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:

Homeless home

Ozzys-Tent_MHOn my route to town I pass a colony of homeless people who have set up a camp underneath an overpass. There are tents there and open areas to congregate. There are trees and a forest-like setting. Basically they have formed a community. They have been there for a good while and are law abiding. The police don’t bother them and have actually helped at times. A porta-potty company has put and potty there which they empty at their own expense. An Episcopal priest has formed a church for them and most attend.

This is a thriving community. Most of them don’t work except for odd jobs. They don’t pander on the streets or beg.  Some of the churches in the area offer meals. On the whole they do ok.

Sticking together
community

Often I have heard people ask why these homeless don’t seek more that the community has to offer? Why they want to stay where they are? For the first time today I had an aha moment. They have found a place where they are understood and feel welcome. They are a bonded community. They help each other and form friendship. They are accepted.

I finally got it. I understand. They have found their safe place. It may seem a poor choice to us but to them it is a home. No wonder they don’t want to leave.

The beauty around us

IMG_3380There was a bird frenzy at my feeder today. I am not sure why. I have never seen them do this before. I loved watching it. It reminded me of people rushing into some amazing sale. Not something I have ever wanted to do. It was fun to stop and video those birds instead of just getting on with my day.

My mind has been on the beautiful weather and enjoying out of doors after being slammed by the heat when you open the door. The view from my porch is amazing. It is such a blessing to look out at nature. So…just a few pictures today.

Resurrection fern on our oak tree. It turns brown when no rain and green with rain.

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White crane on branch of the oak

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Birds at the bird bath

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Our beautiful live oak at least over 100 years old

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The marsh—my blessing

Today I am counting my blessings. I do have many. It’s sad that we tend to think more about struggles and problems. Today I give thanks.

From childhood I have always love the sea and all things related to it. I now live where I can look out at the marsh and watch the tide. We have an eight foot tide here so when tide is out there is a lot of marsh and marsh mud exposed. I love that smell. We have floating docks since you couldn’t reach the water if tide is out.

 

egret in marsh

There is so much life in the marsh. Many different birds from marsh hens to egrets. Lots of sea birds and pelicans love to fish in the creek in front of the house. Painted buntings love the marsh but like a particular plant which is disappearing here due to building so we don’t see them often. I love to watch the birds in my bird bath bathing and coming for water.

painted bunting
not my photo

We have blue crabs here and shrimp. Fish of all sorts and dolphins swim by often…sometimes with their young.

dolphins

crabsThe tide moves very fast and if you are swimming (even if you are a strong swimmer) it can take you with it. We taught our children and grandchildren early on if caught in the tide to swim to the next dock and walk back.  We have often thought of putting in a water wheel for electricity.

Once a mama dolphin brought her children to see my granddaughters who were swimming in front of the dock. My kin almost walked on water getting out. They didn’t care that people pay money to swim with dolphins. I’m sure mama and babies were disappointed.

The beauty of God’s earth surrounds me. I need to take more time to immerse myself in it. It can help to put things into perspective. I am blessed. I treasure every moment I get to watch a ship entering or leaving port, watching the tide and just rocking on the porch. It won’t last forever but I will keep all of this in my memory-safe.

Where has the family gone?

My oldest daughter called this morning on her way to work. She works at a major Children’s Hospital as a nurse case manager. She see some of the most critical and heart wrenching cases. In the past she worked at another unit that was an adolescent med-psych unit so she has experience with psych.

suicide

Today she was distressed that a short while ago her bosses son overdosed and died. They don’t know if it was suicide or an accident. Then she learned that a friend’s child committed suicide. This morning she was distressed that she is seeing so many cases of young adults and teens in crisis. Like the rest of us she has no idea why this is happening but is terrible concerned about the culture that is creating mental distress in the young.

It seems that both of these cases were a total surprise and not the result of known mental health issues. Of course she realizes that the problem could have been there unrecognized but in these two cases it seems not.

