Friends are there!

I have been thinking today about friendship. Even in this time of social distancing we can still be close to our friends. Communicative today is very different than it was years ago. For centuries communication was telegraph, some telephones, and mail. Maybe smoke signals. Now the world is connected.When my husband was in Viet Nam we only had letters to hold us together. Even those had to be numbered as many came at odd intervals or got lost. I never knew from day to day if he was alive….yet we managed.

Image result for old communication

Today I can pick up a phone, electronic device, computer, Kindle…..whatever and even see the person I’m talking to. I remember seeing an example of that years ago and being amazed (also wondering if I wanted to always be seen). Now we can choose.

This is so wonderful for me. I have spent time with friends on the phone, email and text messages. I can help them if needed and they can help me. We are there for each other and will continue to be. We are willing to share what we have (even toilet paper) or run errands for each other. Most of my friends are “old” like me and just as at risk but where friendship is concerned it doesn’t matter.

Image result for friendship

There are also those who I consider friends on Word Press. I know that I can share concerns, fears, hopes and ideas and others will respond. How wonderful!

Thank God for friends and family!

 

Apocalypse = Unveiling

Today I have been watching “The Story of God” with Morgan Freeman. This is an excellent program that discusses world wide ideas of the origins of our ideas about God. Any form, any religion.

In the one I just watched he talked about various peoples belief of “the apocalypse.” He mentioned that the original root of the word actually was not connected to a kind of catastrophe. Originally the word was quite different and I love the initial meaning and the ideas that it brings forth.

Image result for unveiling

Apocalypse” (ἀποκάλυψις) is a Greek word meaning “revelation”, “an unveiling or unfolding of things not previously known and which could not be known apart from the unveiling”. As a genre, apocalyptic literature details the authors’ visions of the end times as revealed by an angel or other heavenly messenger.”

For me apocalypse has always been seen as a negative word. One that brought forth ideas of the earth on fire, wars everywhere and horrible destruction. How interesting that a word that we connect with end times started out with such a different meaning. I am caught by the thought that it is an unveiling. It is a deeper understanding of things. A revelations of things that we have not been able to see. This does not seem at all negative to me but a seeking for universal truths. Unveiling answers that we struggle to understand.

I am glad to learn this new meaning. I also recommend this series. Take a look at it on Netflix.

Friends matter

Image result for nurture friendshipToday I heard from a friend that I haven’t talked to in a while. It reminded me that we need to not let the path grow up between us and our friends. Friends need to be nurtured. Friends need our attention. I need to remember that.

 

For me, friends matter. Even though right on the middle line between introvert and extrovert I rely on my friends. As I get older I hate the thought that some will die before me. I remember my grandmother saying that everyone she had things in common with had died. She was 100 years old at the time. As I approach 80 this year I am beginning to understand. I have children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren but they will never be able to understand my past.

Image result for friends

We must tend to our friends while we can. We all will be gone at some point. Losing those we love is always difficult. But, who knows maybe I will go first and it won’t be a problem!?!

Lifestyle and health

As I was out walking today I thought about how many of our illnesses are caused by our lifestyle. Heart disease, some cancers, COPD, and many others are directly linked to how we live.

Image result for lifestyle and illness

I was reminded of a friend of mine who smoked. Each year she stopped smoking for Lent and then started back up after Easter. What a crazy thing to do.

Image result for healthy lifestyle and mental healthSome problems arise because of our mental health. Anger can be linked to stroke and high blood pressure. Anxiety and depression can lead to suicide. I don’t think we cause those problems ourselves but they may be, and frequently are, linked to our childhood. Our parents were responsible for how we were treated as children. In some cases this was good and in others not. It can be a major struggle to overcome childhood trauma and it does affect lifestyle which in turn affects health.

More and more we are learning about the link to our lifestyle and our health issues. I hope that we are able to make better decisions for ourselves as we learn and especially for our children. Maybe the more we learn the healthier we will be.

The elusive memory

The events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves, they find their own order…the continuous thread of revelation.  Eudora Welty

Our lives move forward on a continuum. Events happen every day. Some events are memorable and some are not. I have always found it interesting the things we have stored away and can recall and the things we can’t. Our memories are selective. Our brains store information….probably everything we ever did but most of it cannot be recalled.

Image result for memory

I have been asked about my earliest memory. I have a memory but it is not really clear. I am standing in a crib in my mother and father’s room. That is all there is. There is no context…nothing more than that. I don’t know why I have that memory. It seems to have no significance but there it is.

