Today I am angry. I am angry at all the people who want to blame just guns for the shooting in Florida. To blame guns is the easy way out. They think it can be fixed by just taking away the guns. They are so wrong. The gun is the end not the beginning of the problem.
Before the person goes to get the gun there is something wrong. Something wrong……because why would they want or need a gun unless something was wrong? Anger or hurt or pain has built up inside until it had to have an outlet. They see no other way. They see no path to shed all of that unless they hurt others. The emotion inside is too strong.
To fix the guns is the easy path. To find what has caused the hurt and pain is the difficult problem.
This is a much bigger problem with no easy answers. It is linked to so many things. Societal breakdown, over-stressed parents, broken homes, lack of mental health availability in our health systems. I am sure I cannot think of it all.
We are a country in crisis. We are a people in pain. It is hurtful that one in four people have anxiety and depression. It is hurtful that six and seven year old children are being diagnosed with mental health issues. At least we can be grateful that we are finding some early but it is the tip of the iceberg. When we find issues can we find treatment? Can we afford it?
I am angry and I will find a way to express my anger to those in power. They may not listen and probably won’t because they will follow the easy path but I will make it known however I can!
The news today continues to follow the sexual harassment scandals. This is all so sad. It is sad for the women who are coming forward…..they have held these things inside for so long. I am sad for the people who are being accused…life has changed for them. I am not sure that life hasn’t changed for all of us.
This seems to be the next phase of female emancipation. For many years since women entered the work force there seems to have been an unwritten rule that some men in power could use that power to their advantage without fear of repercussions. In my young adult years I knew that many actresses had to sleep their way to the screen. It seemed to be the norm. The women seemed to accept it as a way of life. I am sure that some women took advantage as well.
That time has come to an end. The veil has been lifted and the actions are coming home to roost. The trouble is when people are talking about things that happened years ago there is no way to get at “truth.” Memories can be faulty and it is possible to push away those things we don’t want to see in ourselves.
I think since Pandora’s box has been opened we will see many more disclosures about abuse. This will be a major shake up for communication in the work place. We will be discovering new ways of relating to each other and hopefully things will be better. It may take a while to work this out and bring about another change in male perspective.
Anyone, male or female, who is in power can use that power for good or ill. Power can be a heady thing. Power is one of those things that we think will fill that hole that only God can fill. It has been sought instead of God since time began. Putting our priorities in the right place and seeking God first will move power to its rightful place. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and its righteousness and all good things will be given unto you.” (from the song)
What is the world coming to? It seems that violence has become the norm. We don’t go very long before another atrocity is being reported. Some seem like random acts such as the shooting in Las Vegas and some are planned and executed like the recent deaths in New York by an extremist.
It is appalling to me that these things don’t shock me any more. What a horrible thing to say! Violence is such a part of the world that we live in that we accept it. We are bothered at the moment and then just move on with our lives.
We have seen so much that we are inured to anything. I don’t want to be this way. I don’t want any of us to be this way. When violence happens we should be shocked to our core. Outrage with those who committed the violence should shout itself from us.
How did this happen? How did we get to this place? The answer is so complex that it almost can’t be resolved. I do think that all the media we have today has been part of it. Violence on TV, violence in the news….these go on every day. Some children have no concept that if you shoot someone they will actually die. They expect that they will show up alive and well in the next TV program. There is a sense of unreality about it.
I know that throughout history much violence has been connected to religion. Feelings are so attached to beliefs. Many people can’t accept anyone not agreeing with what they believe. There is the idea that I must be right…therefore you can’t be. Religious extremism is totally intolerant of any other opinion.
Why can’t we have a world where others opinions are simply theirs and we can have ours? Why can’t we identify and heal those who are so estranged from society that they turn to violence?
I don’t have any answers. I know that I abhor violence in any form. Life is difficult enough without it.
At the beginning of this blog I wrote about my journey to worry less. I had wonderful plans for ways to be more prepared for the times when anxiety crops up and takes control of my life. The thing is I have not followed my plan. During this time of relative peace I have let it go. Knowing what is at stake I really have to get with the program. My meditation, prayers etc. don’t take that long why do I shy away from them?
Spending quiet time with yourself is not easy. It can be so revealing of things about ourselves we don’t want to know. I know someone who says that he can never quiet his mind and that it causes so much stress. We do have to learn to experience meditation and silence long enough to get the mind to quiet. It takes time and effort.
It is just that silence and quieting of the mind that can make the most impact. In discovering ourselves the important thing to remember is that the past is past. What we do today…in this moment….is what really matters.
God is always with us in the silence. We spend so much time talking to God that we forget to listen for him in the silence. Maybe the reason we don’t hear him speak more is that we don’t listen.
Today is another day. A day when I haven’t followed through on my plan to do the things I need to do to be ahead when another crisis causes anxiety. This is the problem. When things are going well it is so easy to do nothing. I have planned to meditate, do yoga and spend time with helpful reading. All of which I have not done.
You would think that having dealt with this my whole life I would be willing to get tough and follow through with the things I need to do. I am reminded of Paul in Romans 7:15-20: 15 I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. 17 But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me.
Paul nailed it. I really don’t understand why I can’t stick to it. It is complacency with the status quo. Everything is on an even keel for the moment. I keep forgetting that it won’t stay that way. Life is always interesting and often challenging. The only thing to do is to start again and work to change my habits. I have learned that if you can develop a pattern or habit then you are home free. The reverse is also true. Habits are hard to break and at the moment my habit is to not follow the plan.
