Support My Writing

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

In a family, love doesn't always mean agreeing or understanding

Being part of a family is unlike any other relationship experienced in life. A person can choose their friends, job, clubs and organizations, hobbies, and even a spouse. But, you can’t choose the people who are often closest to you- your relatives. This can be one of the best, and the worst, aspects of family.

Attempting to get along with siblings is one of the first lessons most people learn growing up. In childhood, squabbles and fights are common, accepted, and to be expected. As a person gets older, the terrain can get rockier and more perilous. Trying to understand and get along can be one of life’s most trying and frustrating lessons. It can be very challenging to get along with people you have nothing in common with or try your last nerve.

It is one of life’s greatest mysteries and challenges attempting to understand those closest to us. How is it that people who grew up in the same household, or were raised by, or have the same DNA, can be so different? Family relationships can be exhausting and discouraging, but well worth the effort.
It isn’t essential for parents to completely understand, or accept, all the choices their children make, in order to love them. The same is true for siblings.

Most important is to keep in mind that all individuals in a family have a right to their own lifestyle and pursuit of happiness. It isn’t for any family member to tell another how to live their life, barring any obvious dangerous or destructive choices.

Focusing on the love and the importance of the family connection is vital. How often is there a heart-wrenching tale of a divided family which fought and fussed for years over differences of opinion, only to have a loved one die and never to have been able to make amends? It is usually in hindsight that people understand that life is too short to seek arguments over situations which are not in agreement. Not being able to understand another person’s choices does not preclude love and respect. Giving an open and loving heart, without judgment or conditions, can be challenging, but well worth the effort.There are very few instances in life when you can happily surrender the small picture for the greater good.

You don’t have to agree with, or like a person, to feel great love for them as a member of a family. Familial love is one of the greatest and strongest bonds a person can experience. It defies logic and reason. It stands up to great adversity and shows amazing resilience. It can be one of the most selfless and inspiring examples of love and kindness. Familial love is not something easily explained. It is better to be experienced.

Nurturing and caring for familial relationships is something everyone can always seek to improve. Family is the greatest and most powerful concept human beings from every corner of the planet, can understand and experience. It endures when temporary things, like wealth, health, glory, and youth, fade. Feeling frustrated, or annoyed, is a small price to pay for the enduring blessing of a relationship with a beloved family member.

Loving Siblings
Originally written for

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Time spent in Purgatory- also known as- My daily commute on The Bus of the Damned

Yes, that is a dramatic title, but lately, my public transportation experiences are beginning to feel like Purgatory. I have been writing imaginary prayers in order to stop myself from snapping at people, or actually becoming one of those stories you read about while riding on public transportation.
Because I don’t believe in re-inventing the wheel, so to speak, I FOUND an amazingly accurate website which has done far more work than I plan to invest in this topic. I HIGHLY recommend you view it in order to capture some of the look and feel of what I have been encountering lately. I would rather ride with these guys.

The website is called- Transit Freaks.  Before you think I am being harsh or cynical, please don’t judge me unless you have been forced to be SQUEEZED into a metal tube and pressed up against someone you don’t know, as if they were your most intimate partner or your spouse.  That’s called the METRO. The "wonderful" joy of riding Metro, and that is a whole blog by itself, is like the most dysfunctional person in your family. You can’t live with them, but if you work in D.C. and don’t want to pay a mortgage-like parking fee every month, you can’t live without them.
Metro is a great idea with LOUSY execution. It is a hot mess. Sometimes literally. Mercifully, I only have to travel 3 stops to my office. Believe me when I tell you, those 3 stops can seem like an eternity if you are sitting next to the wrong person OR if you are crushed in the aforementioned situation.

Sadly, many commuters don’t have basic hygiene as one of their strong suites. Having Halitosis Harry breathe on you for three stops can make 15 minutes seem like 15 hours. Summer is so much worse than winter because you may actually have skin to skin contact when the weather is warm. Ugh. Hence the prayers.
Example:  Our Lady of Perpetually Smelly Travelers, please help me to hold my breath without dying until I reach Gallery Place. Amen

You see where I am going with this. Here is an example of the expression I have when I experience the damnation each day

The Bus of the Damned is another story. I have compiled a short list of SINS that my fellow damned commit on our lovely bus and ask sincerely that you look introspectively and ponder whether you are guilty of any of them:

1. Thou shall not talk on the cell phone so loudly that others are forced to listen to your personal business.

2. Thou shall make sure that you are not listening to your music so loudly in your headphones that your fellow travelers know every song on your ipod.

3. Thou shall remember not to wear cheap, stinky, aftershave or perfume. Your fellow travelers do not want to vomit on other passengers.

4. Thou shall remember to bathe and brush teeth in the event that you will be close enough, AND YOU WILL, to other travelers to breathe on them.

5. Thou shall not fall asleep on another traveler. No one wants to be your body pillow.

6. Thou shall not assume that everyone on the bus is deaf. WE CAN HEAR YOU and when you talk very loudly to another passenger or into your phone, it is annoying and rude. BE AWARE of your surroundings.

7. Thou shall not shake your wet hair, umbrella, coat or belongings on a fellow traveler. Again, BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS. We are all on this Bus of the Damned together. Do we have to make it any worse than it is?

8. Thou shall not take up two seats. Don’t take up valuable real estate by spreading out all your books, bags, or even yourself, so that you are denying someone else a seat. BE CONSIDERATE. The world does NOT revolve around YOU!

9. Thou shall be thoughtful, courteous, and polite. We all have to be on this Bus of the Damned together. Let’s try to make it as civilized as possible.

10. Thou shall not assume that anyone on the Bus of the Damned cares to hear about your politics, religious affiliation, sports team, or your rants about metro. IT IS A BUS, not a roundtable discussion. Zip it until you get to your office.

In closing, I want to say that I do encounter wonderful, kind, friendly, and normal people on public transportation too. Unfortunately, they are in the minority. I realize that public transportation is a very valuable part of urban living and I support it.
It is my sincerest wish that people could learn to be more aware of how their actions and behavior impact the people around them. If that happened, perhaps there could be salvation for those riders on the Bus of the Damned and the daily commute could be so much more enjoyable.
If you know anyone who is guilty of these commuter sins, pass it along. Maybe it is the hint they need to get on the righteous path.