Eeyore Error

eeyore

It just so happens that I’m a big fan of A.A. Milne and have read the Pooh stories to my children going on 28 years now and soon I’ll be reading them to grandchildren. It’s interesting that in the modern twist of victim hood the character of Eeyore has been sadly misinterpreted. The above meme implies that there is nothing wrong with Eeyore’s constant negativity and that all of his friends welcome him as he is.

Each of Milne’s characters has a flaw that makes them difficult to have as a friend, which seems to be the point of the stories. Owl knows it all, Rabbit can’t stop telling people what to do, Tigger won’t sit still, Piglet is afraid of everything and so it goes. While acceptance is important, your personal growth is even more important. All of the flaws stem from a selfish aspect of each character where they may be able to see what’s wrong with someone else but of course their flaw is fine and all should accept them as they are. We all need to choose to be happier people that others will enjoy being around.

I’ve found that the people who shout the most about being accepted just as they are, are generally the people that don’t accept others which is why they’re sitting over in a corner by themselves or bouncing through life knocking everyone over while they continue on in their selfish way. I’ve had the great misfortune to be both of those things at different times. Actually, I possess all the character flaws that Christopher Robin’s friends have and I never seem to vanquish them thoroughly!

None of us are or will ever be flawlessly perfect but on this journey through life as we rub up against others in an ever increasingly healthy way we can and will reduce the selfish things in our nature and be able to invite, not just more, but different people into our lives. Just in the last year or so, after being unfriended on facebook over the abortion issue, I’ve had this strong sense of wanting to like people who disagree with me because they’re just like me! Imperfect, made in the image of Christ and working through their own issues.

In my previous life, I was an avoider of stupid people, which was pretty much everyone because I didn’t want to think about the words I said, how I said them or what anyone might think or feel about what I thought or felt. Me! Me! Me! When I finally decided that friendship might be an important thing to figure out a very patient mentor told me I should be quiet and listen. At the end of the week in which I’d listened and not commented (thinking I’d done something amazing) I asked her how long I should be quiet and listen. Her reply made me so hopping mad at the time because she told me that I should be quiet and listen until what I thought was going to encourage and be kind. It seemed like I would never get to speak another word in my whole life! When you’re doing like I did, spreading unhappiness and criticism around, making excuses for your negative words, attitudes and behaviors you’re going to get what Eeyore got. People will feel sorry for you for awhile, try to help you for awhile but eventually they get tired of you because we all want to be happy and there’s nothing harder or more discouraging than being around a constantly Eeyore type person.

Even Winnie-the-Pooh knows you can draw more fly friends with honey!

Dennis Prager has the “Happiness Hour” on each week and if you need to understand how you’re morally responsible for being happy you should check this out.

Happiness is an obligation—to Yourself and to Others
Not only do we have the right to be happy, we have an obligation to be happy. Our happiness has an effect on the lives of everyone around us—it provides them with a positive environment in which to thrive and to be happy themselves.

During a discussion in a volunteer organization I was leading, one of the other leaders was so negative and it was impacting the youth she was leading. I actually read the book “Living with Eeyore” before meeting with her and when I mentioned she was like Eeyore she said she wasn’t. So, I said, “Let’s meet again next week and you go ask 3 or 4 friends if Eeyore might describe your personality.” We met the next week and she said she’d only asked her husband, and her husband agreed with me but he was wrong. Ironically she thought it was mean of me to not let her lead the group of girls she was pouring her unhappiness on.

I can hear the voices of the Eeyore’s of this world make all the excuses for themselves and think the people they’ve tried to pull down into their gloom are the ones that are mean. When you choose to be happy you’ll find plenty of people to share your life with where you can be truthful and honest but honestly quit complaining. It’s the fastest way to get rid of people in the whole wide world. Not sure if you’re a complainer? Start asking people

 

 

 

Zoe

While I don’t quite understand Zoe in the syntactical, historical, grammatical sense completely I do like the idea of what I think I know about it. That it’s the God breathed eternal and abundant life that is in us when we are in Christ.

Don’t go all Greek Ninja on me I’m not a Greek scholar but I can still think my simple thoughts about the word zoe.

How does one find it, capture it, hold it in their hand? My sense is it’s in the relationships, those two basic rules of love God, love your neighbor. Super hard because I’m super selfish and I’ve got it planned so I really don’t need help from God or my neighbors so I can love them from a distance and keep on with my plan.

Except when my plan falls apart and I know that I want that zoe, that abundant feeling of friendship, community, and connection with God. A God centered life.

How do you do that without being all religious and dogmatic while driving people away instead of the John 13.35 “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” kind of walk?

1-I’m pretty sure it’s not driving out of your garage in the morning to go to work and retreating back into your garage at night. SO it might look like having your neighbors over? The weird part is we’ve been inviting our neighbors over on the first Friday of the month for a year now and aside from the Christmas party at my mom’s in December with a big turn out, it seems that most of the neighbors, including my good Christian neighbors want to retreat into their own hole all wounded and forlorn. Or they want a special invitation every single time. Really? How am I supposed to do that when I can barely get it together to have my house clean and food ready once a month with all the other stuff I’m doing? Deep breaths, because it’s okay, the people that want to be there come and we have such a great deep conversation about real things and I love it! I’ve learned so much from them every time we’re together.

2-I’m pretty sure it’s not spending all your time at church “helping” those in need and ignoring your own family. In Mark 7.9-13 Christ warns against not caring for your elderly parents and saying it’s all given to God. Samuel and Eli neglected their children and God struck them dead. That doesn’t sound very abundant and zoe like to me. So, taking care of your own family is loving God and your neighbors for that abundant life?

3-So when your neighbor shoots your dog and their dog attacks your other dog . . . urgh! That kind of jabs a stick into the zoe bubble and when the other neighbors opinion of this couple is, “oh it’s just him, she’s really nice.”  I have to say, what kind of nice person lives with someone like that? Someone who’s previous wife had the sheriff come out and rescue her and the kids from his abuse?

4-Working in my garden and growing food, I really feel like that is pleasing to God that it makes him smile. It’s where it all started out. Well, aside from the part about “before the foundations of the world were laid,” but I’m sure you know what I mean. It’s where man started out, tending the garden and caring for the animals. Then if you spend lots of time there you have an abundance to love your neighbors with!

So, I’m at 3 out of 4 turning a problem into a solution to create a zoe life here on the edge of the Zuehl tarmac. The list is longer but the point is we need to start thinking about the first two rules more and how we can apply them right where we are.

I listened in to a group of young men discussing Genesis and it was really interesting because of the various denominations they came from and the assurance that each felt about his piece of information. It reminded me again that it’s really about loving God and loving your neighbor. Not that understanding the historical, grammatical and syntactical Word we’ve been given isn’t important but that it rests on that love.

Well, I’ve got to go to bed so I can love my neighbors tomorrow in the form of a very awesome old fellowship that meets at our house on Sunday mornings. If you’re in the neighborhood come on by, breakfast is great!