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.

How would you do?

trauma

In a previous post I mentioned reading the book Tribes. I have noticed lately that I am secure enough in myself to agree or disagree with someone. I have felt that way about the last few things that I have read.

Years ago I read a book about the PTSD that is being seen in our returning soldiers that was excellent. Being married to a military man (his first career) the book clarified for me many things that had changed in the handling of military personnel and that the changes were not good.

In the book Tribes the author suggests that if people who suffer from PTSD were integrated back into a loving community environment that it would be easier for them to recover. I am sure there is truth to this. Being accepted is critical to our well being. However, the way soldiers have been handled in Iraq and Afghanistan has created more stress than in previous wars. I think the PTSD is more severe than we have seen before.

Recovering from any traumatic event causes PTSD. If the event is sudden and ends quickly recovery is usually easier. Any of us have a big physical response to trauma. All of our fight or flight responses are activated with some major physical changes. Major amounts of Adrenalin are released, our heart rate increases, blood to areas of the body not needed is reduced and brain is super alert. This is what is supposed to happen in the short term but suppose you are in this mode over a long period of time. The body is physically stressed to the point where it is difficult to recover.

So what made this happen to our soldiers? In previous wars there was a front……an area where the fighting took place and units were rotated back from the front for rest and time to come down from the high. In the last wars there has been no front and soldiers are in danger no matter where they are. They are never free from the adrenaline rush. There is no place to rotate them to for rest. During Viet Nam soldiers served (usually) one year and knew that they would be rotated home at the end of that time. They were usually away from battle for at least two years before being sent back. (If at all) Many of the prime units used in recent times have been at war for an undetermined length of time. (usually shorter than before) They were brought home and may be sent back in a few months. Some of them 4 or 5 times or more. The time away from battle has not been long enough for any sort of recovery. This information is not hearsay. I have personal knowledge of this.

PTSDits-not-that-the-person-is-refusing-300x300Having said all of this I know that the writer of the Tribe is correct is saying that recovery is better if there is integration into a community. Unfortunately, for most of the sufferers there is no community awaiting them. Many can’t find a job or have any major support system. Their trauma has also been so much more severe than previous cases we haven’t really learned how we can help. Work is being done but maybe too little, too late.

Wow! I really needed to say all of that! It has bothered me for a while.

Anxiety and stress and difficult for any of us to handle. How much more so if we were exposed to life threatening events over a long period and then expected to return to normal over night.

Pray for the World

alone_in_this_world_by_gabrielmaurano-d39h408The last few days have been very strange. We have spent most of our time watching the path of hurricane Irma and preparing to leave. The Governor of Georgia declared a mandatory evacuation of Savannah. We were supposed to begin leaving this morning. However, the storm has moved so far west compared to its original projection that we are unlikely to get more than some wind and rain. So we are still here. The house is covered with storm shutters and feels very strange. As of today nothing is open where we are but most of the people we know have chosen to stay. We are not fools and have left several times for storms but essentially we would be driving west where the storm will be over land and still have high winds and rain. It just doesn’t seem logical to go toward the storm. Unless something changes we will stay.  There will be some storm surge of water but we are not in an area for that to reach us.

All in all we are bored to tears. It almost feels like some apocalypse has taken place and there is no one left. It is eerie to see empty streets and stores and restaurants closed. Hospitals are open and some shelters but I doubt the shelters will be needed except for those homeless who will need escaped from the rain and wind.

pray for the worldWith the world the way that it is I can imagining this sort of scenario. It is not a good feeling. Each one of us needs to do everything that we can to seek peace in the world. The sad part is that it seems to be religion dividing us. Religion being mandated by the most extreme factions. Sometimes I just want to cry over the hatred. I am learning to be more outspoken about following love. I suspect that I try to tamp down heated opinions but I feel called to step beg for love and compassion no matter what.

No matter your belief pray for the world. Pray for those in danger from storms, wars and any other disaster.

And all manner of things will be well

batterdownthehatches_2011-12-20-humor-1Tonight I am discombobulated. A great southern term. Since we live in coastal Georgia we will begin putting things away and battening down the hatches. I know that we are blessed to not be in Florida or some of the islands that will be very hard hit and I grieve for those people. To have your life disrupted  by mother nature can be a devastating blow. Any idea of safety and security is literally blown away. Suddenly you are completely vulnerable. Having been through this last year……as did all the places being hit again…..you start to feel caught in some dreadful nightmare. It would be easy to ask where is my God in all of this?

