Take each step

Since visiting a gastro doctor 3 weeks ago I have actually had no flares of IBS. Before that I was having a rough time. They did nothing except order medicine to help which I still don’t have. Now it is back. I should have the medicine tomorrow. Getting through the system is hard and I feel for people who don’t know how to find their way through it.

Tomorrow I will start the medicine and hopefully it will help. Because of the flare up I have been fighting anxiety. The one good thing is that I am fighting to cope. I am determined to get past this and keep moving on. I am determined not to let go and let the anxiety take over. I am determined to keep on.

We have more strength than we think we have. No matter how hard it is we have to continue to put one foot in front of the other. Fear will not win!  Life is too important to spend it wallowing in our issues. The sky is beautiful, I love the smell of lavender and cheesecake is worth living for. Maybe if we continue to concentrate on the good things it will distract us from the hard.

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Ethical aging

possible futureAging brings some interesting dilemmas. Ones we don’t face until we are older. A friend of mine who is older than me has severe back pain. Today he was told that surgery for his problem is out because of his age. He is pretty healthy otherwise. I can’t imagine being told that I am too old to get help for constant pain. Something more than medicine or pain management. I’m sorry but THIS SUCKS! Medicine is reaching the point where implementing decisions based on age become the norm. If you haven’t read or seen the film ….this begins to sound like “Soylent Green.” At a certain age we will just be shuffled off to become food for others.

I do understand that resources will become more and more scarce and that there will be those who decide that the young must be saved but who gets to decide? Should we kill off  an Einstein or Grandma Moses? Is experience and wisdom no longer needed?

who decidesThe ethical decisions that we already have to make are way beyond the wisdom of Solomon. How will we begin to face the ones that will come in the future? How will we decide to not give birth to a child who will be at risk for Alzheimer’s? What will the ability to choose the sex, hair color and maybe even intelligence do to God’s creation. Are we taking over or will this make a better world?

I know that I have no idea and in some ways am glad that I don’t have to face that future.

man-creates-machine

Just sit

Today my husband and I took a day off from church. I din’t think that either of us wanted to go to a yearly meeting. Instead I worked on my computer restoring programs while carbonite chugged away and re-installing my data.

Just waiting is something I don’t do well. I tried playing the piano to take up some time but the little finger on my right hand is in pain with arthritis (UGH – again with the aging!) I plan to get it taken care of but it hasn’t floated to the top of the list.

contorlIt is so easy to get impatient. We want to fix ourselves and we want to fix others. We want the world to be a better place. If only we could do that. As a nurse I learned the hard lesson that some things can’t be fixed. I am still impatient and still longing to try.

just sitLife doesn’t wait on us while we sit around waiting. Each day holds moments for us to leap in and participate. Each day offers opportunities to do something. Sometimes the something may be doing nothing. We often forget that doing nothing is doing something. It is choosing to step away and just be. We move so fast in our world today that just sitting with hands folded is almost considered a sin. The time is past when people sat on the front porch in a rocking chair and just SAT.

So today, even though I am impatient for my computer to finish, I took some time to fold my hands and sit. I pushed away thoughts of getting up to clean the house or some other work. I just sat. Even though it wasn’t for long it was a time of doing something. Sitting.

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Beyond ice there is warmth and hope

We are in the middle of a winter storm. Since I live in the south this weather is unusual. I can’t remember the last time that it was below freezing here. Ice covers the roads and everything is closed. No problem for me. I will stay inside and enjoy the fire. Kids are delighted to have a day off. It seldom happens.

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(Marsh grass covered with ice.)

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring but then do we ever?

Life itself can be icy  and leave us in a shivering in a cold place. There are so many things in life that we can’t control and weather is one of them. Maybe some day science will find a way but I like it this way. It doesn’t make things easier (when hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, etc. happen) but it is real. If we really think about it the only thing that we actually control is ourselves and our reactions to things. Choices bring consequences good or bad and that choice is up to us.

This fact makes it doubly hard when dealing with some mental aberrations. It is easy to feel that we are in a morass and there is no way out. It doesn’t seem as if we have a choice and that there is nothing left to do. The only way out becomes suicide. For those of us dealing with anxiety and depression suddenly not being there at all seems like a relief.

