Little did I know me confessing some weeks back that I could be an ass
a lot of the time occasionally would strike such a respondent cord in so many of you.
I don’t mean that you agreed that, yes, I certainly could be one. It was more solidarity, particularly with the men, who wrote to say, “I can be an ass, also.”
So in honor of Valentine’s Day, my new high testosterone therapy, and for the sake of building a better world, let’s talk about how NOT to be an ass.
Why am I qualified to write on this topic? Being terminally ill can open the door wide to being a real ass (so can just being a man, apparently).
Plus, I have references who are in the know, if you need them.
Yes, they are all female. Hmm.
My faltering advice:
Offer life through your presence
I’m good at disappearing. I can also be present (physically), but unavailable to you. I can also be present in ways that make you wish I wasn’t.
Does that cover all the bases? Yes, if I want to be an ass.
Otherwise, being present to offer life to others is the road you want to be on. Here are some guideposts on this road:
- listening well
- asking good questions
- seeking to understand the feelings of others
- offering words of life about things that are true of others
Speaking of offering life to others, I received this email after my last blog post (yes, of course, it’s from a woman):
“Ed, you’re fighting a losing battle. All this limitation of your independence is part of your soul’s plan. It’s apparently one of the key lessons God knows you need to learn in order to grow and ascend to higher and higher dimensions of love–for yourself and others. Resisting is simply slowly your progress. What if you were to give up that resistance and accept everyone’s love and eagerness to do for you, which is also part of their soul lessons? How would you feel? Just feel what it would feel like once you got past the resistance and just basked in others’ love.
Plus, I know you wouldn’t consciously deny others the advantages of learning to love beyond themselves nor of the joy we get doing something meaningful for others. You see, this seemingly horrible experience you’re going through isn’t just about you . . . .”
I’m pretty sure she needs to be writing this blog. To top it off (if that is even possible), she then came over for lunch on Saturday to talk further, bringing me a burger and fries.
Which brings me to another way not to be an ass:
Bring me a burger and fries
Saturday night I was in bed and heard Betsy banging around in the kitchen. She is an awesome cook, but it was late. Still, it sounded like something I should be glad for, not irritated about. Sunday morning, God be praised, this was on the table:
For the uninitiated, this is a French Toast Loaf. God, and my wife, love me.
She couldn’t cook when I married her. Seriously. I felt sorry for her and married her anyway. It turned out well for me, don’t you think? Wait, I am being an ass.
The primary ingredient in the recipe was intentionality. It was Valentine’s Day and she wanted to show her love to me.
You say, Ed, I don’t bake.
That’s not the point and you know it.
Be intentional with your life. Make choices that enrich the lives of others. Give out of your giftedness to make someone’s life a little better. Do good and bless others until you breathe your last breath.
Maybe words aren’t your thing. What is? Maybe its service, like the guy who showed up at my door with a bag of Chic-fil-A sandwiches and a smile last Friday.
Being intentional is when you go out of your way to tell someone, “You matter to me.”
Asses, sadly, never do this.
Asses often appear to be overly confident about life and their place in it. I’m not buying it, though. I think if you’re an ass, you are most likely insecure and cloaking your insecurity with a thin veil of assery (is that a word?).
Betsy and I have been binge watching “Blue Bloods” on Netflix. Yes, I know we are late to this party. Tom Selleck was superb in his role as NYC Police Commissioner, didn’t you think?
If you really want to see him shine, though, watch him as Frank Reagan at Sunday dinner.
He’s quiet most of the meal, as the family talks and argues about the events of the week and their various viewpoints on them. But he carries so much gravitas, his silence is loud.
He is contributing to the conversation by respectfully listening to the opinions of others, even the grandchildren.
When he does speak, it isn’t to be patriarchal or conclusive. Instead, he confidently shares his life wisdom, often along with a challenge that he thinks might be helpful. Here are a couple of examples:
“Life isn’t fair, but you can be.”
“We all die son, it’s just a question of when.”
Do you hear it? His words reflect both boldness and humility. He has been humbled by life, but he also knows he has something to contribute.
Asses dominate. They take all the air out of the room. They control the conversation.
Confident men and women want to offer life to others. Both their boldness and humility enable them to do so.
So there you have it. Some ideas on how not to be an ass.
What say you? You can continue this conversation by leaving a reply with your own thought(s).
P.S. My lab results were mixed. My PSA was down just a little, but another cancer marker was up – way up. My oncologist said to carry on and approved me for another one month round of treatment, though.
I had hoped to be more encouraged, but the testosterone boost remains awesome!
Oh, the test for God’s love for me came back as well. It remains off the chart.