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True EyesA Little Book of Big Truths
By VIOLET BURLISON
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2012 Violet Burlison
All right reserved.
Chapter OneTRUE EYES
Having true eyes means putting what is true ahead of what you think or what you want to think. One example is my father teaching me the importance of having a great credit rating. Since that went along with "your word is your bond," I held to that until I read in the Bible that we are to owe no man. Since God is who I worship, I now owe no man. I still hold to my dad's example that my word is my bond. And in honoring what God said to do, I'm also honoring my father by putting what God said above all else.
This concept will help you with everything from how to conduct your life to cleaning out a closet. For example, at work one day I got tired of how some people were constantly spreading gossip. So I decided that every time somebody came to me with gossip, I would try to say something good about the person who is being gossiped about. People soon stop passing gossip along to you because you're no fun. Then I decided to go a step further and do good gossiping. If I saw people do a kind deed or go an extra mile when they thought nobody was aware, I would pass it on (unless I knew it was personal).
I know this sounds goody-goody but when you go up to people you don't like and compliment them on something good they did, it's hard. But it changes you. That's how I learned that when you give up a part of yourself, you gain even more. When you cut dead flowers off a bush, it puts out new shoots. This is different from being a kind and considerate person.
Sometimes it's hard to see with true eyes. Sometimes you have to get over yourself first.
This really got me thinking about other bad habits that we have that we may not even be aware of—like giving advice that no one asked for. When you're over forty and have so much life experience, it's hard not to share advice when so many people need it. I decided to go one day without giving anyone advice. A piece of cake right? Wrong! I was shocked at myself. So I thought about it with true eyes and realized that by dropping that part of me, I could treasure it and take more time with people when they come to me for my advice or an opinion. Ironically, that happened more often when I learned to back off from myself. It's smart to realize when you're doing a dumb thing.
With true eyes, you have to be honest at all times—with yourself and with others. Being a woman from the South, I was raised to try to never hurt anybody's feelings. If someone called me when I had just been asleep an hour after working the graveyard shift, and that person asked me if I was asleep, I would say "no". But true eyes keep me honest. Do you want people to be honest with you? Then you have to be honest with them.
After I realized my wrong ways, one day a salesman called me and woke me up (I hate the graveyard shift). When I realized it was a sales call, I told him that whatever he was selling had better be good and that he had ten seconds to make his point. He started his rehearsed script that was longer than ten seconds, so I hung up. Being honest makes life so much simpler.
My cousin and I were having lunch one day when a former coworker from about ten years before approached me and said, "Hi, Violet, how have you been?" Of course my mind went blank. I couldn't remember her name, but I remembered how pleasant she had been. So I said, "I remember that you're a kind and sweet person and were fun to be with, but so help me I can't remember your name." We had a good laugh, and she appreciated my candor. Oddly, I've never forgotten her name since. (Patsy Swanner. See?) But we both felt better for the honesty. Who hasn't had a brain lapse?
How often have you heard about a woman that stayed with a man that routinely beat her, or she kept going back to him? Didn't she know better than to believe a lie? I'm not saying that it's easy to face the truth when you finally decide you want to see it. Sometimes you have to be braced up for it. Sometimes there are consequences to it. When a battered woman finally sees that she deserves better, she has to hit her "never again" moment.
It takes a lot of courage to walk out of the familiar, no matter how painful it is. The unseen can be very scary. But if you are a battered woman, God will send you the help you need when you seek it. The "never again" moment will come to you only when you start to see your situation with true eyes. Please wake up and seek help. Especially if you have children, for the love of God, please wake up.
One night, many years ago, after work I stopped at an all-night store to buy some dog food. I was tired, of course. I did all the right things a woman was supposed to do when she's by herself at one in the morning like parking under a streetlight as close to the entrance as I could. A man and woman came out, pushing a loaded cart, and three young men came out fairly close behind them. I waited till they had passed by and there was nobody between me and the door before I started in. When I was about thirty feet from the door, one of the guys ran past me and grabbed for my purse. I thought he had just bumped me by accident, since my purse strap just slipped off my shoulder and had not fallen, I cut him a dirty look. (When you're over forty, you can look disapprovingly when someone is rude.)
No sooner had I refocused when one of the other guys ran up and grabbed my purse strap—and the fight was on! I had the purse, he had the strap, and I was screaming some very unladylike things at him. I hope I popped his eardrum. What little money I had, my house keys, my mom's house keys, and my car keys were in there, and I wasn't going to let them go. It happened that a man was waiting in a car for his wife, who worked at the store, to get off work. When he heard me, he started his car and sped to me with the intention of stopping the mugger. When the mugger realized he wasn't going to win, he let go of my strap and slugged me in the face as hard as he could.
