What can we do?

The storm has passed us by. Yesterday the winds were high. We had moved all the porch furniture against the wall, brought in all plants and cushions and just watched to see what would happen.

hurricane-dorian-exlarge-169

Watching the wind whipping around the trees and pushing the tide water in making waves was eerie. We watched until it got dark. We were blessed that we had power. Very unusual for here. Usually the slightest storm will knock out the power but it never went out. We did everything that we could to prepare for the storm and finally went to bed listening to the wind.

Surprisingly, I slept until about five. It was still dark and the wind had lessened some. I checked things and all was well. When daylight came we had very little to tell what had happened. We only got the edge of the storm.

bahamas

I can’t imagine what it had to be like to have been in the Bahamas. Having that storm sitting in place for so long with winds that will lift you up and blow you away outside….seeing the water rising abound you and unable to do anything to save yourself or your loved ones. The horror of that time….hours and hours of fear and horror….I can’t even imagine it.

Those of us who have not had to experience this kind of catastrophe have been spared. I don’t know how much we are responsible for this increase in the size and number of storms. It is possible that we are more than partly to blame. I hope we can do what we can to help the environment and change things.

Hurricane and the aftermath

Well, no one knows where Hurricane Dorian will go. Waiting to see who will get this devastating storm is like watching doom coming one inch at a time. The storm when it hits is bad enough but most people don’t think about the aftermath. Electricity can be out for weeks or more. The heat and humidity are agonizing. Food goes bad, people have to leave their homes and if they have pets so many places wont’ take them. Then there is the rainfall and the flooding.

During a driving rain, Maggie Belgie of The Cajun Navy, carries a child evacuating a flooding trailer community during Hurricane Florence in Lumberton

Weeks are spent cleaning up debris and if your home is damaged it may take months or more to get things fixed. I still prefer a storm I can see coming to a tornado. At least my family can get to safety.

Please keep the people in the path of Hurricane Dorian in your prayers and good thoughts. This will not be fun or easy.

Below are photos from the storm that hit us several years ago. We were blessed. Some people lost everything.

hurrican savannah

The tree limbs went through the house into the great room. Things were all wet inside. We are high enough that we did not flood. Just wet from rain.house front after storm

Demolish the wall

Sometimes we build walls around ourselves to stay safe. We wall out anything that hurts us…whether physical or mental. An extreme example of how the walls work is the patient written about called Sybil. Dividing yourself into separate people puts up walls between the root person to help her. Another example is Howard Hughes who physically walled himself in.

wall

Our various forms of mental illness can be walls. Ways that we have adjusted to the world in order to survive. The illnesses seem negative but at some time they may have been essential. (this may not include some types of illness)

The walls are hard to pull down. They are worse than masks. Masks seem more temporary but the walls have been built with bricks and mortar. Our anxiety can cause us to retreat from the world. We only seem safe if we stay under the covers on our beds.

When we are suffering it is very difficult to pull down the walls and move out of our comfort zone. When I am anxious I don’t want to go anywhere or do anything. I curl into a fetal position mentally and physically. I have erected a wall around myself.

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I have been working on the things that help me to remove the wall one stone, one piece of mortar, at a time. Meditation, remembering to breathe, focusing my mind, distraction are all things that help. With persistence these tools help me to keep the wall from growing and even begin to keep sections down. Progress is happening which gives me impetus to keep on keeping on.

Don’t give up. That wall can be knocked down a little at a time. Just keep on!

Time change! UGH!

time change

Tomorrow we switch to daylight savings time. How ridiculous! This changing of time is so silly. There have been multiple explanations why we do this and most of them aren’t significant. I know that it gives us evening daylight hours in the summer and some people like that. For someone like me I will be back to getting up in the dark and my mood will switch from great back to SAD. The evening hours don’t help me as I am a morning person. I don’t do getting up in the dark.

 

For the next few weeks I will be grumpy and tired. I will adjust but only when the sun catches up to our new time. For a while we lived in Panama and to change time was insane since the sun time changed little. We were almost at 12/12. Maybe that is where I need to live. I know it couldn’t be where darkness is 6 months long.

time-change-i-hate-it

We are definitely connected to the earth’s time clock. Our bodies are part of the earth and we change with the seasons. We change with the tides. We belong to Mother Earth.

I hope that everyone manages to cope with this shift to our natural rhythm. We will manage and move on but I can still HATE IT!

The light is returning

overAt last! Christmas is over for another year. I love it but it is also good to be done with the busyness. It is also good to have the days spent at the Mayo Clinic done and hopefully only one more visit before he is finished. As a nurse I have been so impressed with the patient centered care and the organization of everything there. Appointments of any kind are on time. When in the hospital you can order your own meals at any time, within certain hours, and the food is delicious. It is medicine as ideal as possible.

Now I feel that I can move into my “new normal” doing court mediations and supporting my friends who are struggling. Unlike many people with anxiety and depression I don’t do well staying home all the time. I have to get out and be with people. I still need my down time but somewhere there is a happy medium.

sleep1I slipped on my routine during this time and I know I have to maintain it or else. Tomorrow will be day one of routine maintenance. Back to morning quiet, meditation and writing. It is so easy to slip from routine and so easy to not go back to it. I thrive on routine and hate missing it. That may be part of the getting old (I really don’t consider myself old) thing… getting stuck in my own ways but it sure feels good.

