Gratitude and Helping Others

Kate Spade: Photo from the internet

Anthony Bourdain: A meme from the internet

KATE SPADE, 55 years old
ANTHONY BOURDAIN, 61 years old

…This Week joining the likes of
MARILYN MONROE, 36 years old
ERNEST HEMINGWAY, 61 years old
VINCENT VAN GOGH, 37 years old
SYLVIA PLATH, 30 years old
VIRGINIA WOOLF, 59 years old
FREDDIE PRINZ, 22 years old
SAWYER SWEETEN, 19 years old
ALEXANDER MCQUEEN, 40 years old
DON CORNELIUS, 78 years old
ROBIN WILLIAMS, 63 years old

When I was in 2nd Grade in Catholic Grammar School, the Dominican Nun at the front of the room was teaching us about Sin and Forgiveness.
“Sister, is there any sin that is not forgivable?” myself or some other curious seven-year old raised their hand to ask.
“The only unforgivable sin is despair,” came the well-rehearsed response with a confidence as if it had been repeated hundreds of times like our catechism.
This question was asked again in 3rd and 4th Grade, and each Dominican Nun answered with the same well-rehearsed confidence.
They gave differing answers to other questions, but on this, they were consistent.

There was something Beautiful about it — this idea that anything was forgivable, except giving up and walking out of the game.

Freddie Prinze: Photo from the internet

In my teen years, when I wrestled with suicidal thoughts — like so many of us, I imagine — this thought from the Nuns lingered there in the back of my mind. That would be the only option that would be unforgivable. So therefore, pretty much anything else I could possibly think of doing would be a better option.
Perhaps this is what led me to pick up what ANNE LAMOTT calls “the 3,000-pound phone” and let my best friend know what I was thinking, so that she could talk me out of it.
She did.
She asked me how I felt, what was going on…
She encouraged a confused teenager to talk about how misunderstood he felt.
She listened,
And just by being heard, he felt understood.
I made that call several times over a few years.

Marilyn Monroe: Photo from the internet

Since those days of Catholic catechism, I have evolved to a place where I no longer believe that Any sin is “unforgivable” by a God whom I believe Loves Us Unconditionally — beyond our understanding. I believe something much more along the lines of the film, WHAT DREAMS MAY COME, in which ROBIN WILLIAMS teaches us that there is a Hell, but only of our own making, in which we can get trapped. Nothing is unforgivable, but we are capable of not forgiving ourselves and getting stuck.

In the book, CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD, when NEALE DONALD WALSCH is discussing this concept with GOD and mentions a friend of his working on a ScreenPlay about this very thing (WHAT DREAMS MAY COME), GOD says, “Yes, I remember inspiring your friend to write that screenplay,”
NEALE says, “Oh, am I supposed to believe that GOD writes movies now?”
And GOD responds, “What? You think I only write books?”

Robin Williams: Photo from the internet

And so YES, I believe in some of the theology of WHAT DREAMS MAY COME, and I believe that ROBIN WILLIAMS was a prophet and I still have not gotten over his Death!
I do not believe that any sin is Unforgivable.
I do believe in a God who Loves us Unconditionally and beyond our Understanding!
I do believe that KATE and ANTHONY and ROBIN and every one of us who has transferred into the non-physical realm meets our Creator — our Savior — our God — waiting there to Greet us with Benevolent Open Arms the moment we arrive.
I believe that we are Welcome and our LifeForce continues beyond the physical body — I have collected enough evidence of this over the years to be sure that that is true.
I do not know why it leaves such a big hole.

Perhaps it is like in IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE — and if there is a religion based on Movies, I am a High Priestess of that one! — when CLARENCE the Angel says, “Each Life affects so many other Lives; when one isn’t there, it leaves an awful big hole, doesn’t it?”

Ernest Hemingway: Photo from the internet

I have heard it said that there are way more Souls waiting to manifest in bodies than there are bodies available.
Getting Here
Just being on the Earth
Having a Body — this Body
Time here together
THAT is the MIRACLE!
THAT is the PRIZE!