Image result for memoryOf course we remember traumatic events or days of special happiness but we don’t always remember the specifics and our memories will usually not match those of others who were there.

It is also interesting how memories can be triggered by other senses. A certain smell can cause recall. I grew up in Virginia and my family had large privet hedges around the back yard. When I smell privet it brings back memories of that place.

Music can remind us of a particular time that we heard it. We also experience the feelings associated with those memories. This can be a good thing but in the case of persons who have had a trauma it can bring it all back full force. That is what happens to those with PTSD. The memory comes with all the feelings of fear and horror.

Image result for memory recall

How our brain keeps memories and which ones come to light is not fully known but more is learned each day.

 

 

 

Tell the truth??? or not??

Truth said in love can hurt before it heals. Unknown

Sometimes we know something that we feel needs to be told. It is something that we know will be a surprise (not always a good one). It is something that could be devastating. What do we decide to do?

This can be an awful decision. It is important to look carefully at why we would disclose. It is possible that we might never be forgiven. It is possible that any friendship will be gone. Do we want to tell for us or for them? Will the disclosure be worth the pain it could inflict? We absolutely have to look closely at ourselves and think about the outcome. Sometimes revealing something it not necessary in the long run. Some times the repercussions will be too painful and can be unnecessary.

Image result for truth can hurt

Taking the time to think everything through is most important. Hurting someone should not be done lightly. Think before you do!

Happy Valentine’s Day

There are stories about where Valentine’s day originated. Most versions have to do with a Valentius. All the stories agree that he was a hero who helped during the early Christian days in Rome whether by marrying young men against the orders of Claudius II or by helping Christians imprisoned by the Romans. February 14th may have been chosen by the Roman Catholic Church in order to coincide with a festival dedicated to one of the Roman gods. During its history the church did this for several holidays to make it easier for cultures to shift to Christianity.

None of this matters in the big scheme of things.

Image result for valentines day quotes

Hope your Valentine’s Day has been filled with joy and love!

Watch out for the wall

I often think of Robert Frost’s poem about building a wall. He is thinking about what happens when we do this. We can wall things out and sometimes we have to do that to survive. Many victims of abuse can only manage by walling the abuse out. Some have even developed different personalities to not be present themselves. This is the extreme example.

Image result for Before I built a wall I'd ask to know What I was walling in or walling out,

However, we do need to be careful about walling those around us out. Usually what we need for healing begins outside of ourselves. We need others whether in the form of therapist or loving friends/family. We have to be careful not to wall out the help we need. If we are fragile it is so easy to stay inside our protective shield but this is only a temporary solution.

Try and find those who can help to pull you out from behind the wall and eventually tear it down altogether. In that place is healing.

We all are important

unique

For those of us who struggle with mental health issues it is easy to look down on ourselves. We have the idea that we are not as good as others. Unfortunately, for some, this is what we have been told.

This is so far from the truth. Some of the most famous and inspirational people suffered things that would be categorized as a mental health issue today. Below is a list of some of these people and an estimate of their problem.

11 Historical Geniuses and Their Possible Mental Disorders
  • ABRAHAM LINCOLN // DEPRESSION. …
  • LUDWIG VON BEETHOVEN // BIPOLAR DISORDER. …
  • EDVARD MUNCH // PANIC ATTACKS. …
  • MICHELANGELO // AUTISM. …
  • CHARLES DICKENS // DEPRESSION. …
  • CHARLES DARWIN // AGORAPHOBIA. …
  • WINSTON CHURCHILL // BIPOLAR DISORDER. …
  • VASLAV NIJINSKY // SCHIZOPHRENIA.

We may not consider ourselves to fit into this list but it is obvious that we all have something to offer to the world. Never put yourself down. Know that you have gifts that are needed. Ignore those who want to put labels on you and just keep going.

either-we-all-have-value

 

 

Cancer aftermath

I have several friends who have had cancer and are in remission. When this happens people begin to see them as back to normal. Most people are unaware of how much courage is involved in continuing to move forward. There are periodic scans and you have to wait for results. It can be a time of nail biting and stress.

after cancer

Chemotherapy also can have devastating consequences. The medicines that make you well can also cause major problems with the well systems in your body. There are many things that can go wrong from failure of other organs to hair, skin, teeth problems. It is not an easy path.

Hopefully the future will bring us closer to our own immune system removing the cancer from our body without hurting anything else.

survive cancer

Remember those who struggle with the aftermath of cancer treatment. They need our continuing compassion and support.