My mother

Tomorrow is mother’s day in the US. Mother’s day has been difficult for me since I lost my mother. I know my own children will call and I love that but for me it has always been about my mother.

mother graduation

(photo from her high school graduation—-she was born in 1909)

My mother was amazing. She was beautiful and had a real sense of style. She never left the house that she didn’t look “dressed to the nines.” She was diagnosed in my teens with Addison’s Disease which was caused by a TB infection she had when I was a baby. Her lungs were not affected by the TB but it caused her adrenal gland to fail. She almost died before it was diagnosed. She never let the problems from this change her life or her positive outlook. She was always a pillar of strength and was the person I could count on when I fell apart. She didn’t understand my anxiety but she supported me nonetheless.

I was blessed with an incredible mother. Her faith was strong and unlike me she was not prone to worry. I miss her all the time but had her with me until she was 95 years old. She left this world as gracefully as she lived. Thank you mother.

Do we get it?

painI have talked here about my friend whose husband is in excruciating pain. Pain medicines only give momentary relief. The pain is unremitting. Diagnosis has been difficult and we now know it is from a back fracture and a pinched nerve in the back. The question becomes what to do?

As we grow older the answers to medical issues becomes more complex. Can the person withstand the surgery? Will it solve the problem? If not what now? We tend to forget that not everything can be fixed to our satisfaction.

Life’s problems cannot always be solved the way we want. This is a hard thing to learn. My husband has always said “every problem has a solution but it may not be the one we know or want”. I am sure that we all know people who live with chronic health problems or who are disabled. Sometimes we don’t even see it. How often do we disregard the person who seems “less than” for whatever reason. We walk by and think “Oh too bad” and just keep going.

The same thing can be said about the treatment of those of us with emotional issues. Most people don’t understand and either don’t want to do the work to get it or just keep going.

Admittedly, it is easier to understand something that we have experienced ourselves. That’s why support groups with fellow travelers help. But all of us have been at fault. I can get the emotional issues but do not understand the breadth of some physical problems even with my medical training. I have a friend who has cared for her son with cerebral palsy since his birth some 50 odd years ago. She has ignored her own wants to support him and enrich his life. He has a brilliant mind but has to use a computer to communicate. Do any of us really understand the life of either her or her son? I don’t think so.

love peopleWe need to strive for the kind of compassion and love that is shown in the life of Christ. We need to take time to listen and do our best to be a companion on the way not just a voyeur.  If everyone could do this so many lives would be enriched.

Strive to live with compassion and love!

Touch Heals

Communal_BathA recent article was about the pain lessening effects of touch. A study was done with couples that showed just holding hands reduced the level of pain. I have been a nurse for a long time but I have always believed that touch heals. I have been with patients in the hospital who are in pain and can’t have more meds yet. I have gently held their hand or stroked an arm while speaking soothingly. They almost always calmed and were able to rest more comfortably until med time.

We humans have lived with others (i’m sure) since we lived in caves. We have been communal and depended on each other. I don’t think we are meant to live life alone. That doesn’t mean that we have to live with someone in our home but that we need community. Community is one place (hopefully) where touch can happen in safety.

touchIt has been my experience that human touch is critical to our health. Babies who are not cuddled and held in the beginning of their lives do not thrive. Many of them have significant social disorders later in life.

We need touch. In my role as Parish Nurse I used some form of touch with everyone I visited. I never had anyone not want that. (I know some people don’t like being touched)

With all the issues in our society today touch has become an iffy thing. We are often afraid to touch knowing that it can be misconstrued. It is a tragedy that this is the case. We all need touch to be whole.

A Wrinkle in Time: thoughts

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For those of you who have never read Madeleine L’Engle’s books I am sorry. She wrote a great many: fiction, fantasy, theology, biography etc. I think I have read everything she wrote and had to get some out of print by searching. Today I went to see the film “A Wrinkle in Time” and they didn’t do a bad job with it although it’s hard to reproduce the amount of science (mostly physics) that she incorporated. The average movie viewer wouldn’t get it.

 

 

 

wrinkThe graphics were absolutely beautiful and although I don’t usually do 3D it just happened to be at the time that I wanted and I am glad I did. It made the graphics gorgeous. L’Engle was a deeply theological person and so much of that is subtly in her fiction books. It is the kind of thing that makes me say WOW and AHA! There was some of that in the film but I definitely recommend reading the books. You may think they are for children but not so. Like Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia there is much to learn and much joy in reading. I have read this series several times as a adult but  (they came out after my childhood) but I am going to pull them out again.

