Another sunrise breaks the surface of the concrete horizon. This day will be much like the day before, and the one before it. Rising from his slumber, he growls his disapproval. A barren cubicle,almost sterile in its vacancy. Slowly and grudgingly he moves towards the food laid out before him. He eats, then stops. A momentary pause as he lifelessly absorbs the movement around him. Then swallowing his final bite for the morning, he moves away from his dish. Full, but not content.
With the sunlight blazing across the early sky, he now has a clear view of the city, and the bustle of activity by those around him preparing for the day. Their lives seem so different from his… exciting- vibrant- free. Being locked away in this dull existence feeds the loneliness and rage. Thousands will come and go, passing this way. Some will be curious, others will poke fun; some won’t even stop long enough to notice him… but all who come, also go. And he is left alone again at the end of the day, pacing back and forth in this bleak chamber.
Each new dawn brings the same experiences. Feeding, followed by a senseless effort to find a way out. More feedings, and the uninvited intrusions of others. Then comes acceptance and bitter resignation to his fate… and finally day is complete as he dozes off to sleep, with isolation and confusion his only companions.
This is not what creation’s clay is intended to be, or how it is to live. From the first days in the Garden, each day of life has within it the promise of hope, the expectation of absolute freedom and exhilaration. Each creature, fearfully and wonderfully made by Eternal Hands, uniquely contributing to the beauty of nature. For this jewel of heaven’s handiwork to suff
er in captivity is not only miserable, but senseless. And still, day after day the same scene plays over again.
Once more, over the rooftops and through the window panes the sunlight makes its early morning arrival. And just like each day before, he rises from his restless night of sleep. The phone rings. “No sir, I won’t be late today,” he assures his boss. Next door, an unhappy couple silently nod as each leaves for work. Across the hall, an elderly woman cries as she faces another empty day.
You see, a cage is a cage even if there aren’t any bars. There’s really no difference between being hunted and chained, and feeling hopeless and trapped. Lions and tigers are not the only ones who live in captivity. People all around you sense their own feelings of confinement, of isolation, of no real freedom at all. So look very hard when you stare through the fence into empty eyes… they may be your own.
We’ve all been disappointed, betrayed, burned by someone we trusted. Maybe someone we loved.
It hurts bad. It causes us to question everything about that relationship. We wonder if that person was every really our friend. We question how that co-worker or neighbor could ever cross that line with us. We’re angry. We’re confused. We feel violated.
But we move on. We can stay bitter, or we can forgive and press ahead. After forgiveness, we hear ourselves saying things like this to ourselves and to others:
- I’ll forgive, but I’ll never forget.
- I’ll forgive, but I’ll never trust him/her again.
- I’ll forgive, but I can’t ever like this person as much as I once did.
- I’ll forgive, but I’ll make sure others know he/she can’t be trusted.
- I’m trying to forgive, but there’s a part of me that will never be able to truly forgive him/her.
I understand the pain. The need to be cautious is genuine. But let me ask you to consider this.
What if YOU are the guilty one? What if YOU are the one who has let yourself and others down? Do you say…
- I’ll forgive, but I’ll never forget what I did.
- I’ll forgive, but I’ll never trust myself again.
- I’ll forgive, but I can’t ever like myself as much as I once did.
- I’ll forgive, but no one will ever be able to trust me again.
- I’m trying to forgive, but there’s a part of me that will never be able to truly forgive myself.
Can I offer a piece of advice, a friendly bit of encouragement? Be brave. Forgive with no strings. Let it go. Whether you are forgiving yourself or someone else, offer forgiveness, not because it’s been earned or deserved, but because you can. They don’t deserve it. Neither do you. But it’s grace, and we all need it.
When you give forgiveness, it:
- Begins the process of restoration;
- Clears the air and allows communication to resume;
- Unloads the weight of anger, resentment and bitterness;
- Opens the future up to brighter and better possibilities;
- Allows friendships to be restored and hearts to mend;
So do it. Don’t wait. Forgive him. Forgive her. Forgive you. Life is awesome on the other side of grace.
