Why I’m Not Married

Once upon a time, not so long ago, there was a little girl who dreamed of marrying Michael J. Fox. A few years later, she dreamed of marrying Zack Morris, and a few years after that she dreamed of marrying Christian Slater. Then she realized she was just a Palestinian kid who lived in the southwest suburbs of Chicago… That is where her love story begins…

Spoiler alert! That little girl is me.

Growing up wide-eyed and full of aspirations of romance, I knew that I would find the person who “loved me for me,” and would “want me for who I am,” and all that jazz. And even if that person wasn’t a Zack Morris or a Michael J. Fox (notice how all my childhood love interests were young white men. But I’ll save the whole racial normalization conversation for someone who is more passionate about it), I knew it would be someone as gallant and morally sophisticated as the men I grew up with in my family and the ones I watched so dutifully on the silver screen.

Long story, short: I loved, I lost and now I am looking again. Now at the age of 32, I am wiser as I know that love and marriage don’t work for most people, most of the time, well at least not the way it should be working. I also know that I was many times blessed in my previous marriage to have been loved and blessed to have given love so freely and without condition. But as a Muslim, God prescribes marriage for mankind to fulfill half our faith and to protect us from so many ills of society. For this reason, I am back on the meat market and hating every minute of it.

I guess I was lucky the first time around. I didn’t have to endure horrific encounters with less than suitable suitors and “we almost got engaged but it didn’t work out,” stories. At 32, the matrimonial scene is quite different than it was in my early 20’s. And sadly, I have discovered that our community suffers from innate problems that our imams, our teachers and our elders are not addressing. And even worse, they seem to be encouraging the backwardness that seems to exist in communities around the world, communities that allow men, by virtue of being born male, to reject women based on trivial reasons. And communities that have encouraged women to settle for less than what they deserve because “they can’t possibly do any better.”

This is the world that I live in. And the following are the reasons why I am not married.

I am 32 and not 22: When I was 22, people tried to hook me up with other 22-year-old, or maybe 26-year-olds or at the most 30-year-olds. Somehow, now I am asked, without hesitation or shame to consider meeting men in their early 50’s. Wait, what? Uhm, isn’t that like my dad’s age? …Apparently no one cares about that. I have reached the proverbial hill, took a walk around it and have climbed way over it. Last year, It was suggested to me that I meet with someone who is 33. He sounded great on paper, but after I emailed him a “blurb” about myself, our mutual friend called me to tell me that he wasn’t interested because I was ONLY 2 years younger than him. And no one seems to think this is picky on his part (or pricky, but whatever). How young must his future wife be, anyway? Maybe people enjoy enabling what might be a potential pedophile. Who knows?

I am divorced: But what the rest of the world hears is that I am not a virgin… Oh no she didn’t. She did not just pull out the V-card… Yes I did. I am divorced. I am not ashamed of that. Nor does that de-value me. Oh wait, I guess it does. Apparently, “experienced” women don’t make good wives or mothers or friends… Someone else was suggested to me last year and this guy didn’t “mind” my age….gee I am so lucky… But when he found out I was divorced, he immediately said he wasn’t interested. Appalled and once again disgusted by these people, I vented to someone about it. And their response was “well, he has the right to want what he wants.” Uhm, no he doesn’t, not when there is no logic behind it and that the only reason he wants a “new” girl is because of some BS male-privilege thing that was engrained in him since birth. One Imam I interviewed for an article about marriage in the Muslim American community had said he wished more people would consider marrying someone divorced, as those people probably have more insight into relationships and what works and doesn’t work. Our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) had no qualms about marrying widowed or divorced women, as they were just as good as “new” women. Can someone explain to me why these punks in this day and age think they are better than the Prophet (PBUH)?

I have an opinion. Yesterday, JUST yesterday, I was speaking to a man, and we had just started to get to know each other. Literally, it was only one day. And he suggested we meet for coffee. I told him that I was not comfortable with that until we got to know each other for like a minute. He said talking on the phone was a waste of time. I explained that I disagree and this is what I am comfortable with. All of a sudden he started accusing me of being “someone who likes to debate and argue a lot,” (classic male rhetoric that spits out when they feel threatened) and being a “control freak,” and wait, this is the best part… “no man is ever going to take you if you don’t change.” Apparently I am waiting to be “taken.” Hmm, that sure is news to me. So to sum up, expressing a feeling is the equivalent to being controlling and an unruly wretch that no man will ever take…. I basically told him to kiss off and that he’s just sad because he didn’t get his way… I wonder who is going to end up taking him?

