Beware cultural cloning

Cultural cloning …levels human personality and deifies predictability. When this is the goal, diversity is no longer recognized as a strength in this culture. Sameness becomes the bottom line.  —–Michael Yaconelli in Dangerous Wonder

Are we headed in this direction? It seems that we are but I really hope not. Are we destined to be identical robots? Will we lose the ability to think for ourselves?

1984Just picturing us all being the same reminds me of 1984 and Soylent Green. If anyone thought for themselves they were corrected…that is reprogrammed. In a society such as this anyone with any kind of mental disorder would either be reprogrammed and if this was not successful, eliminated. Aberrance would not be tolerated. Most of us who express our opinions on blogs would be done away with.

And yet, it seems to be that the function of society at this moment appears more likely to create people with emotional distress. The more we separate ourselves from each other the more our mental stability is at risk. We are humans who need others to thrive. Isolation causes emotional distress. We are communal in nature.

need help

I have noticed there are two types of people. Probably related to introverts and extroverts (but not entirely). Some of us feel better if we can share our emotional distress with someone else. Usually with someone we trust deeply. Then there are those for whom sharing makes things worse. They may have had a bad experience with this in the past. I feel better for sharing.

This is the beauty of these blogs. Even those who feel insecure sharing can share in a community of understanding. It has been a blessing for me to be able to share my anxieties in this format and find support, positive feedback and understanding. I know that occasionally someone will respond in a negative post but I hope that is the exception.

Mental disorders are difficult to cope with and just as difficult to share. Too often the response of the public is one of disdain or, at the least, not understanding. Understanding comes from those who have experienced similar things in their lives. Helping others by sharing is a gift.

God willing there will be no human robots.

Finding church

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Those of us who are Christian have often struggled with finding a place to worship that feels right to us. I think that part of  this disconnect comes from our struggle with Christians themselves…including us. We keep wanting to find a place where Christian behavior fits Christ’s lessons to us. Yet we never find it.

There is a reason for that. Churches are made up of people and people are flawed. Not only are we flawed but each of us has our own beliefs and our own ideas of how to live them out. Probably no two of us would agree on everything. Some of us want to be given rules or directions to follow. We are uncomfortable with uncertainty. Some of us want to think for ourselves and are not afraid of asking questions and doubting answers. Some people are in the middle and expect a blending of both.

All of this makes finding a place where you feel at home more difficult. However, we need to think about a family. Families certainly don’t think alike or function in the same way.

Henri-J-M-Nouwen-Quote-Christian-community-is-the-place-where-weThe conclusion that I have reached is to try and find a place (at least for me) where you feel at least accepted. One where you can be challenged to grow and where you can hear stories of the struggles and journeys of others. We will always agree with some and disagree with others. This is normal. Church is not perfect and never will be. It was created by mankind not by God. God speaks anywhere at any time. Church gives us a place to share our faith and a community of believers even if we don’t agree about everything.

It is very hard to follow the teachings of Christ outside of community.

Change comes…sometimes s–l–o–w-l–y

Healing_Quotes2Down somewhere deep inside we know what we would like/need to do be healed. If we are afraid of social situations we know, on some level, that exposure could help us. If we have anxiety because we spend our time thinking ahead and imagining a dreadful future we know that we have to find ways to shut down that kind of thinking. If we have to count how many steps there are from our kitchen to the dining room in order to eat then we need to find ways to let that go.

We may not know or have the answers but we know that healing is needed. We don’t know how we got this way but we want to change. Sometimes the thought that it may never change can spiral us into a swirling chaos.

The truth is that change is possible. It can happen just a moment at a time. Too slow to even be noticed but it does happen. We have to cling with every ounce of strength we have that hope.

slowlyI am proof that things can be different. I hope that knowing I survive no matter what and move forward to the next day will give someone courage to keep on. After 77 years I am still here and life is worth living!

 

Strange apathy –missing what?

apathy1200xLately I have felt apathetic about going to church. There is no specific reason for this that I can see. Nothing is wrong with either the church I worked at or the church I am attending with my husband. They are both friendly churches that adopt members as part of the family. You always feel welcomed and loved. It makes me wonder what’s up?

I am not really sure. I have not backed away from my relationship with God. It is growing stronger than it has been in a while. When you work for a church there is always the danger that you are working more than worshiping. I know I fell into it easily.  Now I actually spend time with God. Not enough but much more than I was. My connection with God is enriched and I am grateful for that.

I do still miss greatly laying hands on people and praying for healing. This is a part of my past ministry that causes my soul to ache, It fed me in a way it is difficult to explain. I was not doing anything myself for it was God who was using my hands and my love….outpouring for others. I still tear up when I think of what it meant for me. God was physically present each moment.

My spiritual life is much more solitary and I am not a solitary person. This is a struggle for me but one that God is pushing me into. I am caught in the longing to do something more physical instead of meditative. Maybe I need to try moving meditation. (which actually is a thing) I would still want to do it with others.

connection-004I have always been aware of my need to deepen my relationship with God and at times during my life have had a deep and amazing connection. Now I need to re-connect.

So why does this translate into a lack of passion for church itself? I wish I knew. I can see clearly that stepping away is not the right choice. It is so easy to develop a pattern of staying home on Sunday morning and it becomes a habit that is hard to change. Church is also not about my feelings although for me, until now, it has frequently been an emotional boost. Church has not changed. I have and I need to spend time delving into myself to seek answers.

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I need an emotional boost. I need to find an amazing conference or heart rending speaker who challenges me and reignites the fire that I can’t find.

God will supply my need. I just wish he would hurry up!

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!

Take a breath

Sometimes things don’t go the way you planned. Today has been that way. My foot is still swollen but not bad. I planned to stay off it but it didn’t happen that way. Instead I spent part of the day with a friend who’s trying to get her husband admitted to the hospital. The medical system is really broken. Trying to get something done is almost impossible.

It is hard that when illnesses hits you and you have to fight to get help. We are aware that this is true for mental illness but now it seems it is also true for other ills.

Life can be frustrating. Sometimes we just have to take a deep breath and keep going.

Kindness begins with ourselves

teaYesterday I talked about the importance of touch. There is another side to the idea of needing touch. It is very important that we learn to treat ourselves well. We can get some positive touch from things that we do. What do you like to do to make yourself feel better? I love smells so lighting a candle for the odor makes me happy. Slipping between clean sheets is something that I love. I love to take a walk with the dogs. A wonderful sup of tea. All these things tend to bring me down from whatever stressors are jumping on me.

While at my grandson’s wedding I was feeling stressed (weddings are always stressful for those involved) but really had no way to stop the cycle. I wanted to but I was away from home with other people and couldn’t think of a way to stop.

When I think back I realize that I could have taken five minutes to take a short walk outside and just breathe.  The way that we do nice things for ourselves is a way of giving ourselves soothing touch.

small-actsThe secondary benefit of this is that we are more ready to offer something soothing to someone else. Being kind to ourselves is a step in the direction of being kind to others. We will begin to treat others the way we treat ourselves. Kindness can start at home. Learn to take time to do something for yourself and let yourself pass it on to others.