The good Samaritan helped me find my glasses and helped me into the store. By the time the police and my husband got there, my cheek had swollen so much it was pushing the glasses off my face. Of course the muggers were never found.
Two days later I had to go to the hospital to get my face X-rayed. While waiting for the results, I overheard two women talking about the mugging. One of them said, "Any woman out at that hour is just asking to get mugged."
They didn't know who I was, and I never told them, but I can tell you I never asked to be mugged. But it changed me. I was embarrassed by my swollen face and big black eye. And when strangers whispered while looking at me, I knew they thought my husband or a boyfriend had done it.
Now, a sweet woman at work that I had known for ten years came to work off and on with a black eye. We all knew what it was, but I never butted into her business. But after I was mugged, she came up to me to see how I was. I was silent for a while, and then I started crying. I told her how humiliating it was and about the whispers. Then I hugged her and told her she should stop letting her husband get away with hitting her—and she left him within a month! I thank God that my dear friend found the courage to see her life with true eyes.
Once you know the truth, you are responsible for it. Since I now understand how it feels to be punched in the face, I can never again not do my best to intervene when I see it happening to someone else.
If you are, or were, a child in an abusive family dynamic, you can learn what not to be. Now I'm not a psychologist, but I am a human who cares. All my life I remember my mother nagging my father. There was a lot of walking on eggshells at our house. One Father's Day, I asked my dad, "Why do you put up with that?"
And he said, "To keep peace in the family."
Well, that is not peace, and it will break down a family. I could have learned a lot of wonderful things from my mom if she had been approachable. But I knew that I would rather live by myself than be in a marriage like that. I learned what not to be. I decided what qualities I wanted my husband to have, and I wouldn't settle for anything less. Knowing how it felt to have to witness that behavior between two people I loved so much, I wouldn't put my future children in that position.
I know that they loved each other, and if they had used true eyes, they could have fixed their problem. I never heard my mom say that she was wrong about anything or sorry about anything. While it was obvious that Dad knew there was a problem, he never addressed it. Because of that, I never trust people if I've never heard them say they were wrong about something. We are all wrong about something sometime. Only a person of true character will admit to it.
And while the professionals say that children that come from abusive situations are more likely to be abusive themselves, I believe it's your choice. How cruel it is to pass it on! If you do it to someone else, it makes you as big a coward as the person that mistreated you. Was it right that you were abused? No, it's not right! Did you like it? No! Then stop the stupid cycle. Pity them for being a coward, but don't pity yourself.
You can cop out if you want, or you can learn what not to be. Learn from your hurt. See it for what it truly is. Every experience can be used as a springboard or a crutch. It's up to you to decide for yourself if you use it to wallow in self-pity or have the courage to change it. Please choose the springboard.
Draw a line in your life. Have a never-again moment. As much as you were hurt, pass on the love that you wanted. Give to yourself all the love you should have gotten from the abusive person. Make that person's weakness your strength. You can do it. That's right; make your current weakness your future strength.
As you learn to see outside your own self with true eyes, you will be a kinder person to yourself and others. When I was young I was impatient. What a bad habit! For example, I hated being behind a slow driver. I didn't realize that while I wasn't a tailgater I was certainly driving too close. One day on my way to work, the driver in front of me threw a cigarette butt out his window, and it hit my windshield. What a wake-up call! Now I know I don't have the right to be rude, and I leave plenty of room. People shouldn't have to worry about what will happen to me if they have to slam on their brakes.
It also made me realize the truth about some older drivers. If they're driving slowly, it's because that's their comfort level. It's not their fault that I'm pushing the clock, that I'm being unorganized. Slow down. Don't live life in such a hurry.
The world really does center around you. You can control what goes on in your world, in your circle of it. God takes care of everything. I know it sounds like these are conflicting statements, but they're not.
For example, because of child molesters and pedophiles, many kids are not safe. But any child that is in my circle is safe, and I would lay down my life to protect him or her. While that behavior does exist, it will never exist around me. God will take care of the rest.
Jaycee Dugard was abducted when she was eleven years old and was held captive for eighteen years. She had no control over what happened to her, but she took control over herself, her mind. Her courage is so inspirational. Many people will be helped by this wonderful young woman, because she took control of what she had control over.
I know you may be thinking, Where was God and how was He taking care of her when this was happening? He gave an eleven-year-old child the ability to think more rationally than most adults ever will. She focused on ants, a spider, on the moon, and on her mom. She refused to give up her thoughts. And after she was freed, she refused to let anger consume her. I promise you that God will have His revenge on her kidnapper. Many people have been inspired by her, and sex offender tracking procedures have been changed because of her.
