Before I begin my column for today, I would like to comment on the last two columns. I wanted to report to you on the great success we had on the lawn sale. It is such a human interest story I have to share.
First of all, there was just a handful of people that helped but they all came at the right time with the right talents. I'm happy to report we took in $400 for the boys' club at church! That's the most I've ever made, but it couldn't have happened without Justin, one of the boys who just graduated. I told him if he had anything he didn't want to transport, to leave it with me for the lawn sale. Almost half the stuff we sold was from him! He left beautiful furniture! I must tell you because we hear the horror stuff about college kids and not the good things they do. I must say, I've had beautiful experiences.
Then the story of Helen Ostrye who will be 100 years old on June 17 was very impressive. She gave me a cross that she had recently made. It has five different crosses in one cross. I took the one she gave me to church to show my friends. One of the ladies said, "I want to buy that. Find out how much." Well, we're in business. Helen wants $5, and I'll help her all I can. She was thrilled because she wants to keep busy.
Now for the column. I figured with June coming up, it's the month of marriages - that includes men as well as brides. We're going to talk about relationships. The first subject is examine his or her character first.
1) Do you share each other's feelings?
2) Do you feel this other person is too controlling? Is it my way or the highway?
3) Does he or she demand perfection and allows no room for human frailties?
4) Is there a temper problem?
5) Is your mate never satisfied with your conduct, thoughts or achievements?
6) Is this relationship satisfying or do you feel empty and alone?
7) Do you feel free to tell your mate the things that annoy you?
Let's examine the things that attracted you in the first place: outward appearance which covers physical things like good looks, sharp clothes, the car he's driving, the successful job he has and the money he makes. All of these look great, but they or you (these things apply to you, too) can get sick, lose their job and all the monetary things that go with it.
Before you feel defeated, we haven't looked at the mind, the spirit, the emotions, the heart, the soul. Here's where all the priceless things are. What kind of attitude does he or she have? Are they hopeful? Cheerful? Can they see alternatives? Adjust? Look carefully. It's a person's character that will bring joy or pain in the relationship.
Let's look at three stages of the relationship: dating, friendship and spiritual relationship (not necessarily church-related). Don't forget you have a choice. A person with poor character can hurt you, corrupt your morals and lead you astray. Look for the fruit. Talk is cheap.
Look for humility. Can they admit their hurts and weaknesses? Do they care about other people's problems or are they self-centered? Do they just talk about a good, spiritual life but don't live spiritual principles? Can you be honest about their faults or yours? Are you both repentive? Do they make you defensive or do they make you better?
These are hard questions. Don't get discouraged. No one is perfect, but open your eyes to the truth about yourself and then learn to be better. You can do it. Learn to open up to yourself and accept your weaknesses. The younger you are when you evaluate these characteristics, the less painful this exercise will be. Don't try to defend yourself. Admit your shortcomings and determine to be better.
But what about your mate's attitude? Look at yourselves now and see if you would be good for each other.
I know it has taken me a long time to get over my shortcomings. That's why I'm encouraging you to get smart a lot sooner than I did. Remember this. The time to evaluate character is before you get involved. When attachment deepens, reasoning weakens. Underline that last sentence!
Now for a new learning experience. Yesterday I was cleaning up the basement. The college boys left a couple of liquid washing bottles with some soap behind. I emptied them and decided to rinse them out in clean dishwater. Then I washed the glasses. Holy cow! I have never had glassware shine like that! Try it. Your table settings will look gorgeous! What a nice accident!
P.S. There's still some time to sign up for the June 9 picnic! Call me.
Margaret Valone is a Fredonia resident. Send comments on this column to firstname.lastname@example.org