Oh well, tomorrow is another day with another chance to make changes. I will keep on. There is still hope.
As I thought about things that can’t be fixed I realized that there is another issue for us.
The trouble is that so much of what we have learned over the years is that many things can be fixed. If we have an infection medicine invented by science may fix it. Science has learned to fix many things.We see science as the fixer. If we have an accident in the car that is not a major crash the car can be fixed. As a people who want everything fixed and with as little distress on our part as possible we are impatient to get it fixed.
Ironically we are a society that fixes few things. If my cell phone breaks maybe I will turn it in to get recycled or maybe I will just throw it away. Most of our small electronic things will be trashed instead of fixed. There is hardly anyone who runs a fix-it shop today. We see things as disposable.
What a scary thought. Just how much of our world is disposable? We don’t cherish things as we used to. We have so much that each item is of little importance. Our solution is to just throw it away and get another. Where are we headed with this kind of thinking?
Are we going to become disposable? Are we moving into the era of 1984 and Soylent Green. (If you haven’t seen or read these do so) As we grow older and are perceived as having nothing left to give will we just be ended and recycled as in Soylent Green?
There is already an issue of the elderly using a large amount of funds for medical problems. Will we be ended so that money can be saved? Already this has come up for discussion. (not ending the elderly but curtailing available medical help) I am concerned about where we are headed.
Are we disposable?
Today we are just sitting here with rain and wind. So far we still have power. We also have a generator for back up. We are just slightly off the coast of Savannah with more islands and lots of marsh between us and the barrier islands. Our tides can be 8-9 feet normally and is any surge hits us at low tide it will be meaningless. The kind of surge projected at this time for us would barely come up over our river wall and onto a small dip before it would reach our lawn. Odds are we will see some wind with things blown about but hopefully not falling trees. I hope we got those out last year.
I have been thinking about some of the reasons that people are leaving churches. Just as with most things the reasons are varied. I wonder if some trend can be drawn from the whole, We have blamed at lot of it on the business of families with both parents working and that is one cog in the wheel. Parents have little time to spend with their children and (hopefully) use the weekend to do that. Many young un-marrieds have said that they find the members of churches do not live out what they espouse and are therefore hypocritical, Of course there are those who feel that the progress of science has made God less believable. All of these things are possible. So what is it about church that is important and why does it help?
In today’s world people are more disconnected from each other than ever before. When people lived in small towns being connected was easier. You might not like everyone but at least you knew them. Today many of us don’t even know the people next door to us. We have little actual support from others and in some cases no network of close friends at all. Church has been a place to find those things. Admittedly, there are some other places cropping up to take that place but most do not have the openness to encourage strong relationships.
This may seem like the wrong reason to go to church but it is an important one. Jesus had his friends around him. They were just as dysfunctional as the rest of us. We all need people to support us. We can study our faith while alone but to practice it we have to be in community. We cannot live it out alone.
It is a funny thing that when life seem to be going along well something will come and smack you in the face. Life is never smooth. The problem is that we can get lulled by lack of problems and complacent about how things are going. Just when you are starting to feel secure…..WHAM and there you are caught again.
Last week and this week seemed to be going so well and then plans that we had made were just wiped out. Somehow it always happens. It is even harder to deal with when I have to put plans on hold to be with my youngest daughter. That causes my heart to ache.
I know that most of the time it has to do with expectations that are either too high or altogether wrong. It does explain why I never seem to stop worrying.
Some how it will all work out but I’m having trouble with disappointment. I know that I need to put it into God’s hands but I am so good at picking it back up, For me turning things over to God is like hauling a big garbage bag out to the trash and then letting the truck go by without putting the bag in it. I follow the truck, drag the bag, follow the truck, drag the bag.
I don’t know why things are so hard to turn loose. I do wonder if it is arrogance and the inability to turn anything over to anyone else because I think I can handle it better. Wow! Knowing ourselves is really complicated and why I am on this journey toward better understanding. I hope I survive the journey.
This week the news (as usual) is alarming. I have been thinking about those Islamic radicals who are living in so many western style countries and I have been concerned about what I am beginning to see as a pattern. I am someone who tends to believe the best of people and I don’t like having to think otherwise. When I consider how the Nazi regime managed to change the moral compass of a nation it is easy to see that it could be done again. For me, it brings to mind a poem by a poet know for his limericks. That poet is Ogden Nash. Many of his poems are lighthearted and just fun but there are quite a few that force us to confront uncomfortable issues. This poem was written in 1938 just before the war. The insight it provides about how to change ideas and ethics is frightening. When I see radical Muslims demanding Sharia Law and eroding the legal systems of my world I can’t not be scared. Eroding away inch by inch is easier than going to war. Here is the poem for your contemplation.
The Japanese (1938)
How courteous is the Japanese;
He always says, “Excuse it, please.”
He climbs into his neighbor’s garden,
And smiles, and says, “I beg your pardon”;
He bows and grins a friendly grin,
And calls his hungry family in;
He grins, and bows a friendly bow;
“So sorry, this my garden now.”
Except for the above anxiety is momentarily at rest. The trigger has (for now) sent it away. That doesn’t mean that it won’t arise another time. I am struggling to continue my plans for change. When the fear is past it is so easy to slip back into complacency. For those of us who have God in our lives it is typical to let our connection fade when it is not needed. Discipline is so difficult. I will continue to persevere no matter how difficult. I am determined not to let myself back up now.