Coping with life and those who judge

care kitEvery day is different. There is no being prepared for what comes next. I am sad. Sad for two members of my family whose life has been disrupted each in a different way. Concern for them and wishes for some peace and foremost in my mind. It causes my worry to raise its head. Life definitely changes from day to day and we have to find ways of coping. The younger we are the less coping skills we have.

Things that happen to us teach us and we learn the skills we need. Some people are lucky enough to not have things go wrong in their lives. However, this means that they develop little ability to handle things when the fall apart.

The only people who can really understand what someone else is going through is a person who has had a similar experience. When people don’t understand they can be judgmental. For so long there has been a stigma for those who struggle with any sort of mental issue. Sometimes I would love to make them have the same problems so that they will get it. For many years those with AIDS struggled with abuse and being ostracized. It is still happening with mental issues. I is amazing how hatred can be born.

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I think that people often wonder why those who struggle just can’t pull up their socks and fix it themselves. It is just not that easy. Everything can’t be fixed. That is a hard lesson to learn. You can’t judge others. You don’t know where they have been.

Why are we here?

butterfly effectLife is a puzzle. Sometimes I wonder what it is all about and why we are here. What is my purpose? Am I here for a reason? I have spent my life raising a family, being involved in church and being a nurse. I hope that those things have made the world a better place. Not in some grand way but by trying to be a good person I have made a contribution.

I think we expect that in order to make a difference we have to be someone important – some sort of celebrity but I don’t think that is it at all. I am a believer in the butterfly principle. What each of us does makes a difference for good or ill. Everything that we do has an impact. This makes me strive even harder to learn all that I can so that I can change the world for the better even if in a very, very small way.

Sometimes I catch myself saying something that will impact someone in a negative way and I think about it later. Recently I met a nurse in a doctor’s office who is about to have her first baby. I made the comment that I used to work in Neonatal Intensive Care. She responded that she hoped her baby didn’t need to go there. I answered that she seemed healthy and that I was sure all would go well. Then I added: we used to say nurses babies were the riskiest. That was a bridge too far. The remark was true but she didn’t need to hear that. I have thought about it ever since and regret it.

tutuEvery day is a chance to be kind. To say the kind thing. A chance to help. I have decided that doing the right thing is why we are here. Nothing else is as important.

Matthew 25:37-39New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’

Seeking a new perspective

harassThe 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.

soulAnyone, 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)

 

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I have had a revelation! A few days ago I wrote about a dream that I had (nightmare?). It was about planning a banquet and cleaning up afterward. Two days later I was called by a friend and made a last minute lunch for four of us. Admittedly this was not a banquet but did require cooking and cleaning. Until yesterday I never connected the two things. I have no trouble understanding the dream was a message. I have seldom connected things that closely but it is evident that there is a connection. I guess I was being warned what was on the way and to be ready. You can bet I will be paying more attention to my dreams in future.

I don’t know how many of you have experienced this kind of phenomena but it has seldom happened that clearly to me. I have had experiences where I felt a strong need to call or pray for someone. Usually I listen to that urge.

When I was working as a parish nurse I had two instances where I planned visits for the day, got in the car and was pulled to visit someone else entirely. Both times the person I saw needed a visit or some sort of intervention. I have awakened in the middle of the night and knew I had to pray for someone only to find out that something had occurred and they needed prayer.

God speaksI don’t find these things to be spooky at all. They are examples of God speaking to us. Whether the impulse to pray turns out to be something or not no prayer is wasted. We have to tune in to God and follow through on impulses that clearly are God calling.

 

new-habits-new-me-socialIt is not easy to shake a problem that has plagued you your whole life. For the last week I have been battling mild anxiety. I have no idea why. It has, however, kicked up my IBS which is very aggravating. There doesn’t seem to be any specific thing that I can blame this on. Everything seems to be fine. So,,,I am striving to continue on and just accept that it is what it is. I have not worked on my strategies for handling this enough and now I can see the result.

It is clearly evident to me that habits are hard to break even if the habit is to do nothing. That may be the hardest habit of all to break. To go from doing nothing to doing something pushes me way out of my comfort zone. I am determined to struggle with it each day and take one day at a time.

The events in that small Texas town have brought home to me the crisis the US is in. I am so sad to see the nation I grew up in at the brink of disaster. Are we all living in a mental health crisis? It certainly begins to look that way. When one person takes a gun and shoots random people to solve a problem it tells others with problems that this is a viable solution. How do we stop the ball rolling downhill?

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Throughout my lifetime this has been a wonderful country to live in but I am very afraid for us. So many people have turned away from a moral life. When the ethical ground of a country is eroded then it seem the country itself is also eroded. May God be with us.

Can I choose?

opinionThis blog contains opinions that are mine. If you disagree with me that is fine.

Recently the in the US the state of Texas has set about removing the choices that women have in regard to their lives. The state has made it almost impossible for someone to receive an abortion for any reason whatever. Whether or not you agree with abortion the fact that a group, mostly men, are making decisions about the health of women is abhorrent to me. It feels as if Margaret Atwood’s book is coming true and before long we will be living out The Handmaids Tale (title?).

As a woman, I cannot accept that medical issues of female health are being legislated. I don’t see men’s health issues being handled the same way. What if someone wanted to legislate who could take Viagra? The outcry would be heard round the world.

choiceThis is another one of those ethical issues that I touched on in another blog. It is so difficult for us human beings to parse the complexity of abortion. We have the same difficulty with euthanasia. The whole thing seems to rest on whether we control our own lives or not. Our freedom will necessarily be tied to whether or not we harm others and both of these problems are linked to that. As a nurse I certainly adhere to do no harm but each individual case may have a different answer. Does the government get to decide without knowing the circumstances?

I don’t claim to know the answers. Where does our freedom to choose stop? If you have an answer let me know.

Can life be too good?

riceMy grandmother (who lived to be 100) lived in a world we can only imagine. Born in the late 1800’s she was raised on a rice farm. Some of her stories about growing up were fascinating. She reminisced about watching the workers put the rice in (what sounded like} a large mortar and pestle, beating the rice and then throwing it up in the air to let the husks fly away.

An image that is way out of my understanding.

She did have one trait that sometimes bothered me….especially when I was a child. If life was too good or things were going along too well she worried about something bad happening. Almost as if each of us has a quota of good and if we reach that limit then the bad will come our way. She once said that my youngest child was too good. Knowing her thinking it bothered me for a while. I was able to shake it off and move on.

One of the reasons that this seemed so against her character is that she was deeply faithful reading her Bible and praying. I never saw a day go by that she didn’t pray morning, noon and evening. She rested after lunch and read her Bible. Thinking about it now I wonder how her faith in God aligned with her “good and bad” thinking. Maybe she never connected the two. Maybe it had to do with God’s image from the Old Testament.

god is our refuge

I belong to the camp that believes that God wishes only the good for us. Nothing in scripture promises that our lives will be perfect. We are not perfect. We are promised that God will be with us every step of the way. Always  ” God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46