In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.-—George Orwell
This quote speaks so clearly to me of our times. It seems that truth has passed away and we should be mourning. There are no more statesmen only politicians. There is no more consideration for the good of people or nations but only for the people in control. Because of the rapid sharing of information this virus has spread throughout the world. Power, money and position are all that matters.
I weep for the world. I weep for the children and their children. I weep for all that was before. Mankind has never been perfect, never been without greed or hubris but it wasn’t the total driving source. Goodness was found in the past and can still be found but it is being pushed into dark culverts and trash strewn alleys. The voice of truth and wisdom is almost not recognized. It has become a foreign language.
We must, somehow, begin to be heard. We must speak until our voices rise above the corruption and greediness of the powerful. We cannot stay silent. Each of us has one voice but one voice added to another voice doubles the sound. We cannot allow ourselves to be silenced.
We must speak out about injustices: sexual, racial, status, health, lifestyle, position, occupation, age and any others that rise to minimize others. We must speak clearly about the state of the earth, a living thing with animals, plants and humans, and our abuse of the resources we pillage. Nothing else will do.
I weep for us all. I weep.
We must speak. It is time for truth.
This is Memorial Day in the US. Many people do not know that this day of remembrance was begun by former slaves honoring the dead Union soldiers in Charleston, South Carolina. This is a day for remembering those who made the final sacrifice.
My husband is a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point. We married after graduation and spent 20 years moving from post to post. West Point instills in it’s graduates a phenomenal love of country and a desire to be the best person you can be. My husband has lived out that code his entire life.
Two years of that time were spent in Viet Nam with a brief tour in the states in between. He led a Company of soldiers and spent the first year almost entirely in the jungle. His men faced danger every day. The jungle was so hot that they literally rotted through their uniforms and new ones had to be delivered by helicopter each week. They never knew each day if they would be just struggling through the heavy jungle growth or fighting for their lives. Each night’s rest could be interrupted by gunfire and fear. He fought during the Tet Offensive and cannot talk about that time.
His men loved him and after he returned home I received a letter in the mail with money collected from the company for us to enjoy meals out. He was the only commander who walked away from that company. The others died.
Each day I thank God that he returned home, not only in one piece, but also able to endure the memories. He has been to the Viet Nam wall in Washington, DC once and will never go again. It is too painful
Just thinking about the men who fought with him and the classmates of his who died in that war brings tears to my eyes and his. Neither of us can listen to taps played at military funerals. May God grant peace to all those who served in that war and all others. Those who lived and those who died. They blessed our lives.
Yesterday I didn’t write. I didn’t write because grief slipped up on me. I have been spending time with my friend whose husband is sick and last night she called that her husband wasn’t doing well. He is now ok but it brought back memories of the year and a half that I spent with my friend with lymphoma and her daughter. I haven’t written much about that since it happened before I started my blog.
My friend lost her husband the year before and then was diagnosed with lymphoma. She had spent her life caring for a daughter born with multiple heart defects. Her daughter lived a good life for someone with this serious a problem but her life was a series of ups and downs. My friend put everything into allowing her daughter a “normal” life. She put herself, her money and her other children. Life was difficult. She did the best she could with what life had given her. The last year of her life was filled with pain, hospital visits, anxiety and struggle. She worried what would happen to her daughter. She died in January of 2016. I became the support of her daughter. The daughter’s brother helped and gave up his life to do so. Her heart gave out in the summer of that year.
The point of all of this is last night I felt as if I was reliving that time. Grief comes in waves and we never know when it will show up again. The only thing that we can do is roll with the flow and just ride it out. I have a busy week ahead and life will move on but the sadness lingers. We have to look ahead and know that there are new days coming. Some good and some bad but new and different. Today will move on and a new day is coming.
Today there was a terrible tragedy in our area. A C 130 military aircraft crashed just after takeoff. They have not said yet about survivors but a video of the crash (taken by someone who heard the aircraft and thought it sounded funny) shows the plane going in a nose dive. It seems unlikely that anyone survived. We have not heard how many were aboard but somewhere between five and nine crew.
It is amazing that it crashed on a major highway and didn’t hit any cars. I guess in every tragedy there is some light. My heart goes out to the families of those soldiers. Their lives will never be the same. “What a difference a day makes” (from the song). It is so true. We can never be sure of a next moment, next day, next year. We make extensive plans and don’t know if they will happen.
