During the last few weeks it has been hard to write. I feel as if my mind is in the doldrums. Off and on something has come to mind but today I feel blank.
I know that happens to most of us but it is frustrating. I want to write but can’t think of what to say. Oh well, I will just say shelter from the cold if you are in a cold place and enjoy the weather if you are where the temperatures and comfortable.
Maybe I will have something more logical to say tomorrow.
Today I had to attend a class to re-certify as a mediator. The class was helpful and interesting but I realize I am no longer used to sitting in class all day. At one point I stood up for a while to just get out of the chair. We were given breaks but the first one was long in coming.
It is interesting when many things that you have done in life enrich whatever you are doing presently. I have noticed this happening several times in my life. It’s as if I am being prepared for the next thing to come. Today was mostly about listening, discovering what lies beneath problems, and helping to find common ground between people. I have used and taught communication skills many times in my life and this was mostly a endorsement of what I have already learned. I will be using it in a different way and learning that was helpful.
If we are truly living we are learning all the time. I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t learn something new. Maybe from TV or books or other people. It is interesting to think at the end of the day about what is new and how can you use it.
Nothing is ever wasted. As you age you learn something you thought was useless 10 years ago is just what you need now. Absorb everything you can in life and somehow it will be used.
Today was All Saints Sunday. Brought forward from the actual day which was November 1st. All Saints is a day of remembrance in the church.
Remembrance..a word that brings forth things gone. I have long felt that those who have gone on before us are still with us. Not as ghosts or some kind of spirit but as memories. I feel that as we think about those in the past we connect with them and they still live in us. We are a part of all that has gone before. Some old Biblical translations used the word anamnesis. Later it was changed to remembrance but I think the earlier word is closer to the original meaning.
the remembering of things from a supposed previous existence (often used with reference to Platonic philosophy).
I still feel the presence of my mother, father and other family members. Their love and caring continue on. As do the lives of those who are in my past and whose lives brought mine about.
We are surrounded by mystery. Though hard for us to accept we don’t have control over many things. We would like to be in control. We yearn to be in control but ultimately we are not.
We prefer to make decisions trusting that they will happen as we planned. We make judgments about right and wrong, about people, about events. We can make quick certain and smug judgments. We are so sure that our way is the right way. We are sure that life will follow the path we have set. We are so wrong.
This inability to accept our powerlessness can make us blind and unwilling to see the truth. We can say “don’t bother me with the truth, I want to be in control.” We see ourselves as all knowing. We cover our heads and stick with own ideas. This action leads to a lack of willingness to see any other way. It makes us unable to have compassion for others and their thoughts and ideas.
We choose not to see our own biases, imperfections and wrongness. We do not look deep inside ourselves to find the “shadow self” who hides there.
There is so much that we do not know or understand. Pat answers lead us nowhere. We have to see the world as it is in all its mystery. We have to be willing to step out into the unknown. We have to face doubt and fear and understand that they are part of life.
We must learn to accept the ambiguous and the anxiety it can cause. To not know the answers is understandable in the world we inhabit. I don’t think we will ever have all the answers and the truth is we don’t have to know.
At our knitting group today I really indulged myself and ate a piece of cheesecake. It was fabulous! I don’t do that often and for some reason felt like I deserved it.
There are times when we should please ourselves. It is too easy to get caught into not treating ourselves. Turn loose of any guilt. We are allowed to do something nice for ourselves. Find something that you enjoy and do it.
Take a bubble bath
Have a glass of wine
Go to a movie
Spend time with a friend
Have something special to eat
I’m sure that you could add many things to the list. Take the time to treat yourself!
Acceptance. A mighty word. Merriman Webster says:
1: the quality or state of being accepted or acceptableHis theories have gained widespread acceptance.
2: the act of accepting something or someone : the fact of being accepted : APPROVAL
The two perspectives listed here show two sides of this word. One is the act of us being accepted by someone else. The other is from our perspective. Our acceptance of someone else or something else. Both of these are important.
How many times have we wanted to be accepted by other people. How many times have we wanted to belong to a group, join a club, or some other organization? We worry about ourselves. Will we meet the standards they want? Are we good enough? We may experience a feeling of angst while waiting for an answer. Sometimes we are too concerned with what others think. We don’t think well enough of ourselves. It can cause us to be afraid to try things. We may not think that we are good enough. We can have the sense of being an outcast or that we don’t belong.
The other thing is having the courage and wisdom to accept the things that happen to us in life. Acceptance can bring us to a place of peace and calm. Knowing that there are some things we cannot change is an important fact of life.
The other side of the coin is our acceptance of others. How many of us have been in a group that rejected other people. My youngest child while in high school was asked to join a prestigious club. She discovered that her best friend was not also asked to join. I was so proud of her when she turned down that invitation. Her concern was for her friend and the judgment of others meant nothing.
