In Iroquois society, leaders are encouraged to remember seven generations in the past and consider seven generations in the future when making decisions that affect the people.
-Wilma Mankiller, the first female Chief of the Cherokee Nation
I have always admired the insight of Native Americans. Their wisdom seems to reach a depth not always found in our society. When I look around at what we have done to the earth it is apparent that we don’t look ahead at all. Too often it is all about money and/or power. Two things that are so transient.
To nurture the earth will allow human life to continue. If we don’t we don’t survive. I was talking with someone recently about “Mother Nature” and how she always seems to bite back. If we find an antibiotic to cure a disease it has the potential to change to something that we can’t fix. Eventually the earth itself will kill us off. Either as a direct result of what we have done or by what has evolved because of our hubris.
The Episcopal Prayer Book calls the earth: “this fragile earth, our island home.” The earth is fragile and I weep for what has been done.
I still have hope that people will wake up and change. In my experience we often wait until such a crisis occurs that there is no option but to change. I hope we don’t wait too long. Whatever is in our future I hope that we will learn, change and care for the earth. It is our only home.
It is obvious that we learn more from the mistakes that we make than from the things we do right. It is important that we teach this truth to children. We spend a lot of time lauding success but little time talking about failure in a positive way. When children learn that only being correct on test or questions answered then they become fearful of making mistakes. They become less willing to answer or try something out.
I know it sounds crazy to reward failure and that is not really what is happening. We need to take time to discuss mistakes and errors and ask what has been learned. Someone who is more into education than me needs to come up with a curriculum that allows time to discuss “boo boo’s,” understand what they taught and maybe find amusement in them (when appropriate). This time should include the mistakes made by the teachers as examples of how everyone is included. They could discuss what might have been a better path for next time.
Maybe this way we won’t stifle creativity. Most inventions came after many failures.
None of us is perfect. No matter how hard we try. We are human and humans make mistakes. In the Bible Paul says I do the things I ought not and don’t do the things I should. This is true of everyone.
The things that most of us do wrong are usually not serious but can hurt others. Hopefully, we don’t really want to hurt anyone. The thing that is hard to take is that there are some who really do want to do harm. There are many explanations why this happens. Most of us want to believe that they are damaged in some way. Many of them are. The shooter in New Zealand may have been taught the hatred he exemplified.
There are those that were damaged by the treatment they received as children. The things that happen to us in the early years can leave some terrible scars. Some people are able to recover and make peace with themselves. Some are not and that past pain is reflected in their treatment of others.
In my lifetime I have had the experience of meeting a few whose earliest lives created true monsters. There are theories for why this happens… some about early bonding. One of my friends adopted two infants from mothers who were addicted to crack cocaine. One of them did well but suffers from some physical problems. The other was diagnosed as a sociopath. ( I think now called antisocial disorder) As early as preteen the rooms of the other family members had to be locked in fear of his actions. They tried everything they could to help but to no avail. This very loving family was able to keep him until his teen years and at that point safety for the family required letting him go. I know he was in treatment for a while but I don’t know where he ended up. God help those where he is.
Every one of us has done things we regret and wish we could fix. We would like to go back and change everything. We may not be able to do that but we can go forward with a desire to do better. Doing our best to respect and understand those around us can make a difference.
If you have things you need to let go confess them. Whether to God, your own higher power or even to yourself. Acknowledge your mistakes and move on. Forgiveness heals.
Following is the prayer we said today at Ash Wednesday service. I think that these words are something that we all need to hear. All of us have things to regret. I have printed it complete on my other blog.
We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have not forgiven others as we have been forgiven.
Our past unfaithfulness, the pride, envy, hypocrisy, and apathy that have infected our lives, we confess to you.
Our self-indulgent appetites and ways, and our exploitation of other people, we confess to you.
Our negligence in prayer and worship, and our failure to share the faith that is in us, we confess to you.
Our neglect of human need and suffering, and our indifference to injustice and cruelty, we confess to you.
Our false judgments, our uncharitable thoughts toward our neighbors, and our prejudice and contempt toward those who differ from us, we confess to you.
Our waste and pollution of your creation, and our lack of concern for those who come after us, we confess to you.
This is a re-blog of something I wrote a while ago. It came up recently and so I thought it needed to be said again.
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!
