What holds you up?

I am tired, sad and struggling. I can’t seem to shake the tiredness left over from my cold and the stress of traveling and my husband’s surgery. I have a strange habit of not reacting physically to something when it is happening but it always hits when things are getting better. I guess I should have expected this.

holds you upI have mentioned before that I am blessed to have four dear friends. I know that it is rare to have four and thank God for it. They hold me up when I am down. At the moment two of them are having problems to deal with. Things that maybe can be solved and maybe not. I feel so much grief for what they have been and are going through. If only I could help more or take away some of the pain. Sometimes the only thing we can do is be present but it doesn’t feel like enough.

For the last month I have had to cope with the things in my own life and it has taken me away from being present more than I wanted. I hope that things shift soon and become more manageable.

I don’t know that any of us could possibly have coped without having a deep faith in a loving God. When things seem impossible leaning on God is my only recourse. Somehow I can sense his presence in the midst of all the chaos.  My friends feel the same and we all have the prayers of many to uphold us. At times is is possible to actually feel that support and love.

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I know there are people who don’t have this belief and that is their decision. I wold find it lonely and fearful without it. I hope that everyone has something that they can hold on to in the midst of life’s trials. May you find that thing that gives you peace and strength to hold on.

A letter to my grandchildren: Part One – Love

I have decided to write some thoughts for my grandchildren over time. This is the first.

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I think that I have lived long enough to share some things that I have learned in my life. As we grow and age we learn from everything we have been through. We probably learn the most from our mistakes.

LOVE

As I write this only one of you is married but I want all of you to take this to heart. Love and living together is a tricky thing. We are joined to another person whose upbringing and life experiences are different from ours. They have had good and bad in their lives and some things will trigger memories that will translate into actions and reactions. The same is true of you.

The things we have been through in our lives can cause us to react in ways that don’t actually fit the current situation. It happens because that memory has left scars that hurt when exposed. Think about how hearing a certain song can take you back to the memory you have of that moment. For a brief time we are back there experiencing those feelings. Another description might be that we have recorded certain events with their feelings attached and they will pop up when triggered.

When there is a reaction to something said or done that surprises or hurts you see if you can discover what is behind it. You may be angry but let that go. If you can spend the time to discover what is underneath your significant other’s or your action you may be able to understand and accept it. This is not easy in the heat of argument or upset but it can save so much pain in the long run.

As an example, someone in pain may be negative about everything. This may not be normal for them but they can’t help it at the moment.

There will be days when you may question your love for another. This culture has taught you that love is a feeling. That is NOT TRUE. Love is a decision. Never ever forget that. That excitement that you felt when you were first together may come and go through your relationship. Time spent on your relationship can help to keep that feeling in your love….but not every day, every moment. It can come and go. That does not mean that the love is gone.

Being with someone long term is work. And it is worth it. Today people jump from one person to another looking for something that they may never find….wanting to hold on to that passion and excitement…..like cows reaching under the fence to get the grass on the other side. The problem is it will not be better forever.

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Each morning you need to make the decision to love that person and then act on it. Having been married for 56 years I can tell you it is worth it.

(Obviously, there are exceptions to this. There can be truly bad relationships that need to be ended but I think today we are too quick to run away.)

For further thought this is part of the Greek’s description of long standing love:

  1. Pragma, or longstanding love                                                                                                           …..described it as a mature, realistic love that is commonly found amongst long-established couples. Pragma is about making compromises to help the relationship work over time, and showing patience and tolerance.

The psychoanalyst Erich Fromm said that we expend too much energy on “falling in love” and need to learn more how to “stand in love.” Pragma is precisely about standing in love—making an effort to give love rather than just receive it. With about a third of first marriages in the U.S. ending through divorce or separation in the first 10 years, we should surely think about bringing a serious dose of pragma into our relationships.

from: https://www.yesmagazine.org/happiness/the-ancient-greeks-6-words-for-love-and-why-knowing-them-can-change-your-life

 

 

Love for a lifetime

relationRelationships seem to be a big topic lately. I can understand why. Relationships in today’s culture are really tricky. I’m not sure that any of us understand. Whether it was good or not when I was concerned with discovering someone to become part of my life it seemed simpler. People were expected to get married. Some marriages did badly but it seemed that many did well. I think that marriage was considered a commitment. You were assuming that you were planning a lifetime together. Divorce was available but I don’t think people took it lightly.

The other factor is that the sexual revolution hadn’t happened. No birth control pills so pregnancy was much more of a risk. Society frowned on pregnancy without marriage and it made deciding to raise a child alone meant you could be a pariah.

These things made marriage a more serious undertaking but of course that didn’t make it easier. Some people stayed married when they should have been divorced. Many stayed with their children in mind for good or ill.

love lifetimeI think that relationships today are much more difficult. Choosing to split is taken more lightly. I think many times people split rather than doing the work required to make a good marriage. How do people approach commitment? Does a relationship begin with at least one party thinking “let’s try this out and see if it works?” There may not be many long term partnerships like the one that my husband and I have.

A while ago I posted a blog about different kinds of love. It was called “Commitment, why? I found that the Greeks actually had more divisions of love than I previously thought. They have a definition of the kind of love that lasts through all the storms and trials. It is called pragma and here is the description.

