Here's a picture of my Grandfather, circa 2000 I believe, with my brother Milk and Cookies.
That's one of the last pictures I have of him, as he died a year later.
I must admit, I do miss him so. He was the only consistent male figure in my life.
He gave me my nickname of "Lee". Not sure how my mother feels about that, as my bro and sis, who have very odd names, don't have nicknames.
I've posted interesting stories about him on my blog, like the ones about pogo sticks and sharks.
I remember some 20 yeears ago, he and I had a most interesting conversation, one I'll never forget.
"Lee, you can be anything you want to be. You can be a crack addict if you want."
"Yes, it's okay to be on crack."
"No, it's not."
"Yes it is. As long as you're not affecting nobody else's life but your own, it's okay. You can do anything you want, as long as it's not messing up other folks lives."
"I guess you're right."
He was right. It's okay to have addictions and what-not.
You can do anything you want really...
As long as it is not affecting somebody else's life.
And thinking on it from that perspective... NO, it's not okay to be a crack addict. Hell, you will probably get to the point where you all smoked out, and stealing from your loved ones to support that crack habit. You caught up in all kinds of craziness, trying to chase that high...
And it is probably stressing out everyone around you.
So no, it's not alright to do anything you want. As it is affecting people...
This goes for crack addiction, alcholism, and any other "-ism".
It also goes for stuff we don't consider all that bad, like lying, backbiting, gossiping, laziness, anger, envy... you name it.
What we do affect others.
But I didn't truly understand what my Granddaddy meant until I came across a very interesting verse last year in the book of Proverbs.
Proverbs 10:17 (KJV) He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.
I'm not all the big on the King's English. My grandmother has a degree in bible psychology, and said if I want to know what the bible really says, I need to go learn some Hebrew and Greek. (Uh, I don't think so.)
But there's a version of the bible that pulls real heavy off the greek and Hebrew: the Amplified Version. The verses are a lot longer because of the fuller direct translations, but more detailed. I do believe the greek is in parentheses, and the hebrew is in brackets.
(Something like that.)
So the same verse above in the Amplified Version reads:
He who heeds instruction and correction is [not only himself] in the way of life [but also] is a way of life for others. And he who neglects or refuses reproof [not only himself] goes astray [but also] causes to err and is a path toward ruin for others.
I've read about 15 different versions of that verse, and that version has the most juice.
And I thought of my strange talk with my grandfather when I read it.
It does get to the root of things, don't it?
A lot in life is based on if I accept or reject the role of wisdom and constructive criticism of others in my life. My path in life is loosely connected to my ability to seek and use advise wisely.
And interestingly, I'm not only affecting my own life with my decisions and choices, but I'm affecting the lives of others. In ways I know and in ways I don't know.
There are countless examples of such. On the positive tip (and we see this in blogland), if someone meets a certain goal they've been pushing for, it has an affect on others.
For instance, Chele has been documenting on and off her thoughts and path toward irradicating fear from her life... the ups and downs, highs and lows, triumphs, tribulations, failures...the ebb and flow of it all. Uh, that has an affect on me, and many others, as many of us have similar issues. She sure has me thinking about it A LOT, that's for sure. It has me thinking, and taking action.
Her positive journey towards faith and away from fear is affecting others. I'm sure it's affecting the people in her life, especially her offspring, her children.
Got me 'bout to get the words "I am NOT afraid" tattooed across my forehead, man.
(I know Chele is like "Why is she always picking at me?" Cuz I can, lol. And it is a good and fine example).
I've been trekking on the vegetarian tip for the past 7 months, with all its highs and lows and whatnot. That's affected A LOT of people. Which strikes me as odd, but whatever. People ask me for advice. I don't know much, but I can tell you what I do know, and hope it's helpful.
On the negative tip, a most unassuming one:
People don't know you're a cleptomaniac. You're a shoplifter like no other.
But all that liftin' you doing: it causes the prices in the stores to go up.
It's affecting us all, although you think you getting over with your stealing.
And let's not even talk about crack. I have a family member who is coming out of that. But he was a crackhead for over 20-25 years. He lost his home, his job, his family. Been living in a car for I don't know how long. I can't even imagine him living in a house or apartment of his own.
His decisions have affected not only himself, but others.
It affected me. I know I need to stay away from the pipe. If I don't know much, I know THAT.
There was a lot of substance in that odd talk I had with my grandfather.
And I found a ton of confirmation in Proverbs 10:17. All of us could write a dissertation on the particular verse alone, detailing how all of our decisions and the decisions of others have affected our lives and the lives of others.
We could fill up a whole library with our stories.
Our lives preach the best and worst of sermons to all.
Oh, how I miss Granddaddy. That was someone who really loved me, even when I was unlovable.
Whenever he saw me, he'd holler "Hey Sweet!!!"
I miss being called "Sweet", lol.
I am thankful for that bit of knowledge he dropped my way so long ago.
I will forever hold his words close to my heart.
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