It is so easy for us to reject others without any knowledge about them. We too often take outward appearances and don’t look deep enough. We may find that someone who we deemed unacceptable is actually one of the best people we know. It is so easy to pass by the homeless person on the street. We make assumptions about their life, their intelligence and their perspective. When I worked for the church there was a man who was homeless. After having several conversations with him I discovered that he was quite brilliant and homelessness was not the norm for him. It helped to show me that judgment is not always based on reality.
When we think about the word acceptance we have to look at both sides. We have to remember the times that we were not accepted and also the times that we rejected someone else. Be careful with the choices that you make about other people and understand the mistakes others can make about you.
This morning in church the sermon focused on two pieces of Scripture one from second Kings and the other from Luke. Both pieces of Scripture were talking about someone with leprosy. In the Old Testament of the Bible lepers were considered unclean. Unclean meant that they could not participate in any regular community. They were outcasts. In other parts of the Old Testament specifically the Torah there are laws written concerning people with leprosy and other diseases. The law prohibited these people from being part of the community. I am sure that they were initially formed to prevent contagion and exposure to those who might pass on illness.
In Luke Jesus heals 10 lepers. According to the laws of that time those lepers must go to the priests and be properly assessed and determined that they were no longer unclean. Only the priests could make that decision. Jesus, however, asserted that they were now clean and sent them to be looked at. Jesus essentially sidestepped the law.
This exclusion of people from society still exists today. Laws have been written to prevent people from being excluded from life in the community. Job discrimination is not tolerated on many levels. However, often the wording of laws is somewhat ambiguous. When a law is written it is usually written in a certain period of time and to address specific concerns of that era.
Now we have cases before the United States Supreme Court questioning discrimination laws concerning sex. The laws were written in a time when Blacks and women were being discriminated against in the workplace. Now there are questions about that law. The questions really are concerning issues that we face today that we didn’t face in the 60s. So a determination is having to be made about the real meaning of the law. There are people on both sides.
There has been a lot of discussion on media for both sides. “Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as amended, protects employees and job applicants from employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.”
The law itself is not in question. It’s the interpretation of the law that is the problem. Whenever these issues come up it is always a good idea to go and read the original law in order to understand the discussion. Listening to the talking heads does not give you an accurate picture. Sometimes looking up the Constitution or other documents will give you a clearer picture. Don’t take someone else’s word for something. Read it for yourself and make your own decision.
The next weeks will be challenging as we are having some repairs done to the house. I don’t know how long it will take but I’m geared up to just putting up with the chaos. We will still be able to live here so that is a help.
Sometimes it is so frustrating not to be able to use the skills I developed over the years. I feel that so much experience is going to waste. Sometimes that is just how things go. I will continue to find places to help with the things that I can. It’s just that feelings get in the way and make me sad.
I have no reason to expect others to understand how much I have learned and how much I still have to give. I know that if I keep searching I will find someplace to continue the things I love. Life doesn’t always go along the way we want. I am continuing to explore things I have never done and keep learning and growing. I actually have plenty to keep me busy and should concentrate on the things I can do instead of the things I can’t.
I understand how so many aging people feel useless. We have spent our lives learning and it would be wonderful to be able to share. When I visit those in nursing homes I can see how the lack of something useful to do can sap the spirit. I have seen nursing homes recently who have found ways to give seniors inspiration and a reason to get up in the morning. Some have integrated with child care places and the elders help with the children and are also lifted up by them. A wonderful idea. There are some other that I don’t remember at the moment. I hope these ideas continue and grow.
Those of you who are young and full of ideas put on your thinking caps and suggest ways that seniors can interact with others in a meaningful way. Any ideas welcome!
Today I can feel worry creeping in. We have some problems in the house that need renovating and the cost is very expensive. The bid is not too high but the work required is extensive. I am anxious about the cost and wonder if we should put it off until we can come to grips with it.
It upsets me when I know things have to be done and require spending a lot of money. We are, after all, on a fixed income and retired. As we age there is the possibility that one of us will require care that is costly. We do have to keep that in mind. So spending money always gets me going.
Worry is so useless. It does absolutely no good at all. I am so good at it and can let it undermine any calm. This comes back to what I have said before about changing the things we can and not deal at all with what can’t be changed.
I will sit down and work on a “do, don’t do” list. Maybe that will help me to get my mind around it. I am determined that I will not let this undo me.
I have been a reader my whole life. I don’t know how old I was when I started reading but I do know that books have always been my friends. I still have a lot of books in my house. My husband told me that if I brought another book into the house I had to take one out so I bought a Kindle.
For years reading was how I remained sane when I was on the verge of panic. I could lose myself in a book and escape. I have some books that I have read over and over. I put them on the shelf for a few years and then pull them down and read them again. It is like visiting an old friend.
I love my Kindle but I still like holding a book in my hands. There is something about the feel of the page that is special to me. I hope that with all the electronics we don’t do away with books. It would be terrible not to have libraries to browse in. It is so different from looking up books on line.
I read everything from fiction to the orange juice container. I think one of the best ways to learn to write is to read. Reading increases your vocabulary and your knowledge. I want to keep reading and learning until my life ends.