I am visually impaired. This probably needs its own post because it is quite serious. Sometimes I feel like I live in the 1600’s when women “suffered from hysterics,” and witches were burned at the stake. Growing up I was ridiculed for having a disability and sadly that took a sharper twist when it was used to judge me as a potential partner. People went out of their way to say hurtful things about me to my face and behind my back, even saying things like “I don’t know about Leen for my brother. She has that weird eye thing.” Or when men found out I didn’t drive, they would make me feel like an invalid who needed bed pans changed. I was made to feel like a burden by not just the men I was meeting, but by their mothers, sisters and friends. Making me feel like their loser brothers who couldn’t manage to finish school, get a job or read a book were too good for me because I was born a certain way… Wow reliving this right now is seriously disturbing me…. But the point to be made is that if you aren’t a certain weight, skin tone, height or reach some arbitrary measure of perfection, then you are damaged goods who should just settle. I would like to know why I have yet to hear one scholar or one imam address this in their Friday sermons or at grand conventions or at least on social media… Maybe it is because they would like to perpetuate this type of male-privilege that sadly even women abide by and encourage. And if the deformed and disabled or maybe even the left-handed or the asthmatic have to lay in wait to be “taken” by someone who has pitied them, then so be it. I guess it was her fault for being born with an imperfection that will keep her from being a good wife… By the way, being “broken” rarely affects a man’s eligibility for marriage. Just sayin’ it how it is.

No one is willing to help. Back in the day, people had no problem being matchmakers. Nowadays as our society becomes more and more “me” oriented and everyone’s “gotta watch their own backs,” people have become apathetic to the struggle of their single peers. No one wants “to get involved.” No one wants to “be held responsible if things don’t work out.” In other words, people are self-absorbed and don’t want any type of accountability even if that accountability could be the difference between joy and sadness for someone that they love. I dare you to stop and look around your immediate circle, and you will notice that you do have a single friend or cousin or neighbor who could benefit from your efforts to basically hook them up. Don’t worry if it doesn’t work out, they won’t drag you to court or anything… And remember that you once benefited from someone who thought of you in this way. Every woman deserves to have the chance to bare children and to live happily ever after. And in a lifestyle where we don’t traditionally date, those chances become slimmer and slimmer as you sit idly by.

~~Leen J.

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Vanilla Macchiato: Friend or Foe?

Vanilla MacchiatoBecause the world has gotten way too serious. Because everyone is really worried about the Ukraine. Because the world is in an uproar over what misogynist said what. And because nothing in this world is better than a cup of coffee…
 

On March 4, 2014, Starbucks launched it’s newest Macchiato drink, the Vanilla Macchiato, adding to an already popular series of macchiato drinks, which includes Hazelnut and the original Caramel Macchiato. What makes a macchiato different from any ordinary latte is how it is “marked” with a shot of espresso (or 2 shots for a grande and venti) on top of the velvety foamed milk. This adds a stronger and richer coffee flavor than an ordinary latte, where the shots sit at the bottom of the cup. What makes the Vanilla Macchiato unique is that the base syrup is vanilla, and… drumroll please… it is topped with a Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla ribbon on top of the luscious milk and rich espresso shots.

My Opinion: As a former Starbucks Barista, I loved making macchiatos. What most people don’t know, and probably could care less about, is that to make the perfect macchiato, you have to pull the shots separately and then pour them over the foamed milk IMMEDIATELY, lest the shots turn black and you are left with one seriously bitter cup of coffee.

But I digress.

I loved the Vanilla Macchiato. It is less sweet than its predecessors and really packs a punch because the Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla drizzle (that by the way does not have bourbon in it) is mildly sweet with a bit of a woody or even spicy flavor. Therefore, if you like really sweet coffees, this is not for you. But if you like vanilla lattes, this may be for you. And if you love the taste and aroma of strong coffee and the warm feeling of vanilla coating your pallet, then this is DEFINITELY for you.

Tips for Ordering a Vanilla Macchiato:If you normally get your lattes nonfat (as I do), you may want to reconsider this time. The combination of the vanilla syrup, the drizzle and the espresso shots on top makes this latte beg for a little sweetness. I have no advice for soy milk drinkers except that I would assume that because they use a vanilla soy that is full fat, you probably won’t run into any “sweetness” issues.

