Some things I have learned #45

Subtitle: Or, at the least, I think I believe

Sub-subtitle: Or, at the most, I believe I know

We, saith the psalmist, are fearfully and wonderfully made,[1] and, saith the prophet, are as grass that withers and flowers that fade.[2]

So, it is that we are born into this world and will die to this world.

Thus, no matter how long-or-short-lived our time and how-near-or-far the space betwixt us, we are in one another’s lives only for a season.

Therefore, whate’er befalls – by circumstance and chance and our choices, in moments of blessedness or cursedness, of rejoicing or regret – I have learned to regard our shared venture, all of it, as sacred and, more, to strive to respect the person I have become because of it.

© 2022 PRA

#beingandbecoming #respectandselfrespect #acknowledgementandacceptance #rejoicingandregret #thegoodandthebad

[1] Psalm 139.14

[2] Isaiah 40.6-7a

6 thoughts on “Some things I have learned #45

  1. Dear Paul,

    I hear and heartily endorse your two exceedingly important points: 1) that each human journey is sacred; and 2) that striving to respect the self one has become as a result of that journey is the fitting and proper response to the great gift of life. One thing that has become abundantly clear to me in the 76+ years I have now spent on the journey is that without the ability and desire to respect my Self, I am hopelessly lost in the endeavor to respect anyone or anything else, much less to fulfill the Gospel command to love God and to love my fellow human beings.

    This morning’s meditation from Richard Rohr’s CAC offers wisdom based on the derivation of the word “respect”: it literally suggests to “see a second time.” With my English major, my two years of high school Latin, and my cursory study of English linguistics, I probably should have been able to figure that out for myself, but the penny has never dropped for me that “respect” involves a second look at someone or something. The meditation goes on to ponder that a human’s first look at something involves the ego, i.e. assessing the viewed object or person based on its usefulness and value to the viewer. How can I gain from this person or thing? What’s in it for me? The second look broadens the view; the meditation suggests that a second look allows the viewed object or person to speak in its own voice, allows the viewer to realize her/his own unity and connection with the viewed person or thing and thus begin to understand its inherent, not its ego-derivative, worth and significance.

    I don’t think I will ever be able to hear or use the word “respect” again without thinking of the concept of the second look and what it brings to the relationship that the first look does not accomplish.

    Thank you, dear Paul, for nearly always finding a wonderful way of fitting in with, enhancing, and enriching ideas that my mind and heart are already pondering on any given day. You sweeten and enrich my life always.

    And now, I think I have to go and listen to an Aretha song with new ears!

    Much love,



    1. Ah, my dear Karen, Rohr and I think alike. For many years, I’ve employed the following to communicate with others my understanding of the word “respect”:

      Re (again) + spect (see) is to behold another person or thing a second time. For when I see you for the first time, I, by nature, must consider you only from the ground of my history and memory and perceptions, that is, my standing way(s) of perceiving the world around me. Only when I see you again, though another, one with whom I shared the commonality of our humankindness, can (will I be able) to behold your distinct individuality. And, given that I, metaphorically and literally, wedded to myself (my self), never am able wholly to step outside of the boundaries of my perceiving, the act of respecting you is and must be — not only or merely for a second time, but rather — constant. That is, I always am given to look at you anew.

      Thank you for your serendipitous jogging of my memory of an illustration that I’ve long use, although I’ve not employed it for some time!



  2. OK y’all so now I’ve been singing RESPECT all evening now!!! This journey of LIFE is something isn’t it????? I truly do see every relationship as Sacred!!! No matter how long it lasts, I give it my all – and when the relationship is OVER I tell myself I did the best I could for as long as I could. I’ve become different after all of my relationships – I take the lessons I’ve learned from each person and try to store them in a good place, and to act on them when necessary!!

    So I’m going to share a brief word as to why our shared relationship is Sacred with both of you…

    Paul, In my season with you, I’ve learned that you can be who you are – warts and all and still be loved beyond measure. We’ve done that for each other through many ups and downs, and even though there’s great physical distance between us now – the Veneys and the Abernathy – we have shared enough memories to last a lifetime and I’m a better person because of them.

    Karen, we’ve connected because of Paul – and through the words of his blog and mine, we became sisters!!! When you opened your home and heart to me I knew we’d be together forever!! When I got on that plane to go home earlier this year, I couldn’t think of another time where I’d cram so much fun, learning, sharing and love into one weekend!! True sisters!

    Love you both!!


    1. My dear Loretta, I find…feel such a wondrous balance (that state, as I might describe it, of an even-keel-ed-ness in which one, in the pursuit of life’s pilgrimage, is not thrown off balance with every step, every twist and turn on the path) in your commentary…

      Yes, we are to do the best we can, learn what we learn when we learn it, and, should the relationship continue, well and good, and should it not (for myriad reasons: changes in temperament and thought, alterations in life’s course in time and space and distance, reconsiderations of what matters and what does not, etc.), so be it. And all with as little regret and as much gratitude as one can conceive and contain (ah, perhaps more; for if I allow myself, I can limit my gratitude, but, usually, not my regret or, perhaps, better said, my regrets outweigh my gratitude).

      Hence, this post reflects (as I continue to reflect on it, for, never, can I or do I think and write and that’s it, for always I have another thought and another thought ad infinitum; for, sometimes, I know what I intended when I first wrote, but, given a second thought, I see more of what I meant, all of which, for me, is an expression of the reality of the human unconscious self) my wrestling with relationships, regrets and gratitude.

      Love you two, each and both,

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Loretta,

        I LOVE the image of you singing Respect! I want to see and hear that someday! The word and the song typify what I know about you – genuine regard for the people you meet, perpetual openness to relationship, never a rush to judgment but also a keen sense of what and who is authentic, overflowing enthusiasm for genuine connection, and unquestioned loyalty to those you love.

        I still bless the day I met Paul and Pontheolla and also the day Pontheolla handed me your book and told me I could keep it. I didn’t know how much I needed it to help me deal with my mother’s long illness and death. And then that I decided to send an email to connect with you. Yes, you have become my sister in ways I never could have understood before I met you. I am so grateful for the opening of that door. Your visit remains a bright spot that I will never forget. I can’t wait for it to happen again!

        Much love to you, Loretta, and to you too, Paul!


        Liked by 1 person

  3. Karen,

    It will be sooooo much fun to visit again!!! Can’t wait!! I look forward to making many more memories together!!!


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