However, there are people who are doing away with themselves slowly by means of alcohol and/or drugs. This way can be devastating as it strips the person a little at a time. Each day they slip away a little more until nothing is left but the drug of choice. The drug takes away their ability to think clearly and reduces the chance of making a different choice.

hope lightWith all these depressing thoughts we need to look toward the light because we do have a choice. We can decide to reach toward the light. We can seek help from others whether friends, communities or therapeutic help. Hope is still out there. As long as we are breathing there is hope. Life can be difficult but we are alive and a new day is out there.

My granddaughters have said that I give them hope since I have found ways to cope for 77 years. I am still here. I have joys and sorrows, good and bad but life is worth it all.  Mostly I have found peace. Gather your strength and hope.

Center down

day

I often think about the song “what a difference a day makes.”  The song is not talking about all of life but it is so true. One day everything can be fine and in 24 hours your life can be totally different. That happened to me at the beginning of 2017 when my job was done away with. The problem for me was it wasn’t a job but a ministry. I lost my identity.

A lot worse things have happened to others. Loss of a loved one among many things. When this kind of thing happens we are blindsided and have to restructure our thinking. I am beginning to realize how long that takes. I know that at some point the pain of this will lessen. It already has some.

god-in-the-middle-of-itThere are people who seem so strong that nothing can rock their world. I am not so sure that they aren’t vulnerable as well. It is possible that nothing has ever happened to reach their core. There are some people that I am sure have strength that doesn’t come from themselves. People like Gandhi and Mother Theresa. They are what Quakers call “centered.” This is kind of strength that we all need. This comes from seeking something more than ourselves. My only experiences with this kind of centering have been fleeting. I know that the way to connect in that way with God (or whoever works for you) is to spend time with him. In the kind of rushing world that we live in it is so easy to do other things. It requires the kind of life change that (for me) started this thinking.

Now, again, I am focusing on the things that matter. I have no idea what the future will bring but my only way forward is with God. I have to reach out and seek the connection that never fails.

Memories

Christmas pastToday we put up a Christmas tree. Like the Scrooge story I started thinking about Christmases past. Most of my memories are good but not all. There were two Christmases when my husband was in Viet Nam. There was one Christmas when I was in the hospital and not home with my children. The interesting thing is that I remember the happy years more than the sad ones. Our memories are selective. It’s funny how one person can remember an event clearly and someone else who has the same memory remembers it so differently. It has made me think about how our brains pick and choose which things to make easily accessible and which things are hidden away. We know that the memory is there somewhere. Why can’t we access it? My daughter says that our RAM memory is full. She may have a point. If only I could remember everything that I have learned.

I am grateful for the memories that I have and glad that some of the bad memories are less clear. I wonder if this is our way of living with the bad things. People who have PTSD can’t shake those bad memories and relive them over and over. That is living in a nightmare. I know that many people have bad memories that are so traumatic that they are vivid and color their days. That kind of memory produces pain that most of us can’t imagine.

woundsI think that mental pain can be so much worse than physical. The torture that our own minds can produce is far worse than what someone else can do to us. That is why so many more suicides are committed by those in mental pain. There is no way to get away from it. Our thoughts rule out lives so we have to create ways to escape from that pain. The treatment of mental pain is so much better than it has been in the past. Now if we can just remove the stigma that accompanies it.

Christ cast out demons. I am sure that they were the same kind of demons that afflict us today. His healing is still there for us. We just need to be able to accept it.

Frantic to Peaceful Sleep

“It is but lost labour that we haste to rise up early, and so late take rest, and eat the bread of anxiety. For those beloved of God are given gifts even while they sleep.”

This is a quote from the beginning prayers of Night Prayer from”A New Zealand Prayer Book.” 

franticNow with Christmas on the way we will begin our mad dash to get everything ready. Presents to be bought, baking to do, parties to attend. There is so much we think we have to do. As the quote says we rise early and go to bed late. In between we obsess about the things we haven’t done yet. We are the creators of the pressure we are under. We can’t turn loose of our control. We won’t let ourselves fall down on the job.

As the time draws closer we become more and more anxious. Anxiety becomes an even more part of life. We Christians are not the only ones who are frantic. Hanukkah is coming also and events for others. Even many agnostics and atheists can get caught up in the commercial part of the season. It leaves very few untouched.

For those of us who grew up with the Christmas traditions it can seem magical. People seem nicer. Charities receive donations and people help each other more. The sad part is that we do all this in one short season. Then we seem to go to sleep until the following year. Showing kindness, helping others, and sharing what we have should go on all year. Somehow we need to learn to carry it forward. Think what a wonderful world it would be if we did.

sleep

Maybe then we would not be frantic for a month and take the gifts that God gives us even when we sleep.