Secondly, if you normally modify your drinks with less syrups, again you may not want to do that. The first time I did that, the drink was very bland. The second time I ordered it with no modifications except that it be extra hot (I had to be a coffee snob) and it tasted much fuller and much bolder.

Finally, if you want to pair this new masterpiece with a pastry, I would suggest the lemon loaf from Starbucks’ new(ish) La Boulange line of pastries and desserts. The tanginess pairs well with the brown sugar and spice in the Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla drizzle and lessens a bit of the intensity of the espresso shots.

So, that’s all folks… And no, I do not do PR for Starbucks. I just think it’s fun to critique coffee as a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur.

Enjoy!

~~Leen J.

10 Things I can’t Do That You Probably Could

I am visually impaired. I have vision loss. I am disabled… I think those are all the euphemisms I can think of to use in place of “I don’t see like everyone else.”

Now, I can go into a long explanation of why I don’t see well, but let’s save that for a rainy day. And if you are thinking, “Leen, why don’t you just wear glasses,’ I will have to save the answer to that for another time. But for now, I don’t think the “why” is what matters. All that really matters are the facts on the ground. I wanted to give you all a little insight (pun very much intended) into my daily struggles.

So, here it goes. 10 things that you probably do everyday, that I can’t.

PREFACE: This isn’t designed to make you feel bad or guilty. And I am super thankful for the blessings that I do have everyday that outweigh all the trivial stuff you are about to read.

Here we go.

1) Eating at a Fast Food Restaurant I’ve Never Been to Before
“Uhm, excuse me…uhm do you have a handheld menu by any chance?” If I had a
dime for every time I had to ask that question, I’d be able to afford eating
somewhere way better than a fast food restaurant… So if it’s McDonald’s or subway
then it’s all good, but going to a fast food place I’ve never been to before can
be a challenge. The menu on the wall behind the counter is too far away to read,
and most “associates” working the register get fed up with all the menu questions.
I tend to get a lot of exasperated looks from these people and a response like,
“ma’am, it’s all up there behind me,” and I have to say, “I’m sorry I don’t see very well.”  I almost always end up with some kind of chicken sandwich.

2) Using a Laptop on My Actual Lap
Aaah the laptop. Man’s modern-day invention. Making the world of email, word processing and social media a whole lot more accessible… Yeah not for me. Although I use laptops on a daily basis, I can’t put it on my lap while resting my back against my headboard all comfy in my bed. Usually that type of “comfort” requires several pillows on my lap and a whole lot of neck craning.

3) Watching A Movie With Subtitles
The world seems obsessed with Bollywood movies. Sadly, this is not a joy I can partake in. Subtitles are a no-no for me. Unless I want to stay glued 2 inches from the screen the whole time, it’s just not happening. This goes for ALL foreign films. It’s pretty disappointing to because watching foreign films is the one thing missing from my hipster repertoire.

4) Placing My TV Anywhere I want
You move into a place, you look around the living room and think, “I’ll put the TV over there.” Oh the freedom you must have when arranging your living room, knowing that you will be able to see the TV no matter where you put it. Knowing you can come home from work, lay down on the couch and watch your DVRed programming all the way across the room. In my world, the TV MUST be close enough to a couch where I can sit AND watch TV at the same time. Most of the time this is impossible, and I have to end up sitting on the floor in front of the TV. And laying down on the couch and watching TV??? Forget it; that’s just a pipe dream.

5) Crossing a Busy Street on a Sunny Day
I do this all the time, but usually when I do, I am relying on my other senses and common sense. A part of my vision impairment involves high sensitivity to bright sunlight or fluorescent lights. Sometimes a stoplight can turn red or green, and I just have no idea. Thank God I haven’t been hit by a car or anything. And luckily my other senses are pretty sharp, so there you go.

6) Following a Power Point Presentation
Don’t get me started on my college career. If it wasn’t Power Point, then it was that damn overhead projector. Lucky for me I am a beast at dictation, listening and note taking (wow I could be a Girl Friday).

7) Getting Picked Up By A Strange Car
Man does this cause a hell of a lot of anxiety. At times, friends or family pick me up from places driving a car I’ve never seen before or I am not too familiar with. I can’t see the person driving the car, so I rely heavily on recognizing the car. Well this goes out the window if I don’t already KNOW the car. I usually need a lot of description of where the car is parked.