It would be easy to blame God for what happened to Jaycee if you look at it from this earthly level. When you go up to the top of your mental mountain and look down on the situation, only then can you see that there was a purpose for what that dear child went through. And she chose to use it as a springboard. Because of her looking at her experience with true eyes, she has achieved more enlightenment than most adults ever will. Only God knows how many children have been saved because of her.
Why would such a good God put some children in lives of privilege and others in pits of despair? God does not look at this life like we do. He sees the whole picture. We see our life only from the time we are born. That's how we judge it, which is so limited. We were created before He even put us on this earth. This life is just a proving ground for the real life that will come after we die. There are special rewards in the next life for Christians, based on what we do in this life here. Non-Christians will also be judged for what they do in their life here.
We are spiritual beings in physical bodies. Our physical bodies will limit us if that's all we focus on. Once you learn how to see above the limiting plain of your earthly body and mind, the possibilities are amazing. We control our thoughts and actions.
We control how we respond to other people's actions. Some people will give up their control, while some will learn to grow from their situations. Just because you start at a disadvantage does not mean you have to stay there. You have the power to be as big as you want to be.
Yes, for now there is a lot of evil in this world. That's why God made hell so hot. In spite of injustices in some of the courts and in spite of all the wrongs that have been done to people, with uncaught perpetrators thinking they've gotten away with what they've done, God will repay. He promises that (Romans 12:19-21). There are no secrets with God.
Remember the story from the Bible about how Joseph's brothers, out of jealousy, sold him into slavery? (See Genesis 37.) How hopeless and deserted he felt! But all along God had a plan for him. Through him many people, including his own family, were saved from a seven-year famine. And he held no ill will toward them.
All things that happen are part of God's master plan, and everything is for a purpose. Remember the stories from attacks on the Twin Towers? Why did some people die such horrible deaths while others had miracles happen? There were so many stories of divine intervention: a woman late for her flight, a man late for work because his child cried for her daddy to stay home. I know that you have heard stories like that.
Have you ever had an urge to do—or not do—something that's out of the ordinary? I refer to that as "the power of a second." A decision that you make in a split second or by an impulse can affect your life. God can guide you in the matter of a second.
My sister-in-law was cooking some beans one day when she remembered that she needed to run to town for something. She lived about ten minutes from town. As she went to get in her car, the thought hit her that she should turn the burner down lower under her bean pot. She knew from experience that they would be all right, but a nagging feeling in her gut made her go back in and turn the burner lower. She was driving her usual route to the store when a car went through a stop sign and hit a car about four cars behind her. Had the nagging voice not made her readjust the burner, she probably would have been in that accident.
I've had three heart attacks. The first one was in an isolated building where I worked by myself. I had a mechanical problem that night, and because of that problem there happened to be a maintenance man with me. When my second heart attack hit, my husband happened to be home at a time when he normally would not be. The last one happened when I was in the hospital. I know that these were not coincidences.
I am alive right now for a reason. God has a purpose for my life, purpose He gave me. Everything that happens is on purpose, whether we understand it or not. For example, one day I thought of my niece and called her. She had just had a light seizure and needed my help. Always listen to those gut instincts.
Chapter TwoRAISING CHILDREN WITH TRUE EYES
Take your time when picking a husband or wife that you will want to raise your kids. It's sad that premarital sex is treated so casually today. Put your future children above your own sex drive. So many children are being raised without a mother or a father. They need both of their parents. They learn love and security from them.
When it comes to raising children, think about this saying in horse training: "Make the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard." It works. If you reward bad behavior, you'll get more of it. If you reward good behavior, you'll get more of it. Children will do whatever it takes to get attention. Your training will decide whether they use good behavior or bad behavior to get your attention.
If they pitch a fit for something in the store and you get it for them to shut them up, you taught them that pitching a fit works. I took my little niece to McDonald's one day. The restaurant was full. She took a bite of her burger, halfway chewed it, and then opened her mouth and looked around so that everyone could laugh at her mouthful of half-eaten food. I told her that it was rude, that she shouldn't do that, and if she did it again we would leave. She swallowed that bite, ate the next bite correctly, and then decided to do it again. I got up and told her. "Come on. We're leaving." She started to get her food to take with her. I told her "no." When we got home, I explained again how rude it was. Later I gave her a sandwich. She never did that again.
Excerpted from True Eyes by VIOLET BURLISON Copyright © 2012 by Violet Burlison. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Raising Children with True Eyes....................15
How to Have a Strong Marriage with True Eyes....................23
Infidelity and True Eyes....................29
Which Black Should I Be?....................43
What Is the Tribulation and When Will It Be?....................49