As you reflect on creative ways to express your gratitude for Thanksgiving, let’s consider the next set of questions for week forty-five of 2018, challenging us with this month’s Reflection lifeskill. These questions are offered by Bob Tiede at At Leading With Questions, from wisdom leaders around the nation and world.*
Question 1: How would you describe the past year of your life in one sentence?
The adventure continues!
Question 2: What worries you about the future?
I guess the one area of recurring concern is for my daughters as I continue to age gracefully. I am working diligently to stay as healthy as possible, so I continue helping them until that day when they may need to start taking care of me. But, gratefully, that will be many more years ahead, with God’s mercy and grace.
Question 3: Excluding romantic relationships, who do you love?
At the top of my list are my daughters of course. Then my sister, Paula, and close friends, Carolyn and Judy. Love can be defined in many ways, not just from the romantic side of relationships. Love can be expressed and offered in friendship or “Phileo” ways. According to Wikipedia, Ancient Greek defines phileo as "affectionate regard, friendship" usually "between equals."
There are actually six distinct words for love: agápe, éros, philia/phileo, storgē, pragma and philautia. Agape can mean charity, the unconditional love of God for man and of man for God. Eros is primarily sexual passion. Storge means "love, affection" and "especially of parents and children." Pragma is “a model of love as two people may demonstrate during a lengthy marriage.” This term is where we get the word pragmatic. Philautia is “self love - love for one’s self.”
I could then add that I strive to “agape” love everyone as God gives me the ability. I “storge” love my parents and children. I “pragma” love my husband, John (you can also apply “eros” to my hubby as well, and no one else!). And I have come to a resting place where I even “philautia” love myself.
How do you express these types of love? I hope you find yourself able to love others and yourself in healthy and life-affirming ways.
Question 4: In your lifetime, what have you done that hurt someone else?
Although I have tried throughout my lifetime not to cause harm to anyone, I am sure there were times when I did. I have realized over the years how much I hurt my mother by not giving her the time she needed to be with me. I do greatly regret that I didn’t see it at the time. But now that I am the senior in the family and my parents have passed, I am beginning to understand how lonely she must have been. She did have my sister as her caregiver. Yet, that didn’t make the loneliness and hurt any less for her.
Question 5: When you look into the past, what do you miss the most?
I miss the opportunity, as related to previous question, to be with my mom more often. I also miss the chance to have reconciled more deeply with my brother before he died.
Question 6: When is love a weakness?
Love is a weakness when it is offered in inappropriate ways to someone. Love is also weakness when that love between two people is used to control the other. No matter the type of love expressed (as listed in question three), we all can be tempted to inappropriately express that love for any number of reasons, hidden motives, and personal needs. Those types of love become our strength when we can ultimately love and let go of any need to control them. I realize it can be quite tricky when it comes to raising your children or becoming a caregiver to someone, particularly our elder parents.
Question 7: What is your fondest memory from the past three years?
There are no other fonder memories than being able to visit my daughter and grandson in California and have them come here during the summer and at Christmas time.