Me: Is that you? Driving up now?… Wait, that’s NOT YOU? Oh crap, ok. … You’re next to that white van? Oh ok….. Oh not that van? oops….. Oh oh okay I see you now.

It all works out fine in the end.

8) Picking Out Clothes and Knowing What Color They Are
For all intents and purposes, I am color blind. I see shades of colors but not tones. Therefore, when buying clothes, I am at a loss when it comes to the colors. You probably don’t realize this, but A LOT of stores have the colors written on the tags. This is very useful to me, especially because I prefer to wear certain colors (hey just because I can’t see them all, doesn’t mean I can’t favor a few over others). Sometimes I take a shirt home and find out it’s neon yellow. I usually return those (but that rarely happens). I’d like to make it clear that I do put all my own outfits together, and think I have a pretty good sense of fashion. You’d be amazed at what you can do even when you are color blind.

9) Playing Laser Tag
Ok so I am assuming this isn’t an everyday occurrence for you. You probably haven’t played laser tag since like the 8th grade, but I’ve never played it EVER. If I can’t see colors on a piece of fabric, forget about seeing different colored lights in the dark that I am supposed to zap with my laser gun (that’s how you play, right?)
When I was in the 9th grade, we took a field trip to a laser tag place. I hung out at the restaurant, playing Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know” on the juke box over and over again, and eating fries.

10) Sitting Anywhere in the Movie Theatre
So I guess this is sorta similar to putting the TV anywhere I want in my living room. But having this challenge in the theatre takes it to a whole new level. I Just paid like 15 bucks to watch the second Hunger Games movie, I sure as hell better
be able to see the freaking movie. And going with people who “have to sit in the back row” is a special kind of personal hell for me. I do have to say though that my friends are pretty chill about where we sit, and I try my best to accommodate then as they try to accommodate me. We usually end up seated in the middle of the theatre. That works.

~~Leen J.

Introducing Leen Jaber Singing with a Microphone

When I was about four years old, I used to love to sing. I have distinct memories of singing “How Will I Know” by Whitney Houston in my grandmother’s kitchen. On field trips, as I got older, I would sing hair band songs to myself to help pass the time. It really didn’t matter what the song was, whether it was a sitcom theme song or Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” or the Arabic song I heard at the wedding I went to the weekend before, I would sing it… all—day—long…

But what I remember most was how much my mom would put up with. No matter how loud or how long or how off tune I sometimes I got, my mother never told me to shut up. And because of this, I became a fierce little four-year-old who thought it was everyone’s obligation to sit down and watch me sing. I loved a faithful audience. And so many afternoons, after my mother would pour her afternoon cup of coffee, I would ask her to sit down at the kitchen table and watch me perform. And she would. I would then proceed to grab the biggest spoon I could find in the kitchen drawer and prepare myself for a big crowd pleaser. My poor mother. I was quite ballsy, so I asked my mom to introduce me, and when she did, to make sure that she introduced the fact that I would be singing with a microphone; hence, the spoon. My mom would then announce, “Introducing Leen Jaber singing with a microphone!!!”

Man, I loved the way that felt. I would then saunter into the middle of the kitchen and bring that spoon up to my lips and just start belting it out. I specifically remember singing “Borderline” by Madonna on one occasion. But most of the time I remember just making my own songs, the kind that went on for at least 10 minutes that had no ending in sight. At some point, halfway through my stellar show, my mother would turn to the empty chair next to her and say, “Isn’t she wonderful?!?” And the air person next to her would respond, “Yes. She is great!” And although I know my mom was just talking to our kitchen chairs, and I knew that I was not performing on stage at an amphitheater, and I knew that I was really just dancing around my kitchen with a huge ladle, I felt so special like maybe I was just as cool as Cyndi Lauper or Tiffany or even dare I say it…Madonna! Gasp!

