Make us whole!

Finally finished 3 days of training to be a mediator for the state court system. My state has a non-profit center that does mediation. Mediation helps people resolve issues so they don’t have to go to court and spend court fees and have a judge decide. Mediation works to get the parties to a reasonable settlement. The training was good and I will now observe some sessions and them begin to do them.

It is so strange. The three days that I was in class I had no stomach issues but today it’s back. It just lets me know that when my mind is totally occupied there are no problems. It clearly shows that I am the problem.

dividedI have been thinking a great deal about how connected are mind, body and spirit. When science became at the forefront only the body was considered. In recent years we have begun to see that you can’t treat one part. In some ways we have moved forward and in other ways not. I think we see the connection but medicine has become so specialized that each part of our body has a different doctor. They don’t always communicate well so not only have we forgotten about the other two but the body is divided up.

It seems that the best of all worlds would be to have a clinic where every part was addressed. There would be physicians for everything, mental health people, alternative health providers and the option for spiritual guidance. How wonderful that would be. The whole team would sit down and consider the care of each person. Holistic medicine at its best! It’s not going to happen but what a healing thing it would be.

holisticI guess we have to try and pull all the parts together ourselves and seek out the best helpers that we can.

Life happens..hold on

detourI have not written for several days. The internet was down for a while but then I didn’t feel like writing. I have been struggling with IBS which triggers anxiety. It can be depressing to be hesitant to go out due to IBS. There are a lot of things going on in my life that have stressed me. However, life goes on and my minor glitches will not stop the world.

When things are like this I work to remember the big picture. I am alive. I have a home to live in and food to eat. I am not homeless and destitute. It is time to be grateful for what I have instead of whining for what I don’t have. It is for me to adjust my perspective.

I am summoning my coping skills and will be meditating and praying to calm my soul. I have had a lifetime to learn and even though I struggle at times I know what to do. I am aware that many with anxiety and related issues have not yet learned coping skills and suffer greatly. It is wonderful to read blogs when others share their coping tips. Knowing that others struggle makes us not feel alone and we can try ideas and find what helps us.

grace2

Prayer allows us to reach out to the help that never leaves us. It is possible for God to feel distant but that is our perception and is not real. God is always there. …sometimes just waiting for us to reach out. Life is never smooth. God is the rock…the foundation that shores us up. Never forget that.

aging gracefully

ageMany people say getting old is not for sissies. They are completely right! As we age we have to learn to accept the fact that we can’t do all the things that were so easy in the past. Even though I am quite active and do heavy gardening and walking there are some things that are not the same. One of the things that is hard to prevent is losing core strength. That’s what puts us at risk of falling. With yoga I do balance exercises but I can tell a difference in how sure I feel. I have learned to make sure that I hold on to something if I am at risk. Things like this make me see how I am aging. Am I sorry? Well I would like to live longer but I don’t think forever. That would be a dubious choice.

young at heartWhen my grandmother was alive she would say that God gave her a hearing loss so that she could opt out of any conversation that she wanted to by turning off her hearing aids. She also said that she could’t see as well so that she didn’t have to see what she looked like. She was good about putting a positive spin on things.

Even though I can have days with mild anxiety I try to keep the same attitude. After all, the alternative to growing old is not being here. Not an acceptable choice.

The thing that is difficult is seeing those you love losing strength and having health issues.  When we love someone we don’t want to watch them fade. There really is not a wonderful way to die. Some people would rather go suddenly and not face pain and sickness. Some people would at least like to have time to put things in order. Most of us are more afraid of dying than of death, With death you are either with God or know nothing. So what is there to fear?

olderWow has this become a depressing blog but I don’t mean it to be. I think living with all of this is part of life. If we are blessed to live long enough we will face these issues. Accepting that we are human and having a limited time here reminds us to make the most of each moment. Enjoy each phase of life and treasure what it offers. If I am lucky I will see a great grandchild. Who knows?

Infinite intimate God

moses chI have been pondering images of God. How do we see God? If asked I am sure many people would see Charlton Heston (too old for most of you) coming down the mountain with the ten commandments. Some might say the softer image of Jesus in the garden. Our image as children usually changes as we become adults.

There have been interesting books written about this in recent times. In the past I read Models of God by Sallie McFague a theologian who was at Vanderbilt University. She offers some different images than what we normally think about: God as friend; God as lover; God as mother. She says that if we can’t move away from the masculine patriarchal God as our ONLY image that we will never have peace in the world.