Life is so fragile. One minute everything can be fine and the next someone can be gone. Our bodies survive so much but there are limits. We tend to live as if nothing will ever be wrong and maybe this is how it should be. If we spend each day worrying about what will happen next we will drive ourselves crazy. The truth is there is not much we can do about the future except to hope we have one.
what is to come
we can’t know
it’s not here yet
I can’t see
Do I want to know
no and no
can break me
I may see joy
to see ahead
no and no and no
please don’t tell me
it can’t be borne
©Suzanne Boyd 2019
Today has been one of those day where you could say “I shudda stayed in bed!” I doubt it would have helped. I have been doing so well and just chugging along in spite of the total chaos of my life at this point. Well, as you might imagine, that didn’t last. Again struck down by an episode of IBSD. Just when I think I have it all under control….WHAM!
Of course the problem is that I haven’t been doing anything I should. My diet has been awful, no meditation, insomnia, and whatever else can mess up. Today I went over the edge and realized this has to stop. When you are afraid to go anywhere because of IBSD it is time to rethink.
So, back to real food, a good schedule, meditating and being sure to keep as much as possible stable and ignore the rest. It is amazing how easy it is to let all the things learned about keeping stable go right out the door.
It’s terrible when you know how to stay well and you just let it go. Life is always better when we do the things we should.
Stay on the right path and keep going!
Sometimes I worry about where society is headed. It seems that we have moved in the direction of everything being acceptable. Most everyone is focused on themselves. We have lost the idea of being “our brother’s keeper.” In fact that phrase is most often used in a negative way.
Our government is a perfect example. Each party is only concerned with forwarding their own objective. There is no concern about right and wrong. There is no concern for the people who elected them. The only concern is for “what it can do for me?”
This is not the only place where we see this thinking. Shifts in parenting styles have led to many children feeling entitled. Again a “me first” modality.
Religion has also taken a hit with leaders who have profited from the people to the point of absurdity. There is little trust in “religion” and so many young people see it as an unnecessary idea. They can only see established churches as a home for hypocrites. For them, most churches exist to perpetuate themselves and not for real ministry to the outcasts and needy. It is hard for them to see that churches are formed by people and people are not perfect.
Media has made us numb to entertainment and we seek more radical spectacles to keep our interest. It takes us back to Rome and the horrors of the Colosseum. When we have “seen everything” more is required for satiation.
Those of us whose view is different may be ridiculed for our thinking but we persist. Somehow we have to learn that not only are we responsible for each other but for everything that exists on the earth. If we don’t wake up we won’t be here. God didn’t guarantee that mankind would last forever.
Life can be difficult at times. It may not be one big thing but many little ones that push you over the edge. In fact for me that is usually the case. If there is a big crisis I seem to do well until it is over…then I crash. Many little things nibbling away at just push you closer and closer to the precipice. You don’t notice it is happening until it is too late.
We want to be strong and able to handle the things that life brings but sometimes it is just not possible. When this happens I have to take a step back and realize that I am over the edge. It’s time to back away from the things that I can and handle only the most important. Sometimes I struggle to prioritize and don’t know which balls in the air to let fall. Sometimes some fall while I am not looking. It can’t be helped. None of us are Wonder Woman or Superman. We just aren’t.
I spent much of my life trying to be all things to all people and the stress took it’s toll in anxiety, depression and physical symptoms. We have to learn that we are vulnerable too.
The sad part is that when you spend your time saving everyone you become expected to do it and sometimes you receive no thanks or appreciation. When you stop it is a tremendous shock and you may have some upset people.
We have to set boundaries. I think our struggle with self worth is part of the reason we fall into this trap. The more secure we are with ourselves and our own self respect the more we can choose wisely. Logical decisions about what we can do are critical.
You are important. You are just as important as anyone else. You deserve to have pride, dignity and self regard. Don’t throw yourself away.
Today at lunch with friends we were told about a family who lost a 10 year old son to suicide. He shot himself in the head. Later the family lost another son to drugs. This is a loving family and their relatives say there was nothing wrong with their childhood. The younger child was bullied and I don’t think the other son ever got over his brother’s death.
It scares me that suicides are occurring in such young children. It’s hard to know why. I know that our exposure to so much data may be part of the answer. A child growing up when there was no media would probably never know anyone who committed suicide and certainly would not be bullied on line. There was some bullying in school when I was a child but it was nipped in the bud by the teachers. This was also the era when parents believed the teacher and usually there was some sort of punishment to follow for the child. Things have really changed.
Now we are so exposed to all the terrible events around the world that to take a gun and shoot oneself or someone else is not unusual. Exposure desensitizes us.
There is so much anxiety and depression in children. I have mentioned that I see it as being related to parenting in such a way that children do not have a safe base….a place where there are rules and secure love. Children need limits. No limits is a scary thing. It means that no one cares what you do. No one loves you enough to set limits for you.
I can see some changes in parenting recently and I hope that the changes are for the better. I so want to see children grow up loved and secure.