Every now and then, my mom and I look back at that and laugh. She always says that our childhood was the best time of her life. I don’t know if my mom knows this, but her always being willing to hear me butcher 80’s pop songs and live through my long-winded originals, is what made me proud of my skill and what made me hone it as I got older. I always knew that singing in school or in public places like the train or staying up for hours singing made me a bit of a freak. I am sure my classmates from high school who might be reading this now will remember how I would get in trouble for singing in class or in the hall or at gym or on class trips. It was my thing. Well that and writing, but I think being able to sing AND write go hand in hand many times. But I am sure that if my mother did not tolerate my kitchen concerts or ALL the singing I would do on the way home from school (I would seriously recite the Pledge of Allegiance and then end with either “America the Beautiful” or the National Anthem) I don’t think I would have had the confidence and love of music and singing that I do today. I wouldn’t have performed, for real, throughout my childhood at religious and community events or school functions. I wouldn’t have entered talent shows in college, and I wouldn’t have learned how to play the guitar.

These are things that I like to remember and the stories that I like to tell.

~~Leen J.

Settlers and the Men Who Love Them

Standards. Yes, I said it… standards. So many women in this day and age are foregoing their standards. They are trading in their standards for a white dress and the opportunity to use the phrase, “My husband said…” Women as young as 21 are settling for men who fall way below their standards. Why are so many talented and intelligent women willing to sell themselves for marriage? Why are so many women “settlers,” and yet so many men are reaching higher than what they can grasp?

I’ve seen it all. They have forsaken their single freedom and personal growth for men who are too old or too young for them; men who are jobless, education-less, emotion-less, and are just all together LESS. They are so afraid that if they don’t accept the suitor at their doorstep, they might end up alone. But little do these wide-eyed and naive girls know, that the real tragedy they are creating is a life filled with empty promises and anti-climactic endings. Will they be miserable? Maybe or maybe not. Will they be happy? Probably not. Sacrificing your dignity and self-respect can never really end well.

Listen, I am not advocating greediness or pickiness or not being realistic. No woman is ever going to find everything she is looking for in one man. And, God, if she thinks so then she really has got another thing coming.  But I think there are way too many women marrying below them and finding that they and their children are suffering because of it.

Mostly, people can adjust and accommodate one another when it comes to the little things. Jobs and be had, degrees can be earned, and even language can be learned. But how about values? How about ethics? And FYI, having the same religion or even being born and raised in the same neighborhood does not guarantee value and ethics compatibility. These are the kinda things you can only learn about a person after spending a considerable amount of time with them. You can hear it through the type of language they use, the way they interact with others and the way they deal with hostile situations.

Age. Whoever said “age ain’t nothin’ but a number”‘ must have been high or just completely overcompensating for the fact that they are getting old. Men mature later than women. We all know this. Of course there are exceptions, but overall, marrying men that are too young can be problematic. Maybe not today and maybe not tomorrow but someday and soon… Seriously, men of all ages have a difficult time accepting their emotional and financial responsibility as a husband, and SO many of them fold under the pressure. Marriage is hard, and it’s even harder when you are not mentally and emotionally ready for the responsibility.

 One complaint I hear from women who marry men that are considerably OLDER  is that they have nothing in common. Another complaint I hear is that they are treated like children by their significant others, which means that there is a lack of respect. Opposites DO NOT attract. The expression shouldn’t be “opposites attract,” but rather “opposites are exciting at first but really lead to divorce and family dysfunction.”

I am sure so many settlers out there are reading this thinking that I have no idea what I am talking about. But I only need my observations to form my opinions… and of course my cockiness.

Disclaimer. I do wish all these women I know happiness, and for their sake, I hope I am wrong. But I found that my cynicism has gotten me much further than the gullible wishful thinking of women who settle. You know, this topic really hits home for me because I have seen so many friends and family members suffer because of the decisions they have made when choosing a spouse. Many stick with the relationship because they are scared to be alone or to change or that other people will look at them and think they’re pathetic. So they continue to live with, procreate with, and feign happiness in order to try to convince themselves that they didn’t make a mistake. 

So for those women still unmarried and still unattached, please choose carefully. Please don’t sell yourself short. You deserve a lot more than you give yourself credit for.

~~Leen J.

The Top 10 Things I’d Like to Do Before I Turn Thirty

About a month and a half ago, I published a post regarding my soon-to-be thirtieth birthday. I posted The Top 10 Accomplishments of My 20\’s . But in the last few days, as the day approaches closer and closer, I started thinking about the things I would LIKE to accomplish before I start my middle-aged life (yuck). However, unfortunately, I probably won’t have enough time to achieve these miraculous accomplishments (but I promise you I will one day soon, God willing). Yet, I thought it would be fun to share them with you anyhow :)

Here it goes…

10) Have my tell-all book become a bestseller.