I hope that everyone survived the holiday and will continue to do so through New Year’s. This season is so hard for many people and I wish everyone peace and joy. Remember…the light is coming.

winter_solstice_image650.jpg

In the darkness — hope

high-street-lamp-illuminates-the-falling-snow-dark-winter-night_hen-iw9zg_thumbnail-full01The last few weeks have been busy and stressful. I would imagine that this is true for many people as they get ready for the holidays. This time of year can weigh us down. In addition, it has rained here for the last week. When I wake in the morning it is dark and dreary. I have to turn on lights to function. I am ready for some sun. The sun did come out this afternoon and it will dry up some of the giant puddles where the ground has just had enough.

Most of the time I like rain. I love the sound of it and the smell on the grass but when it is constant it is enough! The winter has enough darkness. We don’t need darkness caused by clouds and rain but we have to believe there is better to come.

wait hope

Not having light can be depressing but the light is coming. If you are Christian then it is coming with the birth of Christ. If you are not then the winter solstice is on its way and days will be lengthening. The light will return, the season will change and life will go on. Hope can abound.

A season of gray

I worked for a Lutheran church and I now go to an Episcopal church. I love liturgy. It has form and function. In the midst of a chaotic world it continues an age old pattern. That gives me comfort.

dreary-rural-road-landscape-on-260nw-466153421We are now in the season of Advent. Advent arrives in the darkest time of the year. Where I live it has been gloomy for the last week. We have had cold and rain. The sky is gray, the trees are gray…it feels as if the world is gray. The weather at this time of the year can be really depressing.

We are at the time of the year when a lot of the world is preparing for the (dare I say) Christmas holidays. Hanakkuh is also being celebrated. Even people who have no religious background or affiliation get into the season. It is hard to resist lights, trees, and presents. The commercial world is pumping out enticing ads and people are binge watching holiday movies. For most people the mood is bright.

Xmas-lights-2However, this can be a difficult time for some. Think about those for whom this time of year is hard. For the homeless it is just cold and miserable. We see them huddled on the streets and in cardboard boxes cringing away from the cold. Those who have lost loved ones during this season struggle with their loss. There are so many memories. People who are without family or friends see the season highlighting their loneliness.

This can be a wonderful time. Anticipation can be joyful. It can also be devastating. Look around you at those who suffer in Advent. What is coming for them can be sad and lonely. Do what you can to help.

 

The light of home

richmond-home-with-christmas-lightsIn the past my friend and I walked the neighborhood each winter. We loved seeing the houses lit for the holidays. All the sparkling lights were so festive. When you walk in the dark you can also see lit rooms in the houses we passed. People living their lives.

This morning our pastor talked about the dark and how the light of home beckons us. It made me think of the John Denver song “Back Home Again.”

“Back Home Again”

There’s a storm across the valley, clouds are rolling in
The afternoon is heavy on your shoulders
There’s a truck out on the four lane, a mile or more away
The whining of his wheels just makes it colder He’s an hour away from riding on your prayers up in the sky
And ten days on the road are barely gone
There’s a fire softly burning, supper’s on the stove
But it’s the light in your eyes that makes him warmHey, it’s good to be back home again
Sometimes this old farm feels like a long lost friend
Yes, and hey, it’s good to be back home again

The winter can be a difficult time for those of us who crave the light. However, it is a wonderful feeling to turn into the drive and see the lights of home welcoming us. We are pulled into that feeling of belonging and peace. The light from home does draw us in. It is the place we feel secure….the place where we can rest our souls. It is a warm place in the coldest dark. Even in the darkest time that light can brighten our feelings.

ALighttoLead

Through this winter darkness remember there is light and peace not only at home but also coming with the spring. The darkness fades and the light returns.

If you would like to hear this song:

Time moves on

sad season

This week I have been sad. I don’t know if it was my birthday and getting older or the autumn and the darkness. It could be all of the above. It has brought to mind some things that I used to do and don’t any more.

I used to bake for Christmas. I made lots of sweets for everyone.  I no longer have someone to bake for. The two of us have no desire to eat lots of Christmas sweets. My grandchildren are grown up (all except one who is in his teens) and not around to bake for or with. It was fun to make treats with my children and grandchildren.

For some reason I stopped sending Christmas cards. Our years of moving around made me lose track of many people. Our life is different now and it seems that there are many people who don’t send cards. In a way that is a regret. It was a job to get them done but a wonderful way to keep in touch.

I don’t have as much money to spend on gifts and so I try to be resourceful and creative in the things I find. This has been a plus as it has helped me to spend time on what really matters. It also reminds me of those who have nothing.

Again, life changes and we have to experience each phase. We can’t opt out if we plan to live on. Getting older can present challenges but so do other phases of life. To really live we have to seize each moment and know it will not come again.

time moves

Even though I have been sad sometimes sad can be a season of remembrance. It can be a time when we think about how different things are and plan to choose to live this moment. In this season of darkening skies and leaves falling life continues. Winter will follow and spring and on and on. The world is turning, time goes forward and I am still here to see it.