I have learned much in my 78 years. Life has not ever been perfect and usually not at all what I expected but it has been full with everything from grief to joy. I am so grateful that I can look back and see the times I was tested and grew. I realize that my empathy for others and desire to help comes from those testing experiences.
It is something that I have said often but here it is again. Don’t regret those times of trial. It is in the fire that the pottery is formed. You have come out of the fire made more beautiful and more compassionate.
Remember that and use that experience to help others. I talked with someone today about how encouraging and full of empathy are the people whose blogs I read and those who read mine. We are a community.
After the serious dry spell that we had now we have had rain every day. It doesn’t rain long but enough to help. I hope that it reached the farmers soon enough.
Today I had a call from one of my daughters telling me that my daughter in Texas has lost one of her dogs. She rescued two dachshunds a while back. Both had obviously been badly treated and were afraid of almost everyone. She and her family have been working hard to restore their trust and put their fears to rest. One of them would probably be considered to suffer from PTSD. The dog is on multiple meds for anxiety and panic attacks. While I was there visiting she eventually let me touch her but is still terrified of most things. Apparently last night little Lucy got out somehow. She is so fast. I’m not sure how it happened but my daughter is devastated.
Lucy will not come to anyone if called. She is chipped and has a collar with her name and address but I don’t know if anyone will be able to catch her. Poor thing she is now lost and away from any kindness she has ever been shown. They also live near what is called “green belt” an untouched area designated to allow water retention and wildlife. I know they are worried that if she is there it will be difficult to find her.
This makes me so sad. I would be lost if I couldn’t find either of my dogs and Lucy is at risk in so many ways. Dogs become part of our families and touch our hearts in so many ways. Lucy found a safe place and I hope she is found and returned there.
Bravery comes from the things we fear. We are only brave when we face something that we fear. Being able to step forward into a situation that worries us means that we can put the fear aside. We learn how to do this from the struggles we have had in the past. Each thing that has gone wrong in our lives has been a learning experience. We moved past those experiences and survived.
Nobody wants to go through difficulties in life but they do help us to grow. The growth gives us the coping skills to manage the next problem that confronts us. We not only learn how to manage but it helps us to understand others who are going through the same things. We have more compassion.
Think about the things that have troubled you in life and how you got through them. They have made you stronger and more compassionate. Don’t dwell on them as negative things but appreciate them for the things you have learned.
Today is Memorial Day. It is a day for thanksgiving for those who gave their lives that we might live free. This day is hard for me to write about since my husband was in the Army for 20 years. He spent two years in Viet Nam fighting a senseless war. He graduated from West Point in 1962 and felt obligated to serve in the war. Wars run by politicians cannot be won. All the idiotic rules that governed what could and could not be done made it impossible. I could give many examples of this but it would not only take too long but also bring up too many bad memories.
My husband does not talk about the war except for a few incidents that had some humor attached to them. He fought in the battle of Dak To which was so badly run that many people died. He won’t talk about this.
We have been to the Viet Nam Memorial Wall but he will never go again. There are too many friend’s names on it.
I spent those years at home with our children worrying about him. There was little communication with loved ones during WWI, WWII, Korea, and Viet Nam. I even had to number my letters so that he knew if some were missing. His letters to me came in bunches. Communication is better now but it doesn’t take away the worry.
This is the fate of families today who wait for loved ones in danger. I grieve for both the soldier and the family. Many families don’t survive the separation. Please pray for those soldiers and their families.
Our society expects us to maintain a facade. We must never seem broken or fragile. Society sees this a weakness. Underneath all of that the reality is that it is frightening. If you are shattered maybe that will happen to me.
Think about how we greet people. “How are you? I’m fine.” We may be suffering but oh dear we better not share it. I have heard people respond “not okay” and the other person doesn’t even acknowledge what has been said. Too often we don’t want to hear it. It might draw us into the pain and suffering that we don’t want to see.
In truth, most of us are balanced on a precipice and feel that a little shove might push us over. We wouldn’t want anyone else to see this as that would diminish us in their eyes.
Most of my life people have sought me out to share their fears and their pain. I don’t think I am at all special. It is because I have never hidden my own wounds and am willing to open myself to others. I’m not sure why I am this way but it is who I am. Being this way is not always comfortable but it has given me the opportunity to show compassion and love.
