Kim Williams' Blog


 

 

Life is Pushy - What To Do?

Life is just pushy. Life is demanding.


During my past life as a pastor and my current role as a manger in the business setting, I've been privileged to stand with people during all manner of crisis.  From being confronted with critical illness, accidental death to suicide and addiction, I've witnessed people walk through harsh situations.  Life is demanding.


 I've walked through the normal stresses of life with others, as well. We all experience the demands of relationships, illness, job transitions, aging and even the stress of our own feelings and thoughts. Life pushes on us – sometimes hard.
What to do? How about three things?

 

  1.  Know that it’s part of the process. In the same way that hiking to the top of a mountain requires effort, even discomfort life requires effort. Somewhere along the way, we seem to have gotten this idea that life is supposed to have a particular mix of easy and hard; more easy - less hard. Right?. Not true. This moment is our work, our living and it’s often hard, sometimes painful work. 
  2. Do a self-care check. Years ago someone introduced me to the acronym HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. HALT and see if you’re dealing with any of these. If more than two of these is the case, you could be in trouble. Make sure you have as many of these things taken care of as possible – and the good news is, most of these are within our power to address.
  3. Use the buddy system. Why is it we so often go into hiding when we are struggling? Isolation isn’t helpful for managing life’s pushiness. Get with someone else and push back! Throughout every religious expression the importance of community remains constant. As the often quoted, but seldom studied words of the poet remind us,
No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; 
It tolls for thee. - John Donne
 

When life pushes, we can know that it is momentary, take care of ourselves and tap into our community for support.

 

Are You Hiding the Best Bad?

Are You Hiding the Best Bad?

Who are you? Really. Ponder that for a moment. We all, no doubt, have familiar labels based on our relationships, vocation, accomplishments, hobbies, gender and age. These labels are important to communicating an understanding of who we are, but what about the uncomfortable labels that are part of us as well? Do we own those, too?

Do we live a life such that we are honest about our full humanity?

William Sloan Coffin once said, "You are all so interested in putting your best foot forward, when it is your other foot that is far more interesting."

If we are honest, we all have 'the other foot,' those labels that represent another part of who we are. Try on a few of these: divorced, addict, depressed, confused, failure, angry, hurtful, prejudiced... you get the idea. How willing are we to let others know the full truth?

Do we allow our children to see us struggle with our limitations? Can they ever learn to deal with failure if they don't see us fail and recover?

"Your children need a model of honesty. If you pretend you have no weaknesses, and cover them under masks and facades, your children will learn to do the same and the game will go on. Begin today to see, and accept, the real you beneath the role." - William Martin

As a former pastor, I recall yielding to a similar fallacy. My belief was that if I allowed too much of my humanity to be known, I would not be accepted, liked, loved by the people I served. The trick was not to look perfect, but rather to look just a little bit human, a slight bit flawed - but not reveal the true depth of brokenness that I felt and believed every day. Instead, I played a self-inflicted game of privacy and loneliness. It is impossible to have deep intimacy when we hide our complete selves.

It seems to me that when I truly listen to others, when I get the gift of connecting with other people on a deep level, we are all deeply broken and sincerely fearful of our true selves.

It is impossible to have deep intimacy when we hide our complete selves.
— Kim Williams


What say you?


The call of the Divine to us is one of acceptance and knowing, that no matter how bad we may believe we are, no matter how misunderstood or broken we may think ourselves to be, we are nonetheless loved. Ours must be a journey of progress, not perfection, of trying and failing and trying again. Ours is a tale of human imperfection and amazing accidental moments of goodness and badness. We are all of the labels - those we cherish and those we fear revealing.

Slow the F%#*k Down! #MondayBlogs

In the words of Ferris Bueller , "Life moves pretty fast." I dare you to slow down. I double dog dare you. 

I drive too fast and too aggressively, rush in and out of stores, text instead of talk, grab and go instant/fast food, multi-task my way through the day, gulp instead of sipping...Sound familiar? I know I'm missing out.

What if...

I dedicate myself today to doing less today

I cook a meal on the stove not in the microwave

I chew my food and focus on tasting it

I pull over to the right lane and pace with the traffic

I do one thing at a time...ONE THING AT A TIME from start to finish

I call instead of texting

I visit instead of emailing

I look at the people around me and consider them as, well, people who are also living too fast

I linger for a moment longer in a conversation...somewhere past the 'Hi. Fine. Good. Nice weather" phase of the conversation

What is, just for today, I slowed the F&$%k down? 

Yep. Today. 


Death the King of Terrors...but Not

I had lunch with a dear friend today. She recently lost her brother, at the age of 29. In sharing her journey -  her very sacred, tender journey with me - she mentioned a poem which she shared with me later. 