Today I read some thoughts from Richard Rohr, A Franciscan  who writes many thought provoking meditations. He wanted us also to think of God as mother. He quoted Marcus Borg, a controversial theologian who died just recently.

“Marcus Borg points out many other good reasons to identify and honor the female (as well as non-gendered) images of God throughout the Bible:

  • Male images for God are often associated with power, authority, and judgment. When used exclusively, they most often create an image of a punitive God. God must be appeased or else.
  • Male images for God most often go with patriarchy—with male primacy and domination in society and the family.
  • Male images of God most often go with domination over nature. Nature is often imaged as female (“mother earth”) and domination over women extends to a rapacious use of nature.

Female images of God suggest something different. God is the one who gave birth to us and all that is. God wills our well-being, as a mother wills the well-being of the children of her womb. God is attached to us with a love that is tender and that will not let us go. And like a mother who sees the children of her womb threatened and oppressed, God can become fierce.”

infinite-GodI think Borg has some thought provoking ideas about embracing more than one image of God. We have to expand our thinking and stop putting God in the “masculine” box. God is so much more than that. God is much more than we can ever understand

Can I choose?

opinionThis blog contains opinions that are mine. If you disagree with me that is fine.

Recently the in the US the state of Texas has set about removing the choices that women have in regard to their lives. The state has made it almost impossible for someone to receive an abortion for any reason whatever. Whether or not you agree with abortion the fact that a group, mostly men, are making decisions about the health of women is abhorrent to me. It feels as if Margaret Atwood’s book is coming true and before long we will be living out The Handmaids Tale (title?).

As a woman, I cannot accept that medical issues of female health are being legislated. I don’t see men’s health issues being handled the same way. What if someone wanted to legislate who could take Viagra? The outcry would be heard round the world.

choiceThis is another one of those ethical issues that I touched on in another blog. It is so difficult for us human beings to parse the complexity of abortion. We have the same difficulty with euthanasia. The whole thing seems to rest on whether we control our own lives or not. Our freedom will necessarily be tied to whether or not we harm others and both of these problems are linked to that. As a nurse I certainly adhere to do no harm but each individual case may have a different answer. Does the government get to decide without knowing the circumstances?

I don’t claim to know the answers. Where does our freedom to choose stop? If you have an answer let me know.

Can life be too good?

riceMy grandmother (who lived to be 100) lived in a world we can only imagine. Born in the late 1800’s she was raised on a rice farm. Some of her stories about growing up were fascinating. She reminisced about watching the workers put the rice in (what sounded like} a large mortar and pestle, beating the rice and then throwing it up in the air to let the husks fly away.

An image that is way out of my understanding.

She did have one trait that sometimes bothered me….especially when I was a child. If life was too good or things were going along too well she worried about something bad happening. Almost as if each of us has a quota of good and if we reach that limit then the bad will come our way. She once said that my youngest child was too good. Knowing her thinking it bothered me for a while. I was able to shake it off and move on.

One of the reasons that this seemed so against her character is that she was deeply faithful reading her Bible and praying. I never saw a day go by that she didn’t pray morning, noon and evening. She rested after lunch and read her Bible. Thinking about it now I wonder how her faith in God aligned with her “good and bad” thinking. Maybe she never connected the two. Maybe it had to do with God’s image from the Old Testament.

god is our refuge

I belong to the camp that believes that God wishes only the good for us. Nothing in scripture promises that our lives will be perfect. We are not perfect. We are promised that God will be with us every step of the way. Always  ” God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46

Anger…what to do?

angrySometimes it is so easy to get angry. It may be that we are in an edgy mood or someone pushes the buttons that set us off. Occasionally someone takes advantage of me and anger crops up. There are people who always seem to rub me the wrong way. I can’t stand people who want to make me or someone else feel inferior. I know that is their way to make themselves feel superior but it is really hard to take. I really hate it when a fragile person is the victim. There is some kind of radar that aggressors have that they hone in on just the person who can’t take it.

Recently I watched while a socialite snubbed and put down someone who they felt was inferior. The person was deeply hurt but unable to respond. I am not good at quick retorts and couldn’t come up with something to alter the situation. I was frustrated with myself and afterward was so angry at myself, the victim and the aggressor. When I run into that person again I will let them know how unkind their behavior was.

prayer 3So, what to do with the anger? Anger is not good for us. A temporary anger is ok but when we push it down inside of us and let it fester it can have physical repercussions. Writing, for me, is a way to let go of that anger. I also intend to pray for everyone involved….even the aggressive person…..even me. Prayer is much better than anger!