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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

No ifs, ands, or buts…

He Treats Me to a Feast; Notes from my Abundant Life

No ifs, ands, or buts…

We who are strong in faith should help the weak with their weaknesses, and not please only ourselves. Let each of us please our neighbors for their good, to help them be stronger in faith. Even Christ did not live to please himself. It was as the Scriptures said: "When people insult you, it hurts me.
Romans 15:1-3 (NCV)

If you mean to give a compliment, give it unrestrained.  If you mean to say, “Way to go…” just do it.  Buts aren’t fair.  In the wake of a loved one’s success, our praise should be limitless.  You might have done it differently, or not at all; save it, because right now, nobody cares, it’s not about you.  There will be time for post-mortems where everyone gets opportunities to participate in “lessons learned.”  Somebody else just won the battle.  No fighter studies the replay at the victory party…at the victory party, it’s all about the victory.  Training, learning, analysis will all keep until the morrow.

I wasn’t the best friend I could be yesterday, and today I apologized.  I wasn’t intentionally insensitive…that’s not the point.  My “Gayle” had a big thing to do, yesterday, and she did it big.  I was proud of her.  She called for support (NOT ADVICE) before her meeting, and that’s what I gave.  What got me in trouble, however, was what happened next.

She was giving me the blow-by-blow, and it was masterful.  I was so proud.  At one point, genuinely well-intended, I said, “they’re lucky they were talking to you” meaning only that someone else might have been more squarely focused on revenge and retribution than problem-solving…and all she heard what something besides “CONGRATULATIONS!” Me and my big mouth.

I used soft words, I just used too many.  I wasn’t even intending to please myself, I thought I was being helpful.  The point is, when you love someone, you focus on their good…not your own.

When I apologized, she laughed at me.  We talked about our individual insecurities, whereby any feedback is instantly internalized as criticism, and a personal indictment.  While I appreciated her kindness, it was still my lesson.

The next time you want to support someone, do it with no ifs, no ands, no buts.  Just be supportive.  Like God.  He just loves us…despite our best efforts.  And since we’re never perfect, never quite there, it surely is a blessing that we don’t get all the feedback.  And perfect loving acceptance, for we imperfect beings, is more evidence of our abundance…which is just another reminder that God is good.

Today’s Feast: Artichoke Dip

Back story-I took a friend’s recipe, lightened and otherwise altered it, and always make this for entertaining.  It’s good on crackers, good on bread (particularly my homemade rosemary bread), or great as a condiment in a sandwich.  Trust me, this is just good, no ifs, ands, or buts.

1 15oz can of artichokes
½ C non-fat  yogurt
½ C mayo
2 eggs
2-3 crushed garlic cloves
½-¾ C parmesan cheese (shredded or grated)
Salt and cracked pepper to taste

Puree until smooth, bake at 325 until firm and lightly browned on top.

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