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On Guard

I have always been a guard dog at heart. I sniff the air for danger and my eyes are always scanning the horizon for things that are out of place. My nature is to protect, and my purpose is to serve. Many people don't understand me because they can't relate to someone like me. I don't sacrifice my values and I respect the perspectives of others as long as it doesn't impede on the safety and values of others.

Have you ever been discouraged because you toil and work and don't see the fruit of your labor? This feeling of impatience can happen to parents raising children, business owners struggling to make ends meet, and with teachers who pour their knowledge out to their students uncertain if they are learning. Farmers also must be patient when it comes to planting seeds that they hope will one day sprout out of the ground and give them hope of a harvest yet to come. This feeling of discouragement happens when the waiting for the "breakthrough" seems to take longer than anticipated. With therapy, when that breakthrough happens for our clients, it is a most joyful time of celebration. Negative symptoms begin to diminish, and healthy lifestyle choices bring hope. These breakthroughs also happen for teacher and students, parent and child, and employer and employee. The waiting is the hardest part, but the joy happens after the storms of discontent lift and the sunshine of success shines through.

But what happens to the person who is giving to you their time, wisdom, money, or even their life never hears the breakthrough blessing? What about the police officer who stands against injustice, the soldier who stands ready at the gate, the firefighter, nurse, and doctor who fight to save the life of a loved one, do you ever go back and say, "Thank you?"

Have you ever considered how those who you hate will do things for you that you would never do for yourself?

They fight when you run.

They speak when you are silent.

They contemplate when you reject.

They stand-up for another when you walk away.

Do you criticize them and hate their courage because it reveals your fear? Do you hate them because they live according to a standard higher than the standard you live? Do you hate what they have because it reveals your lack due to laziness? Do you hate their morality because you have none to compare?

Praise is something lacking today, and I sorely miss it. Praise holds such high value to most and therefor, praise goes a long way. Like water to a thirsty traveler, praise refreshes and renews the spirt. Praise for a hard day's work encourages more effort in days to follow. But what about the person who is responsible for showering the praise? What happens when they don't receive any blessings back? What about the mom who praises her family, yet thirsts to hear praise back, the teacher who praises the students for the work they do, but who works long after the students go home, or the police officer who gives praise to God for another day of life knowing tomorrow they will return to a thankless job.

Let us remember those who bless us by blessing them back. Let us lift up our eyes and see them. Let us freely embrace them and say a word of gratitude for the efforts they make, for the wisdom they share, and for the life they save.

"Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word

should share all good things with their instructor."

Galatians 6:6


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