The thing is I start to wonder how much part we humans have played in all of this. Are we having so many storms because of the warming water due to global warming. It is possible the earth would be warming anyway but I suspect that we have helped it along.

buddhaSo where is God? The answer is right where God has always been…at our side through any kind of adversity. There was no promise that life would be perfect. Just a promise to always be there. So..I will leave my home and hope that when I return things will not be too bad. My husband and I will still be together and the rest of our family safe. As Julian of Norwich says: “and all will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.”

And the News Is……

bad weatherNext week may be an interesting one for me. At the moment it looks like hurricane Irma will make landfall right across my home. If it does this will be two hurricanes in two years. One of my friends said that if we are hit again she is just going to put up a for sale sign in her front yard and pray that someone is not afraid to live there.

We have just finished with the last of the repairs from last year. We have insurance but it only pays for damage to the house and we are responsible for anything outside which sounds fine until you realize that we had to remove at least five downed trees for quite a lot of money that had to come out of our pockets. I’m not sure I can face it again. The thing is I know that I should not be complaining with the devastation in Houston. It will take that city and surroundings years to recover.

mother nautreThe devastation this hurricane will leave behind in places like Haiti that have no infrastructure will be horrible. They are being pounded with 185 mile an hour winds which is the highest winds only reported one other time in recorded history. There will be many deaths, loss of homes, food, medicine and much more. In the last ten years Haiti has been hit by two earthquakes and several hurricanes. Please pray for them and the others who have been and will be in the path of this storm.

I am anxious and not thrilled about putting up storm shutters which at my age (76)  and my husband’s 79, will not be an easy task and then removing everything from the yard and nailing down anything that can’t be moved. I keep reminding myself that these are the things we deal with in life. We choose to live here (but we may change our minds after this) and so we will deal with what nature brings. At least with a hurricane..unlike a tornado…we have warning and can get ourselves and our dogs out of harms way.

My hope is in the Lord who made heaven and earth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gentle or Malevolent Darkness

I am reading a book by Barbara Brown Taylor called Walking in the Dark. The book has opened many thoughts for me about light and dark. We do see them as opposites and equate them with good and bad. We have dark thoughts, saw a dark movie etc. Darkness holds scary things. Yet, as a child, some of my favorite memories are of a group of adults sitting on our back patio talking late into the night. There was no light. The stars were out. It was hot summer and outside was cooler and usually had some breeze. This time felt so special for me. I was usually not allowed up late so this was stolen time. The soothing voices of the adults would lull me to sleep. For me, the dark held no danger.

darknessOf course later in life I became aware of how light and dark are used. The Bible has references such as John 1:5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There are many others. Distance from God is often called the dark night of the soul.

Darkness in the cities is not really dark and there are dangers that make the night frightening. Our current world is more scary at night. We can’t see what lurks there.We also see ourselves as having dark places within us. Places that hold anxiety and depression. We want to bring light to those places to drive away the darkness. I see this as a malign kind of darkness filled with clouds of hate and evil. I wish we had a different name for those. If we did we could distinguish between that darkness and the gentle dark that allows us to rest.

We have lost our connection to the night as a peaceful time.We need it physically to maintain the circadian rhythm of our bodies. Most of us rest easier in the dark.

How enchanting is it to walk in the dark….away from disrupting light….. and truly look at the night sky. There is something magical that is not there in the daylight. Watching the sunset over the ocean and waiting for the stars to come out is ethereal.

night sky

We need to separate the malevolent darkness from the healing peaceful dark.

Would Silence Help?

Today I was talking with my daughter and granddaughter, They reminded me that the dangers are not just from the outside but from the inside as well.

pogo Not only is the world a dangerous place but also our own country. There is so much anger….so much hatred. Again there is no middle ground. The sad part is that this is not just political but can also apply to some religious groups There are extremists on both sides. Recently Hulu has aired the program The Handmaiden. I read the book when it first came out and was struck by the concept it suggested. I thought how realistic the idea is.

Muslims are not the only ones who can have extremists. Christians are not free of guilt. We have had crusades against Muslim countries. We perpetrated evil against our own people during the inquisition in Europe.

There are extremist groups in our country today who believe that they hold all that answers and anyone else is wrong.

We need the moderates back. We need those who can hold a discussion and see the ideas of the other person and allow them to hold their own views.

In exploring the concept of anxiety itself I have found that spending time in silence allows thoughts to arise. These thoughts can be good, bad, or neutral. Silence is needed in order to think. Silence allows the questioning of our own ideas. Sitting quietly is good for the soul. Adding meditation to the silence encourages peace and calm. It seems the whole world needs this.