Death is nothing at all. 
I have only slipped away into the next room. 
Nothing has happened. 

Everything remains exactly as it was. 
I am I, and you are you, 
and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. 
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. 

Call me by the old familiar name. 
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. 
Put no difference into your tone. 
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. 

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. 
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. 
Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it. 

Life means all that it ever meant. 
It is the same as it ever was. 
There is absolute and unbroken continuity. 
What is this death but a negligible accident? 

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? 
I am but waiting for you, for an interval, 
somewhere very near, 
just round the corner. 
All is well. 

Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost. 
One brief moment and all will be as it was before. 
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

This "poem" wasn't really a poem at all, but rather it was originally part of a sermon delivered in 1910 by Henry Scott-Holland (1847 - 1918), a priest at St. Paul's Cathedral of London. The excerpt has long outlasted it's original message ("Death the King of Terrors"). I found it comforting.

Thank you, my friend. All is well.

The Focus Needs to Be On You

Allow me to ramble a bit...

It isn't about the famous, the known, the popular, the powerful... Your life, your capacity for love and light and even the darker side of your humanity is what it's about. In as much as we can manifest our best self, the next level of self, in strength and compassion there is the IT of living. The distractions of others avail us little. Be you. It's what matters. Share you. Care with you.

While this may sound self centered, it really isn't. The one job that I have that nobody else can do is the job of being me, living my life, caring for me. True there must be a giving, serving expression of my living and often in the serving I find out much about myself...

Serve food to the homeless. Help someone change a flat tire. Visit the sick. You'll soon learn a bit about what it really important - still...

This giving needs to come from the solemn and wondrous responsibility of becoming oneself. It is far easier to spend my time and energy caught up with external political events, natural disasters, jerks in the coffee shop and other matters which require none of the work or discomfort of paying attention to my part in all of this and growing to be the next best version of me. 

I need a walk in the woods...

I am NOT...

Prejudice

I have little more than an intellectual understanding of the Civil Rights Movement. I have only 'media reported' experience of the words and life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I did not walk. I did not go to jail and neither did anyone in my family. I am a man saturated with white privilege, by virtual of my birth, education and social circles - and I know it is wrong.

I don't really know what to do about it except this: I try to be kind to everyone I meet, embrace the few and uncomfortable opportunities that I have to experience the cultural and economic differences of my world. I work to be more self aware of my thoughts, prejudices and limitations and then to push beyond those to new perceptions and actions. I commit to working on what I am presented with each day - to NOT be the limited person I was yesterday.

I simply want to find a way to love myself out of these limitations and to demand that others do the same.

It may not be enough, but it's what I've got..

Hear that?

You're hiking in the woods with a good friend and all of a sudden she stops you and whispers intently, "Hear that?"

You freeze in your tracks, try to control your heavy breathing and listen...

At first nothing. Then a stirring in the brush. The snap of a twig somewhere behind you. You turn to look. A family of whitetail deer-  several does, a fawn and then a majestic buck come into view. You are amazed. Then, there - you see it all. The wildness, the beauty, the strength of the moment - nature, raw and untouchable, untamed. The buck catches your scent on the air, stares at you and your friend for a moment and then snorts and the deer are gone. 

You and your hiking buddy look at each other and smile, then laugh. You've been graced by the woods, touched by a fleeting moment of surprise and you both know it.

Nice?

Here's the deal. What about the woods we are hiking in right now? Am I listening for the subtle sounds of beauty approaching? Is a colleague (or Spirit) trying to alert me that I'm missing something important? Am I willing to stop and really soak up this moment?

Hear that?

Reapplication of Emerson - Happy 2016!

The words below reign in my mind every time I think about a particularly difficult or taxing day.  

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson


As I approach the close of another year, I re-purposed Mr. Emerson's words...

 Finish each year and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. It's a new year. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

Happy New Year!

Top Holiday Memories - Episode 24

This one is from my brother. I've edited it slightly for brevity...


We always waited for dad to get home from work (he always worked late it seemed to me, on Christmas Eve). We always opened gifts on Christmas Eve. One person would pass out the gifts and everyone would pile their gifts up, waiting for all of them to be given out. Then we would rip them open (well I would) as fast as we could, and hold them up for everyone to see. It was over fast but always great.


This one night I went to bed waiting for Santa, sleeping in the PJs I just opened as a gift. The PJs were always too hot for us living at Myrtle Beach, but we put them on and paraded around the room, anyway. I finally did get to sleep that night. Sometime in the early morning I awoke to find the best Santa gift in the world - an electric train set with a black engine that would smoke and a light in the front. The track was already assembled and ready to run. I don't remember any other gifts that year, but I remember the train.


I still have that train.