I love C.S. Lewis. I have read a great deal of what he has written. He has written so much beside the Chronicles of Narnia. Recently, when we were without power I re-read his other fiction series beginning with “Out of the Silent Planet.”
I could quote him every day but I want to focus on this one.
We all have a past. It may have been wonderful or it may be have been awful but it is the past. We can’t change it but we can let it go. Even if we are struggling the struggle will pay off. We are like the swan who looks so wonderful as she glides along and is paddling furiously under the water. Each thing that we do, every moment that we glide ahead takes us one step further even if we are paddling frantically.
We can change only the moment we are in. That’s as far as we can go. We need to not obsess about tomorrow but just manage this day, this hour, this minute. It’s all we have.
We can change the ending. Believe it!
I read the daily articles from Richard Rohr who is a wonderful source of inspiration for me. Today he quoted the works of Viktor Frankl who was a respected psychiatrist. Frankl talked about how most of us seek for meaning at some point in our lives. I know this has been true for me.
I have found myself at several points asking “what is it all about?”
Frankl posited three possible sources for meaning: in work, in love and in courage. He talks about the possibility of being able to do work that has some meaning. There are jobs where this seems obvious….doctors, nurses, social workers. (there are lots more) In other jobs meaning may not be so easy to find. I am sure that those of us writing blogs have found some meaning in the response we receive and the assurance that we are helping others. This is very affirming.
The second idea…love…also seems fairly clear. Hopefully our love reaches out to others. It allows us to help others in our everyday lives. Again this allows for meaningful affirmation.
The third idea….courage…means being courageous in difficult times. This certainly includes times of suffering. He says that suffering by itself has little meaning. The meaning comes from how we respond to it. We have the ability to use our suffering to be an example to others. Our response can encourage others who are facing the same kinds of challenges.
It seems to me that many of the bloggers I read can find affirmation that their lives have meaning as so many blogs help others. The community members need to see that this work can bring meaning to their lives. You are important!
Sometimes I worry about where society is headed. It seems that we have moved in the direction of everything being acceptable. Most everyone is focused on themselves. We have lost the idea of being “our brother’s keeper.” In fact that phrase is most often used in a negative way.
Our government is a perfect example. Each party is only concerned with forwarding their own objective. There is no concern about right and wrong. There is no concern for the people who elected them. The only concern is for “what it can do for me?”
This is not the only place where we see this thinking. Shifts in parenting styles have led to many children feeling entitled. Again a “me first” modality.
Religion has also taken a hit with leaders who have profited from the people to the point of absurdity. There is little trust in “religion” and so many young people see it as an unnecessary idea. They can only see established churches as a home for hypocrites. For them, most churches exist to perpetuate themselves and not for real ministry to the outcasts and needy. It is hard for them to see that churches are formed by people and people are not perfect.
Media has made us numb to entertainment and we seek more radical spectacles to keep our interest. It takes us back to Rome and the horrors of the Colosseum. When we have “seen everything” more is required for satiation.
Those of us whose view is different may be ridiculed for our thinking but we persist. Somehow we have to learn that not only are we responsible for each other but for everything that exists on the earth. If we don’t wake up we won’t be here. God didn’t guarantee that mankind would last forever.
We all need someone to talk to. We all need someone who actually hears us. It may not be the people we love but we need someone. We were not created to go through life alone.
We are communal people. The earliest humans survived because they lived together. We are no different. One of the worst tortures that a human can go through is to be confined alone in a room for a long period. Most people would lose their minds.
It is sometimes difficult to find that person who will really hear us when we share our lives. Too often people are thinking of themselves and not really listening. Often we are sharing with someone who truly cares but wants to fix everything. Most of the time we don’t expect or even want ideas for fixes. All we really want is to be heard. The trouble is most people don’t understand that.
This is the reason that so many people need to talk with a psychologist or psychiatrist. They should be the ones who really listen. (at least if they are any good) If we don’t have someone to share with then they are certainly a help. At least they shouldn’t be judgmental or share confidences.
In the last year I have also found that this community on Word Press is a good place to share and be heard. We are understood the best when someone else has had similar experiences. In this community there is understanding and affirmation. Sometimes it is hard to find that kind of understanding elsewhere.
Wherever you find it seek someone who will listen and hear you. Even if they can only seek to share your feeling it is a help. If you don’t have anyone to talk with face to face you can find understanding here.
I don’t know how much I will post in the next few days. I may be wrapped up in stuff at the Mayo Clinic. However, I may need to write to vent. I’ll just see how it goes. To add to the aggravation I am coming down with what seems to be a cold. Ah well, life goes on.
Since I am tired I will offer another poem.
On the way home today I was listening to another of The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency. Something was said that set me to thinking. What kind of animal are you? Not what kind of animal would you like to be but what kind you are most like.
It does require some thought. Am I like a dog who loves more than life itself? I doubt it. Am I like a cat….independent and quiet? NO. So what animal am I like? There are many to choose from.
I am social so I am like dogs with that. I can be anxious like a ground hog sticking its nose out to see if it is safe. I am curious…poking my nose into places where I shouldn’t like monkeys.
I can be lazy like a sloth. I am caring about my family like elephants. At times I can be unapproachable like swans. (If you have never been around swans…trust me…they are territorial)
There are always quizzes on Facebook to tell you what animal you are like but we each have traits in common with animals. The exercise of matching up your traits with different animals is an enlightening experience. It makes you explore yourselves and see some of the good and some of the bad.
What animals are you most like and what are the traits that you see in yourself?
Since this is suicide prevention awareness month I wanted to post it in a different way. I am thankful that I have never considered suicide but have been depressed enough that I understand how it feels to think that not existing is the only solution.
I have been involved with families who have experienced suicide and have seen the result first hand. I am distraught by the number of suicides that we are seeing in young people today and the devastating impact on the families.
Suicide automatically leaves guilt behind for loved ones. The first questions they ask themselves is “what did I do wrong?” This is followed by “why didn’t I know?” Parents may want to place blame as a way of removing themselves from the equation. Sometimes one parent blames the other. Marriages disintegrate and families split apart. This result is sometimes called “suicide survivors.” Are they really surviving?
The impact on others is far reaching. Friends will also feel guilt and issues of blame arise also. “If only I had been a better friend.” “If only others had been kinder.” The ripples from suicide are like that of a stone thrown into a pond. Anyone who is connected at all is changed forever.
The long term effects can also be devastating. If my friend found that suicide could solve his problems maybe I can too. The rate of suicide in families who have had a suicide is much higher than the general population.
We have to find ways to end this epidemic. Non only for those who can see no other way out but also for the people they touch. There is much to be done as this epidemic is reaching pandemic proportions. Awareness is a beginning but as I have said before we must have more accessible help in a timely manner. Faster recognition of those with problems and better care.
We all must help and demand recognition of this problem!