I’ve found over the years that people prefer to point out others’ faults rather than deal with their own.  After all, if I can show you all of your shortcomings…I look a whole lot better to myself and everyone around me.

There is popular saying among Orthodox right now, “Be the Bee.”  This comes from Elder Paisios of Mount Athos. Someone once asked him what we should do about all the corruption in the Church.  He paused for a moment and responded that flies seek out the trash around them.  They see nothing else.  He followed by saying that bees seek out sweet flowers.  They see nothing else.

We can see a glimpse into our own hearts by reflecting on our thoughts and actions.  Are we frequently noticing everyone else’s faults or are we noticing all of their talents?  Do we see the negative in everything and everyone or do we seek the positive?

There are times where I simply don’t understand people.  I really don’t.

What makes you think it’s okay to be an expert in every life but your own?  What makes you think it’s okay to be so viciously mean and then justify it as being loving?  What makes you think that everyone else is imperfect but you are not?

Is it denial?  Is it an effort to ignore the pain in your own life?  Is it your insecurities manifesting themselves in your behavior towards others?  Is it your inability to cope with the misfortunes and tragedies in your life or your lack of healing to deal with those tragedies?

When people feel threatened by others and begin feeling “not good enough” (rightfully or unrightfully so) they begin trying to prove their superiority – even if it means tearing the other person down.  It’s something we’ve all struggled with at one point or another.  We’ve done it when we’ve felt compelled to point out our spouse’s flaws.  (I don’t do that!  You need to be more like me!)  We’ve done it as we’ve sat around chatting with friends and gossiped about what this person or that person has done.  (I would never do that!  What were they thinking?!)

Really?  You’ve never made a mistake?  Ever?  You’ve never done something you were embarrassed or ashamed of?  Would you want someone immortalizing it as they gossiped and sent it snowballing into exaggerated tales?  Would you want to be remembered for all of these aspects of yourself you dislike or would you rather be remembered for the kindness and love you showed towards others?  Then look for the good in others.  Look to see the positive in others rather than the negative.  Ahhhh…but embarrassment has a nasty hold on many of us.  In all of God’s mercy, he offers a way for us to heal through confession with our spiritual father – but how many of us take advantage of this and how many of us justify why we don’t need it?

Pregnant me is a little sensitive these days.  Oh the lovely connection of hormones and emotions.  It’s getting the better of me.  The awkward silence when people find out I’m pregnant again is…not telling of their true feelings at all.  (Feel the oozing sarcasm)  Or when they respond in a tone that is clearly neither joyful nor excited, “Congratulations.  Another baby.”  Really?  Because the worst thing in the world is for me to be pregnant with another child.  I feel neither compelled nor any desire to explain or defend myself to you.  You have not lived my life just like I have not lived yours.  Babies are blessings.  Regardless.

It’s also lovely when people tell my daughter that, “Your mom shouldn’t be doing that anymore.”  (Referring to how I care for my children because obviously Niki grew up to be neither independent nor loving.  I obviously babied and spoiled her too much with my love and attention.)  If anything, I’m guilty of not being loving and forgiving enough to my big boys.  I’ve watched first hand what happens when you tell a child, “You’re fine” when they are hurt versus, “Come here and get a kiss.  All better now.”  One begets more distance between parent and child and the other begets more love between them.

I’m also a little confused by the fact that you tell me you LOVE how my children are turning out but then critique my methods.  Clearly my children have thrived despite my parenting.  Thanks for making that so clear to me.

I’m finding it difficult right now to enjoy the news of my pregnancy.  I feel guilty, on the one hand, because I have two wonderful biological children with me and three fantastic adopted children and now I’m pregnant again when so many others struggle with just having one child – biological or adopted.  On the other hand, I feel robbed of cherishing our joyful news by those who show no mercy in sharing how we should not be having anymore children.  I don’t understand people sometimes.  I really don’t.