Coping with life and those who judge

care kitEvery day is different. There is no being prepared for what comes next. I am sad. Sad for two members of my family whose life has been disrupted each in a different way. Concern for them and wishes for some peace and foremost in my mind. It causes my worry to raise its head. Life definitely changes from day to day and we have to find ways of coping. The younger we are the less coping skills we have.

Things that happen to us teach us and we learn the skills we need. Some people are lucky enough to not have things go wrong in their lives. However, this means that they develop little ability to handle things when the fall apart.

The only people who can really understand what someone else is going through is a person who has had a similar experience. When people don’t understand they can be judgmental. For so long there has been a stigma for those who struggle with any sort of mental issue. Sometimes I would love to make them have the same problems so that they will get it. For many years those with AIDS struggled with abuse and being ostracized. It is still happening with mental issues. I is amazing how hatred can be born.

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I think that people often wonder why those who struggle just can’t pull up their socks and fix it themselves. It is just not that easy. Everything can’t be fixed. That is a hard lesson to learn. You can’t judge others. You don’t know where they have been.

Waiting or living?

waiting 2Today I have been sad. For the 20+ years that I worked for a church I have seldom been sad. Now it seems to be a recurrent state for me. I am still grieving over the losses of the last few years. I suspect that it is really ok to feel sad from time to time. We are entitled to grieve over things. Many people do not understand grief and think that it follows the same pattern as the stages of accepting dying. This is not the case. Grief is an entirely different thing and doesn’t follow a precise pattern. For that reason it can sneak up on you when you least expect it.

Going to church now is sometimes painful. I do miss the life I had. It is just another thing that I have to face. Change is inevitable and sometimes difficult to go through. That knowledge is part of the journey I am on. As I have said before waiting is not my strong suit.

journeyNevertheless waiting is what I am doing. I need to remember Life is what is happening while waiting for life to happen (a familiar saying). I will continue to work to embrace where I am and live in the now. If you read any of the mystics such as Julian of Norwich, Hildegard of Bingen (sp) or the desert fathers you learn that they lived in the moment. I suspect that God is telling me that I am not waiting but living each day. I will learn much during this time if I just see what is directly in front of me. The journey continues and yes at times we are entitled to be sad!

 

Sadness and Joy

sad bearThis week has been sort of up and down. For me it wasn’t a normal week. This week we celebrated Thanksgiving. I used to love this time of the year with Thanksgiving and Christmas. Now I find myself with mixed feeling.

As we grow older things are not the same as when small children were around and there was a sense of excitement building. My children and even their children are grown and flown. Don’t get  me wrong. This is what parents want. My children are gainfully employed and some of their children are beginning careers. However, it is an adjustment. The Christmases from those younger days are past. Family doesn’t all live near and other priorities prevail. I am blessed to have loving children but they have priorities of their own. My husband and I encouraged them to form their own traditions. We do see the nearest ones during the holidays but one daughter and her family are far away and can’t always be here. We do go there when we can.

I guess the bottom line of all of this is that time moves on and our lives change. Change is the only constant. Even though the changes can make me sad at times I am still grateful for what I have. So many people really suffer through the holidays. Grief crops up in a big way for those who have lost a loved one or if life has had some bad turns during the year. There are so many pictures of happy families and perfect Christmases that hit you in the face and remind you of your losses. The ads begin earlier and earlier each year.

Sully, Thomas, 1783-1872; Old Stables of the 'Dolpinn' Inn, LincolnI am not sure there is such a thing as a perfect Christmas. At least not like the ones in the ads. The problem is that the perfect Christmas happened 2000 years ago and the conditions would never be shown in an ad. What we are longing for is right in front of us. It is the birth of Christ. It was not in a beautiful home but in a stable. If we can spend our time with that in focus it changes everything. Celebrate that Christ was born to show us the way to God.

Seeking a new perspective

harassThe news today continues to follow the sexual harassment scandals. This is all so sad. It is sad for the women who are coming forward…..they have held these things inside for so long. I am sad for the people who are being accused…life has changed for them. I am not sure that life hasn’t changed for all of us.

This seems to be the next phase of female emancipation. For many years since women entered the work force there seems to have been an unwritten rule that some men in power could use that power to their advantage without fear of repercussions. In my young adult years I knew that many actresses had to sleep their way to the screen. It seemed to be the norm. The women seemed to accept it as a way of life. I am sure that some women took advantage as well.

