Florence: not over for a long time

Today is the first day that I have felt somewhat normal. I developed a cold just before taking my husband to Mayo and was stuffy and miserable while there. At last I am beginning to see the light.

When we don’t feel well nothing seems right. Things that we would normally take in our stride become big hurdles to overcome. Most of the time I felt like I was sleepwalking. Feeling better is wonderful.

hurricane-florence-boardwalk-gty-jt-180913_hpMain_2_12x5_992We were blessed to have been bypassed by the last hurricane but I feel so deeply for those who are suffering through the aftermath. It is bad enough that the storm floods everything and the wind blows trees over on houses but afterwards is horrible. Days and days without power. No clean water, no lights. no place to be comfortable. When you are allowed to go home you find a damaged roof or a tree through your bedroom and the nightmare continues. The rest of the world is moving on unaware of the struggles you face.

People who are not at risk for hurricanes or tornadoes do not know that insurance companies now set the delectable on damage differently than they used to. If it is a “named” storm the deductible is a percentage of the estimated damage. Some percentages are quite high. For $30,000 damage you could pay upwards of $3,000. Sometimes much more. This can hit hard and from the storms we had some people have not been able to have their homes repaired and have done what they could on their own.

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After Florence fades from the picture most of us will continue with our lives. We must, however, remember the enormous toll those affected will be paying for a long time to come. Help where you can and pray for those left with their world changed forever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Understanding

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.

understanding a lot

Since I am tired I will offer another poem.

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Am I an elephant?

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.

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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.

 

 

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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.

elephant

 

What animals are you most like and what are the traits that you see in yourself?

Can we learn to really listen?

Listen or your tongue will keep you deaf.   Native American Proverb

listenintg-dogFor an extrovert this is a very important statement. I am always ready to talk and I have to curb myself to really listen. Most of us instead of listening are thinking of the next thing we want to say. I still have to hold my tongue and let others share.

I once visited a convent where there was a rule about discussion. Everyone sat at a table and one person spoke at a time. After that there was silence for several minutes. Then it was someone else’s time to speak. That silence left moments for the digestion of what had been said and time to reflect on what you might say that had importance for the discussion. Many conclusions were easily reached as there was little unimportant information shared.

In social situations I can really get carried away but I am working at it. I am getting better at listening. However, I know that I am not always bad at it as people have come to me for solace or advice my whole life. I do seem to know when listening is critical.

The big difference I see at my age is that I am unafraid to speak about matters that are important and frequently avoided. I will speak out for those who are in need of a voice. There are times when this is not appreciated but I never do it in anger or an emotional state. Important things need to be spoken of calmly and rationally. Listening to others in this kind of discussion is also critical and not easy. Emotions can be triggered and I have had to learn when to just back away.

speak carefully

My father (who was amazing) used to say: put your brain in gear before you put your mouth in motion. 

Another good proverb

Truth can be painful

truth painfulThis morning the minister in our church began her sermon by saying “truth said in love hurts before it heals.” I agree with this statement but would like to add the word “uncomfortable or painful” before truth. Some truth is good to hear and is uplifting. Sometimes we need to hear things that we didn’t really want to hear. It is important that we hear them but it can really hurt.

In a small example I can remember my younger daughter saying to me “you should change your hairstyle. You are funkier than this…it doesn’t suit you.” Mildly painful to hear but of course it was absolutely true and I did what she said.

There are much more painful examples. I am sure that each of us have some. The truth, if it is said in love, can hurt. It may take time but I do believe that it will finally heal. We must take care with when and how we speak that truth. Sometimes the hearing would be too painful and would destroy a fragile ego. Discerning when to say something is critical. Hopefully only when it will actually help.

mirror 1Our sense of self can be fragile and those who love us are the ones who mirror our value to us. Therefore it is important t continue to mirror goodness when we can and pain only when necessary.

Healing — a poem

I am reaching the point where I don’t know if I have shared this before but if so here it is again. This was written when my job at the church was ended.

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Healing

I have the healing in my hands

From the heart of God

I can choose to heal

Or hurt

 

The healing of God

Flows through me

Seeking hurt, pain, grief

To overcome

 

God is willing to allow

Me to direct the light

To those in need

Of it

 

Can I learn to use the light

To see the hurts

That are in others

And in me?

 

I know I want to heal others

For I see their hurts

Exposed by the light

Of God

 

For I direct the light

Outward to others

From the depths

Of my soul

 

But can I learn to direct

The light inside

To heal the pain

In me?

 

It is necessary to look inside to see our own pain. The pain we have experienced helps others.

When we don’t know how to help

thumb_i-stopped-waiting-for-the-light-at-the-end-of-20625406Today for the first time in forever I feel a sense of accomplishment. I only have one more day of major work to get the vines out of the azaleas. There actually is a light at the end of the tunnel. Then I can get back to routine house and yard work. Seems appropriate since it is now August.

Some of my stressors have eased. My friend, whose husband died, is coping and I will keep close as she grieves. My friend, whose husband in hospitalized, is hanging on but the stress of this long term up and down has stretched her to her limit. Long term anxiety with no let up causes so many physical problems. Staying at an adrenaline high is not good for our body and after the stress is reduced it is a long time recouping. I worry about her and her own health.

She has little time for the things that can hold us together: time out, meditation, time with friends, a break day, or something fun. She is devoted to her husband and spends each morning at the hospital. By the time she leaves to go home (usually around 1 pm) she is exhausted and just wants to rest.

It would not be surprising to experience symptoms of PTSD when faced with unceasing stress. Each of us has struggled with anxiety and know the toll it can take.

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I have tried to find things to help. We invite her to lunch often as she is too tired at night but she is usually tired and just wants to go home. I speak with her every day and have offered to take her place at the hospital. I would like to think of something to help break the monotony of her life and find something to help. I plan to take some art supplies to her as she likes to paint and draw.

If anyone has any suggestions please pass them on.