Never be afraid to share your true self. Some will turn away but it is their own fears that cause that. Showing others how you have learned and continue to move on will give them hope.
I read a blog today that was an interesting discussion. There was much back and forth about life and death. It was quite technical. At some point a meaningful life was mentioned and it seemed to me to most participants completely let that drop for more esoteric thoughts.
I am totally concerned about life having meaning. At this time in my life I have no doubts that mine does. This may be hubris on my part but over the years I can see where something that I did or said changed something or someone. I have had people that I don’t even remember who they are come up and say that I changed their life. I can’t remember what I said or did but that doesn’t matter. Somehow, at the time, I was blessed with the right thing to say. Does this mean that I am special? No way. I was just a catalyst…a stop on the road.
For me, these are the things that make life meaningful. Was I able to help someone? Was I in the right place at the right time? Did the right things come to me out of the blue? Yes! It was not me. It was God, or a higher power, or coincidence. Whatever works for you. But this is what helps me to understand how our lives are meaningful.
Loving, giving and sharing our stories and our pains helps others along the path. Because of this I can know that even when I messed up my life has had meaning. I plan to keep on loving and giving until the day I die.
What we are taught from childhood on is what carves us into the people we are now. Children absorb not only what they are told but also what they see. Their world is their home and family. What happens there sets the path.
Have we been teaching children to think only of themselves?
Have we taught intolerance?
Have we taught hatred?
Have we belittled them?
Or have we taught love?
Education is not just what we learn in school. That is important and the more we learn the more we can understand about the world around us. The more we learn about the lives of others the less likely we are to be intolerant. However, learning in early childhood is crucial.
Every kind of education is necessary to make the world a better place. We must help families to teach their children well. We need to marry what we learn at home with what we learn of the world. The more knowledge the better. Never stop learning.
What is is to search for our own soul. (It doesn’t matter what you call it. It is our inner core…our best self.) How do we turn away from the things that our society has led us to believe are the ultimate good? When are we able to grow enough to cast aside the ideas that we have been taught from birth?
Most of us who have spent our lives in western society have been taught to reach for things that are finite. We look to find joy and peace in things that fade. We want everything taken care of NOW! We are impatient and want pills to cure our ills that work fast. If we feel the slightest bit bored we want entertainment that distracts us from spending time with ourselves. We want to be as beautiful at 80 as we were at 25. The look of youth is the ultimate. We want things to feed our emptiness with…cars, jewelry, clothes, electronics, houses….anything to make us important. We want to seem important, looked up to and emulated. We think that these will be fulfilling. They won’t. Their rewards to us are ephemeral.
Turning away from these illusions and seeking the soul itself is a challenge. Can we go against society and understand that love and compassion and empathy and generosity are what matters? These are eternal.
Seek inside yourself for the things that really matter and pursue them.
This is an absolutely wonderful video from the Mayo Clinic. The conclusion is a new way to think about finding happiness.
Yesterday I spent down in the dirt so today was a rest day. Altogether a nice day. I still hate the time change and it will take me at least a week to adjust. I got up at my usuall time although it was an hour early. That is the only way I know to adjust.
Lately I have found myself prone to tears. I seem to weep at anything. It is not depressions but almost an acknowledgement of the sadness I feel for others. Being sensitive to other’s trials and pains is sometimes a difficult road. It does reduce me to tears on occasion and lately more than usual. That is probably because I am seeing more pain around me. Not just those I know but in the world at large.
As an elder I worry about the world that will be here for my grandchildren and great grandchildren. I hope that some of the abuses, anger, going too far in many things will swing back to reason. We have pushed the limit on so many things. Here in the US sexuality has become such an issue. Why do we have to be so concerned about the private lives of others.
Admittedly we see too much on media that is painful and disturbing. I have to turn some of it off for self preservation. Sometimes there is enough to handle in your own space, Many are in overload and it is no wonder that depression and anxiety are rising. A friend of my grandson spent the first semester of his college term not attending classes and obsessing. He has threatened suicide and his parents and having trouble finding appropriate care.
Life today is not easy. As I have said before it seemed easier when I was growing. Was I living in a bubble or was it really easier?
Anyway that is just my train of thought for today. Hope everyone had a good day!