That time has come to an end. The veil has been lifted and the actions are coming home to roost. The trouble is when people are talking about things that happened years ago there is no way to get at “truth.” Memories can be faulty and it is possible to push away those things we don’t want to see in ourselves.

I think since Pandora’s box has been opened we will see many more disclosures about abuse. This will be a major shake up for communication in the work place. We will be discovering new ways of relating to each other and hopefully things will be better. It may take a while to work this out and bring about another change in male perspective.

soulAnyone, male or female, who is in power can use that power for good or ill. Power can be a heady thing. Power is one of those things that we think will fill that hole that only God can fill. It has been sought instead of God since time began. Putting our priorities in the right place and seeking God first will move power to its rightful place. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and its righteousness and all good things will be given unto you.” (from the song)

 

Waiting

GriefYesterday emotions rose up and got me. Since not being a parish nurse I have felt the loss of being there for people in times of crisis. I think that part of my person is connected to being a support for others. In a way I have lost some of my identity. At the moment all I am doing is cleaning house, cooking, working in the yard and trying to continue on this journey.  It is hard to feel as if  you have lost part of yourself. Tears come when I think of this. It is very difficult when you have found your perfect place and then lost it.

I have plans to begin mediation training in January and I am hoping that helping people resolve their differences instead of going to court will fill some of the void.

I do love working in the yard and cooking but really who wants to build a life around cleaning? There are only two of us to cook for and that limits us.I enjoy the garden (I use this term loosely) but it is large and overwhelming. I do spend time with friends but nothing seem to replace what I had. I need to get used to the fact that nothing ever will.

waitI know that God has some other way to use the skills that I have acquired over a lifetime. I just wish God would hurry and tell me what that is! I will keep plugging along and wait on God’s timing. I know that grief comes and goes and I am just in a wave of it and it will pull out to sea again. Life will continue.

Love never dies

motherYesterday I did something I have not done in a very long time. ….I visited my mother’s grave. Most of my close relatives are in a mausoleum type place in a local cemetery. I seldom visit because for me they are not there. Only the shell they inhabited is there. Nevertheless I do feel guilty for not going there to see that all is as is should be.

My mother was a loving, caring person and reached out to those around her. She was a tremendous blessing in my life and brought me up to love God and others.

Almost two years ago I lost my longtime friend. She was the last person who knew me as a child. Life feels different when that person is gone. You can’t call them and say “remember when.” I miss her very much and was blessed to be given some pieces of costume jewelry that were precious to her. Every time I wear one of those pieces I can feel her with me.

friendsShe was an amazing person whose deep faith was an inspiration. She had a strong sense of social justice and was always helping where she could. Lots of people loved her and she has been missed.

Her youngest child, a daughter, was born with multiple heart defects and struggled through her life. It was my joy to be there for her following the death of Deirdre (my friend), Sadly, I think the loss of her mother was just too much and she died six months later. I was with her. She also had a deep faith and I loved the fact that she asked to be buried with a tree. Her ashes were scattered in the hole and the tree planted with her. She will nourish that tree as it grows. What a wonderful understanding of God’s creation and the cycle of life.

Though these three (my mother, my friend, her daughter) are all gone their love and faith sustained me through the loss and reminds me still that God is loving and caring.

Sorrow, Oh Sorrow

compassion-3It is impossible to understand what is happening in the USA. Now there has been a shooting in rural Teas….a small town of about 400 people. It seems that the shooter was not part of the town but came in from outside. There is not enough known to say much about this except that I am weeping for my country. The violence is so pervasive that it seems that no one can escape it. It is hard to understand why this is almost an every day occurrence.

Having grown up at a time when this kind of violence was unheard of it is hard to take a look over the years to see what has changed. Apparently there was a scene in the recent movie “The Kingsmen” where someone went into a church and shot people. I have wondered before if seeing violence everywhere has dulled us to it.

Matthew5_9Who can tell where all this will lead. Why is there so much hatred? Is there nothing that we can do? I keep remembering that I am only one but I am one. I will continue to talk about seeking peace. I will speak out about violence. I will speak out about my faith. I am sure that God weeps along with us and will grant those of us who speak out the strength to continue to do so. I do think that each of us matters and somehow we will be heard.

I weep for my country and all those who have lost a loved one in all the recent violence. God help us!