9) Own an awesomely comfortable, pillow top, queen-sized bed

8) Visit Australia and maybe hop with the kangaroos

7) Read Hamlet from cover to cover

6)  Buy a Gibson electric guitar with amp

5) Be totally and undoubtedly in shape… You see, once upon a time in my mid-twenties, I had a 25 inch waste and wore Express Jeans, but after marriage, living in the fattest city in the Middle East (that’s a fact), and losing an entire thyroid gland (seriously, it was not fun), I somehow went from being in shape to being… just average… gasp! End of story.

4) Be rich enough to buy a BMW. I don’t need to drive it, just keep it in front of my house and look at it everyday.

3) Publish an article in a nationally respected and recognized newspaper/magazine (i.e. New York Times, Newsweek, The New Yorker, etc.) And I am not talking about a “letter to an editor” or an opinion piece, but a 2,000 word news piece.

2) Cut my own album, all with my own original lyrics, music, and vocals. Oh and for it to be number 1, even if it’s for just a week.

1) TO SEE MY NAME IN LIGHTS… I had an employer once tell me that I shouldn’t be sitting behind a desk or working for anyone. She told me that I was the kind of person who was destined to see my name in lights one day. I don’t know if that’s true, but that would be just awesome…

I have so many dreams and just so little time.

~~Leen J.

Thinking about Perspective

As my oh-so-subtle title suggests, I’ve been doing some thinking about perspective. I’m afraid we are a little guilty of living in our own boxes, completely oblivious to the world of suffering around us. I mean, we are “aware” of the bad things that happen to others (i.e. famine, death, war, oppression) but unfortunately we don’t know how to apply this type of information. We tend to lack perspective.

So, yesterday I was just going about my day, doing my “Leen-type” things: cleaning, blogging, watching True Blood, playing with my cat, when I learned some troubling news. I heard about an old classmate who was going through a divorce, an acquaintance’s 6-year-old daughter with cancer, and a startling sad story about a family killed in a car crash. Needless to say, I was shocked and dismayed by the news. Immediately, I began praying for these people, and in the middle of my prayer, it dawned on me. I mean, it seriously hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt like the most selfish person in the world. I started balling, thinking about how I have been living in this “Leen-centric” universe where my problems and my disappointments were the center of the universe. And although I have always been aware of other people’s misfortunes and have always sympathized and prayed for them, I don’t think I EMPATHIZED–that is really feel with other people’s pain. And although that can be difficult, I think we can do it if we really gain perspective.

You know, we all have problems. And there is no denying how debilitating some of our problems can be. I would never judge the type of struggles that other people have to deal with or how they react to them. And I, too, have had my share of heartache and true misery and regret and pain and trouble and so on. But when you begin to think about your own life with a little more perspective, you begin to stop feeling so bad. We always say “Thank God for everything.” But how many of us really mean it? Yes, we are grateful for our families, our homes, our sanity and health, but are we grateful enough? I heard once that there are three things in the world that if you have them, then there is nothing you should ever be that upset about. If you can go to sleep at night feeling safe, if you can always put food on the table, and if you are overall healthy, then there is nothing you should ever really fret about. Having these three things should give us enough peace to enjoy our lives. I think very few of us know what it is like to have to worry about any of those three things, thank God. I think true gratefulness is being able to look at your own problems with the perspective that “everyone suffers.” The world is filled with one disturbing story after another. And there is always something to smile about, as corny as that may sound.

When I really started thinking about this, I began to feel more and more guilty. This is mostly because I just felt like a brat, always worried about some of the “calamities” that had befallen me in my life and some of the choices I made. Once I collected myself, I did start to remember that God created us weak. We are but human beings, and it is completely natural to sink into our own worlds of despair at times. And we all have the right to react to bad news and failures and disappointments in our lives. We were given the ability to feel and to cry because God wants us to use these emotions. So, it is ok to feel sad or angry about our own conditions at times. It is only natural. But here is where the perspective part comes in. We have also been given the emotions of compassion, mercy, love, and the ability to think and to know how to use these types of feelings and how NOT to let our own stress and depression and anger get the best of us. We are each just a spec on this earth. Standing on the outside, looking in, detaching from our own lives for just a few minutes, you realize that there isn’t anything God has given you that you can’t handle, and believe it or not, there is even room in those big old hearts of ours to feel and handle other people’s misfortunes and heartache as well…

~~Leen J.