  1. Pragma –Another Greek love was the mature love known as pragma. This was the deep understanding that developed between long-married couples. Pragma was about making compromises to help the relationship work over time, and showing patience and tolerance.The psychoanalyst Erich Fromm said that we expend too much energy on “falling in love” and need to learn more how to “stand in love.” Pragma is precisely about standing in love—making an effort to give love rather than just receive it. With about a third of first marriages in the U.S. ending through divorce or separation in the first 10 years, the Greeks would surely think we should bring a serious dose of pragma into our relationships.

nelson mandelaI worry about people trying to find a fulfilling relationship. There is so much uncertainty involved and I truly believe children suffer when they grow in a environment of uncertainty. They need solid ground to hold on to. The world is a scary place and we all need someone to depend on. Someone who we can trust with our life. Not just our physical life but physical, mental, emotional, and psychological being. We don’t just find someone who can be this but we both grow into it over years of companionship. God willing that you too can have this.

Age is a gift

lit windowI live in a neighborhood where it is fun to walk the dogs and just appreciate the overhanging trees, the green lawns and nature in general. Sometimes I walk in the evening and people are turning on the lights in their houses. I am not a voyeur but I do like seeing people living their lives, maybe in a kitchen, a living room, wherever. I  think about what their life is like…if they are happy or sad, healthy or not, satisfied with where they are.

This little glimpse into someone else’s life reminds me to consider my own. As I walk I think about the blessing and challenges I face. I conjure up memories from the past and think about how my life flowed along. It is time for reflection and consideration.

Yes, I have fought the demon of anxiety attached to IBSD, Yes, I have had moments of regret when I didn’t live up to my ideals. Yes, I have good times and bad. However, on the whole my life has been blessed. I have grownup children who are able to live their own lives. I have grandchildren. some have already left the nest, some are on the way. I have one great grandchild who is almost 2 months old. What more can I hope for?

share wisdomNow it is up to me to use the knowledge and wisdom gained from this lifetime to share what I can to help someone else along the road. I will be a good listener, a good friend, a caring adviser and try to love as Christ has called me to do. That is what this time of life is for. It is not for sitting in a chair in front of the TV and vegetating. That is not why God granted me this time.

I think that when we contemplate getting older we need to consider why we have been granted this gift and try to share as much as we can.

We are all HOLY

Medicine is what we do to keep the patient amused whilst nature takes its course. Voltaire

not just a body I heard this today and thought how true it is. Medicine can do a great deal but it can’t fix everything. How someone responds to the help that medicine gives relies on so many things. If we have damage somewhere how do we feel about it? People have died just because of a belief that they would. People who were supposed to die have survived because they believed in something more.

We are not a bunch of single parts cobbled together. We are deeply integrated organisms composed of body, mind, soul and spirit. We cannot separate any part from the whole. One of the mistakes that medicine makes is to think that fixing the mechanics only can solve the problem. Our system has been based on this belief for too long. Some doctors and hospitals are beginning to come around to the idea of treating the whole person. When this happens the chance of complete healing increases exponentially.

We are such intricate beings. There is much more to us than is usually considered. Medicine that is beginning to function holistically is a positive change.

you-body-mind-soul-spirit-simple-mind-map-personal-growth-86576844It is so easy to forget that the words whole and holistic are all connected to the word holy. As a living being we are holy and should always be treated with love, respect and awe. When we reach the time when this is done we will be truly healing.

The Beautiful Death

My friend Deirdre loved and cherished all those who crossed her path. She welcomed people from different faiths and different cultures. Her death was so amazing with people of many faiths joining together to send her on her way. I wrote this poem following that experience. The “all shall be well” is a loose copy from Hildegard of Bingen.

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The Death of De

The light is waning and the gloaming is here.
There is a hush in the turning of the earth
it holds its breath for just a moment.

We stand watch sensing each breath
matching it with our own
anxious with each pause
while darkness encompasses the room.

Her soul loosens but holds
I sign the cross on her brow and Christ is here
A Hindu friend joins and her prayers are added.
Another comes and the prayers to Allah are lifted up.

With loving hands we anoint her with sweet lotion
brought from France by another.
All faith is here, we can feel God's gentle breeze,
there is true communion

My friend is held in the arms of love
She is suspended between life and death 
through the night.

As the sun lifts itself into the heaven
love lifts her on her journey
and with the smallest wisper
she is gone.

Behind her from the air come the words...
All shall be well
and all shall be well
and all things shall be well.

 

Musings about unlimited love

no limitsThis morning someone said “love has no limits.” The idea struck me. What exactly do we mean by limitless?Does it mean that we love not matter what or that the love is as wide as the universe? I suppose it can mean either.

On the face of it,it is true. Love should have no limits. That’s when we think of unconditional love. The kind of love that keeps on loving no matter what. This is a mother who loves her child who is a serial killer. This is loving the warts and ugly temperament. This is loving the child who actually hates us.

But there are some loves that even though limitless must have constraints on them. An abused women loves her husband but needs to learn to love herself and move away from the abuse. A child will love a drug addicted parent who doesn’t care for them. That love doesn’t make the neglect forgivable. A spouse may have to divorce an alcoholic partner. The love may still be there but the situation is unmanageable.

There are cases where the love may be limitless but one sided and the relationship is fated to fail. Is it possible for the limitless love to continue? I don’t know.

love isIf we are Christian we are asked to love without reservation. Loving this way may not require us to accept the behavior associated with it. We are also asked to love ourselves and this may be the hardest thing of all.

It seems to me that to love genuinely and unconditionally we must first love and accept ourselves with all our flaws. This is what allows us to love others flaws and all. This may be love without limits.