AND THE REST OF THE STORY IS …

 

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I used to love listening to Paul Harvey’s program, The Rest of the Story. He would share the unknown facts to a familiar story that completely changed what I understood as the truth.

Two incidents happened this week that have reminded me of how much I need to know the rest of the story before I make judgments.

The incident I’m about to share happened this week. Two neighbors had pets. One neighbor had two pit bull terriers, the other a seven-month-old cat. The pits broke through their neighbor’s fence and ran into their yard. One of the pits grabbed the cat into its mouth and bit the cat in half. The cat had been sleeping in as sunny patch in her own yard. Because there are children and dogs in her family she had no fear of the sounds of an animal running toward her. She had no idea she was in danger. Frankly, she probably didn’t even know what hit her. The pit’s family was away for the day and the cat’s family had no choice but to call animal control to do something about the pits in their yard.

Animal control took the pits away and because one of them killed a pet in that pet’s yard they were held under the vicious animal act and were to be euthanized within 3 days. When the owner of the pits returned and learned of their pets’ plight, she put out a plea on Facebook saying her dog killed the neighbor’s cat and that her dogs were going to be euthanized. She asked if anyone outside of the town would be willing to rehome them and save their lives.

That’s when it hit the fan. Comments on Facebook went crazy. All of a sudden people accused the cat of tormenting the dog. One fellow said, “Dogs kill cats all the time.” Others wrote that the only reason these dogs were going to be put down is because they were pits. (Which was not the case. The law states that any animal that tresspasses and kills will be considered vicious.) Some even went on to say the owners of the cat were irresponsible.

How did they come up with such conjectures?

Now for the rest of the story: these pits regularly escaped their yard and ran all over the neighborhood. On multiple occasions several neighbors had asked the owners of the pits to control their dogs, to fix their fence or build higher fences. The owners never complied. On the day of the cat’s death, the owners had left their dogs in the back yard because they were going to be gone for the entire day and didn’t want to leave them cooped up in the house. They did this even though they knew the dogs could escape. Frankly, all the neighbors were sick of being terrorized by these dogs and were relieved to be able to give statements to the animal control agents saying as much.

When the owners of the cat heard of the dogs’ fate, they went to the pits’ owners and said they would do what they had to do to save the dogs if only the pit owners would build a higher and more sturdy fence. The cat’s family also has a newborn son who would soon be toddling around in the back yard. They needed to feel safe in their own yard. But the law prevented the cat owners from intervening. The dogs either had to leave the town or die.

Fortunately, someone out of town offered the dogs a home.

So the rest of the story leads to the correct conclusion that had the owners of the pits been more responsible, this would not have happened and they would still have their beloved pets. However, now neither neighbor has their pet. Thankfully, it was a cat instead of a child.

Remember the story about the doctor being dragged of a United Airlines jet a few months ago? The media portrayed a grim scene. This week I heard the rest of that story by someone well acquainted with the situation. As it turns out this doctor had already agreed to give up his seat and left the jet. However, when he found he couldn’t fly out later in the day, he wanted his seat back and tried to take it even though it now belonged to someone else. Did we hear that side? Nope.

So, both of these situations give me reason to pause. Before I let a Facebook post or a news story raise my blood pressure I need to remind myself to stop and consider, what is the rest of the story?

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TELL YOURSELF THE TRUTH

Do not walk in the path of human reason, and resist the pressures that would project you into conjectures about the future. Live one day at a time! ~ Frances J Roberts

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Imagine with me a moment. Let’s say you are unhappy with the election. Let’s say you are downright livid, frightened out of your skin, worried, unconsolable. You and like-minded friends talk about all the horrible things that are going to happen to this and within this country. You talk about the might be’s, the what if’s, and the I heard’s. Let’s say you spend the rest of this month and the better part of the next in this stew of emotions.

Let’s say you die on December 12th.

Is this the way you would have  wanted to fill your last days? Anger, fear, worry, depression? The irony of it all is that the misery you and your like-minded friends on Facebook and around the coffee table feared might happen, would have actually happened in your life by your own hand.

We are all given one day at a time. And in that day, we need to tell ourselves the truth about that day. DON’T TRUST THE MEDIA TELL YOU THE TRUTH! Why? Because they have a vested interest in keeping things stirred up.

Stay in the day you are in. If what you fear actually  happens in that day, then you have reason to fret. However, I suggest you find beauty in each day. Instead of contributing hate, anger, and fear on your FB page and among friends, choose to be an instrument of peace, spark kindness, and be a source of life.

Do yourself a favor and tell yourself the truth.

THE BEST GIFT OF ALL

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When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you’ll never get back.Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time. ~ Rick Warren

When I think back over my life, I remember moments more than things. Do you? Things gather dust, grow outdated, break, get lost, sometimes sold in garage sales, or are given away. But when I give my time, moments are created. Those we keep for a lifetime. Giving time gives me rewards, like laughing with my dad. Or the fun I have taking my mom to Mississippi to visit her sister. (My beautiful mom is on my right side in this pic. Her sister is on my left). We talk, we laugh, and solve the worlds problems during that ten-hour journey.

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Watching my children grow into adults and having children of their own are like daily diamonds—a lot of pressure while they are forming, but are sparkling jewels in my memories. Remember that Amanda! Elizabeth is a diamond in the rough!

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And let’s not forget friends. When my soul-tank is empty, they fill it back up. I always want to make time to do the same for them.

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I gladly give the gift of my time to others. because the rewards received back are rich moments that will remain with me throughout my life and grow more valuable with each passing year.

Stuff is stuff. Poof! It’s gone. But moments? They are everlasting. And in the giving is the receiving.

TRUTH

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I know it may seem strange to some, but each year I focus on a word and meditate on it the next twelve months. That said, I’ve been stuck on the word truth for two years now. It is so illusive and that’s weird because it shouldn’t be. But each person has a different filter and they process things through that filter which may not be like someone else’s and then the arguments begin.

I’m reading a book by Subodh K Pandit titled CROSS EXAMINATION The Evidence for Belief, and while he is writing about God, I’m also learning  how to go about discerning. There are so many groups who think they have the corner on truth. Whether it be politics, human and animal rights, the food we eat, health, or religion. Folks beat their chests, their Bibles, or each other, trying to force their point. And all the while they only succeed in inflating themselves and the situation.

A statement Pandit made in his book is the perfect observation to what is happening today. He wrote, “I’ve also come across a peculiar notion which holds that if we are strongly convinced about something, our enthusiasm and passion should be accepted as sufficient evidence of its own validity. An impartial inquiry is not required and honesty can be put aside so long as we are defending what we feel honor-bound to defend. 

Wow, I see a lot of that lately. But yelling at television cameras, posting on Facebook, and attending activist meetings whether it be in a city hall, the town square, on a street corner, in a meeting, over lunch or even in a church, does not necessarily mean what we are pounding the table about is true. And that is sad, because this kind of behavior is what divides us. It isn’t done in a humble, honest, respectful way. Instead of pointing a virtual finger in my chest telling me I’m wrong, it is better to have an honest dialogue and be willing to examine all sides.

Jesus advised us to set our minds on what is truth. Not what our emotions tell us is truth, not what activists or alarmist tell us what is truth, not what we read on the Internet.

So how do we come to the truth? It is a process of patience, humility, examination of evidence, and a calm mind. Perhaps that is why it has been my word for two years. I’ve had to work through my own emotion, activism, and alarmist tendencies.
And I think I’ll probably be focusing on this word another year . . . at least.