Illusions

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Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed. – Friedrich Nietzsche

When I was a child, I loved looking, staring at optical illusions. Optical illusions are images that differ from reality. The brain and the eyes “see” something different from what appears. My two favorites were the Young Lady/Old Lady illusion and the Duck/Rabbit illusion.

Young Lady / Old Woman Illusion

At the first glance, you see a young lady staring off to the right. She is wearing a hat with a feather on her head. However, if you fixate your eyes, eventually you will see an old woman looking down.

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Duck / Rabbit Illusion

My other favorite was the duck/rabbit illusion. You might see the duck looking to the left or if you look more closely, you might see the rabbit looking to the right.

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I think it is all in where you position your eyes that determines what you see.

For so many of us, our lives are like an optical illusion. We paint a picture of our perfect little world, but if you were to stare closely for too long, you might find that the world is not so perfect after all.

Our desire to look good consumes us. We have to wear this or wear that. We have to eat this or eat that. We have to go here and go there. We have to be seen with this person or that person. We have an image to protect.

What if we got real, real with ourselves and stared closely at the image of us? What if we let our eyes fixate on the lives we portrait? What would we see? Imperfections? Flaws? Chaos? Yes, I’m afraid so. We would see something totally different and the picture may not be so visually appealing.

We would see that the honey moon stage is far from over and our marriage is suffering. We fight more than we get along. We sleep in different beds. We live separate lives.

We would see that our kids aren’t so perfect. They are disrespectful. They are going down a dark path. They are damaged, broken, and “dying” to fit in.

We would see in spite of  all the trips and all the nights out with friends, that in fact, we are alone. We suffer from loneliness and depression, and often cry ourselves to sleep.

We would see truth. We would see life. We would see reality.

What if we had the guts, the gall, to let go of that perfect image? What if we smashed that picture down on the ground and let it shatter into a million little pieces. What would happen then?

Let me tell you. It would hurt like hell. You would feel vulnerable and exposed. You would feel ashamed.  You would feel like you are losing your mind and your whole world.

I know because a few short years ago, I let it all go – the image and the need to be in control. For most of my life, I held on to this perfect image of who I was and who I was supposed to be. I didn’t want anyone to know all the hell and all the chaos that was in my life. So, I hid behind an image so you couldn’t see my flaws.  For my flaws would make me unworthy of you.

What I am learning is that the flaws are what make me who I am. They make me real. They make me authentic and they make me unique. If you don’t like me because of how I look, what I drive, where I live, the mistakes that I have made, or the dysfunction that comprises my life, then you really aren’t worthy of me after all.  For the first time in 38 years, I am proud to be me. I am fulfilled. I have purpose and I have self-worth. It took me all this time to figure this out, and I’m so glad I finally did.

If you do decide to let it all go and to walk down the path that I did, you should know that you won’t stay broken forever. Eventually in time, the pieces will be put back together. Only this time, you will be restored, you will whole, and you will be redeemed 🙂

“When suffering shatters the carefully kept vase that is our lives, God stoops to pick up the pieces. But he doesn’t put them back together as a restoration project patterned after our former selves. Instead he sifts through the rubble and selects some of the shards as raw material for another project–a mosaic that tells the story of redemption.” ~ Ken Gire

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The Gift of Love

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Charlie, we accept the love we think we deserve. – The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Everyday we are given the opportunity to love one another, to make a life better. In my opinion, that is what we were created for – to love and to be love.  That is the gift we have to offer the world.

Some gifts come in big packages and some gifts come in small packages. Our unique wrapping is what makes the gift so appealing. This gift neatly wrapped with red shiny metallic paper and topped with the big perfect silver bow is just waiting to be open. I feel like ancy child on Christmas morning. I can’t wait to rip through the paper and the box to find out what is inside 🙂

gift of loveNot all gifts are the same. For some, our gifts come in the form of words. We uplift, we encourage, and we openly state what is needed to be said. For some, our gift comes in the form of action. We catch those ready to fall and leave no one completely on their own. We bail each other out from life’s predicaments. We defend and believe when the world tells us not to. There are times when the best gift is to simply listen. No words or actions are required. Just a pair of ears willing to listen.

No matter how hard we try to give our gifts, there are some that won’t easily accept them. They are not quite ready to open the gift.

Maybe they are too prideful to accept the gift. By accepting it, they would tell the world they have failed because they had to accept help from another. They hand the gift back not realizing all it wanted to do was help.

Maybe the gift makes them uncomfortable and they think it will require them to change or give up the life they’ve worked so hard to create. They return the gift because it’s too much for them to accept.

Maybe they don’t feel worthy of the gift. How can they accept such an incredible gift when they have nothing to offer? They reject the gift not realizing it wanted nothing in return.

The beauty of the gift of love is that it does not give up easily. It does not take the rejection personally. It keeps giving chance, after chance, after chance. Love has no long list of requirements, just open arms to receive it. It wants nothing in return. It’s not trying to change the ones it loves, it simply wants to make them whole 🙂

If she loved him the way she said she did, she wanted him whole. Maybe this was what love meant after all: sacrifice and selflessness. It did not mean hearts and flowers and a happy ending, but the knowledge that another’s well-being is more important than one’s own. ― Melissa de la Cruz, Lost in Time

As you move into the next season, I hope you leave no gifts unwrapped. And I hope you accept them, regardless if you think you deserve them or not 🙂

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