I only caught one AHA! statement in the film. There probably were more but I couldn’t catch them fast enough. One of the characters said “It is okay to fear the answers but you can’t avoid them.”

When the book was published originally many fundamental groups banned them because the said their were”witches” in them. There is a Mrs. Which, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Whatsit who could be equated as witch like characters.

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For me her Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and An Acceptable Time are worth adding to Lewis and Tolkien. Hers are more like Lewis but she could have joined that writers circle.

 

 

Thank God for pets

I love my dogs. I grew up with dogs and so have had them in my home for 77 years. I don’t think that I would know how to live without them. If anyone gets to heaven it is dogs first.

For years we had Dachshunds but several years ago when we had lost one dog my son arrived at the door with at Basset a friend of his couldn’t keep. We are such suckers. If a dog comes into the house it almost never goes out. When our second dachshund crossed the rainbow bridge we adopted a second basset as companion for the first.

basset-hound-and-plants-funnyThese two are so funny. We laugh at their antics daily. They are good dogs with some quirky habits. If we leave them at home the towels are pulled from the bathroom racks when we come back. Sometimes the towels appear in the bedroom. Never damaged…just moved. There are so many toys under the piano in a bin that it is overflowing. I put them back and very quickly, with much rummaging, specific ones are retrieved and distributed around the house.

If one dog is outside and sees something to share (bark at) he/she comes in to alert the other dog to come and join in.

god smiledI could go on but you get the idea. Dogs are a gift. They are being used in so many ways to help us humans with our problems and disabilities. Their ability to hone skills that we thought were impossible seems endless. Service dogs are used to sniff out diseases, help persons with PTSD, anxiety and depression, autism and many other things.

We need to thank God for the gift of dogs and other pets who enrich our lives.

We are OK

broken crayonsWe are so good at putting ourselves down. We don’t need any other critic. The one inside of us does a good enough job. We think that we have  to be perfect and that it is expected of us. We need a reality check.

Our reality check can be found in the Bible. When we look at who God chose to do the things he wanted it should give us hope. God called Moses to go and convince pharaoh get people out of Egypt. Moses was supposed to talk to pharaoh. Give a great speech. Unfortunately Moses stuttered. What a choice for God to make!

Next we take a look at Rahab. She was a women who live in Jericho. This was where the Israelites were to enter the promised land. They need information and sent spies into the city to the home of Rahab. Since she was a prostitute they felt they would not be noticed there. Their mission was successful and they promised to spare Rahab. She was to hang a red cord outside the window of her house which was in the outside wall. She and her family were spared when the Israelites attacked. A prostitute….chosen by God.

Now lets look at David. David sent his friend and soldier into battle to get killed so that he could have his wife. An adulterer, a king and favorite of God.

Mary was a teenager who got pregnant before she was married and told Joseph a tall story about carrying God’s child. Fortunately Joseph believed her.

Then there are the disciples who promised to follow Jesus but kept messing up. One of them turned him into the authorities and another denied him three times.

you are strongIf we want to put ourselves down we are in good company. Anyone is good enough for God to choose. We are loved. We are chosen. We are OK.

Love matters

Some days are great. The weather is beautiful. It was today. Everything is going fine. It was. And then suddenly, for no reason, you are sad. I can’t explain it. Nothing happened. I am just sad.

Love_existSometimes memories crop up and you remember people who are no longer here and sadness creeps in. That is one of the hardest things about aging. It is possible to lose people at any age but it becomes more frequent as we grow older. Every now and then the losses catch up with you and you can’t help shedding tears and thinking about them.

Two great friends are gone. One several years ago and one just two years this month. She had been my friend since we were in grade school and she wasn’t supposed to be gone before me. She knew me the longest than anyone left in my life and I miss her. I miss the connection. I miss getting to call and just laugh about the past.

This is a normal part of aging but not one that is fun. I am grateful for all those years with both of those friends and I can’t say that I’m not glad to be alive. As long as I am here and others who remember then they are not forgotten. They live on in my heart and in the hearts of others. Love matters. Love didn’t die with them. Love lives on and I don’t regret any of it.

love lives on