If we spent our days worrying about what will happen next we would never leave home. When my youngest daughter was 15 years old she flew to Japan as an exchange student. We let her go far away. At that time a passenger plane was (I think) accidentally shot down and I didn’t want her to go. My husband pointed out that we can’t stop living for fear of what will happen.
Many people have talked about how fruitless worry is. We are not living if we spend our life in fear. We must live and make life worthwhile.
Lately I have been thinking about good and bad emotions. Good emotions run the gamut from a simple flash of a decent day to full blown joy. It is easy to see the negative ones. Fear, anger, sadness, anxiety, depression, sorrow….I could go on. To counter these we can use the positive things we don’t often see as emotions: safety, relaxation, strength, gratitude, pleasure, satisfaction, friendship, kindness, and assertiveness. (From the article How to Tap into Your Light by Kalia Kelmenson in Spirituality and Health)
Most of these we don’t equate with emotion and so we don’t key into them. We don’t see them as positive emotions. We don’t focus on them. That is a major part of the problem.
I don’t know about you, but I am more likely to come home and relate a story about how uncomfortable I felt doing a mediation than that I did a good job. I let the good feeling be lost in the negative emotion. We tend to hang onto the bad feelings and nurse them. We are unwilling to let them go. Think of how often you have been angry about something and just kept bringing it up in conversation or dwelling on it. For some reason we must enjoy holding on to them.
When we don’t let go we experience physical changes. Negative emotions can cause an increase in heart rate and rise in blood pressure. They can decrease our resistance to disease and lower the ability of our immune system to function. They allow our bodies to attack us with autoimmune diseases such as lupus, asthma, ulceration colitis, migraines and irritable bowel. Oh, what we do to ourselves.
We have to learn to focus on the positive emotions and use them to overcome the negative ones. To do that we need to remember what they are and see them when they come. The list above can be added to I’m sure. It’s easy to see how we think when I realized that I had to find that list and couldn’t just come up with one from my head but the negative emotions were right on the tip of my tongue.
I think the most important piece is to be aware of what you are feeling. We can’t change it if we can’t recognize it.
As the song writer Johnny Mercer said “accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative!”
People can say stupid things. It is amazing to me that they don’t really think about what they are saying. When I ran a grief support group I heard some goodies.
You can have another baby (to someone who just had a miscarriage)
God needed another angel in heaven ( to someone who lost a child)
Your husband wouldn’t want you to be sad (to a new widow)
I’m sure things are better now (to someone whose wife died a few months ago)
God never gives us more than we can handle (to someone who lost two teenagers in an accident)
Everything will be alright (to someone diagnosed with a fatal illness)
Sometimes when we don’t know what to say we can fall into the trap of saying something stupid or offensive. We may not mean it that way but that is how it comes out. When people are going through tough times they don’t need to hear these kind of answers. They need to hear
Can I bring dinner by tomorrow?
I’m going to a movie tomorrow can I pick you up?
I am so sorry
I will call you soon (only if you really will)
Give a hug
Cry with them
Solid concrete help is what is needed. Only say what you mean. If you can help try to do something specific. Don’t just say “how can I help?” Instead ask if you can pick up children, run an errand, offer a day out. Each individual needs different things. You have to gauge what will help.
Most importantly offer compassion and love. Nothing is more needed. If you have suffered a similar loss you may understand better what they are going through but don’t assume it will be exactly the same. Just being there is critical. Don’t just say something…..do something!
The following was something that I wrote to clear my mind during my mother’s illness and subsequent death. I was thinking about it today and decided to share it.
It’s a funny thing. During my mother’s illness grief was present but it was hard to separate it from the other emotions… fear, panic, anxiety, apprehension, sadness, were all present. Grief was one among many. Now the others are resting..they crop up from time to time but not consistently. Only grief is consistent and somehow is easier to bear when there is time to see it by itself.
Illness, uncertainty Decisions..choices
No time Rushing Home.. hospital.. work.. family
No time Cant’ wait Must go Must do
On and on
So much Feelings crowding Pushing Jostling for position
One on top .. For now.. Fear
Then shifting Moving Panic wins
No time To understand Or sort
Weeping Sadness wins And tears Wipe clean
For one instant