Van Gogh: Photo of his Self-Portrait from the internet

The torment we sometimes feel is a part of the package.
And sometimes — in some cases, it overtakes us — we have all flirted with the temptation to leave early.
But did you ever see a movie that was just OK — some parts great, some parts terrible — or even a movie that was bad… and then it had an Amazing Ending and turned out to be one of your Favorite Movies Ever?
Or, at least, the ending made the whole story make sense!
Who would not want to hang in there for the last few moments of CINEMA PARADISO, or THE SIXTH SENSE, or MR. SKEFFINGTON, or STELLA DALLAS, or THE USUAL SUSPECTS, or THE GRADUATE or CITIZEN KANE…

Sylvia Plath: Photo from the internet

We are all feeling it this week.
We have lost two luminaries from our Rough and Tumble World.
But I have noticed people have been speaking and posting more kindly.
Asking if we could just be there for one another.
Offering a hand.
Lending help.
And perhaps the legacy of those who succumb to leaving too early,
Those we know and those we don’t know,
Is that it brings our awareness to how much we all need to be there for one another.
How we can Listen More,
And Better.
How we can ask how another is feeling…
Reach Out!
Listen!
Expand our Borders beyond ourselves and take in another!
Offer a Kind Word!
Open Up!
Say something Affirming to someone else!
Comment on Something that’s Nice!
Be Supportive!
Be Kind!

Virginia Woolf: Photo from the internet 

For myself, I have learned that the one thing I can do to climb out of my own feelings of despair
Is to help another person
Even in some small way
As much as I am able,
Like CLARENCE jumping into the water to save GEORGE!

Sawyer Sweeten: Photo from the internet

The other thing I can do is practice Gratitude —
Even something as simple as just writing down a list of Five Things a Day for which I am Grateful
Or a spontaneous List of a Hundred things — or at least as many as I can think of, and then two more!
And Meditating upon that…

I have learned since my childhood with the I-must-admit-rather-helpful-Teachings of the Dominican Nuns, that Gratitude and Helping Others are ways out of Despair.
They work for me.

Alexander McQueen: Photo from the internet 

KATE and ANTHONY and ROBIN may have been struggling with a level of Mental Illness that I cannot comprehend.
There are countless people just like them of whom we have never heard and whose names we will never know.
It breaks our collective Heart!
Is there some way we could have helped them to see how their Gifts Shone and Lit Up the World?
How I wish they could have appreciated what they were doing and how Wonderful it was and how much it meant and the JOY it brought to so many People.
How I wish I could have shown them the Value of themselves!
Well, sadly, it is too late to tell them…to show them…
But, JOYfully, it is not too late to tell someone else!
It is not too late to acknowledge some other person for what they do,
And who they are,
And the Gifts they have brought to our own Lives!
We can write a letter,
Send a text,
Pick up the 3,000 pound phone,
Or tell them to their Face!
We can say, “THANK YOU! You make the World a Brighter Place!”
We can ask someone, ‘How are you feeling Today?”
We can stop finding fault and just see the Good in one another!

We are each on our own Journey and what we Learn and what we Bring and what we Open to is as individual as we are — but a Kind Word is always Welcome!

Don Cornelius: Photo from the internet

Perhaps the sharing of
GRATITUDE
and HELPING OTHERS
And WILLINGNESS
Could save the World.
Or save One Person,
Which might amount to the same thing.

A Meme from the internet: Words by Wendy Mass

We can do nothing for those who are no longer here.
But we who are still here
We who choose to continue on here
Need Help
And we need one another.

Someone Needs Us.
Let us not turn away.
Let us Be Grateful for the opportunity to help.
Be Willing to help them.
And Help Them.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (-8255)

Samaritans of New York: 212-673-3000

Crisis Text Line: Text 741741 in the US

Glenn Close’s Wonderful Organization to help end the stigma around mental illness: https://bringchange2mind.org

These Beautiful Words by ANNE LAMOTT on the Death of ROBIN WILLIAMS are Well Worth the Read:
Anne Lamott on Robin Williams

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6 Comments

  1. Lauree

     /  June 10, 2018

    Amazing post!! Brought me to tears ❤️🦋

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Reply
  2. This is a powerful response to seemingly senseless losses that leave us feeling stunned and helpless. Thanks, Arnold, for lighting a candle to counter the darkness.

    Reply
  3. Thank you, Arnold, for the reminder of all we have to be grateful for and how much responsibility we bear for these gifts.

    Reply

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