Wednesday, June 7, 2017
“The greatest compliment in the world is your adult children telling you they had a wonderful childhood.” ― Ron Baratono
Like some of you, maybe like most of you, I find it difficult to receive compliments. I grew up in an age where you were not to think well of yourself or you could be accused of “putting on airs” which was unthinkable. I was also unsure of myself and had a very low self image, so if someone paid me a compliment, I tended to dismiss it as misguided or insincere. I was in therapy in the seventies, and my therapist told me I had to learn to simply say “thank you” and walk away. It took quite awhile, but I did finally learn that trick. I still have trouble believing any compliments are well-intended ones. As my physical image is far from being prepossessing (here we say “surmbaya” or ugly), I can’t understand why anyone would want to spend time with me. I have written earlier that none of this applies to those I like, as I excuse almost everything others would call ugly if someone’s heart is good, and I want to be around kind people with integrity and honesty. I think Mother Teresa is beautiful but can’t see that kind of beauty in myself. I do get lessons in humility and accepting my own worth from time to time. We all do. Whether we learn anything from those lessons is up to us. I got one such lesson just the other day.
I collect inexpensive watches, called "affordable" on the internet watch forum to which I belong. As a poor missionary, I can't buy more than one "affordable" every two or three years, but some of the guys who build watches and are on this forum made this homage to a Heuer Bundeswehr watch worn by German pilots in the 1970's. A new one with the Heuer name costs about $7,000, but the guys who built this particular watch (sold for around $500) gave me one as a gift (see picture at the right). I was blown away and a little suspicious, but when I thanked them, they wrote this: "Seeing your posts, reading about your work with your mission in Africa, and your excellent photos makes our day, every day. Thank you for YOUR contribution to WUS [WatchUSeek] and particularly to F71 [affordable forum]. Your contributions to F71 are beyond measure, your posts are uplifting, and your words help us throughout our day. May this gift bring you joy every time you strap it on your wrist and wear it in good health." When I told my wife about this and showed her the quotes, she said, "Whenever you feel unloved, ugly, or unworthy of compliments—read this again." She was right. Somewhere, there are people who love you and hold you in high esteem. They probably compliment you as well. Learn to say “Thank you” and keep anything they write you to help you get through the hard times. God bless all ya’ll.