Recently several blogs that I read have talked about the current TV series 13 Reasons. The blogs have been very negative about the value of this program and its influence. I have not watched it….I watched a brief piece and the premise turned me off so I quit. The blogs seem to feel that this show has a bad influence on young people and the blogs were written by people close to the age.

good family

There are so many problems with the structure of the family today that it is easy for me to see why children are stressed. In some cases the children run the family and the adults take second place. When this happens children don’t feel safe. There is no strong adult influence. Parents must be parents.

In other cases the family is so busy with outside activities that there is no family time. They don’t eat together or take time to talk and share. Children need structure and down time with their family to feel connected.

Like my daughter I am equally concerned about the pattern we are seeing in children and young adults. I pray that some change will come about that re-centers the family group and gives children security and grounding.

Raising children to become anxious and prone to violence and suicide is a plague upon our society.

A big question ?????

bad thingsFor those of us who are Christians the question is often asked “if God is so good why do bad things happen?” Unfortunately, this is the unanswerable question. I wish I could say that I know how to explain this. I don’t

Over the years many theologians have written about this question and some have attempted to answer it…. none to my satisfaction. Many people who question there being a God jump on this problem. If there is a God why doesn’t he/she do something about the many tragedies in the world? It always puts us up against a hard spot. To them, it seems trivial for us to say that we don’t know. It seems that we can’t defend our belief.

Why is one person’s cancer healed and another’s not? Why did a friend’s child die in a car accident? Why does a pastor friend’s grandson have brain cancer? How I wish I could come up with an answer that made sense.

To those in pain the statement that God/Jesus will be with us in our pain and suffering doesn’t help. The fact that Jesus also suffered is little consolation. So if we can’t answer the question what can we do?

fixedI long ago learned that I can’t fix everything but I can be there. I call it a ministry of presence. I can’t take away the pain but I can let them know that they do not have to go through it alone.  Not only does God promise to be with them but the community of faith is called to love, comfort, and sustain them through the pain. The caveat is that we have to be in a community of faith that companions those in need.

 

We need to search until we find that place. We have to keep looking and keep in mind that only if we offer ourselves to be part of that will it work. To just appear in church during the week and go home does not make you part of the community. You must open yourself to become a caring member. This may not be easy and it won’t work until you find your place but don’t give up.

Christian loveRemember, churches are made up of people and people have flaws. No church is perfect. No church has all the answers. Just find one that fills your soul in some way. It won’t be everything that you want it to be but it can still be home. After all, our families are also flawed and imperfect and yet still family. Find a church family with all that implies.

 

see more on this topic on https://wordpress.com/post/heargodinothervoices.blog/1028

Delayed anxiety

eustressI am just back from two days away for the wedding of my grandson and a baby shower for my granddaughter. I have always been aware that when families get together whether for a wedding or a funeral there is always tension. Stress is in the air. In nursing we call this Eustress. (Definition of eustress. : a positive form of stress having a beneficial effect on health, motivation, performance, and emotional well-being. … during positive stress) The thing they fail to mention in the definition is that stress is stress. Happy occasions cause stress. The reason for the event is good but just put whole families together and the fur can fly. So family gatherings are a combination of eustress and distress. I can, and does, go both ways.

We were blessed that there were very few negative moments but there were a few. Not to mention the stress involved in putting on an event of this kind and two of them within two days. The rushing around was frantic and although my role was minimal (thank goodness) I ended up with anxiety today. I suppose the combination of travel, excitement, some disagreements, business, completing tasks and I can’t think of what else finally got to me this morning with resulting IBSD issues. I received the blessing of support from family who have similar issues. I appreciate their love and understanding without any flap.

good dogsI am back home, tired, wrung out but better. Now I can pet my dogs and get the extra love they give and relax.

Those of us who deal with mental health issues can be pushed over the edge by major events. It doesn’t matter if they are good or bad. I was glad to be able to meet the expectations of me without alerting anyone to my stress. Instead I managed to help with the stress of others and crash after it was all over. (My usual defense mechanism.) I am grateful that I usually respond that way. I hope it continues to work for me. Maybe it needs to be named delayed anxiety reaction. 

Sorry I have missed blogs over the last few days but will catch up.