Thoughts to Ponder

“Burn every bridge but love.”

Martha Beck*

That statement shook me to my center when I first read it. Does this mean I cannot feel anger, frustration, disappointment…? Do I need to turn into a Dalai Lama clone overnight.

Not at all. We have a range of emotions for a reason. We’re born with them and we need to know how to use them for our highest good. Let’s look at an example:

The city announces it is going to build a highway through our neighborhood. Most likely, we are going to feel anger, resentment, a need to get even…. Are we going to act on those feelings? Or can we go to the next city council meeting to ask questions: who, what, when, where, why and how? We can ask questions in a respectful, yet firm tone and quietly listen to their answers. Or, we can yell and denounce the board before they have a chance to respond.

Which would gain us the greatest amount of information and understanding? Once we have that information we can begin to plan our route to stopping the highway. Or, we may decide their reasoning is valid and prepare to sell our home for the best price possible, which might be the contractor’s offer, and start looking for a new home.

You can see that at each step we felt the emotions, but responded respectfully. Or, we could have reacted angrily and felt every moment of stress (high blood, pressure, chest pains, headaches) until we give up the fight, or carry our resentment into our old age.

By facing the situation thoughtfully and acting respectfully to all concerned, we are showing ourselves love, as well as those responsible and our neighbors. Our resentment becomes acceptance. Acceptance becomes love.

Living in love does not mean that we won’t feel the normal emotions. It merely means that we examine and accept or change our situation as we are guided by our conscience. We take action according to what is the highest good for us, and others.

Spirit, Please guide me to look at the situations in my life as opportunities to grow into a better person. Show me how to discard old, and new, resentments and angers. And, so it is.

  • Compass Points by Martha Beck, July 19, 2018,

All grown up and . . .

When I was a child I was told that becoming an adult not only brought added responsibilities, but also certain privileges such as drinking coffee and alcohol. I concede that the responsibilities part is true, but I’m here to tell you that the privilege part is not reality, at least in my world.

Let’s start with caffeine. Brewing coffee always smelled enticing, but tasted nasty. You’d have thought someone had just given me something disgusting, like liver.

When visiting friends and relatives who offered coffee and I said, “No, thank you,” nothing else was offered. As a young bride I complained to my husband that I would have appreciated being offered an alternative. He asked, “Why didn’t you ask for something else?

“Isn’t that rude? If they had something else, they would have offered it.”

“Many coffee drinkers just don’t think of other options.”

On future visits my husband would intercede for me. When I was offered coffee and declined he would say, “She’d like a soda or water.” The alternative was usually water.

As the years passed I learned to drink tea saturated with lemon. Pepsi was nectar from the gods. One day the doctor told me that to control my blood pressure I should stop drinking tea and soda. Thinking that two Pepsis and two cups of lemony tea a day was not much, I quit cold turkey. Have you ever seen a nice woman turn into the Wicked Witch of the West? After about three weeks, I was me again, unhappy but no longer evil.

Twice I attempted to make coffee, once for each husband. Both endeavors were met with, “Don’t ever touch my coffee pot again!”

Over the years I kept a 4-cup pot and a small coffee container in the freezer for my mother’s visits. A few years ago on a trip to Minnesota my friend and I stopped for gas. She said, “Let’s get a latte. It doesn’t taste like coffee.” I agreed and liked it. We bought another on the return trip.

Sometime later Ohio friends were visiting for a few days. Trying to be a good host, I asked another friend to buy some fresh coffee for them. On the way to the airport I remembered that they used creamer. I stopped at the store to buy some. The dairy case display was overwhelming. I called my daughter for advice. She suggested some options. Selecting one, I approached the checkout and then remembered something else. Frantically calling her back, I said, “I’m on my way to the airport. Won’t it spoil?” She then directed me to the coffee aisle for a non-dairy selection.

After her arrival my friend made coffee and asked if I wanted some. Recalling the two lattes I’d enjoyed in Minnesota I said, “Yes, if you can flavor it.” She did. I added more flavor and enjoyed it. The next day she asked, “Would you some more coffee in your cream?” I did. She then showed me how to brew my own coffee.

I enjoyed my flavored coffee for a couple years until a few months ago. After my big vertigo incident, my doctor advised me that part of the trouble was dehydration and to stop drinking caffeine beverages. She explained that caffeine is a diuretic and had contributed to my dehydration. Is that why coffee drinkers drink so much coffee?

Alcoholic beverages had their own story. The taste was pleasant as long the alcohol was in a mixed drink. My problem was that I was a cheap – and short – date. One drink made me happy, a second sent me to sleepy-by-land. So much for a fun night on the town.

Beer had its own peculiar reaction. One beer sends me running to the little girls’ room, praying to the porcelain god. A co-worker advised me, “Sharon, you are supposed to get drunk first, then throw up.”

So, here I am again, a little girl who can’t drink coffee or alcohol. I know it’s better for my health, but gosh. . . .

© by Sharon D. Dillon, February 5, 2015

Sharon D. Dillon,, “Laugh your way to peace, love and joy

Chesapeake Bay Writers, Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop, Southern Humorists, National Society of Newspaper Columnists

Author of one of 14 stories in The Book of Mom: Reflections of Motherhood with Love, Hope and Faith, published by Available in print and e-format at