is cathartic & therapeutic for me but if I can help someone with just one word that I write then my living is not in vain.💜

Moment of Clarity – #8

A few months ago I wrote a post on Facebook about how I think that God sometimes sends us signs in our daily lives that make us stop and think and completely changes our outlook on life. The experience that I wrote about on Facebook is one that has stayed in my mind since it occurred and even though it may seem simple to some the experience was very significant to me and has changed my perspective on life in several ways.

In August I went to have some repairs made on my leg braces, it is something that I had not done in a long while so I had forgotten how long I might be there. I probably should have taken something to read with me because the apps on my cell phone just were not entertaining me. I was experiencing the beginning of a migraine before I left home so the brace repair company was really the last place I wanted to be at that point in time. I was sitting there bored, in pain, getting impatient with a million things running through my mind. All of a sudden in the room where I was I saw a prosthetic leg that was made for a small child. It had been so long since the last time I was there I had forgotten that prosthetics were made there.

I took that experience as God telling me that things could be so much worse in my life. I found myself apologizing to God aloud for constantly dwelling on the things that I feel are negative parts of my life. Since God gave me that moment of what I consider clarity I have tried to stop thinking as negatively as I have in the past about the parts of my life that I am unsatisfied with. During the months since my moment of clarity anytime I have down days I pray and try to push myself back into the frame of mind of thinking and believing I am alive because God has a specific purpose for me to fulfill and a reason for placing me where I am.

My prayer since that day is that God continues to help me think positively, that he helps me to learn to not dwell so much on the negative aspects of my life while he is continuing to prepare me to fulfill his purpose for me. I pray that the moment God shows me what that purpose is that my ears, eyes and heart are open to receiving and understanding it  and ultimately fulfilling it as he wants me to.💜

Talking About Death #6

I’ve been going through some of my old journals trying to combine all my writings that I want to keep up with and store them all in one place. I came across something that I wrote in December of 2000 and it triggered my thoughts. It was a year after my daddy died and at that point in time I was thinking a lot about death and how the death of a loved one affects those that are still living, those who are left to mourn/grieve that person. In my journal from that year I wrote several times about death because my daddy’s death had a very profound affect on me and my thoughts.

My journal entry from December 19, 2000 was about the terms that are used for death. We say the person has “passed away” and we say to the bereaved family “I’m sorry for your loss.”and I have never understood why we do that. It seems as though we avoid using the words death,died or dead. I think I partially believe it is because under the circumstances we just do not know exactly what to say to the bereaved but also because using those words gives permanency to the situation and death is a very difficult thing to accept.

After my daddy died I absolutely hated to hear people say, “I’m sorry for your loss.”maybe I am thinking about it far too literally but when something or someone is lost it/they can be looked for and possibly found, my daddy and all others who die are physically completely gone from this life, as much as all of us who grieve our loved ones who have left this life would like we cannot form a search party and go looking for them so they are definitely not lost. In the previously mentioned journal entry I wrote that I don’t understand why people use the term “passed away ” my thoughts about that have certainly changed. 2 Corinthians 5:5-10 speaks about being absent from the body and being present with the Lord. After thinking about it for the past few years I have formed the belief that once you have accomplished God’s purpose for your birth into this life, your death or end of this life occurs and you pass on to a place where you will have eternal life fulfilling whatever purposes God has for you there so I do believe that people pass away to another life.

My grandmother always says “just as sure as you’re born you’re going to die, we didn’t come here to stay.” I think that death should be something that we can have straightforward discussions about while remaining respectful to one another and not sugar coating the topic because it is an inevitable part of life.

Soulmates #4 (To be continued )

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I recently attended a wedding and while sitting there I started to think about the idea of everyone finding a soul mate. Some people believe there is a special person in the world for all of us, someone who we are meant to be in a loving committed relationship with for the rest of our lives. I am not so sure I believe that theory. I guess I’m unsure about how I feel because I’ve witnessed so many relationships/marriages fail. So many people in the world today think they’ve met their soulmate, they get married, stay in the marriage for a while only for it to end in divorce because the two people in the relationship have grown apart. I feel that if a person is one’s soulmate, with effort from both parties in the relationship it should be able to withstand all obstacles or problems that the couple is presented with.

If you feel someone is your soul mate then you should be willing to do whatever it takes to stay committed to that person. I think my parents could be considered an example of real soulmates, because they started dating while in middle school, got married just a few years after graduating high school and stayed married until my father’s death. I believe that they truly loved each other until death and even after almost seventeen years of being a widow my mother hasn’t married again. It is my belief that if God truly created a soulmate for each person he created then there would not be a need for divorce to exist.💜

Many Are The Plans Of One’s Heart #3

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Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. I’ve always been taught that God has a purpose for everyone and everything that he created and I often wonder what exactly my purpose is because I have been living for thirty three years and I have yet to feel like God has shown me what his purpose is for my life. I wonder how it happens, is it something that I am supposed to figure out for myself or is God actually going to show me, will he give me some kind of sign? I have accepted that it will happen because I keep living which means God isn’t done with me, he has something for me to accomplish in this life.

My perspective on Proverbs 19:21, is that regardless of what we want for our lives, no matter what we plan for our lives, it doesn’t matter because God is always in control and his will, his predestined plan is always what is going to happen in our lives and we must learn to accept that fact. Earlier this week, I wrote a note to a family member in which I discussed how I think that when God shows someone their purpose, his reason, or at least one of his reasons for placing them in the world, that has to be an awesome occurrence in one’s life.

Romans 11:29 in the New International Version of the bible says, “For God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable., the New Living Translation version of that same scripture says, “For God’s gifts and his call can never be withdrawn. Therefore once God has shown you the gifts that he has given you to fulfill your purpose, or his calling upon your life no matter any circumstances you may face, other people’s opinions of your life and your own wants are really no longer your focus, because fulfilling God’s purpose becomes your sole passion in life, because many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.💜

Introduction #1

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Several people in my life are always telling me that I should be a writer, because in some people’s opinion I have the ability to put words together well, so this blog will sort of be my way of being a writer. I love to write and I have thoughts and opinions about many different topics which you’ll probably see me write about. I hope anyone who reads anything I have written gains new perspective on the topics discussed. I cannot promise that everything will be punctuated correctly, but my grammar will be correct. Please feel free to comment but remember everything written here is solely based upon the beliefs, thoughts and opinions of Zena T.