Gran's Apple Butter Blog

May 17, 2011

Going Home, Excerpt: Cat’s Eye (5/X)

Chapter 5 ~ Cat’s Eye
from Going Home, by Mary Batson

Remember that cat’s eye? Well, somewhere along the way Gran realized she had to learn to speak her truth to everyone around her. Gently but firmly, even when doing so came at a cost. For one thing, Gran didn’t think we were meant to have skin-deep relationships. She wanted real, strong, solid-as-a-rock connections. To her, that meant saying who she really was and being respectful when others did the same.

Besides, it doesn’t just cost when we speak our truth. Each time we don’t, that costs something, too – it costs part of our heart. That’s a long, slow death, Gran said, a road she’d walked before and was determined to never travel again. Her way took courage, no doubt about it, but one truth-telling session at a time, Gran had grown a lion’s share of courage. She showed me a way I didn’t know any human being could be – and I’ll never forget it.

And what about that positive attitude Peewee? It was vital, Gran said, ‘cause that one could make or break every other marble in the bag. We make our own heaven or live in our own hell, creating or destroying with that one little marble.

Gran had almost everything written on positive thinking since it became a subject, I think, starting with James Allen’s As A Man Thinketh. Now there’s a small book on a large subject. Lots of big words and it reads like the King James, but it’s worth its weight in gold.

Thanks to Mr. Allen, Mr. Carnegie and Gran’s resounding version of “Act enthusiastic and you’ll BE enthusiastic,” by the time I was ten I had enough positive energy to either cure cancer or get myself committed. And yet within a few short years I was in the same grey funk I’d later observe around the world.

In an effort to preserve the unpreservable, Mom and Dad instituted the Quarter in the Cusspot. The idea was simple: Have something negative to say? Fine, go ahead – then add your quarter to the cup. Did I say cup? How about milk jug. How about five gallon bucket.

For a while there family vacations were well-funded by this little pot, at least the way I remember it. I laugh now, but I had a few choice words to say about it at the time, just not where they could be heard, as I was running kind of short on quarters. Unfortunately, my negative thoughts didn’t leave, they just burrowed in more deeply, and I’m still digging some of those little buggers out.

Why did everyone think this was so important? It came down to the power of the word. Words are like seeds – they feed or poison us, depending on their fruit. They can raise high or bring low, through everything we see, say, or allow into our minds – even our thoughts. We knew this long before positive mental attitude became a catch phrase, Gran said. “As a man thinketh, so is he.”[i]

Gran also thought it was highly important to be impeccable with your word – to others, and even more so to yourself. Someone might not catch us in a lie, but we always know, and each time we say something that isn’t true, or tell a little white lie because it seems easier, we scar our own soul. That doesn’t feel good – not until we get good enough at it to block it out.[ii]

If only words of truth spoken from a place of love ever cross our lips, Gran said, the world will be a better place. This doesn’t mean we won’t sometimes find ourselves in a tough spot, but if we stay strong, the moment will pass. And even if it doesn’t, we’ll have the strength to get through it.  

After all, character building is what this journey is all about. Set the cornerstone, pour your foundation, and the rest of the construction will go much easier.

[i] Proverbs 23:7, KJV
[ii] For an elegantly simple look at impeccability, see Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements

© Mary Batson, Going Home, Front Porch Rambles, and Gran’s Apple Butter Blog, 2010. All rights reserved.
NOW AVAILABLE: Going Home, The E-Book & Going Home: The Tour LIVE – 2 CD set – Mikey and Gran’s story put to music!


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