“Ask with Confidence, listen with humility.” Charlie Van Hecke
“He who has a ‘why’ to live for can bear almost any ‘how’.” Friedrich Nietzsche
“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” Voltaire
“Life is filled with unanswered questions, but it is the courage to seek those answers that continues to give meaning to life. You can spend your life wallowing in despair, wondering why you were the one who was led towards the road strewn with pain, or you can be grateful that you are strong enough to survive it.” J.D. Stroube
“There are some questions that shouldn’t be asked until a person is mature enough to appreciate the answers.” Anne Bishop
“Monsters exist, but they are too few in number to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are the common men, the functionaries ready to believe and to act without asking questions.” Primo Levi
“The scientist is not a person who gives the right answers, he’s one who asks the right questions.” Claude Lévi-Strauss
“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.” Thomas Pynchon
“Very few beings really seek knowledge in this world. Mortal or immortal, few really ask. On the contrary, they try to wring from the unknown the answers they have already shaped in their own minds — justifications, confirmations, forms of consolation without which they can’t go on. To really ask is to open the door to the whirlwind. The answer may annihilate the question and the questioner.” Anne Rice
“At the end of the day, the questions we ask of ourselves determine the type of people that we will become.” Leo Babauta
“He explained to me with great insistence that every question possessed a power that did not lie in the answer.” Elie Wiesel
“Indeed, the only truly serious questions are ones that even a child can formulate. Only the most naive of questions are truly serious. They are the questions with no answers. A question with no answer is a barrier that cannot be breached. In other words, it is questions with no answers that set the limit of human possibilities, describe the boundaries of human existence.” Milan Kundera
“Questions are great, but only if you know the answers. If you ask questions and the answers surprise you, you look silly.” Laurell K. Hamilton
“The power of asking is the key to abundance living.” Lailah Gifty Akita
“It’s not that they can’t see the solution. They can’t see the problem.” G.K. Chesterton
“There are no right answers to wrong questions.” Ursula K. Le Guin
“Ask the right questions if you’re going to find the right answers.” Vanessa Redgrave
“He looked at me intently, from what seemed behind the veil of a grave experience. Then slowly and prophetically, he said the scariest thing I’d ever heard: “Because the answer to a heartfelt question, Jack, will always break your heart.” Thomas H. Cook
“An infinite question is often destroyed by finite answers. To define everything is to annihilate much that gives us laughter and joy.” Madeleine L’Engle
“Pretend I asked, now answer the question…” Laurell K. Hamilton
“The soul may ask God for anything, and never fail.” Annie Dillard
“If you don’t have the confidence to ask, you will never have the confidence to convince.” Amit Kalantri
“We thought that we had the answers, it was the questions we had wrong.” Bono
“Asking the right questions takes as much skill as giving the right answers.” Robert Half
“What people think of as the moment of discovery is really the discovery of the question.” Jonas Salk
“What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.” Werner Heisenberg
“The uncreative mind can spot wrong answers, but it takes a very creative mind to spot wrong questions.” Antony Jay
“In school, we’re rewarded for having the answer, not for asking a good question.” Richard Saul Wurman
“In all affairs, it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.” Bertrand Russell
“Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.” Pablo Picasso
“Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.” Voltaire
“My greatest strength as a consultant is to be ignorant and ask a few questions.” Peter Drucker
“He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.” Chinese proverb
WHAT QUOTE WOULD YOU ADD ABOUT QUESTIONS? Page Cole
(that was mine)
For your entire life there have been critics, bosses and managers you have answered to. “I don’t think you can fix this”, “Don’t even think about it”, & “Here’s another project that even you can’t screw up,” may have been among the verbal barbs thrown your way.
Bad leaders use language and tactics to manage by fear and control. They may not even be aware that their style is based in a deep rooted insecurity or fear of incompetence on their own part. No matter the reason or reasons, there’s no place for “leadership by intimidation” in a healthy workplace.
If you’re one of those kinds of leaders, would you do the rest of us a favor? Stop it.
We’ll even offer you several choices on how you can stop it.
- Shut up. Harsh? Yes. But you’re insecurities being vomited out on those you lead isn’t helping. Zip it.
- Grow up. The pettiness and grade school antics in the business world are mind blowing. Leave it in your childhood.
- Go away. Give people some space. Hateful helicopters don’t increase productivity. Step away now.
- Get some help. Seriously, talk to someone who loves you but isn’t impressed by you. Ask for honest evaluation of you.
- Get a grip. Take a breath. Life is too short for “lid flipping” over little stuff. Geesh.
No one has a right to crush your spirit or crush your dreams. It doesn’t matter if they manage your team or manage a Fortune 500 company you work for. Stop for a few seconds. Compare the importance or value of the negative firestorms of a bad boss to these things:
- The love of your family
- The amazing possibilities of life in front of you
- The taste of great BBQ
- A beautiful spring evening at the ballpark with friends
- Special life moments with your children
- A quiet moment enjoying your faith and spirituality
Has anything that your horrible leader has said matched up in importance or quality to anything on this list? No? I didn’t think so. Does that mean those times will never happen again, or that you’ll never be on the receiving end of someone else’s emotional impotence? Nope. It just means now you know what voices matter.
What will you do the next time you find yourself on the end of a “bad emotional beating”?
How will you keep the perspective that you know is real?
Life is an unending series of opportunities, of risks and potential rewards. None are greater than when we face those kinds of moments with the ones we love. The decision to be vulnerable or build a wall around our heart can affect our destiny; a leap of faith or a moment of passion that can color our world for years to come. Those YOU love NEED your love. They need you to believe in them. They need to hear reckless abandon in your voice and see it played out in your love for them.
Take a chance today. Show someone special just how crazy in love you are with them. OK, so you say you shouldn’t have to prove it. Prove it anyway… beyond a shadow of a doubt, totally convince them that above everything and everyone else on this planet, you are consumed by your love for them.
Maybe you don’t have a romantic interest to express these feelings to in this moment. Choose a sibling, a parent or a friend then, but choose someone. Lavish your love on a niece or nephew, uncle or aunt, or grandparents if you’re blessed to still have them. Blow their mind today with an act of love and commitment. Take a risk… be extravagant…
Do something, write something, say something that rocks their world… and in the same moment, you’ll rock your own.