My life started with a Catholic Mom and a Lutheran Dad from a small town in northern Wisconsin. So we celebrated Baby Jesus and Santa. My dad did not go to church with us every week, but on the holidays, we attended mass as a family. I remember getting dressed on Sunday morning and leaving for church as my dad sat in his chair reading the Sunday paper and getting to see all the comics before we kids. I sort of liked his version of Sunday morning more than mine.
There was a lot of discussion in the church about forgiving those that did not attend Sunday services. It never bothered me that my dad did not go to weekly mass, but it bothered the extended family and it bothered my mom. That was my first exposure to forgiveness…ongoing, life long, forgiveness.
My father was an officer in the Army. We were stationed in Ankara, Turkey and years later, we returned for a second tour and I graduated from high school in Ankara, Turkey. I attended 11 schools in 12 years. It makes you strong and resilient…it also fills you with compassion about moving all the time. So many kids have trouble with making new friends, but we military Brats knew time was short and that person in front of you, was your new friend.
Besides, my mom helped me a lot when I was a teen reminding me that the next place we lived, all my clothes would be new. No one had ever seen them and it felt great to start with a full closet of “new” outfits.
The Sears catalog was the bomb. Mail twice a month was amazing. Eating some of the best food and freshest food in the world, developed our palette. Traveling in the middle east humbled and trained my family about what it meant to really live with not much and being fully delighted with life. I got to see where Mary, the Mother of Jesus lived, the Mediterranean from the coast of Turkey. The water ferries in Istanbul. And the baklava made from scratch. The people that welcomed you into their homes without hesitation. Speaking a language that I still remember to this day.
Growing up in a Lutheran home, being raised as a Catholic girl, in a military family and a Muslim country etched me into a human that was able to be flexible and reasonable.
And so today. What does it have to do with today?
My country of birth is at a place where forgiveness, compassion and hope ask to be new values that we practice.
No judgment here, however, I have experienced righteous judgment from my fellow Americans who have food; shelter; family; money; job security and heat in their homes.
If I could share with you the blessed experience of having a family share their food with you; their home with you; when we would call their life “having not much”, then I think we would be more forgiving, compassionate and hopeful about our own remarkable lives.
What is my hope this week? This week of holiday celebrations, giving and of course, receiving?
My hope is that we can create a some moments of simplicity and deep breathing.
I hope you are kind to that person you see reflected back to you from your mirror. Think of how hard the struggle is sometimes and yet, here you are.
Yup, 25lbs to loose. Cleaning the garage maybe this next year. Deleting the 12,000 emails that wait for you. Screwing that loose screw back into place on that drawer that always comes off in the kitchen. Taking the pantry apart and donating the food you did not eat. Yup, always stuff to do.
What if this week you just enjoy that person in the mirror and forgive them, feel loving and compassionate toward them and tell them that you are hopeful because of how you got to this moment…especially since you were damn sure it would not happen.
My coaching clients have honored me this year by listening to my experienced and wise coaching. I will honor them by marveling at their courage to have someone in their lives they actually ask for help.
How bloody remarkable is that?? Coaching anyone?? www.NatalieManor.com/coaching-
Blessings on us all. Merry Christmas say my grands. Happy New Year says Coach Natalie.